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Information is power

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard chums had the idea people might want to share life's big moments - and the completely inane - with friends, real and virtual. It would never catch on!

It is also a decade since the Corporate Finance Faculty relaunched its monthly newsletter as Corporate Financier magazine. In those 10 years, the global economy and the world of M&A has been through the mill.

In 2004, most people on the Clapham omnibus would have guessed that Fred the Shred was a character on the Muppet Show.

By 2008, they knew different. Greece became a tragedy. The Celtic Tiger lost more than its roar. The world changed and – as we appear to be slowly emerging from the great recession – the world of corporate finance has innovated to keep up.

The advice offered to clients changed in order to address the issues faced by clients. There has been growth in debt advisory and restructuring. Operational and strategy consultants are working more closely on transactions. There has been innovation in due diligence.

The list is a long one. And without wishing to appear too glib, it has been a very interesting decade in which to be writing and editing Corporate Financier. Facebook has 1.3 billion users. We cannot claim that kind of progress, but we do like to think of the faculty’s growing network as more than virtual. The magazine is the face of that.

Also in this issue, we speak to private equity advisers and investors, as the third edition of Private Equity Demystified is published. In 2007, Damon Buffini of Permira and Philip Yea of 3i were two of five private equity heads who were ‘hauled’ before the UK’s Treasury Select Committee to be ‘grilled’ by MPs.

The problem was that the politicians were using hot air to toast private equity’s buttocks. The Corporate Finance Faculty, with authors John Gilligan and Mike Wright, decided to produce Private Equity Demystified to provide an independent view of the sector for MPs, the wider public and the media. Six years on, and the industry has moved on too, as has the debate, in no small part thanks to this publication.

The book, like your magazine, sums up one key aim of the faculty, and a fundamental aim of corporate finance advisers. Decisions can always turn out to have been right or wrong. And the only thing that is foolproof is of course hindsight. But at the very least we can all agree that we must be as well-informed as we possibly can.