Three years ago, in December 2001, the very first edition of Private Equity International led with an article on the problem of transparency in private equity. At the time, the issue was on many people's minds: with the exception of conservatively minded general partners, there seemed widespread agreement that, for its own benefit, private equity needed to be stripped of some of its trademark opacity.
Fast forward three years, and you will find the mood has changed. In the wake of America's ongoing Freedom of Information debate, investors are wondering whether the push for more openness may in fact have gone too far.
Of course limited partners still want to know what is going on inside the funds they're backing. GPs have in fact begun to share much more qualitative information with their investors, or at least they were until the recent round of FOIA battles began. But in an age where institutions are under pressure to disclose more and more of this information to a mass audience, LPs are now increasingly concerned about it ending up in places they, let alone the GPs, don't want it to go.
This is why the transparency debate continues. On the eve of FOI legislation taking effect in the UK as well, this issue of Private Equity International explores, among other topics, how the fear of public disclosure has changed the way GPs and LPs communicate.
This issue also brings to a close a year of fever-pitch growth and change at our organisation. In 2004, PEI opened up an office in New York and launched its North American edition. We introduced a range of new editorial features to better capture the trends, personalities and complexities of a changing global private equity industry. We also launched an affiliated journal, Private Equity Manager, which focuses on the challenges, trends and best practices of managing a modern private equity firm.
In order to keep up with you, the private equity market participant, you can expect more relevant developments at Private Equity International in 2005. Thank you for being a reader and please stay tuned.