Preqin’s Investor Intelligence database currently tracks 288 active fund of funds managers globally, 104 of which are based in Europe. Eighty-five percent of these Europe-based managers plan to invest in private equity over the course of the next 12 months, with the remainder seeking to invest in the longer term. The firms are located in 16 different countries, with the UK representing the highest proportion (19%) of Europe-based private equity fund of funds managers, followed by Germany (18%), Switzerland (16%) and France (14%), as shown in in the chart below. Collectively, these firms have an aggregate €3tn in private equity assets under management (AUM).
Ardian is the largest of these fund of funds managers, with €40.1bn in private equity AUM. The Paris-based firm closed an €850mn fund of funds vehicle, Ardian Secondary Fund VI SICAR, in April 2014, and currently has one fund of funds vehicle on the road, AXA Capital Asia III. The fund has a target of €423mn and will invest primarily in Asia-focused buyout and growth equity funds, with a particular interest in Australia, Greater China, India, Japan and South Korea. The fund will also look to make co-investments in Asian companies, with up to 30% of its capital allocated to such investments.
The second largest manager is UK-based Pantheon, with its private equity AUM standing at €24.9bn. Pantheon seeks investment opportunities globally and currently has four fund of funds vehicles on the road. Pantheon Asia Select, Pantheon Europe Select and Pantheon USA Select have specific regional focuses, while Pantheon Global Select offers its investors exposure to funds across the globe. All four of Pantheon’s funds of funds in market will primarily target buyout vehicles, with capital also allocated to investments in growth and special situations vehicles.
Switzerland-based firm Partners Group is the third largest Europe-based fund of funds manager with $24bn in total private equity AUM. It invests in a range of fund types on a global scale and is currently raising capital for four fund of funds vehicles: Partners Group European Small & Mid-Cap Buyout 2011, Partners Group Emerging Markets 2014, Partners Group Global Growth 2014 and Partners Group Global Value 2014.