Showing posts with label Alternate Assets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alternate Assets. Show all posts

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Negative yield ecosystem

   In the Fynbos shrub lands of South Africa, an occasional forest fire is essential for survival of majority plant species there since their seed is released from its woody encasement only after being burnt (obligate seeders). By analogy, the on-going negative yield inferno that’s rapidly destroying investor wealth too may crack open a few seeds of hope and redemption - The core assumption of a fiscal conflagration ecosystem.
Unlike in a natural phenomenon though, any positive outcome from this dismal fiscal scenario has to be necessarily a derivative of human behavior in face of risk. The Prospect theory explains this when it says ‘the decision makers will be risk averse when choosing between gains and risk seeking when choosing between losses’ – This could mean the investing universe over next few months (& once the ECB buy-back bubble in 2016 too is suitably burst…) would stop sinking more money in government, sovereign bonds and look at riskier options like equity that don’t at least start with a chilling promise of sub-zero return – many articles like herehere & herecovered this possibility quite convincingly.
But again, just as forest fire burns down dry tinder first & then progressively dehydrates and engulfs vegetation that was relatively less-drier & safer before, the investors’ new found appetite for risk gradually could expose the relatively self-correcting equity and other asset classes to the risk of long-term under performance. While this eventuality may not be completely unanticipated by the investing junta, the reason why they’d still ignore it in the shorter term once again is explained by the prospect theory’s ‘reference level dependence’ characteristic, whereby a poor performance of a much riskier equity investment would still look eminently better than a known negative yield of a bond.
So if it isn't even equity, what seeds of hope would crack open?
In their quest for the feel-good investments, it is likely the investor interest in PE will spike in the short to longer-term. This expansion of the PE pie will of course be helped by its historically steadier IRR as compared to other asset classes (@ annual return of 15% calculated across 10 years)
While any such incremental flows into the PE may still be a blip compared to what’s at stake in traditional asset classes, considering the critical nature of capital availability in building/ growing companies that’d eventually feed the future equity market, I’d think Private Equity in its glow of new found investor love will turn out to be the quintessential seed that’ll regenerate the fiscal ecosystem.
Well it just might be that the hot winds of negative yields could prove a windfall for the VCs & FoFs currently raising funds.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Deal-Flow : Value-addition :: Silicon-rapids : Organic back-waters

Reacting to the rather weird scenario wherein some VCs are trashing their own brotherhood, Bruce Booth wonders in his latest article if this is an outcome of a Lake Wobegon-like illusion or if it is the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.

In my comment against this post, I offered my own little suggestion for this apparent case self-deprecation (OR is it not) and more....

My comment:
If I go by what Mahendra Ramsinghani said here on LPs bothering more about deal sourcing capability than value-add by VCs, Khosla’s indictment of ‘95% zero-value add VCs’ shouldn’t really rock the boat more than the supposed shake-up caused by the AngelLists’ & Kickstarters’ of the world – The ‘80% negative-value-add’ rhetoric though is way below the belt & confounding.
Perhaps these intriguing proclamations are a manifestation of nervous energy of the PE biggies that are ‘but-of-course rattled too’ by the progressive warming of the PE globe and thus eager to reaffirm their value-add alternate asset investor status to the larger LP universe.
Can’t help but note again that a lot of the above paradigms, shake-ups, prophesies & reactions are all still relevant mostly to the 'silicon-rapids' (IT et al) and much less to the 'organic-back-waters' (~biotech) – taking a cue from what you said about the CEO, I’d think the loneliest job in the world at present probably is that of a biotech venture capitalist :-)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

End of the day it's all about the Benjamins', impressive TVPIs not withstanding!

In a wake-up call of sorts, Super LP Chris Douvos cautions GP universe that end of the day it's 'all about the Benjamins', impressive TVPIs not withstanding!...

'tis the central dogma of investing alright, but still leaves enough scope for a small repartee of my own - here goes;

My comment
Not sure if it’s a norm, but it’d surely surprise me if the GP takes an investment call in a particular portfolio company without as much as doing a cursory review of its exit potential & potential exit valuation – they probably do too, but don’t necessarily assign a value, given the magnitude of arbitrariness in doing so. It hence is somewhat ironic that the exit valuation in this model is merely a derivative of the overall size/ value of the fund raised by the VC and doesn’t factor-in anything that’d determine the potential of an individual investee enterprise – confounding this  further is the VC having to justify this derived value.

So while the proposed analysis does sound like a non-nonsense approach to assessing the fund performance, that part about “reality checking those putative outcomes” would still remain the single most challenging & expectedly the most contentious aspect even as LP-GP engage with an intent to cracking the funding arithmetic.

Nonetheless, it’s good to be reminded that for all practical reasons the sum of individual valuations of portfolio companies in a particular fund is but an unexciting statistic to the PE Portfolio manager in the LP organization keen on showcasing something akin to the promise of an ‘absolute return’ his hedge-fund counterpart typically presents :-)