While the S&P 500 has risen 11% and the average U.S. equity fund has gained 14% in the past five years, the five largest publicly traded investment management firms are up nearly 30%, The New York Times reports. Those five companies are AllianceBerstein, BlackRock, Franklin Resources, Legg Mason and T. Rowe Price.
“I’ll take the returns of the stocks over the funds over any time frame,” said Morningstar Analyst Rachel Barnard.
Large asset management firms generally enjoy economies of scale, and, therefore, healthy profits. However, in a bear market, not only do they lose assets to market declines, but investors often pull their money out. And some believe now is not a good time to invest in asset management firms, since their valuations are near the highest they have been in two decades. In addition, analysts advise investors to take into consideration how highly regulated asset management firms are, and how regulatory actions can dampen share prices.