The latest Investment Managers survey from Natixis shows that financial professionals across the globe – including wealth managers, registered investment advisers, financial planners and independent broker/dealers – expect to grow their assets under management by an average of 2.5% over the next 12 months, despite headwinds caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The survey, which comprises responses from 2,700 professional investors across 16 countries, also found an annualised growth in AUM of 14% is expected over the next three years on average.
Some 67% of respondents believe this growth will be driven by new assets from new clients, while 63% believe new assets from current clients will contribute towards the uptick.
Less than half (47%) believe this growth will be primarily fuelled by market returns.
Given the current levels of uncertainty across global stockmarkets, 54% of those surveyed believe alternative investments are more attractive now than they were before the pandemic, while 68% of investment professionals are using alternatives across client portfolios to generate yield.
Some 35% of those surveyed are using real assets while 34% are positive on infrastructure investing generally.
Looking back over the previous 12 months, almost a third (29%) of survey participants saw an uptick in demand for ESG from clients.
Darren Pilbeam, managing director, UK retail and wholesale sales at Natixis Investment Managers, said: "The art of investing and building a well-diversified portfolio involves a balance of efficiency, creativity and consistency.
"The survey indicates that clients are recognising the investment potential of alternatives as well as the importance of ESG-related strategies which have become much more visible in the Covid-19 world".
Meanwhile, 79% of investment professionals believe actively-managed funds are favourable over passives given market volatility, with an average of 69% of client assets held in active investments.
Some 69% believe active funds are particularly well-suited to small-cap equities and emerging market equities, while approximately half of those surveyed believe active portfolios are best for investing in fixed income.
Dave Goodsell, executive director of Natixis' Centre for Investor Insight, said: "What we continue to see globally is still the desire for active management combined with an increased use of alternative strategies to help clients navigate these uncertain markets."