Switzerland knocked off asset management podium

Zurich's financial centre no longer has quite the swagger – or money – it once had Keystone

Switzerland has been the biggest loser over the past decade in a list of the world’s 500 largest asset managers. Its share of assets under management held in the listed companies more than halved from 8.6% in 2005 to 4% last year.

This content was published on December 6, 2016 - 18:26 and agencies, and agencies

The United States, on the other hand, has constantly strengthened its position and now manages 52.5% of total global assets, revealed research by Pensions & Investments/Willis Towers WatsonExternal link published on Tuesday. This is up 10.6 percentage points since 2005.

Within a decade, growth in the US at Switzerland’s expense has knocked the Alpine country from third position in 2005 (behind the US and Britain) to seventh in 2015 (behind the US, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Canada).

In the latest ranking, assets managed by the world’s largest 500 asset managers fell in 2015 for the first time since 2011. Total assets under management (AUM) were down 1.7% to $76.7 trillion (CHF77.3 trillion) at the end of 2015, compared with $78.1 trillion the year before.

Eighteen Swiss companies made the top 500, with UBS the highest-placed at 14 thanks to total assets of $1.15 trillion. Other institutions in the top 100 were Credit Suisse (ranked 46), Zurich Insurance Group (68), Swiss Life Asset Managers (85) and Pictet Asset Management (96).

US corporation BlackRock retained its position as the largest asset manager in the ranking for the sixth year, with AUM of $4.65 trillion.

Active vs passive

The research also revealed that actively managed assets, which continue to make up the majority of total assets (78.3%), also fell 2.8% in 2015, while passive assets declined at a faster rate, 5.5% during the year.

Although the top 20 managers experienced a 1% decrease in assets from $32.5 trillion to $32.1 trillion, their share of total assets increased slightly from 41.6% to 41.9%.  

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