Private Equity Glossary

J-Curve Effect

The curve realized by plotting the returns generated by a private equity fund against time (from inception to termination). The common practice of paying the management fee and start-up costs out of the first draw-down does not produce an equivalent book value. As a result, a private equity fund will initially show a negative return. When the first realizations are made, the fund returns start to rise quite steeply. After about three to five years, the interim IRR will give a reasonable indication of the definitive IRR. This period is generally shorter for buyout funds than for early-stage and expansion funds.

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