Aaron Grunwald: What do you want the audience to get most from the “Continuity and stability” panel?
Rajaa Mekouar-Schneider: I am always happy to share my experience in Luxembourg as a PE investor (for Kharis Capital) because the grand duchy is still “under the radar” when it comes to being a front office hub for PE managers. There is so much going for the country as such and this is a great forum to convey this message.
Is the current regulatory and tax environment more or less favourable to long-term investments?
From our firm’s perspective (Kharis) it is neutral because we only invest private family capital in ad hoc SPVs, although KYC requirements are on the increase and that means our investors need to be more increasingly open [regarding] beneficial ownership. We are also long term investors with open-ended SPVs, with a model based on fees that are lower than the traditional “2-20” and exclusively based on invested capital.
Generally speaking, for PE players, tax and regulatory pressure means a shift in the model to even more alignment, transparency and accountability, which can only be welcome. Long-term investments are a consequence of this trend and it suits well the profile of such investors as pension funds and family offices.
What do you think people outside of Luxembourg don’t know about, or don’t know enough about, the private equity fund sector here?
That practically, Luxembourg is a great operative base, not only a good structuring domicile. Being based here as a pan-European investment firm has allowed me to significantly reduce commute/travel times while being able to draw on a growing base of capital and talent. Without mentioning the exceptional quality of life I enjoy here, still immersed in an international environment. I thought I would miss London after 15 years there, but Luxembourg has other advantages that need to be more broadly communicated.
Aside from your own talk at the ALFI event, which speech or panel are you most looking forward to hearing, and why?
I am keen to get a feel for the key trends that drive the asset management industry in general, as PE is a specific asset class with its own drivers and idiosyncrasies, which ALFI conferences do well.