Aussie investors seek alternative assets

Alternative investment options are proving attractive to Australian investors, with the country's lead asset managers recording annual growth in assets under management (AUM) above the global average.

The Pensions & Investments/Towers Watson World 500 report found that Australia's top 20 asset managers saw their AUM grow by five per cent to more than US$1 trillion in 2014, while assets managed by the world's top 500 fund managers increased by two per cent.

Towers Watson Australia research diversifying strategies manager, Dania Zinurova, said Australian asset managers had shown an increased interest in non-traditional assets.

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"In Australia we see growing interest in alternative investments with some investors increasing their strategic asset allocation targets to private equity, real estate and infrastructure in the search for income returns, potential inflation linkage and diversification benefits," she said.

"In addition, many large investors have now a stronger preference for co-investments, ‘club-deal arrangements' and separate mandates. This is driven by their desire to have more control over their investments and also to invest in a more cost-efficient way."

The report revealed that Macquarie Group was the number one Australian asset manager, holding assets valued as more than twice the level of the country's second largest manager, Commonwealth Bank Group.

It also showed that Macquarie had consolidated its position as the biggest Australia asset manager, the report revealed that over the last five years it has climbed 66 places up the international rankings to number 50 — the largest jump of any of the top 500.

The research reported that assets managed by the world's top 500 fund managers climbed two per cent in 2014 to US$78.1 trillion, from US$76.4 trillion in 2013, with BlackRock holding the top spot as the world's largest asset manage, with more than US$4.6 trillion in AUM.

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