In North America, Europe, and the UK, a total of $282B of active manager hiring activity was reported in the calendar year 2021 based on data submitted to the Investment Metrics Global Database (as of January 24, 2022). The asset class breakdown is as follows; active equity managers saw $135B of inflows, active fixed income managers gained $124B, active multi-asset managers had $22B come in, and active REIT managers gained $736M. For comparison purposes, this is a decrease of 14% from the calendar year 2020, which saw $330B in total active manager hiring. However, this isn’t surprising: in March 2020, when SARS-CoV-2 spread to Europe and North America, causing global and social economic disruption, many institutional investors rebalanced their portfolios to be much more defensive, which lead to increased activity. We will examine the North American active manager hiring activity, the European and UK active manager hiring activity, as well as those top asset managers who won assets across equity and fixed income in each of these countries.
In North America for Q4 2021 the total active manager hiring activity was $46B, this compares to a Q4 2020 figure of $79B. For the calendar year 2021 the total assets gained was $245B, this figure is down 11% compared to 2020. Not surprisingly, the US fixed income hiring activity was down 57% in 2021 compared to 2020. Active US fixed income managers, mainly US Broad Core and US Broad Core Plus fixed income portfolios, saw substantial activity once the pandemic started, and ended 2020 with $162B of inflows. Active equity managers saw an increase across the board compared to 2020. Global large-cap equity flows were up 37% ($21B in 2021), US large-cap equity was up 27% ($58B in 2021), and non-US large-cap equity was up 13% ($26B in 2021) compared to their 2020 figures. Furthermore, there was an upswing for active global multi-asset portfolios with $20B of inflows.
In Europe and the UK for Q4 2021 the total active manager hiring activity was $5B – this compares to a 2020 figure of $22B. For the calendar year 2021 the total assets gained was $37B – down 33% compared to the 2020 figure of $55B. Similar to what we saw in the North American market, fixed income hiring activity is down considerably when comparing the last two calendar years. The main difference between the two geographic markets was in active equity. In the European and UK markets, the equity assets gained figures were down, with the exception being emerging markets equity. Additionally, active emerging markets debt portfolios saw $4.7B of inflows in 2021. European and UK investors had a clear focus on emerging markets in 2021.
Below you can find the top ten equity asset gatherers in the US, Canada, Europe, and the UK. Within the US, Florida based Polen Capital was the clear winner taking in over $14B in their Focus Growth strategy. Another Florida based manager, GQG Partners, was the top asset gatherer in Canada seeing $1.6B of inflows for their Concentrated Global Equity strategy. In Europe, Laguna Beach, California based WCM Investment Management took in $1.1B from investors for their Quality Global Growth strategy. Additionally, Vontobel’s Quality Growth US strategy took in $1.1B from European investors. Finally, in the UK, Magellan’s Global Plus strategy saw $704M of inflows.
Below you can find the top ten fixed income asset gatherers in the US, Canada, Europe, and the UK. In the US, Prudential’s Core Plus portfolio saw $7.6B of inflows from investors. Macquarie Investment Management also took in $5.2B in the US for their US High Yield strategy. In Europe, PIMCO’s Emerging Markets Debt portfolio saw inflows of $1.7B and Franklin Templeton’s Emerging Markets Debt Opportunities strategy gained $1B from investors. Finally, in the UK, Western Asset Management took in $1B for their Global Aggregate portfolio and PIMCO saw $1B come in for their Investment Grade Credit portfolio.
Even though the 2021 total active manager hiring activity is down compared to 2020, there was still an ample amount of hiring activity. The “risk-on” attitude was clearly evident for US domiciled investors in 2021, based on the year-over-year increase in assets gained across equities. Also, the focus on emerging markets by European and UK domiciled investors came through based on their hiring activity. 2022 will be yet another an interesting year to see how investors put their money to work given investors’ nervousness surrounding inflation and the likely rise in the Fed Funds rate.
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