PEI's Responsible Investment Forum New York 2024: Key Takeaways

This week, Auquan CEO Chandini Jain joined Donna Bebb (Thoma Bravo) and Ercan Ucak (Cerberus Capital Management) this week at PEI’s RIF New York event to talk about the implications of AI within private equity.


The three delved deep into the unprecedented semantic ability of AI — and specifically LLMs —  to unlock new potential across numerous workflows. We're now able to sift through vast amounts of noisy, unstructured, and complex data to extract structured insights and automate tasks like drafting documents, compiling reports, and generating client materials that once required tedious manual effort.


This results in a multifaceted impact on private markets, specifically in three critical aspects:

  • Operational Efficiency: Streamlining internal workflows, enabling us to do more with less and with greater speed.
  • Investment Valuations: Recalibrating how we assess and value investments with an active AI angle or strategy.
  • Portfolio Company Adoption: The strategies portcos are employing to navigate the challenges of AI governance as they integrate AI into their operations.

As firms consider AI for their own internal operations, they need to balance the scales between investment (of time, resources or money) and return. It is important to pick the right use case and set realistic expectations of what is possible, to ensure AI acts as an efficiency booster and drives genuine value to ensure adoption and get stakeholder buy-in.

Similarly, as portcos architect their AI strategies, AI governance — both in pre-financing diligence and post-investment value creation — will start playing a bigger role. Boards need to be mindful that there is a delicate balance between acting as a partner versus policing in terms of AI implementation. They need to ensure that they encourage innovation without overstepping.

It was a great session at an important event, particularly as the industry moves toward widespread adoption of AI. 


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