European fund manager assets spike 15% to $20 trillion

Mario Draghi

Fund manager assets in Europe are slowly catching up with their U.S. counterparts after a 15 percent jump in money under management in the currency bloc, and it looks as though the European Central Bank's bond-buying program can only help the industry.

European assets under management (AUM) spiked to 19 trillion euros ($20.5 trillion) in 2014, up from 16.5 trillion euros the previous year according to the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), in its annual review of the European fund management industry released Monday.

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The search for greater returns on investment in an ultra-low interest rate environment, strong financial market performance and accommodative central bank monetary policy all helped fuel investor confidence and growth, according to the group.

The rate of growth has also picked up markedly, at 15 percent in 2014 compared with just over 8 percent a year earlier. Assets under management globally hit around 50 trillion euros as the end of 2013, with some 23 trillion euros, or 46 percent of global AUM held in the U.S.

"The gradual economic recovery, which got underway during the second quarter of 2013 and growing optimism about the future economic outlook strengthened the recovery of stock markets and boosted the net sales of funds. The situation continued to improve in 2014, even if the pace of economic recovery remained very moderate," director general of EFAMA, Peter De Proft said in the report.

The latest round of massive monetary stimulus announced by the ECB in January, involving the central bank buying government bonds on a huge scale at a rate of 60 billion euros a month, should also be beneficial for the fund management industry.

De Proft said the growth of the industry and the "increasingly important contribution it makes to the European economy" makes the asset management industry a "key player in the wider financial system".

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