It’s Riches to (Really Nice) Rags for Private Equity, Informal Survey Finds

Following this week’s report that private equity compensation is sputtering to a standstill, it’s no surprise an annual informal survey from PE advisory Semaphore would concur.

Semaphore runs an informal survey to cover rarely asked questions like: How confident are you in your competitors, and Do I expect to make more, less, or the same amount of money in 2009?

Last year, just over half of survey respondents said they expected their compensation to rise in 2009. But this year’s survey shows that that was delusional thinking-only 12% of survey respondents actually saw their salaries increase in 2009. Ouch.

President and CEO Mark DiSalvo summed up the most surprising part of these findings nicely:

But hope springs eternal, just like every investor is certain that they will score a tens strike on the next investment, 78% of this year’s respondents believe they will earn more money than last year.

Everyone has a dream.

Some other highlights from the survey, which was taken by around 400 buyout professionals and venture capitalists, below.

  • PE pros expect to do the most deals in health care, enterprise technology and financial services.
  • Confidence is growing. Around this time last year, PE pros were unsure of themselves, their colleagues, and their bosses. This year 63% were confident in their business and 77% confident in themselves. Half of the respondents, or twice as many as last year, expressed confidence in their managers.
  • Commenters weren’t too hopeful:

“2010 will look a lot like 2009 for VCs and their portfolio companies with flat being the new up.”

“Been flat so long, looks like up to me.”

“My partners keep making huge unwise bets. I smell irrational exuberance.”

  • Of course, nothing could top last year’s “PE is dead and I wish my boss was too.” Get that guy some Lexipro.

You can download the entire results here, and compare with last years here.


PE Pros Expect Salaries to Increase in ‘09, Informal Survey Says

PE Barons Are No Longer Filthy Stinking Rich