Ranking the top Asset Management firms

Obviously it's easy to rank AM firms in terms of their AUM which gives a glimpse into their standing, but how would you rank them in terms of their exit opportunities and overall prestige?

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Comments (36)

Best Response
Jun 15, 2017

You would have to break it down by asset class and even strategy within each asset class. There is no such thing as one firm that is #1 across the board. In fact, it is very uncommon for a firm that is strong in one asset class (i.e. public equities, fixed income, real estate, private equity, VC, etc.) to be strong in another. Even within a given asset class, there are often different strategies and areas of focus i.e. EM growth equities, U.S. small cap value, international value, on and on.

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Jun 15, 2017

agree. for example: PIMCO and TCW, absolute creme de la creme in fixed income, but not so much on stocks. of course you have the mega shops like capital group, GSAM, JPM, Legg Mason, but it depends on the asset class and the goal.

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Jun 19, 2017

Would you say that fixed income AM is more about credit than rates? (at least in this current environment)
Rates/FX guy wondering about possible transitions

Jun 20, 2017

it's not either or, it's both and. the strategy you're on will dictate it a lot, but I see where you're coming from, since most alpha today is being generated from credit, not duration.

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Jun 20, 2017

So for core strategies, what advice do you can you give to a macro guy trying to learn credit analysis? (I dread accounting)

Jun 21, 2017

https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/how-can-i-l...
this thread just came out, think it pretty well covers the bases.

also read commentary by the big guys: dan ivascyn, michael hasenstab, jeff gundlach, tad rivelle, bill gross, bill eigen, etc.

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Jun 20, 2017

No idea how you mention those two while omitting DoubleLine.

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Jun 20, 2017

I thought the same thing after posting, just never went back to edit, would def put doubleline up there with PIMCO and tcw.

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Jun 20, 2017

What about Janus? or did they lose their luster after merging with Henderson?

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Jun 20, 2017

Janus is a fine shop, but wouldn't put them on the same tier in fixed income as the ones I mentioned earlier.

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Jun 23, 2017

Janus and Henderson are dropping their worst performing funds / throwing those assets into their better funds. If they can mitigate business risk through the merger, which I'm sure they will, they will be a force to be reckoned with (though their new marketing is a bit droll, they should have just stuck with Janus' name and absorbed Hendy).

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Jun 20, 2017

Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine is awesome, he gives a ton of interviews and presentations with valuable information.

He also made a twitter account at the most recent Ira Sohn conference, but it seems he just tweets about a bunch of random stuff...

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Jun 15, 2017

GSAM vs JPM AM, both fixed income, who wins?

Jun 15, 2017

in my opinion: JPM

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Jun 15, 2017
thebrofessor:

in my opinion: JPM

Would you consider either of them top tier though? Our strength is EM equity, and I view our US FI business as middling to upper middling, and never hear either name mentioned by Sales in FI conversations. (Granted, I'm in US Equity ETFs, so I'm rather removed from the conversation)

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Jun 20, 2017

thebrofessor, completely agree with you. JPM has a great HY team based in Columbus, well not sure about that anymore since I think there was a mass exodus over the past 1-2 years due to either the MD or the head of the group leaving

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Jun 20, 2017

they still have lots of quality people in columbus, I just went to one of their conferences within the past 12 months, plenty of brains there.

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Jun 15, 2017

What AM would you say has the best in the following strategies?

  1. High yield special debt Funds?
  2. Emerging Markets - Domestic Currency Small Cap Funds?
  3. Distressed Muni Equity Situations Funds?
  4. Large Intrinsic Value Funds?
  5. Small Intrinsic Value Funds?
  6. Mid-Sized Intrinsic Value funds?
  7. Mid to Large-Sized Intrinsic Value Funds?
  8. Pretty Big, but not THAT Big Intrinsic Value Funds?
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Jun 19, 2017

I'm curious to know if anyone has some insight to this question as well.

Jun 19, 2017

As it relates to high yield / special situations - you want to go to a place with alternative roots, eg Apollo > PIMCO.

Jun 20, 2017

A few of your listed strategies are too specialized.

Distressed municipal would likely be rolled into a distressed firm, likely one with government debt orientation. High yield special debt likely falls in the distressed sector too, or a non-investment grade debt specialist (corporate, government, etc.)

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Jun 20, 2017

Is it not prestigious to be the PM of a passive ETF even if its AUM is >$1bn?

If your fund is in outflows does it ruin your prestige?

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Jun 20, 2017

yes?

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Jun 20, 2017

Not necessarily true- if outflow is performance related then YES but if outflow is related to asset class specific performance then i would say no because asset allocation in portfolios continuously change for various macroeconomic reasons

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Jun 20, 2017

Is anybody thought my comment was serious....it's not

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Jun 20, 2017

You can't judge funds by prestige. They all have different investment philosophies and different objectives.

There are some brand names that deliver on their promises because they have good systems and a strong talent pipelines. However there are many superstar PMs who prefer smaller shops because they can react faster with less red tape and have more autonomy. There are also some large firms with brand names that have worse resources than most smaller firms counterintuitively.

The investment philosophy and training are key. If you love fundamental investing, a place like BlackRock might not be a good move given they are pivoting towards quant.

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Sep 26, 2017

Sorry if I am not asking in the proper thread, I did not want to create one for juste one question.

Why don't we find Barclays in the Asset Managers ranking by AUM (Just Google IPE TOP 400 Asset Managers 2017 for instance)

I can't believe they manage less than 4 bn EU

Sep 26, 2017

Disclaimer: I only have 3 years of experience in the industry so I am not necessarily correct, plus it's all opinions. Either way, I think rankings should go by category

Traditional AM firms
BlackRock, Fidelity, Wellington, T. Rowe Price, MFS, Capital Group, PIMCO
These firms recruit almost exclusively at top MBA programs (and most of the time HSW + Chicago) and take a few undergrads from top schools a year.. They can afford to be VERY selective and really cherry pick because they only hire a few a year.

BB AM arms
GSAM, JPMAM
Relatively easier to land a job at BB AM arms because of the slightly bigger hiring needs and some comparatively less desirable positions. For instance, BBs do quite a bit more FoF work than the traditional AM firms and you might get stuck in those positions. Also, BB tend not to distinguish their AM analyst class when they are hiring. I have heard stories about being stuck in a product management/institutional sales type of role while being given the impression that they would be doing investment.

Hedge funds are a mixed bag. It is really hard to rank but you have your most prestigious ones like Paulson, DE Shaw, Citadel,Bridgewater, Tudor etc

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Sep 26, 2017

why many people think FoF is worse than fund investing in stocks? why many can assume product management/institutional sales is less rewarding/interesting than portfolio managers?

thanks for your thoughts.

Sep 26, 2017
gelukkig:

why many people think FoF is worse than fund investing in stocks?

The transferable skillset you gain from direct investment analysis is exponentially better than FoF work. You can always go from investment to FoF while the other way, while possible, is much harder because of the skill set.

gelukkig:

why many can assume product management/institutional sales is less rewarding/interesting than portfolio managers?

Interesting question. I am not saying one is superior to the other, but at any AM firms, the focus is pretty much always on the investment organization. The investment professionals are the center of the universe within the firm, Everything else really cater to them.
Can a fund run without product management? Probably not as well. Can a fund run without sales? Absolutely not. But that doesnt mean the hierarchical order isnt there.
Also, all else being equal, an investment professionals make quite a bit more than product management and sales professionals (i mean comparing an junior research analyst with 3 years under his belt vs a product manager/sales guy with the same amount of experience)
also, this is personal experience. Based on what I see, research associates/junior research analysts enjoy much better success applying to top MBAs than the product management/sales counterparts.

Sep 26, 2017

I hope i dont offend anyone. Just my honest assessment from a junior research analyst's point of view.

Sep 26, 2017

The prestige of the firm depends a lot on your position. At the analyst / associate level, GSAM is probably the most prestigious because of the Goldman Sachs name and the difficulty of getting a job there (in certain groups). At more senior levels, group performance factors heavily into prestige, so the rankings fluctuate pretty much with each business cycle. For instance, GSAM is overall doing pretty badly right now, so working right under the senior people there doesn't look so great. When you're at that point in your career, and if you're still in asset management, then you will know where the hot places are.

  • EDIT *

I didn't realize you included hedge funds there. Pretty much any established hedge fund is more prestigious than any other type of asset management group at the junior level. My ranking (of prestige at the junior level, not performance):

  1. Renaissance Technologies
  2. D.E. Shaw
  3. Citadel
  4. Paulson & Co.
  5. Top BB groups

For example, top BB group would include GSIP and QIS within GSAM and Highbridge Capital within JPM (well, quasi-within).

Sep 26, 2017

What I find funny about those working at the traditional AM firms is that despite recruiting people with supposed smarts (i.e. out of HSW and top MBA programs) most of the mutual funds (Fidelity in particular) seem to do shit relative to their benchmark index. The supposed alpha we should see from active management other than a select few mutual funds just isn't present. Other than the Magellan fund when it was run by Peter Lynch many moons ago, I've been thoroughly disappointed in mutual funds overall. Especially when you factor in tax issues, index funds are the way to go.

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Sep 26, 2017

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Sep 26, 2017