This paper investigates the major determinants of fund performance and outperformance for the non-listed fund sector. More specifically, it seeks to understand whether fund performance reflects management and stock-selection skills or whether performance is mainly in line with average returns in the markets to which the fund is exposed. It also elucidates fund allocation and leverage strategies and seeks to detect whether successful funds anticipate upturns and downturns in sectoral markets. Using a unique database compiled by INREV for the 2001-2011 period, we analyse the characteristics and performance of non-listed funds and investigate whether funds depend solely on leverage and market/sector exposure for financial performance or whether there are additional value-adding factors at play. We also track fund performance through the years of rapid expansion of the non-listed sector before the onset of the global financial crisis to get a better understanding of the differential impact of performance drivers in market upturns and downturns.