We support SoftBank Group to set up a private equity technology fund

Setting the scene

SoftBank Group, the multinational telco, technology and investments company, partnered with high-profile institutional investors to launch the world’s largest private equity fund – the US$93 billion, technology-focused SoftBank Vision Fund.

Entering the private equity market for the first time, our client needed to build a business from scratch. This meant establishing all the components of a new private equity business including Fund structure, Fund manager and Fund investment adviser capabilities.

The task ahead of us was to build all of the functions and processes from front office through to back office to deliver the SoftBank Vision Fund’s Target Operating Model, along with the necessary entity structure and regulatory permissions and approvals.

"PwC brought industry expertise, strength and depth to the build out; quickly mobilising a core team and bringing in specialists and support from different disciplines and geographies. We move at speed in SoftBank and they mobilised quickly and executed against our ambitious targets for rolling out the fund. There are few firms that can bring this strategy to execution and deliver at pace - the PwC team delivered all of this and more."

Jonathan Bullock, COO, SoftBank Vision Fund

What we did

To support the launch of the Fund, PwC was engaged to design, implement and embed a ‘best in class’ global operating model.

To achieve this within an aggressive timescale we mobilised a core team of investment management specialists with a track record of setting up alternative investment funds. This team - which consisted of up to 57 multidisciplinary advisers - created a Programme Management Office to co-ordinate the disparate teams, drive progress and steer 12 work streams.

After the initial eight week set-up period, we helped to appoint a fund administrator, supported the fund legal entity structuring and set up and navigated the fund through local regulator authorisation processes in Jersey. By the end of this period SoftBank had a registered fund structure eligible to admit investors.

As subsequent phases of the project unfolded, we supported SoftBank with the SEC and JFSA registration of the fund’s Investment Advisers, established a public market securities trading capability and ran the selection processes to appoint trading counterparties, prime brokers, investment operations and custody providers. We also supported SoftBank by reviewing the Group’s existing HR function and how this could provide these services to the investment adviser entities, provided advice on issues like cyber security, and provided a ‘run’ team to initiate the operation of the fund after the fund closed.

Making a difference

Saturday 23 May saw the first close of the SoftBank Vision Fund. In the seven months leading up to this milestone date we designed and delivered the operating model and infrastructure and enabled the fund to help its investors to complete their due diligence.  We continue to support the phased roll out of the Fund with a UK authorisation application for the investment adviser and supporting the initial investments as it begins to deploy its capital and realise the vision of the fund.

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