Posts Tagged ‘Agostinelli’

The 2015 HEC-DowJones Private Equity Performance Ranking

The 2015 HEC-DowJones Private Equity Performance Ranking

Executive Summary

The 2015 HEC-DowJones Private Equity Performance Ranking lists the world’s Top PE firms in terms of aggregate performance based on all buyout funds raised between 2002 and 2011. This ranking answers the question: “Which firm(s) generated the best performance for their investors over the past years?” The ranking draws on a comprehensive set of data on PE fund performance provided by DowJones and directly from PE Firms and uses a unique methodology to calculate the aggregate performance of a PE firm based on difference performance measures for all the funds managed by this firm. The method is able to aggregate performance across vintage years and considers relative and absolute returns. In total, we analyzed performance data from 309 PE firms and the 554 funds they raised between 2002 and 2011 with an aggregate equity volume of $1015bn.

The Ranking: Top 30 out of over 300 PE Firms



Performance Score


Vista Equity Partners



Odyssey Investment Partners



Waterland Private Equity Investments B.V.



Endeavour Capital



Advent International



Clayton Dubilier & Rice



Platinum Equity



Berkshire Partners LLC



ABRY Partners LLC



Astorg Partners



Rhone Capital LLC



Apollo Investment Corp.



Littlejohn & Co. LLC



American Securities LLC



BLUM Capital Partners



Trilantic Capital Partners






Leonard Green & Partners LP



Baring Private Equity Asia



Centerbridge Partners LP



Water Street Healthcare Partners LLC









Hellman & Friedman LLC



Oaktree Capital Management LP






Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC






Lindsay Goldberg LLC



Silver Lake Management LLC



The Private Equity industry is notorious for being opaque and access to any data is chronically difficult. In particular, little is known about the performance and competitive behaviour of the key PE Firms. While performance rankings exists for many other areas (the best ‘business school’, the best ‘place to work’, the best ‘stock market analyst’ etc), nothing worth that name exists in PE.  Until recently, the only available rankings for Private Equity were based on size

alone, which has very limited meaning. Since 2009, HEC Paris and DowJones have joined forces to publish regular rankings of PE Firms based on their historic performance and expected future competitiveness respectively.

Simply Speaking, what does the performance ranking mean?

This ranking answers the question: “Which firm(s) generated the best performance for their investors over the past years?” It draws on performance information from all buyout funds managed by a given PE Firm and aggregates their performance based on a novel and proprietary methodology (see below) into one overall performance score.

What are the data sources behind the rankings?

To obtain a most accurate picture of the universe of PE Firms and their investments, we drew on a variety of available databases and performed a number of cross-checks of the information used in this study. We used the DJX DowJones database as the primary database for fund performance information, in addition to an increasing amount of information directly provided by PE Firms to HEC for the purpose of these rankings.

While HEC has access to additional proprietary information on the activity and performance of

PE Firms (HEC Buyout Database), this data is anonymous and cannot be used for this study.

How have the evaluated PE Firms been selected?

We  gathered  data,  as  of  October  2015,  on  the  universe  of  PE  firms  worldwide  on  which DowJones provides performance data or which provided data directly to HEC for the purpose of the performance rankings. This results in a sample of 309 PE firms and the 554 funds they raised between 2002 and 20011 with an aggregate equity volume of $1015. From this starting sample, we selected all those PE firms that met the following objective criteria:

  • At least 2 funds which raised over the 2002 to 2011 period for which full performance information is available;
  • At least $1000m raised during this time;
  • At least 10 observation years (i.e. the sum of the ‘age’ of all funds as of today);

Why these selection criteria?

It is our intention to limit the analysis to PE Firms that are of relevant scale in terms of their activities. (i.e. minimum capital under management). Also, we want to make sure that we do not

report any ‘one-hit-wonders’, hence the requirement to have at least 2 funds with full performance information and 10 ‘observation years’. We do not consider funds raised after 2010, as their performance is still too unreliable to be judged at this point.

How large and representative is your sample of PE Firms?

The 86 firms that passed the criteria raised 276 funds between 2002 and 2011 with total equity of over $782bn. This corresponds to over 70% of the starting sample in terms of equity.

How has the aggregate past performance been assessed?

