What was your most significant deal of the year?

Our most significant deal was our investment in J.McLaughlin, a designer and multichannel retailer of classic American sportswear. The company fits perfectly within our investment strategy; it’s a fantastic brand with deep customer loyalty and numerous growth opportunities.

William (Bill) Barnum, 61

Title: Partner

Firm: Brentwood Associates

Rank: Private equity, No. 18

Years at firm: 30

Residence: Pacific Palisades

How do you stay ahead of the game and get access to deal flow others don’t have?

Our team has been together for many years and we’ve been in the industry for a long time. As a result, we have developed strong relationships in the deal community, which results in us having access to deals that fall in our areas of focus.

How do you choose your partners in the deals you pursue?

We don’t partner with other firms on a regular basis as our investor base is very active in supporting our transactions through co-investments.

What trends are you seeing in the sectors in which you specialize?

Strong brands with a high level of customer engagement continue to receive customer loyalty. This is not a new trend, but one that continues to drive our investment focus.

Is the work always about getting the largest return possible or are other factors just as important?

We are not focused solely on getting the largest return possible. Our strategy is based on maximizing risk-adjusted returns. We are also very focused on business practices and ethics within our portfolio.

How has doing deals changed since you first got into private equity?

The industry is less opportunistic and more driven by strategic focus and specialization. For example, our firm has evolved from being generalists to focusing on companies serving consumers. Entrepreneurs understand the value that can be obtained from an investor who has significant experience in their market.

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