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What is an Investment Manager Private Equity?
Investment managers in the private equity sector work in management companies of private equity funds or venture capital companies: These invest in companies and develop them further in order to sell them again after a holding period (approx. five to seven years) with the highest possible increase in company value.
The investment managers identify investment opportunities and are responsible for the transaction (identification, analysis/due diligence, acquisition and financing). Once the company has been acquired, they usually move to the supervisory board or advisory board as representatives of the owner side and support the company in an advisory capacity: They are part of the team for further strategic planning in the company, monitor controlling, talk to banks about corporate financing and provide support with their specific expertise where the company lacks it – for example in the case of company acquisitions or sales. At the end of the investment period, you are part of the team that plays a key role in steering and monitoring the sales process.
In the private equity investment process, investment managers act as project managers: they work closely in a small team with associates/analysts, investment directors and/or partners, external consultants and the management team to increase the value of the portfolio company.
High pressure, high competition
The »private equity« investment class has developed into a very established asset class since the 1990s. In times of “cheap” money, the demand for profitable forms of investment is high. The private equity market has collected a lot of capital since the financial crisis of 2008 and is therefore under great investment pressure. As a result, the demand for interesting investment opportunities is high – with the consequence that company values have risen sharply in recent years.
Consequently, competition within the PE industry is considerable. As a rule, M&A consultants organize structured processes/auctions in which the company is “auctioned” so to speak. The great choice of the investment manager is therefore to build up a qualified network with potential companies in order to access so-called »proprietary transactions«. These transactions are exclusive and not public, or: If an intermediary (M&A consultant) is involved, the investment manager could ideally develop competitive advantages due to his information advantage.
Private equity and digitization
The topic of digitization is also omnipresent in the PE industry. While developing his portfolio company, the investment manager will also come into contact with its digital strategy, digital systems or projects. Here, the opportunity and risk assessment plays a particularly important role, as to the extent to which progressive digitization can have disruptive approaches for his portfolio company.
However, the main part of the work of the private equity investment manager remains largely unaffected by digitization: identifying business opportunities, assessing markets, analyzing companies, industries and sectors, corporate financing, supporting and controlling its portfolio companies, setting up and Maintaining a network with market participants and ongoing contact with the various stakeholders.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: Degree in economics or law (ideally double degree/MBA)
- Starting salary: €100,000
- Top salary: €300,000
- Opportunities for advancement: Investment Director, Partner, Managing Partner
What does an Investment Manager Private Equity do?
- Preparation of company valuations, financial plans and liquidity plans
- Analysis of annual financial statements, monthly and quarterly reports from company controlling
- Execution of market and competition analyzes for potential target companies within the PE strategy
- Identification of target companies as well as development and implementation of strategies for addressing potential target companies
- Control of the transaction process from the acquisition of the company to the takeover into the portfolio
- Management of the due diligence and negotiation process
- Coordination of service providers such as auditors, banks and management consultants
- Creation and monitoring of schedules
- Creation of presentations and project documents
- Controlling of the portfolio companies and close cooperation with the finance department and the accounting departmentof the portfolio companies
How does one become an Investment Manager Private Equity?
No training or degree prepares you for the profession of investment manager in the field of private equity. The way there usually leads via well-known management consultancies (transaction services), investment banks and acquisition financing teams at banks. In addition, candidates must bring the following:
- Degree in economics or law (ideally double degree/MBA)
- at least 2 – 4 years of relevant professional experience (e.g. in M&A or corporate finance, private equity, corporate finance/acquisition finance or strategy consulting); this also includes internships
- Experience in supporting or executing corporate transactions
- Knowledge of financial modeling
- fluent German and English
- Very good MS Office skills (esp. Excel)
What does an Investment Manager Private Equity earn?
up to €300,000
Basically one can say: investment managers in private equity earn well. Exactly how good depends not only on professional experience, but also on the focus and size of the employer/fund or on the number and size of the portfolio being managed. The gross annual salary can be between € 100,000 and €300,000 per year. In addition, there are usually success payments linked to the success rate — so-called »carried interests«. These are shares in the increase in value that the portfolio companies achieve when the respective fund is sold or liquidated.
What do you expect from the investment manager private equity?
As a rule, only the best of the best are hired as investment managers for private equity: excellent grades (high school diploma, university), quickly completed studies at a respected university, interesting internships in relevant business areas during the course of study, operational experience — these conditions indicate that the applicant is determined, focused and engaged.
Private equity investment managers are very resilient and not only keep their nerves in extremely stressful situations, but also keep an overview. You can meet deadlines under enormous time pressure and complete tasks in a qualified manner. In addition, investment managers from the private equity sector combine a number of supposed opposites:
- Strong analytical skills and factual approach as well as exceptionally good contact and communication skills
- Team orientation with simultaneous ability to achieve agreed goals
- Strong entrepreneurship or recognition of business opportunities, as well as empathy
- High sense of responsibility, innovative spirit and ability to change as well as pronounced initiative and pragmatism
- High level of work commitment and self-motivation combined with the ability to work in small teams
Opportunities for advancement as Investment Manager Private Equity
Hierarchies in the private equity environment are flat, just as teams in this environment are rather small in terms of personnel. For this reason, further professional development can be represented less at the technical and managerial level than at the personal level of success. The main driver in the private equity business is the »equity participation« in the increase in value of the portfolio companies when they are sold (carried interest).
The personal development of an employee in the PE environment runs from analyst/associate to investment manager level to investment director and finally to partner/managing partner level. The more experience an investment professional has gained over time and the success in increasing the value of the investments under management manifests itself over the long term and corresponding successes in the initiation of new transactions/company acquisitions have become verifiable, the faster you will move up the PE hierarchy develop.
In the course of this development, the successful investment professional/investment employee should have earned »carried interest points« in line with their seniority development. This carried interest should have multiplied substantially in the case of well-developing company portfolios, a good economy and a good investment strategy, so that successful investment professionals in the private equity environment can basically build up the corresponding assets.
In such a scenario, successful PE professionals can reposition themselves in the market with their own funds or build up their own portfolio of companies.
Anyone who wants to change out of the private equity environment will also have opportunities to change operationally to the corporate level, especially as CFO for PE-financed companies.
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