Mega-trends are big this year.

Here's six of the biggest from Dr Stefan Hajkowicz from the thinking division of Australian government science body, CSIRO.

Hajkowicz presented his mega thoughts at the recent Russell Investments conference in impressive style, rattling towards the future at great pace.

But he had nothing particular to say about the future of the investment industry itself.


For that, global accounting firm KPMG has stepped into the breach with its just-released report, 'Investing in the future: How megatrends are reshaping the future of the investment management industry'.

KPMG has settled on four mega-trends (Hajkowicz has six): demographics; technology; environment; social values, behaviour and ethics.

"Nobody can predict the future," KPMG sensibly admits out front. "However, one thing is clear, it will be very different to today. We believe that a number of deeply-rooted forces - megatrends - are driving fundamental changes within the investment management industry."

The report envisages a future where fund managers take a broader role in the financial lives of their underlying investors, rather than just playing in mega pools of money.

"This could be through a greater role in asset allocation, development of a broader range of solutions, helping intermediaries better understand and educate end-investors or taking a lead in aggregating an investor's total financial position," KPMG says.

The study suggests investment firms may push out the product boat beyond the simple, but possibly out-dated, game of cash accumulation.

This may include "options to secure holidays, cars and healthcare during retirement".

"Of course, there are inevitable hurdles to overcome, but in a world where consumerism is hard to break and there is a general lack of trust in financial services organizations' ability to deliver the promise, we believe such a paradigm shift could be feasible," the report says.

"Ironically for an industry founded on analysis", investment managers haven't generally been good at keeping up with client needs, according to KPMG.

But the report says if fund managers don't innovate then techo outsiders will be more than happy to "move into what remains a relatively high-margin industry".

KPMG name-checks Amazon, Google and Apple as potential "next powerhouses in investment management".

No mention of Mega, however.