Assets of leading 100 alternative investment managers top US$3 trillion
10 July 2013
News, Asia, Global
By Asia Asset Management
Total assets managed by the top 100 alternative investment managers globally reached US$3.1 trillion in 2012, according to research produced by Towers Watson and published in conjunction with the Financial Times.
The Global Alternatives Survey, which covers seven asset classes and seven investor, types shows that of the top 100 alternative investment managers, real estate managers have a 34% share of assets, worth in excess of $1 trillion. Direct private equity fund managers have 23% of the asset, worth $717 billion, followed by direct hedge funds with 20% ($612 billion). Smaller shares of the assets were held by private equity funds of funds (PEFoFs) with 10% ($315 billion), funds of hedge funds (FoHFs) at 6% ($176 billion), infrastructure at 4% ($128 billion) and commodities at 4% ($118 billion).
The research also includes the top ranked managers, by assets under management (AuM), in each asset class. Data from the broader survey shows that total global alternative AuM is now $5.1 trillion and is split between the asset classes in similar proportions to the top 100 alternative investment managers, with the exception of real estate which falls to 26% and direct hedge funds which increases to 26% of the total.
Richard Tan, head of Asian private markets at Towers Watson Investment, said: “For almost all of the past ten years of this research we have seen increasing allocations to alternative assets by a wide range of investors. Not only has the appeal of alternative assets broadened to include insurers and sovereign wealth funds, but the range of alternative assets has also increased beyond the likes of real estate and private equity to include direct hedge funds, infrastructure and commodities. It is therefore not surprising, that allocations to alternative assets by pension funds for example now account for around 19% of all pension fund assets globally, up from 5% 15 years ago.”
Commenting on pension funds in Asia, Mr. Tan said: “In recent years, Asian sovereign and public pension funds have also started allocating more towards alternative assets, particularly in private equity and real estate. We also expect other large institutional investors in this region to increase exposure to both asset classes in the medium term to achieve diversity and better yield.”
The research, which includes a diverse range of institutional investors, shows that pension fund assets represent over a third (36%) of the top 100 alternative managers’ assets, followed by wealth managers (19%), insurance companies (9%), sovereign wealth funds (6%), banks (5%), funds of funds (3%), and endowments and foundations (2%).
Mr. Tan said: “Pension funds have always been and will remain a very large investor group for top alternatives managers, but the demand from non-pension fund investors, such as insurers, endowments & foundations and sovereign wealth funds, is only going to increase in the future.”
The research shows that for the top 100 managers, North America continues to be the largest destination for alternative capital (46%), with infrastructure as the only exception where more capital is invested in Europe. Overall, 37% of alternative assets are invested in Europe, 10% in Asia Pacific with 7% being investing in the rest of the world.
In a ranking of top 100 asset managers by pension funds, alternative assets increased by around 8% from the year before to reach $1.3 trillion. Real estate managers continue to have the largest share of pension fund assets with 39%, followed by PEFoFs (20%), private equity (14%), hedge funds (9%), infrastructure (9%), FoHFs (7%) and commodities (1%).
Compared on a like-for-like basis, pension fund assets managed by infrastructure managers, private equity managers and PEFoFs managers increased by 14%, 12% and 7% respectively. During the same period, pension fund assets managed by the top FoHFs and hedge fund managers grew by 13% and 12% respectively during 2012. Pension fund assets managed by real estate managers declined by 3% during 2012.
“We continue to see pension funds globally putting their faith in alternatives assets to help deliver more reliable risk-adjusted returns at the total fund level, as evidenced by the growth, significant in some instances, in all but one of the asset classes,” said Mr. Tan. “Further to the increased acceptance of alternative assets in their portfolios, we expect pension funds to continue making larger allocations, and to access these assets differently. In particular we expect a continuing shift towards investing via individual managers rather than funds of funds – particularly in hedge funds and private equity – as these managers improve their structures and are seen as a more efficient implementation route than fund of funds vehicles.”
Data from the wider survey shows that at the end of 2012 the top 25 managers of wealth management assets managed $426 billion, followed by the top 25 managers of insurance company assets ($244 billion); the top 25 managers of bank assets ($160 billion); the top 25 managers of sovereign wealth assets ($154 billion); the top 25 managers of fund of fund assets ($118 billion); and the top 25 managers of endowment and foundation assets ($72 billion).
Mr. Tan said: “The ongoing economic uncertainty is likely to encourage investors away from simply holding equities as their main growth asset and towards a greater use of alternative assets. We think the effort to diversify in this way is worthwhile but investors need to be cautious about choosing the best and most efficient vehicles, not forgetting the increasing number of cheaper and lower governance routes for improving investment efficiency such as using Smart Beta.”
According to the research, Macquarie Group is the largest infrastructure manager with around $95 billion and tops the overall rankings, while CBRE Global Investors ($80 billion) is still the largest real estate manager. Goldman Sachs & Co is the largest private equity manager in the ranking on $68 billion with AlpInvest Partners as the top PEFoF with $44 billion. Blackstone Alternative Asset Management is the largest FoHF with $45 billion, while Bridgewater Associates is the largest hedge fund with $84 billion. BlackRock is the largest commodities manager with $74 billion.
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