Strong influence of technology in the PE arena

Ross Johnson, DFIN

DFIN: Best Risk Management Software Provider – Technology is having a strong influence on the way deals are executed the private equity space. Developments in software as a service (SaaS) are also having an impact on the effective efficiencies around deal execution. Known for creating efficiencies and streamlining processes in many industries, technology is supporting PE firms to create a competitive advantage in what is often a crowded market.

Risk and compliance solutions provider DFIN focuses on providing technology solutions to help PE firms work more efficiently. The firm says its data processes deliver the insights PE investors need to make confident decisions. 

Ross Johnson (pictured), MD, sales, private equity & capital markets, DFIN, says: “We’re heavily investing in our technology and SaaS product offering and will continue to do so. Quarter by quarter we are continuing to see SaaS revenue growth and we’re committed to innovating and continuing to execute with our PE partners in this space.”

He makes reference to the firm’s integrated contract analytics platform, which is driven by AI and machine learning. “This platform is looking to drive efficiencies within due diligence and deal manipulation in execution,” Johnson notes.

DFIN’s integrated service platform offers a broad range of engagement touch points across the lifecycle of a portfolio company.

“We have a long standing history within the PE vertical and a robust coverage team that’s set out across the global platform. We have long engaged with portfolio companies throughout the whole life cycle of their PE firm investment,” Johnson explains.

As regulation around data proliferation increases, PE managers are demanding more support to protect the data they collect and hold. PE firms gather data from a variety of sources and their diversity can make their data particularly attractive. Therefore, having a robust infrastructure to protect this information is more vital than ever before.

Data privacy and automated redaction is one of DFIN’s newly launched capabilities. Data privacy, protection and security have never been more important, or more confusing. “Companies need to be aware of legislations that are pending and on the cusp of being enacted, and they should be prepared to adapt quickly to the changing landscape of data privacy,” advises DFIN’s Chief Information Security Officer, Dannie Combs.

Discussing the PE landscape more generally, Johnson muses: “Capital raising in the market was still strong at the beginning of the year; the inflows over the course of 2019 remained very robust. This was despite the worsening macro trends which have been accelerated by recent global and political issues.”

“Since then however valuations are bound to be impacted through the rest of the year. But despite this, it’s never been more apparent, that PE firms need key robust, consistent and innovative partners to play their part and ensure they can add value,” Johnson concludes. 


Dannie Combs
Chief Information Security Officer, DFIN

As SVP, Chief Information Security Officer, Dannie Combs has overall responsibility for cybersecurity at Donnelley Financial Solutions, a publicly-traded, full-service solutions provider for regulatory compliance, capital markets transactions, and shareholder communications. Dannie brings 24 years of cybersecurity and information assurance experience to Donnelley Financial Solutions. 

Ross Johnson
Managing Director, Sales, DFIN

Ross Johnson started his career as a Consultant at The Hydrogen Group working in the Media & Telecoms sector before joining the Group Business Development team at United Business Media, which focussed on strategic sales initiatives across the Group, and Group wide, enterprise agreements, joint ventures and alliances.

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