Mercer Advisors, which manages roughly $60 billion in assets across more than 30,000 families, is pushing deeper into private markets.

The wealth-management and financial-planning company will initially give clients with at least $5 million in investable assets access to two funds-of-funds sourced by Mercer’s private markets team, one focused on growth and another primarily on income.

The new platform, known as Aspen Partners, was built in partnership with Opto Investments, a private markets investment platform catering to fiduciary advisers.

“Given the concentration in the public equity markets, finding new sources of diversification for investors today is absolutely paramount,” said Donald Calcagni, Mercer’s chief investment officer. “Aspen is about pursuing better diversification for clients.”

Private markets have become a hot corner of the finance world as large institutions — and, more recently, retail investors — seek returns outside of publicly traded stocks and bonds. With money pouring into closely held companies, private equity and private credit funds, the data analytics company Preqin estimates private assets under management globally will jump to nearly $19 trillion this year, a more than 100% increase from 2018.

Mercer boosted its presence in private markets in 2022, when the Denver-based firm acquired Regis Management Co. Regis, based in the Bay Area, had about $5 billion in assets spread among 70 or so clients.

Now, Mercer plans to use its scale to offer funds at lower costs than are usually charged on alternative investments to retail investors. Fund expense ratios, capped at 19 basis points, will go down as the business gets bigger, according to Daniel Gourvitch, the company’s president. He added Mercer will offer minimums of $100,000 and invest alongside clients in the funds.

“That minimum is important because it broadens access and allows us to do real vintage diversification for clients,” he said.

The new funds will diversify across eight to 12 underlying funds. The growth-oriented fund will be allocated predominantly to private equity, with potentially a small allocation to venture capital, said Calcagni. The more income-oriented fund will invest mostly in private credit but also to some tax-managed hedge fund managers in the strategy.  There are also plans to launch a real assets fund.

Mercer Advisors and Opto Investments are both backed by GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.