Asset management firms offer investors access to professionally-managed diversified portfolios through mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The following five firms are widely considered to be industry leaders in this space.

Key Takeaways

  • Asset management firms offer professionally-managed mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  • The dominant companies in this space include Vanguard, PIMCO, BlackRock, Fidelity, and Invesco.
  • All are U.S.-based companies with a global reach.

1. The Vanguard Group

The Vanguard Group is one of the best-known investment management companies, catering to more than 20 million clients in 170 countries. Vanguard was founded by John C. Bogle in 1975, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, as a division of Wellington Management Company, which Bogle had previously headed. Since its launch, Vanguard has grown to $6.2 trillion in assets under management (AUM) as of November 2020. Of its 420 funds, about half are U.S. funds, including its popular S&P 500 Index and Total Stock Market funds.

2. Pacific Investment Management Company, LLC

Global asset management firm Pacific Investment Management Company LLC, commonly known as PIMCO, was co-founded in 1971 in Newport Beach, California, by bond king Bill Gross. Since then, PIMCO has grown its assets under management to $2.02 trillion as of late 2020. The firm employs more than 775 investment professionals with an average of 14 years of investment experience. With about 100 funds under its banner, PIMCO is widely regarded as a leader in the fixed income sector. 

3. BlackRock, Inc.

BlackRock Inc. (BLK) was launched in 1988 as a division of the BlackRock Group. By the end of 1993, it boasted $17 billion in AUM. By November of 2020, that number had swelled to a whopping $7.43 trillion, making BlackRock the world's largest investment management firm. It runs more than 800 exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Over the past several years it has drawn attention for its focus on sustainable and environmentally-responsible investing.

4. Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Management & Research Company was founded in 1946 by Edward C. Johnson II. In late 2020, Fidelity had 32 million customers with $3.3 trillion in combined assets. The firm offers about 400 mutual funds, including domestic equity, foreign equity, sector-specific, fixed-income, index, money market, and asset allocation funds. It has 40,000-plus associates and staffs regional offices in nearly 200 American cities. It is headquartered in Boston.

5. Invesco Ltd.

Atlanta-based Invesco Ltd. (IVZ) has been offering investment management services since the 1940s. Invesco has grown to more than 8,000 employees in 25 countries. In late 2020, the firm announced that it had $1.2 trillion in AUM across its 100-plus mutual fund products. The firm offers more than 100 ETFs through its Invesco Capital Management LLC division.