Dolphinvest Global Asset Managers Barometer
Still on the upswing
In the middle of 2019 we were convinced that “after the crisis year 2018 the asset management industry is on the upswing again. Since the beginning of the year our global barometer shows positive ratings which points towards a more optimistic mood in the capital market regarding the outlook for the asset management industry. Additionally, listed asset managers as a group have been able to outperform the broad equity market since the beginning of this year. We refrain from gloomy predictions.“ We continue having this view.
The stocks of listed asset managers developed worldwide positively year-to-date, even though there have been regional differences. The strongest impetus for our industry barometer in 2019 came from the North American asset management company segment which had been rather weak in recent years. The Australian industry continued to suffer from the fee scandal which has kept Australian asset managers under public fire for some while now.
However, the group of European asset management stocks was mixed and has moved sideways since the second quarter: Q3 2019 offered the whole range from “top stocks” like Azimuth with a plus of 45 % to “flop stocks” like GAM with a minus of almost 45 %, with the latter being under water due to a public compliance scandal. Speculations about possible company takeovers in the case of DWS and GAM have not materialized so far, and corresponding media coverage was short-lived.
Prices in relation to sales, earnings and cash flow increased in the course of the year compared with the second half of 2018, but without reaching the peak levels at the beginning of last year. After a brief upswing in H2 2019, the price/book value ratio even fell slightly compared with 2018.
On this background, we interpret the "multiple expansion" as not excessive. We regard the development of the three-year returns of the asset management stocks, which are currently at the level of historical average yields of the broad equity market, as healthy (source: Euroswitch, Morningstar, as at 30 September 2019).
Despite the positive mood in the asset management industry, a final warning should not be missing. The grey clouds on the stock market, caused by a gloomy outlook for the global economy, will also have a strong impact on the prices of listed asset managers. The majority of asset manager stocks has a high beta in excess of 1 over short and longer periods - including market capitalisation heavyweights such as Blackrock and Blackstone. A correction on the stock markets may therefore prove to be an opportunity to buy stocks, especially asset management stocks, but will also result in increased M&A activities in the asset management industry. The current year has so far been characterised by a focus on smaller deals: With roughly the same number of M&A transactions in the industry worldwide, around three times as many assets under management (namely USD 15 billion) were sold per transaction in 2018 as in 2019 (USD 5 billion) (as of the end of August, source: Sandler O'Neill).
Frankfurt, 24 October 2019
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Disclaimer: The "Dolphinvest Global Asset Managers Barometer" serves information purposes only. The data, comments and analysis reflect the opinion of Michael Klimek, Managing Partner at Dolphinvest, related to the markets and their trends on the basis of his own expertise, economic analysis and information currently known to him. They shall not under any circumstances be constructed as comprising any sort of offer. All potential investors should consult their service provider or advisor and exercise their own judgement independently on the risks inherent to each investment and its suitability to their own personal and financial circumstances.
What is the Dolphinvest Global Asset Managers Barometer?
Regularly we publish the “Dolphinvest Global Asset Managers Barometer“. This barometer is a tool for us to analyse the current situation of the asset management industry and to illustrate the view of international investors on the industry. For this reason, the “Dolphinvest Global Asset Managers Barometers’” publication is by no means a buy or sell recommendation.
The barometer displays the performance of more than 70 listed asset management companies in EUR. For inclusion in the barometer, it is a mandatory requirement that a minimum of 75% of the overall revenue of a company is derived from asset management fees. Banks and insurance companies that have major asset management entities will, therefore, normally not be included in the index. The barometer represents all continents.
The transparency of listed asset management companies enables us to consolidate relevant information on the individual asset management companies included in the barometer into generally valid statements and to take them into account in our consulting work. Depending on the mandate, we divide the universe of constituents of the “Dolphinvest Global Asset Managers Barometer“ into groups of similar companies against which we then benchmark our clients.
For a more detailed analysis and an interpretation of the findings, please contact:
Phone: +49 69 33 99 78 - 14