Global asset manager AuM tops $100 trillion for the first time

Concentration continues among the top 20 managers

Annandale, Virginia, UNITED STATES

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Assets under management (AuM) at the world’s 500 largest asset managers exceeded $100 trillion for the first time in 2019 — totaling $104.4 trillion — according to new research from Willis Towers Watson’s Thinking Ahead Institute. This represents an increase of 14.8% on the previous year, when total AuM was $91.5 trillion, and an almost three-fold increase from $35.2 trillion in 2000.

The research, conducted in conjunction with Pensions & Investments, a leading U.S. investment newspaper, confirms growing concentration among the top 20 managers whose market share increased during the period to 43% of total assets, up from 38% in 2000 and 29% in 1995. It also shows that, in the past decade, 232 asset manager names have dropped out of the ranking.

“The investment industry has always been dynamic, but the pace of change is speeding up, manifested notably through consolidation,” said Roger Urwin, co-founder of the Thinking Ahead Institute. “In addition, rapidly advancing technology is changing the shape of mandates and producing products that require less governance and are more streamlined. This has led to the growth of passive and index tracking, factor-based strategies and solutions. Private markets have also continued a significant growth trend in the past decade, during which investors have sought higher returns involving higher risk.”

According to the research, passively managed assets in the survey grew to $7.9 trillion in 2019, up from $4.9 trillion in 2015.

“Most asset management processes, including investment, operating and decision making, also must evolve. This is driven by, in particular, asset owners seeking the benefits of outsourcing; the increased use of the Total Portfolio Approach, especially when targeting absolute return; and the use of index tracking in exchange-traded funds, where there is an active choice of the index,” said Urwin.

Additional research findings*:

  • 50% of managers increased the number of ethnic minorities and women at high positions.
  • Client interest in sustainable investing, including voting, increased across 88% of managers.
  • 84% of managers increased resources deployed to technology and big data, and 76% increased resources deployed to cybersecurity.
  • The number of product offerings during the year increased across 65% of surveyed firms.
  • Aggregate investment management fee levels decreased for 34% of managers and increased for 7% of managers.
  • 51% of managers reported an increase in the level of regulatory oversight.

“The topics of conversation of asset managers are also changing, to reflect changes in client expectations as well as those of their colleagues and broader society. These are increasingly linked to purpose and culture; inclusion and diversity; and environmental, social and governance – and are taking place at the highest levels of these organizations,” said Marisa Hall, co-head of the Thinking Ahead Institute.

The world’s largest money managers
Ranked by total AuM, in U.S. millions, as of Dec. 31, 2019

RankFund MarketTotal assets
2Vanguard GroupU.S. $6,151,920
3State Street GlobalU.S.$3,116,424
4Fidelity InvestmentsU.S. $3,043,134
5Allianz GroupGermany$2,539,842
6J.P. Morgan ChaseU.S.$2,364,000
7Capital GroupU.S.$2,056,991
8BNY MellonU.S.$1,910,000
9Goldman Sachs GroupU.S. $1,859,000
10AmundiFrance $1,617,280
11Legal & General GroupU.K. $1,568,891
12Prudential FinancialU.S.$1,550,982
14BNP ParibasFrance$1,257,603
15Northern TrustU.S.$1,231,300
16InvescoU.S. $1,226,173
17T. Rowe PriceU.S.$1,206,800
18Wellington Mgmt.Canada$1,154,735
19Morgan StanleyU.S.$1,131,824
20Wells FargoU.S.$1,091,100

Forward-Looking Statement

The information included in this presentation is intended for general educational purposes only and does not take into consideration individual circumstances. Such information should not be relied upon without further review with your Willis Towers Watson consultant. The views expressed herein are as of the date given. Material developments may occur subsequent to this presentation rendering it incomplete and inaccurate. Willis Towers Watson assumes no obligation to advise you of any such developments or to update the presentation to reflect such developments. The information included in this presentation is not based on the particular investment situation or requirements of any specific trust, plan, fiduciary, plan participant or beneficiary, endowment, or any other fund; any examples or illustrations used in this presentation are hypothetical. As such, this presentation should not be relied upon for investment or other financial decisions, and no such decisions should be taken on the basis of its contents without seeking specific advice. Willis Towers Watson does not intend for anything in this presentation to constitute “investment advice” within the meaning of 29 C.F.R. § 2510.3-21 to any employee benefit plan subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and/or section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code.

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About the Thinking Ahead Institute
The Thinking Ahead Institute was established in January 2015 and is a global not-for-profit investment research and innovation member group made up of engaged institutional asset owners and service providers committed to changing and improving the investment industry for the benefit of the end saver. It has 45 members around the world and is an outgrowth of Willis Towers Watson Investments’ Thinking Ahead Group, which was set up in 2002.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at

Media contact

Ed Emerman: +1 609 240 2766

*Excludes U.S.-based asset managers