SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM TO
Commission File Number: 001-35538
The Carlyle Group Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
| ||(I.R.S. Employer|
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, 20004-2505
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
(Former name or former address, if changed since last report)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock||CG||The Nasdaq Global Select Market|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act
|Large accelerated filer|| ||☒|| ||Accelerated filer|| |
|Non-accelerated filer|| |
| ||Smaller reporting company|| |
|Emerging growth company|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ý
The aggregate market value of the common stock of the Registrant held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2020 was $9,246,701,644.
The number of the Registrant’s shares of common stock outstanding as of February 9, 2021 was 354,193,594.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement relating to its 2021 annual meeting of the shareholders (the “2021 Proxy Statement”) are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K where indicated. The 2021 Proxy Statement will be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this report relates.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This report may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to our expectations regarding the performance of our business, our financial results, our liquidity and capital resources, contingencies, our dividend policy, and other non-historical statements. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates” or the negative version of these words or other comparable words. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause actual outcomes or results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements including, but not limited to, those listed below and those described under the section entitled “Risk Factors” in this report, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our periodic filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), which are accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this report and in our other periodic filings with the SEC. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.
Summary of Risk Factors
The following is only a summary of the principal risks that may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. The following should be read in conjunction with the complete discussion of risk factors we face, which are set forth in “Item 1A. Risk Factors”.
Risks Related to Our Company
•Our business could be negatively impacted in many ways by adverse economic and market conditions or changes in the debt financing markets, including by reducing the value or performance of investments made by our investment funds and reducing the ability of our funds to raise capital or obtain attractive financing or re-financing.
•The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has caused severe disruptions in the U.S. and global economies and has impacted, and may continue to adversely impact our performance and results of operations.
•Our use of leverage may expose us to substantial risks and our revenue, earnings and cash flow are variable, which makes it difficult for us to achieve steady earnings growth on a quarterly basis.
•Our business could be adversely affected by the loss of services from or investor confidence in our Chief Executive Officer and other key personnel or by future difficulty in recruiting and retaining professionals.
•We may reduce our AUM, restrain its growth, reduce our fees or otherwise alter the terms under which we do business when we deem it in the best interest of our investors, even when such actions may be contrary to the near term interests of stockholders.
•We may not be successful in expanding into new investment strategies, markets and businesses, including business initiatives to increase the number and type of investment products we offer to retail investors.
•Operational risks may disrupt our businesses, result in losses or limit our growth and failure to maintain the security of our information and technology networks, intellectual property and proprietary business information could have a material adverse effect on us.
•Extensive regulation in the United States and abroad, including financial regulatory changes (such as those regarding derivatives and commodity interest transactions), affects our activities, increases the cost of doing business and creates the potential for significant liabilities, penalties and additional burdens.
•It is unclear what impact the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will have on the Company or the fund portfolio companies.
•The replacement of LIBOR with an alternative reference rate may adversely affect our credit arrangements and our collateralized loan obligation transactions.
•We are subject to substantial litigation risks, including allegations of employee misconduct or fraud (including at our portfolio companies), and may face significant liabilities and damage to our professional reputation as a result of such allegations and negative publicity.
•Certain policies and procedures implemented to mitigate potential conflicts of interest and address certain regulatory requirements may reduce the synergies across our various businesses.
Risks Related to Our Business Operations
•Poor performance of our investment funds would cause a decline in our revenue, income and cash flow, may obligate us to repay carried interest previously paid to us, and could adversely affect our ability to raise capital. Our asset management business depends in large part on our ability to raise capital from third-party investors.
•Our investors may negotiate to pay us lower management fees and the economic terms of our future funds may be less favorable to us than those of our existing funds, which could adversely affect our revenues.
•Valuation methodologies for certain assets in our funds can involve subjective judgments, and the fair value of assets established pursuant to such methodologies may be incorrect, which could result in the misstatement of fund performance and accrued performance allocations. Historical returns attributable to our funds should not be considered as indicative of the future results.
•Dependence on significant leverage in investments by our funds could adversely affect our ability to achieve attractive rates of return on those investments.
•The alternative asset management business is intensely competitive and we often pursue investment opportunities that involve business, regulatory, legal or other complexities and relatively high-risk, illiquid assets.
•The investments of our corporate private equity, real estate and Investment Solutions funds are subject to a number of inherent risks.
•Our investment funds may invest in companies that we do not control or that are based outside of the United States, assets denominated in currencies which differ from the currency in which the fund is denominated or make preferred and common equity investments that rank junior to preferred equity and debt.
•We may need to pay “giveback” obligations if they are triggered under the governing agreements with our investors.
•Third-party investors in substantially all of our carry funds have rights that in certain circumstances could lead to a decrease in our revenues. In addition, third-party investors in our investment funds with commitment-based structures may not satisfy their contractual obligation to fund capital calls when requested by us, which could adversely affect a fund’s performance.
•Our failure to deal appropriately with conflicts of interest in our investment business could damage our reputation and adversely affect our businesses.
•There are risks associated with our CLO business, investment into CLOs and underwriting, syndicating and securities placement activities.
•Risk management activities may adversely affect the return on our investments.
•Our energy business is involved in oil and gas investments (i.e, exploration, production, storage, transportation, logistics, refining, marketing, trading, petrochemicals, energy services and other opportunistic investments), which involves a high degree of risk. Investments in the natural resources industry, including the infrastructure and power industries, involve various operational, construction and regulatory risks.
•Our private equity funds’ performance, and our performance, may be adversely affected by the financial performance, financial projections or contingent liabilities of our portfolio companies and the industries in which our funds invest, including securities of companies that are experiencing significant financial or business difficulties.
•Investments in the insurance industry (including our investment in Fortitude Holdings) could be adversely impacted by insurance regulations and potential regulatory reforms. Our relationship with Fortitude Holdings may not generate a meaningful contribution to our revenue and our ownership and control of Fortitude Holdings could give rise to real or apparent conflicts of interest.
•Ongoing trade negotiations and potential for further regulatory reform may create regulatory uncertainty for our portfolio companies and our investment strategies and adversely affect the profitability of our portfolio companies.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock
•Carlyle Group Management L.L.C. controls us and its interests may conflict with ours or yours in the future. As a “controlled company”, we rely on exceptions from certain corporate governance requirements under Nasdaq rules.
•Our founders have the right to designate members of our Board of Directors and our certificate of incorporation will not limit the ability of our former general partner, founders, directors, officers or stockholders to compete with us.
•If The Carlyle Group Inc. were deemed to be an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could have a material adverse effect on our business.
•The consolidation of investment funds, holding companies or operating businesses of our portfolio companies could make it more difficult to understand the operating performance of the Company and could create operational risks.
•The market price of our common stock may be volatile.
•Certain provisions in our organizational documents may discourage transactions or lawsuits that stockholders might consider favorable.
Risks Related to U.S. Taxation
•Changes in U.S. and foreign tax regulations, including the comprehensive U.S. federal income tax reform that became effective in 2018, could adversely affect us and our ability to raise funds from certain foreign investors.
•We expect to pay more corporate income taxes than we would have as a limited partnership prior to the Conversion. We may fail to realize the anticipated benefits of the Conversion, or those benefits may take longer to realize than expected or not offset the costs of the Conversion.
On January 1, 2020, we completed our conversion from a Delaware limited partnership named The Carlyle Group L.P. into a Delaware Corporation named The Carlyle Group Inc. Pursuant to the Conversion, at the specified effective time on January 1, 2020, each common unit of The Carlyle Group L.P. outstanding immediately prior to the effective time converted into one share of common stock of The Carlyle Group Inc. and each special voting unit and general partner unit was canceled for no consideration. In addition, holders of the partnership units in Carlyle Holdings I L.P., Carlyle Holdings II L.P., and Carlyle Holdings III L.P. exchanged such units for an equivalent number of shares of common stock and certain other restructuring steps occurred (the conversion, together with such restructuring steps and related transactions, the “Conversion”).
Unless the context suggests otherwise, references in this report to “Carlyle,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer (i) prior to the consummation of the Conversion to The Carlyle Group L.P. and its consolidated subsidiaries and (ii) from and after the consummation of the Conversion to The Carlyle Group Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries. References to our common stock or shares in periods prior to the Conversion refer to the common units of The Carlyle Group L.P. When we refer to our “senior Carlyle professionals,” we are referring to the partner-level personnel of our firm. References in this report to the ownership of the senior Carlyle professionals include the ownership of personal planning vehicles of these individuals. When we refer to the “Carlyle Holdings partnerships” or “Carlyle Holdings”, we are referring to Carlyle Holdings I L.P., Carlyle Holdings II L.P., and Carlyle Holdings III L.P., which prior to the Conversion were the holding partnerships through which the Company and our senior Carlyle professionals and other holders of Carlyle Holdings partnership units owned their respective interests in our business.
“Carlyle funds,” “our funds” and “our investment funds” refer to the investment funds and vehicles advised by Carlyle.
“Carry funds” generally refers to closed-end investment vehicles, in which commitments are drawn down over a specified investment period, and in which the general partner receives a special residual allocation of income from limited partners, which we refer to as carried interest, in the event that specified investment returns are achieved by the fund. Disclosures referring to carry funds will also include the impact of certain commitments which do not earn carried interest, but are either part of, or associated with our carry funds. The rate of carried interest, as well as the share of carried interest allocated to Carlyle, may vary across the carry fund platform. Carry funds generally include the following investment vehicles across our three business segments:
•Global Private Equity: Buyout, middle market and growth capital, real estate, and natural resources funds advised by Carlyle, as well as certain energy funds advised by our strategic partner NGP Energy Capital Management (“NGP”) in which Carlyle is entitled to receive a share of carried interest (“NGP Carry Funds”)
•Global Credit: Distressed credit, energy credit, opportunistic credit, corporate mezzanine funds, aircraft financing and servicing, and other closed-end credit funds advised by Carlyle
•Investment Solutions: Funds and vehicles advised by AlpInvest Partners B.V. (“AlpInvest”) and Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management, LLC (“Metropolitan”), which include primary fund, secondary and co-investment strategies
Carry funds specifically exclude certain funds advised by NGP in which Carlyle is not entitled to receive a share of carried interest (or “NGP Predecessor Funds”), collateralized loan obligation vehicles (“CLOs”), as well as our business development companies and associated managed accounts.
For an explanation of the fund acronyms used throughout this Annual Report, refer to “Item 1. Business–Our Family of Funds.”
“Fee-earning assets under management” or “Fee-earning AUM” refers to the assets we manage or advise from which we derive recurring fund management fees. Our Fee-earning AUM is generally based on one of the following, once fees have been activated:
(a)the amount of limited partner capital commitments, generally for carry funds where the original investment period has not expired, for AlpInvest carry funds during the commitment fee period and for Metropolitan carry funds during the weighted-average investment period of the underlying funds;
(b)the remaining amount of limited partner invested capital at cost, generally for carry funds and certain co-investment vehicles where the original investment period has expired, Metropolitan carry funds after the expiration of the weighted-average investment period of the underlying funds, and one of our business development companies;
(c)the amount of aggregate fee-earning collateral balance at par of our CLOs and other securitization vehicles, as defined in the fund indentures (typically exclusive of equities and defaulted positions) as of the quarterly cut-off date;
(d)the external investor portion of the net asset value of certain carry funds;
(e)the gross assets (including assets acquired with leverage), excluding cash and cash equivalents, of one of our business development companies and certain carry funds; or
(f)the lower of cost or fair value of invested capital, generally for AlpInvest carry funds where the commitment fee period has expired and certain carry funds where the investment period has expired.
“Assets under management” or “AUM” refers to the assets we manage or advise. Our AUM equals the sum of the following:
(a) the aggregate fair value of our carry funds and related co-investment vehicles, NGP Predecessor Funds and separately managed accounts, plus the capital that Carlyle is entitled to call from investors in those funds and vehicles (including Carlyle commitments to those funds and vehicles and those of senior Carlyle professionals and employees) pursuant to the terms of their capital commitments to those funds and vehicles;
(b) the amount of aggregate collateral balance and principal cash at par or aggregate principal amount of the notes of our CLOs and other structured products (inclusive of all positions);
(c) the net asset value of certain carry funds; and
(d) the gross assets (including assets acquired with leverage) of our business development companies, plus the capital that Carlyle is entitled to call from investors in those vehicles pursuant to the terms of their capital commitments to those vehicles.
We include in our calculation of AUM and Fee-earning AUM certain energy and renewable resources funds that we jointly advise with Riverstone Holdings L.L.C. (“Riverstone”) and the NGP Predecessor Funds and NGP Carry Funds (collectively, the “NGP Energy Funds”) that are advised by NGP.
For most of our carry funds, total AUM includes the fair value of the capital invested, whereas Fee-earning AUM includes the amount of capital commitments or the remaining amount of invested capital, depending on whether the original investment period for the fund has expired. As such, total AUM may be greater than Fee-Earning AUM when the aggregate fair value of the remaining investments exceeds the cost of those investments.
Our calculations of AUM and Fee-earning AUM may differ from the calculations of other asset managers. As a result, these measures may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other asset managers. In addition, our calculation of AUM (but not Fee-earning AUM) includes uncalled commitments to, and the fair value of invested capital in, our investment funds from Carlyle and our personnel, regardless of whether such commitments or invested capital are subject to management or performance fees. Our calculations of AUM or Fee-earning AUM are not based on any definition of AUM or Fee-earning AUM that is set forth in the agreements governing the investment funds that we manage or advise.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We are a global investment firm that deploys capital across scalable strategies. We advise an array of investment funds and other investment vehicles that invest across the spectrum of private capital asset classes, including private equity, credit, real estate, and natural resources. Our teams invest across a range of strategies that leverage our deep-industry expertise, local insights, and global resources to deliver attractive returns throughout an investment cycle. Since our firm was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1987, we have grown to manage $246 billion in AUM as of December 31, 2020. Our experienced and diverse team of 1,825 employees includes 678 investment professionals in 29 offices across five continents, and we serve more than 2,650 active carry fund investors from 95 countries. Across our Global Private Equity (GPE) funds, as of December 31, 2020, we had investments in 256 active portfolio companies that employ more than 1,000,000 people around the world.
Our firm is guided by the following strategic priorities:
•Scale our Investment Platforms. We pursue sizable opportunities that allow us to build on our strengths in Global Private Equity, Global Credit, and Investment Solutions.
•Capture Adjacencies. We identify areas that we can apply our capabilities in a focused and sustainable manner such as Capital Markets.
•Institutionalization of the Firm. We invest with a clarity of purpose, adaptability, and alignment between our interest and the interests of our fund investors, stockholders, and other stakeholders.
Operational and strategic highlights for our firm for 2020 include:
•With the leadership of our sole CEO, we realigned our operating segments to better reflect the internal management of our business. Our Global Private Equity segment is a combination of our former Corporate Private Equity and Real Assets segments.
•We continued to build more connectivity, increase inclusivity, create more transparency and encourage direct dialogue with our employees. Enhancing our culture that emphasizes collaboration, diversity of perspectives, and global alignment in the remote work environment was a key focus in 2020 with management reimagining our processes, office environment and business operations for future success.
•During 2020, we successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work environment. We reimagined and rejuvenated our approach to communications with all stakeholders. We increased the cadence and nature of our interactions with our fund investors and hosted our first virtual global investor conference.
•Throughout the year, we continued to strengthen and deepen our investment and operating platforms through new hires and strategic realignment of existing resources. Our Global Investment Resources team delivered a robust set of value creation capabilities to help portfolio companies to grow, save costs, and implement operational best practices.
•On January 1, 2020 we completed our conversion to a full “C” Corporation. In connection with the Conversion:
◦Our structure was simplified. We now have a single class of common stock fully aligning all stockholders on an economic basis and providing all stockholders the same “one vote per share.”
◦We adopted an annual dividend of $1.00 per share, or $0.25 per quarter.
•Despite the challenging environment, we made investments through our carry funds of $18.3 billion and we realized proceeds of $21.0 billion for our carry fund investors.
•During 2020, we raised more than $27.5 billion in new commitments across our platform, even though we did not have any of our large global private equity funds in the market. Of our $170.1 billion in fee-earning assets under management, 98% is in investment vehicles with long-term fee structures and not subject to quarterly redemption, driving predictable and reliable associated management fees.
•In 2020, Carlyle FRL, L.P. (“Carlyle FRL”), an investment fund advised by us, acquired a 51.6% interest in Fortitude Group Holdings LLC (“Fortitude Holdings”) and T&D United Capital Co., Ltd. (“T&D”) purchased a 25.0% ownership interest as a third-party investor. Fortitude Holdings owns 100% of the outstanding common shares of Fortitude Reinsurance Company Ltd., a Bermuda domiciled reinsurer (collectively, “Fortitude Re”) established to reinsure a portfolio of AIG’s legacy life, annuity, and property and casualty liabilities. At closing, we contributed our existing 19.9% interest in Fortitude Holdings to Carlyle FRL such that the investment fund holds a 71.5% controlling interest in Fortitude Holdings. Taken together, Carlyle FRL and T&D have 96.5% ownership of Fortitude Holdings. In connection with this transaction, we strengthened our strategic asset management relationship with Fortitude Re pursuant to which Fortitude Re, together with certain AIG-affiliated ceding companies it has reinsured, will continue to allocate assets in certain of our asset management strategies and vehicles across multiple segments.
•We continued to significantly enhance our Impact efforts:
◦We published our inaugural Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Report, underscoring our evolving approach to climate change. This augments our annual firm-wide ESG Report, which we have been publishing for more than 10 years.
◦We achieved our third year of carbon neutrality across our 29 global offices and the activities of our 1,825 employees, after we became the first major private equity firm to make a carbon neutrality commitment in 2017.
◦We completed several ESG-linked financings, which can reduce interest expense for Carlyle and our portfolio companies while driving environmental and social performance.
▪Operational and strategic highlights for our three business segments for 2020 include:
Global Private Equity (“GPE”):
◦We concluded fundraising for our latest Japan buyout fund, latest international energy fund, and latest longer-dated private equity fund. We continued fundraising for our first renewable and sustainable energy fund, our U.S. open-end core-plus real estate fund and launched fundraising for our latest U.S. opportunistic real estate fund, latest Asia growth fund and first NGP U.S. minerals and royalties fund. During 2020, we raised $3.5 billion in new capital commitments for our GPE funds.
◦During 2020, GPE invested $11.1 billion across the segment despite a challenging investment environment, including $6.2 billion deployed in the fourth quarter of 2020. Investment activity included $8.4 billion in the Americas, $1.5 billion in Asia, and $1.1 billion in Europe.
◦Our GPE funds realized proceeds of $12.1 billion for our GPE carry fund investors in 2020, across a mix of trade-sales, public market block trades, recapitalizations, dividends, and the initial public offerings of seven of our portfolio companies.
◦We continued our efforts to build a diversified and deep Global Credit business that offers compelling solutions across the credit spectrum. We realigned our teams to a platform model where we can better scale our capabilities across funds and seek to optimize investment performance. We successfully transitioned leadership of our Liquid Credit business to the next generation of leaders.
◦We took advantage of market dislocations in 2020 and launched a successor credit opportunities fund as well as customized aviation products. We held two closings for our Credit Opportunities Fund II totaling $1.9 billion and raised an additional $2.5 billion in separately managed accounts. In our collateralized loan obligation (“CLO”) business, we closed $1.3 billion of new CLOs in the U.S. and $0.6 billion of new CLOs in Europe during 2020 with $27.9 billion of total AUM across all of our CLOs at December 31, 2020. In Carlyle Aviation Partners, we held a final closing on our latest aviation flagship finance fund with a total of $1.0 billion in commitments and launched and closed $0.3 billion on a new aviation finance fund investing in young aircraft. In total, we raised $10.1 billion in new capital commitments to our Global Credit products during 2020, and overall AUM increased to $55.9 billion.
