The Carlyle Group Announces Major Shift in Leadership

The Carlyle Group's logo.

Last week, asset management company The Carlyle Group appointed Glenn Youngkin and Kewsong Lee its new co-chief executive officers. From an outsider’s perspective, the leadership change may not seem all that significant. But for those in the finance industry, it marks a huge milestone.

In private equity, transference of power is rare. Rival buyout firm KKR recently underwent a similar shift in leadership in which Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae were appointed co-presidents and co-chief operating officers. Their new positions will prepare them to take over from co-founders George Roberts and Henry Kravis when the 73-year-olds decide to step down from their roles as co-chairmen and co-chief executives.

And while 73 is well past the typical retirement age, these types of extended power reigns are all too prominent in private equity. Fellow competitor The Blackstone Group has yet to formally announce its next successor, even though its CEO Stephen Schwarzman is 70.

The same pattern can be seen with Apollo Global Management. CEO Leon Black, 66, has not yet named his successor. In this case, however, it’s not necessarily a pressing matter, since his co-founding partners, Joshua Harris and Marc Rowan, are 52 and 55, respectively.

The finance industry’s reluctance to hand over the reigns is precisely what makes The Carlyle Group’s appointment of Glenn Youngkin and Kewsong Lee as co-chief executive officers so significant. As Reuters put it, it’s the “biggest shakeup since [The Carlyle Group] was founded by David Rubenstein, William Conway, and Daniel D‘Aniello 30 years ago.”

But as far as Rubenstein, Conway, and D‘Aniello are concerned, they’re confident they’ve placed the future of their company into the right hands.

In a statement, the Carlyle founders concluded, “These promotions ensure continuity in our leadership and maintain the investment processes that have driven our success for 30 years.”

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The Smart Money is Investing in Tech

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Where is the smart money going when it comes to tech companies? Some leading experts will be exploring that subject at Fortune’s upcoming Brainstorm TECH conference.

Anton Levy of General Atlantic, Kirsten Green of Forerunner Ventures, and David Trujillo of TPG will share the stage in a panel discussion on what industries, ideas, or trends they’re betting on; what they’re seeing in the tech space; and the changes they’re watching for.

It’s no surprise that technology is on people’s minds, with the June ransomware attacks and Microsoft’s announcement of its new SMB-oriented software-as-a-service bundle. A recent article in Institutional Investor says that tech deals are booming in the PE sector.

Not only that, but 2017 has been a boom year for tech IPOs, with Snap going public in March, and Carvana, Cloudera, Elevate Credit, Mulesoft, Netshoes, Okta, and Yext also making their public trading debut. The aggregate value of these IPOs is a whopping $37.5 billion, with Snap making up the lion’s share at a valuation of approximately $20 billion.

Today’s tech IPOs are already light years ahead of those in 2016. By May of 2016, only two companies had gone public. Between January and May of 2017, more than four times that number went public, and more public offerings may be on the horizon. (Tech companies that have been floated as possible IPOs, despite rigorous denial from some of them, include Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest, Spotify, and Uber.)

Because of the growing success and valuation of tech companies, private equity money is now flowing into the sector, accounting for almost 40.1 percent of U.S. buyouts last year. This is the highest proportion on record. Firms with a broad range of investment interest, such as General Atlantic, KKR, and Carlyle, are jumping into the game and are being joined by tech-focused PE firms like Golden Gate Capital and Siris Capital.

“An increasing number of tech-related companies have moved beyond the traditional territory of venture capital funds, and the sector as a whole has increasingly become a target for the wider private equity industry,” Christopher Elvin, Head of Private Equity at Prequin, told Institutional Investor.

China has also become a PE magnet. However, concerns about the possible imposition of U.S. trade tariffs, plus concerns about its credit, real estate, and technology sectors seem to be cooling interest in the nation. However, when risk and potential are calmly weighed, China may be the most promising private equity market in the world.

This echoes sentiments that General Atlantic CEO Bill Ford shared in a recent interview with Bloomberg. “We’ve been bullish on China despite lots of mixed sentiment—the country is succeeding in pivoting its economy from export and manufacturing to services and consumption,” he said. “We’re seeing companies there generating 15 to 20 percent-plus nominal GDP growth.”

With so many potential IPOs on the horizon, and some really promising companies to be found in emerging markets, it’s no wonder that the smart money is betting on tech to be the next private equity profit-maker.

I will be curious to see what Levy, Green, and Trujillo share at Brainstorm TECH about their vision for private equity in the tech sector and if it matches up with what other observers have been saying.

