Revenues for the nation’s asset management industry fell 4.8% and operating profits fell 7.9% last year, according to CRA Business Strategies Group. Total assets fell 6.5%, according to the company’s annual report, Competitive Challenges.

Although asset management firms attracted new assets representing 19% of assets under management, an average outflow of 16% resulted in a net inflow of only 3%. This was the first time since CRA began issuing this report 13 years ago that money managers were unable to offset negative market returns with new sales, said Don Rogers, chief executive officer of CRA Business Strategies Group. CRA, which bases its report on a survey of money managers, based this year’s report on a survey of 67 companies with more than $7.1 trillion in assets under management.

CRA discovered that those firms that focused on client service did a better job of retaining assets. "This reinforces our belief that client service is a key driver of success in this industry, particularly in tough markets," Rogers said.

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