◦While the pandemic adversely impacted our U.S. CLOs and resulted in deferral of subordinated management fees in the first half of the year, we fully recovered those fees by Q3 2020.
◦We executed approximately $2.0 billion of gross originations in our direct lending business in 2020.
◦During 2020, we we raised $13.9 billion in capital commitments, which included closing our seventh AlpInvest secondaries program at its hard cap of $9 billion, the commencement of fundraising on our new coinvestment program, over $0.9 billion in new client SMAs, and continued fundraising for Metropolitan Real Estate. We deployed $4.6 billion in investments across our Investment Solutions platform, and our the portfolio appreciated 10% during the year. Our exit activity in our Investment Solutions segment was strong this year, realizing proceeds of $7.1 billion for our Investment Solutions investors.
We operate our business across three segments: (1) GPE, (2) Global Credit and (3) Investment Solutions. Information about our segments should be read together with “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
Global Private Equity
Our GPE segment advises our buyout, growth, real estate, and natural resources funds. Our GPE teams have the following areas of focus:
Corporate Private Equity. Our corporate private equity teams advise a diverse group of 34 active funds that invest in transactions that focus either on a particular geography or strategy. Our buyout funds focus on corporate buyouts and strategic minority investments. The investment mandate for our growth capital funds is to seek out companies with the potential for disruptive growth and operational improvements. Our core strategy seeks longer duration private equity opportunities, targeting stable businesses with sustainable market leadership. These funds are advised by teams of local professionals who live and work in the markets where they invest. In 2020, we invested $7.5 billion in new and follow-on investments through our corporate private equity funds. As of December 31, 2020, our corporate private equity funds had, in the aggregate, $90.7 billion in AUM.
Real Estate. Our real estate team advises 10 active real estate funds that invest in the United States and Europe, with a focus on a broad range of opportunities including residential properties, senior living facilities, industrial properties, and self-storage properties, but have limited our exposure to office buildings, hotels and retail properties. Our real estate funds generally focus on acquiring single-property assets rather than large-cap companies with real estate portfolios and made more than 1,100 investments in more than 520 cities or metropolitan statistical areas around the world as of December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020, our real estate funds had, in the aggregate, $19.4 billion in AUM.
Natural Resources. Our 14 active natural resources funds focus on energy and infrastructure investing. Our infrastructure business is comprised of teams that invest in six primary sectors: renewables, energy infrastructure, water and waste, transportation, digital infrastructure, and power generation. Our energy activities focus on buyouts, growth capital investments and strategic joint ventures in the midstream, upstream, downstream, energy and oilfield services sectors around the world. Our international energy investment team focuses on investments across the energy value chain outside of North America. We conduct our North American energy investing through our partnership with NGP, a Texas-based energy investor. As of December 31, 2020, we managed $20.9 billion in AUM through our natural resources funds.
The following table presents certain data about our Global Private Equity segment as of December 31, 2020 (dollar amounts in billions).
|AUM (1)||% of Total|
Since Inception (3)
(1)Total AUM includes NGP, which advises eight funds with $10 billion in AUM as of December 31, 2020. Through our strategic partnership with NGP, we are entitled to 55% of the management fee-related revenue of the NGP entities that serve as advisors to the NGP Energy Funds, and an allocation of income related to the carried interest received by the fund general partners of the NGP Carry Funds.
(2)Total GPE investment professionals excludes NGP employees.
(3)Amount invested and number of investments in GPE since inception exclude the investment activity of the NGP Predecessor Funds.
(4)Active GPE funds includes the three NGP Predecessor Funds and five NGP Carry Funds advised by NGP.
Our Global Credit segment, which had $55.9 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2020, advises a group of 71 active funds that pursue investment strategies across the credit spectrum, including: liquid credit, illiquid credit, and real assets credit. Since our establishment in 1999, these various capital sources provide the opportunity for Carlyle to offer highly customizable and creative financing solutions to borrowers to meet their specific capital needs. Carlyle draws on the expertise and underwriting capabilities of our 170 investment professionals and leverages the resources and industry expertise of Carlyle’s global network to provide creative solutions for borrowers. In 2020, we hired several new senior investment professionals to continue to build Global Credit’s investment breadth and geographical presence.
Primary areas of focus for our Global Credit platform include:
•Loans and Structured Credit. Our structured credit funds invest primarily in performing senior secured bank loans through CLOs and other investment vehicles. In 2020, we closed three new U.S. CLOs and one CLO in Europe with a total of $1.3 billion and $0.6 billion, respectively, of AUM at December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020, our loans and structured credit team advised 53 structured credit funds and two other structured credit funds in the United States and Europe totaling, in the aggregate, $29.4 billion in AUM.
•Direct Lending. Our direct lending business includes our business development companies (“BDCs”) that invest primarily in middle market first-lien loans (which include unitranche, “first out” and “last out” loans) and second-lien loans of middle-market companies, typically defined as companies with annual EBITDA ranging from $25 million to $100 million, that lack access to the broadly syndicated loan and bond markets. In 2020, we expanded our direct lending capabilities by adding senior personnel to bolster our underwriting capabilities. As of December 31, 2020, our direct lending investment team advised two BDCs and five separately managed accounts totaling, in the aggregate, $5.0 billion in AUM.
•Opportunistic Credit. Our opportunistic credit team invests primarily in highly-structured and privately-negotiated capital solutions supporting corporate borrowers through secured loans, senior subordinated debt, mezzanine debt, convertible notes, and other debt-like instruments, as well as preferred and common equity. The team will also look to invest in special situations (i.e., event-driven opportunities that exhibit hybrid credit and equity features) as well as market dislocations (i.e., primary and secondary market investments in liquid debt instruments that arise as a result of temporary market volatility). As of December 31, 2020, our opportunistic credit team advised two funds and one separately managed account totaling, in the aggregate, $5.0 billion in AUM.
•Distressed Credit. Our distressed credit funds generally invest in liquid and illiquid securities and obligations, including secured debt, senior and subordinated unsecured debt, convertible debt obligations, preferred stock and public and private equity of financially distressed companies in defensive and asset-rich industries. In certain investments, our funds may seek to restructure pre-reorganization debt claims into controlling positions in the
equity of the reorganized companies. As of December 31, 2020, our distressed credit team advised three funds totaling, in the aggregate, $3.2 billion in AUM.
Real Assets Credit
•Aircraft Financing and Servicing. Carlyle Aviation Partners is our multi-strategy investment platform that is engaged in commercial aviation aircraft financing and investment throughout the commercial aviation industry. As of December 31, 2020, Carlyle Aviation Partners had approximately $6.1 billion in AUM across four active carry funds, in addition to securitization vehicles, liquid strategies, and other vehicles.
•Infrastructure Debt. Our Infrastructure debt team invests primarily in directly originated and privately negotiated debt instruments related to global infrastructure projects, primarily in the power, energy, transportation, water/waste, telecommunications and social infrastructure sectors. The team focuses primarily on senior, subordinated, and mezzanine debt and seeks to invest primarily in developed markets within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”). As of December 31, 2020, our infrastructure debt team managed $1.1 billion in AUM.
•Insurance Solutions. Carlyle Insurance Solutions (“CIS”) combines our deep insurance expertise with portfolio construction capabilities, capital sourcing and asset origination strengths to provide comprehensive liability funding and reinsurance, asset management and advisory solutions for (re)insurance companies and fund investors. The CIS team oversees the investment in Fortitude Holdings. As of December 31, 2020, AUM related to capital raised from third-party investors to acquire a controlling interest in Fortitude Holdings was $2.6 billion, and Fortitude and AIG have committed approximately $4.7 billion of capital to-date to various Carlyle strategies.
•Global Capital Markets. Carlyle Global Capital Markets (“GCM”) is a loan syndication and capital markets business that launched in 2018. The primary focus of Carlyle Global Capital Markets is to arrange, place, underwrite, originate and syndicate loans and underwrite securities of third parties and Carlyle portfolio companies through TCG Capital Markets and TCG Senior Funding. TCG Capital Markets is a FINRA registered broker dealer. GCM may also act as the initial purchaser of such loans and securities. GCM receives fees, including underwriting, placement, structuring, transaction and syndication fees, commissions, underwriting and original issue discounts, interest payments and other compensation, which may be payable in cash or securities or loans, in respect of the activities described above and may elect to waive such fees.
The following table presents certain data about our Global Credit segment as of December 31, 2020 (dollar amounts in billions).
|AUM||% of Total|
Our Investment Solutions segment, established in 2011, provides comprehensive investment opportunities and resources for our investors and clients to build private equity and real estate portfolios through fund of funds, secondary purchases of existing portfolios and managed co-investment programs. Investment Solutions executes these activities through AlpInvest, one of the world’s largest investors in private equity, and Metropolitan, one of the largest managers of indirect investments in global real estate.
The primary areas of focus for our Investment Solutions teams include:
•Private Equity Fund Investments. Our fund of funds vehicles advised by AlpInvest make investment commitments directly to buyout, growth capital, venture and other alternative asset funds advised by other general partners. As of December 31, 2020, AlpInvest advised 100 vehicles totaling, in the aggregate, $23.2 billion in AUM.
•Private Equity Co-investments. AlpInvest invests alongside other private equity and mezzanine funds in which it or certain AlpInvest limited partners typically has a primary fund investment throughout Europe, North America and Asia. These investments are generally made when an investment opportunity is too large for a particular fund
and the sponsor of the fund therefore seeks to raise additional “co-investment” capital from sources such as AlpInvest. As of December 31, 2020, our co-investment programs were conducted through 71 vehicles totaling, in the aggregate, $13.1 billion in AUM.
•Private Equity Secondary Investments. Funds managed by AlpInvest build an investment portfolio of private equity owned assets through the acquisition of limited partnership interests in the secondary market and other types of transactions such as fund recapitalizations, portfolio restructurings and spin-outs. Private equity investors who desire to sell or restructure their pre-existing investment commitments to a fund may negotiate to sell the fund interests to AlpInvest. In this manner, AlpInvest’s secondary investments team provides liquidity and restructuring alternatives for third-party private equity investors. As of December 31, 2020, our secondary investments program was conducted through 74 vehicles totaling, in the aggregate, $19.3 billion in AUM.
•Real Estate Funds of Funds and Co-Secondary Investments. The principal strategic focus in our real estate funds is on value add and opportunistic real estate investments through direct commitments to more than 100 highly-focused, specialist real estate managers across the globe. As of December 31, 2020, Carlyle advised 38 real estate vehicles with $2.4 billion in AUM.
The following table presents certain data about our Investment Solutions segment as of December 31, 2020 (dollar amounts in billions).
|AUM(1)||% of Total|
(1)Under our arrangements with the historical owners and management team of AlpInvest, we generally do not retain any carried interest in respect of the historical investments and commitments to our AlpInvest carry fund vehicles that existed as of July 1, 2011 (including any options to increase any such commitments exercised after such date). We are entitled to 15% or, in some cases, 40% of the carried interest in respect of commitments from the historical owners of AlpInvest for the period between 2011 and 2020 and 40% of the carried interest in respect of all other commitments (including all future commitments from third parties).
Global Private Equity
The investment approach of our GPE teams is generally characterized as follows:
•Consistent and Disciplined Investment Process. We believe our successful investment track record is the result, in part, of a consistent and disciplined application of our investment process. Investment opportunities for our GPE funds are initially sourced and evaluated by one or more of our deal teams. Deal teams consistently strive to be creative and look for deals in which we can leverage Carlyle’s competitive advantages, sector experience and the global platform. The due diligence and transaction review process places a special emphasis on, as appropriate and among other considerations, the reputation of a target company shareholders and management, the company or asset’s size and sensitivity of cash flow generation, the business sector and competitive risks, the portfolio fit, exit risks and other key factors specific to a particular investment. In evaluating each deal, we consider what expertise or experience (i.e., the “Carlyle Edge”) we can bring to the transaction to enhance value for our investors. Each investment opportunity must secure approval from the investment committee of the applicable investment fund to move forward. To help ensure consistency, we utilize a standard investment committee process across our GPE funds, although NGP follows its own policies and procedures with respect to its advised funds. The investment committee approval process involves a detailed review of the transaction and investment thesis, business, risk factors and diligence issues, as well as financial models.
•Distinctive Portfolio Construction Principles. We seek to proactively manage the construction of our portfolios through deliberate and thoughtful diversification across industries, geographies and cycles, and to avoid certain assets facing economic or industry headwinds. For example, our real estate portfolios have relatively little current exposure to commercial office properties, business hotels and retail properties.
•Geographic- and Industry-Focused. We have developed a global network of local investment teams and have adopted an industry-focused approach to investing. Our extensive network of global investment professionals has the knowledge, experience and relationships on a local level that allows them to identify and take advantage of
opportunities that may be unavailable to firms that do not have our global reach and resources. We believe that our global platform helps enhance all stages of the investment process, including by facilitating faster and more effective diligence, a deeper understanding of global industry trends and priority access to the capital markets. We have particular industry expertise in aerospace, defense and government services, consumer, media and retail, financial services, healthcare, industrial, telecom, technology and business services, transportation, real estate, natural resources and infrastructure. As a result, we believe that our in-depth knowledge of specific industries improves our ability to source and create transactions, conduct effective and more informed due diligence, develop strong relationships with management teams and use contacts and relationships within these industries to drive value creation.
•Variable Deal Sizes and Creative Structures. We believe that having the resources to complete investments of varying sizes provides us with the ability to enhance investment returns while providing for prudent industry, geographic and size diversification. Our teams are staffed not only to effectively pursue large transactions, but also other transactions of varying sizes. We often invest in smaller companies or single real estate transactions and this has allowed us to obtain greater diversity across our entire portfolio. Additionally, we may undertake large, strategic minority investments with certain control elements or private investment in public equity (PIPE) transactions in large companies with a clear exit strategy. In certain jurisdictions around the world, we may make investments with little or no debt financing and seek alternative structures to opportunistically pursue transactions. We generally seek to obtain board representation and typically appoint our investment professionals and advisors to represent us on the boards of the companies in which we invest. Where our funds, either alone or as part of a consortium, are not the controlling investor, we typically, subject to applicable regulatory requirements, acquire significant voting and other control rights with a view to securing influence over the conduct of the business.
•Driving Value Creation. Our GPE teams seek to make investments in portfolio companies and assets in which our particular strengths and resources may be employed to their best advantage. Typically, as part of a GPE investment, our investment teams will prepare and execute a systematic value creation plan that is developed during a thorough due diligence effort and draws on the deep resources available across our global platform, specifically relying on:
◦Reach: Our global team and global presence enables us to support international expansion of our operating companies’ efforts and global supply chain initiatives.
◦Expertise: Our deep bench of investment professionals and industry specialists provide extensive sector-specific knowledge and local market expertise. Our investment teams benefit from best-in-class support services and infrastructure provided through the global Carlyle organization. Carlyle’s overall infrastructure and support services cover the full range of administrative functions, including fund management, accounting, legal and compliance, human resources, information technology, tax, and external affairs. Additionally, where appropriate we may seek to partner with third parties whose sector or market expertise may enhance our value creation in an investment. For example, in our U.S. real estate funds we may partner with joint venture partners or managers with significant operational expertise and/or deal sourcing capabilities.
◦Insight: To supplement our investment expertise, we have retained a group of more than 50 operating executives and advisors as independent consultants to work with our investment teams, provide board-level governance and support and advise our portfolio companies. These operating executives and advisors are typically former CEOs and other high-level executives of some of the world’s most successful corporations and currently sit on the boards of directors of a diverse mix of companies. Operating executives and advisors are independent consultants and are not Carlyle employees. Operating executives and advisors are often engaged by Carlyle primarily to assist with deal sourcing, due diligence and market intelligence. Operating executives and advisors may also be engaged and compensated by our portfolio companies as directors or to otherwise advise portfolio company management.
◦Data: The goal of our research function is to extract as much information as possible from our portfolio about the current state of the economy and its likely evolution over the near-to-medium term. Our GPE investment portfolio includes 181 active corporate investments as of December 31, 2020, across a diverse range of industries and geographies that each generate multiple data points (e.g., orders, shipments, production volumes, occupancy rates, bookings). By evaluating this data on a systematic basis, we work to identify the data with the highest correlation with macroeconomic data and map observed movements in the portfolio to
anticipated variation in the economy, including changes in growth rates across industries and geographies. We incorporate this proprietary data into our investment portfolio management strategy and exit decisions on an ongoing basis. We believe this robust data gives us an advantage over our peers who do not have as large of a global reach.
◦Talent and Organization Performance: Focused on maximizing organizational and leadership effectiveness, our investment professionals work to enhance leadership and organizational effectiveness through proprietary and third-party data-driven assessments, best-practice playbooks, and knowledge-sharing forums.
◦Pursuing Best Exit Alternatives. In determining when to exit an investment, our investment teams consider whether a portfolio company or asset has achieved its objectives, the financial returns and the appropriate timing in industry cycles and company or asset development to strive for the optimal value. Each fund’s investment committee approves all exit decisions.
◦Coordinating Efforts. We have created a Global Investment Resources team that helps to translate our collaborative culture into services and capabilities supporting our investment process and portfolio companies and assets. Our approach ensures that Carlyle’s global network, deep industry knowledge and operational expertise are used to support and enhance our investments. This team made several strategic hires in 2020 to bolster support in Europe and Asia, and further deepen existing functional resources covering human capital management, procurement, IT, digital, revenue growth, ESG and government affairs.
▪Information Technology Resources: We have established an information technology capability that contributes to due diligence, portfolio company strategy and portfolio company operations. The capability includes dedicated information technology and business process resources, including assistance with portfolio company risk assessments and enhanced deal analytics.
▪Digital: Given the increasing importance of digital tools and resources across the global economy, we have established a dedicated group focused exclusively on identifying, developing and implementing digital transformation strategies to help drive growth, unlock value, and drive efficiencies across our portfolio companies.
▪Procurement: We have developed a leveraged purchasing effort to provide portfolio companies with effective sourcing programs with better pricing and service levels to help create operating value. This program seeks to drive down costs and provide better service on common indirect spend categories and disseminate best practices on managing functional spend in the areas of human capital management, employee benefits, corporate real estate, information technology and treasury and risk. As of December 31, 2020, nearly 80 portfolio companies are actively participating in the optional program, benefiting from more than 60 category arrangements and preferred vendor arrangements.
▪ESG. As part of Carlyle’s investment process, where appropriate, we evaluate ESG risks and seek opportunities to create value through sustainability initiatives. During our ownership period, we support our management teams’ efforts to develop strategic ESG programs and provide access to prescreened vendors, sustainability resources and individualized assistance from our Head of Impact and dedicated ESG team. Carlyle educates portfolio companies in which we have a controlling interest on our Guidelines for Responsible Investment and encourages them to review the Guidelines at the board level on an annual basis.
The investment approach of our Global Credit platform is generally characterized as follows:
•Source Investment Opportunities. Our Global Credit team sources investment opportunities from both the primary and secondary markets through our global network and strong relationships with the financial community. We typically target portfolio companies that have a demonstrated track record of profitability, market leadership in their respective niche, predictable cash flow, a definable competitive advantage and products or services that are value-added to their customer base.
•Conduct Fundamental Due Diligence and Perform Capital Structure Analyses. After an opportunity is identified, our Global Credit investment professionals conduct fundamental due diligence to determine the relative value of
the potential investment and capital structure analyses to determine credit worthiness. Our due diligence approach typically incorporates meetings with management, company facility visits, discussions with industry analysts and consultants and an in-depth examination of financial results and projections. In conducting due diligence, our Global Credit team employs an integrated, cross platform approach with industry-dedicated credit research analysts and non-investment grade expertise across the capital structure. Our Global Credit team also seeks to leverage resources from across the firm, utilizing information obtained from our more than 275 active portfolio companies and lending relationships, 20 credit industry research analysts, and in-house government affairs and economic research teams.
