PE Ranking - Europe

Think it would be useful to have a ranking for PE Funds with a significant presence in Europe according to Prestige, Selectivity, Performance & Ticket size. Will adjust the list based on feedback. 

Tier 1/MFs: KKR, Advent, CVC

Tier 1.5/MFs: BX, EQT, CD&R, Permira (although have heard recent performance was comparatively weak - can someone comment?)

Tier 2: Cinven, Bain Cap, Warburg Pincus, Apax, General Atlantic (although mainly GE?), Silver Lake, Apollo (what about European presence?), H&F 

Tier 3: PAI, Ardian, Partners Group, Apax (also GE), HG Capital, TPGCarlyle, Nordic Capital, TA 

Tier 4/MM: Bridgepoint, 3i, Triton (big in Germany)

Adjustments: CVC up to T1, BX down to T2, Carlyle to T3, added CD&R in Tier 1.5, added H&F in T2, added Nordic in T3, added TA in T3

 

For Permira, they have quite a few assets that they've held for a long time and are struggling to get rid of.

Would say general consensus is that CVC is a tier-1 in Europe.

I would definitely move Triton up a notch. Their last fund has been very successful and they've been doing some pretty big things recently ($1.3bn public takeover bid of Caverion, $1.6bn public takeover of Clinigen etc.). Triton is mostly known for its activity in the DACH region but would say they are definitely a top 5 player in the Nordics as well. 

 
Most Helpful

You are basing this ranking off of perceived “prestige and selectivity only” 

Unfortunately, perceived prestige doesn't pay you carry

ranking is so wrong for the actual good funds in Europe - lots of in-depth posts were made so use the search bar

Bx at tier 1 is laughable with their extremely weak track record in Europe. KKR raised for 2 years and fell really short of hard cap. Lots of US funds like TPG don't even deserve to be on this list because they are shit in Europe but are banking on their US name for clout.

Cvc performance for their size is killer - they are eu focused and are raising the largest buyout fund ever and you have them at tier 1.5?

Where is Cd&r? Why is HG tier 3? Why is Carlyle tier 2? 

You have to be honest with how you are ranking these funds. If you want “prestige”, fine go for this ranking though I’d still argue going to the funds with best performance gives you more clout than going to a mediocre fund with a big brand name from the good old days.

Rankings based off of actual performance. You can extrapolate perceived “prestige” by comparing these to their fund size. I cba to make more tiers hence why everyone is lumped into the end is bad or very mediocre:

Tier 1: CVC, EQT, Advent, CD&R

Tier 1.5: Waterland (due to fund size), HG, Permira

Tier 2: HIG

Tier 2 (Good performance, but too US centric): Silver Lake, H&F (could move to bottom tier after recent performance - might blow up soon)

Pretty much splitting hairs after this point - just take the biggest name as performance is all around bad/mediocre at best 

Tier 2.5 and below: Cinven, KKR Europe, BX, Bain Capital Europe, Apax, Carlyle, TPG, Astorg, Apollo, Triton, Bridgepoint, 3i, PAI, Ardian, Partners Group, Warburg Pincus, IK

 

Agreed. Many of the US funds are not doing very well in Europe. I've also heard about several cases where deals are run from the US and the London office is just a support function. That will seriously impact the learning experience and skills you develop. 

 

I've been in 2 American REPE mega funds based in London. Both with a lot of prestige but really low performance as pointed above. I can also confirm that all decisions were taken from the US and key roles in the London office were held by Americans. You need locals to handle your investments, especially if you're going balls deep in RE located in Southern Europe. The disconnect between decision takers and underlying assets is so huge that carry discussions are not even on the horizon. The European offices are surviving solely on management fees.   

 
Funniest
EinnUlfr

You are basing this ranking off of perceived "prestige and selectivity only" 

Unfortunately, perceived prestige doesn't pay you carry

ranking is so wrong for the actual good funds in Europe - lots of in-depth posts were made so use the search bar

Bx at tier 1 is laughable with their extremely weak track record in Europe. KKR raised for 2 years and fell really short of hard cap. Lots of US funds like TPG don't even deserve to be on this list because they are shit in Europe but are banking on their US name for clout.

Cvc performance for their size is killer - they are eu focused and are raising the largest buyout fund ever and you have them at tier 1.5?

