- LP Corner: Private Equity Fund Performance – An Overview
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics – Multiples TVPI, DPI and RVPI
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics – Internal Rate of Return (IRR) – Part One
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics – Internal Rate of Return (IRR) – Part Two
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics – Public Market Equivalent (PME)
- LP Corner: Fund Performance Metrics - Private Equity Fund Performance - This blog post.
- LP Corner: Gross vs Net Returns
We have now discussed the three metrics that are primarily used to evaluate the performance of private equity funds: (1) the multiples TVPI, DPI and RVPI; (2) IRR; and (3) PME. We will now discuss how to use these metrics to evaluate the performance of private equity funds.
There are several ways to evaluate the performance of a fund, or a portfolio of funds, with the main methods being:
- Absolute return.
- Comparative return to other similar funds (Quartile Analysis).
- Comparative return to the public markets (PME Analysis).
Absolute return refers to a specific threshold requirement for a fund’s performance. For example, some LPs may say that they expect a 3.0x TVPI and 30% IRR net return from early stage venture capital funds, or a 2.0x and 20% return for buyout funds. If a fund’s return exceeds these metrics, then it “outperforms” the metrics. If a fund’s returns are less than these metrics, then the fund “underperforms.”
A note about absolute return. Most funds experience a J-Curve, where performance declines in the first couple of years of a fund when fund expenses and investment losses exceed investment gains, but the fund’s performance improves over the next several years. The J-Curve is more pronounced for early-stage venture capital funds. The J-Curve looks something like this:
The point here is that using absolute returns are really only useful late in a fund’s life or after the fund is liquidated. If one were to apply a 20% absolute return metric to the fund in the J-Curve example above, the fund would underperform all years until the last year in the graph.
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