Will Correlations Between Private Equity Strategies Continue to Converge?

March 21, 2019 | Megan Klassa, Research Associate

Will Correlations Between Private Equity Strategies Continue to Converge?

Private equity and venture capital allocations have together benefited private capital investors as they have individually provided outperformance at different points throughout an economic cycle. While both are loosely correlated to public equity performance, venture capital investments have many similarities to growth allocations whereas private equity buyout investments have characteristics similar to value allocations. Buyout returns often depend on lower purchase prices and leverage to generate excess returns, while venture returns tend to be less price sensitive and a reflection of accelerating growth.

The lower correlation between the two assets classes was present for more than a decade, spanning from the 1990’s to the early 2000’s. During this period, an investor would naturally hedge against the heightened volatility in venture by investing in both asset classes to offset this risk. However, since the mid-2000’s these two asset classes have become much more correlated as they both have benefited from a strong, 10-year plus growth-oriented environment coupled with low fixed interest rates.

While correlations have tightened over the past decade, the “growthy” economic backdrop that has fueled this relationship will undoubtedly come to an end. When this occurs, we believe these two asset classes will provide a nice complement over time to investment portfolios in generating a higher overall return with less volatility.

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The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

Megan Klassa
Research Associate

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