Our Insights

October 2015

Private Investments: Filling a Pension’s Return Void

Jennifer Urdan, Max Gelb

  • Private investments offer pension funds the opportunity to significantly increase returns when implemented well, capture some diversification benefits, access a more complete opportunity set, and improve funding levels. For example, if private investments can beat public equities by 300 bps per year (as commonly targeted), then shifting 15% of assets from public equities to private investments would boost a pension fund’s total portfolio return by 45 bps per year.
  • Particularly for higher-returning private investment strategies, the dispersion between manager returns is significant, underscoring the importance of selection.
  • Illiquidity, complexity, transparency, and fees are important but surmountable considerations.