Private Equity is an asset class that makes it particularly challenging to assess the aggregate performance of a given PE Firm. Performance is typically recorded at the fund-level (and not for the entire PE Firm). Furthermore, three factors make the aggregation of performance to the firm- level challenging:

  1. Alternative, complementary performance measures are used to assess performance (e.g.

IRR vs. Return Multiple), so that it is not trivial to know what measure to look at.

  1. People disagree whether firms should be assessed according to their absolute performance or based on the performance relative to a performance benchmark.
  2. Private Equity Firms typically manage a number of limited-life funds raised at different vintage years simultaneously and the so-called J-Curve phenomenon makes it difficult to say, whether a 4-year-old fund with a 15% IRR is better or worse than a 7-year-old fund with a 20% IRR.

In a project sponsored by advisory firm Peracs Due Diligence Services, Prof. Oliver Gottschalg from HEC School of Management, has developed a proprietary methodology1 that makes it possible to comprehensively assess the aggregate performance of all funds managed by a Private Equity Firm. The basis for this assessment is the performance of each fund, measured in terms of three complementary performance measures: IRR, DPI (cash-only return multiple) and TVPI (a return multiple that considers accounting values of ongoing investments). We assess performance in each measure both as absolute values and measured against the corresponding performance benchmark, leading to 2*3=6 performance indicators.

These six indicators are then combined for multiple funds based on a proprietary statistical method that considers the empirically-derived historical reliability of performance measured at a given ‘fund age’ as weights. The intuition for this method is as follows: We determined empirically the reliability of performance of funds that are 2, 3, 4… years old. Our sample included detailed data on the evolution of the performance of 492 actual buyout funds over time. Imagine, the performance of a 3-year-old fund predicts its final performance with 35% accuracy, while the performance of a 5-year-old fund predicts its final performance with 70% accuracy. We would then give twice as much weight to performance data of 5-year-old funds than to the performance data of 3-year-old funds in the aggregation. Finally, we combine all six performance measures to a single performance score2 using a standard statistical method called ‘Principal

1 US and International Patents Pending

2 The extracted factor has an Eigenvalue of 5.1 and captures 86% of the total variance of all 6 performance measures.

Component Analysis’. This makes it possible to compare the overall value creation ability of

Private Equity Firms across all their funds.

How to Interpret the ‘Aggregate Performance Score’?

The aggregate performance score is neither an IRR-type annual return measure nor a money multiple. It can only be interpreted relative to the average aggregate performance score of all firms we analyzed: An aggregate performance score of 1 means that a given PE Firm has an aggregate performance that is one ‘standard deviation’ above the average performance, which would position it typically at the 85% percentile, i.e. 85% of all firms would have a lower aggregate performance. Also, an aggregate performance score of 2 means that performance is twice as high as for an aggregate performance score of 1. A PE Firm with the average performance has (by design) an aggregate performance score of 0.

How sensitive are the results to the valuation of unrealized investments?

The valuation of unrealized investments has only a small impact on the rankings. First, we only consider funds that are at least four years old. Second, according to our methodology, young (with relatively more unrealized investments) funds carry less weight in the performance aggregation than older funds, as we consider that the performance of younger funds is inherently less precise. Finally, two of our six individual performance measures (DPI) consider cash-on- cash performance only and ignores valuations of unrealized investments.

What does the ranking not capture?

The Performance Ranking is backward-looking by definition. It cannot capture recent changes in the strategy, the core team or the fund/deal size of a PE Firm. As such, it may not capture all elements of the current competitiveness of a given PE Firm.


The confidential nature of the PE industry makes it impossible to compose a 100% accurate database on private equity and we cannot exclude the possibility of biases in our results due to missing or inaccurate information. However, we rely on the same data sources typically used to compose industry-standard statistics of PE activity and we consider our data by far the ‘best available’ for this kind of analysis.


This material has been prepared on the basis of publicly available information, internally developed data and other third party sources believed to be reliable, however, HEC Paris and Peracs, LLC have not sought to independently verify information obtained from these sources and makes no representations or warranties as to accuracy, completeness or reliability of such information. This material is for information and illustrative purposes only, is not investment advice and is no assurance of actual future performance or results of any private equity segment or fund. HEC and Peracs do not represent, warrant or guarantee that this information is suitable

for any investment purpose and it should not be used as a basis for investment decisions. Nothing herein should be construed as any past, current or future recommendation to buy or sell any security or an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. This material does not purport to contain all of the information that a prospective investor may wish to consider and is not to be relied upon as such or used in substitution for the exercise of independent judgment.

