UK asset management group, Schroders, saw assets under management fall from £142.6bn (€223.2bn) in 1999 to £132.5bn in 2000, according to preliminary results. The fall is attributed to adverse market movements of £5.9bn mainly in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, which account for 24% of Schroders’ assets under management, and a net outflow of mainly institutional business of £4.2bn.

There were improvements in investment performance levels across the main institutional specialist products which make up 75% of assets under management, says the group. “Our relative investment performance improved significantly in 2000 by comparison with 1998 and 1999.”

Strong performances were mainly recorded in the UK, Continental Europe, Asia Pacific equities and core bond products. UK based balanced funds performed better than industry medians, says Schroders.

The group reports a “significant rise in institutional asset flows” in Continental Europe, where it now has a presence in 12 countries. New retail business in Continental Europe exceeded £1.5bn whilst net funds under management grew 80% to £3.3bn.Schroders now has over 250 distribution partnerships in Europe with banks, insurance companies and intermediaries.

North American clients also saw excellent investment performances, particularly in international mandates from Europe, Australasia and the Far East. This should lead to further growth.

Other developments include the purchase of Liberty Pensions, which under the new name Schroder Pensions, gives Schroders the opportunity to establish itself as a major player in UK defined contribution pension schemes. Regulatory approval has been granted and a fully online pensions administration service is expected during 2001.

A series of hedge funds were launched last autumn as a result of clients’ greater interest in alternative products. Private equity funds of funds are due to be launched in the spring of this year.

The group says that if its investment performance continues to improve it hopes to “re-establish our path of growth in funds under management by the end of 2001.”