Written by Deng Xiaoxuan
Editor by Chen Jiying
Private equity firms are caught by high investment thresholds On the veil of mystery, it is the game of a few middle-class and rich people.
But at the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, the big bosses overturned the car, the fund liquidation, the actual controller's suicide, the investor's redemption, insider operations and other negative events, took turns to hit the public eye.
Behind the many risks, there is the disorderly expansion of private equity products brought about by the low threshold; it is also the crazy temptation behind the huge returns; it is also the serious absence of the risk control system, and practitioners are like bounty hunters. , was tempted by the "gold mine", but also stepped into danger.
According to the data of private placement Pai Pai.com, the stock of domestic private equity fund products in December 2021 was 124,117. If you compare it with the number of domestic listed companies, the total number of domestic A shares + third-board stocks is 11,715. The number of private equity fund products is 10 times that of domestic listed companies. It is more difficult to choose private equity funds than stocks.
We interviewed a group of practitioners, including Liu Yi, a financial big V who switched to private equity, Xiao Xie, a researcher in the private equity fund industry, Zhang Xu, a private equity partner, they saw the low threshold for private equity entry, the difficulty of guaranteeing professional ability and the uneven rate of return; Xiaoyun, head of medium-sized private equity brands and markets, and DMT researcher Deng Lei, they witnessed the increase in private equity income. It is bright and beautiful, and I also see that it is omnipotent in order to obtain absolute returns; Li Ping, a private equity veteran, and Zhang Tingting, a fund partner, reveal the lack of internal control of the fund. It is the norm to chase up and down, without qualifications to get a license, and thunderstorms After changing the facade and reopening and so on.
Low threshold for "running for smuggling": licenses are attached, big Vs pull grass platforms, and open doors after thunderstorms
Highly educated public fund managers Undoubtedly, according to Wind data, as of December 3, 2021, there were 2,815 public fund managers in the market, with a master’s degree as high as 85.43%; while private fund managers accounted for only 50.3%.
The threshold is low, and the entrants are flocking. According to data from Wonder, as of December 3, 2021, there are 2,815 public fund managers in the market, and as many as 9,206 secondary private fund managers.
Unlike public fund managers, private fund managers have a low threshold. They may not have graduated from famous brands, graduated from majors, and come from all walks of life. , there are grassroots financial and economic big V, private equity transformation new forces with media background, and even the employees of thunderstorm institutions have changed their families and re-entered the game.
The big V pulling grass platform team has uneven yields
Since 2016, Liu Yi began to publish some industries and stocks that he was optimistic about on the WeChat public account. At the beginning It was written by one person. Later, it coincided with the bonus period of the WeChat public account. By 2019, the number of readings easily exceeded 10,000, and 5 researchers were also recruited to write part-time articles.
Because the team's views on the industry and individual stocks are well-founded, and sometimes they can beat some ten-fold bull stocks, fans in the backstage ask from time to time, "Can I give you the money to invest in stocks?">
At the beginning, Liu Yi was unmoved, because the income from advertising and drainage was enough to support the company's daily operations.
This situation will change in the middle of 2021, and the policy will increasingly control investment and research products. "There is a big V with a reading volume of 100,000+, but because he has no qualifications, he issues investment advisory products. I was caught in the game", Liu Yi decided to find another way.
After thinking about it, Liu Yi concluded that private placement is the best income expansion plan. He observed that many stock market financial public accounts in the head and waist, as well as Xueqiu and Weibo big V, are all in the market. Issue your own private equity fund.
“High Viscous Traffic--Investment Research/Investment and advisory products-private funds are the income funnel model of many financial big Vs", Liu Yi told "Financial Stories", "Big Vs have gained enough trust from fans, but in fact, these financial big V articles are mostly from The hands of the team, and some of the manuscripts that may be patched together, their real level of stock speculation is uneven. ”
Crazy “runaway” tide, fundraising is the threshold
“Yield is not the threshold , the ability to raise funds is the threshold”, Xiao Xie, a researcher in a small private equity industry, told the “Financial Story”.
