Side Letter: Lessons from Schwarzman, Microsoft family office eyes Asia, PEI cocktails

On the beach and itching for a great summer read? Steve Schwarzman has just the book for you. Here’s today's brief, for our valued subscribers only.

Just happened

How to be like Steve

Anyone with even a passing interest in private equity has no doubt at some point mused on what it would take to become industry doyen Steve Schwarzman. Well, wonder no more: Schwarzman’s book – titled What it takes: Lessons in the pursuit of excellence – is sure to have some tips. The book uses “impactful episodes from Schwarzman’s life” to ultimately provide “a practical blueprint for success”. Former Fed Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen calls it a “must read”. One for the holiday book list.

Asian Outlook

Vulcan Capital, the multi-billion family office of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is expected to triple its exposure to Asia-Pacific private equity after launching a Singapore office this month. Vulcan has earmarked an initial $100 million for direct early stage venture capital across Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. Asia represents around 5 percent of Vulcan’s portfolio – the size of which is undisclosed – and this figure is expected to reach around 15 percent, CIO Chris Orndorff tells us.

European fundraising update

The 10 largest Europe-focused funds in market want to raise €21 billion, a decrease of 14 percent on the same cohort last year. The decline is due to several large fundraises that closed in H1, including the €10 billion Seventh Cinven Fund and €2.5 billion Altor Fund V. Carlyle and KKR’s fifth European funds are the largest funds on the road, targeting €5 billion each. UK-based, pan-regional funds make up around half of the top 10.


PSP staffs up in HK. PSP Investments has tapped Stu Szabo, a Montreal-based senior director, to lead its Hong Kong office as a managing director, according to his LinkedIn. Szabo joined the C$168 billion ($126 billion; €114 billion) public pension in 2011 from Apollo Real Estate Advisors, now Ares Management. PSP’s Hong Kong office – its first in Asia-Pacific – opened its doors in April.

Should I stay or should I grow? Deciding on fund size is one of the most critical decisions a GP makes. A significantly larger fund can make a meaningful impact on the business, investment strategy, and LP perception, but jump up too much and you risk turning off investors. In this two-minute video, Sunaina Sinha, managing partner of placement and advisory firm Cebile Capital, shares five things GPs should consider when increasing their fund size.

Shaken or stirred?

Fancy a drink? How about a Cocktail with PEI? We’re launching a series to do just that – a one-on-one chat about the latest in private equity trends with one of our editorial team over a delicious libation. We conducted our first one – mocktails in hand – last night with a prominent European LP and will be sharing the details with you soon. Get in touch in New YorkLondon or Hong Kong.

Dig deeper

Funding in Memphis. Memphis Light, Gas and Water Retirement and Pension System has approved a $24 million commitment to Schroder Adveq Asia V. Here’s a breakdown of the $1.37 billion US pension’s total investment portfolio. For more information on Memphis Light, as well as more than 5,900 other institutions, check out the PEI database.

He said it

“Every time I’m at [a] panel, the moderator always asks, what keeps me up at night? The answer is always Netflix. And YouTube”

At CalPERS‘ board meeting on Tuesday, guest speaker Hiro Mizuno, chief investment officer at Japan’s GPIF, details how he de-stresses at night. Here’s what he gets up to during the day.

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Today’s letter was prepared by Isobel MarkhamAdam LeCarmela Mendoza and Alex Lynn.

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