Pantheon's results benefit from light touch regulation

Secondaries and fund of funds specialist Pantheon Ventures managing partner Andrew Lebus has defended the private equity model, claiming that the less regulated environment private equity enjoys is the key to its success.

Pantheon Ventures, a secondaries and fund of funds specialist, said today the less regulated environment enjoyed by private equity produces strong enterprise.

Commenting on his firm's results Andrew Lebus, managing partner, Pantheon Ventures, told PEO: “It is the issue of transparency where the politics of private equity needs to prove itself. It will, because it has a tremendously good story. It is the great example of how a freer, less regulated environment can produce strong enterprise.” Lebus declined to comment about the industry’s tax treatment.

Despite problems in the debt markets affecting larger buyouts, Pantheon is optimistic its segment of the market will be sheltered from such problems and it views them as an opportunity.

“I’m sure we’ll see an increase in secondary activity due to firms’ general acceptance of the secondary market as a means of adjusting some of their portfolio. When the cycle turns this also tends to produce sellers who decide to exit certain sectors,” Lebus said. A management team that understands the nature of the cycle will produce stronger returns, he said.

In its results for the year leading up to 30 June Pantheon’s listed fund of funds Pantheon International Participations committed £386.6 million ($787.4 million, €554.7 million) in total. Of this sum, £241.6 million went to primary funds and £145 million to secondary. Primary commitments were up 52 percent and Pantheon’s secondary commitments rose 80 percent on last year.

More than half Pantheon’s capital, or £134.6 million, was invested across 20 European funds, while £82 million was committed to 19 US funds and £24.9 million to Pantheon’s latest Asian fund of funds.

The fund of funds received £146.7 million from realisations. £56.3 million of this came from the primary portfolio and £90.4 million from the secondary portfolio. Its net asset value per share at year end was up 15.4 percent at £9.19. Total assets rose by 38.4 percent to £610.3 million during the year, including a £100 million share issue.