2021 Market Overview

The Hamilton Lane Market Overview reviews the trends, challenges and opportunities found in today’s global financial markets. This year’s theme – a spin on Aesop’s fable of The City Mouse and the Country Mouse – explores the bifurcation of the market and investment environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and other notable events of the past year.

We invite you to join us as we share the story of what transpired in the private markets and the broader global economy in 2020, and what is likely to happen in 2021. We spin a good yarn and, like our friend Aesop, leave you with a lot to consider.



The Big Ideas:

Growth Vs. Value

In the private markets, buyout has been historically viewed as “value” and venture as “growth.” Tilting your portfolio one way or the other was generally more of a function of your access to top-tier venture than of your view of growth versus value. That dynamic has changed.

The "Real" Risk

Let’s cut to the chase: The real risk in the private markets is related to liquidity and upside capture. It is not related to risk of loss, particularly in buyout, infrastructure and credit. Understanding and assessing the risks you are taking is crucial to investing well in the private markets.

Western Europe is the New Venture

Investors tend to think about Western Europe as similar to the U.S., just a little smaller. But that characterization overlooks some important attributes that distinguish the markets – and liken it to venture. This might require a re-think of how you invest in Europe.

2020 was a story of two different realities, and surely many public market investors know that story all too well. Consider how a portfolio overweighted to video communications and online shopping compared to one overweighted to the travel industry? Depending on which side of that equation you were on, the past year (solely looked at from an investment returns perspective) was either positive – or dramatically less so.

Recent Content

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That Escalated Quickly

Who knew that the comedic genius of Mr. Ron Burgundy would capture the spirit of a multifaceted topic so well? And what is that topic, you ask? Well, what is nipping at the heels of COVID, QAnon, SPACs and WFH as the most discussed subject? Inflation. And the escalation of chatter around rising prices doesn’t look like it will subside anytime soon.

Read the Research Article
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GP-Led Transactions: What LPs Need to Know

It’s no secret to those in the private markets that the secondary market looks nothing like it did a year ago -- or at any point in its history, for that matter.

Read the Research Article
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Market Trends: A Surge in Distribution Activity

Consider where the private markets were one year ago in August 2020. Q1 2020 valuations had just been published, indicating private equity funds had declined 8% in a single quarter. Investment activity and, more importantly, exit activity had dried up.

Read the Blog Post

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