Real Estate Number One Alternative Asset of Pension Funds

July 9, 2012 ( – Total alternative assets managed on behalf of pension funds by the top 100 managers (ranked by pension fund assets) was $1.2 trillion in 2011.

According to Towers Watson’s Global Alternatives Survey, this represents 49.2% of the approximately $2.5 trillion total assets under management (AuM). Of the asset classes in the survey, real estate remained the largest block of alternative assets for pension funds (39.7%), followed by private equity fund-of-funds (18%), private equity (14.1%) and hedge funds (9.8%).  

Total alternative assets managed on behalf of all clients by the top 100 managers was $3.14 trillion. Pension funds represent one-third of the total AuM, followed by insurance firms, sovereign wealth funds and foundations and endowments.  

Of all alternative asset classes report, real estate is the largest block (35%), followed by private equity (22%), hedge funds (21%), private equity fund-of-funds (9%), fund of hedge funds (6%), infrastructure (4%) and commodities (3%).  

As for where assets are invested, North America accounts for the largest share of alternative assets, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific.  

The Global Alternatives Survey report can be downloaded from