Private Equity and Real Assets

John Gillespie John Gillespie
2nd April 2024

In 2023, the landscape for Private Markets and Real Assets across various regions was both challenging and resilient. 


The continent faced economic headwinds, with high inflation and rising interest rates putting pressure on businesses. The beginning of the year saw a drop in the usual business activities like raising funds and selling investments. However, there was a hopeful sentiment as people expected more business sales than the year before, suggesting things might pick up. Companies were ready, sitting on a lot of money to invest when the right time came. The UK’s PE and venture capital (VC) sectors were keen to find new and unique investment opportunities, making sure they suited the needs of different kinds of investors. Keeping with trends, there was a continued strong focus on investing in ways that were environmentally and socially responsible.



North America:

The situation in North America mirrored that of the UK, with politics, inflation, and the overall economy causing similar concerns. The US felt the impact of some states’ continued opposition to environmentally and socially responsible investing. However, the private credit market did well as investors looked for better returns that were also safe from inflation and interest risks. There was a big demand for investments in infrastructure, especially in areas that help with the change to greener energy, as investors aimed to meet their responsible investing goals. Issues like climate change, renewable energy, clean technology, social issues, health, and education were central to investment strategies. There's hope that as interest rates stop rising, more deals will happen, helping to deal with the backlog of investments that need to be sold. Conversations in the US have been on the whole cautiously optimistic that levels of activity will ramp up Q2/Q3 on what has been a relatively quiet start to the year.



Middle East:

The Middle East is becoming a major centre for investing in a way that's good for the environment and society. Sovereign funds, the big investors in the region, are leading the charge with large and ambitious projects like NEOM and Masdar City. These projects are big, and they require hiring people who know how to review investments carefully, collect data on how companies affect the environment, and improve companies’ performance. Firms are hiring both locally at entry levels and globally for more experienced roles, looking for people with a background in other investment firms, consultancies, and banks. The success in hiring reflects
the Middle East’s strong push for growth in responsible investing, particularly regarding climate, and it’s seen as a bright spot in an otherwise difficult global economy.