GLOBAL - Total assets managed by the world's largest 500 fund managers grew to $53.6trn (€41.8trn) in 2005, consulting firm Watson Wyatt reports.

After a growth of 22% in 2003 and another 13% in 2004, numbers only rose by 10% in 2005.

"The survey shows that passive assets grew by 10%, in line with aggregate growth, indicating that funds did not ad much to their passive core during the year", Paul Trickett, European head at Watson Wyatt said.

The research also shows that "those firms with a higher proportion of equities fared better than those with more in bonds". Furthermore, smaller, niche managers are growing their assets faster at the expenses of larger managers, continuing a trend which began in 2003. Over the past five years the market also favoured ‘value' over ‘growth' managers.  

Top 20 fund managers now have $20trn under management ($18.2trn in 2004), representing 37% of total assets. Half of the top 20 managers are European based, managing 57% of the assets (up from 52% in 2004).

Legg Mason accounted for the most significant change in the ranking set up in conjunction with US Pensions & Investments magazine. After having acquired Citigroup Asset Management Legg Mason moved up to 11 from 37. Credit Agricole and HSBC both moved into the top 20 for the first time.

UBS remained the top manager for the sixth year running passing the $2trn mark ($1.97trn in 2005). Barclays Global Investors overtook Allianz to take the second place. IXIS, Prudential and Merrill Lynch dropped out of the top 20.