Private equity pros, investment bankers and lenders share their views on how the industry is evolving.

"The PE industry has really gone from being an alternative asset class to a mainstream asset class. The industry has gotten so much bigger, and there so many more players," says Harris Williams' Giles Tucker.

"The biggest change is the massive proliferation of equity funds, sources of capital and potential buyers. We’re estimating there are more than 10,000 potential buyers out there for any one given company," says Carter Morse & Mathias' Ramsey Goodrich.

"You have seen a lot of the larger funds dipping lower trying to find better value and better opportunities," says Kainos Capital's Jay Desai.

"You have LPs wanting more transparency and lower fees. As you struggle to figure out how you are going to operate in that sort of environment, it becomes very challenging," says the Riverside Co.'s Pam Hendrickson.

"We have seen growth in our private equity lending. We were traditionally about 60 percent private equity and 40 percent non-sponsor, and now it has moved up to 75 to 80 percent private equity lending. The M&A market has been so frothy for five or six years now," says Monroe Capital's Tom Aronson.

"One of the primary changes to the private equity industry is the rise of the family office as a significant player. We’re seeing more family offices going direct to acquire deals rather than go through funds," says Watermill Group's Julia Karol.

"The biggest change in the private equity industry over the last five to ten years is just an increase in efficiency. There’s a much more increased awareness from business owners that private equity firms are active acquirers," says Huron Capital's Gretchen Perkins.

"You see sponsors pre-empting auction processes. It’s almost like there’s no such thing as a typical M&A process," says Golub Capital's Michael Loehrke.

"We are seeing private equity firms do some unnatural acts. They are doing public-company type deals, where they are taking financing out of the equation, and they are backstopping with equity. There are some aggressive moves being done by private equity firms to outcompete one another," says Sentinel Capital's Luke Johnson.