An Inconvenient Fact: Private Equity Returns & The Billionaire Factory
University of Oxford, Said Business School, Working Paper
37 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 15 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 10, 2020
Private Equity (PE) funds have returned about the same as public equity indices since at least 2006. Large public pension funds have received a net Multiple of Money (MoM) that sits within a narrow 1.51 to 1.54 range. The big four PE firms have also delivered estimated net MoMs within a narrow 1.54 to 1.67 range. Three large datasets show average net MoMs across all PE funds at 1.55, 1.57 and 1.63. These net MoMs imply an 11% p.a. return, which matches relevant public equity indices; a result confirmed by PME calculations. Yet, the estimated total performance fee (Carry) collected by these PE funds is estimated to be $230 billion, most of which goes to a relatively small number of individuals. If all vintage years are included to 2015, Carry collected is $370 billion, with a performance similar to that of small cap indices, but higher than that of large cap stock indices. The number of PE multibillionaires rose from 3 in 2005 to 22 in 2020. Rebuttals from the big four and the main industry lobby body are provided and discussed.
Keywords: Private Equity, Wealth Inequality, Financialization, Benchmarking
JEL Classification: G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation