Mar 19, 2008

MF assets to touch $440 billion by 2012

A McKinsey report says institutional investments in Indian mutual funds may witness 25-33 per cent annual growth, with total assets under management increasing from $42 billion in 2007 to $160 billion by 2012. As in the past, large and mid-sized corporations will be the dominant players.

The total assets under management of the Indian mutual fund industry could grow to $350-440 billion by 2012, expanding by 33 per cent annually, predicts a recent report, "Indian Asset Management: Achieving Broad-based Growth" by McKinsey & Company.

The report also notes that while revenue and profit pools for Indian asset management companies (AMCs) is currently small (revenues of $542 million and profits before tax of $220 million in 2006-07), the profitability of Indian AMCs was at par with peers in other economies.

Operating profits for AMCs in India, as a percentage of average assets under management, were at 32 basis points in 2006-07, while the number was 12 bps in UK, 17 bps in Germany and 18 bps in the US, in the same time frame.

The authors believe that retail mutual funds and portfolio management services will be the key drivers of profitability for AMCs, though the institutional segment is key to volumes.

The report predicts that the retail segment could grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 36 – 42 per cent annually, taking the total AUM from US$36 billion in 2007 to $160–$200 billion in 2012. Rising incomes and increasing demand for wealth management services will drive this growth.

The research suggests that the 'mass affluent' segment in the top eight cities and the broad retail segments in tier 2 and tier 3 cities will be the key growth drivers. The report captures results of McKinsey's proprietary research and a survey of 850 independent financial advisors and 750 investors.

The report says that institutional investments in mutual funds are likely to witness a 25-33 per cent annual growth, with total assets under management increasing from $42 billion in 2007 to $160 billion by 2012. As in the past, large and mid-sized corporations will be the dominant players.

"Participation of several players such as PSUs, pension funds, insurance companies will be shaped by the regulations and could substantially boost the assets under management. This will also shift the mix to more profitable products rather than largely liquid funds," says Naveen Tahilyani, Partner, McKinsey & Company and one of the authors of the study.

The retail and PMS segments accounted for a bulk of the profits for AMCs in 2007. 75 per cent of the assets under management and about 95 per cent of the retail profits were realised from the top eight cities, it says. However, with increasing investments by players, McKinsey expects the share of top eight cities to come down to 60 per cent and profits to come down to about 80 per cent as the next-tier cities show the potential to grow at a faster rate.

In addition, buoyant economic growth will attract participation from the international investment community across retail (both NRI and others) and institutional segments. AMCs will tap this through a variety of plays- owned presence, distribution tie-ups and advisory models across key overseas markets such as the US, the UK, West Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. In 2007, across all funds, not just Indian AMCs, size of India-focused funds is already $80 billion.

With retail investors to dominate, McKinsey expects plain vanilla MF products to drive the growth as about 9-10 million new customers are expected to enter the market in the next five years. This has also been the experience in several other markets including the US, where 75 per cent of AUMs are in simple traditional products.

"Given the convergence of MF and insurance products (driven by ULIPs), we believe there is a strong case to ensure parity in product features and distribution commissions. A benchmarking of the products and our proprietary customer research shows that today the insurance products have significant advantages. For end-customers ULIPs are seen as investment products that are more transparent, safer and offer various tax benefits", says Joydeep Sengupta, Director McKinsey & Company.

McKinsey's research reveals that the single largest factor influencing customer purchase is the recommendation received from the sales channel. Distribution remains the biggest factor for success. While banks are the most important channel in the top eight cities, IFAs are increasingly becoming important beyond these cities.

However, brand building is becoming critical as well. Several high-performing funds in India have seen outflows or below market growth over the year 2007 clearly establishing the fact that performance alone is not enough and has to be backed by a strong brand.

This phenomenon is also clearly observed in other markets such as the US, where strong brand equity helps create a strong perception of performance in the minds of the customers and the channels.