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Robert Agostinelli – Response to “Our Plan for Countering Violent Extremism”, by John Kerry, WSJ, February 19, 2015

Our Plan for Countering Violent Extremism by John Kerry, WSJ, February 19, 2015 

Show the world the power of peaceful communities, and tackle bad governance that breeds frustration.

Throughout our history, we have faced threats from aggression, genocide, chaos and dictatorship. Today we are asked to wage a new war against a new enemy. The battlefield is different, and so are the weapons that we need to overcome that enemy and triumph.

The rise of violent extremism represents the pre-eminent challenge of the young 21st century. Military force is a rational and often necessary response to the wanton slaughters of children, mass kidnappings of schoolgirls, and beheading of innocents. But military force alone won’t achieve victory. In the long term, this war will be won only by deploying a broader, far more creative arsenal.

A safer and more prosperous future requires us to recognize that violent extremism can’t be justified by resorting to religion. No legitimate religious interpretation teaches adherents to commit unspeakable atrocities, such as razing villages or turning children into suicide bombers. These are the heinous acts of individuals who distort religion to serve their criminal and barbaric cause.

A safer and more prosperous future also requires us not to be distracted by divisions grounded in hatred or bias. There is no room in this fight for sectarian division. There is no room for Islamophobia or anti-Semitism. Violent extremism has claimed lives in every corner of the globe, and Muslim lives most of all. Each of us is threatened, regardless of ethnicity, faith or homeland. We must demonstrate to the terrorists that rather than divide us, their tactics unite us and strengthen our resolve.

Toward that goal of unity, and of action, President Obama has been hosting a summit in Washington this week that is bringing together leading figures from local and national governments, civil society, and the private sector around the world. This summit at the White House and State Department will expand the global conversation and, more important, adopt an action agenda that identifies, shares and utilizes best practices in preventing and countering violent extremism. And when world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly next fall, a key topic of discussion will be the steps we’ve all taken to fight extremism based on the agenda we outline this week.

Put simply, we are building a global partnership against violent extremism.

Success requires showing the world the power of peaceful communities instead of extremist violence. Success requires offering a vision that is positive and proactive: a world with more concrete alternatives to the nihilistic worldview of violent extremists. Success requires empowering leaders from Los Angeles to Lagos, Paris to Peshawar, and Bogotá to Baghdad to take the reins in this effort—because terrorists don’t exist in a vacuum. They require acquiescence from the broader population, if not outright support. They recruit among the disaffected and disenfranchised, but also among those of all backgrounds on a misguided quest for meaning and empowerment. They exploit anger, ignorance and grievance.

Eliminating the terrorists of today with force will not guarantee protection from the terrorists of tomorrow. We have to transform the environments that give birth to these movements. We have to devote ourselves not just to combating violent extremism, but to preventing it. This means building alternatives that are credible and visible to the populations where terrorists seek to thrive.

The most basic issue is good governance. It may not sound exciting, but it is vital. People who feel that their government will provide for their needs, not just its own, and give them a chance at a better life are far less likely to strap on an AK-47 or a suicide vest, or to aid those who do.

We must identify the zones of greatest vulnerability, the places that could descend into the chaos that breeds terrorism—or that could turn the corner and be the hotbed of growth or innovation. And then we must tailor our efforts and target our resources to meet the specific needs of those places. It may be training young people so they can get jobs and envision a future of dignity and self-reliance. It may be working to eliminate corruption and promote the rule of law, so that marginalized communities can enjoy security and justice. It’s very likely both, and of course much more.

There are precedents that can lead us. We’ve combated violent extremism before. We know there are tools that work. We also know the power of the international community to make positive progress when we’ve come together to combat other challenges, such as when we combined our efforts most recently to fight Ebola. We need to funnel more resources, creative ideas and energy into the fight against extremism and work closely with effective local organizations and governments to make sure those resources are used properly.

