Site map

Help us make USS better for everyone; join our research community

Private market investments

Get to know more about our private market investments

What are private market investments?

These are investments in securities that aren’t traded publicly, and include asset classes like infrastructure, private growth, private credit, private equity, and real estate. Investing in private markets is attractive for pensions schemes as historically they have generated attractive returns (after taking risk into account), and often benefit from long-term stewardship.

Private markets provide access to a source of return that isn’t always available in public markets. They can often provide long-term inflation linked returns that align to our long-term pension promises and give us the opportunity to invest in growth markets that support decarbonisation.

We invest around the world in high-quality private assets and companies with strong management teams across a variety of sectors. While we have a global footprint, we’re major investors in the UK.

A few examples of the sectors we invest in include:

Renewable energy

Social infrastructure

Industrial warehouses

Corporate lending

Motorway services

Retail and leisure



We have nearly £28bn invested in private markets. 46% of this is invested right here in the UK. Examples of our UK investments include:

  • Moto service stations
  • Heathrow
  • Westerleigh crematoria
  • L1 Renewables
  • NATS

As well as our UK portfolio, we invest in businesses across Europe, Australia and the Americas covering solar, toll roads, reusable pallet logistics, gas networks, woodland, and a port.

We have £2bn invested in renewable energy and clean technology. This includes assets such as:

  • Onshore and offshore windfarms
  • Solar farms
  • Energy from waste

Alongside this, we consider alternative sources of energy at many of our other investments. For example, sustainable aviation fuel with Heathrow and hydrogen gas as an alternative to natural gas with Redexis.

Since February 2020, both the Retirement Income Builder (the defined benefit part of USS) and the Investment Builder (the defined contribution part) are invested in these private assets. We were one of the first pension schemes to provide members with access to private market assets with no increase in cost to members or employers.

Investing responsibly

As a long-term, responsible investor, we engage with the companies we invest in, are active owners of our assets, focus on long-term outcomes, encourage good corporate governance, and consider all financially material considerations for our investments. Read more about responsible investment.

The assets

Visit Private Markets Group for more on the team that manages our private market investments. You can also visit our case studies page for more detail on some of the assets we’ve talked about here.

Where are we investing?