While more pension funds are rethinking their alternative investment allocations, higher valuations helped drive up growth in assets held by "alt" managers last year, according to Preqin's 2015 Global Alternatives Report. 

The total value of alternative assets in 2014 hit $6.91 trillion, up from $6.22 trillion the previous year, Preqin said. 

Hedge funds posted "underwhelming" returns, yet swelled to $3.02 trillion vs. $2.66 trillion at the end of 2013, thanks to investors willing to take on the risk in hopes of making a killing. Hedge funds saw the most growth compared to other alt assets last year, Preqin said. 

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.