This week’s summit won’t solve all these problems, but it can catalyze a global effort. But let me be clear: We are in this for the long haul. We can send a clear signal to the next generation that its future will not be defined by the agenda of the terrorists and the violent ideology that sustains them; we will not cower, and we will prevail by working together. Indeed, there are roles for everyone, from religious and government leaders to academics, NGOs and the private sector. Our collective security depends on our collective response.

The 20th century was defined by the struggle to overcome depression, slavery, fascism and totalitarianism. Now it’s our turn. The rise of violent extremism challenges every one of us, our communities, our nations and the global rule of law. But the extremist forces arrayed against us require that we charge forward in the name of decency, civility and reason.

Roberts response

We are pleased to read this outline from Secretary Kerry on the “Plan for Countering Violent Terrorism”.  For It states clearly that this Administration remains unwilling to identify the enemy and second has absolute no concrete plan to defeat the enemy.

First Mr. Kerry must start with the predicate identity of the evil the West is now confronted by. It is not some amorphous collection of misguided individuals who have desperately fallen prey to trickery. Nor is it a collection of people who have turned to terrorism for lack of opportunity. OBL was an extremely wealthy man as exhibit A.

This is yes, a War on Terror. To be precise it is a War on Islamist terror waged against us in the first instance by them in their various guises ( Al-Qaeda,Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Hamas,ISIS, ISIL and many others). It also should include their state sponsors.

These warriors may be diffused but they are very clear on their intent in this long war to destroy Israel and/or conquer eventually all of the West at large.  

They are equally clear on their shared religious beliefs and the teachings of their Prophet as the legitimate predicate for their Jihad and its soft and hard forms.

Attempts to avoid this reality or obfuscate the truth simply provide reassuring illusions of comfort that conferences and dialogue and openness can reeducate these “way wards” of the error of their ways.

This is the classic pitfall of the pacifist left and merely serves as a simultaneously flint and incubator for more terror. It simply emboldens the enemy and those who might be swayed.

War is war and the objective of war is to destroy the enemy first and foremost to break their will and to send a message to the layers and waves of soft supporters that we have the will and the means to insure that they will be  absolutely defeated.

Islam implicitly understands and respects only one thing that is power and  strength as much as it disrespects weakness.

Likewise state sponsors of terror must know that The United States will act in defense of its interests and that they risk the tip of our sword if they don’t recede.

Yes Islam, unmentioned in the diatribe from Mr. Kerry must seek better governance and establish a rule of law based on modern values along with democratic institutions which support universally held values of freedom of the individual but again this tension is within Islam for this suggested secular spirit runs counter to the tenants of Sharia which implicitly reject modernity and it’s secular values.

Mr. Kerry, and its likes point to some societal drawbacks which created these misguided individuals. What it is and the evidence for it only remains in the recesses of the liberal mind’s denial to dare identify the reality of this enemy for to do so runs against their life long mantra that grievance and  societies inability to educate and care for these poor lost souls is a how terror comes about.

While satisfying to the leftist desire for “job training programs, eliminating corruption ” and comparing this war to controlling Ebola are all symptoms of the West’s contribution to the problem by ignoring the root problem that lies at its heart.

The insipid and gutless plea by Mr.  Kerry could apply to any tough adversary because in the rose colored world of his kind it is societies fault, never any religion or the individuals.

Robert F. Agostinelli
Palm Beach , Florida

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Robert Agostinelli – Response to ” Another Obama Collision With the Constitution” by Michael Mukasey and David B. Rifkin Jr.

Robert Agostinelli – Response to ” Another Obama Collision With the Constitution” by Michael Mukasey and David B. Rifkin Jr.

Roberts response

The acrobatic evil back flips and triple Jacks that President Obama is willing to go through to undermine our finely balanced system of government is on display every day.  His disregard for the legislature is well documented through appoint of Czars, abuse of the use of executive orders  to unilaterally avoid executing the laws or worse to reinterpret them in accordance with his warped world view. His use of midnight budgetary reconciliation rules to ram through his grand scheme of socialist control of our economy; Obama Care and on and on.

Likewise his abuse and  intimidation of the judiciary branch starting with the high court  contravenes all regard for the balance so implicit in our three branch system.

We need not even include  his daily assaults on state rights, which again strike against the very nature of this Republic.

Now in yet another stunning move

he is asking for an unprecedented invocation of Congress to limit his primary constitutional power of wagging war.

