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A not-so-private-equity index

Glasses on index sheet

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: More than a trillion dollars is invested in private-equity partnerships. Which are performing the best? Well, investors from pensions plans and university endowments have not had a way of measuring and comparing those result -- until now. Jill Barshay reports.


Jill Barshay: It's not easy to value private-equity funds as investments, because they're, well, private. There are no closing prices on a stock exchange to track.

Enter State Street. It's created a private-equity index from its own data. It doesn't rely on self-reporting by the funds themselves.

Christopher Ailman is the chief investment officer in the California State Teachers' Retirement System. He's got $15 billion in private-equity funds.

Christopher Ailman: We have been asking the industry for a long time to try and create an index of private-equity investments so that we can measure how well are we doing at picking the best ones.

State Street acts as a bookkeeper for big institutional investors. It can see which private-equity funds they've invested in, and how that money is doing.

From this data, they've built an index of 1300 private equity partnerships. The index will rise and fall as these investments pay dividends or cash out.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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