INVESTMENT BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Asia's asset management scene takes off as AUM hits $8.1t in 2017

The region outperformed Europe and North America in AUM growth.

Western wealth hubs fail to match the stellar growth of Asia-Pacific’s asset management scene after the region’s assets under management (AUM) surged 17% to $8.1t in 2017, according to Willis Towers Watson.

Also read: Singapore and Hong Kong lead Asia's asset management charge

The region’s strong AUM showing has even outgrew that of Europe and North America where assets rose at a slower clip or by 15.8% and 15.1% respectively.

“Asia, ex-Japan, equities experienced the best performance over 2017. The strong equity returns helped boost the growth in managers’ AuM with a higher exposure to Asia,” Jayne Bok, head of investments Asia Pacific at WTW said in a statement.

Japan accounts for the lion’s share of assets managed by firms domiciled in APAC. With $4.5t in assets, Japan’s lead is assured in the short-term as its AUM is over three times that of second largest APAC asset manager Australia which holds $1.3t.

The country’s Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings is the top Asian asset management firm with $791,467 in assets followed by Nippon Life Insurance, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Asset Management One and Nomura Asset Mgmt. which all hold a place in the top 60.

Japan also holds up well against the rest of the world after accounting for 4.8% of global assets.

Chinese asset managers are also making a name for themselves with a combined AUM of $1.1t in 2017 with China Asset Mgmt. and Harvest Fund Mgmt. making it to the top 115. South Korea’s Samsung Group, Mirae Asset Financial Group and Hanwha Group also nabbed a spot in the top 160.

India, Hong Kong and Malaysia are also steadily making their mark in the region’s asset management scene.

Also read: Hong Kong's asset and wealth management business hit $24.27t in 2017

On a global scale, North America-based managers continue to account for the lion’s share of global AUM at 58.1% with BlackRock holding on to the top spot for the ninth straight year followed by Vanguard and State Street Global. European managers follow closely after accounting for 31.8% of global assets, with the UK holding 7.4%.

“There is a confluence of global megatrends – including technological, demographic, economic, environmental and social pressures – that are combining to create a period of potentially massive disruption for the industry. These trends have implications for every aspect of the asset manager’s structure. Successfully responding to these realities may prove to be as much a test of character and culture as it is a test of traditional business and investment skills,” added Jayne.

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