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Rating:Fund Assets May Have Hit Bull Market High Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, May 13, 2004

Fund Assets May Have Hit Bull Market High

Reported by Theresa Sim

With markets reacting to uncertainty in Iraq, have we already witnessed all of the rebound left in the fund industry? And if so, who were the winners and losers over the entire bull-bear cycle over the past few years? Data from the BISYS' Financial Research Corporation (FRC) helps paint the picture.

Assets Under Management Change - March 2000 to March 2004
Alliance Fund Distributors (20,718)
Merrill Lynch Invt Mgmt (21,583)
Fidelity Distributors (28,596)
American Century Investments (30,896)
Scudder Investments (34,682)
Morgan Stanley Invt Advisors (35,033)
American Express Financial (35,846)
AIM Distributors (86,064)
Putnam Investments (138,582)
Janus Capital Group (149,832)
Source: Financial Research Corp.

Overall, the industry's assets under management reached a high of $5.0 trillion in August 2000 within the March 2000 to March 2004 timeframe. The industry's assets under management totaled $4.9 trillion in March 2000, hitting rock bottom in September 2002 at $3.5 trillion. Since then, the industry has steadily gained assets to reach $3.8 trillion in April 2003 and $4.9 trillion in March 2004.

A back of the envelope calculation based on the correlation between fund assets and the Dow reveals that total industry fund assets likely surpassed $5.0 trillion in April.

The list of fund flow winners from the market high of March 2000 to March 2004 is not surprising. In total dollars, American Funds tops the list, followed by Vanguard, PIMCO Funds, and Dodge & Cox. Rounding out the top ten are a few relatively smaller firms: Franklin Distributors, Lord Abbett, Oakmark Funds, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Calamos Asset Management, and Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo.

Several of these bull-bear winners also were quick to rebound, leading the list of most assets gained from April 2003 to March 2004. American, Vanguard, Fidelity, Franklin and T. Rowe Price topped the quick-rebounders.
Assets Under Management Change - April 2003 to March 2004
Northeast Investors Trust (152)
MTB Group of Funds (192)
Summit Invt Partners (227)
Standish Mellon Asset Mgmt. (268)
Lindner Management Corp. (284)
Fremont Investment Advisors (351)
HSBC Fund Group (464)
AMF Funds (524)
Strong Capital Management (979)
Putnam Investments (6,849)
Source: Financial Research Corp.

But some fund families have yet to follow the trend, neither rebounding from the industry's September 2002 low nor regaining assets up to March 2000 levels. 123 firms continued to lose assets when 403 firms were gaining (from September 2002 to April 2003), while 62 black sheep lost assets while 448 gained (from April 2003 to March 2004). Over the entire period (March 2000 to March 2004), 276 firms gained assets while 298 lost.

As expected, fund firms targeted by regulators for trading abuses did not regain assets to March 2000 levels. Janus Capital, Putnam Investments, AIM Distributors, Morgan Stanley Investment Advisors, Scudder Investments and Alliance lost assets from March 2004 to March 2000. Scandal-free American Express Financial, American Century Investments, Fidelity and Merrill Lynch did not let their squeaky-clean reputations stand in the way of runaway assets.

Fidelity has been an exception, in the number three spot in assets gained since April 2003, but eighth on the losing list from March 2000 to March 2004.

Heading the list of 62 fund families that lost assets while most everyone else gained in the rebound (from April 2003 to March 2004) were a few big names, like Putnam and Strong. But the list is notable for its lack of notables, including, after the top ten, John McStay Inv. Counsel and Nicholas-Applegate Cap. Management finishing 11th and 12th. 

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