20th Anniversary Cocktail Reception
The Mint (10 Macquarie Street, Sydney). RSVP is required.
VIP GP-LP Dinner (invitation only)
Limited partners’ session (invitation only.)
A behind-closed-doors session in which LPs can share their experiences of private markets investment – across multiple geographies, using third-party managers or going direct, and leveraging advisory relationships. Attendance is limited to investors with active alternatives programs as well as to those currently not allocating but who wish to find out more about the industry. Featuring presentations, an interactive panel, and a practical group discussion, the session will cover topics including:
- What investment committees are asking that they weren’t a year ago
- Best practices in terms of preparing portfolios for a downturn
- The implications of a slowdown in exits and distributions
- How appetite for certain markets or strategies varies based on the cycle
- Addressing ESG, impact, and decarbonisation priorities
- Risk and regulation in the context of private markets valuations
- Superannuation consolidation vs minimum cheque size constraints
- Accessing co-investment and being a value-added partner
Private equity faces significant headwinds globally. Geopolitical unrest, inflationary pressure, and rising interest rates have contributed to a highly uncertain investment environment. Even where there is conviction around an opportunity, financing it can be a challenge. At the same time, GPs continue to position themselves for long-term strategic growth, identifying new products and innovations and tapping new streams of capital. Our panel of industry experts discuss how they are approaching investments, from underwriting to exit.
- What makes this cycle different from the last?
- Portfolio management – storm-proofing or futureproofing?
- How are GPs evolving to remain globally competitive?
- What products and strategies are attracting most LP interest?
Supply chain issues, labour shortages, an M&A slowdown, a softening in consumer demand. This amounts to a snapshot of the local issues – some intertwined with global challenges, some not – confronting investors in Australia. With valuations yet to reset it is not an environment conducive to aggressive deployment. However, the best-performing vintages often coincide with the most challenging conditions. Our panellists offer insights into how they find value through targeting defensive sectors and leveraging domain expertise.
- What are the main drivers of deal flow in Australia?
- In which areas are GPs developing in-house operational resources?
- What are the implications of intermingling PE and infrastructure?
- How are GPs thinking more broadly about liquidity generation?
The AVCJ Australia & New Zealand Forum has tracked and reflected the evolution of the industry over the past two decades. History is often episodic: the trials and triumphs of buyout pioneers, the arrival of global GPs, dotcom boom and bust, the global financial crisis, a record-breaking streak of economic growth, the rise technology-enabled business models, and a global pandemic. But the overriding story is one of an asset class that has become a cornerstone of the economy – and generated attractive returns for LPs along the way. A panel of industry veterans revisits the past and looks to the future.
Venture capitalists have enjoyed a relatively long run of valuation upticks, a scattering of liquidity events, and latterly, increased support from local institutional investors. Now, though, the industry is facing a reality check. Challenging economic conditions have prompted questions about business model stability and the viability of valuations, and capital is harder to source. Assertions that the VC ecosystem has the maturity to thrive in the face of adversity will be put to the test.
- What is the outlook for early and growth-stage investment?
- Are regulators justified in questioning valuation methodologies?
- When is Australia likely to start seeing down rounds?
- What can VC investors do to build resilience into their portfolios?
Private wealth platforms and family offices represent a fast-growing and increasingly popular capital source for alternative investment managers. For private equity firms, advisors, and intermediaries, marketing is educational as well as product driven. Working with high-net-worth investors also requires refined approaches in areas like reporting, fees, financial modelling, and co-investment. Our panel of wealth managers and family offices explores how these efforts are paying off and considers the long-term implications of democratising access to alternatives.
- Which sectors and strategies get the most traction with these investors?
- Are semi-liquid products the best way to reach the mass affluent?
- Have structural questions around capital calls and reporting been addressed?
- How should GPs go about engaging family offices on opportunities?
Close of conference Day 1
Energy transition is a hot-button topic among all stakeholders – individuals, government, corporates, and investors. Meanwhile, the scale of spending required to realise net-zero emissions goals has been compared to creating the top 10 companies in the world every year. For GPs, energy and climate represent a huge investment opportunity as well as an equally large operational and compliance burden. Those able to generate a positive environmental impact and financial returns stand to benefit when fundraising.
- Which sectors are most conducive to the pursuit of net-zero strategies?
- What progress are GPs making in driving change in portfolio companies?
- Are stakeholders mindful enough of disclosure and greenwashing?
- How can private equity firms access sustainability-linked financing?
Many private equity investors active in the Australasian market have never experienced a pronounced or protracted downturn. Their careers to date have been characterised by low interest rates, sustained economic growth, a business-friendly investment environment, and strong support from LPs. However, this cosy status quo has been rocked by COVID-19, macroeconomic challenges, and geopolitical unrest. Valuations have become unstable and liquidity events are difficult to realise. Our panel of seasoned investors discusses lessons learned in previous cycles and how GPs can find opportunities amid crises.
The private debt proposition has always been predicated on filling the gap created by banks withdrawing from traditional lending. This may become even more pertinent in a challenging economic environment, but credit investors are also increasingly selective and mindful of downside protection and jurisdictional risk. An influx of sub-strategies – offered by specialists and multi-asset managers – means LPs have more access points than ever before. Our panellists share their views on how to navigate the market.
- Which strategies are best placed to take advantage of current conditions?
- What impact does a downturn have on structuring downside protection?
- Are special situations and distress opportunities emerging in greater number?
- What are the pros and cons of Australasia as an investment destination?
Fundraising by Asia-based private equity managers in on course for its weakest year in nearly a decade. The pace of investment has slowed, IPOs are scarce, and M&A appetite among strategic investors is weak. The region’s role as a global growth engine – and the fundamentals underpinning this – are unchanged, but many LPs are re-evaluating their exposure and how they want to access the market. Our GPs from around Asia explain how they are staying relevant.
- Where are the region’s economic bright spots?
- Does an Asia portfolio without China make sense?
- How are GPs differentiating themselves from peers?
- What steps can be taken to improve exits and liquidity?
The way institutional investors approach the current investment environment is dictated to a large extent by portfolio maturity, strategic objectives, and risk appetite. Following two years dominated by re-ups and budgetary constraints as GPs returned to market at ever shorter intervals, now overallocation and macroeconomic pressure are primary concerns. There is a need to be defensive yet opportunistic, diversified yet aware of specific pockets of opportunity. Our panellists explain how they find the right balance.
- What is the biggest issue impacting allocation decisions?
- How is the LP-GP power dynamic evolving?
- Under what circumstances would LPs back a first-time fund?
- How are LPs responding to questions on ESG and portfolio valuations?
Networking lunch and close of conference
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