AI100 fund firms: power balance shifting to Asia

AsianInvestor’s latest list of the 100 biggest fund houses by Asia-Pacific-sourced AUM finds homegrown firms are growing, while global players' regional share has shrunk for the first time.
AI100 fund firms: power balance shifting to Asia

Perhaps the most telling finding from AsianInvestor’s new list of the 100 largest fund houses by assets sourced from Asia Pacific is this: homegrown firms – particularly those in China – are getting bigger, while their global peers have seen their regional share decline.

Our findings for 2016 (based mainly on September 2014 to September 2015 data) showed a slim 2.4% year-on-year growth in assets under management sourced from the region. That represents a drop from the previous year, when overall AUM grew 6.75%.

AsianInvestor's top 100: Key findings
Top 100 Asia-Pacific-sourced assets, year-on-year change: +2.41%
Size of global firms' Apac-sourced assets relative to their global assets: 10.38%
Global firms' Asia Pacific-sourced assets, YoY change: -3.14%
Asia-based firms' assets. YoY change: +28.89%
Japanese firms' assets, YoY change: -8.75%
Australian firms' assets, YoY change: -15.22%

That the overall figure grew at all was entirely due to Asia-based firms, which saw regional AUM surge 29% year-on-year, more than double the 13% rise of the previous year.

It appears the balance of power is shifting. In AsianInvestor’s top 100 list last year, 15 global firms graced our top 20 by Asia-Pacific-sourced AUM. This year there are 10.

Moreover, global firms’ Asia-Pacific-sourced assets fell -3.14% year-on-year, the first time they have witnessed a decline since we began these annual rankings. They grew 6.8% in 2014, 12.7% in 2013 and 1.8% in 2012.

Global firms’ average share of Asia-Pacific-sourced assets relative to global assets dropped slightly this year to 10.4%, versus 10.6% the previous year.

Clearly, then, Asian investors have been withdrawing money from global managers while increasing their allocations with homegrown players. Asian money has become stickier with local managers, after the global flight from EM in the second half of last year.

Strikingly, of the 20 fastest growing fund houses on our 2016 list, 18 are Chinese and all but one is based in Asia. Of the global players, only Axa Investment Managers appears among the 20 fastest growing firms, posting a 29% increase.

By contrast, among the 20 firms that saw the biggest drop in regional assets, 11 were global, four were Japan-based, four were Australia-based and only one was based in Asia (ex-Japan or Australia): Thailand’s Krung Thai Asset Management.

The largest drop in percentage terms came from Aberdeen Asset Management, which saw its Asia-Pacific-sourced assets sink 31% to $27.1 billion. Aversion to emerging markets will have hit its holdings amid a slump in commodity prices, a slowdown in China’s economic growth and a strengthening US dollar.

The biggest decline in absolute size terms was that of State Street Global Advisors, which saw its Asia-Pacific AUM drop $60 billion. It was followed by Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (-$44.4 billion), Mizuho Trust & Banking (-$34.8 billion), Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking (-$28.4 billion) and Pimco (-$26.3 billion).

Overall Japanese firms’ Asia-Pacific-sourced assets fell -8.75% year-on-year, while those of Australian firms sank 15.2%. Both countries have seen their domestic currencies weaken against the dollar, which will have had an impact.

The full list of the largest managers by Asia-Pacific-sourced assets will appear in AsianInvestor’s March 2016 magazine issue. We will break out sections of the list over the coming weeks online.

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