Stifel Looking to Weather Fiduciary Storm

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Stifel Financial is one of many firms looking to weather upcoming regulatory changes. Though Stifel’s 2,282 financial advisors are currently in good shape, and the company doubled net income in the fourth quarter of 2016, the June 9 fiduciary rule could make or break recent progress.

Co-chaired by Thom Weisel and Ron Kruszewski, Stifel will “always look at good deals,” according to Kruszewski. And that’s likely to be the company’s saving grace in tumultuous times to come. Capitalizing on forward thinking, Stifel currently manages over $235 billion in assets, and the company’s net income doubled to $24.5 million, or $0.31 per share, with sales rising 14% in Q4.

But it’s not all champagne and roses, despite the robust health of the company. Some investors are cutting their stakes in Stifel, including Ameriprise Financial Inc., which reduced its shares by 23.7% during Q1 of 2017, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. And Instinet analyst Steven Chuback downgraded Stifel to “neutral” in late May, citing the cautious messaging coming from Kruszewski regarding the upcoming fiduciary rule.

“Our decision to downgrade SF does not come lightly,” Chuback noted, “as the company has executed well in recent quarters (bank growth, expense management, etc.). However, after hosting meetings with CEO Kruszewski earlier this month, his cautious messaging on the DOL rule…reinforced our view that this latest announcement/enforcement of the June 9 deadline could weigh on broker multiples (litigation risk) and slow advisor recruitment.”

Certainly the June 9 DOL rule is likely to shake things up. For Stifel, however, the future is still looking bright overall. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP, Macquarie Group Ltd., FMR LLC, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp have all recently increased their shares of Stifel stock. Dimensional raised its stake by 17.7%, Macquarie by 1.2%, FMR by 27.5%, and Bank of New York by 7% just within Q1 of this year. Institutional investors and hedge funds now own 84.09% of Stifel’s total stock, which was trading at $43.475 as of June 5. The company has also announced that their quarterly revenue is up 9% as compared to the same quarter last year.

While the effects of the DOL rule remain to be seen, for the moment, Stifel is looking good to weather the storm.

Millennials: Start Saving for Your Retirement Today!

A jar with money in it. The jar is labeled "retirement."

Photo credit: Tax Credits at Flickr Creative Commons.

Millennials are in an ideal position to get started on retirement planning because the monies they set aside and invest now will grow over time. But starting now is the key.

Starting a savings plan as early as possible will enable Millennials to put aside small amounts of money each month. The smaller amounts are easier to budget for, and the longer the money is invested, the more time it has to grow into enough for a comfortable retirement. Many experts believe that the amount of money needed to retire is in the range of approximately $1 million.

Unfortunately, many Millennials postpone setting aside savings because many already have financial burdens like student loans or credit card debt. Additionally, they often lack access to 401(k) or similar retirement plans if they work seasonal jobs, are employed part-time, are self-employed, or work at small businesses that don’t offer 401(k) options.

In fact, many Millennials haven’t begun saving for retirement yet. A Wells Fargo survey identified that a full 41% of Millennials have not yet started saving for retirement. Some believe it’s fair to assume the percentage of non-savers would be even higher if they included unemployed Millennials in their survey.

There are a variety of reasons Millennials are holding out when it comes to planning ahead. For example, some have just started working or have irregular incomes, so emergency funds are more critical than retirement funds at the moment.

Women find it especially difficult to find the extra money to put aside due to the gender pay gap. In the Wells Fargo survey, women reported median personal income of $28,800 versus the $39,100 earned by men. It’s not surprising then that more women than men (54% to 43%) said they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck.

And the feeling of scarcity isn’t just gender-based: according to the survey, 64% of the Millennials said they would never accumulate $1 million in savings over their lifetime (though it’s worth noting that 73% of the total women surveyed felt this way).

There are a few steps Millennials can take to invest wisely and make the most of their 401(k)s. First, the recent Mobile Millennials survey from Retirement Clearinghouse found that, when changing jobs, 34% of Millennials cashed out of their 401(k)s at least once. Many experts suggest, however, that a 401(k) should be your last resort to cash out on for any reason. Better to find that cash you need elsewhere.

The Wells Fargo survey also reported that 44% who’ve started saving are only putting away 1-5% of their income—quite a small amount when considering your financial future. Wells Fargo advised that a target of 10% would be a better goal, if possible.

Educating Millennials on their finances is another important step. In the Wells Fargo survey, 35% of Millennials said they didn’t know enough about IRAs to consider them. Since IRAs and 401(k)s have nuances that only a financial advisor can really explain, it’s best to consult one in order to best understand the options for each individual.

