Private Equity: Advancing Your Investment Strategy with Diverse Opportunities and Simplified Access

Jul 19, 2024

Introduction

While private equity has long been considered a cornerstone of alternative investments, it historically has been an asset class confined to large, institutional investors due to illiquidity constraints and large minimum investment requirements. In its essence, investments in privately held companies offer an avenue for capital deployment with distinct advantages beyond traditional public markets due to its expanding opportunity set and benefits for portfolio diversification.

The Opportunity Set

One of the key attractions of private equity lies in the illiquidity premium it offers. This means that investors may expect to receive additional returns for the risk of investing in vehicles where access to the investment's value is not readily available.

Unlike publicly traded assets, private equity investments are not subject to daily pricing, providing a strategic advantage of lower volatility since they are not subject to the whims of daily market price changes. This characteristic often translates into potentially higher and less volatile returns over time.

Moreover, private equity grants investors access to many companies that are unavailable in public markets. There are over 7 million private companies in the U.S., compared to less than 5,000 publicly traded companies. The number of publicly traded companies is shrinking, whereas private companies have increased by 3x over the last decade.

Furthermore, even the companies that ultimately transition from private to public tend to stay private for longer. This allows them to grow larger and provide greater returns as private companies.

Access

Another recent change to private markets involves investor access. Historically, private equity was primarily accessible to institutional investors and the ultra-wealthy. However, the landscape has evolved, and new investment instruments have decreased minimums and lowered investor qualifications.

This is enabling a broader spectrum of investors to participate in the space. Traditional private equity firms have a limited window to raise funds. Once capital is invested, the investor will be illiquid for several years until the fund is exited.

Tender Offer Fund structures allow for more liquidity, as investors can buy across multiple vintage years. These funds continuously offer shares at their computed NAV and allow shareholders to sell their shares back to the company or other investors.

Tender Offer Fund structures have allowed more investors to engage in private equity by providing immediate access to a portfolio of privately held companies that are diversified across vintage years, sectors, and geographic locations. While not all private equity investments align with these characteristics, the options are more readily available than in past years.

Another recently added benefit is simplified tax reporting. The ability to avoid complex K-1 tax forms for many private investments and the creation of standardized and electronic subscription documentation processes are a few ways the process has been simplified for individual investors.

Conclusion

Private equity presents an enticing proposition for investors seeking enhanced returns and diversification beyond traditional asset classes. With its illiquidity premium and access to a burgeoning pool of private companies, private equity offers a compelling long-term investment opportunity.

However, it's crucial to recognize that private equity may not suit every investor. Before entering the space, risk tolerance, investment time horizon, and liquidity should all be considered.

Where appropriate, exposure to private equity is emerging as a long-term strategic investment that can create wealth and diversify a portfolio.

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The material has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc. cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. To determine which investments or planning strategies may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor or other industry professional prior to investing or implementing a planning strategy. This article is not intended to provide investment, tax or legal advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as such. Investment Advisory services are offered through Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc. Advisory services are only offered where Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc. and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered unless a client agreement is in place.

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