In this annual review we highlight four major trends in sovereign wealth fund direct investments in 2018: private markets bouncing back, the acceleration of early-stage investments, the age of new urban mobility, novel partnerships and co-investment structures.

These trends appear to be a development of a wider environment in which innovative companies find it easier to stay private for longer. As public markets continue to shrink, due to fewer IPOs and massive share repurchases, SWFs increasingly structure new co-investments and partnerships with peers, private equity firms and corporates.

In terms of geographic spread it appears that government funds are following other investors to prioritise the US and Asia. With Europe unlikely to show any sizeable growth in the next years due to its demographic decline, this trend is set to continue.

It appears that the median size of a SWF investment has remained at current levels, much lower than two years ago, mainly due to the more assiduous participation of sovereign wealth funds in early-stage capital fundings (which have smaller tickets).