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Private Markets Group

Find out about the team that manages our private assets

What is the Private Markets Group?

The Private Markets Group (PMG) was established in 2007 to manage our private market investments in-house. The team is part of USS Investment Management Limited, or USSIM, our in-house investment manager, and manages nearly £28bn of private assets. This comprises over a third of USS’s total assets under management.

Private markets are a good fit for schemes like USS as we can provide long-term, patient capital and they’re typically less susceptible to the swings we sometimes see in public markets. They can often provide long-term inflation linked returns that align to our long-term pension promises.

PMG invests across the full spectrum of private markets and has added £4bn of value above benchmark over the 10 years to December 2023.

Our private investments are broadly categorised into four investment teams: Property, Private Credit and Alternative Income, Direct Equity and Private Equity Funds and Co-Investments. These investment teams are complemented by dedicated Asset Management and Strategy functions.

Approximately 70% of our private investments are made directly (without an intermediary). The rest are managed by external investment managers where it makes financial sense to do so or where we don’t have the expertise in-house. For example, in private equity and alternative income.

PMG’s approach

We have implemented a clear approach to our investment activities:

  • Longevity: We must pay pensions far into the future, which means we are patient investor focused on achieving the best financial outcomes for the scheme and our members, as well as building long-term partnerships with our portfolio companies and the funds with which we co-invest.
  • Flexibility: We can invest in different asset types across USS’s risk appetite and capital structure. We typically underwrite transactions of between £50m and £500m and can fund additional investment for the companies in which we invest.
  • Collaboration: Our PMG teams are made up of investment experts across asset classes who collaborate to source and execute transactions that deliver against USS’s wider objectives.
  • Responsible investment: We are a responsible investor with a legal duty to invest in the best financial interests of our members and beneficiaries, so we can pay pensions long into the future. We consider the financial impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues when we invest. More specifically, we integrate financial ESG factors into our investment decisions and engage with the companies we invest in to encourage positive change.
  • Alignment: As a long-term investor we ensure our in-house management teams are focused on our long-term investment objectives. We invest in assets or companies that are aligned with our long-term ambitions to invest responsibly and pay pensions long into the future.

PMG is overseen by Ben Levenstein, who has led the team since April 2024 following his role as Head of Private Credit and Alternative Income. As well as overall responsibility for PMG, Ben also sits on the Investment Executive Committee.

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