Hey guys -
First-year PE analyst here. Something I've been grappling with over the past year is the question of whether or not my colleagues and I are actually improving our portfolio companies/contributing positively to the US economy more broadly. Obviously, I don't think I'm doing God's work by choosing to work in finance, but I sometimes worry that the PE industry is value destructive in many instances. When I have spoken to friends/family members outside finance, it's clear that the industry has a very negative reputation among the broader public. Between the fallout of failed LBOs (Toys R Us, J.Crew, Hertz to name a few..), the controversial nature of recaps, and just generalfinancial engineering, it seems like the industry has no shortage of detractors.
Would love to hear some more senior members' opinions on the state of the industry - do you feel that your funds (and PE in general) are adding value to the businesses that you acquire? Is PE a necessary part of the financial ecosystem, or is Elizabeth Warren right when she says that we are a "vampiric"/unnecessary part of the economy? I'm assuming there's some gray area here, and it probably depends on the fund, but curious to hear everyone's take on this based on their own personal work experiences.