New rankings of mutual fund managers released

Active asset managers abound in list of weakest performers in 2017

New rankings of mutual fund managers released
A new ranking of mutual-fund managers has put Goldman Sachs and Franklin Templeton at the top — of last year’s worst performers.

According to figures furnished by Morningstar to the Financial Times, investors snatched back nearly US$22.7 billion in assets from Goldman’s fund arm from January until the end of November. Franklin Templeton, meanwhile, was punished with US$21.6 billion of redemptions.

Based on the data from Morningstar — which included open-ended funds globally, and included money-market funds —big-name stock-pickers and bond-pickers like Standard Life Aberdeen, Harbor Funds, and Columbia Threadneedle made up the bulk of the worst-selling fund manager rankings.

At the other side of the spectrum were passive-fund titans Vanguard and BlackRock, which soaked up US$223 billion and US$139 billion, respectively.

The latest figures mirror investors’ ongoing disillusionment with high fees and lacklustre performance from active funds. The influx into passive funds, coupled with rising stock markets, has reportedly allowed passive funds to grow 4.5 times faster than the active space.

Morningstar’s numbers showed net outflows for more than 110 Goldman Sachs mutual funds, with the largest withdrawals suffered by its money-market funds and a small number of its fixed-income products. Goldman questioned the inclusion of money-market funds, arguing that they are short-term investment vehicles used by clients as an alternative to cash.

“This analysis is flawed and the outcome is misleading for us and our peers,” the firm told the Times, noting that it had inflows across all asset classes and regions in long-term fee-based funds.

“Let’s be clear, the asset management industry is under huge pressure right across the board,” said Standard Life Aberdeen co-CEO Martin Gilbert, whose company endured redemptions of nearly US$13.7 billion. “We’re heading in the right direction, but it’s tough.”

Some active managers, however, did well. Among them was Pimco, which staged a comeback as investors fed US$92 billion into its mutual funds over the first 11 months of 2017. European fund giant Amundi and JPMorgan Asset Management also did well, gathering US$60 billion and US$38 billion, respectively.

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