Blackstone’s Fenton-Willock shares insights at Forum

The ESG head warns firms need to approach ESG beyond just the portfolio level; single-asset GP-led volume hit a record high in 2019.

Blackstone’s head of environmental, social and governance spoke at last week’s Responsible Investment Forum, and Connor Hussey has some of the insights she shared. One of the most influential voices in private equity ESG, Alison Fenton-Willock thinks you need to take a holistic approach to ESG or risk your reputation. That’s something we hear more and more of from ESG-minded firms – and even a few who are wary of pushing into the market. And, as I’ve mentioned before here, I think it’s likely that when the first Securities and Exchange Commission action against a PE firm for something ESG-related comes, it’s likely to be due to marketing rules.

Fenton-Willock also gives us a glimpse into Blackstone’s ESG process in the piece, so check it out.

GP-led: Sister title Secondaries Investor has this piece, in which Evercore says single-asset restructurings hit record volume for the third year in a row, showing investors are still willing to take on more concentrated bets. The question is, how much more can they take? In January, we reported from the CFOs & COOs Forum that attendees were thinking the market was closing in on its natural limit, and that some kind of innovation might be needed to open up further pools of capital.

Secondaries Investor predicts the market for single-asset deals, at least, will slow in 2020, and that GP-led volumes generally will remain at about 40% of total secondaries volumes for the year – although for a year one source predicts will hit a record $100 billion.

Email prepared by Graham Bippart