Coronavirus’ Impact on Valuation Results and IRR Calculations Highlights the Need for Backtesting and Remediation Measures

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the value of all asset classes. Generally, PE is valued annually; therefore, the value of a fund’s portfolio may differ dramatically at the end of 2020 from the pre-pandemic value of the same assets at the end of 2019. Any inaccurate valuations during the pandemic potentially could have trickled down to communications and related documentation provided to investors, which, if left unremedied, will draw the SEC’s attention. In addition, GPs adopted different strategies for calling capital and performing distributions during the pandemic. When coupled with the role of leverage in those decisions, a PE fund’s year-end-to-year-end valuations and internal rates of return (IRRs) reported to current and prospective investors may not reflect what actually occurred during the year. Investors need to be aware of those nuances when evaluating managers’ performance during the pandemic, and managers need to consider providing updated IRR calculations if subsequent back-testing reveals inaccuracies. In a guest article, Travis Morgan and Breanna Pollard, managing director and principal consultant, respectively, at ACA Group, analyze a hypothetical scenario involving two approaches to the coronavirus and how those affect a fund’s performance calculations, as well as various valuation issues that arose during the pandemic which warrant monitoring and – in some instances – remediation by managers going forward. See “Determining ‘Fair Value’ During a Crisis: Coronavirus’ Impact on Private Debt and Equity Valuations” (May 5, 2020). 

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