The dynamics of the asset management business are complex and geographically diverse. Products and vendors compete within and across markets and often shade into each other. Regulation can differ dramatically according to financial systems and functions. Here are discussed the major asset management sectors—pension funds, mutual funds, alternative investment vehicles, and private wealth management. Despite the complexity of the industry, common threads run through the discussion—growth, risk, and cost—that cannot be ignored by asset managers hoping to be sustainably profitable. What is required to excel includes distribution in leading markets, product breadth and consistency, global money management expertise, and capital strength. Also needed are technological capability, marketing and customer service skills, defensible pricing, low-cost production, and a strong brand. All these characteristics must be rooted in an affirmative culture with cohesive senior management and a talented and motivated staff.