But Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? asked Fred Schwed in his seminal 1955 book. In the title anecdote, a visitor to New York admires the yachts of the bankers and brokers, and then wonders aloud where all the customers’ yachts were. Of course, there were none. The premise of the book — and a perennial frustration of investors — is that there is far more money in providing financial advice than there is in receiving financial advice. A current iteration of this is playing out in the private equity industry.
But for now, old habits die hard. “At the moment, investing in PE is like walking into a jungle,” says Phalippou. “All you can hope is that the lions will be friendly.”