These were SA's top asset managers in 2021

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Ninety One CEO, Hendrik du Toit, leads SA's biggest asset manager.
Ninety One CEO, Hendrik du Toit, leads SA's biggest asset manager.
Gallo/Felix Dlangamandla
  • Ninety One is now SA's largest asset manager, followed by Stanlib and Coronation.
  • Old Mutual Investment Group and Absa Asset Managers fell down the rankings.
  • An Alexforbes survey showed that more assets were allocated to smaller asset managers.

Ninety One unseated the Old Mutual Investment Group (OMIG) as South Africa's largest asset manager. The asset manager, which de-merged from Investec and listed separately in 2020, had £140 billion (R~2.6 trillion) at the end of its half-year period on 30 September 2021. And according to Alexforbes' annual retirement fund survey, Ninety One ended 2021 with R690.6 billion of assets managed on behalf of South African clients.

This made it SA's top asset manager in terms of assets under management (AuM), leaving behind the second biggest competitor, Stanlib Asset management, by less than R40 million. Completing the three was Coronation with R540.85 billion in AuM. A year earlier, it was OMIG at the top, followed by Ninety One and Stanlib.

READ | These were South Africa's biggest asset managers in 2020

OMIG, which moved to the sixth place, saw a big decline in 2021. 

Alexforbes said OMIG's decline was caused by the change in the company's overall structure. In the past, OMIG included global assets managed in partnership with the Old Mutual group under its AuM. But the parties decided to unwind that partnership in 2021.

Absa Asset Management also saw a large fall: from the 14th to the 19th place.

The rise of equity

Fund managers received a big boost thanks from a stronger market, which grew the value of their assets under management. While SA equities performed dismally for more than a decade, that asset class saw a major rebound in 2021, delivering close to a 30% return for the year - outperforming cash, SA bonds and global bonds.

"It is a mixture of net inflows as well as investment returns. So, houses with the biggest equity multi-asset class mandates will tend to grow in a period where the returns are very positive versus managers that are more focused in the money market and bond space," said Alexforbes' head of investment consulting, Janina Slawski.

The survey showed that more assets were allocated to smaller asset managers. Slawski said the percentage of assets invested with larger asset managers has been decreasing over time as pressure to transform intensifies.

In 2017, almost 70% of AuM in the country were in the hands of large top-ten managers. This decreased to roughly 65% in 2021. More monies are going to asset managers with a Level 1 BEE status.

"There are a lot of smaller black managers receiving assets, and smaller managers in general. It's quite a concentrated market. If you are too big, you might have to hold some of the bigger shares. So, clients look for smaller managers who can be more nimble and make allocations to mid and small caps," added Slawski.

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