But head of UK and cross-border research at the group, Ed Moisson, said it was unlikely this heralded a new dawn of product rationalisation across the industry and predicted market conditions would largely dictate where product development priorities lay.
The net reduction of funds in 2011 was 43, far fewer than the reduction of 801 seen in 2009 – the only other year which witnessed a contraction in the past 10 years.
"In recent years there have been about the same number of fund launches in both halves of the year, but in the latest year there was a surprising tail-off," said Moisson.
There were 1,687 launched in the first half and 1,291 launched in the second, partly as the result of some planned launches being shelved, he explained.
New fund launches represent a significant part of asset management companies’ activity, Moisson added, accounting for 60% of the 79% growth in the industry seen between 2001 and 2006.
"When looking across the full 10-year period, the industry would have contracted by 7% if no new funds had been launched (although this does not account for those closures and mergers that may not have taken place if new funds had not arrived). Instead the industry has grown by 74% over the past 10 years, with nearly half of industry assets (46%) now in funds launched over the past decade."