Is the Use of an Independent Valuation Firm Superior to a Manager’s Internal Valuation Process?

As private equity (PE) valuations have increasingly become subject to review by investors and regulators, certain PE managers have turned to independent valuation firms to assist in their valuation processes. The practice, which can be expensive and time-consuming, can benefit managers with hard-to-value holdings. The use of an independent valuation firm in addition to a manager’s internal valuation process, however, remains above standard industry practice. In an interview with the Hedge Fund Law Report, Scott A. Arenare and Joseph P. Cunningham, partners in the asset management group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, discussed the use of independent valuation firms by PE and hedge fund managers. This article presents their insights on, among other topics, the benefits of engaging independent valuation firms, trends in those engagements, the allocation of independent valuation expenses and best practices for managers conducting internal valuations. For more on valuation, see “Unreasonable Assumptions When Valuing Fund Assets May Lead to Charges of GAAP Non-Compliance, Fraud and Compliance Violations” (Aug. 24, 2017); “Three Approaches to Valuing Fund Assets and How Auditors Review Those Valuations” (May 11, 2017); and “Three Pillars of an Effective Hedge Fund Valuation Process” (Jun. 19, 2014).

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