•Evaluation of Macroeconomic Factors. Our Global Credit team evaluates technical factors such as supply and demand, the market’s expectations surrounding a company and the existence of short- and long-term value creation or destruction catalysts. Inherent in all stages of credit evaluation is a determination of the likelihood of potential catalysts emerging, such as corporate reorganizations, recapitalizations, asset sales, changes in a company’s liquidity and mergers and acquisitions.
•Risk Minimization. Our Global Credit team seeks to make investments in companies that are well-positioned to weather downturns and/or below-plan performance. The team works to structure investments with strong financial covenants, frequent reporting requirements and board representation, if possible. Through board representation or observation rights, our Global Credit team works to provide a consultative, interactive approach to equity sponsors and management partners as part of the overall portfolio management process.
Our Investment Solutions team aims to apply a wide array of capabilities to help clients meet their investment objectives. The investment approach of our Investment Solutions platform is generally characterized as follows:
•Well-informed, Disciplined Investment Process: We follow a disciplined, highly-selective investment process and seek to achieve diversification by deploying capital across economic cycles, segments and investment styles. Our integrated and collaborative culture across our strategies, reinforced by investment in information technology solutions, provides deep insight into fund manager portfolios and operations to support our rigorous selection process.
•Proactive Sourcing: AlpInvest Partners’ and Metropolitan Real Estate’s extensive network of private equity and real estate managers across the globe positions us to identify investment opportunities that may be unavailable to other investors. Our investment strategy is defined by a strong belief that the most attractive opportunities are found in areas that are subject to fewer competitive pressures. As a result, our teams actively seek out proprietary investments that would otherwise be difficult for our investors to access alone.
•Global Scale and Presence: Our scale and on-the-ground presence across three continents - Asia, Europe and North America - give us a distinct and comprehensive perspective on the private equity and real estate markets. Our stable, dedicated, and experienced teams have deep knowledge of their respective markets across the globe. We believe this enhances our visibility across the global investment market and provides detailed local information that enhances our investment evaluation process.
Our Family of Funds
The following chart presents the name (acronym), total capital commitments (in the case of our carry funds, structured credit funds, and the NGP Predecessor Funds), assets under management (open-end products and non-carry Aviation vehicles), gross assets (in the case of our BDCs) and vintage year of the active funds in each of our segments, as of December 31, 2020. We present total capital commitments (as opposed to assets under management) for our closed-end investment funds because we believe this metric provides the most useful information regarding the relative size and scale of such funds. In the case of our products which are open-ended and accordingly do not have permanent committed capital, we generally believe the most useful metric regarding relative size and scale is assets under management.
Global Private Equity1
|Corporate Private Equity||Real Estate Carry Funds||Liquid Credit|
|Carlyle Partners (U.S.)||Carlyle Realty Partners (U.S.)||Cash CLO’s|
|CP VII||$18.5 bn||2018||CRP VIII||$5.5 bn||2017||U.S.||$20.0 bn||2012-2020|
|CP VI||$13.0 bn||2014||CRP VII||$4.2 bn||2014||Europe||€7.3 bn||2013-2020|
|CP V||$13.7 bn||2007||CRP VI||$2.3 bn||2011||Structured Credit Funds|
|Global Financial Services Partners||CRP V||$3.0 bn||2006||CREV||$0.5 bn||2020|
|CGFSP III||$1.0 bn||2018||CRP IV||$1.0 bn||2005||CSC||$0.8 bn||2017|
|CGFSP II||$1.0 bn||2013||Core Plus Real Estate (U.S.)||Illiquid Credit|
|Carlyle Europe Partners|
Business Development Companies3
|CEP V||€6.4 bn||2018||International Real Estate||TCG BDC II, Inc.||$1.9 bn||2017|
|CEP IV||€3.7 bn||2014||CER||€0.5 bn||2017||TCG BDC, Inc.||$1.9 bn||2013|
|CEP III||€5.3 bn||2007||CEREP III||€2.2 bn||2007||Opportunistic Credit Carry Funds|
|CEP II||€1.8 bn||2003||Natural Resources Funds||CCOF II||$1.9 bn||2020|
|Carlyle Asia Partners||NGP Energy Carry Funds||CCOF||$2.4 bn||2017|
|CAP V||$6.6 bn||2018||NGP XII||$4.3 bn||2017||Distressed Credit Carry Funds|
|CBPF II||RMB 2.0 bn||2017||NGP XI||$5.3 bn||2014||CSP IV||$2.5 bn||2016|
|CAP IV||$3.9 bn||2014||NGP X||$3.6 bn||2012||CSP III||$0.7 bn||2011|
|CAP III||$2.6 bn||2008||Other NGP Carry Funds||CSP II||$1.4 bn||2007|
|Carlyle Japan Partners||NGP Minerals||$0.2 bn||2020||Real Assets Credit|
|CJP IV||¥258.0 bn||2020||NGP GAP||$0.4 bn||2014||Energy Credit Carry Funds|
|CJP III||¥119.5 bn||2013||NGP Predecessor Funds||CEMOF II||$2.8 bn||2015|
|CJP II||¥165.6 bn||2006|
|$5.7 bn||2007-2008||CEMOF I||$1.4 bn||2011|
|Carlyle Global Partners||International Energy Carry Funds||Carlyle Aviation Partners|
|CGP II||$1.8 bn||2020||CIEP II||$2.3 bn||2019||SASOF V||$1.0 bn||2020|
|CGP I||$3.6 bn||2015||CIEP I||$2.5 bn||2013||SASOF IV||$1.0 bn||2018|
|Carlyle MENA Partners||Infrastructure Funds||SASOF III||$0.8 bn||2015|
|MENA I||$0.5 bn||2008||CRSEF||$0.4 bn||2019||SASOF II||$0.6 bn||2012|
|Carlyle South American Buyout Fund||CGIOF||$2.2 bn||2019|
|CSABF I||$0.8 bn||2009||CPP II||$1.5 bn||2014|
9 Other Vehicles4
|Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund||CPOCP||$0.5 bn||2013||Other Credit|
|CSSAF I||$0.7 bn||2012|
|Carlyle Peru Fund|
|CPF I||$0.3 bn||2012||Investment Solutions|
|Carlyle U.S. Venture/Growth Partners||AlpInvest|
|CEOF II||$2.4 bn||2015||Fund of Private Equity Funds|
|CEOF I||$1.1 bn||2011||100 vehicles||€45.1 bn||2000-2020|
|CVP II||$0.6 bn||2001||Secondary Investments|
|Carlyle Europe Technology Partners||74 vehicles||€24.5 bn||2002-2020|
|CETP IV||€1.4 bn||2019||Co-Investments|
|CETP III||€0.7 bn||2014||71 vehicles||€15.8 bn||2002-2020|
|Carlyle Asia Venture/Growth Partners||Metropolitan Real Estate|
|CAP Growth I||$0.3 bn||2017||38 vehicles||$5.0 bn||2002-2020|
|CAGP IV||$1.0 bn||2008|
|Carlyle Cardinal Ireland|
Note: All amounts shown represent total capital commitments as of December 31, 2020, unless otherwise noted. Certain of our recent vintage funds are currently in fundraising and total capital commitments are subject to change. In addition, certain carry funds included herein may be disclosed which are not included in fund performance if they have not made an initial capital call or commenced investment activity. The NGP funds are advised by NGP Energy Capital Management, LLC, a separately registered investment adviser, and we do not serve as an investment adviser to those funds.
(1)Global Private Equity also includes funds which we jointly advise with Riverstone Holdings L.L.C. (the “Legacy Energy funds”). The impact of these funds is no longer significant to our results of operations.
(2)Includes NGP M&R, NGP ETP II, and NGP IX, on which we are not entitled to a share of carried interest.
(3)Amounts represent gross assets plus any available capital as of December 31, 2020.
(4)Amounts represent Total AUM as of December 31, 2020.
(5)Reflects AUM related to capital raised from third-party investors to acquire a 76.6% interest in Fortitude Holdings.
On January 1, 2020, we completed our conversion from a Delaware limited partnership named The Carlyle Group L.P. into a Delaware corporation named The Carlyle Group Inc. See “Item 7A. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Conversion to a Corporation” for additional information.
In the Conversion, the former holders of common units of the Partnership and limited partners of the Carlyle Holdings partnerships became holders of common stock of the Corporation. The holders of common stock are entitled to vote on all matters on which stockholders of a corporation are generally entitled to vote on under Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”), including the election of the board of directors of the Corporation. Holders of common stock are entitled to one vote per share of common stock.
Since January 1, 2020, our business and affairs are overseen by a board of directors of the Corporation, rather than by the board of directors of Carlyle Group Management L.L.C., formerly the general partner of the Partnership. The directors and executive officers of the Corporation immediately after the Conversion are the same individuals who were directors and executive officers, respectively, of Carlyle Group Management L.L.C. immediately prior to the Conversion.
In connection with the Conversion, senior Carlyle professionals and certain of the other former limited partners of Carlyle Holdings who became holders of shares of common stock in connection with the Conversion were generally required to grant an irrevocable proxy to Carlyle Group Management L.L.C., which is wholly owned by our founders and other senior Carlyle professionals. As a result, we are a “controlled company” and qualify for exceptions from certain corporate governance and other requirements of the rules of the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”). See “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Common Stock—Carlyle Group Management L.L.C. controls us and its interests may conflict with ours or yours in the future” and “—We are a “controlled company” and as a result rely on and intend to continue to rely on, exceptions from certain corporate governance requirements under the rules of Nasdaq.”
Our diverse and sophisticated investor base includes more than 2,650 active investors in our carry funds located in 95 countries. Included among our many longstanding fund investors are pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies and high net worth individuals in the United States, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.
We strive to cultivate long-term, strategic partnerships with our limited partners. We continuously seek to expand our partnerships by sharing our insights and perspectives on the market and investment environment, as well as discussing how we can help the investor achieve their objectives. We are in constant dialogue with our investors and during 2020, we have used technology to enhance our fund transparency and communication around insights and facilitate consistent dialogue with our firm in a remote environment. This partnership approach to fundraising has been critical in raising $27.5 billion in 2020.
We have a dedicated in-house investor relations group. Our team combines strong segment sales with firm-level strategy and coordination to bring the best of Carlyle to our limited partners. Each segment team consists of a combination of geographically-focused professionals and product specialists who work closely together to deliver against investor needs and is supported by central staff responsible for data analytics and additional fulfillment responsibilities.
Our LP relations professionals are in constant dialogue with our fund investors, which enables us to monitor investor preferences and tailor future fund offerings to meet investor demand. We strive to secure a first-mover advantage with key investors, often by establishing a local presence and providing a broad and diverse range of investment opportunities.
As of December 31, 2020, approximately 94% of commitments to our active carry funds (by dollar amount) were from investors who are committed to more than one active carry fund and approximately 75% of commitments to our active carry funds (by dollar amount) were from investors who are committed to more than five active carry funds. We believe the loyalty of our carry fund investor base, as evidenced by our substantial number of multi-fund relationships, enhances our ability to raise new funds and successor funds in existing strategies.
We have a team of over 550 investor services professionals worldwide. The investor services group performs a range of functions to support our investment teams, LP relations group and the corporate infrastructure of Carlyle. Our investor services professionals provide an important control function, ensuring that transactions are structured pursuant to the partnership agreements, assisting in global regulatory compliance requirements and investor reporting to enable investors to easily monitor the performance of their investments. We have devoted substantial resources to creating comprehensive and
timely investor reports, which are increasingly important to our investor base. The investor services group also works closely with the investment teams’ throughout each fund’s lifecycle, from fund formation and investments to portfolio monitoring and fund liquidation. We maintain an internal global legal and compliance team, which includes 31 professionals and a government relations group of five professionals with a presence around the globe as of December 31, 2020.
Structure and Operation of Our Investment Funds
We conduct the sponsorship and management of our carry funds and other investment vehicles primarily through limited partnerships, which are organized by us, to accept commitments and/or funds for investment from institutional investors and high net worth individuals. In general, each investment fund that is a limited partnership, or “partnership” fund, has a general partner that is responsible for the management and operation of the fund’s affairs and makes all policy and investment decisions relating to the conduct of the investment fund’s business. Generally, the limited partners of such funds take no part in the conduct or control of the business of such funds, have no right or authority to act for or bind such funds and have no influence over the voting or disposition of the securities or other assets held by such funds, although such limited partners may vote on certain partnership matters including the removal of the general partner or early liquidation of the partnership by majority vote, as discussed below. Most of our funds also have an investor advisory committee, comprising representatives of certain limited partners, which may consider and/or waive conflicts of interest or otherwise consult with the general partner on certain partnership matters. In the case of certain separately managed accounts advised by us, the investor, rather than us, may control the asset or the investment decisions related thereto or certain investment vehicles or entities that hold or have custody of such assets.
Each investment fund and in the case of our separately managed accounts, the client, engages an investment adviser. Carlyle Investment Management L.L.C. (“CIM”) or one of its subsidiaries or affiliates serves as an investment adviser for most of our carry funds and is registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”). Carlyle Global Credit Investment Management L.L.C. (“CGCIM”) is an affiliate of CIM and serves as investment adviser for most of our Global Credit carry funds, as well as our BDCs and Interval Fund and is registered under the Advisers Act. The business of Carlyle Aviation Partners includes investment funds organized to invest in certain aviation-related securities and physical assets (including aircraft, engines and components), and certain of the advisers and general partners of such funds are currently not registered under the Advisers Act or otherwise operated in reliance on another entity’s registration under the Advisers Act. Our investment advisers are generally entitled to a management fee from each investment fund for which they serve as investment advisers. For a discussion of the management fees to which our investment advisers are entitled across our various types of investment funds, see “—Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure” below.
Investment funds themselves typically do not register as investment companies under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act” or the “Investment Company Act”), in reliance on Section 3(c) or Section 7(d) thereof. Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act exempts from the 1940 Act’s registration requirements investment funds whose securities are owned exclusively by persons in the United States who, at the time of acquisition of such securities, are “qualified purchasers” as defined under the 1940 Act and purchase their interests in a private placement. Section 3(c)(1) of the 1940 Act exempts from the 1940 Act’s registration requirements privately placed investment funds whose securities are beneficially owned by not more than 100 persons and purchase their interests in a private placement. In addition, under certain current interpretations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Section 7(d) of the 1940 Act exempts from registration any non-U.S. investment fund all of whose outstanding securities are beneficially owned either by non-U.S. residents or by U.S. residents that are qualified purchasers and purchase their interests in a private placement. Certain of our investment funds, however, rely on other exemptions from the 1940 Act or register as investment companies under the 1940 Act or elect to be regulated as BDCs under the 1940 Act.
The governing agreements of the vast majority of our investment funds provide that, subject to certain conditions, a majority in interest (based on capital commitments) of third-party investors in those funds have the right to remove the general partner of the fund for cause and/or to accelerate the liquidation date of the investment fund without cause. In addition, the governing agreements of many of our investment funds generally require investors in those funds to affirmatively vote to continue the commitment period in the event that certain “key persons” in our investment funds do not provide the specified time commitment to the fund or our firm ceases to control the general partner (or similar managing entity) or the investment adviser or ceases to hold a specified percentage of the economic interests in the general partner (any such events, a “Key Person Event”).
With limited exceptions, our carry funds, BDCs, Carlyle Tactical Private Credit interval fund (the “Interval Fund”), NGP Predecessor Funds, and certain other investment vehicles, are closed-end funds. In a closed-end fund structure, once an investor makes an investment, the investor is generally not able to withdraw or redeem its interest, except in very limited circumstances. Furthermore, the governing agreement of each investment vehicle contains restrictions on an investor’s ability to
transfer its interest in the fund. In the open-end funds we advise, investors’ interests are usually locked up for a period of time after which investors may generally redeem their interests on a quarterly basis, to the extent that sufficient cash is available.
With respect to our Global Private Equity and Global Credit carry funds, investors generally agree to fund their commitment over a period of time. For such carry funds, the commitment period generally runs until the earliest of (i) the sixth anniversary of either the effective date (the date we start charging management fees for the fund), or the initial closing date, (ii) the fifth anniversary of the final closing date of the fund; (iii) the date the general partner cancels the investors’ obligation to fund capital contributions due to changes in applicable laws, business conditions or when at least a significant portion (which may range between 75% and 90%) of the capital commitments to the fund have been invested, committed or reserved for investments; (iv) the date a supermajority in interest (based on capital commitments) of investors vote to terminate the commitment period; or (v) the occurrence of a Key Person Event, unless upon any of these events the investors vote to continue the commitment period. Following the termination of the commitment period, an investor generally will be released from any further obligation with respect to its undrawn capital commitment except to the extent necessary to pay partnership expenses and management fees, fund outstanding borrowings and guarantees, complete investments with respect to transactions committed to prior to the end of the commitment period and make follow-on investments in existing investments (collectively, the “post-termination obligations”). Generally, an investor’s obligation to fund follow-on investments extends for a period of three years following the end of the commitment period, although certain funds do not have a time limit and there may be limitations on how much the fund is permitted to fund for such follow-on investments. In those funds where such limitations exist, they generally range from 15-20% of the fund’s aggregate capital commitment.
For the latest generation of our closed-end real estate funds, the length of the commitment period varies from fund to fund, typically running for a period of between two and five years from the final closing date, provided that the general partner may unilaterally extend such expiration date for one year and may extend it for another year with the consent of a majority of the limited partners or the investment advisory committee for that fund. Investors in the latest generation of our closed-end real estate funds are also obligated to continue to make capital contributions with respect to follow-on investments and to repay indebtedness for a period of time after the original expiration date of the commitment period, as well as to fund partnership expenses and management fees during the life of the fund.
The term of each of the Global Private Equity and Global Credit carry funds generally will end 10 years from the initial closing date, or in some cases, from the final closing date, but such termination date may be earlier in certain limited circumstances (e.g., six years, in the case of certain Carlyle Aviation Partners funds) or later if extended by the general partner (in many instances with the consent of a majority in interest (based on capital commitments) of the investors or the investment advisory committee) for successive one-year periods, typically up to a maximum of two years. Certain of such investment funds may have a longer initial termination date (such funds, “longer-dated funds”), such as 15 years from the final closing date, or may be open-ended.
With respect to our Investment Solutions vehicles and separately managed accounts, the commitment period generally runs for a period of one to five years after the initial closing date of the vehicle. The term of each of the funds generally will end 8 to 12 years from the initial closing date. In some cases, the termination date may be later if extended by the general partner (in many instances with the consent of a majority in interest (based on capital commitments) of the investors or the investment advisory committee) for successive up to two-year periods, potentially up to a maximum of four years or until such time as is reasonably necessary for the general partner to be able to liquidate the fund’s assets.
Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure
Fund Management Fees. We provide management services to funds in which we hold a general partner interest or with which we have an investment advisory agreement. For closed-end carry funds in the Global Private Equity and Global Credit segments, management fees generally range from 1.0% to 2.0% of commitments during the fund’s commitment period based on limited partners’ capital commitments to the funds. Following the expiration or termination of the commitment period, management fees generally are based on the lower of cost or fair value of invested capital and the rate charged may also be reduced to between 0.6% and 2.0%. For certain separately managed accounts, open-end funds and longer-dated carry funds, management fees generally range from 0.2% to 1.0% based on contributions for unrealized investments, the current value of the investment, or adjusted book value. The investment adviser will receive management fees during a specified period of time, which is generally ten years from the initial closing date, or, in some instances, from the final closing date, but such termination date may be earlier in certain limited circumstances or later if extended for successive one year periods, typically up to a maximum of two years. Depending on the contracted terms of the investment advisory agreement and related agreements, these fees are generally called semi-annually in advance. For certain open-end and longer-dated carry funds, management fees are called quarterly in arrears over the life of the funds.
