Twenty Australian fund managers feature in Towers Watson’s listing of the top 100 alternative investment managers.

In a list dominated by real estate and hedge fund managers, Towers Watson places Macquarie Group as the largest alternatives and the largest infrastructure manager in the world with US$96 billion under management (all figures are US dollar), followed by Bridgewater Associates with $87 billion and Blackstone with $70 billion.

The Goldman Sachs Group is the largest private equity manager in the ranking on $60bn with Carlyle Solutions Group as the top private equity fund of funds manager with $48bn. Blackstone is the largest fund of hedge funds manager with $54bn, Bridgewater Associates is the largest hedge fund manager with $87bn, while BlackRock is the largest commodities manager with $53bn.

The top 10 Australian managers on the list are: Macquarie Group, followed in order by Industry Funds Management Investors, AMP Capital Investors, Lend Lease, QIC, Charter Hall Group, RARE Infrastructure, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, Hastings Funds Management and Whitehelm Capital (formerly Access Capital).

The Global Alternative Survey shows that real estate managers have the largest share of alternative assets (31 per cent and over $1 trillion), followed by private equity fund managers (23 per cent and $753bn), hedge funds (22 per cent and $724bn), private equity funds of funds (10 per cent and $322bn), funds of hedge funds (5 per cent and $173bn), infrastructure (4 per cent and $121bn), commodities (2 per cent and $79bn) and illiquid credit (2 per cent and $78bn).

Martin Goss, senior investment consultant and head of client consulting at Towers Watson in Australia, said: “While the fees paid to these managers are higher than for traditional assets, Australian investors are focused on achieving the best risk-adjusted returns after all costs, and many alternative assets also provide a significant level of diversification to their portfolios.
“That said, the focus for Australian investors has increasingly been towards direct investment products rather than fund of fund products, as investors have increased their internal resourcing and are looking for more cost-effective investment approaches.”

The survey also notes that investors allocations to alternatives have steadily increased from 5 per cent of all pension fund assets globally fifteen years ago to 18 per cent today.

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