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Takeaways from Axios' transatlantic event

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May 24, 2024
Photo of Andrew Silitoe and Lucinda Shen on stage in London.

Apax Partners' Andrew Silitoe and Axios' Lucinda Shen onstage in London.

Axios hosted its first transatlantic event this week with speakers from NYSE, Hamilton Lane, EQT, KKR and Apax Partners joining Dan Primack in New York and Lucinda Shen in London.

Here are a few takeaways:

NYSE president Lynn Martin expects an IPO surge in the second half.

  • "We're not far off from a quasi-normal year," she told Dan on Tuesday in New York, noting that U.S. equity markets typically raise around $45 billion in a year. So far, that figure has been around $14.3 billion.
  • "We're working with a variety of companies in the pipeline; now that they have the confidence … they are making plans to go in the second half of the year."

Uptake on Hamilton Lane's tokenized funds has been slow, co-CEO Erik Hirsch said. But the firm believes that such projects — which are intended to bring in more retail investors — will drive technological change in the industry.

  • "Tokenization will be the forefront of how that changes," he says. "The retail world is going to demand it. So I think the change is going to start there, and then it will flow to the institutional world."

EQT head of North American private equity Eric Liu believes associate positions aren't going away, but they will be expected to do more complex tasks and modeling as AI gains sway in the job market.

  • "The bar, in terms of what the junior people have to do, keeps moving up," Liu. "It's still a very relationship-oriented industry. The trust doesn't get automated."
  • The idea of AI operating on the level of a partner still "feels quite a ways out," Apax Partners co-CEO Andrew Sillitoe told Lucinda in London. But the firm is testing third-party software to extract insights out of call notes from "hundreds or thousands of interviews."

Unlike private equity firms including CVC Capital Partners, Apax has no interest in an IPO for itself, says Sillitoe.

  • "The firm has been a private partnership for since inception. Our founder retired in 2005; he handed all of his shares in the management company over to the next generation of partners on the basis that that would continue," he says.
  • "We really cherish that. We have an approach that is very much focused on a returns-led investment approach as opposed to an AUM. Staying private suits us perfectly."

KKR co-head of European private equity Philipp Freise sees opportunities in Germany, which has traditionally been less open to PE investors.

  • "The private equity market, relative to the size of the economy, is behind the U.S. We're seeing genuine generational change in some of these family companies, so there is a lot of potential," he said in London.
  • "It's not out of the question that in three or four years we see some of the large German families tackling digitization and AI — and are overwhelmed. Being public, unfortunately, is not bringing them anything these days. So we see a big market there."

Go deeper: Hamilton Lane's Hirsch sees a tokenized future for private equity

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