3 questions to smart minds
Photo: Dominique Senequier

Changing values in the private equity industry

For this 3 questions to Dominique Senequier

Photo: Domi­ni­que Senequier
6. Decem­ber 2017

Digi­ta­liza­tion and the asso­cia­ted disrup­tiom are now affec­ting the entire fund indus­try. This does not only refer to invest­ment and busi­ness models, distri­bu­tion, report­ing, other services, etc., but also to the entire value chain. Every stage of the value chain in the fund sector is being put to the test. This raises the ques­tion of which values can be used to improve one’s own busi­ness model in the course of this change.

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Presi­dent of ARDIAN in Paris (France)

1. What trends are you obser­ving in the private equity industry?

The prevai­ling trend in the private equity indus­try is toward size. With the growing number and increased volu­mes of funds, the assets under manage­ment of the largest asset mana­gers have also grown signi­fi­cantly in recent years. Between 2013 and 2017, Ardian’s assets under manage­ment grew from $36 billion to $65 billion, at the same time that the number of employees increased by 62 percent, from 290 to 470. Howe­ver, this is not an Ardian-speci­fic pheno­me­non — it affects the entire indus­try. Preqin esti­ma­tes that the private equity indus­try now employs over 50 percent more people than it did ten years ago. Simi­larly, the average fund size increased by a factor of 2.4 since 2000 to $517 million in 2017.

Howe­ver, these chan­ging dimen­si­ons also present chal­lenges, espe­ci­ally with regard to the people the indus­try employs. Against this back­drop, in order to further promote the growth of our indus­try and build strong and sustainable invest­ment compa­nies, it is of
It is also essen­tial to focus on values, virtues and the people themselves.

2. What is the art of buil­ding a solid invest­ment company, as you have mana­ged to do at Ardian?

Private equity is first and fore­most a “people’s busi­ness”. To build a strong invest­ment company and achieve sustainable success, it is essen­tial to attract and retain the best people. In order to conti­nue to streng­then the Euro­pean private equity indus­try as a player in the global economy, we must conti­nue to invest in our people, espe­ci­ally the youn­ger gene­ra­tion. Ardian was built by young and ambi­tious people who have grown with the company. The “Ardian project” has welded them toge­ther, and money is not the only moti­va­tion for the next gene­ra­tion of manage­ment. At Ardian, we always give great respon­si­bi­lity to young talents and this bet, bold at first sight, has proven to be very successful for us.

3. Why do you place so much empha­sis on the prin­ci­ple, or rather the value, of “sharing responsibility”?

We must ensure that the values of our growing indus­try are in line with those of the “millen­nial” gene­ra­tion, because they are our CEOs of tomor­row. In this sense, it is important to live values, embrace diver­sity, promote youth and share. Or to put it briefly: to put people at the center.
The Euro­pean private equity indus­try has a promi­sing future and great growth pros­pects. Howe­ver, for further sustainable growth, private equity compa­nies need to further deve­lop their values and fulfill their role as respon­si­ble actors in society.

(see below)

About Domi­ni­que Senequier

Senequier studied econo­mics at the Ecole Poly­tech­ni­que; DEA, Univer­sity of Paris (France). She was one of the first seven women to enroll at École Poly­tech­ni­que in 1972, the first year women were admit­ted to study there. She holds an advan­ced degree in Banking and Mone­tary Econo­mics from the Univer­sity of Paris Sorbonne. She then served as a direc­tor of Hewlett-Packard, a post from which she resi­gned in March 2012. Since then, she has been mana­ging direc­tor of Ardian (form­erly part of the AXA insu­rance group). Ardian employs 300 people who manage 50 active funds.

Senequier was ranked 98th on Forbes magazine’s list of the 100 most powerful women in the world in August 2011. In 2009, she ranked 50th on the same list. Domi­ni­que Senequier was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 2012.

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