Europe's limited partners may not have the firepower of their North American counterparts when it comes to capital, but in recent years they have become increasingly active in the private markets.

Part of the reason is the growth of the ecosystem within the region. PitchBook data shows that the amount of European private equity and venture capital investment in 2021 totaled around €754 billion and €103 billion, respectively, compared to €430 billion and €25 billion in 2017. As a result, European LPs have been looking to increase their allocation to alternatives.

These are the 10 most active LPs in the region last year in terms of the number of commitments disclosed:
Notably, Europe also now has a deeper bench of experienced managers than in the past, which has created more opportunities for European LPs—who have traditionally looked to North America—to invest with managers on the continent.

Demographic change is another factor spurring PE fund commitments in the region. Many of the most active LPs are pension funds or insurance companies, such as Finland's Elo, and they are under growing pressure to increase distributions to ageing populations. As such, many have been attracted by high-return private market strategies.

A lot of public money is into going into alternatives, too. France's Bpifrance and Germany's DEG have become active investors in PE, while the European Investment Bank ranked as the region's busiest LP. This is predominantly due to the activity of the European Investment Fund, which is currently managing around €11 billion of the InvestEU Fund and deploying capital across PE, VC and debt funds.

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