Alternative investments continue to be a key driver of consultant searches this year, according to the 2012 Consultant Search Forecast conducted by eVestment Alliance and Casey, Quirk & Associates.
The survey, released Wednesday, found that consultants expect hedge funds, private equity and real estate to drive 20% of all search activity and 26% of new or expanded mandates. Defined benefit pension plans seem to favor funds of hedge funds, while nonprofit plans prefer direct investing.
Researchers said four themes would power investor search activity in 2012:
- Generating steady income in a low interest rate environment
- Alternatives becoming core positions in portfolios
- The shift to liability-driven investing by corporate pension plans
For the survey, conducted in December and January, eVestment Alliance and Casey, Quirk polled 30 investment consultants representing nearly $10 trillion in assets under advisement. In 2011, the respondents conducted some 5,000 searches and placed a total of $370 billion in mandates.