All while simultaneously attempting to impose on Congress sharing of that executive branch power.

This power implicit in the very  title of Commander- in- chief was never meant to be shared  for the logical fear of failure and defeat if decision making was left to a committee.

Now we have  a President demanding c the very conditions for that failure on terms designed to transfer  accountability for it from  his office to them.

Thankfully  we have knowledgeable  guardians of our national interest like Mr. Mukasey and Mr. Rivkin to wake both ourselves and Congress to the evil slight of hand at work in the  latest AUMF.

This sly move is political for sure but worse it is a dagger pointed at the heart of that fine balance of power so struck by our Founders. Here is a man who having recklessly abandoned victor in Iraq which specifically led to the emergence of the virulent disease, ISIS, now setting the stage for future failure and establishment of a  precedent to blame congress.

All while using that same precedent to muddle future Presidents Constitutional power. One has to pause to take in the breath of multiple damage he is attempting to inflict now and in the future.

He is so daring Congress to reject his request in order that he can then in turn deny his ability to act in accordance with his constitutional  power and therefore  accelerate the blame of failure on to them in the face of his already existing accountability.

His own smug mantra of  Leading  from Behind does not fully capture his full intent. Forget national security and national interests. Here is a man who is not even willing to accord the enemy with it’s obvious definition of islamist terror nor affirm their actions as that of an enemy but rather as “random acts” of a group of criminals.

It is terrifying that this seat is occupied by someone so strident as to not offend our enemies yet  so sophisticated and laser focused in his doing so to our own national being.

Robert F. Agostinelli

Pam Beach , Florida

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Robert Agostinelli – Response to” Netanyahu’s Capitol Hill Debacle” by William A. Galston, Wall Street Journal , February 18, 2015

Robert Agostinelli – Response to” Netanyahu’s Capitol Hill Debacle” by William A. Galston, Wall Street Journal , February 18, 2015 

Netanyahu’s Capitol Hill Debacle

The Israeli leader and House speaker are risking a rupture in U.S.-Israel relations – By William A. Galston

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ’s speech to Congress on March 3 will be both a nakedly partisan event and a momentous policy clash.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, House Speaker John Boehner was frank about his motives for leaving the White House in the dark about the invitation. “I wanted to make sure that there was no interference,” he said, citing White House “animosity” toward the Israeli leader: “I frankly didn’t want that getting in the way, quashing what I thought was a real opportunity.” Asked whether he had turned what has been a rare bipartisan issue into a political dispute, Mr. Boehner replied, “We had every right to do what we did”—a debatable response to a different question.

If inviting the prime minister of a major American ally to address a joint session of Congress two weeks before his country’s general election without notifying the president and congressional Democratic leaders isn’t rank partisanship, I don’t know what is. Mr. Netanyahu, who is hardly inexperienced in the ways of Washington, had to know how this would be received. The inescapable inference is that he did not care, and it isn’t hard to see why.

Begin with the obvious. While accepting Mr. Boehner’s invitation in principle, the prime minister could have told the House speaker that he was unable to leave Israel until after the election. There is no part of Mr. Netanyahu’s message to Congress that would be less relevant or influential for U.S. audiences if it were delivered on April 3 rather than March 3. There is only one audience for whom the timing might make a difference—the Israeli electorate.

But this is about much more than electoral politics. For Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is an existential question, as he made clear in a statement last week that Israel has “a profound disagreement with the United States administration and the rest of the P5+1 over the offer that has been made to Iran. This offer would enable Iran to threaten Israel’s survival.”

Mr. Netanyahu is determined to prevent this offer, or anything like it, from becoming U.S. policy. To that end, he is prepared to mobilize a Republican-led Congress against the president, to force longtime Democratic supporters of Israel to choose between him and President Obama—and, if necessary, to turn U.S.-Israel relations into the partisan issue it has rarely been.

And why not? The prime minister views himself as this generation’s Winston Churchill, with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei cast as Adolf Hitler. To bring the U.S. into the looming conflict, Churchill worked with Franklin Roosevelt to overcome a reluctant Congress. Now Mr. Netanyahu must work with Congress to overcome a reluctant president. And like Churchill, Mr. Netanyahu believes that words are his best weapons—words delivered by one man standing alone on a rostrum representing an embattled ally, invoking common interests, shared principles and the bonds of friendship.

