Significant PE Growth in 2019 and an Evolved 2020 Approach to ESG and Technology, Among Others

Although 2020 has been unsteady amidst recent developments, 2019 marked a high point for the PE industry in fundraising, deal volume and several other metrics. In parallel with the frothiness of the market, the PE industry has taken a more cavalier approach to evolving its use of technology to create value; pursuit of investments driven by environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors; and completion of alternative transactions (e.g., GP‑led restructurings and minority stakes in PE firms). Those trends were detailed in an annual review of the private markets published by McKinsey & Company based on its ongoing research on the industry’s dynamics and performance. The report reviews 2019 fundraising and deal activity; the increased adoption of ESG investing in 2020; and ways the PE industry remains deficient in diversity and inclusion. This article highlights those and other key takeaways from the report. For additional coverage of PE industry studies, see “Mergermarket and Baker McKenzie Report on Global Trends and Practices in Compliance Due Diligence” (Aug. 13, 2019); and “Dechert Global Alternative Funds Symposium Highlights Portfolio Management and Global Trends for Private Equity and Real Estate Funds” (Jul. 2, 2015).

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