A private equity fund is a collective investment scheme used for making investments in various equity (and to a lesser extent debt) securities according to one of the investment strategies associated with private equity.
Private equity funds are typically limited partnerships with a fixed term of 10 years (often with annual extensions).
At inception, institutional investors make an unfunded commitment to the limited partnership, which is then drawn over the term of the fund.
From the investors’ point of view, funds can be traditional (where all the investors invest with equal terms) or asymmetric (where different investors have different terms).
A private equity fund is raised and managed by investment professionals of a specific private equity firm (the general partner and investment advisor).
Typically, a single private equity firm will manage a series of distinct private equity funds and will attempt to raise a new fund every 3 to 5 years as the previous fund is fully invested.