Australia’s Macquarie Group has maintained its position as the largest institutional alternatives manager in the world, according to the latest Towers Watson survey, as pension fund investors have adopted a steady-as-she-goes approach to asset allocation in the alternatives space.

The survey results, compiled in association with the Financial Times in London, show that funds under management by the top 100 alternatives managers, sourced from pension funds, was broadly unchanged at the end of 2009 – US$817 billion. This represents about half their total assets under management in alternatives.

There were nine Australian managers in the top 100, from a total alternatives universe of 224 firms. They were, in order of assets sourced from pension funds:

 

Overall

ranking    Manager           Pension Assets US$m       Total assets US$    Asset class

1              Macquarie        51,632                                92,671                    infrastructure

38           QIC                     6,269                                  7,294                    real estate

39           AMP Capital      6,248                                14,909                    real estate

43           IFM                    5,796                                  5,796                    infrastructure

54          Dexus Property   4,152                                11,580                   real estate

55         Macquarie             4,128                               10,247                   real estate

57         Lend Lease            4,023                                 6,797                   real estate

77         IFM                      2,658                                 2,658                   PE FoF

85         Charter Hall          2,320                                 2,730                   real estate

88         Hastings/UTA      2,256                                 2,318                   infrastructure

94         GPT                     2,025                                  4,455                   real estate

 

Ross Barry, head of the Towers Watson portfolio construction group in Australia, said the survey results showed the long-term trend away from equity-based portfolios continued, although the overall allocation to alternatives continued to rise, now accounting for an average of 17 per cent internationally, against 6 per cent 10 years ago.

He said institutional investors were being far more selective, with a greater focus on achieving genuine diversity and more cost-effective structures.

“Infrastructure managers have increased their pension fund assets under management during the past year, as new investors have become more comfortable with these asset classes and others have continued to opportunistically add to their allocations,” he said.

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