What Is a Private Equity Fund?

What Is a Private Equity Fund?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

A private equity fund is a collective investment scheme used for making investments in various equity (and to a lesser extent debt) securities according to one of the investment strategies associated with private equity. Private equity funds are typically limited partnerships with a fixed term of 10 years (often with annual extensions). Investment professionals, and the investment Trust itself, are commonly referred to as general partners while investors in the fund are known as limited partners.

Related Questions

1. How do private equity funds work?

Private equity funds work by pooling resources from various investors. These investors or limited partners include pension funds, endowments, insurance companies, wealthy individuals, and other institutional investors. The pooled capital is then used to acquire stakes in companies, which are privately held or public companies that the fund “takes private”. The fund uses its management expertise to improve operations, cut costs, and ultimately sell the stake for a profit.

2. What is private equity investment?

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Private equity investment is when investment funds or firms invest directly into companies in the forms of buyouts, venture capital, mezzanine capital, growth capital, or distressed investments. These investments are typically characterized by a long hold period, active ownership, and unlisted companies.

3. What is the difference between private equity and hedge funds?

Both private equity and hedge funds are pools of capital managed by investment professionals, but they differ in terms of their investment strategies and structures. Private equity firms invest in individual companies, aiming to improve their performance and sell them at a profit, usually over a period of several years. Hedge funds, on the other hand, invest in a diverse range of assets and aim to generate high returns in the short term while minimizing risk.

4. Is private equity a good career?

A career in private equity can be rewarding. It offers the opportunity to work with executive teams, develop strategies for businesses, and see them through to execution. It can provide a deep understanding of how businesses operate. However, the workload is often heavy, and the pressurized environment isn’t for everyone.

5. How do private equity firms make money?

Private equity firms make money through two channels: management fees and performance fees. The management fee is a fixed percentage of the total asset value of the fund. This covers the operational costs of the firm, including salaries, rent, and research. Performance fees, also known as carried interest, represent a percentage of the profits gained from the sale of investments, encouraging the firm to maximize the fund’s performance.