The 10 Largest Investment Management Companies Worldwide
What are these giants worth?
When individuals and institutions invest money, they often will do so with the help of an asset management company, which take control of those investments and (hopefully) make money for everyone involved.
An asset management company is involved in investing and managing portfolios of mutual funds and other securities. Some asset management companies are geared toward very wealthy individuals who hand over full control of their investments to portfolio managers.
We'll take a look at some of the largest of these firms, but first, here's what you need to know about how they work.
How Big Asset Management Firms Work
Many asset managers will only deal with large institutions, such as other corporations, big non-profits, or associations. But many of the most recognizable firms will offer services for average investors. In many cases, asset management firms make money by charging fees based on the number of assets they manage, though some will charge flat fees.
These companies often have other business lines other than asset management, including brokerage services. In some cases, asset management makes up a fraction of the company’s revenue. This means that they often partner with each other in various ways, despite being competitors.
For example, one asset management firm may use its online brokerage platform to allow investors to buy and sell the mutual funds of a competing company.
10 Largest Investment Management Companies
Here’s a look at the top asset management companies based on the number of funds (assets under management or AUM) under their control based on their most recently reported balance sheets. You may recognize some of these companies as among the largest financial institutions in the world.
Some companies may have much higher reported “assets under custody” which would include money still managed by clients themselves.
AUM: $6.84 trillion
BlackRock is not just the world’s largest asset manager, but one of the world’s largest financial institutions. The company was founded in 1988 and went public in 1999. The firm has been influential in advancing the growth of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), through its iShares products. iShares now comprise more than a quarter of BlackRock’s assets under management.
2. The Vanguard Group
AUM: $6.2 trillion
Vanguard has become synonymous with the strategy of passive investing, in which money is placed in mutual funds designed to mirror the activity of specific indexes or the broader stock market. Vanguard boasts of low expense ratios for most of its funds. In addition to asset management, Vanguard offers brokerage services, financial planning, annuities, and other services.
3. UBS Group
AUM: $3.26 trillion
UBS Group has four interdependent divisions that operate around the world. The Switzerland-based firm describes itself as the "only true global wealth manager." About $2.3 trillion is tied up in wealth management versus $903 billion in asset management.
4. State Street Global Advisors
AUM: $3.12 trillion
Boston-based State Street is the subsidiary of State Street Corporation. It manages investments for a wide range of institutional clients including non-profits, local governments, associations, and even educational groups.
AUM: $3.2 trillion
Fidelity is an asset manager and a discount broker with more than 27 million customers. It offers an online platform for individual investors to buy and sell securities, and also manages entire portfolios on behalf of clients. In the summer of 2018, it made headlines when it began offering mutual funds with a zero expense ratio and minimum investment requirement.
AUM: $2.36 trillion
This German firm is primarily an insurer but operates two asset management divisions: Allianz Global Advisors and PIMCO. By itself, PIMCO has $1.76 trillion under management, which is good enough to also land it on this list.
7. JPMorgan Chase
AUM: $1.9 trillion
Most people think of J.P. Morgan Chase as an investment bank, but it has a robust asset management business and got $1.3 billion in assets moved from BlackRock as part of a new custody arrangement in 2017.
8. Bank of New York Mellon
AUM: $1.9 trillion
The history of this company dates back to its founder, Alexander Hamilton—perhaps you’ve heard of him. More than 230 years later, BNY Mellon manages investments for individuals and investments in 35 countries.
9. Capital Group
AUM: $1.8 trillion
This Los Angeles-based firm was founded all the way back in 1931, making it one of the oldest in the world. It offers more than 40 mutual funds through American Funds Distributors, which is its subsidiary.
AUM: $1.76 trillion
As mentioned earlier, PIMCO is managed under the same company as Allianz. Although it was acquired by a German company, it is headquartered in California, and it continues to operate as an autonomous subsidiary of Allianz.