The asset management sector is set for radical change in the next 15 years, according to a report from consultants KPMG, with the number of firms in the global market shrinking to half their current number.

In its new report, the consultancy said the asset management industry would transform because of huge shifts in client demographics and technology, as well as changing social values and behaviours.

Asset managers had been too slow to make use of new technology, and big tech companies such as Google and Amazon are in a good position to enter the sector, it said.

Tom Brown, global head of investment management at KPMG, said: “We are on the verge of the biggest shake-up the industry has experienced, and the message to asset managers is clear – adapt to change, or your business won’t survive.”

He said the two main problems that needed to be looked at were the changing client base and technology. 

“It is no longer just about attracting the clients who are armed with cash and ready to invest,” he said. 

If they are going to succeed in the future, firms have to concentrate on building “cradle-to-grave relationships” with a very different and more diverse client base that includes much younger investors, he said. 

“They must also be mindful that women are increasingly controlling a bigger share of family wealth,” Brown said.

The report predicted younger generations would save more money as they saw their parents run out in retirement. 

It also said there would be a lot of new money coming into the asset management industry in the next 15 years from the growing middle classes in China, Mexico, India, Nigeria and other developing economies.

KPMG said in the future clients would demand more personalised information, education and advice from asset managers.

This will require the firms to look closely at their technology capabilities, it said.

Ian Smith, financial services strategy partner at KPMG, said there was too little focus in the sector on building the technology architecture to meet future business needs.

“Platforms will need to be completely redesigned with the flexibility to support a much more diverse client base and deliver a step change in costs, control and client experience,” he said.