In 2021, in New Private Markets’ first year, we debuted the Impact 20, our proprietary ranking of the largest impact managers in private markets. What did we learn?

  • It’s a fast-moving market. The investment mega-trend that is impact investing is (surprise, surprise) attracting a lot of investor capital and encouraging managers to create a lot of product to match. The level of activity in the market pushed us to revisit the ranking mid-year (normally we’d do these things annually) to see how things were shaping up. The upshot: the second iteration of the ranking came with six new entrants and an additional $10 billion in capital raised.
  • You read it. The Impact 20 was by far our most viewed story this year. The first edition of the ranking attracted more than double the number of views of our significant scoops, like on Blackstone’s ESG leadership changes and Goldman Sachs’ progress raising its climate-focused growth fund.
  • The definition of “impact” evolves. We decided to use GIIN’s definition of impact, which stipulates “intention” to generate “positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return in private markets”. It does not stipulate the geography or sector, or whether financial returns need to be “market-rate” or concessionary. The combination of intentionality and measurement with a broad asset class and returns-spectrum lens appealed to us. The increased discussion about additionality (or “contribution”) gives us food for thought when it comes to how we define impact. And the debate around this in the industry rages on.
  • Whatever impact is, it cuts across asset classes. The Impact 20 contains infrastructure, private debt, private equity and cross-asset strategies.
  • Investors in impact are not necessarily there for the impact. A look at the investors behind the funds in our inaugural ranking showed that the institutions ranged from overtly impact-oriented to fully financially motivated.
  • Some big beasts have yet to show up. We are confident that when we re-run the numbers early next year there will be some new additions, such as Goldman Sachs, Apax Partners or Apollo Global Management.

Think your firm should be in the ranking? Contact Tom Zimmerman on our research team: