PEI Awards 2013: KKR, Oaktree, AlpInvest lead honour roll

Some familiar names got your votes in our 2013 awards – but also some interesting new ones.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and AlpInvest Partners were among the biggest winners in Private Equity International’s 2013 Awards, with both firms picking up two notable awards.

KKR was acclaimed as large-cap firm of the year in Asia, thanks in part to the record-breaking $6 billion fund it raised for the region, and also won distressed specialist of the year in Europe. Meanwhile AlpInvest was named as the top funds of funds manager and the top secondaries group in Europe last year, after successfully raising a large sum of external third-party capital for the first time.

PEI's awards, the results of which are released today, are not only the most comprehensive in private equity. They're also voted for entirely by the industry, for the industry – with no sponsorship and no panel of judges. So they're a true reflection of the esteem in which a firm is held by its peers.

AlpInvest and KKR were not the only firms to win multiple categories, however. HarbourVest won fund of funds of the year in the Americas, as well as secondaries firm of the year in Asia. Actis came out on top as firm of the year in both Africa and MENA. Oaktree Capital Management claimed the prize for distressed specialist of the year in both the Americas and Asia. And Clifford Chance was voted as the best law firm of the year for transactions in both Europe and Asia.

Among the other groups honoured by the thousands of industry participants from around the world who voted were CVC Capital Partners, which romped home in the European large-cap firm category after a bumper fundraising year, and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which was named LP of the year in North America.

Overall, this year’s winners were an interesting mix of the old and the new. 

The Blackstone Group regained the top spot from The Carlyle Group as large-cap firm of the year in North America, while previous repeat winners like The Riverside Company, Capvis, MBK Partners and Debevoise & Plimpton all came up trumps again.

But some new names emerged too. Halder took a surprise top spot in Germany, while Allianz Capital Partners was named LP of the year in Europe. In Asia, Sri Lanka specialist Jupiter Capital won the frontier markets category for the first time, as did Macquarie in the fund of funds category.

As well as recognising particular groups, PEI's annual awards programme also honours two individuals for their outstanding personal contribution to the industry during the year. 

David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chief executive of The Carlyle Group, was named as Leader of the Year. Rubenstein personally gave away more than $120 million last year, according to the Chronicle for Philanthropy. But just as importantly, he's also been at the forefront of an organisation that is trying hard to better engage with the wider world. This was evident during the government shutdown, when Carlyle released its own GDP forecasts in the absence of any official figures.

There is also a special award for the Asia-Pacific region, to reflect the importance of leadership in these developing markets. This year's recipient is Bill Ferris, co-founder of CHAMP Private Equity. Ferris has been at the forefront of the industry’s development in Australia since the 1970s, and last year published a book entitled 'Inside Private Equity' that was at times admirably frank about some of the successes and failures of private equity. This was a timely contribution, particularly since Australia is currently embroiled in a debate about the transparency of managers that invest on behalf of the country’s superannuation funds.

Click HERE to read our full coverage, which details which fund managers, investors, advisors and transactions took top honours and why.