Private Equity Outlook 2019: A focus on investor relations amid fundraising concerns

IQ-EQ Fund services

As political uncertainty continues, fears that fundraising opportunities will worsen in the private equity (PE) industry have increased, according to our recent industry report. Based on a survey of over 120 fund professionals globally, our research shows that despite the industry remaining resilient overall, fund managers will need to prepare for an increasingly competitive environment.

Last year, half of all money raised was directed to the 50 largest funds in the industry, suggesting that competition to attract capital will be fierce, particularly for the smaller players. This is reflected in concerns from fund managers around fundraising, with 30% of respondents reporting that they felt fundraising would becoming more challenging in 2019 compared with 19% the year before.

Similar sentiment is also seen in managers’ views on what they predict to be the most challenging issues facing the industry in 2019. Both fundraising and investment opportunities held the top spot, suggesting that stiff competition in the UK PE market will continue.

Interestingly, the data shows that the issue of investor communications has slipped under the radar for most fund managers. Only 2% of respondents mentioned this as a focus for 2019, suggesting the industry is underestimating the importance it holds during times of uncertainty.

Speaking at our IQ-EQ Thought Leadership Series event in London last week, during which the survey results were revealed and discussed, Justin Partington, Group Head of Funds, said: “The UK is still a promising sector for long-term private equity investing. Although confidence in the market is slightly lower compared with previous years, and investors are becoming increasingly cautious, there is still an opportunity for firms to stand out. It is clear from the survey findings that building and developing strong investor relationships will need to become a priority. Improving this through class-leading transparent financial reporting and access to portfolio data will put managers in good stead to gain that crucial edge in an unpredictable environment.”

Richard Taffler, Professor of Finance and Accounting at Warwick University, also speaking at the event, commented on the results from the perspective of the investor. Taffler, who focuses on the role of emotions to explain investor and market behaviour, further highlighted the importance of investor relations. He said: “To invest is to trust and investors will stay with fund managers where this has been built. Investment decisions are emotional and managers must understand this in order to excel during times of uncertainty.”

The report provides an annual snapshot of industry sentiment. Click here to find out more and download the report in full.