Preqin’s Investor Intelligence currently tracks over 5,200 firms investing in private equity funds, with many committing large amounts of capital to the asset class annually. The top 100 private equity investors have an aggregate allocation to the asset class of over $1.3tn, and total assets under management of $12.6tn. When analyzing the make-up of the top 100 investors by allocated capital, there are several noticeable changes when compared to the top 100 investors of the previous year.
In comparison to the top 100 investors in private equity in 2013, the percentage of fund of funds managers has decreased by two percentage points to 41%, whereas the proportion of public pension funds has remained at 23%. Asset managers have decreased their proportional representation of the private equity investor universe by one percentage point, to 10%. Private sector pension funds and sovereign wealth funds have also decreased their proportions by one percentage point in comparison to 2013, to 4% alike. There are several types of investor that are no longer present in this year’s top 100 investors, including investment banks and investment companies.
When looking at the preferences of the top 100 investors, the most favoured fund types have not changed among investors over the past year. Buyout funds remain the most favoured fund type, with 94% of investors stating this type of vehicle as a preference, compared with 95% in 2013. Growth vehicles have remained the second most preferred fund type; however, a decrease of four percentage points has brought the percentage preference down to 86%. The percentage of investors targeting venture capital vehicles has decreased to 83%, three percentage points lower than the previous year. Distressed debt vehicles have seen the largest decrease in interest from investors, now listed as a preference by 66%, compared to 72% in 2013.
There has also been a change in the top 100 investors over the last year when broken down by geography. The proportion of investors based in North America has shown a decrease, representing 60% of the top 100, a four percent difference to the previous year. In 2013, Europe-based investors represented 26% of the top 100, but now represent 33% of investors. In contrast, there has been a decrease in the percentage of investors based in Australasia, now representing 2% of the top 100, showing a one percentage point decrease. China and the Far East have come to represent 3% of investors, a decrease of two percentage points from 2013. Investors based in the Middle East have remained at 2% of the top 100 investors.
Overall, the change in the make-up of the top 100 investors in private equity by capital allocated to the asset class over the last 12 months indicates a change in diversity of investor type and more predominantly, geography. This diversification is likely to continue over the next 12 months, particularly as Europe and North America-based investors continue to contribute a significant amount of capital to the asset class. In conclusion, private equity remains an attractive asset class for many investors, despite its illiquid nature.