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Costliness of Placement Agents

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  • Marko Rikato

    ()

  • Ales Berk

    ()

Abstract

In this paper, we provide original evidence on the economic role of placement agents as the financial intermediaries between general and limited partners in private equity. Our research is based on 902 private equity funds raised over the period of 1990 to 2011. This data shows that general partners hire placement agents to provide funding for approximately one tenth of the private equity funds they manage. The multitude of services provided by placement agents adds value to both general as well as limited partners. We find a positive impact from the placement agent’s relative fees on a fund’s performance. Similar to other financial intermediaries, the costliness of the placement agent decreases with the investment amounts committed by the limited partners. The fee levels are determined by negotiations with a general partner as well as by the phenomenon of free riding. Further, we find that placement agents do not take advantage of the heterogeneity of the fund’s returns and the potentially high benefits of successful investment picks. Namely, they predominantly prefer to charge their clients fixed fees. We conclude from our findings that limited partners succeed in picking better performing funds because they invest relatively higher amounts of their available allocations of private equity into the funds that yield higher returns. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Marko Rikato & Ales Berk, 2015. "Costliness of Placement Agents," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 48(3), pages 263-287, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jfsres:v:48:y:2015:i:3:p:263-287
    DOI: 10.1007/s10693-014-0206-6
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10693-014-0206-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephen J. Brown & William N. Goetzmann & Bing Liang, 2005. "Fees On Fees In Funds Of Funds," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The World Of Hedge Funds Characteristics and Analysis, chapter 7, pages 141-160 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    4. Ji-Woong Chung & Berk A. Sensoy & Léa Stern & Michael S. Weisbach, 2012. "Pay for Performance from Future Fund Flows: The Case of Private Equity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(11), pages 3259-3304.
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    7. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar & Wan Wongsunwai, 2007. "Smart Institutions, Foolish Choices: The Limited Partner Performance Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 731-764, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial intermediation; Placement agent compensation; Private equity; G23;

    JEL classification:

    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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