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Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

As deals from venture capital, private equity and real estate firms produce more headlines about billion-dollar deals and millionaire backers, investors are clamoring for ways to sink their teeth into so-called alternative investments. Big banks and asset managers are finding ways to help them do it.

Driving the news: Indexing giant Vanguard Group has reportedly started discussions with private-equity firms about a push further into alternative investments.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported the news Sunday, less than a week after reports that Goldman Sachs is putting together a 4-unit division with around $140 billion in assets to invest in private companies and other alternative assets like real estate.

What we're hearing: There's been growing interest in the space from clients at multinational investment firm UBS. Suni Harford, UBS Asset Management head of investments, says "not a day goes by" that she doesn't get questions from clients about alternatives.

What's happening: Many believe private equity has significantly outperformed stocks over the past decade, even though the data is more ambiguous. But as more companies like Uber, Slack and Pinterest come to market already worth billions, demand is growing to get in on the early stages of investment.

  • The same is happening with real estate and various loan markets, which generally offer higher yields than most bonds.

Harford says demand for alternatives also is rooted in increased comfort with private markets despite the lack of regulations and safeguards afforded by public markets.

  • "It's filling the gap that was left in the credit crisis, because banks just aren't lending," she told Axios at a recent event in the bank's Manhattan headquarters.
  • "There is this whole second level of investor capital coming in to fill the gap on private credit investing: loans literally to individuals or small companies and whatnot. So [there's] a tremendous amount of interest from people in a variety of ways that private credit can be offered. There's not a client that doesn't want to play there."

Further, says UBS head of real estate and private markets Joseph Azelby, alternatives are attracting flows from investors of all stripes — from high net worth individuals to institutional money managers who are pulling capital out of bonds, because of their historically low yields, and out of stocks, because of their successful run.

  • "That's driving interest in private credit, infrastructure, real estate and it's going to drive 10 other things that folks in our business are going to think of to tap into that need for diversification."

Yes, but: "The flow into alternatives is not actually showing up in hedge funds," said Barry Gill, head of active equities at UBS, who previously worked on the firm's multi-strategy hedge fund.

  • "Hedge funds have been net givers of flow, or least they have not participated anywhere close to the same extent" as other alternative investment vehicles.

Go deeper: The hedge fund moment is over

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

American men plead guilty to helping former Nissan chair escape Japan

Carlos Ghosn, former Nissan chair, during a news conference in Jounieh, Lebanon, last September. Photo: Hasan Shaaban/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans Michael Taylor and Peter Taylor pleaded guilty in a Tokyo court Monday to helping former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn escape Japan in a box aboard a plane in 2019, per the Wall Street Journal.

The big picture: Ghosn was awaiting trial in Tokyo on financial misconduct charges following his 2018 arrest when he fled to Lebanon. He denies any wrongdoing.

Reports: Trump DOJ subpoenaed Apple for records of WH counsel Don McGahn

Former White House counsel Don McGahn leaves Capitol Hill after a closed-door meeting with the House Judiciary Committee on June 4, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Apple told former Trump administration White House counsel Don McGahn last month that the Department of Justice secretly subpoenaed information about accounts of his in 2018, the New York Times first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: Although it's unclear why the DOJ took the action, such a move against a senior lawyer representing the presidency is highly unusual.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Victim dies after downtown Austin mass shooting

Police barricades near the scene of a shooting in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A 25-year-old man died Sunday of injuries sustained in a mass shooting that wounded 13 other people in downtown Austin, Texas, the previous day, police confirmed.

The latest: Austin police named the victim as Douglas John Kantor, as they continued to search for one of two suspects. One suspect was taken into custody on Saturday following the shooting on 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants.