GLOBAL - Private equity fundraising slumped in the first quarter of 2009 - raising the lowest amount of capital since 2003, data from Prequin reveals.
Prequin said it was the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2003 when US$34bn was raised by 131 funds achieving a final close.
The company said the first quarter data may increase slightly as more data continues to feed through - but warned that, judging from its conversations with fund managers, the number of additional funds closing was likely to be very low.
The Prequin report said: "The slowdown in fundraising in Q1 2009 has been dramatic, but not unexpected. Many of the fund managers we have been speaking with have indicated that they are going to be postponing the final closing of their current vehicles as a result of falling investor appetite.
"In addition, we are seeing an increasing number of fund managers choosing to hold more interim closes in order to raise some capital and begin actively investing, while continuing with their fundraising efforts over a longer time period."
However, IE Consulting principal Matthew Craig-Greene said - while there was no doubt that commitments to private equity funds from institutional investors had slowed in recent months - the slowdown was unlikely to have been as dramatic as the Preqin data suggested.
Investor-Source.com commercial director Nicola Tillin agreed. She said: "We spend a lot of time interviewing pension funds across the globe to provide information to our clients about changes in strategy and new investors entering the asset class.
"The attitude of one Dutch fund we spoke to very recently is typical of the current market. Our contact explained that the fund was monitoring investment opportunities very carefully, but nevertheless expected to make commitments throughout 2009, with Asian emerging markets and distressed/turnaround funds a priority."
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