How might a Biden-Harris administration affect the private equity industry? To find out, Mergers & Acquisitions asked Pam Hendrickson, the Riverside Co.’s COO and vice chairman, strategic initiatives, who serves as a member of the board of the American Investment Council and is a voice for the PE industry on public policy.

What is the potential impact of a Biden-Harris administration on private equity?
The private equity industry welcomes the new administration and is very appreciative of the common sense approach that President- elect Joe Biden is signaling. Private equity can, and has been, a big help through the pandemic by providing much needed capital, management input and support for public servants. While we don’t know the final outcome of the Senate elections, history has shown that, in a divided government, reforms have a better chance of being sustained when enacted with bipartisan support.

How will relevant taxes be affected?
It is too soon to tell, but the U.S. government has spent nearly $4 trillion on pandemic relief, so there may be a variety of tax increases. The critical issue will be balancing the need for economic recovery with the need to sensibly pay for relief.

How will interest rates likely to be affected?
This is a probably a function of a recessionary economy resulting from the pandemic rather than the election. Given the situation we are in now, I would expect interest rates will stay low for a very long time.

Are there sectors where investment conditions may be better under the new administration?
The President-elect has already indicated that among his priorities are climate change, privacy and diversity – so it is likely that companies focused on those areas will do well. The private equity industry is already working on these issues. In fact, private equity invested more than $11 billion into renewable energy projects in 2020 alone – twice as much as was invested in 2019. We have also recently announced several new initiatives to increase diversity at firms across the industry. We look forward to working in these areas and with the new Administration.

Are there sectors where investment conditions may be worse under the new Administration?
To function well, businesses like certainty. Sectors that are likely to experience uncertainty, whether pandemic-related (consumer behavior, timing of vaccines, etc.) or new-administration-related (what happens to healthcare for instance), may struggle.

What message does the private equity community want to communicate with the new administration?
As an industry we are looking forward to working together to build and strengthen businesses and to spur economic growth nationwide. The private equity industry has employed, and will continue to employ, millions of Americans across every state. And, despite the volatile environment, it is continuing to deliver the highest returns to public pension funds, thereby strengthening the retirements of teachers and other public servants. Private equity takes a long-term view, and we need that now more than ever.