05/09/2022

Our latest Outsourced Chief Investment Officer report features a list of 103 OCIO firms, each with updated contact information and AUM numbers.  It’s the most comprehensive and accurate available.

For the nine months ending December 31st, 2021, the managers on our list added $381 billion (an 11.64% gain) in AUM, totaling a record $3.658 trillion dollars in discretionary outsourced assets.

But after years of steady growth, it’s apparent there’s a shakeout underway.

As we noted in our February 2021 OCIO update, discretionary asset managers without products to sell are notoriously hard to scale.  Brilliant, original strategies lose their potency when they are widely copycatted. Or, a strategy works in one season, in one kind of market, but not in another.

That’s why so many OCIOs and RIAs now have private equity partners or reside within much larger financial or consulting organizations.

As Jon Hirtle, executive chairman of OCIO provider Hirtle Callaghan, remarked to Alicia McElhaney in a recent Institutional Investor article, “In business school, they teach you there’s a group of pioneers. If it works, there’s a flurry of copycat activity. And then there’s a shakeout and a consolidation.”

From our vantagepoint, it looks like the industry is entering the consolidation phase.

Wealth management M&A activity reached an all-time high in 2021, with an announced 307 transactions according to Echelon Partners’ 2021 RIA M&A Deal Report.

Over the last sixteen months, CapTrust acquired Ellwood Associates, iM Global Partners bought Litman Gregory, New Providence joined The Colony Group, Focus Financial bought CornerStone, and US Bank swallowed PFM – five firms on our last OCIO list.

And from what we hear there is plenty of dry powder and amenable prospects waiting in the wings.

Barron’s reported last November that “KKR is taking a stake in Beacon Pointe Advisors, the largest female-led RIA, in a deal that values the acquisitive firm at over $1 billion.”  This after KKR invested in and then exited from Focus Financial, another RIA and OCIO aggregator.

Given this merger merry-go-round, we took our cue from Institutional Investor and spoke with Mr. Hirtle, “a pioneer in the outsourced chief investment officer business,” as Ms. McElhaney put it.

What did he think about the buy-out mania? Is the independent OCIO model still viable? And if so, how does one keep the “barbarians” at bay?

We include our conversation with Mr. Hirtle below.

What about the elephant?

Our data suggests that demand for outsourced investment services will continue to grow at a healthy rate, but that new entrants face formidable odds.

Why?  Because there’s an elephant in the room.  Concentration.  A handful of managers control the bulk of the money.  

Just eight providers – Aon, Blackrock, Goldman Sachs, Mercer, Russell, SEI, State Street, and Willis Towers Watson – manage well over half the OCIO assets, $2.073 trillion of the $3.658 trillion AUM.

That’s fifty-seven percent of the outsourced pie.  And they kept a tight hold on their market share in our latest reporting period, securing fifty-five percent or $211 billion of the $381 billion gain.

Big Eight ranked by AUM Size

Read More »

05/05/2022

6080 N. Sabino Shadow Lane | Tucson, AZ 85750 | 520-529-5677
Design: QB Media