Despite selloff, market still draws

Updated: 2015-07-08 11:39

By Paul Welitzkin in New York(China Daily USA)

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Even if China's stock market selloff ends in a sustained correction (defined as a loss of 20 percent of more), the mainland will remain a driver of future growth for the global asset management industry, according to members of The Boston Consulting Group.

"The fundamentals are so strong that China's growth appears to be unstoppable for both retail and institutional assets," Nick Gardiner, a partner and member of the financial institutions practice at Boston Consulting said in New York on Tuesday. He was one of the authors of BCG's Global Asset Management 2015: Sparkling Growth with Go-to-Market Excellence.

China and the rest of Asia represent about a third of the global economy; however, the region's portion of global assets under management (AUM) remains at about 15 percent, the same as in 2007. That is about to change, and a rebalancing of the global asset management industry toward China and Asia is about to occur.

"If managers get one Asia-Pacific market right, it must be China, the region's second largest (behind Japan)," proclaims the Boston Consulting report. The growth in China will be driven by wealth and retirement savings. Gardiner said that means a rising market for wealth advisory services for not only the rich, but also China's emerging middle class.

Boston Consulting defines the Asia-Pacific region as Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. BCG's Helene Donnadieu said asset managers will need to become more local to take more market share in China.

The institutional market in Asia remains strong, driven by increasing demand for asset allocation, portfolio construction, and risk and talent management services, said the report. While public and sovereign asset owners continue to thrive in the region, insurers and pensions funds are becoming emerging sources of new business for money managers.

On a global scale, the asset management industry had a robust 2014, driven by strong equity markets and an increase in wealthy clients. BCG's report said profit in the global asset-management industry rose 7 percent to $102 billion in 2014, matching a historic peak reached in 2007 before the financial crisis.

Profits were buoyed by the increasing market value of professionally managed assets, which hit a record high for the third consecutive year, and by new investment flows unchanged from last year's level.

Globally, assets under management increased 8 percent in 2014 to a record $74 trillion.

Asset managers have found that "you can be as profitable in every region of the globe", said BCG's Brent Beardsley, a senior partner and global leader of the firm's asset and wealth management practice.

He noted that this wasn't always the case when US-based managers fared better than others in previous years.