<!-- Swiftype Variables -->

Special Report: World's Largest Money Managers

Assets down for world’s largest managers

Drop of 1.7%, first since 2011, blamed on volatility, insourcing, other trends

Luba Nikulina
Luba Nikulina cited declining DB plans as one reason for the drop.

Assets run by the world's 500 largest money managers declined in 2015, for the first time since 2011, as volatility, insourcing and other trends take hold, the latest annual Pensions & Investments/Willis Towers Watson ranking shows.

The assets under management of these firms fell 1.7% in the year ended Dec. 31, to $76.7 trillion.

“That is a big change,” said Luba Nikulina, London-based global head of manager research at Willis Towers Watson PLC.

The 2015 decline follows slowed growth for 2014, when assets increased 2.1% to $78.1 trillion. Assets under management increased 11.9% in 2013, and 8.3% in 2012. In 2011, assets fell 2.5% to $63.1 trillion.

Ms. Nikulina said the decline in 2015 could be assigned to a number of factors. One could be that defined benefit plan assets have begun to decrease across the globe. Another potential factor reflects a trend Ms. Nikulina said is evident among the consulting firm's own clients.

“Especially at the larger end of the spectrum, (clients) are rethinking the best way to use the asset management industry, and internalizing some of the asset management capabilities, which takes money away from the industry,'' said Ms. Nikulina. “That is quite important, and ... is very likely to put significant pressure on the industry — not only on capital flows, but also revenues.”

Revenues are more likely to be affected than capital flows, she added.

