Chinese insurers topped the list of Asia Pacific firms that showed the most growth in their assets under management (AUM) last year, data compiled by AsianInvestor found.
ZhongAn Online Property and Casualty Insurance and Aeon Life took the top spots, with year-on-year growth of 67.91% and 58.59% respectively. ZhongAn had an AUM of $5.4 billion while Aeon Life was managing $24.8 billion in assets by December last year.
TaiKang Life Insurance, with an AUM of $108.39 billion, took seventh place with 44.73% year-on-year growth, while Greatwall Life Insurance came in eighth with 44.66% growth to reach $8.13 billion AUM.
Comparatively, the 32 Chinese asset owners covered in the study grew their AUM by an average of 27.61% between 2019 and 2020.
The findings were derived from data compiled by AsianInvestor’s data platform Asset Owner Insights, which covers Asia Pacific’s biggest institutional investors.
Fiji National Provident Fund, the South Pacific country’s only asset owner in the study, earned third place in the table with AUM growth of 53.65% between June 2019 and June 2020.
Asser owners from Australia and the Philippines also fared well, growing 18.54% and 21.47% respectively.
In Australia, Westpac Insurance stood out for its -56.12% change in AUM, making it the biggest drop on the list. However, it came as little surprise as it has been cutting costs and exiting non-core businesses.
Earlier this month, the Australian group completed the sale of its general insurance business to German insurer Allianz SE and agreed to sell its New Zealand life insurance business to Fidelity Life Assurance Company.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has the second-biggest drop after Westpac. Its AUM fell 46.21% from $4.1 billion to $7.6 billion between March 2020 and March 2021. In 2020, Sri Lanka’s currency crashed to all-time lows, hitting its foreign exchange reserves badly, and the economy contracted 3.6%.
GROWTH BY TYPE OF ASSET OWNER
Official institutions – government-backed investors not considered sovereign wealth funds, including development banks – grew the most in terms of organisation types, which included pension funds, insurers, central banks and sovereign wealth funds.
On average, these official institutions, which included funds such as Taiwan's National Development Fund, and the Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives (KFCC), grew their AUM by 19.14%.
Private pension funds came close behind at 18.01%, propped up by the strong performance of Fiji National Provident Fund as well as Australian superannuation funds.
Unisuper and LGIAsuper both saw AUM grow by more than 41%, while the likes of Hostplus, AustralianSuper and ESSSuper saw their AUM grow by around one-third.
The full list of leading asset owners by AUM was published in the summer 2021 edition of the AsianInvestor magazine.