The prime minister is confident that he can do this without weakening, let alone rupturing, the relationship between Israel and the U.S. His statement last week featured a long list of past security disagreements between the two countries despite which, he insists, the relationship grew stronger over time.

But this time could be different. In a recent interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic magazine, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. and one of Mr. Netanyahu’s closest advisers, detailed Israel’s concerns:

“Israel’s policy is not merely to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon today; it is also to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon in the future. And Israel is very concerned that a deal will be forged that will not dismantle Iran’s nuclear-weapons capability. . . . That is an outcome that is unacceptable to Israel.” Specifically, Israel lacks confidence that international inspections would prevent the diversion of materials produced by the many thousands of centrifuges that reportedly would remain under the terms of the emerging agreement. And once the sanctions are lifted, the Iranian nuclear program could accelerate.

Mr. Netanyahu must know that even with much tougher sanctions, the chances of overcoming these concerns through diplomacy are low. The most the Iranians will offer falls far short of the least that Israel will accept. The real choices reduce to two: an Iran with some negotiated level of nuclear infrastructure supervised with a rigorous inspection regime, or war.

The prime minister must also know that although Israel’s military could inflict significant damage on Iran’s nuclear program, his country could at best delay Iran’s march to the bomb.

So when Mr. Netanyahu addresses Congress, a question will be lurking in the shadows: If negotiations leave Israel facing what it regards as an existential threat, should the U.S. accept the deal? And if we do not, is there an alternative that would be more effective, at a price that the war-weary American people would accept?

Roberts Response to” Netanyahu’s Capitol Hill Debacle” by William A. Galston, Wall Street Journal , February 18, 2015

The position posited by Mr. Galston is less a complaint than it is an indictment of the reckless attitude that the Executive Branch of the United States has taken toward their own nation’s interests and that of one of their longest standing allies, Israel.

The invitation and acceptance to speak before the joint session of Congress by Prime Minister Netanyahu is neither an insult to President Obama nor an election ploy. Rather it is a long overdue attempt to have the elected representatives of the Nation hear first hand the case to defend those very same interests against our joint dedicated enemy, Iran.

The tradition of foreign leaders speaking before Congress is well established it is a natural dialogue with ample precedent and can only be viewed as “partisan” in the attempt to frustrate such an act as is the case with the Obama Administration.

The focus should not be on these faux upsets but rather on the level of Administration’s misdirection, subterfuge and wholesale undermining of Israel through premeditated leaks, false promises and embrace of our enemy in again disregard for our joint interests.

The flat reality is that there is no deal between the P5+1 and Iran that can reassure the United States, our allies nor Israel that Iran will not get the bomb. There is no set of sanctions and rigorous and as intrusive as they be inspections that can ultimately assure anyone that no bombs will exist. This of course is wholly apart from the growing long range missile arsenal held by Iran.

Prior UN dictates and US policy have been clear not to negotiate around the bottom line of no nuclear capacity with this regime. This extended so called set of negotiations have proved two and only two things; Iran is set in its intent of gaining a nuclear alternative to buttress it’s wild eyed maniacal dream of an extended Caliphate and their oft proclaimed dedicated intent of wiping “little Satan” from the face of the earth and second that President Obama is equally maniacal in his intent at achieving a grand bargain with the Mullahs whatever the cost.

Beyond the reality of this existential threat to Israel made more real by the conscious undermining by the Administration is the certainty that this debacle will indeed lead to two other outcomes; a rapid grab by other gulf states to acquire nuclear weapons and the real risk of a war that the fear mongers so worry will come about by being strong in the face of an enemy today.

These issues must be heard by the American people unvarnished by the lies of the Obama administration. Far from the accusation of partisanship the real concern of this President that both sides of the isle may pause with real concern over why we have abandoned our ally and put their and our security at risk.

A magnanimous leader would have no fear from this speech unless this were the reality.

Far from the public disrespect, the wholly ignorant interludes at attempting peace between Israel and their dedicated enemy Hamas and phony links between the adversarial attitudes elsewhere in the Gulf and the Palestinian question comes this issue. The Unites States is a lifelong supporter of Zion as the spiritual tree of the founding of the Republic. This plea is urgent and very real and speaks to the ultimate reality that Israel is the front line in the war on terror and linked to our security. Let the American people absorb these truths and measure for themselves what Mr. Obama’s real intent is and where his real interests lie.

