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Private Markets Group

Find out about our private assets and the team that manage them

What is the Private Markets Group?

The Private Markets Group (PMG) was established in 2007 and currently manages c. £18 billion in assets, comprising more than a quarter of USS’s total assets under management. These assets are managed by the largest team within USSIM, consisting of nearly 50 professionals from a wide range of background and experience.

PMG invests across the full spectrum of Private Market assets and is broadly categorised into four investment teams: Property, Private Credit & Alternative Income, Direct Equity and Private Equity Funds & Co-Investments. These investment teams are complemented by dedicated Asset Management and Strategy functions.

Approximately 70% of the investments are made direct (without an intermediary), reflecting the broader investment philosophy of USSIM where we only use external managers where it makes financial sense to do so or where we do not have the capability in-house. Making our own investments direct avoids incurring costly management fees and also helps to ensure that our investment approach aligns as far as possible with the needs of USS – to pay pension promises as they fall due. In this we have been successful, and PMG has generated 9.6% annualised return over the past 5 years (to Dec 2019).

PMG’s approach

PMG has implemented a clear approach to investment to ensure that investment activities are conducted in a consistent way:

  • Longevity: Due to the long-term liabilities of USS, we are a patient investor that is focussed on sustainable value creation and on building long-term partnerships with our investments and the funds with which we co-invest.
  • Flexibility: We have the ability to invest across the business risk and capital structure and we typically underwrite transactions of between £50m-£1 billion as well as fund follow-on activities for the companies in which we invest.
  • Collaboration: Our teams have deep expertise across asset classes and can collaborate to source and execute transactions that suit the businesses we invest in.
  • Responsible steward: We are an active and responsible steward of long-term capital. We aim to consider all the long-term risks that might impact the performance of our investments, including material Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors where these might have a financial bearing. This reflects the broader investment philosophy of USSIM.
  • Alignment: As a long-term investor we also strongly believe in supporting, empowering and incentivising the talented management teams we support.

PMG is overseen by Mike Powell, who has led the team since its inception. As well as overall responsibility for PMG, Mike is a director of USSIM and sits on the Executive Committee. Mike also represents USS on a number of portfolio company and advisory boards, including Heathrow Airport.

Learn more about our mandates

Further information

  • Private Markets Group factsheet pdf (268kb)
  • Investing in the UK pdf (19.19mb)
  • Responsible Property Investment Policy - Feb 2020 pdf (497kb)
  • Responsible Property Investment Working Group Remit - 2020 pdf (485kb)
  • Socio-economic, Community & Biodiversity Report 18/19 pdf (6.11mb)

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