A new survey from Stifel Financial and Eaton Partners, a Stifel company, indicates a majority of institutional investors have no plans to change their private equity allocations over the next six to 12 months despite perceived headwinds, including tightening credit and a possible economic recession. Survey respondents also identified team cohesion as the most important factor when evaluating new investment opportunities compared with other considerations, including returns, fund size and fees.
The survey questioned dozens of limited partners (LPs) on their approach to private equity investing. Key findings include:
- While 61% of respondents plan to hold private equity allocations steady in the near term, 18% are considering increasing allocations, while 21% may reduce allocation dollars.
- LPs ranked buyouts (65%) and growth equity (39%) among the top asset classes of focus and healthcare (80%) and industrials (60%) as their most favored sectors.
- Roughly half of respondents (49%) expect similar volumes in 2024 year over year for their existing managers back in market with their next fund. More than one-quarter (28%) expect an increase in volumes next year compared to 2023 levels, while 23% percent anticipate a decrease.
- Most investors (57%) are taking a “business-as-usual” approach when managing the increased volume of existing managers back in market with their next fund, although half (50%) also expressed a willingness to consider reducing the number of managers with whom they invest.
- Tightening credit, a possible recession and declining distributions are seen as the greatest risks to private equity performance.
- Three-quarters of respondents (75%) listed team cohesion as the most important criteria when evaluating a new private equity investment, followed by returns, GP commitment and fund size.
- Outside of the U.S., LPs identified continental Europe (65%), the UK (41%), India (24%) and Southeast Asia (19%) as geographies of possible interest for investment.
“Despite tightening credit and looming fears of a recession, our latest survey suggests that LPs remain cautiously confident in the outlook for private capital markets over the coming year, with many expecting either similar or increased volumes for existing managers in 2024 compared with this year,” Chris Maduri, a managing director at Eaton Partners, said.
“These survey findings confirm what we see in the marketplace during this period of economic uncertainty,” Eric Deyle, a managing director at Eaton Partners, said. “LPs are concentrating allocations within a narrower pool of existing managers back in market, shifting their focus to resilient sectors and asset classes and reassessing top priorities when evaluating new private equity investments.”
The online survey of 44 institutional investors was conducted from June 23 to July 26.