2018 Asset Owner Survey

September 2018

Investors’ needs are changing.

In mid-2018, 485 investors around the globe with assets approaching USD$8 trillion participated in a study on investment and organisational strategies.

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Innovation: asset owners have added new asset classes, increased their allocations to private markets, improved diversification, overhauled risk management, built up investment teams and introduced new ESG policies. Yet there are disconnects between allocation and implementation, as illustrated by the substantial proportion of investors below target weights in certain asset classes.

Efficiency: only 27% of investors are spending more than they did three years ago. In total, 41% are spending less overall as a percentage of assets and 51% have managed to cut total external manager fees. Equities lead the charge, but this is certainly not an equity-only story: savings are evident across a range of asset classes.


This study reveals something rather surprising. Although the average investor has transitioned to a more complex portfolio, featuring greater use of non-traditional (and typically more costly) asset classes, they have achieved savings which more than outweigh those additional expenses.

Furthermore, those savings are not necessarily coming from strategic shifts such as passive management or insourcing. Fee renegotiation, mandate consolidation, external benchmarking and transaction cost analysis are high on the list of belt-tightening tactics.

If you would like to request more detailed analysis of results, including country-specific insight, please do get in touch directly with the bfinance team.


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