UK-based asset managers are determined to grow their influence on the global stage despite the challenges posed by Brexit.

The Investment Association (IA), which represents the UK’s £7.7trn (€8.8trn) asset management industry, this week issued a statement declaring its intention to double this figure in the next 10 years.

It follows the association’s work with the UK government regarding the future approach to financial services and asset management, as well as recent agreements between UK and European regulators to ensure markets keep functioning when the UK exits the EU at the end of next month.

The IA said it had set an “ambitious” target of £15trn under management for its members, which include UK-headquartered companies as well as overseas asset managers with a UK presence.

The target was “part of a plan to enhance the UK’s competitiveness and reputation as a global hub for asset management” and become a “world class economic forum for investment management to attract the world’s most significant investors”, the IA said.

The £7.7trn figure includes roughly £3.4trn run on behalf of pension funds (see above chart) – although the approximately £1.2trn run for insurance clients includes a growing element of defined contribution assets.

The UK is already Europe’s biggest asset management market. According to IPE’s annual Top 400 Asset Managers survey (below), the UK’s €4.8trn edges out France’s €4.6trn of assets under management. 

(Note: IPE’s data refers to institutional assets run by UK-based managers, while the IA’s figures refer to money run for institutional and retail clients anywhere in the world by UK-based firms.)

The picture is rather different when looking at the legal domicile of assets, according to the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA). The below chart illustrates the amount of money in UCITS and AIF fund structures, and shows the dominance of Luxembourg and Ireland as the destinations of choice for cross-border assets.

The plan

Chris Cummings, chief executive of the IA, said: “Asset management has gone from strength to strength over the last decade, with a total of £7.7trn managed by the IA’s 250 members and more than 100,000 jobs supported across the sector.

“Our ambition to double the assets under management to £15trn reflects our belief that by putting innovation, resilience and openness at the heart of our industry we can continue to deliver for savers and investors who trust us with their money.”

The association has set out a number of specific areas of focus to help achieve its goal.

It wants government and regulators to help it prioritise legal, fiscal and regulatory measures “to ensure that the market is demonstrably competitive” on an international stage, including “joined-up policies” in education and immigration to attract and nurture skilled people.

On financial technology, the IA said it would set up a project this year within the UK treasury’s asset management task force to focus on fintech strategy. It also called for the creation of an “electronic ID or digital identity system” to be used internationally to ensure transactions were secure.

The asset management industry should also “develop a distinctive range of fund types, making provision for alternative and long-term investment products to satisfy future client requirements at home and abroad”, the IA said.

Finally, the association emphasised its desire to become a “global leader” on corporate governance and stewardship issues.