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Sovereign Funds and Successful Private Equity Firms

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It is a nebulous swamp for private equity firms to navigate nowadays. Fee compression, competition from other public investors, regulatory changes, quality deal flow, and the challenge of raising non-redeemable capital commitments to new and successor private funds are just a few of the tough challenges private equity firms are dealing with. Tighter financing is crimping the buyout industry. The final slap is the anemic IPO market.  Public investors are still upbeat about private equity.  War chests are still being raised.

The model of private equity is slowly morphing, especially as sovereign wealth funds and public pension funds desire a preference to alternative private equity fund structures such as managed accounts, smaller funds, and co-investment vehicles. To go even further, increasingly several large public investors are insourcing their own investment professionals and make direct investments in alternative investments without the use of private equity advisers. Public funds that can compete with compensation packages in the private sector are more likely to build their own internal deal team. It is simple economics. In fact, they may become the private equity firm’s competitors in the long run.

With that being said, what are a few essential factors for being a successful, long-lasting private equity firm in today’s market?[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

Atlas Merchant Capital and GIC Scoop Up Stake in Ascensus

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Atlas Merchant Capital LLC and Singapore’s GIC Private Limited acquired just under a 25% equity stake in Dresher, Pennsylvania-based Ascensus, the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. San Francisco Genstar Capital LLC and New York-based Aquiline Capital Partners LLC were the sellers of the shares in Ascensus and will maintain control over the company.

Atlas Merchant Capital LLC was founded by Bob Diamond and David Schamis. Diamond is the former group chief executive of Barclays plc.

GIC is an investor in Alight Solutions, a provider of human capital solutions.

Advisors

Barclays acted as the lead financial advisor and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor to Ascensus in connection with this transaction. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acted as legal counsel to Ascensus.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal counsel to Atlas Merchant Capital and Sidley Austin LLP acted as legal counsel to GIC.

In 2015, JC Flowers sold Ascensus to Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners.

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The Value of Research: Skill, Capacity, and Opportunity

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This article is sponsored by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

How much should a portfolio manager be willing to pay for research? The question is of importance to any manager, but has become particularly pertinent since newly imposed European rules require that the costs of investment research—previously offered by many investment banks as an in-kind consideration in return for brokerage business—be unbundled from trading.

Unfortunately, attempts to determine a fair value for research in the most general circumstances are doomed to fail. Even if we only consider direct recommendations to buy or sell certain securities, the value of such recommendations to a portfolio manager will vary according to the absolute size of positions taken in response. Instead, we provide a framework for estimating relative research values across markets and constituents, under certain stylized (but reasonable) assumptions.

REPORT: The Value of Research: Skill, Capacity, and Opportunity

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Khazanah to Scale Back International Investments, Preps 2019 Dividend

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Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad is prepping to declare more than 1 billion MYR in a dividend payout to the Malaysian government for 2019. Khazanah Nasional is undergoing a significant strategy shift to focus more on domestic assets, while selling off venture tech investments, overseas real estate, fund investments, and other non-strategic assets. The wealth fund also plans to scale back its overseas presence in markets such as San Francisco and London.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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