Willis Towers Watson's Thinking Ahead Institute recently released its research on the world's 100 largest asset owners. The institute reported that the group held about $19 trillion of the estimated $55 trillion held globally by asset owners, defined here as pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and OCIOs and master trusts. Of that $19 trillion, the 20 largest asset owners hold 56%, or $10.5 trillion.
At the end of 2017, sovereign wealth funds held about one-third of the total assets among the 100 largest asset owners despite only accounting for only one-fifth of the total funds. Most of the assets were held by pension funds, which represented about two-thirds of the individual entities in the cohort.
Regionally, assets were quite evenly dispersed across the three major regions observed in the study, while North America was home to a larger number of funds.
The China Investment Corp. was the largest sovereign wealth fund at the end of 2017, managing about $900 billion in assets, followed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority with $828 billion in assets. Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund was the world's largest pension fund, with $1.4 trillion.