While assets managed by the world's largest firms have surged by more than 70% in the past decade, almost half of the firms have been replaced in the Pensions & Investments and Willis Towers Watson's Thinking Ahead Institute ranking.
Analysis showed that over the past decade, 242 names have dropped off the list of the 500 largest managers.
"The thing that always is interesting is you've got a similar list, and you might find small changes in the top 10, but unless there's a big merger or acquisition you don't see significant changes year-to-year," said Bob Collie, head of research at the Thinking Ahead Institute in London. "Yet, obviously this is a very unstable industry even by the standards of any modern industry where the pace of change is quicker."
The institute compared the 2018 list with 2008's ranking, finding that "just a shade over half of those firms have survived without a name change. In some cases you have a very different firm with the same name. So even though we are looking for patterns over year-to-year, longer term we are seeing confirmation that what we have … is quite an unstable and fast-changing industry," Mr. Collie said.
One obvious example is at the very top of the list, where the $6 billion BlackRock Inc. resides — and has for a number of years. In 2008, BlackRock was in sixth place, with $1.3 trillion.
First place as of Dec. 31, 2008, went to U.K.-based Barclays Global Investors with $1.5 trillion. U.S.-based BlackRock acquired BGI in 2009. A further five managers that appeared in the 2008 ranking do not appear in 2018's top 20, either due to a name change, M&A or because they have been leapfrogged by other firms.
However, the top 20 was largely unchanged in 2018 from 2017, except for the addition of T. Rowe Price Group Inc.
T. Rowe Price's $962.3 billion in assets under management — down 2.9% over the year — saw the firm jump one space and replace Natixis Investment Managers, whose assets fell 5.1% to $946.8 billion, according to the data.
There were no changes to the top five. BlackRock continued to lead the pack with $5.98 trillion in assets under management, down 5% over the year. Vanguard Group Inc. came in second, with assets down 1.5% to $4.87 trillion; while State Street Global Advisors remained in third place with $2.51 trillion, down 9.7%. Fidelity Investments remained in fourth place at $2.42 trillion, down 1%; while Germany's Allianz Group came in fifth, with assets down 4.9% to $2.24 trillion.
Other moves in the top 20 saw France-based Amundi jump two places to eighth, with a 0.3% increase in assets to $1.71 trillion — one of only two managers in the top 20 to increase assets in 2018. The second was Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which retained its spot at 11th, but saw assets under management increase by 3.2% to $1.54 trillion.
Also moving up two places in the top 20 was Prudential Financial Inc., up to the 12th spot, although assets fell 1.2% to $1.38 trillion. U.K.-based Legal & General Group's assets fell 3.3% to $1.29 trillion, but the firm moved up to 14th spot from 15th last year; and Switzerland-based UBS Asset Management moved up one spot to 15th place with $1.22 trillion, down 2.5% for the year.
Moving down spots were Capital Group Cos., down one place to ninth as assets fell 5.7% to $1.68 trillion; France-based AXA Group fell one spot to 10th with $1.63 trillion, down 5.9%; and Germany's DWS Group GmbH & Co. fell one place to 13th, with assets dropping 10.4% to $1.3 trillion. BNP Paribas Asset Management's AUM fell 17.9% to $1.18 trillion according to the data, with its ranking falling to 16th place in 2018 from 13th place last year.
Longer term, the fastest-growing firm among the top 50 was Nuveen LLC, with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 33%. Blackstone Group Inc., Vanguard and Legal & General all recorded a 12% five-year CAGR; and Amundi has grown at a five-year CAGR of 10%. Nuveen also jumped the most places within the top 50 over the past five years, to 22nd place in 2018 from the 81st spot in 2013.