Originally published on Forbes.com - By Antoine Drean, Triago Chairman & Founder - Since they’re outrageous, each of these predictions should be taken with a very large grain of salt (some bigger than others). Their primary goal is to amuse. And yet, perhaps outrageously, I’d wager that some will come to pass…
To paraphrase Mark Twain, PE’s travails are greatly exaggerated. PE performance is registering a gain, while Triago’s estimates for fundraising and PE-backed purchases indicate a banner year.
By Triago Chairman, Antoine Drean - Originally published on Forbes.com - As in past years, these flights of fancy are grounded in reality. Positive or negative - some a bit more extreme than others - they may in turn become reality, but they're principally designed to entertain.
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Thoughts from our roundtable contributors
"Single-asset secondaries can be the most attractive way to raise capital when you need to reconcile seemingly contradictory investor priorities for assets that have been held a long time."
"With the suffering caused by Covid-19, PE’s commitment to social impact is coming into greater focus, leading to far-reaching measures to improve the wellbeing of portfolio company employees, and the communities in which companies operate."
Chairman Board of Directors,
Adams Street Partners
"You can’t tell when the cycle will turn, so the most effective defense against high prices for a sophisticated private equity investor is dollar cost averaging, year in, year out."
Managing Director and Co-Head of Sub-Saharan Africa,
"Investments in Sub-Saharan Africa may make a better return than Asian investments, but investors need greater expertise, more local understanding and a bigger dollop of patience than what was required in Asia."
Senior Vice President,
"We all know that basic guideline for real estate investment - ‘location, location, location.’ Well, in Latin American private equity there’s also an overarching guideline for both LPs and GPs - ‘selection, selection, selection."
Golding Capital Partners
"It’s the collective responsibility of limited partners to push back against subscription lines. Specifically, LP advisory boards need to voice discontent."
Jagdeep Singh Bachher
Regents of the University of California
"In a period when interest rates are low and returns from stocks are not likely to meet our requirements, we institutional investors must take a good amount of the blame for pushing GPs to manufacture scenarios that generate the high returns we need. Everyone should be lowering their expectations."
"Globally, one of the most interesting developments of recent years is the collapse of European barriers to successful venture capital investing. Europe offers the prospect of 3x returns for fund investors for the first time."
Kathryn Leaf Wilmes
Head of Global Infrastructure ,
"With infrastructure, you can safely enhance returns with the same leverage levels as in traditional buyouts or, in some cases, with even more leverage."
"We’ve learned that the best protection against losses, particularly in difficult markets, is making sure a GP has enough of his own capital invested in his fund so that a loss hurts."
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
"Not all real assets always work as an inflation hedge, so that shouldn’t be a principle reason why investors buy them."
Partner & Founder,
"We tell our investors that as the second largest economy in the world, China today is just a small step away from being the biggest. Understanding the big picture helps bring home the depth of the opportunity set in China."
Arnaud De Cremiers
Adams Street Partners
"In private equity, investing in a new geography is a way to protect your returns by diversifying them. You should not be trying to boost returns in exchange for greater risk."
Trilantic Capital Partners
"One useful priority could be lowering the hurdle rate significantly. That could keep GPs and LPs better aligned in what is likely to be a relatively low-return environment going forward."
Global Head of the Alternative Investments & Manager Selection Group,
"Organizational stability and generational transition were always risks that the industry needed to address, but the 2008 financial crisis amplified this."
Head of Private Equity,
"Covid-19 has prolonged a period of easy credit. One of the biggest challenges resulting from that for private equity managers and their investors is continued asset price inflation and, most likely, even higher purchase price multiples."
Klaus Bjørn Rühne
Atp Private Equity Partners
"By placing a discount or premium on assets, secondary market investors already give you an independent assessment of the accuracy of GP valuations."
"As a secondary buyer moves from diversified portfolios of private fund interests with hundreds of underlying assets, to GP-led transactions involving multiple portfolio companies and on to single-asset secondaries, the motivation is the promise of progressively higher returns."
"For a secondary market fund restructuring to be attractive, uninvested capital, or fresh commitments, must be sufficient for add-ons and new investments."
Senior Partner ,
"Macro-economic issues and market volatility should not impact a good general partner’s ability to produce superior long-term returns."
Helios Investment Partners
"The majority of attractive investments in Sub-Saharan Africa – for us and others - concern the building of basic businesses that should exist but that simply don’t."
Co-Founder and Cio,
"There are some [frontier market] economies that are interesting, where you don’t see a lot of private equity activity. To justify more investment, there must first be more good GPs operating in these markets."
Jonathan Jia Zhu
"If you apply common sense it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the risks of investing in China outweigh the promise."
Senior Investment Manager,
Aberdeen Asset Management
"Acquisitions of smaller managers can be an attractive way for big managers to get access to sought after sector expertise."
Founder and Executive Chairman ,
"If you look at the relative promise of developed markets versus emerging markets, the latter are on every level where I want to be going forward."
Adams Street Partners
"Scale can’t be underestimated when it comes to China’s appeal, in particular in relation to the country’s venture capital market."