Within the Global Credit segment, for CLOs and other structured products, management fees generally range from 0.4% to 0.5% based on the total par amount of assets or the aggregate principal amount of the notes in the CLO and are due quarterly. Management fees for the CLOs and other structured products are governed by indentures and collateral management agreements. The investment advisers will receive management fees for the CLOs until redemption of the securities issued by the CLOs, which is generally five to ten years after issuance. Management fees for the BDCs are due quarterly in arrears at annual rates that range from 1.25% of invested capital to 1.5% of gross assets, excluding cash and cash equivalents. Management fees for the Interval Fund are due monthly in arrears at the annual rate of 1.0% of the month-end value of the Interval Fund’s net assets. Carlyle Aviation Partners’ funds have varying management fee arrangements depending on the strategy of the particular fund. The mid-life to end-of-life commercial aircraft strategy generally has a 2.0% management fee on committed capital. The new or relatively new commercial aircraft strategy generally has a management fee of 0.5% of the gross asset purchase price of assets and 2.0% of the rents paid by asset lessees. The aircraft pre-delivery payment lending strategy generally has a management fee of 0.25% of invested capital and 50% of the upfront fee based on the amount of each loan.
The investment advisers of our Investment Solutions private equity and real estate carry fund vehicles generally receive an annual management fee that ranges from 0.25% to 1.0% of the vehicle’s capital commitments or its committed capital to investments during the commitment fee period of the relevant fund or the weighted-average commitment period of the underlying funds. Following the expiration of the commitment fee period or weighted-average investment period of such funds, the management fees generally range from 0.25% to 1.0% on (i) net invested capital; (ii) the lower of cost or fair value of the capital invested, (iii) the net asset value for unrealized investments or (iv) the contributions for unrealized investments; however certain separately managed accounts pay management fees at all times on contributions for unrealized investments or on the initial commitment amount. The management fees we receive from our Investment Solutions carry fund vehicles typically are payable quarterly in advance.
Our equity interest in NGP entitles us to an allocation of income equal to 55% of the management fee-related revenues of the NGP entities that serve as advisors to the NGP Energy Funds.
The general partners or investment advisers to certain of our Global Private Equity and Global Credit carry funds from time to time receive customary transaction fees upon consummation of many of our funds’ acquisition transactions, receive monitoring fees from many of their portfolio companies following acquisition and may from time to time receive other fees in connection with their activities. The ongoing monitoring fees that they receive are generally calculated either as a fixed amount or as a percentage of a specified financial metric of a particular portfolio company. The transaction fees which they receive are generally calculated either as a fixed amount or as a percentage (that generally ranges up to 1%, but may exceed 1% in certain circumstances) of the total enterprise value or capitalization of the investment. The management fees charged to investors in our carry funds are generally reduced by 80% to 100% of such transaction fees, monitoring fees, and certain other fees that are received by the general partners and their affiliates.
In addition, Carlyle Aviation Partners may receive servicing fees in connection with asset-backed financing transactions for certain Carlyle Aviation Partners funds, generally in the range of 2% of rents, incentive fees up to 5% of rents in the aggregate, and 3% of sales proceeds earned from such assets. To the extent the financing instruments are held by the funds, these fees are generally offset against management fees or partnership expenses of the funds.
Performance Allocations. The general partner of each of our carry funds also receives carried interest from the carry funds. Carried interest entitles the general partner to a special residual allocation of profit on third-party capital. In the case of our closed-end carry funds, carried interest is generally calculated on a “realized gain” basis, and each general partner is generally entitled to a carried interest equal to 20% allocation (or 10% to 20% on certain open-end and longer-dated carry funds, certain credit funds and external co-investment vehicles, or approximately 2% to 12% in the case of most of our more mature Investment Solutions carry funds) of the net realized profit (generally taking into account unrealized losses) generated by third-party capital invested in such fund. Net realized profit or loss is not netted between or among funds. Our senior Carlyle professionals and other personnel who work in these operations also own interests in the general partners of our carry funds and we generally allocate 45% of any carried interest that we earn to these individuals in order to better align their interests with our own and with those of the investors in the funds. Of the carried interest that we retain, we utilize a portion for our new carried interest pool program that commenced in 2019 for certain of our employees who do not receive direct allocations of carried interest to further align their interests with those of our investors. For most carry funds, the carried interest is subject to an annual preferred return of 6% to 9% (or 4% to 7% for certain longer-dated carry funds) and return of certain fund costs (generally subject to catch-up provisions as set forth in the fund limited partnership agreement). If, as a result of diminished performance of later investments in the life of a closed-end fund, the fund does not achieve investment returns that (in most cases) exceed the preferred return threshold or (in almost all cases) the general partner receives in excess of the allocated carried interest, we will be obligated to repay the amount by which the carried interest that was previously distributed to us
exceeds amounts to which we are ultimately entitled. This obligation, which is known as a “giveback” obligation, operates with respect to a given carry fund’s own net investment performance only and is typically capped at the after-tax amount of carried interest received by the general partner. Each recipient of carried interest distributions is individually responsible for his or her proportionate share of any “giveback” obligation, and we have historically withheld a portion of the cash from carried interest distributions to individuals as security for potential “giveback” obligations. However, we may guarantee the full amount of such “giveback” obligation in respect of amounts received by Carlyle and certain other amounts. With respect to the portion of any carried interest allocated to the firm, we expect to fund any “giveback” obligation from available cash. Our ability to generate carried interest is an important element of our business and carried interest has historically accounted for a significant portion of our income.
The receipt of carried interest in respect of investments of our carry funds is dictated by the terms of the partnership agreements that govern such funds, which generally allow for carried interest distributions in respect of an investment upon a realization event after satisfaction of obligations relating to the return of capital from all realized investments, any realized losses, allocable fees and expenses and the applicable annual preferred return. Carried interest is ultimately realized and distributed when: (i) an underlying investment is profitably disposed of, (ii) certain costs borne by the investors have been reimbursed, (iii) the investment fund’s cumulative returns are in excess of the preferred return and (iv) we have decided to collect carry rather than return additional capital to investors. Distributions to eligible senior Carlyle professionals in respect of such carried interest are generally made shortly thereafter. Our decision to realize carry considers such factors as the level of embedded valuation gains, the portion of the fund invested, the portion of the fund returned to investors and the length of time the fund has been in carry, as well as other qualitative measures. Our Investment Solutions funds are not eligible for carried interest distributions until all capital contributions for investments and expenses and the preferred return hurdle have been returned. Although Carlyle has seldom been obligated to pay a giveback obligation, such obligation, if any, in respect of previously realized carried interest, is generally determined and due upon the winding up or liquidation of a carry fund pursuant to the terms of the fund’s partnership agreement, although in certain cases the giveback is calculated at prior intervals.
With respect to our separately managed accounts, BDCs and the Interval Fund, carried interest is generally referred to as an “Incentive Fee.” Incentive Fees consist of performance-based incentive arrangements pursuant to management contracts when the return on assets under management exceeds certain benchmark returns or other performance targets. Incentive Fees are recognized when the performance benchmark has been achieved.
Under our arrangements with the historical owners of Carlyle Aviation Partners, we are entitled to 100% of the management fee-related revenues and advisory fee-related revenues of Carlyle Aviation Partners that serve as advisers or service providers of the Carlyle Aviation Partners funds and portfolios of investments. In addition, we will receive 55% of the carried interest from funds managed or advised by Carlyle Aviation Partners, with the remaining 45% being allocated to the prior owners of Carlyle Aviation Partners and certain employees.
With respect to our arrangements with NGP, we are entitled to an allocation of income equal to 47.5% of the carried interest received by NGP XI and future NGP funds. In addition, we hold an interest in the general partner of the NGP X fund, which entitles us to an allocation of income equal to 40% of the carried interest received by NGP X’s general partner.
Under our arrangements with the historical owners and management team of AlpInvest, we generally do not retain any carried interest in respect of the historical investments and commitments to our fund of funds vehicles that existed as of July 1, 2011 (including any options to increase any such commitments exercised after such date). We are entitled to 15%, or in some cases 40%, of the carried interest in respect of commitments from the historical owners of AlpInvest for the period between 2011 and 2020 and 40% of the carried interest in respect of all other commitments (including all future commitments from third parties).
Under our arrangements with the historical owners and management team of Metropolitan, the management team and employees are allocated all carried interest in respect of the historical investments and commitments to the fund vehicles that have had a final closing on or prior to July 31, 2013, and 45% of the carried interest in respect of all other commitments.
As noted above, in connection with raising new funds or securing additional investments in existing funds, we negotiate terms for such funds and investments with existing and potential investors. The outcome of such negotiations could result in our agreement to terms that are materially less favorable to us than for prior funds we have advised or funds advised by our competitors. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business Operations — Our investors in future funds may negotiate to pay us lower management fees and the economic terms of our future funds may be less favorable to us than those of our existing funds, which could adversely affect our revenues.”
Capital Invested in and Alongside Our Investment Funds
To further align our interests with those of investors in our investment funds, we have invested our own capital and that of our senior Carlyle professionals in and alongside the investment funds we sponsor and advise. Carlyle generally expects to commit to fund approximately 0.75% of the capital commitments to our future Global Private Equity and Global Credit carry funds. We also intend to make investments in our Investment Solutions carry funds, our open-end funds, our BDCs and other 1940 Act regulated vehicles and our CLO vehicles. In addition, certain qualified Carlyle professionals and other qualified individuals (including certain individuals who may not be employees of the firm but who have pre-existing business relationships with Carlyle or industry expertise in the sector in which a particular investment fund may be investing) are permitted, subject to certain restrictions, to invest alongside the investment funds we sponsor and advise. Fees assessed or profit allocations on such investments by such persons may be eliminated or substantially reduced.
Minimum general partner capital commitments to our investment funds are determined separately with respect to each investment fund. We may, from time to time, exercise our right to purchase additional interests in our investment funds that become available in the ordinary course of their operations. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations— Liquidity and Capital Resources” for more information regarding our minimum general partner capital commitments to our funds. Our general partner capital commitments are funded with cash and not with carried interest or through a management fee waiver program.
We believe that one of the strengths and principal reasons for our success is the quality and dedication of our people. As of December 31, 2020, we employed more than 1,825 individuals, including 678 investment professionals, located in 29 offices across five continents.
One Carlyle Culture and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Uniting our employees around the globe is our One Carlyle culture, which is built on promoting collaboration; diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) as a decision-making framework; and alignment of our core values and business objectives. We are committed to growing and cultivating an environment that fosters DEI and values the diverse perspectives, backgrounds, experiences and geographies of our employees and other stakeholders. A focus on DEI efforts is embedded into the highest levels of our firm and is guided by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, comprised of members of our executive team, as well as key senior leaders across the globe. We strive to create a workplace culture that enhances our ability to recruit, develop and retain diverse talent. During 2020, to continue to facilitate the career development of all of our employees, we made inclusive leadership a core leadership competency and augmented the role of the DEI Council in reviewing the promotion process for our senior personnel. To continue to enhance inclusive decision-making, we launched “Better Decisions,” a high impact initiative that provides education, practical tools and guidance to build awareness of unconscious bias and to mitigate its negative effects. Over 80% of our employees have participated in in-person or virtual sessions of this program. In addition to these initiatives, we encourage our employees to engage with and support one another through our global Employee Resource Groups, which include DiverseAbility, LGBTQ+, Multicultural, Veterans, Women, Working Parents and Young Professionals groups, that were formed to cultivate and retain a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce.
We continuously evaluate, modify, and enhance our internal processes and technologies to increase employee engagement, productivity and efficiency. Recognizing that feedback is a critical component to driving employee career growth and development, as well as overall engagement, during 2020, we hired a new Global Head of Talent Management and implemented a robust feedback training and communication campaign. We introduced a system to deliver real-time feedback, as well as more frequent formal performance conversations and launched a new more streamlined performance management system. In order to measure employee engagement, we conducted an annual engagement survey as well as other pulse surveys throughout the year. We are also continuing to expand our employee training programs, including those focused on enhancing
management and leadership capability at all levels of the firm. We also continue to support a global mentoring program in which 376 of our employees participated as mentors or mentees in 2020.
Compensation and Benefits
We believe that equitable compensation and incentive programs are critical to hiring and retaining highly qualified people. We seek to provide a pay and benefits package that is competitive within the local marketplace for our industry to reward and retain our employees and attract and retain new talent. Compensation comprises a base salary for salaried employees and compensation per hour for hourly employees in connection with satisfying the daily expectations of their roles. Our annual discretionary performance-based cash bonus program is a significant component of our compensation program and rewards employees based on firm, segment, investment fund, department and individual performance to directly align our employees with our financial performance and strategic goals. To further align the interests of our employees with our shareholders and to cultivate a strong sense of ownership and commitment to our firm, certain employees also are eligible to receive awards of restricted stock units or participate in our other long-term incentive programs. The success of our business is fundamentally connected to the well-being of our people. We are committed to their health, safety and wellness and seek to provide benefits that are locally relevant for our global employees. Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, during 2020, we offered enhanced support to our employees by partnering with external wellness providers to host dedicated sessions on mental and physical well-being.
ESG and Impact
We are committed to the principle that building a better business means investing responsibly and engaging in communities where we work and invest. As a responsible global organization dedicated to serving all of its stakeholders, Carlyle has made it a priority to invest in a framework and the necessary resources for understanding, monitoring and managing ESG risks and opportunities across its portfolio. In 2008, Carlyle developed a set of Guidelines for Responsible Investment that consider the environmental, social and governance implications of certain investments we make. These guidelines are still in use today to inform our investment decision-making process for our controlled, corporate investments.
Over the years, we have sought to continuously strengthen our governance, resourcing, reporting and transparency on material ESG issues. In 2010, we became the first private equity firm to publish an ESG report. In 2013, Carlyle established our DEI Council, which we believe was the first of its kind in our industry. In early 2014, Carlyle hired its first dedicated ESG professional, adding our first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer in 2018 and Global Head of Impact in 2019. In 2020, we further tightened our policies and practices around evaluating new investments for ESG implications, establishing a senior ESG review committee to evaluate more complex ESG issues, in order to help guide our investment analysis. In 2020, we published our inaugural Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Report, underscoring our evolving approach to climate change and published our first corporate ESG disclosures, utilizing Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, which provide an internationally recognized framework to communicate our material ESG issues as a firm to our stakeholders.
The Carlyle Group’s Board of Directors oversees the firm’s approach to ESG and impact. The Board receives updates on our ESG and impact strategy and investment implications at least annually, and receives reports on thematic issues, such as Carlyle’s approach to climate risk and opportunity and diversity and inclusion. One of the members of our Board of Directors serves as the ESG and Impact lead.
Carlyle has an internal dedicated ESG team with a breadth of experience to help identify critical material ESG issues in our investment processes, as well as a network of outside experts to enable our investment teams to go deeper on the most material factors and potential ESG growth opportunities for a given investment over our hold periods. Our ESG professionals are a part of our Global Investment Resources team. This team includes a Chief Performance Officer, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Procurement Officer, and Head of Government Affairs, as well as dedicated professionals working on healthcare and benefits, and real estate and energy usage, amongst other ESG areas of focus. ESG considerations play an increasing role in our investment processes and the operations of our portfolio companies. Our commitment to sustainability influences strategy, brings new ideas for operational efficiency and helps unlock value. Pursuing tailored ESG strategies that focus on material issues for individual businesses is one way Carlyle is driving impact at our portfolio companies.
We encourage our employees to get involved where they live, work and invest through our volunteer and wealth sharing programs. In 2020, 350 Carlyle employees gave over 680 philanthropic gifts which were matched by the firm. These gifts supported over 200 nonprofit organizations globally. We also initiated a significant philanthropic effort in response to COVID-19, donating to nonprofit organizations globally to help relief efforts, as well as a separate firm matching program for
donations to organizations working on social justice and reform of the U.S. criminal justice system. Carlyle employees also put their time and expertise to work through volunteer activities across our offices.
We work to continually improve environmental stewardship within our firm, particularly in the areas of climate change, energy and materials use. In 2020 we hosted our inaugural climate scenario planning workshop to help us start thinking critically about a range of plausible climate scenarios, and from those scenarios, what would better position our portfolio today for those worlds. 2020 was Carlyle’s fourth year of carbon neutrality across our 29 global offices and the activities of our more than 1,825 employees, after we became the first major private equity firm to make a carbon neutrality commitment in 2017. Our new office location in New York City at OneVanderbilt received the highest LEED and wellness certifications. We are a member of Businesses for Social Responsibility (BSR), an industry group working to advance sustainability practices in the business sector (BSR facilitated our first climate scenario workshop, detailed above) as well as a member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Alliance, the Renewable Energy Buyers Association (REBA), and the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3).
We are a member of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and seek to ensure that our U.K.-based portfolio companies are compliant, on a voluntary basis, with the Private Equity Reporting Group Guidelines for Disclosure and Transparency when such companies become subject to these guidelines. Carlyle is a member of Invest Europe and an active participant in its work on ESG-related industry issues. Further, we are also a member of the Bundesverband Deutscher Kapitalbeteiligungsgesellschaften (BVK), the German private equity and venture capital trade association. We believe that we are compliant with the BVK Guidelines for Disclosure and Transparency and seek to ensure that our German portfolio companies comply with these guidelines when they are required to do so.
AlpInvest is a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment and has adopted the UN Global Compact as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework to evaluate fund managers and portfolio companies. AlpInvest has fully integrated CSR into its investment process and actively engages with fund managers and other stakeholders in the private equity markets to promote sustainability and improved corporate governance as an investment consideration.
Since Carlyle was established, we have recognized the value and benefits of maintaining a business model grounded in investment fundamentals, strong governance and transparency. We maintain strong internal corporate governance processes and fiduciary functions and are subject to regulatory supervision. Carlyle professionals receive regular and targeted training on many issues related to corporate governance and compliance, such as anti-corruption, conflicts of interest, economic sanctions and anti-money laundering. All employees annually certify to their understanding of and compliance with key global Carlyle policies and procedures.
Global Information Technology and Solutions
Global Information Technology and Solutions, which we refer to as GTS, is essential for Carlyle to conduct investment activities, manage internal administration activities and connect a global enterprise. As part of our GTS strategy and governance processes, we develop and routinely refine our technology architecture to leverage solutions that will best serve the needs of our investors. Our systems, data, network and infrastructure are continuously monitored and administered by formal controls and risk management processes that also help protect the data and privacy of our employees and investors. Our business continuity plans are designed to allow all critical business functions to continue in an orderly manner in the event of an emergency. GTS works closely with our various segments to test Carlyle’s business continuity plans via table top exercises and disaster recovery exercises. GTS requires firm-wide information security awareness training on a quarterly basis to sensitize employees about the cyber risks to the firm with a goal of educating the firm on how to safeguard Carlyle’s information assets. This testing is intended to help mitigate risk to the firm if an actual emergency were to occur. Carlyle’s Information Security Steering Committee, chaired by the Chief Information Security Officer, monitors threats and prioritizes the initiatives of Carlyle’s information security programs.
As a global investment firm, we compete with a broad array of regional and global investment firms, as well as global banking institutions and other types of financial institutions and markets, for employees, investors and investment opportunities. Generally, our competition varies across business lines, geographies, distribution channels and financial markets. We believe that our competition for investors is based primarily on investment performance, business relationships, the quality of services provided to investors, reputation and brand recognition, pricing, market sentiment and the relative attractiveness of the particular opportunity in which a particular fund intends to invest. To stay competitive, we believe it is also important to be able to offer fund investors a customized suite of investment products which enable them to tailor their investments across alternatives in private equity, real estate, natural resources, infrastructure and credit. We believe that competition for investment
opportunities varies across business lines, but is generally based on industry expertise and potential for value-add, pricing, terms and the structure of a proposed investment and certainty of execution.
