European Institutions Diversify With Alternatives

Nov 6 2008 | 11:17am ET

Extreme volatility in global financial markets has not dissuaded institutional investors in continental Europe from carrying through on plans to diversify their investment portfolios in the medium term.

A new Greenwich Associates report reveals that European institutions made significant cutbacks in their allocations to European equities and government bonds last year, while shifting assets to emerging markets equities and other international stocks.

On the alternatives front, allocations to private equity showed a healthy increase to 1.3% of total assets in 2007 from 0.9% in 2006, while hedge funds moved to 1.7% from 1.6%. Nevertheless, alternative allocations in Europe continue to lag those seen in the U.S. and Japan. European institutions have larger exposures to real estate, allocations to which increased to 6.0% of European institutional assets from 5.2% last year. Institutions reduced cash positions to 5.8% in 2007 from 6.6% in 2006.

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