Global Alternatives Survey reveals 3% increase in asset totals

Total assets managed by the top 100 alternative investment managers around the world reached $3.6tn (£2.7tn), up by 3% on 2015.

That is according to the Global Alternatives Survey by Willis Towers Watson, which looked at 10 asset classes and seven investor types.

Real estate managers have the largest share of the assets (34%), valued at more than $1.2tn, followed by hedge funds (21% and $755bn), and private equity fund managers (18% and $640bn).

Private equity funds of funds account for 12% ($420bn) of the top 100 ahead of funds of hedge funds (6% and $222bn), infrastructure (5%) and illiquid credit (5%).

The research also listed the top-ranked managers, by assets under management, in each area. Total global alternative AUM is now $6.2tn.

Assets in insurance-linked investments is around $30bn, of which almost two-thirds is invested in Europe, by 13 asset managers.

The top 25 ranking of alternative asset managers

Rank Name of parent organisation Country AuM US$m Asset class
1 Macquarie Group Australia 95,041.05 Direct Infrastructure Funds
2 Blackstone United States 94,300.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
3 Blackstone United States 93,900.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
4 Bridgewater Associates United States 88,001.10 Direct Hedge Funds
5 CBRE Global Investors United States 79,800.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
6 UBS Asset Management Switzerland 72,953.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
7 TIAA United States 72,043.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
8 TPG Capital** United States 70,000.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
9 Blackstone United States 67,528.06 Funds of Hedge Funds
10 The Carlyle Group** United States 63,144.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
11 JP Morgan Asset Management United States 57,130.40 Direct Real Estate Funds
12 Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co United States 55,352.39 Direct Private Equity Funds
13 LaSalle Investment Management United States 55,081.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
14 Principal Global Investors United States 53,486.65 Direct Real Estate Funds
15 AXA Investment Managers France 52,846.98 Direct Real Estate Funds
16 Man Group United Kingdom 51,419.00 Direct Hedge Funds
17 AQR Capital Management United States 50,996.06 Direct Hedge Funds
18 Brookfield Asset Management Canada 49,807.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
19 JP Morgan Asset Management* United States 49,200.00 Direct Hedge Funds
20 Hines United States 47,548.47 Direct Real Estate Funds
21 Aviva Investors United Kingdom 45,759.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
22 Deutsche Asset Management Germany 45,381.44 Direct Real Estate Funds
23 Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers United States 45,093.40 Direct Real Estate Funds
24 Providence Equity Partners** United States 45,000.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
25 Och-Ziff Capital Management Group United States 44,600.00 Direct Hedge Funds

* Data derived from the Global Billion Dollar Club, published by HedgeFund Intelligence
**Figures show total assets under management, obtained from publicly available sources

Luba Nikulina, global head of manager research at Willis Towers Watson, said: “Institutional investors continue to focus on diversity but not at all cost. While inflows into alternative assets continue apace, investors have become more mindful of alignment of interests and getting value for money.

“This has contributed to a further blurring between individual ‘asset classes’, as investors increase their focus on underlying return drivers with the ultimate objective of achieving true diversity and making their portfolios more robust in the face of the increasingly volatile and uncertain macroeconomic environment.”

Pension fund assets represent a third (34%) of the top 100 alternative managers’ assets, followed by wealth managers (19%), insurance companies (10%), sovereign wealth funds (6%), banks (2%), funds of funds (2%) and endowments & foundations (2%).

North America continues to be the largest destination for investment in alternative assets (50%) among the top 100 managers, with illiquid credit and infrastructure being the only asset classes where more capital is invested in Europe.

Overall, 37% of alternative assets are invested in Europe and 8% in Asia Pacific, with 5% being invested in the rest of the world.

Macquarie Group was found to be the largest infrastructure manager at the end of 2015 with more than $95bn, and topped the overall rankings. Blackstone was the largest private equity manager with more than $94bn and the largest real estate manager with also almost $94bn.

Bridgewater Associates was the largest hedge fund manager with $88bn and Blackstone was the largest fund of hedge fund manager with almost $68bn. Goldman Sachs was the largest private equity funds of funds manager with almost $45bn and M&G Investments was the largest illiquid credit manager with over $33bn.

PIMCO was the largest commodities manager with $10bn, the largest manager of real assets was TIAA with more than $7bn and LGT Capital Partners was the largest manager of Insurance-linked investments.

Overall survey statistics


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