We generally compete with sponsors of public and private investment funds across all of our segments. Within our GPE segment, we also compete with sovereign wealth funds and operating companies acting as strategic acquirers, as well as real estate development companies and other infrastructure investment business. In our Global Credit segment, we compete with private credit strategies, BDCs, distressed debt funds, mezzanine funds, lessors of commercial aircraft, infrastructure lenders and other CLO issuers. In our Investment Solutions segment, we generally compete with other fund of funds managers and/or with advisers that are turning their business models towards discretionary investment advisory services. As larger sovereign wealth funds and pension funds pursue direct commitments and secondary transactions, there is the possibility that our Investment Solutions funds could face increased competition for investments.
In addition to these traditional competitors within the global investment industry, we have increasingly faced competition from local and regional firms, financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds, family offices and agencies and instrumentalities of governments in the various countries in which we invest. This trend has been especially apparent in emerging markets, where local firms tend to have more established relationships with the companies in which we are attempting to invest. In addition, large institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds have begun to develop their own in-house investment capabilities and may compete against us for investment opportunities. Greater reliance on advisory firms or in-house investment management may reduce fund of funds’ appeal to large institutional investors. As we continue to target high net worth investors, we also face competition from mutual funds and investment firms that have competing products.
More recently, we have seen a marked increase in the use of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) by our peers and competitors. Recent market volatility and the willingness of seasoned sponsors and management teams to use these vehicles has increased competition in the deal market. While SPACs may compete with us for acquisition targets, they also represent potential purchasers for companies already in our portfolio, thereby potentially expanding exit opportunities. Furthermore, while we do not believe SPACs are an equivalent substitute to our private equity funds, investors may elect to allocate capital to SPACs versus traditional closed-ended funds, thereby potentially adversely impacting the amount of money we are able to raise in the future.
Some of the entities that we compete with as a global investment firm are substantially larger and have greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources and more personnel than we do. Many of our competitors also have recently raised or are expected to raise, significant amounts of capital and many of them have investment objectives similar to ours, which may create additional competition for investment opportunities and investor capital. Some of these competitors may also have a lower cost of capital and access to funding sources that are not available to us, which may create competitive disadvantages for us when sourcing investment opportunities. In addition, some of these competitors may have higher risk tolerances, different risk assessments or lower return thresholds, which could allow them to consider a wider range of investments and to bid more aggressively than us for investments. Strategic buyers may also be able to achieve synergistic cost savings or revenue enhancements with respect to a targeted portfolio company, which we may not be able to achieve through our own portfolio, and this may provide them with a competitive advantage in bidding for such investments.
Regulatory and Compliance Matters
Our businesses, as well as the financial services industry generally, are subject to extensive regulation in the United States and elsewhere. In general, the SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) and other regulators around the globe have in recent years significantly increased their regulatory activities with respect to global investment firms.
Certain of our subsidiaries are registered as investment advisers with the SEC. Registered investment advisers are subject to the requirements and regulations of the Advisers Act. Such requirements relate to, among other things, fiduciary duties to advisory clients, maintaining an effective compliance program, solicitation agreements, conflicts of interest, recordkeeping and reporting requirements, disclosure requirements, limitations on agency cross and principal transactions between an adviser and advisory clients and general anti-fraud prohibitions. In addition, our registered investment advisers are subject to routine periodic and other examinations by the staff of the SEC. In accordance with our efforts to enhance our compliance program and in response to recommendations received from the SEC in the course of routine examinations, certain additional policies and procedures have been put into place, but no material changes to our registered investment advisers’ operations have been made as a result of such examinations. Our registered investment advisers also have not been subject to any regulatory or disciplinary actions by the SEC. Finally, certain of our investment advisers are subject to limited SEC disclosure requirements as “exempt reporting advisers.”
TCG Securities, L.L.C. (“TCG Securities”), the affiliate entity through which we conduct U.S.-based marketing and fundraising activities for our Global Private Equity and Investment Solutions business lines, and house our anti-money laundering compliance function, is registered as a limited purpose broker-dealer with the SEC, is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and is also registered as a broker-dealer in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Additionally, TCG Securities operates under an international broker-dealer exemption in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. TCG Securities acts as a placement agent, on a best efforts basis, for interests in private funds for such business lines.
TCG Capital Markets L.L.C. (“TCG Capital Markets”) is an affiliate broker-dealer entity that operates as part of the GCM platform within Global Credit. TCG Capital Markets is registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC and in 50 states and the District of Columbia. TCG Capital Markets may act as an underwriter, syndicator or placement agent in securities offerings and TCG Senior Funding L.L.C. may act as an underwriter, originator, syndicator or placement agent for loan originations.
Additionally, our broker-dealers are subject to routine periodic and other examinations by the staff of FINRA. No material changes to our broker-dealers’ operations have been made as a result of such examinations.
Broker-dealers are subject to rules relating to transactions on a particular exchange and/or market, and rules relating to the internal operations of the firms and their dealings with customers including, but not limited to the form or organization of the firm, qualifications of associated persons, officers and directors, net capital and customer protection rules, books and records and financial statements and reporting. In particular, as a result of its registered status, each of TCG Securities and TCG Capital Markets is subject to the SEC’s uniform net capital rule, Rule 15c3-1 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), which specifies both the minimum level of net capital a broker-dealer must maintain relative to the scope of its business activities and net capital liquidity parameters. The SEC and FINRA require compliance with key financial responsibility rules, including maintenance of adequate funds to meet expenses and contractual obligations, as well as early warning rules that compel notice to the regulators via accelerated financial reporting anytime a firm’s capital falls below the minimum required level. The uniform net capital rule limits the amount of qualifying subordinated debt that is treated as equity to a specific percentage under the debt-to-equity ratio test, and further limits the withdrawal of equity capital, which is subject to specific notice provisions. Finally, compliance with net capital rules may also limit a firm’s ability to expand its operations, particularly to those activities that require the use of capital. Violation of the net capital rule may result in censures, fines, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders, revocation of licenses or registrations, the suspension or expulsion from the securities industry of the broker-dealer or its officers or employees or other similar consequences by regulatory bodies. To date, neither TCG Securities nor TCG Capital Markets has had any capital adequacy issues and each entity is currently capitalized in excess of the minimum maintenance amount required by regulators.
Carlyle Global Credit Investment Management L.L.C. (“CGCIM”), one of our subsidiaries, serves as investment adviser to certain closed-end investment companies that have elected, or intend to elect, to be regulated as BDCs under the Investment Company Act (as well as to certain private fund and other clients). Accordingly, these BDCs are, or are expected to be, subject to all relevant provisions under the Investment Company Act as registered investment companies. In addition, CGCIM serves as the investment adviser to the Interval Fund, which is regulated as a registered investment company under the Investment Company Act.
United Kingdom and the European Union
Similar to the United States, jurisdictions outside the United States in which we operate, in particular Europe, have become subject to an expanding body of regulation, some of which is complex and prescriptive. Governmental regulators and other authorities in Europe have proposed or implemented a number of initiatives and additional rules and regulations that could adversely affect our business. These include rules and regulations in the United Kingdom (“UK”) that are applicable to our subsidiaries established in the UK, as well as, or in addition to, rules and regulations implemented under European Union (“EU”) directives or regulations, which generally have application throughout the European Economic Area (“EEA”).
In the UK, the principal legislation regulating financial services is the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (the “FSMA”) and the principal European legislation affecting the conduct of our business in the EU is implemented under the Markets and Financial Instruments Directive (“MiFID”) and the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”) – although there are a number of other pieces of legislation both in the UK and the EU that affect our business. The FSMA, rules made pursuant to the FSMA, and EU laws which have either been adopted into UK law in connection with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (e.g. the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation) or already implemented in the UK through domestic legislation or regulatory rules prior to such withdrawal (e.g., MiFID and AIFMD), comprehensively regulate the provision of most aspects of our asset management and advisory business in the UK, including sales, research and trading practices, provision of investment advice, corporate finance, dealing, use and safekeeping of client funds and securities, record
keeping, margin practices and procedures, approval standards for individuals, anti-money laundering, periodic reporting, settlement procedures, securitization, derivative trading, prudential capital requirements, data protection, sustainable finance, and interest rate benchmarks. Legislation not yet in effect and future legislative initiatives will impact our business. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Regulatory initiatives in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our business.”
CECP Advisors LLP (“CECP”), one of our subsidiaries in the UK, is authorized under the FSMA and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”). CECP has permission to undertake certain corporate finance activities in the UK – broadly these are advising on, and arranging deals in relation to certain types of, investments. CECP is only permitted to carry out these activities in relation to eligible counterparties and professional clients.
CELF Advisors LLP (“CELF”), another one of our subsidiaries in the UK, is also authorized and regulated by the FCA, but has permission to undertake a broader range of regulated activities than CECP, namely, arranging deals in investments, advising on investments, managing investments, dealing in investments as agent, and arranging for the safeguarding and administration of assets. CELF is only permitted to carry out these activities in relation to eligible counterparties and professional clients.
Following the UK’s exit from the EU on January 31, 2020, and the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020, EEA passporting rights (which previously entitled CECP and CELF to provide certain investment services in the EEA on a cross-border basis) are no longer available to CECP and CELF. The UK and the EU announced, on December 24, 2020, that they have reached agreement on a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “TCA”), which addresses the future relationship between the parties. However, the TCA does not substantively address future cooperation in the financial services sector or reciprocal market access into the EU by UK firms under equivalence arrangements. The European Commission has indicated that its assessment of the UK’s replies to its equivalence inquiries remains ongoing and, at this stage, there is no certainty as to when such assessments will be concluded or whether the UK will be deemed equivalent in some or all of the individual assessments. In light of the uncertainty as to when and whether any such equivalence or other arrangements facilitating market access into the EEA will be forthcoming, we are exploring ways in which to preserve the continuity of our EEA-based product distribution strategy and minimize disruption to our business in the short- to medium-term.
Certain of our European subsidiaries are subject to compliance requirements in connection with AIFMD, which regulates alternative investment fund managers established in the EEA (“AIFMs”). The AIFMD generally became effective in countries across the EEA in 2014. Currently, Carlyle has three authorized AIFMs in the EEA: AlpInvest, CIM Europe S.a.r.l. (“CIM Europe”) and Carlyle Real Estate SGR S.p.A.
The AIFMD imposes significant regulatory requirements on AIFMs. The AIFMD regulates fund managers by, amongst other things, prescribing authorization conditions for an AIFM, restricting the activities that can be undertaken by an AIFM, prescribing the organizational requirements, operating conditions, and regulatory standards relating to such things as initial capital, remuneration, conflicts, risk management, leverage, liquidity management, delegation of duties, transparency and reporting requirement, etc. The AIFMD has the potential to restrict Carlyle’s fund marketing strategy and places additional compliance obligations on its authorized AIFMs in the form of, among other things, remuneration policies, capital requirements, reporting requirements, leverage oversight and liquidity management.
Authorized AIFMs are entitled to market their alternative investment funds (“AIFs”) throughout the EEA under a marketing passport. Under the AIFMD, an AIFM may, in addition to its fund management activity, also be authorized to provide certain investment services that would otherwise require authorization under MiFID. Authorization under the AIFMD is currently available only to EEA fund managers. AlpInvest obtained authorization as an AIFM from the Authority for Financial Markets in the Netherlands (the “AFM”) in 2015. AlpInvest is also licensed by the AFM to provide some of the additional investment services that are otherwise generally reserved to MiFID firms. CIM Europe obtained authorization as an AIFM in Luxembourg in early 2018. Carlyle Real Estate SGR S.p.A. registered at the Bank of Italy’s AIFM register under no.127 on October 10, 2017.
The AIFMD allows member states to permit marketing within their member state by non-EEA fund managers (under what are known as national private placement regimes), provided the local law imposes certain minimum requirements. Member states may impose more stringent requirements. At present, some EEA states have chosen not to operate a national private placement regime at all; some EEA states apply the minimum requirements; others require the minimum plus a few additional requirements (e.g., the appointment of a depository); and some require compliance with substantially all of the AIFMD. Certain of Carlyle's funds are currently offered in selected member states of the EEA in accordance with the national private placement regimes of the relevant EEA jurisdiction.
The European Commission is currently reviewing the AIFMD and launched a public consultation in October 2020 on potential improvements to the regulatory framework. This is expected to result in new legislation, possibly in 2021 (commonly referred to as “AIFMD II”). It is unclear at this stage whether and how AIFMD II would affect us or our subsidiaries.
In July 2019, a new EU regulation and a directive were adopted to provide more standardized requirements for cross-border fund distribution by AIFMs (amongst others). Member states must transpose the new requirements into local law by August 2021. The package includes a new definition of “pre-marketing” and will require an EU AIFM to notify its home state authority within two weeks of commencing any pre-marketing activity. Any subscription to a fund taking place within 18 months of pre-marketing will be considered to be the result of marketing.
As outlined above, certain of our European subsidiaries, notably CECP and CELF in the UK, must comply with the regulatory framework established by MiFID, which regulates the provision and conduct of investment services and activities throughout the EEA. Certain aspects of MiFID also apply to AlpInvest by virtue of its MiFID “top up” permission as part of its AIFMD authorization. MiFID prescribes detailed requirements governing the organization and conduct of business of investment firms, regulated markets and certain other entities such as credit institutions to the extent they perform investment services or activities.
The latest iteration of MiFID, Directive 2014/ 65/EU (“MiFID II”) together with the accompanying Regulation (EU) No 600/2014 (the “Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation” or “MiFIR”), extended the MiFID requirements in a number of areas and require investment firms to comply with more prescriptive and onerous obligations in relation to such things as: costs and charges disclosure, product design and governance, the receipt and payment of inducements, the receipt of and payment for investment research, suitability and appropriateness assessments, conflicts of interest, record-keeping, best execution, transaction and trade reporting, remuneration, training and competence and corporate governance. Although the UK has now withdrawn from the EU, its rules implementing MiFID continue to have effect and MiFIR has been adopted into UK law (subject to certain amendments to ensure it operates properly in a UK-specific context) in connection with this withdrawal.
The UK is introducing a new prudential regulatory framework for UK investment firms (the “Investment Firm Prudential Regime” or “IFPR”), which will be closely based on an equivalent regulatory framework being introduced at the EU-level through the EU Investment Firm Regulation and Investment Firm Directive. IFPR is expected to take effect from January 1, 2022 and will apply to CECP and CELF, which are both UK investment firms. IFPR introduces new regulatory capital rules for most investment firms and, in some cases, will result in substantially increased capital requirements for certain types of firms. In particular, UK firms such as CECP are likely to need to hold substantially greater capital than they are currently required to hold under the prudential rules that presently apply. IFPR will also impose more onerous remuneration rules and revised and extended internal governance, disclosure, reporting, liquidity and group “prudential” consolidation requirements (among other things). It is at this stage unclear to what extent the equivalent EU framework will apply to EU AIFMs with a MiFID “top-up” permission, such as AlpInvest.
Certain of our subsidiaries are subject to registration and compliance with laws and regulations of non-U.S. governments, their respective agencies and/or various self-regulatory organizations or exchanges relating to, among other things, investment advisory services and the marketing of investment products, and any failure to comply with these regulations could expose us to liability and/or damage our reputation. Certain of our private funds are also required to comply with the trading and disclosure rules and regulations of non-U.S. securities regulators.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (the “OECD”) has developed Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) rules for the automatic exchange of FATCA-like financial account information amongst OECD member states. Like FATCA, CRS imposes certain due diligence, documentation and reporting requirements on various Carlyle entities. While CRS does not contain a potential withholding requirement, non-compliance could subject Carlyle to certain reputational harm and potential financial penalties.
Carlyle Hong Kong Equity Management Limited is licensed by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to carry on Type 1 (dealing in securities) regulated activity in respect of professional investors.
Carlyle Mauritius Investment Advisor Limited and Carlyle Mauritius CIS Investment Management Limited are licensed providers of investment management services in the Republic of Mauritius and are subject to applicable Mauritian securities laws and the oversight of the Financial Services Commission. Carlyle Mauritius Investment Advisor Limited holds a “Foreign Institutional Investor” license from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, which entitles this entity to engage in limited activities in India. Carlyle Mauritius CIS Investment Management Limited holds a “Qualified Foreign Institutional
Investor” license from the China Securities Regulatory Commission, which entitles this entity to invest in certain permitted financial instruments (including equity) and derivatives traded or listed on exchanges in the Peoples Republic of China.
Carlyle Australia Equity Management Pty Limited is licensed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as an Australian financial services licensee and is authorized to carry on a financial services business to provide advice on and deal in financial products (managed investment schemes and securities) for wholesale clients.
Carlyle Japan Equity Management L.L.C. (“CJEM”) is registered with the Financial Services Agency of Japan to carry out Type II Financial Instruments Business as a Japanese Type II Financial Instruments Business Operator and it is also a member of the T2FIFA, a self-regulatory organization in Japan. Pursuant to this registration, CJEM is permitted to perform marketing activities to and private placements for specified investors with respect to interests in a limited partnership.
Carlyle MENA Investment Advisors Limited, a company limited by shares in the Dubai Financial Centre, holds a Category 3C license issued by the Dubai Financial Services Authority and is authorized to arrange credit or deal in investments, advise on financial products or credit and manage collective investment funds.
Carlyle Singapore Investment Advisors Pte Limited holds a capital markets license and an exempt financial adviser status with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to carry on fund management and dealing in regulated capital market products activities in respect of institutional and accredited investors.
Carlyle Real Estate SGR S.p.A. holds an authorization from the Bank of Italy to carry on AIFMD-compliant fund management and real estate activities. It is registered at the Bank of Italy’s AIFM register under no.127.
Diversified Global Asset Management Corporation holds an exempt market dealer license with Ontario Securities Commission to facilitate certain Carlyle fund marketing activities in Canada.
TCG Gestor is licensed by the Securities & Exchange Commission of Brazil as an investment adviser.
AlpInvest is registered as a cross-border discretionary investment management company with the Financial Supervisory Service of South Korea.
An investment fund advised by us holds a majority interest in Fortitude Re, a Bermuda company registered as a Class 4 and Class E insurer. Fortitude Re is subject to regulation and supervision by the Bermuda Monetary Authority (the “BMA”) and compliance with all applicable Bermuda law and Bermuda insurance statutes and regulations, including but not limited to the Insurance Act of 1978 (Bermuda) and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder (the “Bermuda Insurance Act”). In addition, as a result of ownership of Fortitude Holdings by our investment fund, certain Carlyle affiliates that serve as general partner and investment advisor to the fund are subject to certain insurance laws and regulations in Bermuda as a “controller” of Fortitude Re under the Bermuda Insurance Act. These laws and regulations include certain notice requirements for any person that has become, or as a result of a disposition ceased to be, a shareholder controller of a registered insurer, and failure to comply with such requirements is an offense punishable by law.
In addition, we and/or our affiliates and subsidiaries may become subject to additional regulatory demands in the future to the extent we expand our investment advisory business in existing and new jurisdictions. There are also a number of pending or recently enacted legislative and regulatory initiatives in the United States and around the world that could significantly impact our business. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to our Company—Extensive regulation in the United States and abroad affects our activities, increases the cost of doing business and creates the potential for significant liabilities and penalties,” “—Financial regulatory changes in the United States could adversely affect our business and the possibility of increased regulatory focus could result in additional burdens and expenses on our business” and “—Regulatory initiatives in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our business.”
