Have Alternative Investments Helped or Hurt?

11 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2023 Last revised: 21 Sep 2023

Date Written: August 3, 2023


Despite all the attention paid to alternative investments in recent years, there has been little study of their impact on the performance of institutional investment portfolios, e.g., those of pension plans and endowed institutions. This paper attempts to help fill the void. It shows that, since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, US public-sector pension funds realized a negative alpha of approximately 1.2% per year, virtually all of which is associated with their exposure to alternative investments. While exposure to private equity neither helped nor hurt, both real estate and hedge fund exposures detracted significantly from performance. Institutional investors should consider whether continuing to invest in alternatives warrants the time, expense and reduced liquidity associated with them.

Suggested Citation

Ennis, Richard, Have Alternative Investments Helped or Hurt? (August 3, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4531038 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4531038

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