Key terms and methodology

What is in the Database?

Secondaries Investor’s Database holds live information on active institutional investors in the secondaries market (limited partners), managers of secondaries funds (general partners), service providers to both LPs and GPs (investment consultants and placement agents), as well as data on the funds themselves through their fundraising life-cycle.

What do we mean by Secondaries?

For the purposes of the Database, secondaries is defined as capital raised through limited partnership structures, separate accounts and private mandates for investments into the private secondaries market.

The private secondaries market covers private equity (buyout, growth, turnaround and distressed), venture capital, real estate, infrastructure, private debt and agriculture/timberland.

Investments can mean the buying and selling of unrealized investor commitments into private market funds (LP secondaries) or of existing portfolio investments (direct secondaries) held by another fund or investor.

How do we define an institutional investor/ limited partner?

A limited partner (LP) is an institutional investor that commits capital to private funds through limited partnership structures, co-investment funds, separate accounts, private mandates and other similar investment vehicles. An LP can include corporates, family offices, foundations and endowments, insurance companies, investment firms, pension funds, banks, sovereign wealth funds, fund of fund managers and other select institutions.

As our primary goal is to track how institutional capital is being invested, our listing of institutional investors in the Database does not extend to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) – many of whom invest via family offices, which we do include – or crowd-funding platforms. For funds that receive commitments from HNWIs and institutional investors, we would add the fund and the institutional investors to the Database but not the HNWIs.

We track investors that commit capital to closed-ended funds managed by fund managers.

Qualified investors must have limited liquidity options and the fund manager must have full discretion over investments made. We do not track, in the database, the exchange of fund interests themselves, just the raising of capital through fund structures for this strategy.

We hold the following information about institutional investors on our Database: assets under management, current and target allocation to alternative asset classes, contact details, current allocation preferences by geography, strategy and sector, appetite for future fund investments, and current and historic fund commitments.

How do we define a general partner?

A general partner is a fund manager that raises capital from institutional investors through closed-ended fund structures and/or non-fund vehicles with fund-like economics (co-investments, separate accounts, private mandates).  Capital raised through such vehicles is invested in unrealized investor commitments into private market funds or existing portfolio investments held by fund managers.

The general partner information that we hold on our Database includes: assets under management, contact details, current investment preferences and fund-level details, such as amount targeted, amount raised, key dates, LPs investors in the fund, service providers used.

What strategies/transaction types do we cover? 

There are three sub-strategies for secondaries, namely LP secondaries, direct secondaries and fund of firms.

  • LP Secondaries – a buyer (secondaries fund manager) purchases a limited partnership interest in a private equity fund from a pre-existing investor in that fund (“fund interest purchase”). The buyer has exposure to the existing portfolio of investments and is responsible for any remaining commitment to the fund.
  • Direct Secondaries – a buyer (secondaries fund manager) may purchase a direct investment in an operating company or a portfolio of companies from a primary investment fund manager.
  • Fund of Firms – a fund that invests in stakes of third party GP management companies

What sectors do we look at?

  • Private Equity – a fund that invests in a private company, either alone or in partnership with other private equity firms.
  • Private Real Estate – a fund that invests in property used for commercial/business purposes, such as offices, hotels, retail, industrial and numerous other niche property types, as well as multifamily/apartment properties. It may include portfolios of single-family houses, assembled via an institutional platform.
  • Infrastructure -a fund that invests in tangible, physical assets, whether existing (brownfield) or development phase (greenfield) that are expected to exhibit stable, predictable cashflows over a long-term investment horizon.
  • Private Debt – a fund that invests in the debt of private companies, or the debt financing of leveraged buyouts, infrastructure projects and real estate. This includes all elements of the capital structure except equity: senior, uni-tranche, mezzanine, asset-backed lending, distressed debt or credit-oriented special situations funds and CLOs.
  • Agriculture – a fund that invests in agricultural investment products, including farmland, timberland, aquaculture, agri-tech and agribusiness companies.


How do we calculate fundraising statistics?

Our quarter-end and full year fundraising statistics count the final closes of all funds and vehicles with fund-like economics (including co-investments, separate accounts and private mandates) with a closed-ended structure, which meet the above criteria.

Fund in market statistics count closed-ended funds and associated vehicles (co-investments, separate accounts and private mandates) which have launched and/or have held interim closes but have not yet held a final close.

We track the equity capital committed to a fund by institutional investors as well as the equity capital contributed by the fund manager. Leverage is not included in the size of a fund; we do not count total investable capital.

Our fundraising statistics are all given in a US dollar denomination. To calculate conversion rates for funds that do not have a US dollar-denomination we use an average exchange rate for the year in which a fund held a final close. For funds in market we use the exchange rate for the day in which the statistics are created. For example, Q1 statistics will likely use an exchange rate that is correct as at 1 April. All exchange rates are taken from

Capital raised for primary investment funds and open-ended / evergreen funds are not included in our secondaries statistics. If a fund has some secondaries investments but this is not its main strategy, then we will not include the fund in our statistics.