Millennials come from a variety of financial backgrounds, and each has their own unique situation when it comes to saving for the future. Still, it’s important across the board for Millennials—and for every generation—to take a good, long look at best practices to ensure that retirement is something everyone can look forward to—not dread.

New York Times and CB Insights Name Sandy Miller to Top 100 Venture Capitalists for Second Year

 

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For the second year in a row, Sandy Miller of Institutional Venture Partners has been named as one of the top 100 venture capitalists in the world, according to The New York Times and CB Insights. The list is determined using data analytics focusing on investments, consistency, and reputation, among other factors. Miller is joined on the list by fellow IVP General Partner Todd Chaffee.

In addition to co-founding Thomas Weisel Partners with Silicon Valley investment banker Thom Weisel, Miller has 35 years of experience in venture capital and technology investment banking. He’s served on more than 25 public, private, and philanthropic boards. In his work he has led investments in companies such as AddThis, Constant Contact, Datalogix, OnDeck, Zynga, and many more. He was also a Managing Director at Montgomery Securities, Merrill Lynch, and DLJ, as well as a strategy consultant at Bain. Since 2006, Miller has been a Managing Director and General Partner at IVP. He ranks at #41 on the list.

Todd Chaffee, also of IVP, has been a Managing Director and General Partner since March of 2000. He has more than 25 years of experience with operating and investment, including investments in Akamai, Ariba, Business Insider, Netflix, Pandora, Yahoo, and many more. Prior to his work with IVP, Chaffee was Executive Vice President of Visa, overseeing Visa’s Advanced Technology, Strategic Planning, Corporate Development, and Equity Investment divisions. He ranks at #97 on the list.

IVP was one of the first venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road in the Silicon Valley. Founded by Reid Dennis in 1980, IVP focuses on financing later stage companies and helping with overall strategy to ensure company health.

This is the second year CB Insights and The New York Times have put together this list using CB Insights’s Investor Mosaic Algorithm. The algorithm uses straight data as well as submissions to determine the best firms and individual professionals in the venture capital market. Determining factors include investor exits, network centrality, illiquid portfolio company value, and recency of performance. Putting it all together, CB Insights and The New York Times are able to come up with a list of the current best-ranking VC professionals.

Celebrating a Job Well Done in the World of Private Investing

A bunch of first-place ribbons lined up side-by-side.

Photo courtesy of Matt Northam at Flickr Creative Commons.

The world of private investing may seem stuffy on the surface, but just like any profession, it comes with its perks, including the glitzy world of awards for a job well done. These awards bring the community together to honor and support coworkers, competitors, and big time accomplishments. Some of the most notable awards are the Private Debt Investor Award (US), Investor All Stars (UK), and the US Investment Management Awards (US).

Private Debt Investor Awards

These awards honor the private investment companies that are at the forefront of the industry. PDI, an industry website and print publication, offers annual awards in more than 40 categories. Winners are determined by votes from industry professionals. You can’t nominate yourself or your own company, but you can nominate colleagues and partners.

This year the competition has been pretty fierce. Adamas Asset Management, Barings, KKR, and SSG Capital Management were all neck-and-neck for Asia Pacific Lender of the Year in early December. In the Global Newcomer of the Year category, Adams Street Partners, CPRDET Capital, Northleaf Capital, and Marc Lipschultz’s Owl Rock Capital Partners were all duking it out right up until voting closed at midnight on January 5.

Final results have yet to be announced.

Investor Allstars

For fifteen years, Investor Allstars has been known as the “Oscars” and the “Must Attend” event for European investors. More than 600 entrepreneurs and investors from both Europe and the US have attended the glamorous annual awards ceremony, taking place this year on September 27 at Westminster Bridge, Park Plaza, London.

These awards honor the successes of the broader European investment industry, as well as singling out CEOs who dare to take calculated risks to improve investments around the world. Awards include Venture Capital Fund of the Year, Growth Fund of the Year, Corporate Development Team of the Year, and Investor of the Year.

Investor Allstars also offers a supplementary award for Europe’s Allstar Company, which is voted on by attendees. The award honors Europe’s most valuable technology companies.

Nominations for these awards are currently open.

US Management Investment Awards

The 7th Annual US Investment Manager Awards ceremony took place on May 19, 2016 in New York City. The awards honor US institutional investors who implement innovative strategies, as well as the excellent performance of money managers in 39 asset classes.