The P&I/Willis Towers Watson World 500: World's largest money managers
Ranked by total assets under management, in millions, as of Dec. 31, 2015, unless otherwise noted.
RankManagerCountryTotal assets  
1 BlackRock (BLK)U.S.$4,645,412
2 Vanguard GroupU.S.$3,398,795
3State Street GlobalU.S.$2,244,816
4 Fidelity InvestmentsU.S.$2,035,658
5Allianz GroupGermany$1,926,034
6J.P. Morgan ChaseU.S.$1,722,503
7 Bank of New York Mellon (BK)U.S.$1,624,654
8AXA GroupFrance$1,489,132
9Capital GroupU.S.$1,390,432
10 Goldman Sachs Group (GS)U.S.$1,252,000
11Deutsche BankGermany$1,217,090
12BNP ParibasFrance$1,195,853
13 Prudential FinancialU.S.$1,183,673
15Legal & General GroupU.K.$1,106,077
16 AmundiFrance$985,028
17Wellington Mgmt.U.S.$926,918
18HSBC HoldingsU.K.$896,000
19Wells FargoU.S.$890,300
20Northern Trust Asset Mgmt.U.S.$875,300
21Natixis Global Asset Mgmt.France$870,319
23 MetLifeU.S.$779,006
24 Invesco (IVZ)U.S.$775,587
25Aegon GroupNetherlands$772,852
26 Franklin Templeton (BEN)U.S.$763,872
27T. Rowe PriceU.S.$763,100
29 Morgan Stanley (MS)U.S.$711,646
30 Legg Mason (LM)U.S.$671,474
31Sun Life FinancialCanada$642,829
32MassMutual FinancialU.S.$642,000
33Sumitomo Mitsui Trust HoldingsJapan$641,136
34Ameriprise FinancialU.S.$629,000
35Affiliated Managers GroupU.S.$611,300
36Nippon Life InsuranceJapan$595,620
37Mitsubishi UFJ Financial GroupJapan$594,089
38Principal FinancialU.S.$527,400
39 New York Life InvestmentsU.S.$497,805
40Old MutualU.K.$486,066
41Generali GroupItaly$470,885
42Great-West LifecoCanada$470,522
43Schroder Investment Mgmt.U.K.$462,113
44Aberdeen Asset Mgmt.U.K.$430,694
45 Aviva InvestorsU.K.$429,751
46Credit SuisseSwitzerland$413,787
47Royal Bank of CanadaCanada$411,334
48DZ BankGermany$391,896
49 Dimensional Fund AdvisorsU.S.$388,263
50Standard LifeU.K.$375,346
51 Federated Investors (FII)U.S.$361,112
52Macquarie GroupAustralia$355,440
53Blackstone GroupU.S.$336,385
54Nomura Asset Mgmt.Japan$334,837
55Intesa SanPaoloItaly$315,201
57Manulife Asset Mgmt.Canada$310,143
58 Eaton Vance (EV)U.S.$308,000
59Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance1Japan$295,590
61BMO Global Asset Mgmt.Canada$287,008
62Charles Schwab InvestmentU.S.$280,190
63Munich REGermany$279,728
64Shinkin Central Bank1Japan$273,195
65Fidelity WorldWide InvestmentsU.K.$273,000
66Voya FinancialU.S.$270,815
67 Dodge & CoxU.S.$259,474
68Zurich Financial ServicesSwitzerland$254,210
69Pioneer Global Asset Mgmt.Italy$243,448
70London Stock Exchange GroupU.K.$241,842
71 Neuberger BermanU.S.$240,358
72Societe GeneraleFrance$237,081
73Stifel FinancialU.S.$234,070
74Brookfield Asset Mgmt.Canada$227,803
75Mizuho Financial Group2Japan$225,600
76TD Asset Mgmt.Canada$217,382
77Geode Capital Mgmt.U.S.$212,198
78Sumitomo Life Insurance1Japan$207,500
79Dekabank GroupGermany$206,824
80NN GroupNetherlands$203,506
82Guggenheim InvestmentsU.S.$198,753
83Janus Capital GroupU.S.$189,134
85Swiss Life Asset ManagersSwitzerland$186,952
87 SEI Investments (SEIC)U.S.$184,111
88 TCW GroupU.S.$180,733
89Caisse de Depot et PlacementCanada$178,876
90Baillie GiffordU.K.$177,014
91Banco Santander CentralSpain$176,991
92Samsung GroupSouth Korea$172,848
93Banco do BrasilBrazil$165,826
