private equity pitching mistakes

Communications: Increasingly Important for Private Equity GP-LP Relations

November 15, 2011

SuperReturn Paris, 15th November, 2011

“Communication and transparency is absolutely key” stated Mark O’Hare, CEO of private equity experts Preqin.  Throughout the day funds, investors and IR experts repeated the message that times had changed.

“Make your story as clear and simple as possible. Complex stories are not selling in this market” said Gordon Hargreaves of Private Advisors.  “You Never Stop Fundraising. You should always remind your investors what makes you special”

GPs need to re-think how they handle investor meetings according to many LPs. Mounir Guen of MVision summed it up “Going to a meeting and talking for an hour and listening for 3 minutes is not good communications.”

GPs showed they understand the importance of investor communications when over 100 delegates picked up the Benjamin Ball Associates guide to better LP relations.

The challenges of fundraising in today’s uncertain times was another important message to emerge.  “Make sure your partnership is ready for the tough 18 months to first close”  “You need to think of your story in terms of very risk-averse investment committees” was a consistent message.

And the importance of on-going communications was repeated by LPs.  “Showing up every 3-4 years as part of the fundraising is just not good enough” said Neal Sneddon of F&C.

To improve communications, many GPs are investing in their Investor Relations teams. “IR means Regular contact, knowing your LP and not falling into the trap of being the eternal optimist said Dushy Sivanithy of Pantheon Ventures.

Darwin Private Equity is one exampe of a mid-sized PE firm who has invested in high quality IR professionals.  “IR needs a good understanding of business needs of LPs and GPs” said Harjinder Johal, in charge of IR at Darwin.

And much of the work of IR is just making sure the basics work right.  “We make sure our investors hear news about Darwin first from us, not the press” summed up Harijinder.

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