In this article, we will explain the intersection between private equity and blockchain, and how this technology can help streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve transparency. A growing interest is emerging among investors and firms in blockchain technology. A recent study by Deloitte has proved that 60% of organizations believe that they will lose competitive advantage if they don’t adopt blockchain since it will have a disruptive impact on the market.
Private Equity: State of the marketA Private Equity (PE) fund is a collective investment, managed by a firm or a limited liability partnership, which invests in numerous types of equities and debt instruments. The money pooled in the fund is not traded in the stock market (not public) and the fund is not open to everybody. The PE model has been reliable and profitable for both investors and fund managers. Bain and Company estimate that funds raised across the private sector amount to 1.2 trillion dollars in 2021, a 14% increase from 2020 and an all-time high. These funds represent an outstanding opportunity for a high rate of return. However, they also struggle with some inefficiencies.
How the market works: recent inefficienciesManagers of PE have tried to work with a relatively small number of investors to minimize shareholder reporting needs. For this reason, only large institutional investors or highly wealthy people can buy-in. A huge portion of the demand remains unmatched because of this. Moreover, when compared to the equity market, the private one does not have the same level of post-trade infrastructure. Indeed, for every transaction, there is a lot of manual and time-intensive work that can be enhanced by technology usage.
What about regulation?Digital assets are usually defined as anything that exists in a digital format and comes with the right to use. Security tokens are one category of digital assets that are issued on the distributed ledger technology and that respect the definition of security or financial instrument. In the EU, they are under the MiFID II regulation. MiFID II is a legislative framework instituted by the European Union (EU) to regulate financial markets in the bloc and improve protections for investors. In addition, the proposal for the MiCA regulation and the Pilot Regime DTL includes security tokens as financial instruments. At the moment, other normative interventions are under investigation to regulate the issuing and circulation of digital financial instruments. All the most important players in the financial services industry are currently experimenting and collaborating on the integration of blockchain technology into their operations.
Why private Equity should choose a Blockchain solutionBlockchain was born as a technology that only supported crypto like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Today, it has been gathering attention as an infrastructure capable of so much more. In fact, using blockchain has the power of transforming a variety of practices and products and adding value to a business. A shared ledger will build a single interface between PE and investors, enhancing efficiency and transparency, and providing real-time updates for LPs on investments and more detailed analytics. One of the most disruptive implementations for PE in blockchain technology would be the adoption of the tokenization of financial assets. Tokenization is the process by which the digital financial instrument (backed by a real-world asset) is manufactured, issued, stored, and transferred on the blockchain infrastructure. What characterizes a Security token from a Payment or Utility token is the type of asset represented, which has a financial nature, like shares, bonds, or funds… The adoption of this financial instrument has many benefits:
- Economical efficiency: lower costs of capital compared with the traditional way of issuing a financial instrument;
- Operational efficiency: payments related to assets such as dividends or coupons are automated (thanks to the smart contract);
- Transparency: all information is registered on the distributed ledger;