94La PosteFrance$163,979
95Le Groupe LCF RothschildFrance$163,881
96Pictet Asset Mgmt.Switzerland$152,357
97 Bridgewater AssociatesU.S.$151,708
98American CenturyU.S.$146,164
99Colonial First StateAustralia$142,287
100Nikko Asset Mgmt.Japan$141,889
101AQR Capital Mgmt.U.S.$141,447
103 Henderson Global InvestorsU.K.$136,355
104 MercerU.S.$135,324
105PNC FinancialU.S.$133,502
108Resona HoldingsJapan$128,351
109Itau UnibancoBrazil$126,408
110Lord, AbbettU.S.$125,488
111Royal London GroupU.K.$125,259
113Zurcher KantonalbankSwitzerland$122,722
114NISA InvestmentU.S.$121,312
115GAM HoldingSwitzerland$120,070
116 Kohlberg Kravis RobertsU.S.$119,554
117AMP CapitalAustralia$116,515
119Union Bancaire PriveeSwitzerland$110,989
120GE Asset Mgmt.U.S.$110,249
121Talanx GroupGermany$110,103
122KBC GroupBelgium$109,261
123Syntrus AchmeaNetherlands$109,254
124Investec Asset Mgmt.South Africa$105,483
125Danske BankDenmark$104,530
126Waddell & ReedU.S.$104,398
129Banco Bradesco4Brazil$102,187
130Grantham, Mayo, Van OtterlooU.S.$100,844
131Groupama Asset Mgmt.France$100,253
132 Artisan Partners (APAM)U.S.$99,848
133Covea GroupFrance$98,438
134Oaktree CapitalU.S.$97,359
135NAB Asset Mgmt.Australia$96,924
136 Mesirow FinancialU.S.$96,830
137IGM Financial GroupCanada$96,352
138 Payden & RygelU.S.$95,300
139CIBC Asset Mgmt.Canada$94,927
140Vontobel Asset Mgmt.Switzerland$94,744
141Credit MutuelFrance$93,816
142Ares Mgmt.U.S.$93,632
143New England Asset Mgmt.U.S.$91,896
144First Eagle InvestmentU.S.$90,321
145 CBRE Global InvestorsU.S.$89,000
147EFG InternationalSwitzerland$84,889
148Pacific Century GroupHong Kong$84,500
149LSV Asset Mgmt.U.S.$84,410
151CI FinancialCanada$80,143
152Baloise Asset Mgmt.Switzerland$79,153
153Man InvestmentsU.K.$78,700
154 Wilmington TrustU.S.$73,795
155 Fiera CapitalCanada$73,288
156OFI AMFrance$71,015
157IDUNA GruppeGermany$70,906
158Fortress Investment GroupU.S.$70,501
159Metzler Asset Mgmt.Germany$69,923
160Pearl GroupU.K.$69,671
161Bank of China InvestmentChina$67,819
162Raymond JamesU.S.$67,815
163Mirae Asset Financial GroupSouth Korea$66,362
164 Fisher InvestmentsU.S.$65,437
165Svenska HandelsbankenSweden$65,283
166Storebrand GroupNorway$65,251
167 William BlairU.S.$64,727
168Securian Financial GroupU.S.$64,400
169Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Mgmt.Japan$63,920
170Hanwha GroupSouth Korea$63,867
171Anima HoldingItaly$63,239
172Robert W. BairdU.S.$63,108
173E Fund Mgmt.China$62,830
174Erste-Sparinvest KapitalanlageAustria$62,275
175PFM Asset Mgmt.U.S.$61,965
176Monte dei Paschi di SienaItaly$60,653
177 Arrowstreet CapitalU.S.$59,622
178LGT GroupLiechtenstein$58,728
179 Brown Brothers HarrimanU.S.$58,574
180LaSalle InvestmentU.S.$58,310
182Industrial Alliance InsuranceCanada$56,897
183 Mondrian Investment PartnersU.K.$56,857
185China Asset Mgmt.China$56,482
186Delta Lloyd Asset Mgmt.Netherlands$56,000
187Bank Degroof PetercamBelgium$55,900
188Sompo Japan Nipponkoa HoldingsJapan$55,822
190Warburg GruppeGermany$55,720
191BT Investment Mgmt.2Australia$55,260
192Income Research & Mgmt.U.S.$54,876
193Thornburg InvestmentU.S.$54,858
194Brown AdvisoryU.S.$53,979
195Fukoku Mutual Life InsuranceJapan$53,527