The winners are determined by Institutional Investor Magazine’s editorial and research teams, which consult with eVestment’s research team before reaching their decision. They look for particularly impressive investment strategies based on performance over time, information ratio, standard deviation, and upside market capture. In addition, more than 1000 leading US pension plans, foundations, endowments, and other institutional investors are surveyed for their thoughts on the most impressive investors of the year.

Nominations for 2017 are now open.

Every industry likes to take a moment to honor their truly exceptional members, and private investors are no exception. These three awards are just some of the options for celebrating the clever—not to mention lucrative—business decisions being made every year.

Owl Rock, Others Vie for PDI Awards

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The Private Debt Investor Awards are the only independent industry awards voted on and awarded to the industry. Last year, more than 90 private debt companies in 30 categories across three regions competed for recognition. This year, accolades include Lender of the Year, Law Firm of the Year, and many more.

The competition is tight in many of the categories. With 1,000 respondents so far casting votes in 40 different areas, one of the biggest battles is happening in Global Newcomer of the Year (entries include Marc Lipschultz’s Owl Rock Capital Partners, Bon French’s Adam Street Partners, Jakob Lindquist’s CORDET Direct Lending, and Jeff Pentland’s Northleaf Capital). The running is also close in Asia Pacific Lender of the Year, Fundraising of the Year, and Europe Law Firm of the Year.

So if you’re involved in the industry, there’s no question that your vote will count!

The annual awards are held by Private Debt Investor, a publication of record for the private credit market. Founded in London in 2001, Private Debt Investor is written for providers and users of debt for private assets. PDI covers institutions, funds, and transactions shaping the private debt market. The monthly magazine comes out 10 times a year and helps those in the industry look at both short and long-term trends and themes so they can better serve their clients.

Their website and publications also cover global news and research directly affecting the world’s private debt markets.

In addition to their reports, articles, books, and databases, Private Debt Investor hosts more than 50 conferences and forums all over the world. In 2017 they will host a conference in Germany and one in New York City.

PDI is overseen by its parent company, PEI, a global B2B information group focused on private equity, private real estate, private debt, infrastructure, and agri investing.

The 2016 PDI Awards are off to a great start, but there’s still time to get your vote in! The nomination form will be available until midnight PST on Thursday, January 7. Participants are encouraged but not required to vote in each category. Votes are only accepted from official company emails, and participants may not vote for themselves or their own firms.

How Banking Culture Has Changed since the 90’s

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“Culture, more than rule books, determines how an organization behaves,” said Warren Buffet.

Culture shapes the way people act (and don’t act) on a daily basis and it can be influenced by people inside and outside an organization.

A workplace environment shouldn’t be something that people dread every day; employees should look forward to going to their jobs. In fact, employees should have a hard time leaving because they enjoy their team, the challenges they’re faced with, and the atmosphere. Work may be difficult at times; however, the culture should not add to the stress of the work. Instead, company culture should alleviate the work related to stress.

Culture encourages employee enthusiasm. At Montgomery Securities, an investment bank founded by Thom Weisel, it is believed that companies should have an entrepreneurial culture that “encourages stars and yet still work as a team.”

Back in the 1990’s, banks were places of trust. Inside the big marble interiors and solid pillars sat tellers, loan officers, and other executives dressed in suits and ties. Sound was muted and people spoke in quiet voices. Money was serious business and it was a time when “protecting a bank’s reputation was like protecting a woman’s honor,” said a former senior banker at JP Morgan. They were a prestigious industry with good principles.

Retired bankers say that the ‘short-term’ mindset became evident due to the disappearance of teamwork and a sense of loyalty towards the profession. Organizational spirit was present in the old days where people had to collaborate with others in order to support a bank’s long-term reputation. If you joined a certain company, you were expected to stay there all your life. Now, people often hop around from bank to bank without question. Because loyalty was so important back then, many banks were reluctant to fire employees.

“How people are fired and how they are hired says so much about banking culture. People may be gone in five minutes not just because they were fired but because they were hired elsewhere,” says banking blogger Joris Luyendijk. Most people today switch jobs after being somewhere for between 18 months and three years.

So how can culture change?

Many banks are trying to clean up their image and win back public confidence by hiring new resources. Company culture doesn’t change overnight, as it will take time to adapt to new leadership and structure.

“Cultural change can come from multiple strategies – there’s no one way to catalyze change. But even having a space for people to talk is important – because talk can lead to action. If you are all having the same issues you may catalyze that into change. It’s important to have spaces that are created outside the formal structure,” says Melissa Fisher, author of Wall Street Women, a book that highlights the history of women in finance.

