For a buyout pro, lining up investors is hard enough these days. Trying to find investors willing to back funds focused on India, China, Latin America and other emerging markets? That can be even harder.
To that end, fund managers looking to get a piece of these fast-growing markets would benefit by being familiar with the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association and Sarah Alexander, its president and CEO. “You could say that my job has become very much around leadership and networking the right people together,” Alexander said.
Alexander helped found the EMPEA six years ago as a resource of data and analysis on emerging markets for limited and general partners. Today the organization has 275 members, including global powerhouses, sovereign wealth funds, emerging markets experts and blue-chip LPs such as the
With a staff of 11, the EMPEA produces quarterly reviews of the market and in-depth research reports called “Insights” dedicated to specific emerging markets. Recent examples included “Insight India” and “Insight Brazil,” which analyzed the state of the country’s economy, its population, demographic trends and its attractiveness for GP investments.
The Washington, D.C.-based organization also organizes three conferences a year where its members can meet and mingle. Alexander describes the organization as a “hub of the community of fund managers and institutional investors and some service providers who have a shared desire to have asset class grow.”
Prospective members have to go through an application process. Membership has three different categories: “Premier,” open to private equity firms, institutional investors, development finance institutions and professional service providers, costs $16,000 annually and provides more access to Alexander and EMPEA’s research team; “Full,” open to fund managers with at least $5 million of assets under management, costs $9,500 for firms with more than $1 billion of assets under management (Full membership costs less for smaller firms); and “Associate,” open to limited partners, which costs as little as $3,000 and as much as $7,500.
Alexander founded EMPEA after managing deals for Emerging Markets Partnership, now known as EMP Global. Prior that, she had stints at the World Bank, the U.S. Department of State, and as a foreign policy adviser in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I come from the industry,” Alexander said. “That, plus our focused content, has given not just me but the entire team some street cred,” Alexander said. “We hope we’re seen as a respected voice trying to put the right people together and putting the right issues on the table for discussion.”