Veterans of our awards process will know the drill by now. But given the number of new participants we attract each year – for which we are very grateful – and also the voluminous number of categories we ask you to vote on, we thought a guide to our awards process was in order.
How we draw up shortlists
Our shortlists are drawn up based on two main factors – submissions from the industry, which we call for every year, and editorial team expertise, drawn from our coverage and conversations with sources. These form the basis for our considered selection process, which takes place between the end of our call for submissions and the start of voting.
For fairness’s sake, we make the end of our call for submissions the hard deadline to consider eligible entries. That means if a deal or a fund closes after our call for submissions deadline, we would only consider it in the following year’s edition. For example, if we closed award submissions on 19 November 2021 we will be capturing the previous 12 months from that date.
Our shortlists are independently compiled and nominated by our editorial team – we do not rely on judges’ panels and are not swayed by sponsorship.
What goes into our categories?
All award nominations are inherently subjective. Our choices account for a mixture of qualitative and quantitative criteria, including non-financial considerations, when selecting what goes into each category. We are looking for evidence of how active, but also how innovative, a firm has been. To use a deal example, we do not just nominate the biggest deals of the year (though scale may well feature). We also look for transactions that are unique in some fashion.
We believe our award category labels are mostly self-explanatory, but do not hesitate to get in touch if you want to learn more about what comprises each. Put simply, there is not an exhaustive list we can give you, especially considering how new investments crop up every year that often expand the boundaries of the asset class.
We can, however, give you a few pointers based on some broad categories:
Firm of the Year: This category tries to capture everything of note a manager has done over the preceding 12 months. This includes deals, capital formations and other noteworthy initiatives. We start with all activities closed or that have reached a conclusion within the 12-month period. But, unlike in other categories, we will consider initiatives, fundraisings and deals that have started, but not yet concluded. Also please note the following for this category:
- When looking at transactions, we place greater emphasis on deals where the group deployed capital – ie, was a buyer rather than a seller.
- Size is often an important factor, and larger fundraises and transactions will typically hold greater weight than smaller fundraises and transactions in the nominations process.
- Although deal or fundraising sizes do matter, we also look at other ways a particular transaction or fundraise may be significant, such as if it represents a milestone or a strategic move for the group.
- With the exception of extremely large deals, strategic investments (such as joint ventures where a group will be entering or expanding in a geographic market or sector through a series of investments) will hold greater weight than individual asset or portfolio transactions.
Fundraising of the Year: In this category, we are only looking at fundraising processes which have reached a close within the 12-month period under consideration. Fundraisings that have started or are still underway will be considered but generally carry less weight. Regional fundraisings will consider whether a fund will be invested significantly in the region for which it is being nominated. Non-discretionary and retail capital can be included in the total figure. If possible, please provide a breakdown of the capital raise – ie, discretionary versus non-discretionary, institutional versus retail.
Sustainable Investor of the Year: This is a new category for the PDI Awards. In this category, we will consider institutions that have made a key achievement in environmental, social and governance investing in the 12-month period. A key achievement can include one or more of the following: setting an ESG-related target, such as pledging to be carbon neutral or to increase diverse hiring by a specific date; making an ESG-related senior appointment in private debt, such as the hire of a new head of ESG or the hire or promotion of a diverse candidate into a top role; launching or closing an ESG-related fund or loan; or making a significant ESG-related investment, such as the launch of a net-zero carbon project.
Law Firm of the Year: Typically, the bigger and better-known the client is, the stronger the submission is. Similarly, larger fundraises and deals will hold greater weight. However, while size does matter, we will also consider other factors, such as whether the fundraise or transaction represented some type of milestone for the client or the industry. For transactions, please note the size of the deal, the significance of the deal and any major institutional investor partners in the deal. For fundraising, the size and the pace of the capital raise, along with any publicly disclosed investors, would be important details to include.
What we want from your submissions
Be ‘brief and to the point’ is probably the best piece of advice we can offer. That means a maximum of 500 words per category you are submitting. Furthermore, we require you to send us individual submissions for each category. Finally, all submissions need to be sent in PDF format.
As to what goes into each submission, our key requirement is that you only submit information relevant to the category you are applying for and make it clear why your submission is relevant. For example, if you are submitting for a Deal of the Year category, make it clear when your deal reached close. If it didn’t close during the period under consideration, please don’t submit it.
We also ask you to be as detailed as possible – mentioning asset or vehicle names, counterparties, relevant dates and other important information – and to clearly label what is confidential about your submissions, otherwise we reserve the right to use the content you submit in our writeups. On confidential items, please consider the value of submitting them if they cannot be included in our citations. One workaround is to state something as ‘non-attributable’.
What are the deadlines for 2021’s Awards?
Wednesday, 3 November is our call for submissions
Friday, 19 November is our deadline for submissions
Monday, 6 December is the revelation of nominations and launch of voting
Friday, 7 January is when voting closes
Tuesday, 1 March is when the winners are announced
We haven’t specified a word count limit and instead say we would appreciate shorter, more succinct submissions – a blurb highlighting, for example, a firm’s five most important achievements in the past year would suffice.