In spite of the UK’s small size, the investment industry in the country is one of the largest, spanning multiple asset classes and types of investor, with the Investment Association (IA) recording funds under management of £1.1trn as of March 31 2017.
With so much money invested in funds and trusts, individual performance is just as important as the strength and consistency of the fund house that sits behind the managers and investment portfolios.
The IA ranks 86 companies by retail funds under management in the UK. And with so much choice for investors, the fact that 14 of the 15 firms in the Investment Adviser 100 Club have made more than one appearance in the past five years highlights the levels of consistency required by investors.
With the FCA’s Asset Management Study still being digested by the industry, the key issues of transparency and costs look set to remain high on the agenda, and the response to the report could see more changes within the investment space.
The past couple of years has already seen a number of mergers within the asset management sector, including the Henderson/Janus tie-up announced last year, and the more recent Standard Life and Aberdeen deal that will see the overall company called Standard Life Aberdeen, but the investment arm renamed Aberdeen Standard Life Investments. While this could shake up future category members, the 15 groups that made the 100 Club in 2016 appear to have navigated the unruly markets with aplomb.
Interestingly, in two groups it was the new faces that were the overall winners. BlackRock triumphed in the large investment group category on its first appearance, having featured in the Passive Investment Group for four of the past five years.
The fund house describes itself as a “global leader” in investment management. According to IA statistics it is the second-largest company by UK retail funds under management, behind M&G, with £49.3bn as of December 31 2016.
Alongside the large group title, BlackRock also has members in the European Equity and Specialist Sectors and Assets categories, with its Frontiers investment trust winning the latter group.
But while it was once again listed in the Passive Investment Group, it was relative newcomer SPDR that took the title against other market stalwarts including Vanguard, Fidelity and iShares, suggesting that performance and consistency can count for more than name recognition.
The only new entrant to the 100 Club group category is better known in the US, where the SPDR ETFs – offered by State Street Global Advisors – have been around since 1993. The company continues to strengthen and grow its team, including the appointment of two newly created roles within its global SPDR business in May. The firm appointed Noel Archard as head of global SPDR products, while Seth Morrison took on the role of head of global SPDR marketing, with both based in the US.
Rory Tobin, co-head of the global SPDR business, explains: “As our business has expanded and matured, so too have the responsibilities of our product and marketing teams. Both Noel and Seth have strong track records of developing ETF products consistent with client and regulatory requirements. We look forward to their leadership as we evolve and grow our global SPDR ETF business.”