What are your major sourcing channels?
What is the shape of your deal funnel?
What percentage of your deal flow is proprietary/non-competitive?
What is your screening process before proceeding to full diligence?
How much time do you typically have for due diligence?
Is your diligence process confirmatory (i.e., you vet the work of third parties) or primary (i.e., you design and execute your own analysis of the opportunity)?
What is the approval process, including formal and informal decision points?
What is the typical approval rate and how often is a fully-diligenced opportunity rejected by IC?
Do you use checklists at IC? If so, for what situations/issues/topics?
What is your overall portfolio management philosophy?
Is your approach top-down or bottom-up?
How do you decide when to rotate between asset classes and sectors (industries, ratings, etc…)?
Is investment monitoring separate from or integrated with the deal team?
What is the frequency for reporting out the business performance of the investment?
What is your process for reviews of the entire portfolio?
Do you have a Chief Risk Officer? Why or why not?
What is their formal role in the investment process? What is their informal role?
Who can force a PM to sell a position?
Is your team large enough to have a sales leader (e.g., Chief Commercial Officer or Head of Business Development)? What is their background?
Describe how the salesforce is managed today. Is it an entrepreneurial role or one managed top-down?Does the salesforce sell all products in the organization or a sub-set?
Why have you organized the salesforce this way?
Do you have any strategic partnerships (e.g., wirehouses, private banks)? How did those develop?
How do these relationships overlap/interact with your direct salesforce?
How do the economics of these relationships compare to the fully-loaded cost of the direct salesforce?
How does a new fund get structured? Who is involved? How long does it take?
How often do you create new fund structures? What drives this?
What structures have you contemplated and turned down? Why?
Who is responsible for product development and market competitive intelligence?
Who provides support for investor presentations (both content and format)?
What is this team’s role in regular investor reporting? How do they interact with the other teams?
What is your IR team responsible for? How does that differ from the salesforce or third-party partners?
Is your IR team capable of upselling or providing client updates without sales or investment team time?
What tools do you use to engage investors post sale (annual meetings, webcasts, thought pieces, etc…)?
How do you identify/engage prospects before someone calls them today?
Are you tracking your return on investment for each of your marketing investments?
Who is responsible for marketing in the organization and how do they interact with the rest of the business development team?
What portions of the operations value chain do you insource vs. outsource? Why?
How much of this team’s work is automated in a system vs. excel-based?
Do the investment and business development teams know who to contact on this team when there are issues?
Is the treasury function centralized or segmented by team/strategy?
How much of this team’s work is automated in a system (e.g., cash reconciliations) vs. excel-based?
What is this team’s role in regular investor reporting? How do they interact with the other teams?
Do you employ in-house lawyers? For what specific activities?
How integrated is the legal point of view across the business (e.g., IC, Executive, Risk, etc…)?
Who manages/monitors the usage of outside counsel?
What are the key systems you use to operate the business?
When were they deployed/last significantly updated?
Describe how the technology team interacted with stakeholders for the last significant rollout/upgrade.
How is your investment risk, operational risk, and compliance team organized?
How reliant are you on excel-based processes vs. automated systems (e.g., KYC)?
How complex is your regulatory presence?
Who is responsible for trade execution?
What process do you use to approve and track trades?
How do you decide where to allocate your trading flows?
How many new hires do you make in a given year? How does that split between investment, business development, and investment support?
How do you source candidates today between formal on-campus recruiting, search firms, LinkedIn, or general networking by the team?
What is your interview process? How many conversations, with whom, about what?
What is turnover across your organization by team and title?
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the team? Do you use surveys, small groups, or other tools?
Do you conduct exit interviews when team members leave? What insights have you gathered from that?
Describe your team member performance evaluation approach. How much is quantitative vs. qualitative? How much emphasis on current year vs. some amount of history?
How do you gather feedback on team members who interact across the organization?
Do direct reports or peers provide feedback as well as supervisors?
Does everyone have clear professional development and business goals for the current year?
Are people clear on what it will take to get promoted and how long that is likely to be?
What firm-run or third-party run training programs exist?
Is your team as diverse and inclusive as you want it to be? Why or why not?
What actions have you taken in the last 5 years to promote a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
Are you measuring your diversity, and if so, along what dimensions (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, etc…)?
Describe your compensation philosophy. How much is compensation driven by individual achievement, team achievement, or broader business performance?
How do you lay out a team member’s compensation each year? What are you specifically communicating about past, present, and future compensation?
How is carried interest shared outside the investment team responsible for those investments?
Does the CEO/Managing Partner have one or more succession candidates within the organization?
What are you doing to prepare them for that role and manage the retention of those not selected?
Do investors have a clear picture of how succession will work in your business?
Do you have a track record in this segment already or do you need to build one?
Does this require the addition of new investment team members?
Would investors be surprised by this expansion? Are they asking you to offer something here?
Do you already have experience investing in this geography out of existing funds?
How will your credit/trading approval process need to change?
Do you have a senior leader willing to relocate to make it successful?
Does your sales team have familiarity with this channel already?
What regulatory changes are required to participate in it?
Do you have sufficient capacity in the underlying asset classes? What will this new channel mean for existing investors?
Will this compete with an existing fund structure? Is the cannibalization worth it?
Are investors demanding this new vehicle/structure? How big of a market does it open up?
Do competitors already offer this vehicle? Will your vehicle be any different?
Is there an executive-committee, formal or otherwise, that is involved in decisions?
What are the information, consultation, and decision-rights of this group relative to the CEO/Managing Partner(s)?
What parts of the business are and are not represented in this group? Why or why not?
What is your existing strategic planning process?
What do you want the business to look like in 5-10 years?
What worries you most about growth?
Are you looking to buy, sell, or partner?
Have you already identified a market/geographic segment or a specific target?
Does your existing business overlap at all with the companies that are potential buyers or acquisition targets?
Tell us - what is on your mind?
How much more income does your portfolio need to generate?
In which credit segments have you invested historically?
Do you have an existing credit portfolio? How quickly/efficiently can it be liquidated to re-allocate?
How much daily/monthly liquidity do you need?
How complex of a portfolio are you willing to oversee?
Would you consider managing it via a separately managed account or do you need to utilize fund vehicles?
Does the existing manager know they are on watch/may lose their mandate?
How quickly can the existing manager wind down their portfolio?
Is the existing mandate a fund or SMA?
Do you have more than $200M to deploy?
How quickly do you want the process to conclude?
Have you executed separately managed accounts in other alternative asset classes?
How much flexibility are you comfortable delegating to the manager?
Do you expect to have inflows or outflows from this pool over the next 3 years?
What type of asset is it?
Will you be in a control (positive or negative) position or silent minority?
How seasoned is the asset?
Are you investing directly with the manager or on the secondary market (e.g., a fund transaction)?
Is there any leverage against this portfolio? What are the key terms of the debt?
What is the nature of the underlying assets? First lien or junior capital? Corporate or other? Performing, stressed, or distressed?
How long will it take for the portfolio to be ramped?
How much control will you have over the portfolio?
Are you investing alongside a GP?
Who determines your overall allocation to credit and the split across sub-segments?
How often do you change either the overall allocation or split across sub-segments?
How do you prioritize the risk of not generating the proposed return (investment risk) vs. being able to sell the asset class (liquidity risk) vs. level of return?
How are these investments reviewed today? What is or is not working?
What is the shape of your co-investment funnel? How many ideas are suggested by managers, worked on by the team, proposed to IC by the team, and approved by IC?
Do you perform your own due diligence or are you conducting confirmatory due diligence?