The private equity industry has gone through a period of extraordinary growth over the last few years. 2017 set a new fundraising record and 2018 was another banner year for the asset class. However, growth seems to be slowing and the industry is facing a number of challenges - chief among them the high levels of EBITDA multiples of private companies. The intense and competitive deal environment and the record levels of dry powder also weigh on private equity globally.
It was against this backdrop that the 22ndannual SuperReturn International conference was held in Berlin at the end of February. This year’s event attracted a record number of attendees, and the enthusiasm on display suggested an industry full of promise and excitement for the future. SS&C GlobeOp was a lead sponsor of this event, reflecting our ongoing commitment to the private capital space which has seen the firm become the largest fund administrator globally. In November 2018 SS&C reinforced this commitment by acquiring Intralinks – a leading financial technology provider for the global banking, deal-making and capital markets communities.
Key topics at the conference included geopolitical developments and the macroeconomic environment (e.g. trade wars particularly between the US and China), the increasing levels of direct and co-investments by limited partners (LPs), Brexit (of course), and technology and its ever-increasing importance in the world of private equity. The high level of attendee engagement throughout the various panels demonstrated that these themes were firmly on target.
SS&C hosted a dinner at the famed Borchardt restaurant in Berlin, which attracted several LPs, general partners (GPs) and industry partners. The role of technology was a focus at both the main conference and the SS&C dinner, with many firms facing a significant challenge around data management. Addressing and catering to LP’s increasingly stringent reporting requirements has always proved problematic for GPs.
Exceeding the success of this year’s SuperReturn International will prove a tall task, but we all love a challenge at SS&C. So bring on 2020, and we look forward to next year’s event.