(NYSE:IVZ) -1.9% Dec. 31 AUM of $812.9B up 0.9% M/M due to higher market returns ,increase in money market AUM and inflows in the PowerShares QQQs offset by forex and modest net long-term outflows. FX negavtively impacted AUM by $1.5B.
For years, the globe has been riding one big macro trade - one based on the central banks' game plan to give away free money to reflate financial assets, says Evercore ISI's Glenn Schoor.
What we've got now is policy divergence, with the U.S. in tightening mode, while the rest of the major central banks continue to ease. It's likely to bring more volatility, and thus raise the chances for active management to create some alpha.
He's already seeing "some pretty material" fund performance swings (a lot of good, but also bad), notably at BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), Cohen & Steers (NYSE:CNS), Franklin (NYSE:BEN), Invesco (NYSE:IVZ), T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW), Eaton Vance (NYSE:EV) and Waddell & Reed (NYSE:WDR).
Smaller-cap investment banks have been in the green every day since the Trump victory, among them Houlihan Lokey (HLI +3.3%), which today has broken through to another all-time high.
UBS's Brennan Hawken says that while restructuring activity may decline amid more optimism for the economy, boosted M&A potential, fairness opinions, and other services HLI offers could more than make up for it, and he's boosting price targets across his boutique IB coverage.
More: Corporate tax reform under Trump would be of "meaningful benefit" to HLI given its significant U.S. exposure (86% of revenue). Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) and Invesco (NYSE:IVZ) might even consider changing their domiciles to the U.S. to take advantage.
On Friday, WisdomTree Investments (NASDAQ:WETF) announced a $20M purchase of a 36% equity stake in digital wealth-management platform, AdvisorEngine (formerly Vanare). WisdomTree's asset-allocation models will be made available as defaults on AdvisorEngine's open architecture platform.
There is a trend here: ETF providers are joining up with digital-advice platforms, thereby finding a shelf to distribute their products and strategies.
Mind you, Friday's deal doesn't go as far as BlackRock's (NYSE:BLK) acquisition of FutureAdvisor last year or Invesco's (NYSE:IVZ) acquisition of Jemstep this year, Alois Pirker, research director for Aite Group's wealth-management practice notes.
Insurers are late converts to the ETF craze, and JPMorgan's Mark Snyder, noting the insurance industry's $200B in cash and $80B in equities, figures a modest reallocation could send $25B-$50B into exchange-traded products.
The head of BlackRock's (NYSE:BLK) iShares fixed-income and insurance sales, Josh Penzner says insurers are slow to change, but are "really looking" at their investment processes and how to evolve.
The move could be yet another blow to the asset management industry which already is losing sizable market share to ETFs.
Also of interest to: Och-Ziff (NYSE:OZM), Invesco (IVZ -0.5%), AllianceBernstein (NYSE:AB)
The flood of money pouring into stocks since the election isn't helping mutual funds, which somehow saw $3B of outflows in the last week. Equity ETFs, meanwhile, had $27B of inflows, according to Goldman Sachs - the largest weekly amount on record.
Equity mutual funds had outflows of $4.4B, making YTD outflows of roughly $120B.
"We've got to get rid of this," says hedge fund honcho and Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci, speaking about the DOL's fiduciary rule.
Set to take effect in April, the Department of Labor's new rule would hold retirement professionals to a "fiduciary" standard in which they must put client interests ahead of their own, rather than the current requirement that they recommend "suitable" products.
The Obama administration argues the move would save investors $17B a year in fees and lost returns. Asset managers, however, will probably spend a lot more setting up systems to try and figure out how to comply with the new standard. In Scaramucci's vision, a Trump administration would instead impose a "self-auditing process" for registered financial advisors.
Former assistant secretary of labor under Bush, Bradford Campbell has no doubt Trump isn't a fan of the rule, but isn't sure it can be fixed on day one with the stroke of a pen. A Trump administration, however, would have plenty of available tools to modify or eventually remove it, he says.
Invesco (NYSE:IVZ) preliminary end-of-month AUM of $807.5B fell 1.5% from 30 days earlier, driven by unfavorable markets, fx, and net outflows (mostly from a single U.S. subadvised client). The outflows were partially offset by money going into the QQQs and money market funds.
The company has entered into an agreement with Bank of America to purchase $150M of common stock. Settlement is expected before year-end.
Adjusted net income of $246.2M or $0.60 per share vs. $233M and $0.56 in Q2, and $261.4M and $0.61 one year ago. Margin of 39.7% vs. 38.6% in Q2 and 41.4% a year ago.
Ending AUM of $820.2B up 5.2% Q/Q, up 8.5% Y/Y. Total net inflows of $19.2B, with active strategies picking up $8.3B and passive $3.9B. The Rhode Island 529 plan accounted for $6.5B of inflows. The QQQ drew in $1.1B after losing $3.8B in Q2. Money market funds had inflows of $5.9B vs. $2.7B in Q2 and outflows of $6.3B a year ago.
It's the kind of headline that makes one wonder if the bottom might already be in for traditional asset managers.
The numbers won't surprise anyone who's been following along for any length of time: Over the three years ended Aug. 31, investors added nearly $1.3T to passive mutual funds and ETFs, while pulling more than $250M from active mutual funds.
"Stock pickers, archetypes of 20th century Wall Street, are being pushed to the margins," write Anne Tergesen and Jason Zweig. "The pressure has gotten so great that passive has become the default,” says former Fidelity CIO Philip Bullen.
And by the way, there's still plenty of room for the trend to continue - 66% of mutual and exchange-traded fund assets are still actively invested (down from 84% ten years ago).
Active fund firms that don't “position themselves for the sea change” will be “relegated to the dustbin of history," said Cohen & Steers (NYSE:CNS) in shareholder letter earlier this year.