This ranking is based on the market value of investors’ private equity investment portfolios both through third-party managed investment vehicles and direct investments. This market value is measured at a single point in time for all investors to provide an apples-to-apples comparison. For the 2020 ranking, this is 31 December 2019.

What counts?

The definition of private equity, for the purpose of this ranking, is: capital committed by investors to a dedicated programme of investing into private, unlisted companies. This includes capital for strategies such as buyouts, growth equity, venture capital, and turnaround or control-oriented distressed investments.

Capital invested through the following types of structures is included:
• Private equity funds (both open-ended and closed-ended), including investments through funds of funds;
• Separately managed accounts;
• Co-investment vehicles;
• Direct investments into private companies.

Both investors with a defined allocation to private equity, as well as those that are active investors in private equity but may not have a defined allocation, are considered for this ranking.

What does not count?

• Non-proprietary capital: as this is an investor ranking, we do not count capital raised or managed of behalf of other investors. So private equity funds and funds of funds are not considered in this ranking;
• Debt investments: Any investments in the debt of private companies including mezzanine or preferred equity strategies;
• Expected commitments: we do not count pending or future commitments and investments or the uncommitted portion of an institution’s target allocation;
• Public equity funds: Investments in funds that invest in public equities such as stock;
• Hedge funds: as these primarily target liquid securities or trading strategies;
• Real estate: investments either directly or through funds in property;
• Infrastructure: investments either directly or through funds into infrastructure projects;
• Natural resources: investments either directly or through funds into natural resources assets (agri, timber, etc).

Where the investments are made in what may be termed a ‘grey area’ we reserve the right to make the final judgment based on applicability according to our definition.

Research process

Private Equity International’s Research & Analytics team seeks to communicate directly by phone and email with investors to find out the total value of their private equity investments as described in this methodology. In the absence of primary data, the team gathered information from secondary sources and sought to validate the researched figure with the investors themselves before publishing the final list. We do not disclose which institutions have provided information on a primary basis.