CPPIB leads ranking of world's biggest PE investors

PEI's LP50 reveals that the Canadian pension fund has outstripped the likes of AlpInvest, La Caisse and CalPERS

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has been by some distance the biggest private equity investor in the world over the last five years, according to the LP50, Private Equity International's exclusive annual LP ranking.

Compiled by our in-house Research & Analytics team, the LP50 tracks the amount of capital institutional limited partners have invested in private equity in the last five years, to include primary fund commitments, co-investments, separate accounts, joint ventures and direct deals.

CPPIB, which has an 18 percent private equity allocation, has committed some $26.2 billion to the asset class since 2009, the ranking shows. That's about 34 percent more than second-placed AlpInvest, which committed $19.5 billion during the period, and almost 80 percent more than third-placed Hamilton Lane, at $14.6 billion.

Primary fund commitments comprised almost two-thirds of CPPIB's total, equating to about $17 billion of capital. Again, that was substantially more than any other group on the planet. And it continues to make sizeable commitments to new vehicles: last year, for instance, it wrote huge cheques to CVC Capital Partners ($834 million) and Apollo Global Management ($982 million).

Meanwhile, it continues to build out its direct investment business, which accounted for just over a third of its private equity activity during the period. Recent deals include the $1.6 billion sale of Air Distribution Technologies in April, a deal that meant CPPIB had doubled its money since buying the company from UK-based engineering company Tomkins in 2012.

CPPIB has been active in emerging markets, too. It’s currently planning to open an India office before the end of 2015, and is also eyeing Brazil. And it’s become a heavyweight secondaries player, particularly on the fund restructuring side – most recently with JW Childs’ Fund III.

Second-placed AlpInvest managed to maintain its investment pace during a period that included its acquisition by The Carlyle Group. It has also been successfully ramping up its co-investment business, as evidenced by the fact that co-investments accounted for 18 percent of its near-$20 billion total.

Behind Hamilton Lane in third place, the rest of the top ten comprised HarbourVest Partners, the Washington State Investment Board, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, Pathway Capital Management, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.

Together, these 50 institutions have committed $313 billion to private equity during the period.

***Click HERE to view the full top 50 ranking***