Steve MoseleyOrganization: Alaska Permanent Retirement Fund
City: Juneau, Alaska
Title: Head of Private Equity & Special Opportunities
Tell us a bit about yourself.I was born in New England and grew up on the east coast but always enjoyed the outdoors and now live in Juneau, Alaska where I manage private equity and special opportunities for the $52 billion Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, a sovereign wealth fund established in 1980 to provide for all current and future generations of Alaskans. I’m married to my high school prom date and have two amazing children.
How did you get your start in private equity?I was an investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston in 1996-- I worked on corporate finance and M&A transactions for healthcare companies—when CSFB formed an $875 million buyout affiliate called Windward Capital Partners. Windward needed a few grunts to support an experienced group of partners so I was recruited to focus on deal sourcing, due diligence, and transaction execution.
What are the challenges facing LPs today?Making very long-term investments in rapidly changing markets is inherently challenging. I think we’re all balancing the need to be systematic and disciplined with the need to be adaptive, creative and forward thinking. And we each have our own institutional challenges. For example, for us, geography creates some meaningful headaches. Juneau is a beautiful place but it isn’t the global crossroads of commerce so we need to travel a lot. Chronic under-staffing seems to create obstacles in various forms and to varying degrees for all public funds. And while there are clear, sustainable competitive advantages connected to scale, LPs also face offsetting challenges as they grow, e.g., reduced access, agility, and stealth.
When conducting due diligence, what is a major red flag for you?Litigation spooks me. I understand that we live in a complicated world and litigation can’t always be avoided, but a pattern of litigation is often associated with people or institutions of limited integrity seeking to test the boundaries of fair commerce.
What themes will play out for private equity over the next twelve months?It’s hard not to notice that the best years for fundraising are also the worst vintages for performance. Given the tailwinds we’ve enjoyed recently I’ll be surprised if some LPs don’t soon find themselves a little over-extended and if some of the co-investments we’ve all been fighting to get into don’t sour. When the market does turn, the LPs who kept some powder dry will be rewarded.
When did you start participating in ILPA events and initiatives?I first participated in the ILPA GP summit in 2006. I still think it’s one of the industry’s best forums and I try to participate every year. More recently I joined ILPA’s Industry Affairs Committee. The IAC seeks to identify and address issues of broad importance to all LPs and engages, advocates, and communicates with and among various LPs, GPs, regulators and service providers.
How will the Reporting Template help you and your team?I’ve found that most GPs don’t mind providing detailed data to LPs during and after due diligence and they usually don’t mind responding to a long list of thoughtful questions. However, they don’t want to face what one GP last week called a “long list of long lists”. The ILPA reporting template seeks to avoid waste by asking the right questions once. It’s worth noting that the template wasn’t developed in a vacuum but was designed and continues to be refined with input from GPs, LPs, auditors and others. Personally, I think this represents a better path to transparency than the legislative proposals I hear discussed in the lower 48.
If you weren’t working in private equity, what would you be doing instead?Before working in PE I had a job leading camping trips in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. Occasionally I’ll daydream about those days. I tend to forget that when I actually had that job I daydreamed about hot showers and dry socks.
Our next Member Spotlight will be published at the end of May.