Survey Reveals World's Richest Families Cut Hedge Fund Investment

November 19
6:00 AM 2016

The UBS and Campden Research survey of 242 family offices globally found that there was a 0.9 percentage-point decrease in allocation to hedge funds and a 2.3 percentage-point increase in allocations to private equity. Family offices are the investment houses that manage money for ultra-wealthy family groups.

For the January-to-October period, hedge funds were up 2.85 percent, although they were down 0.48 percent in October, according to data from Eurekahedge released on Wednesday, citing their in-house Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index, which includes around 2,800 funds with multiple regional mandates. That was compared with the average fund's rise of 1.65 percent for 2015, the data showed.

So far in 2016, global family offices have returned 3.1 percent year-to-date, with around 14 percent of portfolios on average invested in private equity and private investments, while Asia Pacific family offices have seen year-to-date returns of 3.9 percent, with around 23 percent of portfolios in those assets, the survey found.

The survey attributed the better performance of Asia Pacific family offices compared with their global peers to a greater focus on private equity.

Family offices in Asia were particularly interested in co-investment ideas, noted Patricia Quek, UBS' managing director and country team head for Singapore ultra-high net worth and global family offices in Southeast Asia.

In a co-investment, a minority investor would tie-up with a larger investor, typically a private-equity fund, to make a direct investment in a company or project, rather than investing through the larger investor.

Quek noted that UBS offered family offices various property investment options, ranging from a global property fund with a minimum $250,000 investment to club deals from $25 million to $250 million investments for developments.

The survey found that the shift toward investing in private equity was also partly due to one of family offices' other key concerns: succession planning.

Planning how to hand over the reins to the next generation had also become more urgent for family offices, the survey found. In the next 10 years, 43 percent of global family offices and 59 percent of those in Asia Pacific expected to undergo a generational transition, the survey found, with those figures rising to 69 percent and 75 percent respectively when looking out to the next 15 years.

About $2 trillion worth of assets will be handed over to the next generation within the next 20 years, the survey found.

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