And the winner is…
Every winner stressed the importance of their team. That their success is largely a result of talented people working well together. It’s one thing to hire in good talent, but it’s a very different thing to ensure harmony across a disparate set of people. Of course, a strong culture is vital to ensure collaboration and shared goals. And this really shone through when speaking to our winners.
Another interesting commonality is the way in which these firms look beyond their own sector, and outside of the private capital markets space as a means of innovating and keeping ahead of their competitors. This is a hugely interesting finding, as it speaks to private equity’s convergence with the wider world.
Until fairly recently, private equity almost operated in its own bubble. And understandably so, funds are private partnerships, while portfolio companies are bought and sold on a private basis. However, as the industry continues to grow at rapid pace, as more companies receive backing from private equity investors, the industry’s reach has expanded exponentially. And with this unfurling, the industry is being held to new standards. Standards more akin not only to other financial markets, but also to consumer experiences. If an LP can access their latest bank transactions on their mobile phone, surely they should be able to see their private equity’s fund performance in the same manner. Of course, the intricacies of a fund are far greater than a current account, but nevertheless as the consumer tech user experience advances, private equity must keep up. And it is this realisation that has driven many of our winners to cherry pick advanced technologies, systems and processes from a wide array of sources.
The final common thread was the way in which the winning firms approach client interactions. All look to establish genuine partnerships with their customers. Of course, all private equity funds are unique and therefore require a level of bespoke service. However, by working with all clients in an individual and hands-on manner, the winning firms have been able to respond and adapt to changing needs the minute they arise. This dedication to client satisfaction is another major driver for innovation.