The heroics of British rowers Pinsent, Cracknell, Coode and Williams winning Olympic gold in the coxless fours in Athens in dramatic fashion will have drawn the attention of many observers last month – including the rowing enthusiasts in private equity. One man who will have shown more than a passing interest in events on Athenian waters is Stephen Peel, head of Texas Pacific Group's London office. Peel rowed for Great Britain in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, the same games where Sir Steve Redgrave won his second of five goal medals in consecutive Olympics. Peel may not have won as many accolades on the water, but he has certainly sculled a pretty mean route through the choppy waters of the private equity world since.

“Value creation during ownership is looming to become more important than value creation during the buy.”

James Quella, senior managing director, The Blackstone Group, speaking at Private Equity International's 2004 Strategic Financial Management for Private Equity Firms event in New York

“The [pension] plan sponsor is turning to its investment managers and saying, “I need X percent,” and the investment manager is looking at conventional investments and saying, “It does not give me X percent; I'd better step out and do some of these higher-risk alternatives, and maybe something good will happen there.””

Leonard Cargill, a Houston actuary and former member of the Texas Pension Review Board, to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, on why pensions are turning to alternative investments