196Record Currency Mgmt.U.K.$53,490
198Caixa Economica Federal4Brazil$52,960
199 Marathon-LondonU.K.$52,935
200Harvest Fund Mgmt.China$52,923
201 Starwood CapitalU.S.$52,895
202Jupiter Asset Mgmt.U.K.$52,882
203Cohen & SteersU.S.$52,594
204Tokio Marine HoldingsJapan$51,460
205OP Bank GroupFinland$51,349
206Versicherungskammer BayernGermany$51,162
207Sterling CapitalU.S.$51,155
208SanlamSouth Africa$51,015
209Landesbank Hessen-ThuringenGermany$50,563
210 Daiwa SB InvestmentsJapan$50,362
211 Partners GroupSwitzerland$50,257
212ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Mgmt.China$50,242
213 Ashmore GroupU.K.$49,400
214IFM InvestorsAustralia$49,247
216 American Beacon AdvisorsU.S.$48,118
217Virtus InvestmentU.S.$47,385
218UBI BancaItaly$46,656
219Connor, Clark & Lunn FinancialCanada$46,054
220Fort WashingtonU.S.$45,826
221Lombard Odier InvestmentSwitzerland$45,807
222F Van LanschotNetherlands$45,777
223China Southern Fund Mgmt.China$45,512
224Northern CrossU.S.$45,294
226Berenberg Asset Mgmt.Germany$43,811
230 HinesU.S.$41,674
231KB Asset Mgmt.South Korea$41,594
232Causeway CapitalU.S.$41,225
233Coronation Fund ManagersSouth Africa$40,403
234 Clarion PartnersU.S.$40,330
235Ohio NationalU.S.$40,200
236UMB FinancialU.S.$40,000
237Bank SyzSwitzerland$39,552
238Reliance CapitalIndia$39,398
239 HarbourVest PartnersU.S.$39,205
240Stone Harbor InvestmentU.S.$39,183
241D.E. Shaw GroupU.S.$38,773
242 GAMCO Investors (GBL)U.S.$38,659
243RidgeWorth CapitalU.S.$37,689
244STANLIBSouth Africa$37,553
246National Bank of Canada3Canada$35,875
247Ameritas Mutual HoldingU.S.$35,600
248Manning & NapierU.S.$35,442
249Shinhan BNP ParibasSouth Korea$35,282
250 HeitmanU.S.$35,187
252Portfolio AdvisorsU.S.$35,067
253 Strategic Investment GroupU.S.$35,037
254Fullgoal Fund Mgmt.5China$34,072
255 Hamilton LaneU.S.$33,983
257Westpac Banking5Australia$33,741
258Desjardins GroupCanada$33,213
259Winton Capital Mgmt.U.K.$33,135
260Victory CapitalU.S.$33,120
261Raiffeisen Zentralbank6Austria$32,776
262 RhumbLine AdvisersU.S.$32,445
263 Commerce TrustU.S.$32,439
264Uniqa Finanz GroupAustria$32,381
265Gruppo AzimutItaly$32,309
266Hermes Investment Mgmt.U.K.$32,155
267Caixa Geral de DepositosPortugal$31,432
268Pathway CapitalU.S.$31,205
269China Universal Asset Mgmt.China$31,061
270Arca SGRItaly$30,975
271Allan Gray ProprietarySouth Africa$30,960
272 Renaissance TechnologiesU.S.$30,302
273 First Pacific AdvisorsU.S.$30,125
275Northill CapitalU.K.$29,925
276SECOR Asset Mgmt.U.S.$29,858
277Korea ITMCSouth Korea$29,565
278BTG PactualBrazil$29,499
279Davis AdvisorsU.S.$28,970
280Magellan Asset Mgmt.Australia$28,897
281Jackson Square PartnersU.S.$28,880
282Penghua Fund Mgmt.5China$28,853
283Shenkman CapitalU.S.$28,681
284J O Hambro Capital Mgmt.U.K.$28,621
285 Hotchkis & WileyU.S.$28,367
286CCB Principal Asset Mgmt.China$28,087
287Quoniam Asset Mgmt.Germany$28,085
288Boston Private FinancialU.S.$27,595
289Bank J. Safra SarasinSwitzerland$27,509
290 DuPont CapitalU.S.$27,313
291 ICMA RetirementU.S.$27,279
292 Adams Street PartnersU.S.$27,137
294Royal Bank of ScotlandU.K.$26,979
296Beutel, GoodmanCanada$26,879
297GF Fund Mgmt.China$26,839
298Yinhua Fund Mgmt.China$26,452
299Eagle CapitalU.S.$26,310