Important Things to Remember Before Purchasing a House

A photo of a home. In the foreground there are two hands—one person is giving the other person the keys to their new home.

Purchasing a house is a major investment. Keep these tips in mind before making any final decisions.
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Buying a house can be an intimidating process. But these quick tips can help make the process a little easier for prospective buyers.

  • Shop with your head, not your heart. It doesn’t matter how much you love a home’s quaint, old fireplace—it won’t be worth it if the rest of the house is not a good fit for your budget and needs. To prevent the heart from taking over, make a checklist for evaluating the home. Make sure you’re honest when filling it out. Rate things on the checklist from “necessary” to “nice-to-have” to “bonus perk.” This will prevent you from falling in love with a house that has none of your essential requirements, and it will give you pause to think.
  • Hire professionals you can trust. Don’t ever waive inspections. Trust the advice of a thorough, licensed, home inspector. You should also make sure that there aren’t any conflicts of interest. Do your research, and don’t ever choose an inspector that your seller recommends.
  • Give yourself time. An often-overlooked aspect of the home-buying process, but the importance of taking your time is crucial for several reasons. For one, it can take longer than you expect, so make sure you continue to have a place to live in the meantime. If you are currently renting, make sure you can extend your lease on a month-to-month basis. Taking your time also means that you aren’t allowing yourself to feel pressured. The ‘perfect property’ is a myth, and don’t let a seller convince you otherwise. There will always be other opportunities out there, but it may take a while of touring mediocre properties before you really start to find the ones that fit your needs. Operate within your own timeline, but do plan to spend at least three months visiting and researching property before making a decision.
  • Consider more than just your finances. Take into account more than just the listed price; look towards the future. What does the surrounding area look like? Do people maintain their property? Since part of your home value is determined by the property surrounding it, you should carefully evaluate the neighborhood. What is the crime rate? Will the location add more time to your commute? Will this house have a yard and maintenance that you can afford to maintain? Budgeting only on the present moment can lead to disappointments in the future.
  • Don’t forget to examine the HOA contract. Does it permit renting? Are there any serious restrictions to things about the property you might want to change? If the contract clashes with concrete plans you have for the future, this property is most likely not a good fit.

Then and Now: IPOs, Private Equity, and the Next Generation of the Tech Boom

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IPOs and the kinds of technology behind them have changed since the golden days of 1990s Silicon Valley.
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The Dot Com bubble of the 90s changed the face of tech and finance in ways that are still affecting these realms today. As the hot new kind of business, tech companies proliferated in the 90s, with the IPO as a rite of passage into the “adulthood” of a “real” business. Some companies, like Apple, Yahoo, and eBay, live on; others crashed and burned when the bubble burst.

Today, tech companies shift to IPOs in different ways and for different reasons than they did in the 90s. Silicon Valley is still booming, but startups are far more likely to turn to individual investors as opposed to IPOs when trying to fund growth. The number and the value of technology IPOs are both way down from the 90s, more resembling what the market saw in the early 80s, albeit with higher amounts of money raised.

Funding in the heyday of the 90s tech bubble came from sources like Thom Weisel’s Montgomery Securities, a private equity firm built on the idea of supporting smaller, more individualized businesses. Like many of those tech superstars of the 90s, however, Montgomery Securities no longer exists—though Weisel himself has moved on to other private equity endeavors in the same vein as the company that started it all.

Part of the reason there was so much energy and enthusiasm behind tech companies of the 90s is that their stock prices soared without any real plan on how to live up to the related, absurdly high expectations. Nowadays, stock prices for tech companies rise or fall based on company profits. In fact, tech company stock is now a bit cheaper than it was then.

Modern investors are also different from their 90s counterparts in that they seem statistically more interested in investing in companies that aren’t already profiting by the time they reach their IPO. According to Bloomberg, of the 206 companies that had IPOs in the US in 2014, 71% had had no profits in the year before their offering.

Unlike the 90s, biotech seems to be where it’s at in terms of rising tech companies these days. Biotech companies tend to have IPOs similar to what you’d see in the 90s: small companies with no revenue but lots of promise, going public to raise the money they need to bring a product to market. That’s pretty specific to today’s biotech IPOs, though; in the rest of the IPO market, Bloomberg says, companies are waiting longer to go public, which is why there are fewer IPOs over all.

We may not be experiencing the sort of tech boom that became an emblem of the 90s, but there are still plenty of opportunities for small companies to make their mark on the world. Whether it’s through individual investors or IPOs, cutting edge tech will always have a place in the market. It’s just that the details of that place are likely to change over time.

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