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Unfairly reviled, and much misunderstood, private equity differs from all other asset classes in various important respects, not least the way in which its fund mechanisms operate, and the way in which its returns are recorded and analysed. Sadly, high level asset allocation decisions are frequently made on the basis of prejudice and misinformation, rather than a proper appreciation of the facts.

Guy Fraser-Sampson draws upon more than twenty years of experience of the private equity industry to provide a practical guide to mastering the intricacies of this highly specialist asset class. Aimed equally at investors, professionals and business school students, it starts with such fundamental questions as ’what is private equity?’ and progresses to detailed consideration of different types of private equity activity such as venture capital and buyout.

Rapid and significant changes in the environment during the recent financial crisis have prompted the need for a new edition. Separate chapters have been added on growth and development capital, as well as secondary investing. Newly emergent issues are considered, such as lengthening holding periods and the possible threat of declining returns. Particular problems, such as the need to distinguish between private equity and hedge funds, are addressed. The glossary has also been expanded. In short, readers will find that this new edition takes their understanding of the asset class to new heights.

Key points include:

A glossary of private equity terms Venture capital Buyout Growth capital Development capital Secondary investing Understanding private equity returns Analysing funds and returns How to plan a fund investment programme Detailed discussion of industry performance figures
The investment landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years, destroying many of the old certainties by which investors lived their lives. In particular, it has shaken belief in the ability of traditional asset types such as bonds and equities to protect them from abnormal market conditions, and it has brought home how closely correlation between different markets can be squeezed together by extreme pressure.

Future investors will have to regard so-called "alternative" assets as essential elements within their portfolios, and be prepared to deal with the complexities that this will entail. This will in turn force a re-appraisal of core concepts such as "risk" and "return", not least because some alternative asset classes do not lend themselves well to traditional return measures. Exciting times lie ahead, but a thorough working knowledge of the various alternative asset classes will be an essential pre-requisite to success, and perhaps even to survival.

Alternative Assets meets investor's need for a guide on where to allocate in this new climate. It provides investors with a primer on each alternative asset class, as well as practical tips on the pros and cons, implementation, returns analysis, fees and costs. It also offers introductory guidance on how to set investment targets, and how alternative assets can be accommodated within the allocation process. Each chapter gives useful background knowledge on a particular asset type, including a discussion of whether a satisfactory beta return level exists and, if so, the different ways in which it might be accessed.

Written by best-selling author Guy Fraser-Sampson, this book guides investors through the new look alternative investment arena, providing post-financial crisis perspective and investment advice on the alternatives landscape.

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