Apollo's Record Fundraising Adds to Struggles for Stock Pickers

Big stock-picking firms like AllianceBernstein LP (AB)  and Janus Henderson Group Plc (JHG) , already decimated by growing demand for index and exchange-traded funds, are losing another battle to a separate class of money managers: buyout firms, which invest in private companies.

Apollo Global Management LLC (APO) , the $232 billion buyout firm headed by Leon Black, netted $35.7 billion of new investor commitments during the second quarter, more than double the amount raised a year earlier, according to a report Wednesday by Craig Siegenthaler, a New York-based analyst for the brokerage firm Credit Suisse. Carlyle Group (CG) and Ares Management LP (ARES) also reported strong inflows.

Buyout funds have thrived this year as U.S. stocks rallied to record highs, buoying valuations on private companies. Most such firms use money borrowed from banks or bond investors to finance their stake purchases, juicing returns above those available to traditional mutual-fund managers that eschew such leverage.

"We continue to believe the alternative asset managers are in a secular growth phase, stealing share from traditionals," Siegenthaler wrote to clients. "They're raising record amounts of capital."

The trend adds to the struggles of traditional stock-fund managers as they try to stave off a decade-long shift by many investors toward low-fee index-funds and ETFs like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY)  from State Street Corp. (STT) .

Over the past decade, actively managed stock funds have seen net outflows of $1.1 trillion, while index funds and ETFs have pulled in a net $1.4 trillion, according to the Investment Company Institute.

Apollo's assets under management at the end of June were up 24% from a year earlier, while KKR's increased 13%, according to Credit Suisse.

Earlier this month, Apollo announced that it had accepted investor commitments of $24.7 billion for its Investment Fund IX, the largest dedicated private-equity fund ever raised.

Blackstone Group LP (BX) , the $371 billion buyout firm headed by Stephen Schwarzman, reported just 4% growth, but it's Siegenthaler's top pick among U.S. alternative asset managers: The firm's inflows are likely to pick up later this year, he wrote.

In May, the New York-based firm said that Saudi Arabia had committed $20 billion to a new infrastructure fund, with plans to raise another $20 billion from other investors.

Credit Suisse predicts Blackstone's shares will climb to $46 each over the coming year, from the current level of about $33.

The risk, of course, would come from a market downturn, which could impair valuations on the firms' investments, wipe out incentive fees and potentially hurt the ability to raise new funds.

Editors' pick: Originally published August 10.

More from Investing

Adobe Tops Q4 Sales Forecasts, Sees $11.1 Billion in 2019 Revenues

Adobe Tops Q4 Sales Forecasts, Sees $11.1 Billion in 2019 Revenues

Cannabis Roundup: DAVIDsTEA Preps Earnings, Aurora Cannabis Tumbles

Cannabis Roundup: DAVIDsTEA Preps Earnings, Aurora Cannabis Tumbles

This Is Bear Market Action

This Is Bear Market Action

'Fire Sales' Raise Red Flags for GE Analysts

'Fire Sales' Raise Red Flags for GE Analysts

Jim Cramer: We Can Play This Hot, Cold Game All Day Long

Jim Cramer: We Can Play This Hot, Cold Game All Day Long