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The Future of Private Market Investing Finds Broader Access, Secondary Market Activity and Increased Liquidity Key for Growth

22 July, 2021
clock 4 MIN READ

LONDON, 22 July 2021 – SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) today announced the results of a survey and report that explores the private markets’ evolution and perspectives on inherent opportunities. “Private Market Liquidity: Illogical or Inspired?” is the result of SEI’s strategic partnership with Preqin and ANZU Research to survey more than 400 managers (general partners or GPs) and investors (limited partners or LPs).   

“The potential for private markets is rapidly expanding as investors increasingly seek exposure to assets that have been off limits to them in the past,” said Jay Cipriano, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of SEI’s Investment Manager Services division. “Sparked by broader access and greater liquidity, the private markets are creating tremendous opportunities for managers and investors alike. Our survey provides critical insight into the shifting role of private markets, how retail is influencing their trajectory, and why the secondary market is essential to understanding the broader transformation.”

Several emerging trends are attracting more investors and injecting additional liquidity into the private marketplace, including:     

Private Markets’ Role

  • In search of higher returns and superior portfolio diversification, institutional and retail investors are actively seeking greater exposure to private assets. In parallel, private assets’ usefulness in portfolio construction has regulators lowering barriers and expanding access.
  • GPs are twice as likely as LPs to say that private markets provide excellent portfolio diversification.
  • The illiquidity premium is real, but it may continue to shrink as liquidity options multiply in coming years. In fact, investors surveyed are more likely than managers to argue that the premium is already shrinking.

Effect of Retail Access  

  • Eight out of 10 GPs said that non-accredited individuals should be able to invest in private markets, giving way to widespread support for broader access to private securities.
  • Mutual funds and ETFs will almost certainly play a key role in allowing mass affluent investors access to private markets either directly or via their advisors.
  • 401(k)s and other retirement plans will include more private assets and private market strategies, initially packaged in collective investment trusts and/or embedded in target-date funds to gain market share.

Accelerating Secondary Market Participation

  • Half of all GPs and LPs surveyed indicated they would participate in the secondary market in 2021, dramatically higher than our previous survey six years ago.
  • No longer stigmatised or viewed as a less reputable version of the primary market, secondaries are successfully being used to actively manage portfolios.
  • A lack of transparency is preventing an even wider embrace of secondaries. More than 90% of LPs surveyed said more transparency was necessary.

“The growing alignment between GPs, LPs and regulators has driven improved private market access and increased liquidity,” continued Cipriano. “To capitalise on this growth, GPs must address the myriad of operational challenges by building an ecosystem of technology vendors and service provider partners, taking advantage of the rising use of trading platforms and exchanges, and adapting to the portfolio turnover caused by LPs restructuring based on their ESG and diversity and inclusion values.”

“Private Market Liquidity: Illogical or Inspired?” provides additional insight into the survey’s findings. Download the complete report at:

About SEI

After 50 years in business, SEI (NASDAQ:SEIC) remains a leading global provider of investment processing, investment management, and investment operations solutions designed to help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of June 30, 2021, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages, advises or administers approximately $1.3 trillion in hedge, private equity, mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including approximately $399 billion in assets under management and $880 billion in client assets under administration.

About SEI's Investment Manager Services Division

SEI’s Investment Manager Services supplies investment organisations of all types with advanced operating infrastructure they must have to evolve and compete in a landscape of escalating business challenges. SEI’s award-winning global operating platform provides investment managers and asset owners with customised and integrated capabilities across a wide range of investment vehicles, strategies and jurisdictions. Our services enable users to gain scale and efficiency, keep pace with marketplace demands, and run their businesses more strategically. SEI partners with more than 550 traditional and alternative asset managers, as well as sovereign wealth funds and family offices, representing more than US$37 trillion in assets, including 49 of the top 100 asset managers worldwide*. For more information, visit

*Based on Pensions & Investments’ “Largest Money Managers” 2020 ranking

Services provided by SEI Investments – Global Fund Services Limited (Reg. in Dublin No. 242309), and its affiliates, which are all wholly owned subsidiaries of SEI Investments Company. SEI Investments – Global Fund Services Limited is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland under the Investment Intermediaries Act of 1995. 

Leslie A.  Wojcik

Head of Global Communications


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