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10 years on from Lehman: seven trends that have shaped the industry

What has changed in pensions and institutional asset management since the collapse of Lehman Brothers? 

Pension fund assets

IPE's Top 1000 Pension Funds, 2008 to 2018

IPE’s Top 1000 Pension Funds assets under management, 2008 to 2018; Source: IPE

1. Sovereign pension fund asset growth: Norway’s giant Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) has been the biggest success of the past decade in sheer asset growth terms, having increased in size by more than 250%. This is despite the oil price falling dramatically during 2014 and 2015 (the GPFG is primarily funded by oil revenues). Fellow Norwegian investor KLP – which runs local government pensions – has nearly trebled in size, helped in part by the withdrawal of a number of public sector providers in 2013 and 2014.

2. Dutch occupational pensions consolidate: The dominant Dutch duo of ABP and PFZW have roughly doubled in size as the Netherlands has pushed on with its consolidation efforts. They have been joined in the top 10 by one of the Netherlands’ two metal industry schemes, PMT.

3. PIIGS: In contrast, Spain’s social security fund – the fifth biggest in Europe in 2008 although in reality simply a silo for government debt – has collapsed from €56.3bn to just €8.1bn at the end of 2017 as the country’s government drew down on its reserves. This has cast doubt on Spain’s ability to sustain its state pension system. Ireland also drew down on is National Pensions Reserve fund in the aftermath of the financial crash, converting it into the domestically focused Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, which now manages over €19bn.

4. British DB schemes cashflow negative: The UK’s Coal Pension Trustees , which runs two industry-wide schemes, has also dropped out of the top 10: it ranked 53rd in this year’s Top 1000 with €24.5bn in assets, compared to €33.7bn a decade ago. The pension funds have both been cashflow negative for some time owing to their particular demographics.

IPE’s Top 1000 Pension Funds in 2008:

Rank Fund/entityAUM (€m)Country
1Norway Government Pension Fund Global242,100Norway
2ABP205,000Netherlands
3PFZW88,200Netherlands
4Arbejdsmarkedets Tillaegspension56,282Denmark
5Reserva de la Seguridad Social55,900Spain
6BT Group53,955UK
7Alecta42,686Sweden
8Bayerische Versorgungskammer40,198Germany
9Universities Superannuation Scheme36,023UK
10Coal Pension Trustees33,708UK
 Top 10 total 854,052  

IPE’s Top 1000 Pension Funds in 2018:

Rank Fund/entityAUM (€m)Country
1Norway Government Pension Fund Global862,161Norway
2ABP404,029Netherlands
3PFZW196,512Netherlands
4Arbejdsmarkedets Tillaegspension103,215Denmark
5Bayerische Versorgungskammer87,000Germany
6Alecta84,315Sweden
7PFA80,075Denmark
8Universities Superannuation Scheme73,279UK
9PMT71,586Netherlands
10KLP66,226Norway
 Top 10 total 2,028,398  

Europe’s top asset managers

IPE's Top 400 Asset Managers, 2008 to 2018

Source: IPE

IPE’s Top 400 Asset Managers assets under management, 2008 to 2018

The asset management industry has seen dramatic changes since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with Europe’s biggest institutional providers in particular changed by problems suffered by investment banks.

Reporters outside Lehman Brothers' New York headquarters on 15 September 2008

Credit: Robert Scoble

Reporters outside Lehman Brothers’ New York headquarters on 15 September 2008

5. Post crisis M&A: The investment arms of Credit Agricole, Société Générale and Barclays all featured in 2008’s top 10. These entities no longer exist after their parent companies were forced to restructure their businesses amid the banking sector problems.

Credit Agricole Asset Management combined with Société Générale Asset Management to create Amundi in 2010. Aided by subsequent major acquisitions, Amundi has since established itself as one of the biggest investment houses in the world, running €1.4trn at the end of 2017.

Lehman Brothers’ asset management arm was sold to its management as part of the bankruptcy proceedings – a move that has paid off, with Neuberger Berman (as it is now known) running €245.8bn.

Meanwhile, BlackRock – which was just outside the top 10 in 2008 – catapulted itself to the top of the European institutional market in 2009 with the purchase of Barclays Global Investors.

Mega-mergers are still a significant feature of the fund management sector: Last year’s deal between Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life brought the combined business into Europe’s top 10, while Janus and Henderson also sealed their merger last year to create a €308.8bn company. 

6. The rise of LDI: Other factors have helped shape some businesses. UK-based Insight Investment – ranked 20th in 2008 – has specialised in fixed income and liability-driven investment (LDI) at a time when defined benefit schemes have been closing in large numbers, helping the asset manager to increase its asset base more than sevenfold.

Legal & General Investment Management also benefitted from the shift to LDI, but has also seen huge growth in its defined contribution services – its master trust has more than €5.6bn under management – and its real assets business.

7. Dutch pension funds compete for business: APG joined IPE’s Top 400 in 2009 when ABP spun off its asset management arm for regulatory reasons and embarked on a new strategy to take on external business. It would have ranked 6th in 2008 had it been eligible for inclusion. As a standalone asset management entity, PGGM is now also a significant player, with over €200bn in client assets, according to IPE’s most recent Dutch institional asset management survey.

IPE’s Top 400 Asset Managers in 2008 – the top 10 managers of European institutional assets

 CompanyAUM (€m)
1Natixis Global Asset Management344,576
2Credit Agricole Asset Management343,634
3Barclays Global Investors325,190
4Legal & General Investment Management298,509
5State Street Global Advisors260,104
6M&G Investment Management195,301
7SocGen Asset Management153,078
8Allianz Global Investors148,139
9UBS Global Asset Management141,861
10AXA Investment Managers130,216
 Top 10 total 2,340,608

IPE’s Top 400 Asset Managers in 2018 – the top 10 managers of European institutional assets

 CompanyAUM (€m)
1BlackRock946,393
2Legal & General Investment Management807,775
3Insight Investment588,784
4APG473,654
5Amundi384,135
6Aberdeen Standard Investments304,720
7State Street Global Advisors287,544
8DWS241,051
9PIMCO240,691
10Goldman Sachs Asset Management210,728
 Top 10 total 4,485,475

Plus, in this month’s issue of IPE, we look back at lessons learned since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and ahead to future stresses with a particular focus on asset management regulation.

We also speak to economists and politicians about their experiences and views of the longer-term impacts of the events of 2007-09, including the credit crunch, the banking crisis and the market crash.

See also IPE’s latest Top 400 Asset Managers report, and the Top 1000 Pension Funds report.

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  • IPE's Top 400 Asset Managers, 2008 to 2018

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