Our businesses have operated for many years within a framework that requires our being able to monitor and comply with a broad range of legal and regulatory developments that affect our activities and we take our obligation to comply with all such laws, regulations and internal policies seriously. Our reputation depends on the integrity and business judgment of our employees and we strive to maintain a culture of compliance throughout the firm. We have developed, and adhere to, compliance policies and procedures such as codes of conduct, compliance systems, education and communication of compliance matters. These policies focus on matters such as insider trading, anti-corruption, document retention, conflicts of interest, anti-money laundering and other matters. Our legal and compliance team monitors our compliance with all of the legal and regulatory requirements to which we are subject and manages our compliance policies and procedures. Our legal and compliance team also monitors the information barriers that we maintain to restrict the flow of confidential information,
including material, nonpublic information, across our business. Our enterprise risk management function analyzes our operations and investment strategies to identify key risks facing the firm and works closely with the legal and compliance team to address them. The firm also has an independent and objective internal audit department that employs a risk-based audit approach that focuses on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, enterprise risk management functions and other areas of perceived risk and aims to give management and our Board of Directors reasonable assurance that our risks are well managed and controls are appropriate and effective.
Website and Availability of SEC Filings
Our website address is www.carlyle.com. We make available free of charge on our website or provide a link on our website to our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after those reports are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. To access these filings, go to the “SEC Documents” portion of our “Public Investors” page on our website. You may also access the reports and other documents we file with the SEC at a website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov.
We use our website (www.carlyle.com), our corporate Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/onecarlyle), our corporate Twitter account (@OneCarlyle or www.twitter.com/onecarlyle), our corporate Instagram account (@onecarlyle or www.instagram.com/onecarlyle), our corporate LinkedIn account (www.linkedin.com/company/the-carlyle-group) and our corporate YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/onecarlyle) as channels of distribution of material company information. For example, financial and other material information regarding our company is routinely posted on and accessible at www.carlyle.com. Accordingly, investors should monitor these channels, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about Carlyle when you enroll your email address by visiting the “Email Alert Subscription” section at http://ir.carlyle.com/email-alerts. The contents of our website and social media channels are not, however, a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and are not incorporated by reference herein.
The Carlyle Group Inc. was formed in Delaware as a partnership on July 18, 2011 and converted to a corporation on January 1, 2020. Our principal executive offices are located at 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004-2505.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Risks Related to Our Company
Adverse economic and market conditions could negatively impact our business in many ways, including by reducing the value or performance of the investments made by our investment funds and reducing the ability of our investment funds to raise capital, any of which could materially reduce our revenue, earnings and cash flow and adversely affect our financial prospects and condition.
Our business is materially affected by conditions in the global financial markets and economic conditions or events throughout the world that are outside of our control, including, but not limited to, changes in interest rates, availability of credit, inflation rates, economic uncertainty, slowdown in global growth, changes in laws (including laws relating to taxation and regulations on the financial industry), disease, pandemics or other severe public health events, trade barriers, commodity prices, currency exchange rates and controls and national and international political circumstances (including government shutdowns, wars, terrorist acts or security operations). For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widespread health crisis that continues to adversely affect general commercial activity and the economies and financial markets of many countries. Such unforeseen and catastrophic events could adversely affect the businesses, financial conditions and results of operations of us and our funds’ portfolio companies and assets. These factors may affect the level and volatility of securities prices and the liquidity and the value of investments, and we may not be able to or may choose not to manage our exposure to these market conditions and/or other events. In the event of a market downturn, each of our businesses could be affected in different ways.
Over the twelve months ending December 31, 2020, the S&P 500 increased by 16%, while the MSCI All Country World Index (MSCI) rose by 14%. While global markets performed well in the aggregate, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year resulted in periods of notable volatility such as a 34% peak-to-trough decline in the S&P 500 from mid-February through late March. Market performance was also highly uneven across asset classes as investors assessed the pandemic’s differing impacts by geography and industry. Due to the severity of the pandemic and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the UK-focused FTSE 100 ended the year down 14% while the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite returned 44%. Throughout the year, market performance was continuously affected by developments in case counts, fiscal stimulus measures,
global central bank policies, real economic data, and vaccine progress. As such, it is possible investor sentiment could change quickly once more and market volatility could reemerge in the face of negative macro or geopolitical developments, such as disappointing economic data, vaccine roadblocks or delays, the emergence of vaccine resistant strains of the coronavirus, political uncertainty or unexpected changes in fiscal and monetary policy. If global markets become unstable, it is possible sellers may readjust their valuations and attractive investment opportunities may become available. On the other hand, the valuations of certain assets we planned to sell in the near future could be negatively impacted, as well as the valuations of our portfolio companies and as a result, our accrued performance revenues.
Market volatility could adversely affect our fundraising efforts in several ways. Investors often allocate to alternative asset classes (including private equity) based on a target percentage of their overall portfolio. If the value of an investor’s portfolio decreases as a whole, the amount available to allocate to alternative assets (including private equity) could decline. Further, investors often evaluate the amount of distributions they have received from existing funds when considering commitments to new funds. General market volatility and/or a reduction in distributions to investors could cause investors to delay making new commitments to investment funds. With several funds in the market, a decrease in the amount an investor commits to our funds could have an impact on the ultimate size of the fund and amount of management fees we generate.
The availability and cost of financing for significant acquisition and disposition transactions could be impacted if equity and credit markets experience heightened volatility. For example, in the United States, high yield credit spreads rose by nearly 750 basis points (bps) during the first quarter of 2020 on fears around the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. If credit markets weaken again in the future, it is possible that we and our investment funds may not be able to consummate significant acquisition and disposition transactions on acceptable terms or at all if we or our funds are unable to finance these types of transactions on attractive terms or if the counterparty to the transaction is unable to secure suitable financing. If there is a general slowdown in global merger and acquisition activity due to the lack of availability of suitable financing or an increase in risk aversion and uncertainty, this could cause a slowdown in our investment pace, which in turn could have an adverse impact on our ability to generate future performance revenues and to fully invest the available capital in our funds and reduce opportunities to exit and realize value from our fund investments. A slowdown in the deployment of our available capital could impact the management fees we earn on those carry funds and managed accounts that generate fees based on invested (and not committed) capital. A slowdown in the deployment of our available capital could also adversely affect our ability to raise and the timing of raising successor investment funds. In 2020, we invested more than $18 billion through our carry funds.
The current U.S. political environment and the resulting uncertainties regarding actual and potential shifts in U.S. foreign, trade, economic, environmental and other policies under the new Administration could lead to disruption, instability and volatility in the global markets, which may also have an impact on our exit opportunities across negatively impacted sectors or geographies. The consequences of previously enacted legislation could also impact our business operations in the future. For example, bipartisan legislation enacted in August 2018 may significantly increase the number of transactions that are subject to the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”). Under the final regulations of the reform legislation, which became effective on February 13, 2020, CFIUS has the authority to review, and potentially recommend that the President block or impose conditions on non-controlling investments in critical infrastructure and critical technology companies and in companies collecting or storing sensitive data of U.S. citizens, which may reduce the number of potential buyers and limit the ability of our funds to realize value from certain existing and future investments. We are unable to predict whether and to what extent uncertainty surrounding economic and market conditions will be reduced, and even in the absence of uncertainty, adverse conditions and/or other events in particular sectors may cause our performance to suffer further.
During periods of difficult market conditions or slowdowns (which may occur across one or more industries or geographies), our funds’ portfolio companies may experience adverse operating performance, decreased revenues, financial losses, credit rating downgrades, difficulty in obtaining access to financing and increased funding costs. Negative financial results in our funds’ portfolio companies may result in less appreciation across the portfolio and lower returns in our funds. Because our investment funds will generally make a limited number of investments, and such investments generally involve a high degree of risk, negative financial results in a few of a investment fund’s portfolio companies could severely impact the fund’s total returns. This could materially and adversely affect our ability to raise new funds as well as our operating results and cash flow. During such periods of weakness, our funds’ portfolio companies may also have difficulty expanding their businesses and operations or meeting their debt service obligations or other expenses as they become due, including expenses payable to us. Furthermore, such negative market conditions could potentially result in a portfolio company entering bankruptcy proceedings, or in the case of certain real estate funds, the abandonment or foreclosure of investments, thereby potentially resulting in a complete loss of the fund’s investment in such portfolio company or real assets and a significant negative impact to the fund’s performance and consequently our operating results and cash flow, as well as to our reputation. In addition,
negative market conditions would also increase the risk of default with respect to investments held by our funds that have significant debt investments, such as our Global Credit funds.
Finally, during periods of difficult market conditions or slowdowns, our fund investment performance could suffer, resulting in, for example, the payment of less or no performance revenues to us or the creation of the obligation to repay performance revenues previously received by us. The payment of less or no performance revenues could cause our cash flow from operations to significantly decrease, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity position and the amount of cash we have on hand to conduct our operations and to dividend to our stockholders. The generation of less performance revenues could also impact our leverage ratios and compliance with our term loan covenants. Having less cash on hand could in turn require us to rely on other sources of cash (such as the capital markets, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms or at all) to conduct our operations, which include, for example, funding significant general partner and co-investment commitments to our carry funds. Furthermore, during adverse economic and market conditions, we might not be able to renew or refinance all or part of our credit facility or find alternate financing on commercially reasonable terms. As a result, our uses of cash may exceed our sources of cash, thereby potentially affecting our liquidity position.
The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, caused severe disruptions in the U.S. and global economies and has impacted, and may continue to adversely impact our performance and results of operations.
In 2020, the global outbreak of COVID-19 spread to every country and every state in the United States. The World Health Organization designated COVID-19 as a pandemic, and numerous countries, including the United States, declared national emergencies with respect to COVID-19. While vaccines have been approved and are slowly being deployed, the global impact of the outbreak continues to adversely impact many industries and different geographies continue to be impacted by the effects of public health restrictions in various ways. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the global economy may not return to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2021 or early 2022 depending on the roll-out and effectiveness of the vaccine.
While our fears of a great depression at the onset of the pandemic have not today been realized, the economic recovery is only partially underway, and has been gradual, uneven and characterized by meaningful dispersion across sectors and regions with uncertainty regarding the ultimate length and trajectory. Increasing infection rates and hospitalizations in certain geographies and a potential resulting market downturn has resulted in COVID-19 continuing to impact our business, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity and prospects.
•Portfolio Company Performance. Some of our investments are in industries that have been materially impacted by the effects of COVID-19 and has resulted, and may continue to result in, material reductions in value in certain instances. In particular, many portfolio companies in the energy, infrastructure, healthcare, travel, entertainment, hospitality, and retail industries continue to face operational and financial hardships resulting from the spread of COVID-19 and related governmental measures imposed to contain the virus, such as the closure of stores, restrictions on travel, quarantines or stay-at-home orders. If the disruptions caused by the pandemic continue, the businesses of these portfolio companies could suffer materially or become insolvent, which would decrease the value of our funds’ investments and potentially harm our reputation.
•Portfolio Company Liquidity. Certain portfolio companies are facing or may face in the future increased credit and liquidity risk due to volatility in financial markets, reduced revenue streams, and limited or higher cost of access to preferred sources of funding, which may result in potential impairment of our or our funds’ equity investments. Changes in the debt financing markets have impacted or may in the future impact, the ability of our portfolio companies to meet their respective financial obligations. In addition, borrowers of loans, notes and other credit instruments in our credit funds’ portfolios may be unable to meet their principal or interest payment obligations or satisfy financial covenants, and tenants leasing real estate properties owned by our funds may not be able to pay rents in a timely manner or at all, resulting in a decrease in value of our funds’ credit and real estate investments and lower than expected returns. In addition, for variable interest instruments, lower reference rates resulting from government stimulus programs in response to COVID-19 has already caused and could lead to lower interest income for our credit funds.
•Operational Risks. Travel restrictions, the closure of non-essential businesses or shelter-in-place/stay-at-home orders may make it more difficult and costly for our investment teams to conduct due diligence and consummate the acquisition and disposition of investments for our funds. Our global employee base has generally been working remotely since the start of the pandemic. This extended period of remote working by our employees may introduce operational risks, including technology availability and heightened cybersecurity risk. Remote working environments may be less secure and more susceptible to hacking attacks, including phishing and social engineering attempts that
seek to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, our data security, data privacy, investor reporting and business continuity processes could be impacted by a third party’s inability to perform due to COVID-19 or by failures of, or attacks on, their information systems and technology. Our accounting and financial reporting systems, processes, and controls could be impacted as a result of these risks.
•Employee-Related Risks. COVID-19 continues to present a significant threat to our employees’ well-being and morale. Our key employees or executive officers may become sick or otherwise unable to perform their duties for an extended period of time and we may experience a potential loss of productivity. The same could be said of the employees in our portfolio companies, who may not be able to transition to remote work arrangements, as well as our third-party service providers. In addition, continued office closures could adversely affect our One Carlyle culture. Although our employees continue to collaborate across offices and geographies, the informal office interactions that contribute to our culture have generally ceased. It is also harder to integrate new employees into the firm in a remote working environment.
•Regulatory and Litigation Risks. Costly litigation could increase in connection with merger and acquisition transactions, as parties to such transactions explore ways to avoid transactions by the assertion of claims of force majeure, material adverse change in the condition of target investments, and/or fraudulent misrepresentation.
•Taxation Risk as a Result of Mobility Challenges. As a result of travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, etc., many of our staff are unable to travel for physical meetings and/or have been displaced working remotely outside of their normal work location. This may create taxable presence or residency risks for our corporate entities and professionals as well as our funds and portfolio companies. Ultimately, these risks could lead to increased levels of taxation and additional compliance complexities.
•Impact of Vaccine. Although a vaccine has been approved for use, the rollout and success are unknown. Although our workforce has demonstrated its ability to achieve pre-pandemic levels of productivity on a remote basis, if we were unable to vaccinate our employee base, our work force may be unwilling to return to the office.
In addition to the foregoing, COVID-19 has exacerbated and may continue to exacerbate, many of the other risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Changes in the debt financing markets could negatively impact the ability of certain of our funds and their portfolio companies to obtain attractive financing or re-financing and could increase the cost of such financing if it is obtained, which could lead to lower-yielding investments and could potentially decrease our net income.
A significant contraction in the market for debt financing or other adverse change relating to the terms of debt financing, including higher interest rates and equity requirements and more restrictive covenants, could have a material adverse impact on our business and that of our investment funds and their portfolio companies. Additionally, the financing of new investments or the operations of our funds’ portfolio companies may become less attractive due to limitations on the deductibility of net interest expense, which under current law is due to become more restrictive beginning with tax year 2022. Regulatory changes that constrain banks’ ability to provide debt financing also could have a material adverse impact on our business and that of our investment funds and their portfolio companies. If our funds are unable to obtain committed debt financing for potential acquisitions or are only able to obtain debt financing at unfavorable interest rates or on unfavorable terms, our funds may have difficulty completing acquisitions that may have otherwise been profitable or if completed, such acquisitions could generate lower than expected profits, both of which could lead to a decrease in our net income.
Our funds’ portfolio companies also regularly utilize the corporate loan and bond markets to obtain financing for their operations. While credit was available for much of 2020 and new debt issuance hit record levels in some markets, the onset of the COVID-19 crisis exhibited how abruptly credit markets can weaken from exogenous shocks and become unavailable or unattractive for issuers. In the first and early second quarters of 2020, corporate debt issuance and merger and acquisition activity decreased significantly as market volatility rose and credit spreads widened. It is possible that during future periods of stress, tightening in the credit markets could render debt financing difficult to obtain, less attractive or more expensive, which may negatively impact the operating performance of our portfolio companies who use debt to fund certain of their operations. This may result in a negative impact on the investment returns of our funds. In addition, if market conditions make it difficult or impossible to refinance debt that is maturing in the near term, some of our portfolio companies’ operations may be negatively impacted or our portfolio companies may be unable to repay their debt at maturity and may be forced to sell assets, undergo a recapitalization or seek bankruptcy protection.
Our use of leverage may expose us to substantial risks.
We use indebtedness as a means to finance our business operations, which exposes us to the risks associated with using leverage. We are dependent on financial institutions extending credit to us on reasonable terms to finance our business. There is no guarantee that such institutions will continue to extend credit to us or will renew the existing credit agreements we have with them, or that we will be able to refinance our outstanding notes or other obligations when they mature. In addition, the incurrence of additional debt in the future could result in downgrades of our existing corporate credit ratings, which could limit the availability of future financing and/or increase our cost of borrowing. As borrowings under our credit facility or any other indebtedness mature, we may be required to either refinance them by entering into a new facility or issuing additional debt, which could result in higher borrowing costs, or issuing additional equity, which would dilute existing stockholders. We could also repay them by using cash on hand, cash provided by our continuing operations or cash from the sale of our assets, which could reduce dividends to our stockholders. We could have difficulty entering into new facilities or issuing debt or equity securities in the future on attractive terms, or at all.
From time to time we may access the capital markets by issuing debt securities. For example, in September 2019, we issued $425 million of 3.500% senior notes due 2029 and used the proceeds to redeem our 5.875% Series A Preferred Units. In September 2018, we issued $350 million aggregate principal amount of 5.650% senior notes due September 2048 and used a portion of the proceeds of the offering to repurchase $250 million in aggregate principal amount of our 3.875% senior notes due February 2023. Approximately $250 million aggregate principal amount of our 3.875% senior notes due February 2023 remains outstanding. In March 2013, we issued $400 million aggregate principal amount of 5.625% senior notes due March 2043 and in March 2014, we issued an additional $200 million aggregate principal amount of 5.625% senior notes due March 2048. We also have a credit agreement that provides a $775 million revolving facility with a final maturity date of February 11, 2024. The credit agreement contains financial and non-financial covenants with which we need to comply to maintain access to this source of liquidity. Non-compliance with any of the financial or non-financial covenants without cure or waiver would constitute an event of default, and an event of default resulting from a breach of certain financial or non-financial covenants could result, at the option of the lenders, in an acceleration of the principal and interest outstanding, and a termination of the credit agreement. In addition, to the extent we incur additional debt relative to our current level of earnings or experience a decrease in our level of earnings, our credit rating could be adversely impacted, which would increase our interest expense under our credit facility. In November 2020, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch reaffirmed their “BBB+” stable rating.
Our revenue, earnings and cash flow are variable, which makes it difficult for us to achieve steady earnings growth on a quarterly basis.
Our revenue, earnings and cash flow are variable. For example, our cash flow fluctuates because we receive carried interest from our carry funds only when investments are realized and achieve a certain preferred return. We may also experience fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results, including our revenue and net income, due to a number of other factors, including changes in the carrying values and performance of our funds’ investments that can result in significant volatility in the carried interest that we have accrued (or as to which we have reversed prior accruals) from period to period, as well as changes in the amount of distributions, gains, dividends or interest paid in respect of investments in our funds and strategic investments (e.g., our investment in Fortitude Re), changes in our operating expenses, the degree to which we encounter competition and general economic and market conditions. The valuations of investments made by our funds could also be impacted by geopolitical conflict as well as changes, or anticipated changes, in government policy, including policies related to tax reform, financial services regulation, international trade, immigration, environmental, healthcare, labor, infrastructure and energy. For instance, during the first quarter of 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recorded significant reductions in the carrying values of many of the investments of the investment funds we advise. The carrying value of fund investments, particularly the public portion of our carry fund portfolios, may be more variable during times of market volatility. As of December 31, 2020, 15% of our Global Private Equity and Global Credit carry fund portfolio was in public securities, which is up materially from December 31, 2019.