Flag Capital Management
"Good GPs in venture capital are optimists, and good GPs in buyouts are cynics."
The University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business
"If large funds start to materially underperform smaller funds, you’ll see a halt to growing fund sizes."
Co-Head of Fund Investments,
Allianz Capital Partners
"In such a complicated investment class, you should be devoting years to getting to know managers before you invest with them."
Managing Director, Co-Head of Private Equity Secondaries,
"Performance has almost nothing to do with the discount or premium paid relative to declared net asset value, though performance does correlate strongly with buyer ability to conduct analysis and forecast the value creation potential of all investments."
"Limited partners accept the notion that to hit expected return multiples the biggest private equity funds will take more time to sell assets than in the past."
Senior Partner ,
Resource Capital Funds
"When you acquire mining assets it often takes years to develop cash-flow and profit. we couldn’t invest in mines with consistent success without private equity strategy."
"We estimate that subscription lines repaid after six months or more, boost fund returns on average by 200 basis points annually. That can artificially push managers into a higher performance quartile."
Juan Delgado Moreira
Managing Director ,
"Across all emerging markets we want exposure to burgeoning consumer demand – this is the core appeal of developing economies."
Co-Founder & Partner,
Canvas Venture Fund
"Although the investment flow to Silicon Valley is higher by several orders of magnitude than flows going to other regions, the average returns in the Valley have been the greatest. In almost every conceivable new category pioneered in recent decades, the global leaders have emerged in Silicon Valley."
Chairman of EMEA,
"The covenant-lite leverage that accounts for the vast majority of credit now, gives companies and their private equity managers greater flexibility to deal effectively with challenges."
Bregal Private Equity Partners
"It might make sense to follow an index strategy in asset classes where the difference between the best and the worst is small, but spending time and money to weight your portfolio towards exceptional managers will always be the surest way to achieve optimum returns in private equity."
Insight Venture Partners
"One of the keys to investing success is only take stakes in start-ups in markets that really are as big as the entrepreneurs’ vision. That keeps business plans and investment burn rates in line with the opportunity."
Thomas W. Keesee
"Private equity is one of the few viable alternatives for companies seeking growth capital in Latin America."
Managing Partner & Chairman of the Board,
"Unorthodox PE structures often mean GPs sell services too cheaply to build sustainable businesses, or to deliver returns that satisfy investors."
Gaël Le Clec'h
Head Of Private Equity,
"Unfortunately, subscription line loans are now mostly used for the purpose of inflating annualized rates of return."
Head of Portfolio & Risk Management,
"There’s a degree of irony in reducing the relative importance of judgment to a percentage, but I’d say seventy percent of your final decision is based on qualitative judgments and only thirty percent on numbers you can crunch."
Chief Investment Officer,
"LPs looking to do co-investments must be able to identify the transactions where the GP has a real edge."
Intermediate Capital Group
"The benefits of scale usually come by branching into new areas or specialties and using the same platform for fundraising, compliance and reporting."
"Growing numbers of LPs are recognizing the virtues of secondary market restructurings."
Founder & Managing Partner,
"In many Latin American countries you’ll find truly exciting PE investments cropping up independently of macroeconomics."
"In a single-asset secondary deal, if the GP takes the majority of their capital off the table that’s a deal breaker for us."
Mufg Investor Services
"Some 80 percent to 90 percent of our closed-end fund clients now look at setting up subscription lines versus less than 50 percent five years ago."
Senior Partner ,
L Capital Management
"Combining L Capital’s Asian and European operations with Catterton’s network in North America and South America, gives us the kind of global offering that will maximize returns."
Partner, Head of Europe,
"It strikes me as reasonable for retail investors to have the opportunity to access private equity, since it has substantially outperformed almost every other asset class."
Chair of the Finance Faculty and Academic Director of the Coller Institute of Private Equity,
London Business School
"Private equity performance in emerging markets is more negatively impacted by macro crisis than it is in developed markets."
Guardian Life Insurance Company of America,
Head of Private Equity
"As an LP, we don’t try to adjust the risk profile of our existing private equity portfolio because GPs and portfolio company managements already do that."
Axa Private Equity
"An average annual return of slightly more than 10 percent on secondaries is realistic in this new world."
Chief Risk Officer,
"If you don’t seek out the best GPs, adding private equity to your overall portfolio is not going to improve your risk/return profile."
Jean Eric Salata
Founding Partner & Ceo,
Baring Private Equity Asia
"A good investment all boils down to the price you pay, whether you are talking about fast or slow growing economies."
"The way to successfully deal with the different economics of buyer, seller and manager in a secondary market restructuring is through total transparency regarding everyone’s aims."
"It’s counterintuitive, but covenant-lite loans have positively impacted fund performance and the ability of challenged private equity-backed companies to bounce back."
Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship ,
Tuck School Of Business At Dartmouth
"Another big challenge today is communications. At the best-run firms, the once generally accepted ad-hoc approach to investor relations has morphed into a formal, broad public relations function."
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