Friday Letter: Vote now for the winners of 2014

This week we're launching the annual PEI awards. It's your chance to tell us who outperformed in 2014

With the festive season now upon us many will (hopefully!) pause, at least briefly, to reflect on what 2014 has brought, and think about what 2015 may have in store for private equity. To help inspire you, we've just released the third edition of Perspectives, our annual overview of industry topics investors consider most relevant as they get ready for a new year. Based on a survey of institutional investors worldwide, Perspectives investigates the issues that leading LPs are most concerned about. You can download a complimentary copy here (link).

But December also means that it's time for you to tell us which groups have outperformed in 2014: it’s time to vote in our annual awards. Every year since 2001, we've given you the opportunity to tell us who you think the star performers of the year just gone have been.

There’s no doubt that 2014 has been very good for private equity. According to estimates, total cash flows back to investors from their underlying fund investments have exceeded $200 billion – far more capital than has ever been returned in a single year in the history of the asset class.

This is emphatic affirmation of the yield-generating power of the asset class, but also a reminder that markets are in a frenzied state of feeding once again. Record-breaking distributions have been possible because equity and debt markets are back at their peaks, pushing up deal multiples. Investing hasn’t been easy therefore, and of course everyone in the industry is acutely aware of the dangers of overleveraging and overpaying for assets – especially when underlying earnings growth isn’t as strong as it may have been in the past.

But as we take stock for 2014, the fact remains that over the past 12 months many in private equity have enjoyed tremendous success and helped move the industry forward.

So who has stood out more than most? Which transactions deserve to be named ‘deal of the year’? Which GPs dominated the mid-market? And who were the LPs that through their words and actions quickened the pace in the asset class?

Our awards have nearly 70 categories for you to vote in, spread across three regions – EMEA, Asia-Pacific and the Americas – and we encourage you to vote in as many of them as you can. To help you navigate, we’ve drawn up a shortlist for each category based on our coverage throughout the year and our conversations with the market. We have also left a space for you to add in your own choice, if you feel that the rightful winner isn't on our list.

These are, after all, your awards – the only private equity awards decided entirely by the industry, for the industry.

We can't wait to see what you think. CLICK HERE TO START VOTING NOW