The 50 largest asset managers accounted for more than US$38 trillion in assets under management at the end of 2012. This is a full US$4 trillion more than the year before, even as the biggest firms in the industry continue to enlarge, according to The Cerulli Report: Global Markets 2013.

Eleven money managers have assets in excess of US$1 trillion (compared with nine a year ago), and there are twice as many firms with more than US$2 trillion in assets (four compared with two, previously). BlackRock is still the only global firm with assets in excess of US$3 trillion, according to the annual report.

While the trend for consolidation in the asset management industry is not a new one, "there has definitely been a quickening of pace since the financial crisis," said Shiv Taneja, the firm's London-based managing director for international research in a statement. "Big firms can do many good-and not so good-things. Regulators have a huge role to play here, and in their desire to boost investor protection (a good thing) should ensure they do not make it tough on smaller firms," added Taneja.

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