Cambridge Associates LLC U.S. Private Equity index earned 3.5% for the quarter ended Dec. 31 and 13.8% for the year ended on the same date. The Cambridge Associates LLC U.S. Venture Capital index returned 1.2% for the quarter and 7.2% for the year.
The five largest vintages in the private equity index — 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 — accounted for nearly 82% of the index's value at year-end 2012. The 2008 vintage was the quarter's best performer, earning 5.4%; 2005 vintage funds had the best returns for the year, earning 19.2%.
Investors received $48.6 billion in the fourth quarter, up 122.6% from the third quarter and the most distributions in a single quarter in the 27 years that Cambridge Associates has been measuring private equity performance. Limited partners in 2006 and 2007 vintage funds received about 47% of all capital distributed during the quarter.
Capital contributions to fund managers were also up, 46.3% from the previous quarter to $25.5 billion.