Transaction fees earned in respect of our carry funds can vary from quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year depending on the nature of the investments in any given period. The recognition of transaction fees can be volatile as they are primarily generated by investment activity within our funds, and therefore are impacted by both the pace and size of our carry fund investments. We anticipate a general decline in net transaction fees earned from our carry funds as our recently raised products have generally increased the percentage of transaction fees that are shared with fund investors from 80% to 100%, such that a larger share of the transaction fee revenue we retain is driven by co-investment activity. In addition, Carlyle Global Capital Markets (GCM) generates capital markets fees in connection with activities related to the underwriting, issuance and placement of debt and equity securities and loan syndication for our portfolio companies and third-party clients. Capital markets fees generated are typically dependent on transaction frequency and volume, and a slowdown in the pace or size of investments by our carry funds could adversely affect the amount of fees generated by capital markets business. We are seeking to bolster and
grow our capital markets business, and associated fee stream, related to the underwriting, issuance, and placement of debt and equity securities and loan syndication for our portfolio companies and third-party clients, which if successful will positively impact capital markets fees over time.
During periods in which a significant portion of our AUM is attributable to carry funds that are in the fundraising period or are in the investment period that precedes harvesting, as has been the case from time to time, we may receive substantially lower distributions. Higher fundraising activity also generates incremental expenses and, as new capital commitments may not immediately generate fees until they activate management fees, we could incur fundraising related costs ahead of generating revenues. Moreover, even if an investment proves to be profitable, it may be several years before any profits can be realized in cash. A downturn in the equity markets also makes it more difficult to exit investments by selling equity securities at a reasonable value. If we were to have a realization event in a particular quarter, that event may have a significant impact on our quarterly results and cash flow for that particular quarter and may not be replicated in subsequent quarters. We cannot predict precisely when, or if, realizations of investments will occur, where a fund will be in its lifecycle when the realizations occur or whether a fund will realize carried interest.
We recognize revenue on investments in our investment funds based on our allocable share of realized and unrealized gains (or losses) reported by such investment funds, and a decline in realized or unrealized gains, or an increase in realized or unrealized losses, would adversely affect our revenue, which could further increase the volatility of our quarterly results and cash flow. Because our carry funds have preferred investor return thresholds that need to be met prior to us receiving any carried interest, declines in, or failures to increase sufficiently the carrying value of, the investment portfolios of a carry fund may delay or eliminate any carried interest distributions paid to us with respect to that fund. This is because the value of the assets in the fund would need to recover to their aggregate cost basis plus the preferred return over time before we would be entitled to receive any carried interest from that fund or vehicle.
The timing and receipt of realized carried interest also varies with the life cycle of our carry funds and there is often a difference between the time we start accruing carried interest for financial reporting purposes and the realization and distribution of such carried interest. However, performance revenues are ultimately realized when (i) an investment is profitably disposed of, (ii) certain costs borne by the limited partner investors have been reimbursed, (iii) the investment fund’s cumulative net returns are in excess of the preferred return and (iv) we have decided to collect carried interest rather than return additional capital to limited partner investors. In deciding to realize carried interest we consider such factors as the level of embedded valuation gains, the portion of the fund invested, the portion of the fund returned to limited partner investors, the length of time the fund has been in carry, and other qualitative measures. In most funds, we will initially defer realizing carried interest even when contractually entitled to take it, allowing carried interest to accrue until it is determined that giveback risk is substantially reduced. As a result of this deferral, we are generally entitled to a disproportionate “catch-up” level of profit allocation at some point during the harvesting period. For example, during the period from late 2013 to early 2015, we benefited from “catch-up” realized carried interest on some of our largest funds, but in 2016 and 2017 we did not benefit from “catch-up” realized carried interest to the extent we had in prior years. In certain circumstances, we may also need to reduce the rate at which we realize carried interest, or temporarily stop realizing carried interest, in order to maintain a sufficient level of reserves and reduce the risk of potential future giveback obligations. In addition to the timing uncertainty of realized carried interest in a single fund, there may also be a generational trough or gap in the realized carried interest of a fund family, as a predecessor fund transitions to its successor fund. In such cases, even when both the predecessor and successor fund have strong performance and earn carried interest, the predecessor fund may substantially exit its investment portfolio before the successor fund is in a sufficient position to begin realizing carried interest. See “— Our investors may negotiate to pay us lower management fees and the economic terms of our future funds may be less favorable to us than those of our existing funds, which could adversely affect our revenues.”
Our fee revenue may also depend on the pace of investment activity in our funds. In many of our carry funds, the base management fee may be reduced when the fund has invested substantially all of its capital commitments or the aggregate fair market value of a fund’s investments is below its cost. We may receive a lower management fee from such funds if there has been a decline in value or after the investing period and during the period the fund is harvesting its investments. As a result, the variable pace at which many of our carry funds invest capital and dispose of investments may cause our management fee revenue to vary from one quarter to the next. Additionally, certain funds derive management fees only on the basis of invested capital whereby the pace at which we make investments, the length of time we hold such investment and the timing of dispositions will directly impact our revenues.
The investment period of a fund may expire prior to the raising of a successor fund. Where appropriate, we may work with our fund investors to extend the investment period, which gives us the opportunity to invest any capital that remains in the fund. In general, the end of the original investment period (regardless of whether it is extended) will trigger a change in the
capital base on which management fees are calculated from committed capital to invested capital. In some cases, a step-down in the applicable rate used to calculate management fees may also occur. For example, prior to raising a successor fund, the South America buyout fund’s original investment period ended in the second half of 2015, resulting in a change from committed capital to invested capital for the management fee base, despite a one-year extension to the investment period. In addition, we may raise an investment fund and delay the initiation of fees once a fund is raised to better align our management fee inception date to when we are ready to begin investing the fund. For example, we completed fund raising for the latest Japan fund in summer 2020, but did not charge management fees until October 1, 2020. While the total amount of management fees collected over the life of a fund would not be impacted, this could result in a delay in receipt of management fees.
We depend on our Chief Executive Officer and other key personnel, and the loss of their services or investor confidence in such personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We depend on the efforts, skill, reputations and business contacts of our senior Carlyle professionals, including our Chief Executive Officer, Kewsong Lee, and other key personnel, including members of the investment committees of our investment funds and senior members of our investment teams, the information and deal flow they and others generate during the normal course of their activities and the synergies among the diverse fields of expertise and knowledge held by our professionals. On September 30, 2020, Glenn Youngkin retired from the firm and Mr. Lee became our sole Chief Executive Officer. Messrs. Conway and Rubenstein continue to serve as Co-Chairmen and Mr. D’Aniello serves as Chairman Emeritus. Although our founders remain committed to our business and serve on various investment committees, in these roles, they are not executive officers and no longer have responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the firm and may choose to pursue philanthropic or other personal endeavors, including personal investment activities, in addition to their roles at Carlyle. Our founders and other key personnel are not obligated to remain employed with us in their current capacities or at all. To continue to enhance our talent base, we have and will continue to hire and internally develop senior professionals to assume key leadership positions throughout the firm into the future. The efficacy of such future leadership may constitute an adverse risk to our business.
In October 2017, we entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Lee, which was amended in connection with our Conversion in January 2020. Several key personnel have left the firm in the past and others may do so in the future, and we cannot predict the impact that the departure of any key personnel will have on our ability to achieve our objectives. The loss of the services of any of our key personnel could have a material adverse effect on our revenues, net income and cash flow and could harm our ability to maintain or grow AUM in existing funds or raise additional funds in the future. The governing agreements of many of our investment funds generally require investors in those funds to vote to continue the investment period in the event that certain “key persons” in our investment funds do not provide the specified time commitment to the fund or our firm ceases to control the general partner. We have historically relied in part on the interests of these professionals in the investment funds’ carried interest and incentive fees to discourage them from leaving the firm. However, to the extent our investment funds perform poorly, thereby reducing the potential for carried interest and incentive fees, their interests in carried interest and incentive fees become less valuable to them and may become a less effective retention tool.
Our senior Carlyle professionals and other key personnel possess substantial experience and expertise and have strong business relationships with investors in our funds and other members of the business community. As a result, the loss of these personnel could jeopardize our relationships with investors in our funds and members of the business community and result in the reduction of AUM or fewer investment opportunities. For example, if any of our senior Carlyle professionals were to join or form a competing firm, that action could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Recruiting and retaining professionals may be more difficult in the future, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our most important asset is our people, and our continued success is highly dependent upon the efforts of our senior Carlyle professionals and other professionals we employ. Our future success and growth depends to a substantial degree on our ability to retain and motivate our senior Carlyle professionals and other key personnel and to strategically recruit, retain and motivate new talented personnel, including new senior Carlyle professionals. The market for qualified investment professionals is extremely competitive and we may not be successful in our efforts to recruit, retain and motivate these professionals. In addition, if there is a shift to remote work options that do not require relocation or maintaining close proximity to a company’s offices as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may experience an increase in competition for talent and it may be difficult to recruit and retain our professionals.
There are also certain factors that are not within our control that may affect our efforts to recruit, retain and motivate investment professionals, in particular as it relates to tax considerations regarding carried interest. For example, if the U.S. Congress or state, local or certain foreign governments enacted legislation to treat carried interest as ordinary income rather than as capital gain for tax purposes or impose a surcharge on carried interest, this could result in a material increase in the amount of taxes that our carry recipients would be required to pay, which would in turn affect our ability to recruit, retain and motivate our current and future professionals. U.S. tax reform legislation, informally known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017 (the “TCJA”), includes a provision that changes the treatment of carried interest with respect to an applicable partnership interest from long-term capital gains to short-term capital gains (taxable at ordinary income rates) to the extent such gains relate to property with a holding period not greater than three years. The Internal Revenue Service released final regulations on January 7, 2021, which clarified the scope and applicability of such longer holding period requirement. The final regulations apply to taxable years beginning on or after January 19, 2021, which means that for most partnerships they will only apply to taxable years beginning in 2022, unless the partnership elects to apply them sooner. While most proposals regarding the taxation of carried interest still require realization of gains before applying ordinary income rates, legislation has previously been introduced that would assume a deemed annual return on carried interest and tax that amount annually, with a true-up once the assets are sold. The new Congress may consider a proposal that would require certain taxpayers to pay capital gains taxes on the appreciated value of their public investments annually. This could result in the payment of tax prior to the realization of any cash receipts. Any tax on private assets would be deferred until a sale, but at undetermined higher rates than current law. The new Congress may also consider proposals to increase the capital gains tax rate. In addition, the tax treatment of carried interest may continue to be an area of focus for policymakers and government officials, which could result in further regulatory action by federal or state governments. For example, certain states have proposed legislation to levy additional state tax on carried interest, which may also negatively affect our ability to attract and retain professionals. The TCJA also includes a provision that limits U.S. tax deductions for certain amounts of publicly traded corporations’ executive compensation expense. We are seeing similar policy discussions in respect of the appropriate treatment of carried interest in many of the international jurisdictions in which we have investment professionals. For example, the UK Office of Tax Simplification is currently undertaking a review of the UK Capital Gains Tax Regime and there is a risk that this review could prompt a change to the ultimate taxation of carried interest by our UK investment professionals. The additional pressures of fiscal deficits created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened these risks as international authorities consider ways to increase tax revenues. These types of developments might make it more difficult for us to incentivize, recruit and retain investment professionals, which may have an adverse effect on our ability to achieve our investment objectives. In addition, the after-tax income and gain related to our business, our distributions to stockholders and the market price of our shares, all could be reduced.
We have granted and expect to grant equity awards from our Equity Incentive Plan, which has caused dilution. While we evaluate the grant of equity awards from our Equity Incentive Plan to employees on an annual basis, the size of the grants, if any, is made at our discretion. If we increase the use of equity awards from our Equity Incentive Plan in the future, expenses associated with equity-based compensation may increase materially. In 2020, we incurred equity compensation expenses of $105.0 million in connection with grants of restricted stock units. The value of our common stock may drop in value or be volatile, which may make our equity less attractive to our employees since we may not be able to adequately incentivize them.
As of December 31, 2020, our employees held an aggregate of 8.5 million unvested restricted stock units, which vest over various time periods, generally from six months to four years from the date of grant. All of the shares of common stock held by our founders are fully vested. In order to recruit and retain existing and future senior Carlyle professionals and other key personnel, we may need to increase the level of compensation that we pay to them. Accordingly, as we promote or hire new senior Carlyle professionals and other key personnel over time or attempt to retain the services of certain of our key personnel, we may increase the level of compensation we pay to these individuals, which could cause our total employee compensation and benefits expense as a percentage of our total revenue to increase and adversely affect our profitability. For example, in February 2021, we granted 6.6 million strategic restricted stock units to certain senior Carlyle professionals, the majority of which are subject to vesting based on the achievement of annual performance targets over four years, which will increase our equity based compensation expense in the coming years. Additionally, in February 2021, in order to further foster the alignment of our carry participants, in particular our senior investment professionals, with our stockholders, the Compensation Committee adopted a new program pursuant to our Equity Incentive Plan. Under the new program, at Carlyle’s discretion, up to 20% of a carry participant’s realized proceeds over a threshold amount may be paid by issuing fully vested new shares of our common stock. Over the first two years of the program, which we anticipate will commence during the second or third quarter of 2021, up to $100 million in common shares may be issued in lieu of paying carried interest distributions all in cash. This program will not impact our equity based compensation expense. The issuance of equity interests in our business in the future to our senior Carlyle professionals and other personnel would also dilute our stockholders.
We strive to maintain our culture of collaboration and seek to continue to align our interests (and the interests of our employees) with those of our investors. If we do not continue to develop and implement the right processes and tools to
maintain our culture, our ability to compete successfully and achieve our business objectives could be impaired, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Given our focus on achieving superior investment performance and maintaining and strengthening investor relations, we may reduce our AUM, restrain its growth, reduce our fees or otherwise alter the terms under which we do business when we deem it in the best interest of our investors—even in circumstances where such actions might be contrary to the near-term interests of stockholders.
From time to time if we decide it is in the best interests of all stakeholders, we may take actions that could reduce the profits we could otherwise realize in the short term. While we believe that our commitment to treating our investors fairly is in the long-term interest of us and our stockholders, our stockholders should understand we may take actions that could adversely impact our short-term profitability, and there is no guarantee that such actions will benefit us in the long term. The means by which we seek to achieve superior investment performance in each of our strategies could include limiting the AUM in our strategies to an amount that we believe can be invested appropriately in accordance with our investment philosophy and current or anticipated economic and market conditions. Additionally, we may voluntarily reduce management fee rates and terms for certain of our funds or strategies when we deem it appropriate, even when doing so may reduce our short-term revenue. For instance, in order to enhance our relationship with certain fund investors, we have reduced management fees or ceased charging management fees on certain funds in specific instances. In certain investment funds, we have agreed to charge management fees based on invested capital or net asset value as opposed to charging management fees based on committed capital. In certain cases, such as our most recent power fund, we have provided “fee holidays” to certain investors during which we do not charge management fees for a fixed period of time (such as the first six months). We may receive requests to reduce management fees on other funds in the future. “—See Risks Related to Our Business—Our investors may negotiate to pay us lower management fees and the economic terms of our future funds may be less favorable to us than those of our existing funds, which could adversely affect our revenues.”
Many of our investment funds utilize subscription lines of credit to fund investments prior to the receipt of capital contributions from the fund’s investors. As capital calls made to a fund’s investors are delayed when using a subscription line of credit, the investment period of such investor capital is shortened, which may increase the net internal rate of return of an investment fund. However, since interest expense and other costs of borrowings under subscription lines of credit are an expense of the investment fund, the investment fund’s net multiple of invested capital will be reduced, as will the amount of carried interest generated by the fund. Any material reduction in the amount of carried interest generated by a fund will adversely affect our revenues.
We may also take other actions that could adversely impact our short-term results of operations when we deem such action appropriate. We have also waived management fees on certain leveraged finance vehicles at various times to improve returns. Furthermore, we typically delay the realization of carried interest to which we are otherwise entitled if we determine (based on a variety of factors, including the stage of the fund’s life cycle and the extent of fund profits accrued to date) that there would be an unacceptably high risk of potential future giveback obligations. Any such delay could result in a deferral of realized carried interest to a subsequent period. See “— Risks Related to Our Company — Our revenue, earnings and cash flow are variable, which makes it difficult for us to achieve steady earnings growth on a quarterly basis.”
We may not be successful in expanding into new investment strategies, markets and businesses, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our growth strategy focuses on providing resources to foster the development of new product offerings and business strategies by our investment professionals. Given our diverse platform, these initiatives could create conflicts of interests with existing products, increase our costs and expose us to new market risks and legal and regulatory requirements. These products may have different economic structures than our traditional investment funds and may require a different marketing approach. These activities also may impose additional compliance burdens on us, subject us to enhanced regulatory scrutiny and expose us to greater reputation and litigation risk.
The success of our growth strategy will depend on, among other things:
•our ability to correctly identify and create products that appeal to our investors;
•the diversion of management’s time and attention from our existing businesses;
•management’s ability to spend time developing and integrating the new business and the success of the integration effort;
•our ability to properly manage conflicts of interests;
•our ability to identify and manage risks in new lines of businesses;
•our ability to obtain requisite approvals and licenses from the relevant governmental authorities and to comply with applicable laws and regulations without incurring undue costs and delays; and
•our ability to successfully negotiate and enter into beneficial arrangements with our counterparties.
In some instances, we may determine that growth in a specific area is best achieved through the acquisition of an existing business or a smaller scale lift out of an investment team to enhance our platform. Our ability to consummate an acquisition will depend on our ability to identify and value potential acquisition opportunities accurately and successfully compete for these businesses against companies that may have greater financial resources. Even if we are able to identify and successfully negotiate and complete an acquisition, these transactions can be complex and we may encounter unexpected difficulties or incur unexpected costs.
In addition to the concerns noted above, the success of a firm acquisition will be affected by, among other things:
•difficulties and costs associated with the integration of operations and systems;
•difficulties integrating the acquired business’s internal controls and procedures into our existing control structure;
•difficulties and costs associated with the assimilation of employees; and
•the risk that a change in ownership will negatively impact the relationship between an acquiree and the investors in its investment vehicles.
Each acquisition transaction presents unique challenges. For example, in December 2018 we acquired 100% of Apollo Aviation Group, a global commercial aviation investment and servicing firm with total assets under management of $5.8 billion, and over 80 employees and offices in the United States, Ireland and Singapore. We renamed Apollo Aviation Group to Carlyle Aviation Partners at the time of our acquisition. Our investment in Carlyle Aviation Partners faces the risk that we do not successfully integrate the business into our Global Credit segment.
In addition, if a new product, business or venture developed internally or by acquisition is unsuccessful, we may decide to wind down, liquidate and/or discontinue it. Such actions could negatively impact our relationships with investors in those businesses, could subject us to litigation or regulatory inquiries and can expose us to additional expenses, including impairment charges and potential liability from investor or other complaints.
Our organizational documents do not limit our ability to enter into new lines of business, and we intend to, from time to time, expand into new investment strategies, geographic markets and businesses, each of which may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our businesses.
We intend, to the extent that market conditions warrant, to seek to grow our businesses and expand into new investment strategies, geographic markets and businesses. Our organizational documents do not limit us to the asset management business and to the extent that we make strategic investments or acquisitions in new geographic markets or businesses, undertake other related strategic initiatives or enter into a new line of business, we may face numerous risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with the following:
•the required investment of capital and other resources;
•the possibility that we have insufficient expertise to engage in such activities profitably or without incurring inappropriate amounts of risk
•the diversion of management’s attention from our core businesses;
•assumption of liabilities in any acquired business;
•the disruption of our ongoing business;
•the increasing demands on or issues related to the combination or integration of operational and management systems and controls;
•compliance with or applicability to our business or our portfolio companies of regulations and laws, including, in particular, local regulations and laws (for example, consumer protection related laws) and customs in the numerous global jurisdictions in which we operate and the impact that noncompliance or even perceived noncompliance could have on us and our portfolio companies;
•a potential increase in investor concentration; and
•the broadening of our geographic footprint, including the risks associated with conducting operations in certain foreign jurisdictions where we currently have no presence.
