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Do Private Equity Fund Managers Earn Their Fees? Compensation, Ownership, and Cash Flow Performance

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  • David T. Robinson
  • Berk A. Sensoy

Abstract

We study the relations between management contract terms and performance in private equity using new data for 837 funds from 1984--2010. We find no evidence that higher fees or lower managerial ownership are associated with lower net-of-fee performance. Nevertheless, compensation rises and shifts to performance-insensitive components during fundraising booms. Further, the behavior of distributions around contractual fee triggers is consistent with an underlying agency conflict between investors and fund managers. Our evidence suggests that managers with higher fees deliver higher gross performance, and highlights that agency costs are an inevitable consequence of the information frictions endemic to agency relationships. The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • David T. Robinson & Berk A. Sensoy, 2013. "Do Private Equity Fund Managers Earn Their Fees? Compensation, Ownership, and Cash Flow Performance," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(11), pages 2760-2797.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:26:y:2013:i:11:p:2760-2797
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Degeorge, Francois & Martin, Jens & Phalippou, Ludovic, 2016. "On secondary buyouts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 124-145.
    2. Gompers, Paul & Kaplan, Steven N. & Mukharlyamov, Vladimir, 2016. "What do private equity firms say they do?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 449-476.
    3. Arcot, Sridhar & Fluck, Zsuzsanna & Gaspar, José-Miguel & Hege, Ulrich, 2015. "Fund managers under pressure: Rationale and determinants of secondary buyouts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 102-135.
    4. 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.
    5. Broeders, Dirk W.G.A. & van Oord, Arco & Rijsbergen, David R., 2016. "Scale economies in pension fund investments: A dissection of investment costs across asset classes," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 147-171.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:eee:corfin:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:342-360 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. repec:eee:jbfina:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:14-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. William Gornall & Ilya A. Strebulaev, 2017. "Squaring Venture Capital Valuations with Reality," NBER Working Papers 23895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:eee:corfin:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:110-130 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Paul Gompers & Steven N. Kaplan & Vladimir Mukharlyamov, 2015. "What Do Private Equity Firms Say They Do?," NBER Working Papers 21133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Gregory W. Brown & Oleg R. Gredil & Steven N. Kaplan, 2016. "Do Private Equity Funds Manipulate Reported Returns?," NBER Working Papers 22493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:eee:jbvent:v:32:y:2017:i:5:p:519-535 is not listed on IDEAS

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