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A New Method to Estimate Risk and Return of Nontraded Assets from Cash Flows: The Case of Private Equity Funds


  • Driessen, Joost
  • Lin, Tse-Chun
  • Phalippou, Ludovic


We develop a new methodology to estimate abnormal performance and risk exposure of nontraded assets from cash flows. Our methodology extends the standard internal rate of return approach to a dynamic setting. The small-sample properties are validated using a simulation study. We apply the method to a sample of 958 private equity funds. For venture capital funds, we find a high market beta and underperformance before and after fees. For buyout funds, we find a relatively low market beta and no evidence for outperformance. We find that self-reported net asset values significantly overstate fund values for mature and inactive funds.

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  • Driessen, Joost & Lin, Tse-Chun & Phalippou, Ludovic, 2012. "A New Method to Estimate Risk and Return of Nontraded Assets from Cash Flows: The Case of Private Equity Funds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(03), pages 511-535, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jfinqa:v:47:y:2012:i:03:p:511-535_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 2000. "Money chasing deals? The impact of fund inflows on private equity valuation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 281-325, February.
    2. Steven N. Kaplan & Antoinette Schoar, 2005. "Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence, and Capital Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1791-1823, August.
    3. Cao, Jerry & Lerner, Josh, 2009. "The performance of reverse leveraged buyouts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 139-157, February.
    4. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "The risk and return of venture capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 3-52, January.
    5. Michael Ewens & Charles M. Jones & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2013. "The Price of Diversifiable Risk in Venture Capital and Private Equity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(8), pages 1854-1889.
    6. Andrew Ang & Robert J. Hodrick & Yuhang Xing & Xiaoyan Zhang, 2006. "The Cross-Section of Volatility and Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 259-299, February.
    7. Axelson, Ulf & Strömberg, Per Johan & Weisbach, Michael, 2007. "Why are Buyouts Leveraged? The Financial Structure of Private Equity Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 6133, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Andrew Metrick, 2010. "The Economics of Private Equity Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(6), pages 2303-2341, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Buchner, Axel, 2016. "How much can lack of marketability affect private equity fund values?," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 35-45.
    2. Rin, Marco Da & Hellmann, Thomas & Puri, Manju, 2013. "A Survey of Venture Capital Research," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier.
    3. Narasimhan Jegadeesh & Roman Kräussl & Joshua M. Pollet, 2015. "Risk and Expected Returns of Private Equity Investments: Evidence Based on Market Prices," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 28(12), pages 3269-3302.
    4. Arthur Korteweg & Stefan Nagel, 2016. "Risk-Adjusting the Returns to Venture Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(3), pages 1437-1470, June.
    5. Buchner, Axel, 2016. "Dealing with non-normality when estimating abnormal returns and systematic risk of private equity: A closed-form solution," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 60-78.
    6. David T. Robinson & Berk A. Sensoy, 2011. "Cyclicality, Performance Measurement, and Cash Flow Liquidity in Private Equity," NBER Working Papers 17428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ludovic Phalippou, 2009. "Beware of Venturing into Private Equity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 147-166, Winter.
    8. Bienz, Carsten & Thorburn, Karin & Walz, Uwe, 2016. "Coinvestment and risk taking in private equity funds," SAFE Working Paper Series 126, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    9. repec:eee:jfinec:v:124:y:2017:i:3:p:535-562 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Robinson, David T. & Sensoy, Berk A., 2016. "Cyclicality, performance measurement, and cash flow liquidity in private equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 521-543.
    11. David T. Robinson & Berk A. Sensoy, 2012. "Do Private Equity Managers Earn Their Fees? Compensation, Ownership, and Cash Flow Performance," NBER Working Papers 17942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Dorra Najar, 2017. "Private equity managers’ fees: estimation and sensitivity analysis using Monte Carlo simulation," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 239-263, January.
    13. Kroencke, Tim A. & Muehler, Grit & Sprietsma, Maresa, 2013. "Return and risk of human capital contracts," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-108, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    14. Valkama, Petri & Maula, Markku & Nikoskelainen, Erkki & Wright, Mike, 2013. "Drivers of holding period firm-level returns in private equity-backed buyouts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2378-2391.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors


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