Earlier this month, the Edelman Smithfield team from our US, UK, German, and UAE offices attended SuperReturn 2024. Convened in Berlin, the conference was attended by over 5000 private market professionals from over 70 countries to discuss the latest developments in private equity. 

During the conference, Edelman Smithfield launched its annual LP Survey on private capital, which showed that almost half (46%) of Limited Partners (LPs) globally view a good reputation as even more important than their investment returns when they’re deciding who to allocate to. Throughout the event, the world’s leading General Partners (GPs) recognised the critical importance of their reputation and seized the opportunity to engage, not only with their investors directly, but with the global media. 

So, what were our key takeaways? 

Firstly, with macroeconomic headwinds continuing to cast a shadow over private equity, the ability to generate distributions for LPs in the near-term has become the key differentiating factor for GPs. As a result, innovations in the industry took centre stage, with secondaries and NAV financing emerging as key topics. Despite the challenges and new innovations, most GPs remained confident in private equity's ability to achieve traditional exits and generate consistent risk-adjusted returns, especially in non-cyclical sectors. 

Secondly, private credit remained top of mind for LPs, with many asking, why, with yields so high should they invest in the traditionally higher risk equity funds. Panellists from across the growing private credit sector capitalised on this instinct, highlighting the maturation of the European market and the opportunity created by the pullback of traditional lenders. As demand for different flavours of credit grows, the industry is providing a much-needed capital solution to businesses that otherwise would have struggled to survive. 

Thirdly, with a more challenging macroeconomic environment and an elevated cost of capital, value creation and operating portfolio companies in tight spaces has become increasingly crucial for General Partners. Part of this picture is bringing together brilliant teams, both for GPs themselves and within portfolio companies’ management teams. Football managing legend Arsène Wenger fed into this conversation, highlighting his own experience building winning teams and reflecting the huge interest in potential sports investments by many leading GPs. 

As our clients maintain fundraising and growth initiatives, it’s fantastic to see their senior leadership on the ground meeting investors and media. Above all, for our team, it was great to catch up with our network in Berlin and hear how key voices form the industry are navigating the challenges and opportunities of the year. Looking forward to SuperReturn 2025!


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