Where is Cd&r? Why is HG tier 3? Why is Carlyle tier 2? 

You have to be honest with how you are ranking these funds. If you want "prestige", fine go for this ranking though I'd still argue going to the funds with best performance gives you more clout than going to a mediocre fund with a big brand name from the good old days.

Rankings based off of actual performance. You can extrapolate perceived "prestige" by comparing these to their fund size). I cba to make more tiers hence why everyone is lumped into the end is bad or very mediocre:

Tier 1: CVC, EQT, Advent, CD&R

Tier 1.5: Waterland (due to fund size), HG, Permira

Tier 2: HIG

Tier 2 (Good performance, but too US centric): Silver Lake, H&F (could move to bottom tier after recent performance - might blow up soon)

Pretty much splitting hairs after this point - just take the biggest name as performance is all around bad/mediocre at best 

Tier 2.5 and below: Cinven, KKR Europe, BX, Bain Capital Europe, Apax, Carlyle, TPG, Astorg, Apollo, Triton, Bridgepoint, 3i, PAI, Ardian, Partners Group, Warburg Pincus, IK

My new motto around other students will be "Unfortunately, perceived prestige doesn't pay you carry"

 

You made some valid points on why the original list was incorrect, but then you make an almost equally ridiculous list. 

Truth is it is impossible to make an accurate list. What people should really consider is "where would I have the best career", which is optimizing for pay / career trajectory / recent fund performance (because it relates to you career and pay trajectory) / size & prestige (if you care about that, but reasonable to factor in due to how it impacts your exit optionality) / WLB & culture (but usually too subjective to really include for a ranking).

You may disagree on these metrics, but some rather questionable tiering here if you consider the full picture. 

 

Sure, the full picture is important including culture and headcount saturation, but performance is the most important metric out there. When you take fund size into account, the tier 1 to tier 2 funds in Europe are the best, no two ways about it. 


Ranking can be adjusted for some of the other points you raised, but at the end of the day, if you are grinding to reach the top, you'll look at performance and headcount saturation and won't care for anything else. Your career will be equally as miserable at any of these funds anyway while grinding to the top. if you just want to adjust for a "good career" which is very subjective, then that's a very different story and would agree that a lot of the other points matter.


Ranking based on exits in Europe is pointless - this isn't the US where people do 2+2 and then an MBA or go to a cub. the expectation is that everyone getting into PE is gonna stay within private markets. Jumping from PE to HF isn't that common (most folks get into HFs from sell-side ER and banking).

 

Thanks for the in-depth - albeit slightly condescending - answer. 

A couple of points to note: 

a) When looking at junior levels I'm not sure how vital carry really is - perhaps it's better to maximize learning experience/exposure. I know that some funds such as CVC are known for aggressive "eat-what-you-kill"-compensation, but maybe someone can shed some light on other compensation schemes & the other funds on this list. 

b) KKR & BX still manage to attract some pretty impressive talent - there must be at least some reason as to why they are able to do so even though their performance lacks behind other funds such as Waterland. 

I agree entirely that prestige is not the only metric and probably also not the main metric that should influence future career decisions but I do think that it is a reasonable factor to consider when choosing between different offers and funds. 

 
I know that some funds such as CVC are known for aggressive "eat-what-you-kill"-compensation, but maybe someone can shed some light on other compensation schemes & the other funds on this list. 

This only applies at more senior levels. It doesn't occur at the Associate level, at least not anymore. 

These large funds are changing to just who can amass the biggest management fee slowly slowly. 

 

I do slightly worry about CVC performance going forward. Their historic returns are very good but have slowly come down over time.

I do wonder if they are in the situation where perhaps Carlyle etc. were a few years ago. Obviously, a function of the market / low rates / high valuations but increased fund size is usually hints at lower returns (but great for mgmt. fee...)

 

Thanks for the list and I think you hit the nail on the head with all the points around prestige. Just a comment on the list, I don't think CD&R will do well in the coming days. Morrisons deal will hurt them real bad (been hearing that from seniors at different MFs).

 

HIG? Get me some of what you’re smoking

Lists are dumb anyway and this one is pretty bad even in the lists category. But yeah go ahead picking waterland or Permira over H&F. ‘Might blow up soon’ is quite insane. They’ve raised $26bn and are one of the few funds which have produced realised 1st quartile funds in recent years (news flash, all of those in your tier 1 list haven’t) 

 

I’m not sure in what world you get to a higher TC at some of those places vs the ones you have in lower tiers.

