Listed Private Equity ETFs: The Real Deal?
Investing in versus with the KKRs, Blackstones, and Apollos of this world
December 2023. Reading Time: 10 Minutes. Author: Nicolas Rabener.
- Listed private equity companies have significantly underperformed
- It seems more beneficial to work for a PE firm than being a shareholder
- Recent private equity fund valuations seem overly stale
Stephen Schwarzman is worth $27 billion, Leon Black $8.6 billion, and Henry Kravis $7.5 billion, according to Forbes. All three made their money by creating asset management companies focused on private asset classes. The Blackstone Group and KKR started with private equity, while Apollo Global Management has its origin in distressed debt, although all three firms diversified their product ranges over time and today also offer funds investing in real estate, hedge funds, and infrastructure (read A Crescendo in Private Credit? and BDCs: Better Don’t Choose?).
The net worth of these three entrepreneurs reflects their track records as successful investors as well as their ability to raise multi-billion funds from investors. Historically investing in private equity funds was restricted to institutional investors and required large commitments of investment capital, but recently companies like iCapital in the U.S. or Moonfare in Europe have emerged that offer access to financial advisors and even retail investors.
Having said this, investing in private equity via such retail-oriented platforms is still complicated and many investors simply wish for an ETF that provides this exposure. Although this product does not exist, there are ETFs that invest in listed private equity companies.
If I can’t invest in Stephen Schwarzman’s funds, why not invest in his company directly? Surely a shareholder should benefit as much as a fund investor.
In this research article, we will analyze ETFs that invest in listed private equity companies.
PERFORMANCE OF LISTED PRIVATE EQUITY ETFS
Only two ETFs are trading in the U.S. stock market that invest in listed private equity firms. The Invesco Global Lis