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Investment management is the professional asset management of various securities, including shareholdings, bonds, and other assets, such as real estate, to meet specified investment goals for the benefit of investors. Investors may be institutions, such as insurance companies, pension funds, corporations, charities, educational establishments, or private investors, either directly via investment contracts or, more commonly, via collective investment schemes like mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or REITs.
The term asset management is often used to refer to the management of investment funds, while the more generic term fund management may refer to all forms of institutional investment, as well as investment management for private investors. Investment managers who specialize in advisory or discretionary management on behalf of (normally wealthy) private investors may often refer to their services as money management or portfolio management within the context of "private banking". Wealth management by financial advisors takes a more holistic view of a client, with allocations to particular asset management strategies.
According to a Boston Consulting Group study, the assets managed professionally for fees reached a historic high of US$62.4 trillion in 2012, after remaining flat since 2007, and were then expected to reach US$70.2 trillion a year later.
The five largest asset managers are holding 22.7 percent of the externally held assets. Nevertheless, the market concentration, measured via the Herfindahl-Hirschmann Index, could be estimated at 173.4 in 2018, showing that the industry is not very concentrated.