Smart Institutions, Foolish Choices?: The Limited Partner Performance Puzzle
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4523-05
AFA 2006 Boston Meetings Paper
The returns that institutional investors realize from private equity investments differ dramatically across institutions. Using detailed and hitherto unexplored records of fund investors and performance, we document large heterogeneity in the performance of different classes of limited partners. In particular, endowments' annual returns are nearly 14% greater than average. Funds selected by investment advisors and banks lag sharply. These results are robust to controlling for the type and year of the investment, as well as to the use of different specifications. Analyses of reinvestment decisions and young funds suggest that the results are not primarily due to endowments' greater access to established funds. Finally, we examine the differences in the choice of intermediaries across various institutional investors and their relationship to success. We find that LPs that have higher average IRRs also tend to invest in older funds and have a smaller fraction of GPs in their geographic area, and that the performance of university endowments is correlated with measures of the quality and loyalty of the student body.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 66
Keywords: limited partners, LPs, endowments, institutional investors
Date posted: January 31, 2005
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