Callan’s 2021 Investment Management Fee Study Reveals What Institutional Investors Really Pay


SAN FRANCISCO, January 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Callan, a leading institutional investment advisory firm, has announced the release of its 2021 Investment Management Fee Study—its ninth review in more than 30 years.

Callan Logo (PRNewsfoto/Callan LLC)

The study provides a detailed analysis of fee levels and trends across multiple asset classes and mandate sizes for active and passive management, covering a total of 21 asset classes, both public and private. The analysis provides insight into what institutional investors actually pay (traded fees) compared to the fee schedules published by investment managers.

Data was collected and maintained using Callan’s proprietary investment manager database, proprietary client performance reporting database and actual client fee schedules. The study reflects 2020 fee trends representing $598 billion of assets under management (AUM) on more than 1,700 mandates and $1.4 billion total fees paid. The firm’s fee database includes over 300 investment companies and over 160 institutional investors.

“It is perhaps unsurprising that the pressure on active management fees for traditional public asset classes continues unabated,” said study author and research director Ivan “Butch” Cliff. at Callan. “Rebates negotiated below published fee schedules are important, especially for large mandates whose assets under management are firmly in the bottom tier of a fee schedule. In addition, passive management is now growing on public markets beyond U.S. large-cap equities, particularly in U.S. small-cap equities and core fixed income.”

Main results of the study

  • 97% of total fees paid were to active managers (down 1% from 2019)

  • 50% of total active fees go to 11% of companies

  • 62% of total assets are actively managed (down 8% since 2019)

  • Total dollar asset class fees fell the most for US large-cap stocks and funds of hedge funds

  • Increased passive use of US small/small/micro cap stocks, US large cap stocks and core fixed income securities

  • Fee resilience is strongest for private real assets, global non-U.S. equities, and global non-U.S. small cap equities

Study characteristics

Analysis of actual charges versus published charges: compares by mandate size bands the published fees of the large universe of products, the fees published only for products with client mandates and the actual fees paid for these client mandates.

Analysis of the vintage: Compares current actual fees for newer mandates (2016 and later) with older mandates (2015 and earlier) to better gauge long-term fee trends.

Concentration analysis: Examines the concentration of assets under management, mandates and actual fees/income by investment firm for each asset class.

Vehicles: Covers many types of institutional mandate vehicles, including separate accounts, many types of combination funds (including collective investment trusts) and various types of partnerships. Mutual funds are excluded from this study.

Fee data: In addition to the fees paid in basis points, we capture the average discount from the published fee schedules. We also analyze average mandate sizes and average fees paid in dollars to better understand the health of the asset management industry.

Find the summary of the blog and study it here.

About Callan
Callan was founded in 1973 as an employee-owned investment advisory firm. Since then, we have provided institutional clients with creative and personalized investment solutions backed by proprietary research, proprietary data and ongoing education. Today, Callan advises over $3 trillion of total fund sponsor assets, making it one of the largest independent investment advisory firms in the United States. Callan uses a client-focused advisory model to serve pension and defined contribution plan sponsors, endowments, foundations, independent investment advisors, investment managers and other asset owners. Callan has six offices in the United States. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Anathan
[email protected]



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