A new method to estimate risk and return of non-traded assets from cash flows: The case of private equity funds

We develop a new methodology to estimate abnormal performance and risk exposure of non-traded assets from cash flows. Our methodology extends the standard internal rate of return approach to a dynamic setting. The small-sample properties are validated using a simulation study. We apply the method to a sample of 958 private equity funds. For venture capital funds, we find a high market beta andunderperformance before and after fees. For buyout funds, we find a relatively low market beta and no evidence for outperformance. We find that self-reported net asset values significantly overstate fund values for mature and inactive funds.

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