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The performance of private equity funds

  • Oliver, Gottschalg


  • Ludovic, Phalippou


Using a unique and comprehensive dataset, the authors show that the sample of mature private equity funds used in previous research and as an industry benchmark is biased towards better performing funds. They also show that accounting values reported by these mature funds for non exited investments are substantial and they provide evidence that they mostly represent living dead investments. After correcting for sample bias and overstated accounting values, average fund performance changes from slight over performance to substantial underperformance of -3.83% per year with respect to the S&P 500. Assuming a typical fee structure, they find that gross-of-fees these funds outperform by 2.96% per year. The authors conclude that the stunning growth in the amount allocated to this asset class cannot be attributed to genuinely high past performance. They discuss several potentially misleading aspects of standard performance reporting and discuss some of the added benefits of investing in private equity funds as a first step towards an explanation for our results.

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Paper provided by HEC Paris in its series Les Cahiers de Recherche with number 852.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:0852
Contact details of provider: Postal: HEC Paris, 78351 Jouy-en-Josas cedex, France
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  1. Lerner, Joshua & Schoar, Antoinette, 2003. "The Illiquidity Puzzle: Theory and Evidence from Private Equity," Working papers 4378-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  2. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar & Wan Wong, 2005. "Smart Institutions, Foolish Choices? The Limited Partner Performance Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 11136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Thomas Hellmann & Laura Lindsey & Manju Puri, 2008. "Building Relationships Early: Banks in Venture Capital," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(2), pages 513-541, April.
  4. Alexander Ljungqvist & Matthew Richardson, 2003. "The cash flow, return and risk characteristics of private equity," NBER Working Papers 9454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Paul Gompers & Josh Lerner, 1998. "Venture Capital Distributions: Short-Run and Long-Run Reactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 2161-2183, December.
  6. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  7. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
  8. Jacklin, Charles J & Bhattacharya, Sudipto, 1988. "Distinguishing Panics and Information-Based Bank Runs: Welfare and Policy Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 568-92, June.
  9. Steven Kaplan & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Private Equity Performance: Returns, Persistence and Capital," NBER Working Papers 9807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "An analysis of compensation in the U.S. venture capital partnership," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 3-44, January.
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