As allocations to private markets grow, so do the cashflow, liquidity and “j-curve” challenges of capital calls and distributions. How might investors set aside assets to fund commitments without disrupting other parts of their portfolios, and without sacrificing too much return potential?

In this article, we propose fully funded, “integrated-liquidity” management as a solution. We discuss the advantages of having a well-equipped private markets manager handle the liquid commitments portfolio, and describe three different model portfolios to suit different investor profiles.

Executive Summary

  • Allocations to private markets continue to grow in size and complexity, and with that comes the challenge of efficient liquidity management.
  • Fully funded, “integrated liquidity” programs, where a well-equipped private markets manager handles the liquid commitments portfolio, can help investors manage the cash flow implications of these allocations and maximize their efficiency.
  • A “one-stop shop” solution allows a liquid portfolio to seek enhanced return potential with managed risk, while private markets commitments are being drawn.
  • We believe this approach can also allow for more opportunistic private markets investing, potentially resulting in faster capital deployment, mitigating some of the “j-curve” return profile of the typical private markets program.
  • We describe three model liquid portfolios for committed capital:
    - Volatility Control Portfolio – Where the focus is on enhancing returns above cash with managed volatility and limiting downside risk
    - Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA) Carveout Portfolio – Where the liquid portfolio matches the general risk/return attributes of a client’s strategic asset allocation
    - Proxy Portfolio – Where the return target of the liquid portfolio approximates that of the private markets portfolio
  • The appropriateness of each model depends on the profile, circumstances, risk appetite and funding source of the investor.
  • The case for using an integrated liquidity management approach for private markets programs is even stronger where there are multiple private markets commitments: in these cases, a fully funded approach enables liquidity to be managed across the board, seeking to maximize portfolio efficiency and risk-adjusted returns.
Integrated Liquidity Management for Private Markets Programs 

Source: Neuberger Berman, Bloomberg-Barclays, HRFI. Indices used: S&P 500 Index (equities); Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate 1-5 Years Total Return Index (fixed income); 66% ProShares Global Listed Private Equity ETF (PEX USD), 33% FTSE Nareit All Equity REITs Index (liquid alternatives); HFRI Fund of Funds Composite Index (uncorrelated diversifiers), U.S. 3-month Treasury Bill (cash). Analytics are as of November 30, 2021. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Annual volatility is estimated based on historical monthly returns from January 1, 2007 to November 30, 2021. Please note that estimated returns data is based on NB’s capital markets assumptions and are provided for information purposes only. There is no guarantee that estimated returns will be realized or achieved nor that an investment strategy will be successful, and may be significantly different than shown here. Investors should keep in mind that the securities markets are volatile and unpredictable. There are no guarantees that historical performance of an investment, portfolio, or asset class will have a direct correlation with its future performance. Net returns will be lower. Please see important disclosures regarding NB’s Stochastic Model and forward-looking statements at the end of this document.