301 Lexington PartnersU.S.$26,109
302 Fifth Third BancorpU.S.$26,000
303Pzena InvestmentU.S.$25,999
304Banco SabadellSpain$25,965
305Jarislowsky, FraserCanada$25,894
306GLC Asset Mgmt. GroupCanada$25,675
307Matthews InternationalU.S.$25,536
308Brandes InvestmentU.S.$25,400
309 CommonfundU.S.$25,199
310 Van Eck AssociatesU.S.$25,111
311Angelo, GordonU.S.$25,000
312Mawer Investment Mgmt.Canada$24,881
313Gruppo Credito EmilianoItaly$24,629
314Goodman GroupAustralia$24,340
315AGF Mgmt.Canada$23,613
316HDFC Asset Mgmt.India$23,608
317Bosera Asset Mgmt.China$23,443
318NH-CASouth Korea$23,346
319Breckinridge CapitalU.S.$23,306
320Sarofim GroupU.S.$22,963
321Gruppo BipiemmeItaly$22,834
323China Merchants Fund Mgmt.5China$22,631
324Kyobo Life InsuranceSouth Korea$22,610
325Greystone ManagedCanada$22,428
326Kiwoom AMCSouth Korea$22,210
328Intermediate Capital Group5U.K.$22,052
329Investment Solutions2South Africa$22,052
330 Calamos Advisors (CLMS)U.S.$21,908
332Fiduciary Mgmt./MilwaukeeU.S.$21,731
333Knights of Columbus AssetU.S.$21,310
334ASB Capital Mgmt.U.S.$21,268
335 Callan AssociatesU.S.$21,235
336Canyon PartnersU.S.$21,100
337Penn Mutual Asset Mgmt.U.S.$20,964
339Westwood HoldingsU.S.$20,762
340Montage InvestmentsU.S.$20,745
341Blue Sky GroupNetherlands$20,720
342Birla Sun Life Asset Mgmt.India$20,580
343Southeastern Asset Mgmt.U.S.$20,430
344 EARNEST PartnersU.S.$20,214
345Grupo Banco PopularSpain$20,203
346Burgundy Asset Mgmt.Canada$20,115
347Letko BrosseauCanada$19,820
349King Street CapitalU.S.$19,600
350Platinum Asset Mgmt.Australia$19,516
351Royal & SunAllianceU.K.$19,271
353Los Angeles CapitalU.S.$18,862
354 International Value AdvisersU.S.$18,684
355Carnegie InvestmentSweden$18,465
356Hana UBS AMCSouth Korea$18,381
357Highland Capital (Texas)U.S.$18,340
359Patrizia ImmobilienGermany$18,136
360Tongyang Investment Mgmt.South Korea$17,975
361Co-operators GroupCanada$17,918
362Hungkuk ITMCSouth Korea$17,895
363 RS InvestmentsU.S.$17,731
365China Post FundChina$17,564
366Sprucegrove InvestmentCanada$17,376
367 Highland AssociatesU.S.$17,200
368Majedie Asset Mgmt.5U.K.$17,145
369 Wasatch AdvisorsU.S.$17,109
370Diamond Hill CapitalU.S.$16,841
371Hua An Fund Mgmt.5China$16,812
372Providence EquityU.S.$16,812
373Banco Popolare SocietaItaly$16,388
374Iridian Asset Mgmt.U.S.$16,243
376 Guardian CapitalCanada$16,223
378Rongtong Fund Mgmt.5China$16,070
379Lendlease Investment Mgmt.Australia$16,033
380UTI Asset Mgmt.India$15,994
381Tian Hong Asset Mgmt.5China$15,970
382DEXUS Property GroupAustralia$15,668
383Value PartnersHong Kong$15,600
384Westfield CapitalU.S.$15,407
385Grupo Novo BancoPortugal$15,405
387State Bank of IndiaIndia$15,078
388Madison InvestmentU.S.$15,000
389Pacific Asia GroupHong Kong$15,000
390Da Cheng Fund Mgmt.5China$14,596
391Kepler Fonds4Austria$14,585
392Sit InvestmentU.S.$14,245
393 StepStone GroupU.S.$14,039
394 Bahl & GaynorU.S.$14,017
396 Horsley Bridge PartnersU.S.$13,456
397Glenmede InvestmentU.S.$13,453
398 RamiusU.S.$13,322
399GPT GroupAustralia$13,190
400Fortis Haitong Investment Mgmt.5China$13,152
401Luther King CapitalU.S.$13,150
402Banco BPIPortugal$12,958
403Analytic InvestorsU.S.$12,920
404 SkyBridge CapitalU.S.$12,900
