With the financial spotlight still very much set on the European sovereign debt crisis, it is interesting to look at the composition of some of the major players within the private equity asset class in Europe. The top 20 Europe-based private equity investors (excluding fund of funds managers) that are active in the asset class have total assets under management in excess of €4.2bn.
In terms of private equity, the top 20 investors in Europe have an aggregate current allocation to the asset class of over €120bn, and between them have made commitments to over 670 private equity funds focusing on different opportunities around the globe. The average allocation to private equity for these investors stands at 16% of total assets, which is considerably below the average target allocation of 25%.
The type of private equity investors in Europe is diversified. Within the top 20, asset managers account for the highest proportion of these investors with seven, followed by insurance companies at three, and the remaining ten are comprised of banks, wealth managers, family offices, government agencies, and both public and private pension funds. Geographically, seven of the top 20 European investors are based within the UK, while five are based within the Netherlands. Other regions represented by these significant investors are Switzerland, France, and Italy.
Similar to the investor universe as a whole, buyout funds are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular fund type among these investors, with all the top 20 European investors having an appetite for such vehicles. Venture capital funds are the next most popular investment, and three-quarters of the top 20 Europe-based investors have previously indicated a preference for secondaries vehicles.
It is evident that despite the current state of the European market, investors within Europe account for some of the largest investors within the private equity asset class. With a number of these investors currently below their target allocations to private equity, it is likely we will continue to see a sustained interest in the private equity asset class from these significant investors.