PEI Awards reflect an industry’s evolution

Now in their 15th year, PEI’s annual honours feature some new categories – including for secondaries market participants and co-investors – recognising a changing, growing asset class.

The wait is almost over. Next Tuesday, Private Equity International will reveal the winners of its PEI Awards 2015, the private equity industry’s most extensive set of global honours and the only ones voted on by the industry itself.

Since 2001, PEI’s awards have recognised the great and the good – but the categories have evolved with the industry, from just 18 focused largely on Europe to nearly 70 across the globe. They have expanded to include emerging markets, in a nod to private equity’s increasingly global reach, as well as acknowledge changing market dynamics and relationships.

In 2004, for example, PEI introduced its first-ever award for secondaries firms as the strategy began to grow in prominence. In 2015 we have three secondaries-related awards in each region: Firm of the Year, Deal of the Year and Advisor of the Year.

These additions have been spurred by the impressive growth of the secondaries market, its development of new – and often spectacularly complex – transaction types and its importance as both an investment strategy and portfolio management tool. Congratulations to some of the winners of these newer categories, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Adams Street and Newquest.

Limited partners, too, have undergone a metamorphosis since the awards were launched. In 2006 we introduced an LP award for each region, recognising that the asset class was driven by forward-thinking investors with an appetite for private equity. This year, we added a co-investor of the year category to reflect the rising importance of co-investment for LPs and fund managers alike. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Temasek and Ardian were the organisations our readers selected as best in class co-investors in 2015.

But, as the proverb goes, the more things change, the more things stay the same. A look at this year’s list of winners also shows the longevity of some top-tier firms’ influence over the asset class. Hint: the winners of Firm of the Year in France and Firm of the Year in the Nordics are the same GPs that took those honours back in 2001. And you’ll find a number of other industry participants – particularly in service provider categories – enjoying repeat victories, too.

Watch out for the full list of this year’s winners, which will be published on 1 March.