SuperReturn International (27 February – 2 March 2017) – Berlin

Where Global PE & VC Investors Gather and the Deals Happen

27 February – 2 March 2017, Berlin

LPEA participated in the 20th annual SuperReturn International, the world’s leading private equity and venture capital conference.

As usual, LPEA and ALFI hosted a joint “Luxembourg” booth to distribute publications, welcome Luxembourg participants and present the country to all delegates.

We also highlight the participation of Hans Jürgen Schmitz (Mangrove Capital Partners) in the panel “Disruption: What Technology And/Or Process Advancements Will Potentially Create The Greatest Disruption Over The Course Of The Next 12-18 Months?” and Nic Müller (KPMG Luxembourg) in the panel “Why Should You Invest In The Mid Market Today?”

LPEA’s Luxembourg dinner is also already a tradition on the first evening of the international meeting. This year we were honoured with the presence of Ms. Cindy Tereba, Attachée économique et commerciale of the Luxembourg Embassy in Berlin.
See our picture gallery below.

Guest article: „Top Quartile“ – and other urban legends demystified

Guest article byNic Mueller, CFA, Wirtschaftspruefer, Senior Manager at KPMG Luxembourg

Guest article: Top Quartile – and other urban legends demystified


By the time an industry reaches maturity, market participants will have usually agreed on industry standards. Those are meant to harmonize international operations, increase transparency, enhance customer experience and allow comparability. With regards to the Private Equity industry, one may ask – are we there yet? I’ll be looking at two items in this post: Performance Measurement and Reporting.

Performance Measurement: “we are top quartile”

Not only those market players that have participated in the largest Private Equity conference on this planet last week – the SuperReturn International in Berlin – are faced with an assertion that has gradually turned into a joke: GPs claiming they were “top quartile”. So out of the millions of bright intelligent people on this planet that fund companies and increase their enterprise value, literally all of them are amongst the top 25% rainmakers?

The funny answer is: yes, they are – somehow. Oliver Gottschalg of PERACS institute made the exercise and reviewed a comprehensive universe of funds over a meaningful timespan and came with the conclusion that it’s mainly a matter of definition; example: the industry has failed to agree on a universal definition of “vintage” – is it the year of first closing, last closing, first investment? It can easily be imagined that funds could categorize themselves in exactly that year that makes them look most favorable. All these little inconsistencies add up to a myriad of possible combinations that allow you to be top quartile, depending on the metric you define yourself as a GP.

And don’t get caught up in the battle “Which one is the better metric – IRR or Cash Multiple?” – you’re both wrong. Historical performance is not a good proxy for future returns: we have all heard that before but it seems to be in the human nature to simplify decision-making and base it on intuitive numbers. However, the GP selection process has always been (and probably always will be) a people business, where understanding the investment strategy (the “what?”), proposed timing (the “when?”) – and most importantly (as evidenced by research, see above) the implementation (the “how?”) is crucial, and the human element can be supported by key metrics – but never be replaced.

Reporting: “yes, this is fair value… why do you ask?”

The website of the International Private Equity and Venture Capital Valuation Guidelines Board (“IPEV Guidelines” Board) has been outdated for so long, that people thought they stopped interacting in December 2012. And then – not necessarily accompanied by a huge marketing campaign – the updated version December 2015 was released recently. In my view, the IPEV Guidelines are seen as a standard for reporting fair values in Private Equity funds in many jurisdictions, but are they really applied as such?

Once again: a huge question mark. Lawyers happily put a reference to the IPEV Guidelines (or, if they still haven’t updated their templates: the “EVCA” or “BVCA” guidelines) in the LPAs, but has this trickled down to Alternative Investment Fund Managers, external value specialists, accountants, financial reporting clerks, auditors, and other fans&friends of the Private Equity industry? Well, funds are usually audited, so the discussions will be held at least once a year, but inside knowledge about the various elements (esp. the new 2.7, or the widely ignored 4.3 – have a read) is not necessarily found in all parts of any given organization.

A wonderful playground – for anyone willing to contribute

I have not spoken about the initiatives by the Institutional Limited Partners Association (“ILPA”) and their new fee template yet (watch this space for more to come), but I’d already like to draw a conclusion here: The Private Equity industry at its current stage couldn’t be more interesting for anyone who is obsessed about standardization and harmonization, as GPs and LPs alike have more than ever understood the need for a common ground. The national and international trade associations are open for anyone who is willing to contribute and suggest ideas. Academics pair up with practitioners to analyze large data sets and draw conclusions that will enable them to push back regulators, backed by profound research.

It has never been more fun to be associated with the world of investing – without investing a single cent 🙂

LPEA at the SuperReturn International in Berlin (22-25 February 2016)

LPEA participation in SuperReturn International 2016

LPEA was again present with a booth at SuperReturn International in Berlin. Together with ALFI, we shared with the conference delegates Luxembourg’s latest trends and updates. The event was also the occasion to host a Luxembourg evening which gathered part of the Luxembourg community present at the event.

Luxembourg private equity sector was again represented at SuperReturn International 2016 in Berlin,  from 22nd to 25th of February. By many considered as the world’s biggest private equity conference, this year’s edition was up to the expectations with over 2000 participants taking part in the conferences and visiting the exhibitor stands.

In addition to the roughly 100 Luxembourg-based attendees at the conference, LPEA and ALFI hosted a shared Luxembourg corner with publications about the sector and Q&A point for delegates interested in knowing more about the country.

Separately, LPEA hosted a “Luxembourg evening” in the restaurant Catzorange with the participation of 30 of our members present in Berlin, some of their respective guests and the honorable participation of Cindy Tereba, Head of the trade and economic department at the Embassy of Luxembourg in Berlin.

To drive further engagement at the conference venue, LPEA and ALFI gave away a small robot from the Star Wars movie via an on-site draw. The “toy” produced considerable attention and was a subject of discussion for a significant number of participants.

Check the photos of our participation below.