405Guotai Fund Mgmt.5China$12,894
406Marathon Asset Mgmt.U.S.$12,800
407 Cantillon Capital Mgmt.U.S.$12,781
408 Amalgamated BankU.S.$12,759
409Canso Investment CounselCanada$12,548
410Gulf International BankU.K.$12,400
411Reliance TrustU.S.$12,344
412H/2 CapitalU.S.$12,341
413Votorantim Asset Mgmt.Brazil$12,154
414Silvercrest Asset Mgmt.U.S.$12,077
415Gruppo Banca CarigeItaly$12,067
416AXA SPDB Investment Managers5China$12,019
417 Sage Advisory ServicesU.S.$11,822
418 EnTrust CapitalU.S.$11,820
419DongbuSouth Korea$11,771
420World Asset Mgmt.U.S.$11,727
421Leith Wheeler InvestmentCanada$11,716
422Chandler Asset Mgmt.U.S.$11,700
423RWC Asset Mgmt.U.K.$11,676
424Odey Asset Mgmt.U.K.$11,594
425Charter HallAustralia$11,587
426Hyundai Investment AMCSouth Korea$11,299
428 Cambiar InvestorsU.S.$11,188
429Shinyoung ITMCSouth Korea$11,174
430T&D Asset Mgmt.Japan$11,153
432Bank of Comm. Schroders5China$10,877
433 Rockpoint GroupU.S.$10,855
434Close Brothers Group7U.K.$10,821
435Synovus FinancialU.S.$10,800
437 London Co.U.S.$10,642
438Aetos CapitalU.S.$10,638
439HI Asset Mgmt.South Korea$10,630
441Tocqueville Asset Mgmt.U.S.$10,498
442 Edinburgh PartnersU.K.$10,457
444Polar Capital HoldingsU.K.$10,400
445 Crestline InvestorsU.S.$10,365
446 C.S. McKeeU.S.$10,319
447Truvalue Asset Mgmt.5China$10,276
448Lombarda China Fund Mgmt.5China$10,250
449BOCI-PrudentialHong Kong$10,230
450 Pacific Income AdvisersU.S.$10,166
451 Ariel InvestmentsU.S.$10,133
452Pacific Alternative AssetU.S.$10,099
453 Stockbridge Capital GroupU.S.$9,757
454 Westbrook PartnersU.S.$9,716
455 Segall Bryant & HamillU.S.$9,592
456Beach Point CapitalU.S.$9,458
457QV Investors2Canada$9,376
458New Brunswick Investment1Canada$9,352
459IBK AMCSouth Korea$9,270
460Lindsell TrainU.K.$9,265
461 Invesco Great Wall5China$9,222
462Opus InvestmentU.S.$9,219
463Verde Asset Mgmt.2Brazil$9,218
464JCP Investment PartnersAustralia$9,149
465Perella WeinbergU.S.$9,022
466Patria InvestimentosBrazil$8,982
468Piper JaffrayU.S.$8,878
469UBS SDIC Fund Mgmt.5China$8,854
470Driehaus CapitalU.S.$8,844
471Alexander ForbesSouth Africa$8,821
472GTJA Allianz Fund Mgmt.5China$8,805
473 CornerStone PartnersU.S.$8,800
474Axiom InvestorsU.S.$8,704
475Baoying Fund5China$8,634
476Mirabaud GroupSwitzerland$8,576
477Advent CapitalU.S.$8,563
478KTBSouth Korea$8,502
479Changsheng Fund Mgmt.5China$8,490
480Polen CapitalU.S.$8,471
481CCLA Investment Mgmt.1U.K.$8,449
482Kleinwort Benson Investors Int'lIreland$8,413
483Johnson Investment CounselU.S.$8,347
485Kotak Mahindra Asset Mgmt.India$8,274
486IDFC Asset Mgmt.India$8,246
487SPARX GroupJapan$8,149
488MKP CapitalU.S.$8,137
489Huatai-PineBridge Investment5China$8,028
490Progress InvestmentU.S.$8,012
491Ping An UOB Fund Mgmt.5China$8,007
492TriState Capital HoldingsU.S.$8,005
493Adrian Lee & PartnersU.K.$8,000
494AffinityHong Kong$8,000
496Jacobs Levy EquityU.S.$7,909
497Huashang Fund Mgmt.5China$7,899
498Kairos PartnersItaly$7,838
499Midas Asset AMCSouth Korea$7,820
500SulAmerica InvestimentosBrazil$7,755
1: As of March 31, 2015
2: As of March 31, 2016
3: As of Oct. 31, 2015
4: As of Feb. 29, 2016
5: As of Sept. 30, 2015
6: As of June 30, 2015
7: As of Jan. 31, 2016

