Press mention from WSJ Pro – Private Equity
Outlook 2021: In Their Own Words With Jennifer Cho Rinehart, Chief Executive, Acalyx Advisors
Jan. 6, 2021
Each year, our reporters and editors ask members of the general-partner and limited-partner communities to reflect on the year that has just passed and the one that lies ahead. This past year has been perhaps one of the most challenging in a decade. But as the professionals we spoke to indicate, those challenges have also presented valuable lessons and opportunities as they look to the future.
What was the most challenging aspect of the pandemic in your professional life over the past year?
While our current virtual world has created efficiencies, the lack of natural breaks between meetings, commuting and travel during a ‘normal’ schedule makes it difficult to find times to decompress and reflect on how everyone is handling their own unique situation. In between Zooms and calls, the time often fills with managing virtual school, helping with homework and trying to figure out infinite ways to keep kids off their devices. Everyone is dealing with different circumstances in different ways, and taking the time to understand another’s perspective and challenges has been an important part of our conversations over the last nine months whether it is colleagues, clients or investors.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
I’m most excited about reconnecting in person with all our relationships. I really have missed the personal side of the business; there is no zoom substitute for a great dinner with our industry partners and associates.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned from this past year?
I had a view that everyone must be in the office every day for a team to be productive and on a plane every other day to stay close with the institutional market. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is, given the size of our firm and team tenure, we can be as productive working remotely and use technology to create more bandwidth. Our trusted relationships with GPs and LPs have spanned well over a decade, so Zoom has been an extraordinary mode and productive alternative for us to stay connected and do more. Using technology and rightsizing travel, not just defaulting to getting on a plane, will be ‘Covid keepers’ for our industry.
How do you expect the fundraising market to look in 2021?
There has been a rush of activity in the back half of 2020, and I still think there is plenty of capital looking to invest in private equity for 2021. GPs who have delivered on performance, relationship building and effective communication continue to attract capital quickly. I do think GPs will have to carefully consider when they come back for a new fund, as LPs are scrutinizing portfolio management and deployment pace through the pandemic. For newer managers, it has become that much more difficult to win over institutional LPs in a fully virtual setting, so we may see a slowdown in fundraising levels here.
—Jennifer Cho Rinehart, Chief Executive, Acalyx Advisors Inc.