Macquarie Group has now officially earned the title of largest alternative asset manager in the world. The company’s infrastructure funds increased by seven percent from last year and almost doubled over the past three years, amid growing demand from pension funds and sovereign wealth funds for investments with stabilizing yields and inflation protection. According to Towers Watson’s 2013 Global Alternative Survey, Macquarie’s $US95 billion ($105 billion) portfolio of direct infrastructure funds outranks hedge fund, real estate, commodities, and private equity funds, offered by such prestigious firms as Bridgewater Associates, CBRE Global Investors, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs.
Senior investment consultant and head of manager research at Towers Watson in Australia, Hugh Dougherty, said that he expected superannuation funds were likely to increase their exposure to infrastructure assets in the coming years. Because of the increased interest in the investment community, in 2012 and 2013 the gap between the largest infrastructure funds and their peers widened significantly. Towers Watson said that over the last couple of years, the best infrastructure managers had increased their holdings by raising new funds quickly, while less successful funds had struggled raising any capital at all. For example, in May of 2013 Macquarie raised €2.75 billion ($3.9 billion) for its fourth European infrastructure fund, well above its initial €1.5 billion to €2 billion target, increasing the Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets’ (MIRA) global fund by $US9.3 billion; over the past two years. To improve its exposure to prospering and appealing emerging economies, Macquarie has launched new infrastructure funds in Korea, the Philippines and China. Only two other infrastructure funds were listed among the top 100 global alternative asset managers: the United Kingdom’s Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management ranked 81st with assets of $US17 billion and the US’ Global Infrastructure Partners came 95th with $US15.7 billion.
Of the top 100 alternative managers, real estate managers had the largest share of assets at 34 per cent and totaling more than $US1.0 trillion, followed by direct private equity fund managers at 23 per cent and $US717 billion, direct hedge funds at 20 per cent equaling $US612 billion, private equity funds at 10 per cent and $US315 billion, followed by hedge funds (6 per cent and $US176 billion), infrastructure (4 per cent and $US128 billion) and then commodities (4 per cent and $US118 billion). All things considered, it can be expected that the sharp rise in popularity around the globe for alternative investment offerings will continue to increase, especially as they repeatedly demonstrate to the investment community that are profitable and dependable.