Worldwide private capital firm assets under management reached $4.3 trillion at the end of 2015, up 7.5% from $4 trillion the previous year, said a report from Preqin.
Of that total AUM, unrealized value in funds accounted for $2.9 trillion and dry power accounted for $1.4 trillion, according to the 2016 Alternative Assets Performance Monitor.
Private equity firms make up the majority of total private capital firm AUM, with $2.4 trillion, followed by private real estate at $809 billion, private debt at $561 billion, natural resources at $404 billion and infrastructure at $331 billion. Some assets fall under multiple asset classes.
The report also said the PrEQIn index reached 322 points at the end of 2015. This is the research firm's “measure of the returns earned by investors based on the actual amount of money invested at a given point in time” and began at a starting point of 100 at the end of 2000. This exceeds the firm's measure of the S&P 500 at 208 points, the report said.
Measured by that index, distressed private equity, which includes distressed debt, mezzanine funds and turnaround funds, was the best-performing strategy at 494 points, while buyout funds had 438 points.