Sovereign wealth funds — the increasingly powerful investment arms of governments around the world — are growing at a rapid pace, according to the Preqin Sovereign Wealth Funds Review.    

There are currently 46 active sovereign wealth funds worldwide, with aggregate assets at $3.05 trillion, the study says, adding that assets have risen 51 percent from the end of 2006.    

The Middle East is the biggest region for SWFs in terms of value, with 41 percent of all capital centered there. Asia has 31 percent of the capital, with Europe laying claim to 19 percent, according to the study.

Boosted by ballooning trade surpluses, these countries have been investing overseas, leading some to fear their strategic intentions. But several fund executives have recently said these funds present little threat to the fund management industry, but rather offer opportunities for asset growth.

Sovereign funds such as Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp have made high-profile investments in U.S. financial institutions such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, who sought billions of dollars after suffering huge subprime-related losses.