In general, private funds fall into two main categories: private equity funds (42%) and hedge funds (24%). However, there are additional smaller types of private funds that include venture capitalist funds (14%), real estate funds (8%), and others (12%). Registered and exempt advisors disclose private funds to the SEC in Form ADV.
The Private Funds database powered by Audit Analytics contains records dating back to 2012 and covers all private funds reported by registered and exempt advisers. There are countless ways to look at this market share, including who audits private funds, fund type, and gross value.
As of 2022, there are 489 firms conducting audits of 59,664 funds in the private funds market. In this analysis, we look at the audit firm market share of private funds broken down by private equity funds, hedge funds, real estate funds and venture capital funds.
Together, the top 10 auditing firms of private funds account for 81.3% of the market share. Similarly to 2021, the top 10 firms were almost identical, with a slight shift in rank between Grant Thornton (GT), EisnerAmper, and Frank Rimerman. However, the Big 4 continued to dominate the market share, auditing 64.6% of all private funds.
Private Equity Funds
Private equity funds are the most common fund type. Therefore, making up 42% of all private funds in 2022. Of the 244 firms competing to audit 24,898 private equity funds, the Big 4 constitute 69% of the market share, a slight decrease from 2021.
Out of all private funds, hedge funds were the only sector to experience a decline in the number of total funds in 2022. There were 215 firms auditing 14,455 funds compared to 15,262 funds in 2021. Although the market dominance of the Big 4 slightly declined, PwC overtook EY as the leader, auditing 22.2% of this market share.
Venture Capitalist Funds
Venture Capitalist Funds is the only private funds sector that is not led by one of the Big 4. Notably, Frank Rimerman & Co outranked PwC in 2022, auditing 1,305 funds among the 8,566 total. Out of the 184 auditing firms, the Big 4 has lost an accumulation of 5% of this market share compared to 2021.
Real Estate Fund
Real Estate Funds is the smallest sector out of all private funds with only 121 firms auditing 4,810 funds. Amongst the Big 4, EY continued to hold the largest market share at 20.1%. Deloitte moved up to third in comparison to 2021. Consequently, leaving KPMG with the least number of audited funds out of the group.
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