Bridge over ocean
1 July 2016 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 72, Issue 4

A Bottom-Up Approach to the Risk-Adjusted Performance of the Buyout Fund Market

  1. Jean-Francois L'Her, CFA
  2. Rossitsa Stoyanova
  3. Kathryn Shaw
  4. William Scott
  5. Charissa Lai

We use the Burgiss dataset to study private equity buyout fund performance. Our findings on performance before risk adjustments are consistent with those in the literature and indicate significant outperformance of buyout fund investments. Using a bottom-up approach, we identify the systematic risks of underlying companies in buyout funds to inform an appropriate risk-adjusted benchmark, which we determine to be a levered size- and sector-adjusted public index. After making these risk adjustments, we find no significant outperformance of buyout fund investments versus the public market equivalent on a dollar-weighted basis. We contend that even without significant risk-adjusted outperformance, buyout funds can play a valuable role in institutional investors’ portfolios.

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