A new report on institutional investment management fees by asset consultant bfinance has found active global equity management fees have only dropped by 5 basis points in recent years.
The report, titled Investment Management Fees: New Savings, New Challenges, found the median active global equity mandate fee fell from 62 basis points between January 2010 and December 2014 to 57 basis points between January 2015 and March 2017.
The bfinance report described the 8 per cent fall in active global fees as "remarkably resilient" given the tough environment for active managers over the past few years.
To put it into perspective, low volatility active manager fees have fallen by 25 per cent since 2010 and smart beta fees are down 24 per cent since 2011.
"Competitive pressures on active managers have been intense while allocations to passive management and smart beta have soared," said the report.
The resilience of global active fees may be down to the inclination of managers to "cluster" around known average fees, said bfinance.
"Transparency may facilitate this effect, mitigating over-pricing but removing the incentive for under-pricing," it said.
"In short, clients have clamoured for 'real active managers' and providers have marketed themselves accordingly.
"To apply continuing pressure on fees, we believe that a more open selection process incorporating the widest possible universe of managers can be helpful.
"We also see certain innovations in terms of performance fee structures, although we note that flat fees remain the 'norm' and, if anything, the overall appetite for performance fees in this sector has declined."
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