Nathan Brown
(Managing Director – Wind Point Partners)

Omar Hassan
Principal and CFO – Cloverlay

Heramb Ramachandran
(CFO – XPV Water Partners)

Brian Ramsay
(President – Littlejohn & Co)

Alex Slusky
(Founder and CIO – Vector Capital)

Béla Szigethy
(Co-CEO – The Riverside Company)

Ted Virtue
(CEO – MidOcean Partners)

What is the biggest challenge facing you in the next few years?

Heramb Ramachandran: Supply and demand. There is an abundance of private capital and a finite amount of deals. Valuations remain high, and I don’t see this reversing any time soon.

Brian Ramsay: Sourcing new deals at a reasonable valuation will continue to be our biggest challenge over the next few years. Since the great recession, a winning PE strategy has been to buy great companies for whatever it takes to prevail and then benefit from expanding multiples on exit.

This approach has become a very crowded trade, however, and PE buyers have started to stretch their definition of ‘great’ to include companies with more complex stories. This will at some point play to our strengths, so even a mild economic softening or financial market hiccup should lead to interesting opportunities for Littlejohn as a value investor with unique distressed and special situations capabilities.

Ted Virtue: With all the capital that has moved into PE, we need to remain disciplined to where we have a knowledge-based advantage. We need to continue to have the best knowledge, networks and management resources in the sectors where we invest.

Omar Hassan: It’s talent retention. This means we have to build an attractive culture beyond compensation. So we treat everyone like owners here, and make sure everyone feels their contribution matters.

Nathan Brown: The biggest challenge is to continue developing best practices that allow us to succeed as the market continues to become more competitive. We meet quarterly to assess how we can improve in all areas of firm activity: deal sourcing, CEO recruitment and assessment, value-creation plan development and deployment, and others.