Another potential factor affecting the assets run by the 500 largest money managers is currency, with the U.S. dollar moving against most other major currencies. The dollar gained 5.4% in 2015 vs. the British pound, and gained 10.22% against the euro.

North American managers saw their assets decrease in 2015, by 1.1%. However, that compares with a 3.3% decrease in the assets run by European money managers, and a 3.1% fall for Japanese managers. The yen fell 0.47% against the dollar in 2015.

The final factor that could have hit AUM is the overall performance of markets, said Ms. Nikulina. Valuations had been growing across assets in 2014, but in 2015 were “for the first time, a little all over the place.” The MSCI All-Country World index fell 1.87% in 2015, vs. a 4.67% gain in 2014. The U.S. equities market fared better, gaining 0.47% last year, but that was far behind its 12.55% return in 2014.

Bond returns also fell, gaining 0.55% in 2015, vs. 5.97% in 2014, showed the Barclays Capital Global Aggregate index.

“The combination of all these factors added up to the decline, and it is not unlikely that (the value of assets run by managers) will continue to go down in the future,” added Ms. Nikulina.

Bigger piece of the pie

The share of assets managed by the 50 largest money managers in the ranking continued to grow in 2015, although these managers also saw the overall value of their AUM decline.

Continuing a trend of recent years, the top 20 managers took the lion's share of total assets, with 41.9% vs. 41.6% in 2014.

Assets reported by the 20 largest ranged from $4.6 trillion to $875 billion. Assets managed by these firms also decreased, although at a slower pace than for the top 500 overall, by 1% in the year, to total $32.1 trillion.

Of the top 20, U.S. managers held the bulk of assets, at 69%, up from 65.5% in 2015. The remaining assets were held by European managers in both years.

Managers in places 21 to 50, whose assets ranged from $870 billion down to $375 billion, grew their share to 23.2%, up from 22.9% a year previous. However, midsize managers — with assets ranging from $361 billion to $35 billion, and taking places 51 to 250 — saw their share of total assets fall to 29%, from 29.5% in 2014. The smallest managers in the ranking, places 251 to 500 and with assets between $35 billion and $7.8 billion, took the remaining 5.8% of the pie, compared with 6% in the 2014 ranking.

The continued barbell of money managers by size and asset slice is probably the result of a combination of factors, said Ms. Nikulina, including consolidation of money managers, and also the “significant move toward fiduciary management or outsourced CIO models, and in the (defined contribution) space toward platforms and master trusts. It means that, essentially, we have a little bit of consolidation happening driven by asset owners,” Ms. Nikulina said.

Another significant move in 2015 relates to the active vs. passive debate. The share of assets run by the top 500 managers in active strategies continued to be dominant and in fact grew over the year, at 78.3% vs. 77.8% in 2014. That follows a decline from 79.7% of assets run in active strategies in 2013.

And while assets reported in active and passive strategies totaled $24 trillion, down 3.4% vs. 2014, active strategies' share declined 2.8%, vs. a 5.5% drop in assets run in passive strategies.

“This is an interesting one. Considering the state of the market — when it becomes a bit choppier and more volatile — you would expect (investors) will have a bit more trust in active” management, said Ms. Nikulina. While the moves are not particularly big, she said it is “directionally quite interesting,” and also reflects the move toward fiduciary management and outsourced CIO models, “where governance is shifted — this also to a degree allows (investors) to use active strategies more.”

Another interesting directional move is in asset allocation. Investments in alternative asset classes increased 25.1% to total $1.8 trillion. Investment in equities totaled $20.2 trillion, down 5.5%; exposure to fixed-income fell 9.3% to $14.6 trillion; and allocations to other assets declined 3.2% to $6.9 trillion. Real estate allocations dropped 13.2% to $988 billion.

While the allocation to alternatives is small in asset terms, the move is still significant, said Ms. Nikulina. “We see it very clearly from what clients are doing, how money gets reallocated, and (by the) number of conversations we have dedicated to traditional asset classes vs. alternatives. I am not surprised, and thinking what asset owners are facing,” with volatile markets and low returns, investors are making their assets work harder.

It is also a continuation of a trend to diversify exposures, she said.

For 2016, Ms. Nikulina expects most of these trends to have continued. A number of consolidation deals have already taken place this year, which will possibly continue the trend of the top 20 managers growing their share of total assets. Markets have also continued to be volatile, although are in relatively better shape than 2015. The MSCI ACWI is up 4.9% for 2016 through Oct. 17, and the Russell 3000 index is up 5.98%. Bonds have returned 5.25% to that date, according to the BarCap Global Aggregate index. Market volatility, however, may support the trend toward active, said Ms. Nikulina.

“The runoff of DB, internalizing of asset management by larger schemes ... (those trends) are all still there,” she said.

This article originally appeared in the October 31, 2016 print issue as, "Assets down for largest managers".