Generally you want to avoid the European carry waterfall if that is your goal and get deal by deal carry.

Waterland is just too small to maximise your expected carry, because of lower equity tickets (less carry to go around the deal team even if you do a 4x deal vs a larger fund doing 2x).

Hg still very much operates in mid market (multiple funds I know, but similar issues), large team (lower aum per head) and a lot of the sizeable deals have been fund to fund. 
 

Not saying these are bad places to be, but it is a rather questionable list for optimising TC.

 

Do you know which funds have an American carry waterfall? (Including European ones and MM ones…)

 

As others have said, the US funds are generally pretty bad in EMEA. They survive on management fees and brand value. 

Several MM funds like Inflexion, PSG and Waterland have outstanding returns but at those places it can be hard to get promoted into a position with meaningful carry.

Point being that 'tier lists' are useless in the context of PE and it's overall better to join a rising firm with a consistent track record, visible career path, and strong growth trajectory than any of the brand name shops that have delivered mediocre results historically (KKR, Blackstone, Carlyle, etc.).

Unfortunately, the new environment will likely make it much harder on a relative basis to find attractive long-term PE careers in the next 3-5 years.

 

As others have said, the US funds are generally pretty bad in EMEA. They survive on management fees and brand value. 

Several MM funds like Inflexion, PSG and Waterland have outstanding returns but at those places it can be hard to get promoted into a position with meaningful carry.

Agree - IFX I've heard Founders do hoard the carry. PSG and Waterland I know less about. 

 

As others have said, the US funds are generally pretty bad in EMEA. They survive on management fees and brand value. 

Several MM funds like Inflexion, PSG and Waterland have outstanding returns but at those places it can be hard to get promoted into a position with meaningful carry.

Agree - IFX I've heard Founders do hoard the carry. PSG and Waterland I know less about. 

It’s as much about those firms being bolt-on shops which is a labour-intensive model and thus contributes to low AUM-per-head

 

Tier lists are so cringe

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly" - Robert A. Wilson | "If you don't have any enemies in life you have never stood up for anything" - Winston Churchill | "It's a testament to the sheer belligerence of the profession that people would rather argue about the 'risk-adjusted returns' of using inferior tooth cleaning methods." - kellycriterion
 

CVC should be listed before KKR because certain managing partners can bench press their model wives; not sure the same can be said at KKR or Advent. As such, KKR and Advent should be both bumped down to Tier 1.5.

 

I do think a lot of the above comments make sense regarding TC, however many US MF are still able to attract top notch talent and serve as a launch pad for your PE career.

This list might be more accurate than OP's for EU:

Tier 1 (MF and strong EU returns): KKR, Advent, CVC, H&F

Tier 1.5 (UMM/MF and good EU return): BX, EQT, Bain Cap, Cinven, Permira, CD&R

Tier 2 (EU UMM and strong EU returns): PAI, Hg, Astorg

Tier 3: (EU MM and strong EU returns): Waterland, PSG, IK

Tier 4: Ardian, Five Arrows, Montagu, Eurazeo, etc.

Explanation for BX being 1.5: Not been very active in EU + decided to put PE investments in Europe on hold 6 months ago, does not hold tier 1 as in US

Other US Funds which are not strong in EU: Carlyle, TPG, Apollo, etc

PS: edited from feedback from below

 

I do think a lot of the above comments make sense regarding TC, however many US MF are still able to attract top notch talent and serve as a launch pad for your PE career.

This list might be more accurate than OP's for EU:

Tier 1 (MF and strong EU returns): KKR, Advent, CVC, H&F

Tier 1.5 (UMM/MF and good EU return): BX, EQT, Bain Cap, Cinven, Permira, CD&R

Tier 2 (EU UMM and strong EU returns): PAI, Hg, Astorg

Tier 3: (EU MM and strong EU returns): Waterland, PSG, IK

Tier 4: Ardian, Five Arrows, Montagu, Eurazeo, etc.

