For asset management companies (AMCs), 2021 was a year of differentiation. The extraordinary volatility of markets has separated the best from the rest.
The AMCs recognized in this year’s The Asset Triple A Sustainable Investing Awards for Institutional Investors, ETFs, and Asset Servicing Providers have a few things in common:
- They have a strong focus on ESG investing (Please see ESG Fund Management and Investors Awards 2022);
- They posted positive growth in assets under management (AUM) while most of their peers recorded either flat or negative results;
- They have well-performing funds with risk-adjusted returns that beat the benchmark; and
- They have strong distribution networks that include online and digital channels.
For The Asset board of editors who reviewed the records of participants in this year’s awards, what is clear is that those who were able to sustain their focus on ESG, in addition to the three other factors mentioned above, are head and shoulders above their peers in the face of challenging market conditions.
While some AMCs managed to continue growing their AUM, others barely managed to maintain their previous year’s levels, or worse, registered declines in AUM. Of the 40 participating AMCs, four suffered drops in AUM levels. One regional firm saw its AUM levels decline in three markets.
The mixed performance of AMCs happened despite the solid overall performance of global markets in 2021, with the major indices posting strong growth despite the impact of Covid-19, concerns over rising inflation, and extreme volatility in most asset classes.
In Asia, performance was mixed with some markets posting low single-digit growth, some with high single-digit growth, and others performing quite strongly.
Fund performance suffered, however. Many funds failed to beat their benchmarks or posted poor risk-adjusted returns. (Please see Fund Management and Investors Awards 2022.
China remained one of the most exciting markets for asset managers. In 2021, the industry continued to grow with the number of products increasing 21.3% y-o-y to 167,961 as of end-2021, according to the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC). The industry posted a 15% growth in AUM to 67.87 trillion yuan (US$10 trillion).
Private funds also gained traction with the number of products registered at AMAC jumping 28% y-o-y to 124,098 during the year. Mutual funds were relatively flat in terms of market growth, and the number of products rose 17%. This year will continue to be a tough year for mutual fund managers, as the number of products decreased from 9,288 as of end-2021 to 6,996 in the first quarter of 2022, down 24%. However, mutual funds still took a major share (37%) of the country’s asset management industry, with AUM of 25 trillion yuan as of Q1 2022.
In Asia’s private equity and real estate sectors, huge amounts of investible cash poured into a relatively limited universe of investible projects. Nevertheless, private debt demonstrated its ability to both generate attractive yields and remain a stable and defensive asset class in the face of widespread market volatility.
It is in this context that we announce the winners of the 2022 Asset Management Company Awards, part of The Asset Triple A Sustainable Investing Awards for Institutional Investors, ETFs, and Asset Servicing Providers.
ASSET MANAGEMENT COMPANY OF THE YEAR
China Asset Management – Mutual Fund
China Asset Management posted double-digit AUM growth during the awards period, leveraging its extensive retail network to keep its leading position in the mutual funds industry. The company continues to be innovative in product design, launching several new products with positive market reaction.
Ping An Asset Management – Insurance
Ping An Asset Management has maintained its position as a leading player in the insurance sector. In 2021, several of its products recorded outstanding performance despite the market volatility.
ICBC Credit Suisse – Pension Fund
ICBC Credit Suisse posted double-digit AUM growth in 2021, and its pension fund business continues to dominate in China. The company is also at the forefront of product and solution innovation, and has recorded a few firsts in the market during the awards period.
Taikang Asset Management – Enterprise Annuity
Taikang Asset Management has shown its strong capability in the pension fund space, recording particularly outstanding business growth in the enterprise annuity space, the highest in China. Its enterprise annuity AUM posted double-digit growth despite the large base.
Zero2IPO FOFs – Private Equity Fund of Funds
A major fund of funds manager in China, Zero2IPO FOFs saw an outstanding IRR return compared with competitors. The sub-funds invested by Zero2IPO FOFs are among the top 5% in the market. During the awards period, it succeeded in investing in projects in hot sectors such as robotics despite the challenging market conditions.
CICC Hong Kong Asset Management – Overall
CICC Hong Kong Asset Management has been expanding its business extensively in the China offshore market in recent years. In 2021, it posted a 78% AUM growth, with some of the best-performing funds posting robust risk-adjusted returns and beating the benchmark.
Fountaincap – Long-only Equity
Fountaincap continues to prove its capabilities as a leading long-only equity fund manager in the China offshore market. In 2021, it posted a record double-digit AUM growth after onboarding new institutional investors and re-upping existing clients.
Axis Asset Management
Axis Asset Management saw its AUM grow 43% to US$35 billion on the back of aggressive development of its online distribution via apps and social media. It has become the seventh largest AMC in India and the second largest among open long-only actively managed equity funds.
Sucor Asset Management
Sucor Asset Management posted a 32% AUM growth to US$1.9 billion despite the flat overall market. Sucor’s funds outperformed the benchmark and the risk-free rates. Its Sharpe ratio and Information ratio are among the best in the Indonesia market. It is also integrating ESG investing into its portfolio allocation.
Nikko Asset Management
Nikko Asset Management grew its AUM by 8.5% to US$203 billion, outperforming the broader market, despite its relatively huge base. Its funds also managed to beat the benchmark and posted strong risk-adjusted returns which paid off for its retail investors, who account for 75% of its business.
Affin Hwang Asset Management
Affin Hwang Asset Management managed to grow its AUM by 11% to US$19 billion in a flat market. It also launched several thematic funds during the awards period and strengthened its ESG investing capabilities.
BDO Trust and Investments Group (Winner)
BDO grew its AUM by 9% to US$24 billion in a down market and gained 0.6% market share. It also launched a new ESG-focused equity fund to beef up its sustainability investing capabilities.
ATR ASSET MANAGEMENT (Highly commended)
ATR Asset Management posted US$3.42 billion in AUM, of which 71% is in equities. Its flagship fund beat the benchmark and risk-free rate. It has continued to beef up its ESG capabilities ahead of its peers.
Cathay Securities Investment Trust
Cathay Securities Investment Trust grew its AUM by 23% to US$35.64 billion and posted well-performing funds that beat the benchmark and with strong risk-adjusted returns. It has an expansive business and product line as well as strong ESG capabilities.
Krungsri Asset Management
Krungsri Asset Management grew its AUM by 11% to US$17 billion during the awards period. Its funds performed well in terms of risk-adjusted return and beating the benchmark. It also launched an ESG-themed fund which was well received by the market.
SSI Asset Management
SSI Asset Management saw its AUM grow 94% to US$571 million while its funds performed relatively well in terms of risk-adjusted return and beating the benchmark.
Barings almost doubled its deployment of private debt to US$13.9 billion in 2021 across over 250 deals in North America, Europe and Asia. It closed on 127 new platforms, executed 125 add-on transactions, invested in companies in 14 countries and seven currencies, and worked with 110 private equity sponsors. It also continued to build on its ESG commitment, structuring an additional 12 ESG forward deals during the year.
EUROPE AND US
Barings Real Estate (BRE) purchased 37 assets worth US$3.4 billion across the US and Europe. One of BRE’s main competitive advantages is its local deal-sourcing capability, which enables the firm to source attractive opportunities both on and off market.
For the complete list of winners please click here