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Towers Watson sees $5.7trn in alternative assets

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Total global alternative assets have hit $5.7trn, according to the latest research from Towers Watson.

Assets managed by the top 100 managers reached $3.3trn, up from $3.1trn in 2012.

The research covers seven asset classes and seven investor types.

Real estate managers have the largest share of assets – 31% and over $1trn – followed by private equity fund managers – 23% and $753bn – hedge funds – 22% and $724bn – private equity funds of funds (10% and $322bn – funds of hedge funds – 5% and $173bn – and infrastructure and commodities – 2%.

Towers Watson says the figures point to continued growth in alternative assets.

Craig Baker, CIO at Towers Watson, said: “For almost all of the past eleven 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 many more insurers and sovereign wealth funds, but the range of alternative assets has also increased beyond the likes of hedge funds and infrastructure to include real assets, illiquid credit and commodities. It is therefore not surprising that allocations to alternative assets by pension funds, for example, now account for around 18% of all pension fund assets globally, up from 5% fifteen years ago.”

“Pension funds continue to search for new investment opportunities and alternative assets have been an area where they have made, and continue to make, very significant allocations. While remaining an important investor for traditional alternative managers, pension funds are also at the forefront of investing in new alternatives, for example in real assets and illiquid credit. But they are by no means the only type of institutional investor looking for capacity with the top alternatives managers. Demand from insurers, endowments & foundations and sovereign wealth funds is on the up and only going to increase in the future as competition for returns remains fierce.”

Towers Watson’s figures suggest that Macquarie Group, Bridgewater Associated and Blackstone constitute the top three alternative investment managers by assets.

However, the focus of these assets under management vary between the groups.

Macquarie is the biggest infrastructure manager, while Blackstone is the biggest real estate manager and the biggest fund of hedge funds manager, Towers Watson said.

Goldman Sachs is the biggest private equity manager, while the Carlyle Solutions Group is the biggest private equity fund of funds manager. Bridgewater is the biggest hedge fund manager, BlackRock the biggest commodities manager, M&G the biggest illiquid credit manager and Ell Capital Management the biggest manager of real assets.


The top 25 ranking
Position Name of parent organisation Main place of domicile Total AUM $m Asset Class
1 Macquarie Group Australia 96,347.90 Direct Infrastructure Funds
2 Bridgewater Associates United States 87,108.00 Direct Hedge Funds
3 Blackstone United States 70,405.29 Direct Real Estate Funds
4 UBS Global Asset Management Switzerland 64,096.40 Direct Real Estate Funds
5 AXA Real Estate France 60,936.19 Direct Real Estate Funds
6 The Goldman Sachs Group United States 60,206.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
7 TPG Capital*** United States 59,000.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
8 J. P. Morgan Asset Management* United States 59,000.00 Direct Hedge Funds
9 Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. United States 54,845.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
10 Blackstone United States 54,292.90 Funds of Hedge Funds
11 CBRE Global Investors United States 53,700.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
12 BlackRock United States 53,431.30 Direct Commodities Funds
13 Apollo Global Management United States 49,000.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
14 LaSalle Investment Management United States 47,989.00 Direct Real Estate Funds
15 Carlyle Solutions Group United States 47,759.90 Private Equity FoF
16 CVC Capital Partners Luxembourg 42,478.30 Direct Private Equity Funds
17 Blackstone United States 42,400.97 Direct Private Equity Funds
18 The Goldman Sachs Group United States 42,223.50 Private Equity FoF
19 J.P. Morgan Asset Management United States 41,615.70 Direct Real Estate Funds
20 Credit Suisse Asset Management United States 41,178.10 Direct Real Estate Funds
21 Och-Ziff Capital Management Group United States 40,600.00 Direct Hedge Funds
22 Principal Global Investors United States 40,264.70 Direct Real Estate Funds
23 Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management Germany 40,134.20 Direct Real Estate Funds
24 Apax Partners** United Kingdom 40,000.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
25 Providence Equity Partners*** United States 40,000.00 Direct Private Equity Funds
* Data derived from the Global Billion Dollar Club, published by HedgeFund Intelligence
** Figures show total capital raised since inception, obtained from publicly available sources
*** Figures show total assets under management, obtained from publicly available sources


Overall survey statistics
Manager Type FoHF* Hedge Funds* Private Equity FoF* Private Equity Funds* Real Estate Funds Commodities Funds Infrastructure Funds Real Assets Illiquid Credit Total
Investor Type  $bn
Top 100 total assets 172.5 723.9 321.6 752.6 1,020.60 78.6 120.6 77.7 3,268.20
Top 100 Pension Fund assets 94.1 162.8 264.8 199 478.4 16.6 108.5 6.7 25.4 1,356.30
Top 25 Insurance Company assets 16.7 11.9 32.2 5.4 172 6.1 30.7 274.9
Top 25 Sovereign Wealth Fund assets 17.3 23.9 7.9 37.1 51.6 11 4.3 153.1
Top 25 Endowment & Foundation assets 8.7 17.5 5 20.6 16.7 4 5.4 4.9 82.8
Top 25 Fund of Fund assets 40.6 49.9 3.5 5.6 99.5
Top 25 Wealth Manager assets 39 65.4 43.4 191 59.9 26.9 425.6
Top 25 Bank assets 25.7 23.2 4.6 12.4 34.9 2.5 6.1 3.6 11.2 124.2
* Figures for some of these managers were obtained from publicly available sources and using data derived from the Global Billion Dollar Club, published by HedgeFund Intelligence


Jonathan Boyd
Editorial Director of Open Door Media Publishing Ltd, and Editor of InvestmentEurope. Jonathan has over two decades of media experience in Japan, Australia, Canada and the UK. Over the past 16 years he has been based in London writing about funds and investments . From editing the newsletter of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan in the 1990s he now focuses on Nordic markets for InvestmentEurope.

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