When it comes to winning new clients, the best are only getting better.
Market share of what Morgan Stanley calls “US active equities” for the top three asset management firms increased from 18% in 2010 to 35% in 2016, according to a note from the firm sent out to clients on Thursday.
This comes at the worst possible time for smaller firms as Morgan Stanley is projecting asset management fees will fall between 10-15% over the next three to five years, which would in turn squeeze profit margins.
Those two factors together make having a solid client base vital for firms to weather a potential industry shakeup over the next few years.
“We see a wave of consolidation approaching, hence owning the client relationship becomes key to extracting value and winning,” writes Morgan Stanley equity analyst Michael Cyprys.
But even above-average performance from smaller firms isn’t helping them win new clients. Janus Capital Group, Inc — now Janus Henderson Investors after a merger with Henderson Group plc — has an equity fund, the Janus Growth and Income fund, which has been losing investors since 2007 despite finishing in the top 20% of Lipper performance rankings.
“This is yet another datapoint showing that strong and improving performance is no longer enough,” writes Cyprys. “Our hypothesis is that investors chase expectations of future performance as opposed to historical returns.”