Beneficiaries at the gate

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Our October cover story: Whether you’re excited by, apathetic toward or even upset about the prospect of private equity getting more exposure to retail investors via defined contribution plans, the moves this summer by the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission represent two more steps to what would seem an ineluctable future for the asset class. Private equity, in particular, is only growing in its systemic importance as public markets shrink in theirs. Amid eternally low interest rates and relentless, market-shaking volatility, investors of all kinds need access to yield, and they need access to hands-on managers of real assets who have the agility and operational expertise to navigate these turbulent times.

The recent allowance of defined contribution plans into PE and the broadening of the accredited investor definition are less revolutionary leaps along the path to PE’s growing prominence among markets than signifiers of it.

In this month’s cover story, we look at these developments out of the DoL and SEC from a plethora of angles – from what they portend (and don’t), to how CFOs can prepare for the availability of these new pools of capital, to the political and regulatory risks of greater retail investment, and more.

Perhaps PE, and other private markets, are heading toward some brave new world implied by these developments. Or perhaps not: already increased regulatory oversight and public scrutiny are likely hints of what’s to come.

The future is, in many ways, already here.