This is his concern that defines his reaction and why this speech is defining moment in a relationship whose rupture is his sole responsibility.

Robert F. Agostinelli A Founding Member of the Friends of Israel Initiative

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Robert Agostinelli answers 5 Questions with Brett M. Decker – The Washington Times

Robert Agostinelli answers 5 Questions with Brett M. Decker – The Washington Times

Robert Agostinelli

Robert Agostinelli speaking at Friends of Israel

I’ve discovered that if you dig deep enough, the Washington Times is mine of information… -CA

Robert Agostinelli is the co-founder of Rhone, a private-equity firm based in New York, Paris and London. He previously was senior managing director at Lazard Freres, with responsibility for its international-banking business. Before that, Robert Agostinelli founded Goldman Sachs’ international mergers-and-acquisitions operation in London and worked for Jacob Rothschild. A generous philanthropist, Robert Agostinelli is active in charities that support military veterans, especially the wounded, and their families. Robert Agostinelli is on the board of directors of National Review, among other respected institutions. Decker: We both grew up in company towns on the Great Lakes and were raised believing the business of America is business. It now increasingly seems that government is the senior partner in the public-private-sector relationship. How is today’s out-of-control bureaucracy a drag on U.S. competitiveness and the entrepreneurial spirit that made this country great?
Robert Agostinelli: Brett, it is true we both had a similar formation. In Rochester, N.Y., like in your Michigan, in the spreading suburbs, middle-class wealth and upward mobility abounded. Growing up in the postwar boom, you burst out of the house in the morning and jumped on your bike, looking to the horizon where there was no limit to opportunities. Robert Agostinelli: Progressives have taken our tradition of optimism and belief in the individual and perverted it into an ideology based on pessimism and skepticism of the heritage handed down by our nation’s Founders. This is a form of social disease with paralyzing effects on our freedom and prosperity. The bureaucratic encroachment on our daily lives is primarily responsible for hindering growth and opportunity. While there are some limited regulations which are necessary for free markets to operate, and certain institutions — like the Securities and Exchange Commission — can be effective, government is, for the most part, a drain on our competitiveness. Robert Agostinelli: Government is a threat to a sound economy because the fuel to feed Big Brother has only one source: the private sector. The double whammy comes in two forms, taxation and debt. On top of this, miles of red tape place limits on the boundaries of our success and force myopic preferences on consumers and manufacturers. Whether it is green-energy programs, restrictions on energy exploration or albatrosses like the aptly named Dodd-Frank finance bill, the leftist will is imposed on the American people in the name of protecting us from invented evils. The Washington leviathan is the single greatest risk to American global leadership.
Decker: Left-wingers tried to make the 2012 presidential race a referendum on capitalism, particularly in their populist attacks on Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital. Even some Republicans jumped in and criticized so-called “vulture capitalism.” What do today’s occupiers not understand about the rightness of the market system and how capital is allocated?
Robert Agostinelli: The attack on “vulture capitalism” is a core propaganda technique of the radical left. Its populist theme preys on the decency, innocence and, in some cases, ignorance of the electorate, who may not be aware of how capitalism works to the benefit of all. The fallacy in the progressive critique is the egalitarian dogma that no one should get more than what liberals deem is a “fair” reward, nor should there be any risk to anyone to fail. These forced attempts at arbitrary “fairness” are unnatural. That’s just not how the real world works. The “creative destruction” of capitalism is a healthy process that helps allocate capital intelligently and improves life for all people. This is achieved by getting rid of dying entities and freeing up money that is being wasted so it can be invested in more promising endeavors that have a chance at creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.
Decker: In a lecture at the U.S. Naval War College, you warned, “China controls hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars, most from buying U.S. debt. U.S. policymakers must be prepared for possible national-security repercussions.” This risk isn’t considered openly in most discussions about our more than $16.2 trillion in debt. Someone holds those bills and eventually they will come due. What are the consequences of being the largest debtor nation in history, and how can we right this ship?