The boss of Xiao Xie’s private equity is not a professional, but a media background. The TV station has served as a guest on securities-related programs for many years, and has personal relationships with many executives of listed companies, private equity and public offering industry insiders.” Because of the abundant resources, Xiao Xie Tan said that it is not difficult for his private equity to acquire customers.
In fact , "Media faction" is not an isolated case of private equity fund managers. The manager of a private equity fund of 10 billion yuan in Hangzhou used to be the editorial board member of a financial newspaper, and the deputy general manager served as the chief editor of many financial media.
In addition to media transformation fund managers, from top executives of large factories, down to doctors, teachers, secretaries, many of them have entered the private equity market by joining private equity institutions or issuing products by themselves.
The result of private equity heroes regardless of the source is that practitioners have a strong path dependence, and fund managers who have switched careers from all walks of life are relatively more professional funds Managers, the research time is shorter, the circle of competence is smaller, and there is serious path dependence. Facing the ever-changing market, a narrow circle of competence and a single investment method cannot adapt to all cycles and industries.
"My boss made money in China concept stocks a few years ago, so he has been allocating China concept stocks, but this strategy is obviously not feasible in the near future, and the boss is not willing to give up." When asked about the performance of the company's fund products, Xiao Xiao Xie kept his mouth shut.
The practitioners of thunderstorm institutions re-establish their portals
Zhang Xu is a partner of a small private equity. After the IPO of several companies, it successfully exited, but it was unable to pay due to irregular operations, misappropriation of funds and other reasons, causing a lot of uproar in the market.
The thunder was loud and the rain was small. The regulators only The private equity and its legal representative were given a six-digit penalty.
“After the explosion, private equity and executives will need to be repaired for at least 5-10 years. After being punished, it is difficult to find a large funder”, Zhang Xu told "Financial Stories".
In addition to fines, executives and business personnel will also be questioned by investors.
For front-end salespeople, after investors lose funds, they will usually contact the salesperson directly. "There will be no less lawsuits and abuse," Zhang Xu revealed.
But Other employees of the organization have been affected a lot. At the former employer, Zhang Xu was in a research position and was in the background, and was minimally affected and did not quit.
After a period of rest, Zhang Xu and his former employer Colleagues, set up another private equity firm, "each of us has more or less previous resources, so we do it ourselves".
Zhang Xu also said that he has worked in Thunderbolt institutions like this, and then many of them have established themselves, ranging from first- and second-tier private equity to FA institutions, but the same is that everyone will tacitly refuse to mention the former employer. .
To sum up, a very important reason why practitioners from all walks of life are constantly transforming into private equity is that you don't need to get a license, you can spend money to be affiliated or cooperate with a licensed institution.
Without exception, the institutions of the above interviewers have not obtained a fund license, but are affiliated with a licensed private equity firm in the form of cooperation.
"You can do it with some money and some operations. X-Ball is a platform. Fund managers first terminate the labor relationship with their own company, and then 'join' X-Ball and put their name on it. The fund will follow the investment of 2 million. If you see that the fund starts with 'Shanghai Snowbo', it is linked to X-Ball." Liang Yisan, a veteran in the industry, told "Financial Stories".
Incomes are hot and cold, and misappropriation of assets is not uncommon
For clients, public funds only charge a fixed percentage of management fees, so they mainly rely on large-scale Make money; Unlike public offerings, private equity funds usually have three sources of income: subscription fees, redemption fees, and floating management fees.
Among them, the subscription rate is generally 2%, and the redemption rate is 3%. These are all small, and the most important thing is the floating management fee. Usually, private equity fund managers are based on the project's profit. A 20% floating management fee is charged as performance compensationTherefore, private equity funds mainly rely on "income" to make money.
The mode of making money by relying on the rate of return is doomed to the profit-seeking nature of private equity institutions - the pursuit of absolute high returns, and the general absence of risk control systems.
However, in the private equity industry, not everyone is a glamorous "golden collar" with a generous annual salary.
The income is divided between 28 and 8, and the pressure is as high as a mountain.
"The annual salary of a fund manager is only one million yuan." When I hear the complaints of fund managers, I also feel "Versailles". For example, some fund managers complained to her, "After a whole year of hard work, the commission and commission combined are less than 5 million."
