The private equity (PE) asset class has prospered in recent years, but as Bain & Company notes in its 2016 Global Private Equity Report, this may not be the case for long. In light of decreasing GDP growth around the world as well as other factors, investors anticipate that the double-digit gains that have become familiar over the course of the last four years may become a thing of the past. In fact, Bain predicts that the industry will settle at a “new normal” marked by positive cash flows but returns that are less stellar than those of the recent past.
If these claims are true and the industry is about to return to a resting point, then PE firms need to devote renewed attention to strategy. Fund managers should develop ways that their firm can remain successful and competitive in the changing PE landscape, Bain argues, by emphasizing their ambitions and strengths to create a “repeatable model” for strong investment. And since it takes time to implement a successful strategy, PE firms need to start now.
According to Bain, PE strategy should begin with a firm’s stated ambitions or visions of future successes. The next layer of strategy is to develop concrete goals and action items that allow firms to realize their ambitions. Lastly, a firm should look to hire a talented team of professionals to put this strategy in motion. In the report, Bain suggests three areas where a firm can hone its strategic investments: taking advantage of its “investment sweet spot,” identifying thematic insights, and mobilizing talent and resources.
Bain also asserts that PE firms’ strategies should emphasize repeatable results. As the PE environment continues to change in response to new trends, such as a preference for larger firms by investors, strategies need to be able to adapt and ensure steady, consistent returns even as the market evolves. Firms will need to be able to communicate the repeatable nature of their strategy to potential investors, so in addition to being ambition-oriented and repeatable, PE firms’ strategies should also be easy to articulate to clients.
To read Bain’s full report, click here.