This long awaited survey contains several key findings, amongst them are three that I find most interesting:
- Institutional AuM maintained double-digit growth at 14%, but down from 20% in 2005, while retail growth fell back from 14% in 2005 to 8% in 2006. Alternative assets continue to attract high inflows (net inflows in retail stood at 7% of assets and an impressive 20% in institutional), and as in 2005 retail investors are substituting classic asset management products with other types of investments, notably exchange-traded funds (ETFs), unit-linked products, retail certificates and liquidity accounts.
- Scandinavia and France experienced double-digit growth in profitability, while Germany, the UK and Benelux also improved their profitability but remain below the European average. The UK continued to be the least profitable market owing to its high share of institutional business.
- Comparing cost levels between countries, the UK, Germany, Benelux and Switzerland had cost levels above 20bp – above the European average of 18.9bp. Germany however is still taking cost containment measures, with an attendant decline in operating costs. As in previous years, Spain, Portugal and Italy had the lowest costs, followed by Scandinavia where cost margins actually fell by 5% to 14.4bp. Fund management costs were high in Switzerland and France (7.4bp and 7.2bp respectively), only topped by the UK with 10.4bp.