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Covid-19 Expected to Shrink Asset Management Industry by Almost $2 Trillion

The decline in global assets under management ends more than a decade of growth for money managers, according to Cerulli Associates.

Markets may have bounced back quickly from March’s Covid-19 crash, but the asset management industry will not escape 2020 unscathed.

Global industry assets under management are expected to decline by $1.7 trillion this year, according to Cerulli Associates. The Boston-based research firm projected that industry assets would fall to $102.7 trillion from $104.4 trillion in 2019 — ending more than a decade of growth for money managers.

According to Justina Deveikyte, associate director of Cerulli’s European institutional practice, this global decline will be primarily driven by shrinking assets under management in the U.S. and Europe.

“Covid-19 and the associated economic crisis will have a substantial impact on the global asset management industry,” she said in an emailed statement. “However, moving beyond 2020, we expect the global asset management industry to recover and grow, fueled by increasing demand in developing countries (particularly Asia).”

By 2024, she added, Cerulli believes global industry assets will hit $130 trillion, up from $90 trillion at the end of 2018.

Still, Cerulli said that mutual fund investors will likely be more conservative in the wake of pandemic, and that money market funds could gain market share amid lower interest rates.

“Investors may not feel that the yields on bond funds are compelling enough to move them away from the safety and stability of money market vehicles,” the firm said in statement.

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According to Cerulli’s projections, money market assets could grow to 15 percent of industry assets by 2024, up from 12.1 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, the share of assets invested in equities was projected to fall from nearly 43 percent in 2019 to 38 percent in 2024.

In the short-term, Cerulli managing director André Schnurrenberger warned of a potential “flight to cash” amid the economic uncertainty brought by the pandemic.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the global economy in the second half of 2020 and beyond, asset managers will need to find ways to keep investors in their products,” he said in a statement.

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