The world's top wealth managers continued to see strong growth in their assets under management during the first half of 2005, according to a new report.
The half-yearly update of the Private Banking Benchmark from Scorpio Partnership, which examines the top 25 wealth management firms globally, reported that assets under management by this group of organisations increased by an average of 7.29 per cent in base currency terms -- almost equalling the 7.59 per cent average performance for the 58 organisations covered in the 2004 full-year Private Banking Benchmark.
Many banks ascribe their increases in assets under management to strength in the equity markets, with net new money playing a secondary role. But in fact, these substantial gains in assets under management have been achieved in an environment where the equity markets have performed nowhere near as well as in 2004.
In part, this pattern will be due to currency movements, but an increase in net new money was also a common theme in the reporting group. Other factors are likely to include growing M&A activity as well as wealth management strategies that increasingly have had a focus on investment alpha. A notable trend for the 2005 half-year is the ascendancy of the larger Swiss banks. Four of the top five largest gainers in terms of base currency increases in assets under management are Swiss, suggesting that Swiss private banking continues to have a strong position on the international stage.
Indeed, a strong correlation has emerged for the top 10 movers between global expansion initiatives and strong gains in assets under management According to Sebastian Dovey, managing partner of Scorpio Partnership: "The increasing affluence in the Far East as well as in a number of developing markets is underlining the advantages enjoyed by wealth management players with an effective global reach. This will become an increasing pre-requisite for sustainable asset gathering in this industry."
Background notes: Scorpio Partnership, a strategy consultancy for the wealth management industry, was founded in 1998. The company is based in London and has now served over 100 institutions as well as private high-net-worth clients and families on matters relating to private banking, family offices and related service industries. These clients are based in Europe, the Far East, the Middle East and North America.
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