An indication of the toll taken by investment market turmoil on
asset management companies has been provided by results released by
AllianceBernstein, a US-based asset manager in which French insurer
Axa holds a 62.4 percent stake.
Results reflect assets under management (AUM) at the end of 2008
of $462 billion, down 42.3 percent compared to AUM of $800 billion
at the end of 2007. In part, the decline can be attributed to
AllianceBernstein’s strong slant towards equity investment mandates
which at the end of 2007 accounted for $586 billion (73.3 percent)
Equity AUM at the end of 2008 stood at $258 billion, down 56
percent year-on-year. The decline compares with a 38.5 percent fall
in the US S&P 500 (equity) Index and a 42 percent fall in the
MSCI World Index which tracks equity markets in 23 developed
Institutional AUM did the worst damage to AllianceBernstein,
falling $216 billion (42.5 percent) to $292 billion. Retail AUM
fell 44.8 percent to $101 billion while private client AUM fell
36.7 percent to $69 billion. The slump in AUM took a heavy toll on
AllianceBernstein’s results with net profit plummeting 80.6 percent
from $1.26 billion in 2007 to $244.7 million in 2008.
For Axa, AllianceBernstein’s showing is bad news. At the end of
2007 the US asset manager accounted for 42 percent of Axa’s total
AUM of €1.28 trillion ($1.8 trillion), the balance managed by Axa
Investment Managers (43 percent) and other Axa units (15
Consultancy Watson Wyatt ranked Axa as the world’s
fourth-largest asset manager in 2007.
Allianz in third place was the only insurer ahead of Axa.