The European Fund and Asset Management Association (Efama) has published its first ever report outlining the evolution of holdings of financial assets and investment funds among European investors in recent years.
Titled Ownership of Investment Funds in Europe, the report seeks to answer three key questions: how have holdings evolved in recent years, who are the main owners of investment funds in Europe, and to what extent do European investors hold cross border funds?
The report suggests that three main categories of investors hold some 90% of total investment fund assets: households, insurance companies and pension funds.
Households overall are the largest holders of financial assets in the region - some €29.1trn as of the end of December 2017. About 36% of those assets are held in bank accounts, 46% are in insurance and pension products, with 18% in quoted shares, bonds and investment funds.
Insurers and pension funds held some 41.7% of European investment funds, the data suggests.
Meanwhile, there has been growth in cros border funds, with the share of the overall European fund industry now around 32% - driven by harmonisation moves through Mifid, Ucits and AIFM law.
The Efama report notes the high exposure to bank accounts by households, and suggests that in light of negative real returns, it is further evidence of the need to develop the Capital Markets Union (CMU).
"Efama has been an early supporter of CMU and calls on the European Commission, both the current Commission and the next one, to keep the momentum going," the Association noted.
Tanguy van de Werve, Efama director general, said: "The increase in cross-border fund ownership in Europe over the past decade is a welcome development. We expect this trend to continue in the future, driven by technology-enabled access to a larger pool of foreign fund providers. The European Commission's proposal on facilitating the cross-border distribution of funds, on which we anticipate trilogue approval at any time, will enable consumers to benefit from greater choice at a lower cost, thereby further unlocking the benefits of the CMU."
To read the full report, click here: