In an earlier post, we saw that as of June 2005, David Swensen has 17% of Yale’s endowment fund allocated to “Private Equity”.
What are private equity invesments? According to Wikipedia,
Private equity refers to securities in companies that are not listed on a public stock exchange; while technically the opposite of public equity they are broadly equivalent to stocks, though return on investment often takes much longer. As they are not listed on an exchange, any investor wishing to sell securities in private companies must find a buyer in the absence of a traditional marketplace such as a stock exchange. In addition, there are many transfer restrictions on private securities. This long term investment area currently has over $710 billion in assets.
It is usually not very viable for individual investors to invest in private equity investments. This is because minimum investments are usually quite significant, typically $100,000 and up for the first instalment, plus further investments in the next few years (‘drawdown’).
However, Powershares Capital Management LLC recently filed with the SEC to introduce an ETF for private equity investments, called the Powershares Listed Private Equity Portfolio. The fund’s objective is as follows.
The Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield (before the Fund’s fees and expenses) of an equity index called the Red Rocks Listed Private Equity Index (the “Listed Private Equity Index” or the “Index”).
It will be interesting to see how such a fund works out in the ETF format.