Robert Agostinelli: No nation can sustain these levels of indebtedness and remain powerful. The Chinese people are committed to assuming their natural rank as a world leader both in economic and military terms. The intersection of their nationalist objective with our national interest is obvious. We are increasingly dependent on third-party nations to finance our debt but are reaching the tipping point. Yes, we are interdependent since China wants our markets for its products, and a sudden shift could devalue their existing holdings — but we need the Chinese more than they need us. Should China decide to minimize purchases of our debt, we would be technically insolvent unless we buy it ourselves. Robert Agostinelli: As Beijing’s leverage over our economy strengthens, a natural hesitancy develops to confront their hegemonic military aspirations in the Pacific. In the absence of our own fiscal prudence, there is great pressure in Washington to cut defense spending, which only emboldens the communists in their quest for supremacy. At the end of the day, though, America’s biggest enemy isn’t the Middle Kingdom but our own profligacy. The most important step to defend U.S. national interest is to balance our books. Robert Agostinelli: Our economy has traditionally been able to manage its social programs by keeping federal spending below 20 percent of gross domestic product. We are approaching 25 percent and projecting even higher; economic growth cannot keep pace to pay for this welfare state, which means evermore deficit spending. There is no future if this crisis isn’t wrestled under control through market-based reforms to entitlement programs and total repeal of Obamacare. As President Reagan stated over 50 years ago, “Nationalized medicine is the fastest route to socialism.” By grabbing control over one-sixth of the economy, Mr. Obama was sentencing us to higher taxation and deficit spending. Our enemies couldn’t ask for a greater coup than having America weakened in this way. While instituting fiscal constraints, we must foster a low-tax environment with less regulation. As economist Arthur Laffer and the policy experience of the Reagan and Bush 43 administrations proved: Lower tax rates lead to economic growth and higher tax revenues.
Decker: During the Iraq war, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took flak for a comment about the fecklessness of “Old Europe,” but it’s true the European Union is on the verge of collapse. Aren’t we in danger of heading in the same direction and becoming finished as an economic and cultural force if we keep making backward fiscal decisions and shunning the country’s founding values?
Robert Agostinelli: Our friend Secretary Rumsfeld was correct then and even more so today. Old Europe has adopted a “Contracte social” welfare state, largely abandoned their Judeo-Christian roots and embraced the false demigods of socialism and illiberal secularism. Combine this dynamic with demographics that are tilting toward an aging and smaller population and you get a civilization that is in a death spiral. Robert Agostinelli: The social disease of political correctness has entered daily life, inverting good to bad and attempting to rewrite proud histories as an imposition of white supremacy for which we all should make contrition. A consequence of this self-loathing is a nearly full abdication of their self-defense. NATO is a shadow of its intended self, and the French and British are sharing one aircraft carrier in a nonsensical joint venture. This retreat ignores the assault of Islamists in every quarter. Utopians placed their hope in continental consolidation, but the European Union is a political contrivance that has merely accelerated all the self-destructive trends, eroded sovereignty and furthered a globalist-socialist ideology espoused by the United Nations. This is the model Barack Obama envisions for America. We must resist. Robert Agostinelli: The current crisis could prove a blessing, however, by forcing Europeans to reflect on what kind of life they want for themselves and their children. I’m a big believer in human nature. Self-interest should prevail and help roll back the tide of centralization and reassert the right of the individual. It took one Margaret Thatcher to alter the socialist course in Britain, and our dear friend President Jose Maria Aznar fought to hold back the same forces in Spain. We can do it in America before it’s too late, but the clock is ticking.
Decker: What keeps you up at night?
Robert Agostinelli: Our Union is under assault by a president who is in active denial of the age-old virtues of this Republic. His custody of our trust has been an abomination. Our economy is floundering. Individuals, businesses and trading partners see nothing but uncertainty and a regime of unbridled public spending, looming taxation and multiplying regulations which are strangling commerce and our freedom. Our foreign policy is in shambles. Allies are uncertain of U.S. fidelity, while our enemies run roughshod over the planet — including murdering a U.S. ambassador — with no consequences. What keeps me up is the idea that we as Americans — as a God-fearing nation of the free and home of the brave — were duped again and re-elected a leftist who believes he needs to apologize to the world for U.S. history. How can the last, best hope of mankind be led by a politician who doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism?
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