Market Strategies International


Cogent Reports: Competition Stiffens for European Pension Assets

An increasing number of European pensions expect to add new managers to their lineups than in years past. While BlackRock is the clear favorite of these institutional investors for future mandates, several challenger brands are giving BlackRock a run for its money. These and other findings are included in the annual International Institutional Investor Brandscape®, a Cogent Reports™ study by Market Strategies International.


The increase in activity around adding new managers is a sign that incumbent managers aren’t completely fulfilling expectations for diversification and increasing alpha. The appetite for new-manager additions is greatest in the Netherlands, France and the UK, where more than six in ten pensions plan to bring at least one new asset manager into the fold.

When asked to identify the specific asset managers they would most likely consider for new or existing mandates, more than 70% of European pensions point to BlackRock. In fact, BlackRock’s dominance is even more evident in the Nordics and Germany, where upwards of 90% of pension investors are interested in hiring the firm.

That said, in the countries that are most likely to be adding new managers, BlackRock faces some stiff competition. For example, in the Netherlands, AB (formerly AllianceBernstein) ties with BlackRock for the highest consideration score, while in the UK, Goldman Sachs Asset Management edges out BlackRock with the strongest potential for new business. In France, the country in which pensions report the highest likelihood of adding new managers, Invesco earns the most accolades.

“While the key criteria impacting new manager selection varies by country, we found that financial and organizational stability, product innovation and local presence are common factors sought by European pensions,” said Linda York, senior vice president at Market Strategies and author of the report. “It’s important for each firm to keep a pulse on the perception of its brand in the market and adjust its marketing, positioning and service strategies accordingly, because there is more to the selection process than just brand and market share.”

Brand Consideration by Country


1.     BlackRock/AB (85%)

United Kingdom

1.     Goldman Sachs Asset Management (79%)

2.     BlackRock/J.P. Morgan Asset Management (78%)


1.     Invesco (88%)

2.     BlackRock (86%)


Source: Market Strategies International. Cogent Reports™. International Institutional Investor Brandscape®. August 2017.

About International Institutional Investor Brandscape®

Cogent Reports conducted a telephone survey of a representative sample of 824 defined benefit pension investors managing the equivalent of at least $100 million in assets from June 19 to July 12, 2017. Survey participants were required to play a direct role in the evaluation and selection of investments or asset managers within their organization. To ensure data are representative of the overall market, responses were weighted within each country/region based on information reported by local governments and other commercially available sources. Weighting was based on defined benefit pension plans’ asset amount. Due to the nature of sample availability in each country, it is impossible to compute a margin of error. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey questions upon request.


For more information on the International Institutional Investor Brandscape, review an overview of the report.

Review an Overview of the Report

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