"Additional research ... shows that private equity funds underperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index by 3 percent annually from 1980 to 2003, after accounting for fees."
Excerpted from: www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/business/03equity.html?ref=business
Puzzlingly absent from the NYT article is any mention of risk in absolute terms or relative to "non-alternative" investments. Adjusted for risk relative to the S&P 500, how much farther does PE lag, net of fees and on average, over the long haul? View here: significantly farther.