A general manager of a private equity fund in Shanghai also confirmed this statement to "Financial Story", high salaries are relatively common in large and medium-sized private equity, "When the scale is 1 billion, the management fee is 20 million, and daily The operation is more than enough, and it is not too much to give the fund manager an annual salary of one million yuan, which is not considered a performance commission.” However, to be more precise, this is the income of a team. It’s not so exaggerated to get a tax.”
However, being bright and bright is the treatment of successful large and medium-sized private equity fund managers. The Matthew effect in the industry is obvious. Private Pai Pai.com data shows that over 90% of the private equity management scale is below 1 billion yuan.
For most small and medium-sized private equity researchers and marketers, the annual salary of one million is just an illusion, and the annual salary of 200,000-300,000 is the normal range.
"It's about 15,000," said Deng Lei, who has four years of TMT research experience in Guangzhou. "When the market is good, the bonus is more, but at most 300,000 a year"; three years of experience , Sun Zhitao, who works in a private equity firm specializing in growth stocks in Shanghai, said that his monthly salary is about 18,000.
On the tick, search for "industry researcher", and select 1-3 years of experience. The result shows that 8-15K per month is the main salary range.
This salary level is not low compared to many traditional industries, but private equity funds pursue absolute returns, which leads to the long working hours of researchers , strength and pressure are high.
Research trips, study reports, writing research reports, etc. are Deng Lei's normal life. It is common for him to work more than 12 hours a day. He has not fallen asleep before twelve o'clock for a long time.
"If you slack off, you will feel very anxious, because private equity is chasing absolute returns, and the market needs to keep your cognition updated all the time. If you relax, you may not be able to catch this market." The whip of time kept whipping behind his back, and Deng Lei even felt that it was a sin to relax.
The fund manager is even more so. Liu Yi, a newcomer, has been working throughout the Spring Festival holiday, and only spends a day relaxing with his family on the twenty-ninth day of the Chinese New Year. Because of staying up late, chest tightness and migraines often occur.
In addition to the physical changes, Liu Yi has a sharp sword hanging in his heart, "Retraction is normal in the capital market, but if you withdraw, you will question yourself, and you will also be exposed by customers. , dark pressure, and being scolded by customers is normal." He shrugged helplessly.
However, when the news of Takasugi's death came, Liu Yi fell into self-doubt, "Takasugi has reached the top of the pyramid. Who doesn't want to be Takasugi in this industry? But Takasugi completely denied himself."
In the industry group, many people are embarrassed. Takasugi, who has a low academic background, can achieve research coverage of the whole industry, from consumption to electronics to manufacturing, and the cycle rotation can be accurate. 75%, "What a combination of talent, brain power and physical strength!"
It's not surprising to embezzle assets, and you can do anything for profit
Except for researchers and funds In addition to the diligent efforts of managers, private equity funds chasing absolute returns have a common operation that cannot be brought to the surface—the misappropriation of funds to pursue short-term returns.
“There are more or less illegal operations of misappropriating funds, and they are not rare. Corresponding assets", Zhang Xu, a partner of private equity funds, told "Financial Stories".
The prevalence of this phenomenon is formed in the "mutual cooperation" between institutions and investors.
Private equity institutions hope to quickly revolve funds, "The cycle of each fund is about two to two and a half years, and A shares will be longer. short-term projects”.
For investors, they are happy to see net worth increase, for which they can tolerate or ignore embezzlement.
In fact, misappropriation of funds is an important reason for many private equity storms.Since 2018, there have been misappropriation of funds in many thunderstorm private placements. "Only when you really get out of the game or the risk control is not in place, and you invest in particularly high-risk assets, you will be known to the public when you cannot pay the thunderstorm," Zhang Xu admitted.
Naked swimmers: husband and wife team up, chasing up and down, less risk control
In order to pursue Absolutely high-yield, many private equity institutions are ineffective in risk control, especially small and medium-sized institutions.
A husband-and-wife team and a workshop-style cooperation model. Investment decisions often rely on one or two people. There is no team restriction. When the bowl is full, it is easy to burst the position when it falls.
At the same time, chasing up and down is not exclusive to retail investors, and private equity institutions are not uncommon. When the market cycle dividend ebbs, naked swimmers swarm.
