EUROPE - Pension funds are for the first time since 1995 providing the most funds for Europe’s venture capitalists and private equity firms, according to the latest figures released by the European private equity and venture capital association (EVCA).

Funds raised by pension plans last year accounted for 24% of the total funds raised, with banks contributing 22% and insurance companies 13%.

According to the same figures, 2000 saw a record E35bn invested in private equity and venture capital- an increase of 39% on 1999’s corresponding figure. In addition funds raised were up 89% to a record E48bn last year.

The UK continued to lead Europe in fund raising with 37% or E17.7bn of the total raised and 38% or E13.2bn of the total amount invested.
France came in second with 13% of the funds raised and 14% invested. Corresponding figures for third placed Germany were 13% and 14%.

Says EVCA chairman Ari Tolppanen said: “With pension funds increasing their exposure to private equity, this record year for fund raising underlines the growing recognition of private equity as an asset class for institutional investors.”