SI Decade: From financial crisis to secondaries sales

The Decade of Secondaries Investing podcast miniseries celebrates 10 years of Secondaries Investor with reflections on key trends that have shaped the market, as well as a glimpse into what likely lies ahead.


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A decade ago, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, anxiety around unknowns was still rippling through financial markets, including within secondaries. Similarly, there was a great deal of concern around the Volcker Rule that came into effect in 2014, which essentially prohibited banks from investing in private equity with their own funds.

In 2013, secondaries volume sat at around $28 billion. The following year, volume leapt to as much as $47 billion. While regulation should not be overplayed, the Volcker Rule and Solvency II – a regulation affecting insurance companies and the percentage of risky assets they can hold on their balance sheets – played a big role in this increase.

In 2014, “there was suddenly… a lot more publicity being given to what people had been doing”, Katherine Ashton, partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, explained. “With the increased publicity, with the increased knowledge of the market, that fed on itself and led to outdoing some of the predictions [for the growth of the market] because the more people realised that there were willing buyers and sellers, the more it allowed the market to develop.”

Welcome to the Decade of Secondaries Investing podcast miniseries, where we celebrate 10 years of Secondaries Investor with reflections on key trends that have shaped the market, as well as a glimpse into what likely lies ahead. In this first episode, we sit down with Ashton as well as Michael Granoff, chief executive and founder at Pomona Capital. Each give insight into how the Volcker Rule and other post-GFC legislative frameworks spurred secondaries sales.

For full coverage of our Decade of Secondaries Investing series, including all podcast episodes and an interactive timeline, click here.