Side Letter: What Fink thinks about PE in 401(k)s, CalSTRS hiring, EQT’s growth guru

Like others, BlackRock's Larry Fink is deferring his excitment about PE finding its way into 401(k)s

They said it

“I think we have a very unique and special culture in the investment branch, but frankly I don’t know how to do culture when everybody is remote”

California State Teachers’ Retirement System CIO Chris Ailman grapples with team-building in a pandemic. The pension is currently recruiting for its co-investment team

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Global Investor 100

PE giants: see how they invest

Looking to dive deeper into our inaugural Global Investor 100 list? This interactive presentation breaks down the $1 trillion ranking, slicing and dicing the data to bring you even more insights into the institutions that make up the list.

Fink’s take on PE in 401(k)s
BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink highlighted the need for technology and risk management among asset managers on the firm’s second quarter earnings call on Friday, in relation to the US Department of Labor’s guidance for plan sponsors to include private equity funds in their 401(k) plans. He noted the move was “a positive development” that benefits private markets. Yet while he is excited about the opportunity, it’s “still early days”. The industry needs to find out more about the implementation of the guidance and the types of disclosures, and provide more education to retirement savers.

EMPEA’s CEO’s take
Side Letter caught up with Cate Ambrose, chief executive of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association, to talk about the state of private capital in emerging markets and the organisation’s new strategic initiatives. Here are some takeaways:

  • The initial premise of emerging markets PE – faster-growth economies, rising domestic consumption and an expanding middle class – have shifted dramatically, and so have institutional investors’ drivers for investing in these markets.
  • Three important themes are driving EMPEA’s near-term initiatives: environmental sustainability and social impact; technology and innovation; and Asia as an opportunity for greater growth.
  • The pandemic has affected investor sentiment towards emerging markets: responses to EMPEA’s 2020 Global Limited Partners Survey point to a near-term decline in new commitments to EM-focused private capital funds. However, private capital doesn’t stop, even at a time of political isolationism.

Read the interview in full later this week.


Summer reads: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

Side Letter caught up with Jie Gong, partner at Pantheon and vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, who recommended Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris: “With the right mix of humour and practicality, it is a breezy read with many laughing-out-loud moments, while making it infinitely easier to overcome excuses and form a habit of meditation.”

EQT plugs growth gap
EQT has lured Atomico and SoftBank Vision Fund veteran Carolina Borchado to launch a new fund to make growth investments, the firm told Tech Crunch. Writes TC’s Steve O’Hear: “According to multiple sources, Brochado is part of a new growth fund team at EQT that will sit between its existing earlier-stage EQT Ventures and the more majority ownership-oriented EQT Private Equity. She’s currently thought to be out recruiting additional members of EQT Growth.”

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