Secondary Market for Private Equity Heats Up
Increasingly, institutional investors are turning to the secondary market to sell their stakes in private equity funds. Driven by factors that include regulatory changes and shifting strategies, this trend is creating a boom in secondary private equity funds of funds.
By Julie Segal
PRIVATE EQUITY IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT until its not. For investors who wish to do things like reduce the number of managers in a portfolio or move money into more-mainstream assets, theres no longer a stigma around shedding private equity holdings. Its easy to see why some people might seek to escape deals with private equity funds, which typically lock up capital and require annual commitments for a set period. These funds dont trade publicly, so an informal secondary market has evolved in which investors sell their stakes rather than wait out contracts that can last as long as ten years.
In the past, investors wanted to be discreet about selling private equity stakes, as they thought it might signal that they were distressed, says Benoît Verbrugghe, New Yorkbased head of AXA Private Equity for North America, which manages $17 billion in primary and secondary funds of funds. Its not taboo anymore. ....