A recent Mercer survey showed that in 2013 38% of pension plans indicated they are investing in alternatives versus 25% in 2010; and 8% of plan assets were in alternatives, versus 15% in 2010. While low portfolio returns are driving Canadian pension plans to increase allocations to alternatives according to pension consultant Mercer, this appears to be less the case for private investors.

Fortunately, as a Canadian investor you have options to make direct alternative allocations independently of your core pension plan holdings via Canada’s growing alternative market represented by Exempt Market Dealers.

Greg Tooth, a partner at buy-out firm Equicapita reports, “The alternative market in Canada allows retail investors to add private equity offerings directly into their investment portfolios. While this market tends to be focused on commercial and residential real estate offerings there are a growing number of more traditional private equity vehicles such as Equicapita raising capital in this universe. We created Equicapita to be RRSP eligible with a low minimum to allow qualified investors access to SME investments which are difficult to access through traditional channels.”