Yield-hungry investors lift Swiss asset manager Partners Group

LONDON, July 17 Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:37am EDT

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - Swiss investment manager Partners Group increased total assets under management by to 33.8 billion euros ($46 billion) in the first half of 2014, up 7 percent on the end of last year, boosted by a retreat from bonds by yield-hungry investors.

The firm reported gross new client money of 2.9 billion euros in the six months to June 30 and restated its expectation of 4.5-6.5 billion euros coming in over the full year.

It was helped by traditionally bond-heavy investors such as pension funds ramping up private asset allocations as rock-bottom interest rates kept bond yields low.

Partners Group, which puts its money in private equity, infrastructure, debt and real estate, said on Thursday that it invested a total of $4.2 billion in the period.

"All investors are looking for yield based on very low returns from their bond portfolios," Chief Financial Officer Cyrill Wipli said.

The firm added that customised investment programmes were increasingly attractive and had inched up to represent more than 20 percent of total assets under management.

Private equity accounted for the biggest share of investments at 20.7 billion euros, up from 20.1 billion euros at the end of 2013.

"The private equity market remains very competitive, especially for quality investments," said co-CEO Andre Frei, adding that debt availability was creating a "heated environment" that was pushing up asset prices.

The company said that it had made 45 direct investments globally over the period, with 23 in Europe, but had opened an office in Mumbai as part of its drive into the Asia-Pacific region. ($1 = 0.7389 Euros) (Reporting By Freya Berry; Editing by David Goodman)