BlackRock and JPMorgan Asset Management continued to lead the annual ranking of the best-performing third-party asset management brands in Asia-Pacific.
Now in its 12th year, the Fund Brand 50 (FB50) study, conducted annually by Broadridge Financial Solutions, measures and ranks asset managers’ relative brand attractiveness based on fund selector perceptions, taking into account 10 brand attributes to reveal the top global and regional brands in Europe, the United States and Asia-Pacific.
These attributes are: appealing investment strategy, client-oriented thinking, expert in what they do, innovation/adaptation to market change, solidity, stability of investment management team, key international player, keeping best informed, social responsibility/sustainability, and local knowledge.
In Asia-Pacific, there was no change among the top-five brands as global industry giants in terms of both assets under management and operational scale continued to dominate – although there was some movement in the top 10.
“APAC fund selectors adopted a risk-off stance, displaying a preference for global brands with proven track records, appealing investment strategies and low-risk products with regular income components,” says Evonne Gan, engagement manager, asset management advisory, at Broadridge. “Solidity was more important to fund selectors in APAC than in other regions, as buyers looked to consolidate business among firms with whom they have an existing relationship.”
The lack of movement at the top of the leaderboard belies turbulent underlying market conditions, Broadridge says. Global and local managers had to navigate a more challenging fund landscape across the region and fund selectors became more cautious as a result.
The uncertain climate also saw fund buyers placing a premium on expertise. There was demonstrable appetite for high-quality analysis examining the impact of economic and geopolitical uncertainties on markets. Firms that had expert teams in place to provide this analysis, particularly on a tailored basis, found themselves at a significant competitive advantage, according to FB50.
This preference for safe products was borne out as APAC fund selectors chose “appealing investment strategy” as the most important brand attribute in 2022. Clients placed their trust in low-risk products and showed a preference for fund products with regular income components.
Investors are more inclined to temper their return expectations in an uncertain market, but fund performance is key, relegating softer factors to secondary concerns.
Despite geopolitical uncertainty, China remains APAC’s most coveted market. Global managers are either already increasing their retail exposure, or actively looking to do so.
Asset-gathering in China is highly competitive and remains largely dominated by local firms, the study finds. However, increasingly cautious Chinese fund selectors are beginning to favour larger global firms due to their more comprehensive product offerings, strong global brand recognition and client service capabilities.