In my last post I commented that getting "access" to the star funds in Australia is no longer easy. The $1.2 billion fund raised by Pacific Equity Partners was reputedly three times over-subscribed.
Access is enormously important in private equity investing. In public markets, investment returns are largely determined by asset allocation. What really matters is whether you put your money into stocks, bonds, property or cash-- not which stock you choose or which fund manager. In fact, over a decade, the spread between a top quartile bond fund's perfomance and a third quartile fund is only about 1%. For shares the spread in returns rises to about 3%.
But get this, depending on which piece of research you accept, the spread between top quartile and third quartile private equity performance sits somewhere between 15% and 22%. Massive.
Implication? If you can't get your money into a top-performing private equity fund you're better off staying out of the asset class. It's all about access.