The top 500 asset managers are responsible for $76.5 trillion worth of investments as of the end of 2013, an increase of 11.8% from the previous year.

The top three asset managers

The list of the top three global asset managers features some very familiar names. BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), founded in 1988 by Laurence D. Fink, who incidentally is still in place as chairman and CEO of the company, takes first place for the fourth year in a row.

In second place is Malvern Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLVF), Pennsylvania-based Vanguard, which continued its year-on-year growth. The Vanguard Group was founded by John C. Bogle in 1975, and is currently under the stewardship of CEO Frederick William McNabb III.

The rise of Vanguard pushed Allianz SE (ADR) (OTCMKTS:AZSEY) (ETR:ALV) down into third place in the rankings. The oldest of the top three asset managers was founded in Berlin in 1890 by Carl von Thieme and Wilhelm von Finck. Micheal Diekmann is the current CEO.

Asset managers: geographical distribution

North American managers increased the amount of assets under their control, managing $41.9 trillion at the end of 2013, a figure which represents an increase of 16.7% from 2012. Over the course of the past decade, U.S. managers have increased their share of the total from 41% to over 50%.

European managers increased the total assets managed by them to $ 26.3 trillion. This is an increase of 9.8% on the previous year, a slower rate of growth than North American managers but far better than those based in Japan. Managers from the East Asian nation managed $4.6 trillion in assets, a decrease of 5.5% on previous figures.

Of the top 500 global asset managers, there exists a notable concentration of wealth in the hands of the top 20, who control 41.0% of the total, although the percentage of assets controlled by the 20 global behemoths has actually decreased slightly from 41.4% at the end of 2012.

The top 20 is made up of 12 U.S.-based managers, while the remaining 8 managers are European. Passive assets controlled by the top 500 as a whole have experienced a decade of double-digit growth, to reach a current total of $14 trillion.

The research also detailed some of the fastest growing managers over the past 5 years, including Schroder Investment Management, Affiliated Managers Group, Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) (TSE:RY), T. Rowe Price Group Inc (NASDAQ:TROW) and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd (ADR) (OTCMKTS:STBUY) (TYO:8309).