Entry into certain lines of business may subject us to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar or from which we are currently exempt, and may lead to increased liability, litigation, regulatory risk and expense. If a new business generates insufficient revenue or if we are unable to efficiently manage our expanded operations, our results of operations may be adversely affected.
Our strategic initiatives may include joint ventures, which may subject us to additional risks and uncertainties in that we may be dependent upon, and subject to liability, losses or reputational damage relating to, systems, controls and personnel that are not under our control. There can be no assurances that any joint venture opportunities will be successful.
In November 2019, we signed an agreement for an investment fund advised by us to acquire an additional interest in Fortitude Re and closed on this acquisition in June 2020. We and our fund investors now own 71.5% of Fortitude Holdings (including our previously acquired 19.9% interest in the company). In addition to the risks noted above, if Fortitude Re is unable to successfully operate independently or our management of any real or perceived conflicts of interest that may arise in implementing Fortitude Re’s asset management strategy may adversely impact our investment in the company and our future growth plans for the business and may not allow us to realize the strategic rationale for investing in the company.
Proposed changes in U.S. and foreign taxation of businesses could adversely affect us.
Congress, the OECD, the European Commission and other government agencies in jurisdictions where we and our affiliates invest or do business have maintained a focus on issues related to the taxation of multinational corporations. The OECD, which represents a coalition of member countries, released the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) package in October 2015. Individual jurisdictions have begun to introduce domestic legislation implementing certain of the BEPS actions, including measures covering treaty abuse, the deductibility of interest expense, local nexus requirements, transfer pricing and hybrid mismatch arrangements, which are potentially relevant to some of our structures and could have an adverse tax impact on us, our funds, investors and/or our portfolio companies. In particular, there remains significant uncertainty as to the continued availability of the protections afforded by double tax treaties and/or EU Directives to mitigate cross boarder frictional taxes and the loss of such protections would lead to increased taxes on income from our investments. This position is likely to remain uncertain for a number of years. In addition, press speculation and heightened focus on the structures commonly used in the private equity industry in general, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation which may ultimately be damaging to our business.
In addition, in July 2016, the European Council took steps to implement the BEPS Project actions points within EU law through the adoption of the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (EU) 2016/1164 (commonly referred to as “ATAD I). On May 29, 2017, the European Council formally amended the ATAD I directive to increase the scope of the hybrid mismatches pillar to also apply to arrangements with third countries outside of the EU (commonly referred to as “ATAD II”). ATAD II came into force in EU Member States on 1 January 2020 (subject to relevant derogations). The rules within ATAD I and II are extensive, complex and could apply to a wide range of scenarios. We are also still waiting for the issuance of guidance from several countries. These rules could have an adverse tax impact on our firm, funds, investors and/or our portfolio companies.
A new mandatory automatic exchange of information regime has been implemented under Council Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative co-operation in the field of taxation (as amended) (the “Directive on Administrative Co-Operation” or the “DAC”). The DAC, a directive under the EU Mandatory Disclosure Rules (“MDR”), took effect from June 25, 2018, and requires ‘intermediaries’ (as defined and which includes advisers), or in some cases taxpayers, to report information to EU tax authorities about cross-border arrangements that contain certain prescribed hallmarks. Under the DAC, certain information will be automatically exchanged among EU tax Member States. This will likely create additional costs and administrative burdens and penalties could be imposed for failure to adequately provide such disclosure in a timely manner.
A number of European jurisdictions have enacted taxes on financial transactions, and the European Commission has proposed legislation to harmonize these taxes under the so-called “enhanced cooperation procedure,” which provides for adoption of EU-level legislation applicable to some but not all EU Member States. If adopted by individual countries, this could potentially increase tax uncertainty and/or costs faced by us, our funds’ portfolio companies and our investors, change our business model and cause other adverse consequences.
Following a mandate by G20 Finance Ministers in March 2017 to address tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy, the OECD continues to pursue a multilateral agreement on so-called Pillar One and Pillar Two of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, in an effort to prevent the proliferation of unilateral, discriminatory taxes on multi-national enterprises (“MNEs”), such as digital services taxes (“DSTs”) recently adopted by France and other countries. Pillar One focuses on the allocation of taxing rights to different jurisdictions and seeks to undertake a coherent and concurrent review of the profit allocation and nexus rules. Pillar Two calls for the development of a coordinated set of rules to address ongoing risks from structures that allow MNEs to shift profit to jurisdictions where they are subject to no or low taxation.
Negotiations are underway at the OECD level to coordinate and recommend Pillar One and Pillar Two as alternatives to various country specific legislation, such as the DST. If country-specific DST were to be adopted, they could impact the value of investments or create additional administrative burdens and costs on the organization. The OECD’s stated goal was to have an agreement by the end of 2020 and this has now been extended to the middle of 2021. The OECD, G20 and its members of the inclusive framework are still working to reach political and technical consensus by this date, for either Pillar separately or combined. Such an agreement would substantially require participating countries to implement national legislation, as well as comprehensive revision of existing bilateral tax treaties.
The Netherlands continued to provide additional updates to its withholding tax on dividends. Following EU case law, three safe harbor rules currently embedded in domestic anti-abuse rules as part of the Dividend Withholding Tax Act and the Corporate Income Tax Act will no longer function as a safe harbor rule. In addition, the Dutch political party “GroenLinks” has indicated they will issue a legislative proposal to amend the Dividend Withholding Tax Act. Currently, there is no draft bill, nor is it indicated when the draft bill will be presented to parliament. If the bill is accepted, the date of entry into force would be subject to discussion. We are evaluating and monitoring the impact of these changes which could result in additional withholding on certain payments for us and our investment funds.
The TCJA included a minimum tax at a current rate of 10.5% on global intangible low taxed income (“GILTI”), which is the income earned by foreign affiliates of US companies from intangible assets. The new Administration proposes to increase such rate on foreign income to 21% and replace the current aggregate approach with a separate calculation for each country, which could result in an increase in US taxable income. In addition, the new Administration may pursue tax policies seeking to limit further the deductibility of interest. Any such tax changes could materially increase the amount of taxes we, our portfolio companies, our investors, or our employees and other key personnel would be required to pay.
Operational risks, including those associated with our business model, may disrupt our businesses, result in losses or limit our growth.
We rely heavily on our financial, accounting, information and other data processing systems. We face various security threats on a regular basis, including ongoing cyber security threats to and attacks on our information technology infrastructure that are intended to gain access to our proprietary information, destroy data or disable, degrade or sabotage our systems. These security threats could originate from a wide variety of sources, including unknown third parties outside the company.
There has been an increase in the frequency and sophistication of the cyber and security threats we face, with attacks ranging from those common to businesses generally to those that are more advanced and persistent, which may target us because, as an global investment management firm, we hold a significant amount of confidential and sensitive information about our investors, our portfolio companies and potential investments. As a result, we may face a heightened risk of a security breach, online extortion attempt, or disruption with respect to this information resulting from an attack by computer hackers, foreign governments, cyber extortionists or cyber terrorists. If successful, these types of attacks on our network or other systems could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations, due to, among other things, the loss of investor or proprietary data, interruptions or delays in our business and damage to our reputation. Our suppliers, contractors, investors, and other third parties with whom we do business also experience cyber threats and attacks that are similar in frequency and sophistication. In many cases, we have to rely on the controls and safeguards put in place by our suppliers, contractors, investors and other third parties to defend against, respond to, and report these attacks.
Because employees and contractors (and their family and household members) may introduce vulnerabilities in our systems if they are the target of “phishing,” social engineering, bribery, coercion or other attacks through the firm’s email systems, we have implemented a security awareness training program. The objective of this program is to inform Carlyle personnel of their responsibility for information security and includes quarterly online training, live awareness events and phishing simulations.
We cannot know the potential impact of future cyber incidents, which vary widely in severity and scale. There can be no assurance that the various procedures and controls we utilize to mitigate these threats will be sufficient to prevent disruptions
to our systems, especially because the cyber-attack techniques used change frequently or are not recognized until launched, and because cyber-attacks can originate from a wide variety of sources. If any of these systems do not operate properly or are disabled for any reason or if there is any unauthorized disclosure of data, whether as a result of tampering, a breach of our network security systems, a cyber-incident or attack or otherwise, we could suffer substantial financial loss, increased costs, a disruption of our businesses, liability to our funds and investors, regulatory intervention or reputational damage. The costs related to cyber or other security threats or disruptions may not be fully insured or indemnified by other means. Significant security incidents at competitor global investment firms in which we are not directly impacted could indirectly lead to increased costs from investor due diligence and more extensive and/or frequent regulator inspections.
Cyber security is a top priority for regulators around the world, including the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). In its examination programs, OCIE has prioritized cyber security with an emphasis on, among other things, proper configuration of network storage devices, information security governance, and policies and procedures related to retail trading information security. In addition, many jurisdictions in which we operate have laws and regulations relating to data privacy, cyber security and protection of personal information, including the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in the EU and U.S. state laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) that took effect in January 2020, which provides for enhanced consumer protections for California residents, a private right of action for data breaches and statutory fines for data breaches and other CCPA violations. If we fail to comply with the relevant laws and regulations, it could result in regulatory investigations and penalties, which could lead to negative publicity and may cause our investors to lose confidence in the effectiveness of our security measures.
Our information systems and technology may not continue to be able to accommodate our growth, and the cost of maintaining such systems may increase from its current level. For example, our existing systems may not be adequate to identify or control the relevant risks in investment strategies employed by new investment funds we may introduce. A failure to accommodate growth, or an increase in costs related to such information systems, could have a material adverse effect on us. In addition, we rely on third-party service providers for certain aspects of our business, including for certain information systems and technology and administration of our business development companies, structured credit funds and Investment Solutions segment. For example, Carlyle contracts information system backup and recovery services to a portfolio company. These third-party service providers could also face ongoing cyber security threats and as a result unauthorized individuals could improperly gain access to our confidential data. Any interruption or deterioration in the performance of these third parties or failures of their information systems and technology could impair the quality of the funds’ operations and could affect our reputation and hence adversely affect our businesses.
Our technology, data and intellectual property and the technology, data and intellectual property of our portfolio companies are also subject to a heightened risk of theft or compromise to the extent we and our portfolio companies engage in operations outside the United States, particularly in those jurisdictions that do not have comparable levels of protection of proprietary information and assets such as intellectual property, trademarks, trade secrets, know-how and customer information and records. In addition, we and our portfolio companies may be required to compromise protections or forgo rights to technology, data and intellectual property in order to operate in or access markets in a foreign jurisdiction. Any such direct or indirect compromise of these assets could have a material adverse consequence on us or our investments.
Our global workforce has quickly transitioned to a remote work environment during the pandemic. We depend on our personnel located near Washington, DC, where most of our administrative and operations personnel are centralized, including our treasury, tax, finance, and GTS functions, for the continued operation of our business. However, our global employee base services the needs of our investment funds and investors out of 29 offices around the world. As our business needs evolve, including as part of trends toward remote work, and/or in order to reduce expenses, we may close offices, terminate the employment of a significant number of our personnel or cut back or eliminate the use of certain services or service providers, that, in each case, could be important to our business and without which our operating results could be adversely affected. Furthermore, a restructuring of our corporate real estate that results in the closure of one or more offices could result in significant charges and other costs incurred by us. For example, we are seeking to consolidate our New York City locations into one office located at One Vanderbilt, of which we took occupancy at the end of 2020. Closures or subleasing of existing office space in the future may result in our operating results being adversely impacted.
A disaster or a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our businesses, including a disruption involving electronic communications or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, or directly affecting our headquarters, could have a material adverse impact on our ability to continue to operate our business without interruption. Our disaster recovery programs may not be sufficient to mitigate the harm that may result from such a disaster or disruption. For example, systematic risks such as a massive and prolonged global failure of Amazon or Microsoft’s cloud services could result in cascading catastrophic systems failures. We may also need to commit additional management, operational and financial
resources to identify new professionals to join our firm and to maintain appropriate operational and financial systems to adequately support expansion. The market for hiring talented professionals, including IT professionals, is competitive and we may not be able to grow at the pace we desire.
In addition, we, and our portfolio companies, may not be able to obtain or maintain sufficient insurance on commercially reasonable terms or with adequate coverage levels against potential liabilities we may face in connection with potential claims, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. We may face a risk of loss from a variety of claims, including related to securities, antitrust, contracts, fraud, business interruption and various other potential claims, whether or not such claims are valid. Insurance and other safeguards might only partially reimburse us for our losses, if at all, and if a claim is successful and exceeds or is not covered by our insurance policies, we may be required to pay a substantial amount in respect of such successful claim. Because of market conditions, premiums and deductibles for certain insurance policies, particularly D&O and property insurance, have increased substantially and may increase further, and in some instances, certain insurance may become unavailable or available only for reduced amounts of coverage. Additionally, the dollar amount of claims and/or the number of claims we experience may also increase at any time, which may have the result of further increasing our costs.
Certain losses of a catastrophic nature, such as wars, earthquakes, typhoons, pandemics, terrorist attacks or other similar events, may be uninsurable or may only be insurable at rates that are so high that maintaining coverage would cause an adverse impact on our business, our investment funds and their portfolio companies. Losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic have generally been excluded under most business property insurance properties and business interruption policies and going forward will not be covered under new policies. In general, losses related to terrorism are becoming harder and more expensive to insure against. Some insurers are excluding terrorism coverage from their all-risk policies. In some cases, insurers are offering significantly limited coverage against terrorist acts for additional premiums, which can greatly increase the total cost of casualty insurance for a property. As a result, we, our investment funds and their portfolio companies may not be insured against terrorism or certain other catastrophic losses.
Our portfolio companies also rely on data and processing systems and the secure processing, storage and transmission of information, including highly sensitive financial and medical data. A disruption or compromise of these systems, including from a cyber-attack or cyber-incident, could have a material adverse effect on the value of these businesses. Our investment funds may invest in strategic assets having a national or regional profile or in infrastructure assets, the nature of which could expose them to a greater risk of being subject to a terrorist attack or security breach than other assets or businesses. Such an event may have adverse consequences on our investment or assets of the same type or may require portfolio companies to increase preventative security measures or expand insurance coverage.
Failure to maintain the security of our information and technology networks, including personally identifiable employee and investor information, intellectual property and proprietary business information could have a material adverse effect on us.
We are subject to various risks and costs associated with the collection, handling, storage and transmission of sensitive information, including those related to compliance with U.S. and foreign data collection and privacy laws and other contractual obligations, as well as those associated with the compromise of our systems collecting such information. In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including our proprietary business information and intellectual property, and personally identifiable information of our employees and our investors, in our data centers, on our networks and with our third-party service providers. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of this information are critical to our operations. Although we take various measures and have made, and will continue to make, significant investments to ensure the integrity of our systems and to safeguard against such failures or security breaches, there can be no assurance that these measures and investments will provide protection. For example, in 2020 Carlyle was targeted in an unsuccessful multi-week botnet-sourced password guessing attack. In addition, we and our employees may be the target of fraudulent emails or other targeted attempts to gain unauthorized access to proprietary or sensitive information. For example, we could be the target of wire transfer fraud whereby a third party seeks to benefit from misrepresenting an employee or fund investor by improperly authorizing a wire transfer or change in wire instructions. A significant actual or potential theft, loss, corruption, exposure, fraudulent use or misuse of investor, employee or other personally identifiable or proprietary business data, whether by third parties or as a result of employee malfeasance or otherwise, non-compliance with our contractual or other legal obligations regarding such data or intellectual property or a violation of our privacy and security policies with respect to such data could result in significant remediation and other costs, fines, litigation or regulatory actions against us by the U.S. federal and state governments, the EU or other jurisdictions or by various regulatory organizations or exchanges. Such an event could additionally disrupt our operations and the services we provide to investors, damage our reputation, result in a loss of a competitive advantage, impact
our ability to provide timely and accurate financial data, and cause a loss of confidence in our services and financial reporting, which could adversely affect our business, revenues, competitive position and investor confidence.
We have increasingly undertaken business initiatives to increase the number and type of investment products we offer to retail investors, which could expose us to new and greater levels of risk.
Although retail investors have been part of our historic distribution efforts, we have increasingly undertaken business initiatives to increase the number and type of investment products we offer to high net worth individuals, family offices and other mass affluent investors. In some cases we seek to distribute our unregistered funds to such retail investors indirectly through feeder funds sponsored by brokerage firms, private banks or third-party feeder providers, and in other cases directly to the qualified clients of private banks, independent investment advisors and brokers. In other cases we create registered investment products specifically designed for direct investment by both retail and institutional investors. Our initiatives to access retail investors entail the investment of resources and our objectives may not be fully realized.
Accessing retail investors and selling retail directed products exposes us to new and greater levels of risk, including heightened litigation and regulatory enforcement risks. To the extent we distribute retail products through new channels, including through unaffiliated firms, we may not be able to effectively monitor or control the manner of their distribution, which could result in litigation against us, including with respect to, among other things, claims that products distributed through such channels are distributed to customers for whom they are unsuitable or distributed in any other inappropriate manner. Although we seek to ensure through due diligence and onboarding procedures that the channels through which retail investors access our investment products conduct themselves responsibly, to the extent that our investment products are being distributed through third parties, we are exposed to reputation damage and possible legal liability to the extent such third parties improperly sell our products to investors. Similarly, the hiring of employees to oversee independent advisors and brokers presents risks if they fail to follow training, review and supervisory procedures. In addition, the distribution of retail products through new channels whether directly or through market intermediaries could expose us to additional regulatory risk in the form of allegations of improper conduct and/or actions by state and federal regulators against us with respect to, among other things, product suitability, conflicts of interest and the adequacy of disclosure to customers to whom our products are distributed through those channels.
Extensive regulation in the United States and abroad affects our activities, increases the cost of doing business and creates the potential for significant liabilities and penalties.
Our business is subject to extensive regulation, including periodic examinations, by governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations in the jurisdictions in which we operate around the world. Many of these regulators, including U.S. and foreign government agencies and self-regulatory organizations and state securities commissions in the United States, are empowered to conduct investigations and administrative proceedings that can result in fines, suspensions of personnel or other sanctions, including censure, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer or investment adviser from registration or memberships. Even if an investigation or proceeding does not result in a sanction or the sanction imposed against us or our personnel by a regulator were small in monetary amount, the costs incurred in responding to such matters could be material and the adverse publicity relating to the investigation, proceeding or imposition of these sanctions could harm our reputation and cause us to lose existing investors or fail to gain new investors or discourage others from doing business with us. Some of our investment funds invest in businesses that operate in highly regulated industries, including in businesses that are regulated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and U.S. federal and state banking authorities. The regulatory regimes to which such businesses are subject may, among other things, condition our funds’ ability to invest in those businesses upon the satisfaction of applicable ownership restrictions or qualification requirements. Our failure to obtain or maintain any regulatory approvals necessary for our funds to invest in such industries may disqualify our funds from participating in certain investments or require our funds to divest themselves of certain assets.
In recent years, the SEC and its staff have focused on issues relevant to global investment firms and have formed specialized units devoted to examining such firms and, in certain cases, bringing enforcement actions against the firms, their principals and their employees. We expect a greater level of SEC enforcement activity under the new Administration, and while we have a robust compliance program in place, it is possible this enforcement activity will target practices at which we believe are compliant and which were not targeted by the prior Administration.
It is generally expected that the SEC’s oversight of global investment firms will continue to focus on concerns related to transparency, investor disclosure practices, fees and expenses, valuation and conflicts of interest, which could impact Carlyle in various ways. For example, our private equity funds frequently engage operating executives and senior advisors who often work with our investment teams during due diligence, provide board-level governance and support and advise portfolio