Last updated: 22:16 / Thursday, 4 August 2016
Willis Towers Watson's Study

Which Ones are the Top Alternative Asset Managers?

Which Ones are the Top Alternative Asset Managers?

Total assets managed by the top 100 alternative investment managers globally reached $3.6 trillion up 3% on the prior year, according to research produced by Willis Towers Watson. The Global Alternatives Survey, which covers ten asset classes and seven investor types, shows that of the top 100 alternative investment managers, real estate managers have the largest share of assets (34% and over $1.2 trillion), followed by hedge funds (21% and $755bn), private equity fund managers (18% and $640bn), private equity funds of funds (PEFoFs) (12% and $420bn), funds of hedge funds (FoHFs) (6% and $222bn), infrastructure (5%) and illiquid credit (5%).

The research also lists the top-ranked managers, by assets under management (AuM), in each area. Data from the broader survey (all 602 entries) shows that total global alternative AuM is now $6.2 trillion.

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.”

The research - which includes data on a diverse range of institutional investor types - shows that 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%).

The research shows, among the top 100 managers, that North America continues to be the largest destination for investment in alternative assets (50%), 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.

According to the research, Macquarie Group is the largest infrastructure manager with over $95bn and tops the overall rankings, while Blackstone is the largest private equity manager with over $94bn and the largest real estate manager with also almost $94bn. In the ranking Bridgewater Associates is the largest hedge fund manager with $88bn and Blackstone is the largest FoHF manager with almost $68bn. Goldman Sachs is the largest PEFoF manager with almost $45bn and M&G Investments is the largest illiquid credit manager with over $33bn. PIMCO is the largest commodities manager with $10bn, the largest manager of real assets is TIAA with over $7bn and LGT Capital Partners is the largest manager of Insurance-linked investments.