Explanation for BX being 1.5: Not been very active in EU + decided to put PE investments in Europe on hold 6 months ago, does not hold tier 1 as in US

Other US Funds which are not strong in EU: Carlyle, TPG, Apollo, etc

PS: edited from feedback from below

IK Partners? I heard they recently shut down one of their offices so I can't imagine they're doing great these days. But I'm not an insider, so not sure to what extent this is true. 

 

Nonsense list. PAI is not mid market my man. In terms of prestige, PAI, Hg are way ahead of PSG, IK, Waterland, you can't put these funds in the same sentence. 

 

Whomst hurt UMM Associate?

Not about being hurt, you cannot categories large cap players with mid/small and say all of them are mid-cap. 

 

Nostrum et sit molestias. Alias ea provident voluptatum quia illo. Consequatur consectetur odio occaecati aliquid at magnam dolor. Aut officia qui id eos officia laboriosam exercitationem. Saepe non omnis dolor enim et. Eum quo repudiandae provident ut deleniti. Enim aperiam unde et et quibusdam.

Sint sunt consectetur officiis et vel. Ab reprehenderit non soluta iusto mollitia. Praesentium quibusdam et dolore nemo sint veniam ut. Est maiores magni eveniet aut harum.

Id omnis officia iusto sit voluptas ab facilis quas. Saepe magni blanditiis officiis quia. Iure neque dolores dicta sunt vitae. Alias excepturi aperiam ut rerum est. Qui vero eum voluptas quasi deserunt.

 

Consectetur qui voluptatum optio fugiat non sint deleniti. Delectus officia mollitia ut. Quisquam qui libero harum fugiat eos quod aperiam officia. Quis accusamus laudantium dolorum inventore iste. Qui suscipit facere quas omnis perspiciatis recusandae voluptates ex. Voluptatum amet qui ea recusandae. Fugiat temporibus ipsa quas ad non voluptate aliquam.

Ullam repellendus quae voluptas nesciunt voluptas. Id eos et ut impedit blanditiis occaecati saepe. Ut eligendi aut culpa architecto omnis officiis.

Laudantium magni voluptas rerum eos id. Eius non voluptates quia labore. Incidunt dicta excepturi rerum aut eos. Et corrupti quos veritatis id dolor facere. Dicta sunt pariatur iure voluptatem fuga ut. Et inventore aliquam omnis aperiam dolorum eum suscipit.

 

Occaecati consequuntur inventore eos accusamus. Fugiat vitae velit id corporis pariatur dolorem quam. Nihil suscipit voluptate harum at. Dicta soluta quia dolores qui animi aspernatur. Est ea neque atque est aut aspernatur eius. Fugiat debitis dolores non rerum hic et. Consequatur et porro error qui qui.

Est in deserunt et quia ratione necessitatibus neque. Aut occaecati fugit repudiandae dolores explicabo quod. Eveniet est quaerat qui saepe tenetur recusandae. Illo quia et corporis id quidem voluptatem eos. Molestiae eveniet reiciendis natus.

Omnis et odio corporis quia magni aut est. Consequatur aut sequi earum est qui optio. Labore ratione error impedit hic et eum. Eos quas repellat eos maxime porro ea. Tempora vero est similique dolorem tempore.

Career Advancement Opportunities

March 2024 Private Equity

  • The Riverside Company 99.5%
  • Warburg Pincus 99.0%
  • Blackstone Group 98.4%
  • KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) 97.9%
  • Bain Capital 97.4%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

March 2024 Private Equity

  • The Riverside Company 99.5%
  • Blackstone Group 98.9%
  • KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) 98.4%
  • Ardian 97.9%
  • Bain Capital 97.4%

Professional Growth Opportunities

March 2024 Private Equity

  • The Riverside Company 99.5%
  • Bain Capital 99.0%
  • Blackstone Group 98.4%
  • Warburg Pincus 97.9%
  • Starwood Capital Group 97.4%

Total Avg Compensation

March 2024 Private Equity

  • Principal (9) $653
  • Director/MD (21) $586
  • Vice President (90) $363
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (88) $280
  • 2nd Year Associate (204) $268
  • 1st Year Associate (384) $228
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (28) $157
  • 2nd Year Analyst (83) $134
  • 1st Year Analyst (245) $122
  • Intern/Summer Associate (32) $82
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (312) $59
notes
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”

Leaderboard

success
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”