Private Equity Practice
Private equity, venture capital
China’s private equity heads are investing in the future, planting acorns in fields once dominated by lucrative quick-growth wildflowers. They are going for longer-term growth.
But before the PE founders step down, I would caution that they should make sure that the company's reputation, employees and the communities in which they operate are protected. Because they have considerable equity tied up in the firm, they have more than just their professional legacy at stake.
A huge problem is also arising as the markets pick up, and PE firms start to outperform the market once again: their star players are getting “carried away” – or cashing out after a fund is closed and moving on to other companies, or starting funds of their own.
As those in the trade will know, the incentive payments for performance, or the "carry,” meaning the “carried interest” or profit-sharing is a powerful retention strategy.
But when I sent out a survey to more than 100 firms in China and Hong Kong, I was surprised to find that the "carry" was not rated as highly by the managers as core remuneration (base, performance bonus and other benefits.)
Mentoring by senior partners with the managers was regarded as just as important as remuneration. Succession planning is also important to owners seeking to leave a strong financial legacy, and investors keen to continue supporting the funds.