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Private Equity

Clients and COVID-19

Neil Brown, Partner and Head, Investor Development Group, Actis, London

Just over a year ago, we were preparing for our 2020 Annual meeting. This would be my eighth Annual meeting, so I felt lulled into a sense of deja vu.

Preparations were proceeding apace, and we were pleased with progress. We were in the market with two products and all the Actis team were energised by the prospect of our flagship event.

Then reality shunted home. COVID-19 burst upon the scene, although we had some early warning through our private equity portfolio companies in China.

As February unfolded, it became obvious that this situation would not right itself overnight. On the contrary, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be resilient, but not in a good way. Over the course of the past year, we have seen the devastating impact that it has wrought on economies, communities and literally billions of hopes and lives.

I thought that it might be helpful to reflect on what COVID-19 has meant for my team and Actis’ clients from our vantage point. Without doubt, it has been a challenge, but equally I have seen our teams and clients respond brilliantly.

I have distilled five lessons that this pandemic has taught me, and I wanted to share them with you all.

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