IPEM – The next chapter of evolution 2/2
In this second part of the Q&A with Antoine Colson, CEO & Managing Partner, IPEM, the discussion turns to the two IPEM events in Cannes and Paris and how both will extend the value proposition.
AC: We’ve been organizing IPEM in Cannes in late January since we launched in 2016. So in that sense it’s business as usual. We need to have full conviction in what we do and this is certainly the case for Cannes.
We believe the date of the event works well for GPs as they prepare to kick off their fundraising plans, or investment plans if you are an LP. Throughout 2022 we have seen a war develop in Ukraine, inflation has risen to decade highs, and the world is adjusting to a higher interest rate paradigm.
With all of that in mind, it’s good to come back soon to Cannes in January. In September the industry had not reconnected for some time. The mood was good, the sun was warm, and one could be forgiven for thinking there were not significant global challenges. So I think it’s good that we are back in January. The industry needs to sit down, engage and discuss the global situation. That’s why we have named the overarching topic “Reality Check”. We want the industry to face the challenges and responsibilities that lie ahead.
AC: The format will remain broadly the same. We are expecting 2,000 to 3,000 delegates, and we already have strong commitment for meeting suites. We have 250 meeting booths on the Floorplan and there are only a few left. We are very encouraged by the level of support by GPs and LPs to reconnect in January.
We expect Cannes to be relatively French and European. Since the beginning, IPEM has always had a strong bond with European managers. It’ll be a great opportunity to come together and think about the year ahead. Our ambition for January is to have 400 to 500 GPs, a similar number of LPs, and probably a similar number of advisors and service providers.
AC: Yes correct, we’ve narrowed our focus a bit. We have one conference room, one summit room, and the panel discussions and summit sessions will be taking place on Day 2 (January 24th) and Day 3 (January 25th) of the conference. On Day 1 (January 23rd) we will be hosting a Welcome Gala from 7pm to 9pm with cocktails and canapés. We expect this to take place at the Majestic Hotel for the opening night. The Welcome Gala will immediately follow the LPAC meeting, which is an invitation-only LP meeting session taking place earlier that day.
The 24th and 25th January will be the two main conference days for delegates to attend at the Palais Des Festivals, where all the meetings and content panel discussions will be taking place.
I think given the macro environment, content will play an even bigger role as LPs look for a clear idea of what is happening in private markets. It will be an opportunity for the industry to be candid and to face facts and new realities.
AC: In September, ESG had its own dedicated summit. For January, however, it will be incorporated as a topic throughout the event. It doesn’t need to be one highlight, or one focus. We will also have two dedicated summit sessions on Diversity & Women in Private Equity and Climate Investing.
In addition, we are increasing the numbers of LP-only sessions. We understand that LPs want some peer-to-peer discussions, even more so in the current climate. There will be dedicated sessions on both days called “LP Coffee Klatch”: informal get togethers during IPEM so that LPs can connect and share views. There will also be an LP breakfast, the LPAC (referred to above) and a single family office lunch on Day 3.
AC: The LPAC meeting is reserved for 30 institutional-only CEOs and heads of private markets; so very senior level investors. Tom Masthay, deputy CIO of the Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS), will lead the discussion this year.
The focus of the discussion is likely to be, ‘Is this a time to rebalance?’ in keeping with the Reality Check theme. Tom will also be sharing views on whether it is a good time, considering the difficult fundraising environment, for LPs to consider better terms to rebalance the GP/LP relationship.
AC: When we host our Cannes event, it is often around the time of Chinese New Year, which makes it difficult for Asia-based delegates to travel. Paris is an attractive, well-connected city. I think there are somewhere in the region of 30 or so US cities with direct flights to Paris every week, which is obviously not the case with Nice.
As a location, everybody loves Paris, especially international delegates travelling from North America and Asia Pacific. The city always looks its best in September. For LPs, it will provide an ideal opportunity to attend the many networking events and dinners that will be taking place, as they prepare to plan their allocation budgets for the year ahead. At the end, it will be more international and more fundraising-focused.
Like Cannes, the Paris event will follow a similar format in terms of meeting booths and a detailed content program. The idea is to bring international delegates from all parts of the world to experience IPEM in an efficient, enjoyable format, where the focus on fundraising will be very strong. We are anticipating the Paris event to a 2.5-day event. We will be announcing the exact dates and venue details before year-end.
AC: Yes it will be. Having two events will really help us to further grow the IPEM Community. My vision for IPEM is to not only be seen as event organizers. We are community builders.
We are on a mission to help the growth of the private markets, and to connect them more effectively and in an in a meaningful way. That is why we need to have two events, once a year is not enough to engage our community. And you can never have enough of a good thing!