Asia’s Leading Investors: Insurers driving asset growth

A glimpse of AsianInvestor's upcoming list of asset owners across Asia Pacific reveals that life insurers have enjoyed faster asset growth than other investor types.
Asia’s Leading Investors: Insurers driving asset growth

AsianInvestor's upcoming annual list of Asia Pacific’s leading institutional investors by size reveals an ongoing rise in the assets of the region’s top asset owners, with life insurers in particular continuing to lead the way.

The full list, which was previously called out AI300, will be published online and extended analysis will feature in the upcoming 20th anniversary edition of AsianInvestor, at the end of June. We have further refined our methodology to ensure that the list represents the region’s largest asset owners as accurately as possible.

Having expanded our in-house research team, we have established closer relationships with investors and combed through publicly available data, official public statements and credible news outlets to make the list more relevant than ever before.

A preview of the results reveal that the region’s top 50 investors possessed around $18.5 trillion of assets in total at the end of last year, with China, Japan and Korea accounting for the most amount of assets among this set of leading asset owners.

However, Hong Kong-based asset owners charted the most rapid growth year-on-year in the top 50, posting a 13.9% growth, in large part because of the rapid asset growth of the life insurers that call the city home. Other countries also posted impressive rates of AUM growth among the top 50 names, but Thailand saw a decline, falling 1.7% in 2019.

Broadening out to the leading 150 names, and the average AUM of these investors increased by 4.67% year-on-year in 2019, to stand at a combined $22.6 trillion. Still, that is a major increase from where they were when we began compiling a list in 2012: the top 150 names have seen their assets rise by close to 25% over the last eight years.


Life insurers in the top 150 asset owners have enjoyed the strongest asset growth over the past eight years.

They have seen their combined AUM rise by 8% on average between 2012 and 2019, as economic growth has led to expanding middle classes, and overall inadequate pension systems have increased the desire of individuals to put money aside for their families in case of accidents.

Sovereign wealth funds have also enjoyed healthy, if less spectacular AUM growth, expanding by an average of 5% a year since 2012. On the other hand, central banks have seen their AUM growth slow. They remain the largest asset owner type, but their overall share is diminishing.

To find out exactly who stands tallest in our Asia’s Leading Investors list, look out for the coming edition of AsianInvestor. In addition, this special edition of the magazine which will include looks at the megatrends that asset owners need to prioritise over the coming 10 years, interviews with some of the most senior executives, fund managers and chief investment officers in Asia Pacific, and a list of 20 of the most influential executives of the past 20 years, who have helped guide the region’s institutional investors.

In addition, please get in touch to learn more about our Asset Owner Insights research, which delves into the favoured investing habits, portfolio breakdowns and leading figures of the region’s institutional investors.

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