Workshop-style private placement: Yiyantang and husband and wife
At the beginning of 2020, the haze of the epidemic shrouded the stock market. Unstoppable fatal blow - investment in wealth management products at station B exploded, and the net value plummeted by 75%.
The final result of the investigation is that the institution has three "crimes" of falsely increasing its net worth, misappropriating fund property and promising investors a minimum return.
In addition to the impact of the epidemic, stock selection errors and many other reasons that private equity cannot avoid, a senior private equity person Li Ping also pointed out to "Financial Story", "There are more or less managers in the above-mentioned institutions. problem", the investment that originally required multi-party decision-making was controlled by the general manager and others.
There is no right or wrong in the high-level decision-making model, and an enterprise always has a backbone.
But if you make a wrong bet, you will lose everything. "If you make a wrong bet, you often cannot disclose it to investors. Because it is not compliant, you can only use some words to comfort investors and make a bad start. Afterwards, decision makers often have a strong gamble, thinking about winning the next one, it is very dangerous to have no restrictions." Li Ping has also witnessed similar incidents in his career.
Chen Da, a veteran of the industry, once posted an analysis in Snowball, saying that the aforementioned Thunder Capital had invested in Station B, but soon withdrew, and then bought a bunch of junk Chinese stocks, so it is speculated that there may be interests in it delivery.
There are private equity institutions with nearly 10 billion yuan, and there is still a "one word", and small and medium-sized private equity is not uncommon: private equity companies founded by couples or three or five friends together, some of them don't even have researchers, and risk control is completely absent. .
Lin Junxing, a finance graduate, once worked as an intern in a "husband and wife" private equity firm - the company structure is very simple, the entire organization plus him has three people, the boss is the fund manager, and the boss is responsible for daily affairs , while he is responsible for collecting financial news, editing and pushing the public account.
"Iron boss, running trainee", Lin Junxing joked, "I hardly do any serious work, the boss and his wife can finish all the serious work."
"I don't feel comfortable giving money to such an organization. Even if it is disclosed, only they know where the money goes. It's very arbitrary, and I don't know if they cheat." Two months later, Lin Junxing resigned.
Players who swim naked are the norm.
In the private equity industry where the tides come and go, long-termists and value investors are the most lacking.
As a partner of a small and medium-sized private equity firm, Zhang Ting clearly remembers that in 2014, when she was still working as a researcher in an institution in Guangzhou, due to the very good market conditions, there was a sudden emergence of a Fewer private institutions.
The data can also be corroborated. Data from the Asset Management Association of China shows that in 2014, the number of private equity fund managers by type was only 5,064. In 2015, this data reached the peak of 20,115; at that time , under the blessing of leverage, the bull market is in full swing, and a large number of private equity institutions are unaware of the risks, and they are full of gambling to build positions at the top of the bull market.
The collapse came unexpectedly. In June 2015, the stock market began to fluctuate. After 18 bloody consecutive days, the bull market ceased to exist, and the private equity industry began to liquidate and liquidate in batches. Zhang Tingting, who experienced this tragic situation, still remembers that before that, every floor of the office building where she worked At least one private equity office can be seen on the building, and by the second half of 2015, these offices were empty.
This year is no exception. The withdrawal of pharmaceutical and value stocks since the end of last year has not spared Dan Bin, a private equity tycoon known as "China Buffett". 50 products fell below the warning line, and 6 products faced "liquidation".
By the end of 2021, theAmong the private securities fund products that have been completed for one year, there are 363 products whose net value has fallen below the liquidation line of 0.7 yuan, of which 16 are large-scale private equity fund products with a scale of more than 10 billion yuan.
The cycle is repeating, and the tragedy is repeating. The bizarre private equity industry is full of elites, not to mention liars. The temptation of high returns, the urge to take risks, the cycle of ups and downs, the separation of rashness and elite style And opposition, every step of the journey to win gold, walk on the edge of the blade.
(The interviewees in the article are Liu Yi, Xiao Xie, Zhang Xu, Liang Yisan, Feng Yun, Deng Lei, Li Ping, Lin Junxing, and Zhang Ting are all pseudonyms)