As the M&A wave rolls on, PE fundraisings continue to crest higher. KKR’s $59 billion haul across its vehicles in the second quarter is one of many records PE firms are shattering, alongside Carlyle‘s $27 billion target for its flagship fund. That gives the private equity industry a growing challenge—saying “no” to limited partners during fund formation. The question reminds me of a panel hosted by Dechert a few months back on the topic that is increasingly relevant, as some general partners face investors clamoring for fund inclusion.
Remember, back in 1Q results, the same public private equity funds now opening the flood gates to investors were sitting on dry powder and highlighting a discerning, opportunistic approach to dealmaking. Now that average deal multiples are rising and competition is higher, fundraisings are taking off at record levels. Panelists give a timely lesson in restraint.
How can general partners respond to investor requests they have to deny? Panelists speaking at this year’s Permanent & Private Capital Summit noted that stressing the long term relationship is critical; even investors you have to deflect on one capital raise will get another opportunity down the line for most long term funds, moderator and Dechert fund formation partner Tricia Lee said.
Speaking generally about declining requests from investors, Varagon Capital Partners managing director Afsar Farman-Famaian offered tips for navigating potentially difficult conversations.
“You want to be transparent,” she said. “You have to show that you’ve been thoughtful and you’re taking them seriously, and there’s a reason why you’re saying no. So certainly the transparency and explanation is important.”
Offering an alternative is also an effective technique, Farman-Farmaian said. Wherever possible, one should attempt to address the investor’s request with another solution to ensure their needs are met.
If fundraising totals are any guide, perhaps general partners are already executing on deferred commitments to allow limited partners into more recent vintage funds. But as GPs approach a hard cap, it’s worth reminding investors that co-investment opportunities and the next fundraise offer opportunities to get a slice of the action in the long run.