The professional management of financial assets by managers who make investment decisions for individuals, institutions, or pension funds. Although asset management has existed since the early 1900s, it began to show strong growth in the 1970s. Concerns about the solvency of the Social Security Administration increased individual’s attention to their retirement planning. The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which passed in 1974, created private retirement plans called 401(k) plans. Those changes paved the way for firms to specialize in managing money for individuals and institutions. Also called and often used interchangeably with investment management. A professional referring to the job he or she holds is likely to use the term investment manager. A person referring to the industry itself is likely to use the term asset management industry.