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Report Assesses Industry Threats, Opportunities for Profitability

A data-rich report by PwC reviewed the landscape for the asset management industry and came to some now-familiar conclusions. Based on the firms surveyed: fees are spiraling; passive is dominating active; and technology and consolidation threaten the existence of smaller and mid-size firms. “Challenges lie ahead, but there are also extraordinary opportunities for talented, focused strategic managers to thrive,” the report said. According to PwC’s analysis, operating margins have returned to pre-financial crisis levels and assets under management continue to rise. However, falling fees threaten future profitability. Other reports have shown that the average basis point charged in advisory fees declined almost 20% over the last ten years, and profit margins have remained relatively flat. PwC sees opportunity for asset management firms, however. Among several forward-looking themes, it urged fund managers to focus on areas such as new fee models, ESG investing, and using emerging technology to provide superior client service to remain competitive.

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