What exactly is Private Finance, and why would I use it?

By Stephen Clark | Sunday 3rd December 2023 | 2 minute read

Private finance refers to financial activities, transactions, and funding sources that occur outside the public markets and are typically arranged between private entities.

Unlike public finance, which involves transactions in the public markets where securities are bought and sold openly, private finance transactions are conducted in a more discreet and often negotiated manner. Private finance encompasses a broad range of financial activities, including loans, investments and other financial arrangements, that occur in, as the name suggest 'private'.

Private finance chess and gold

The key benefits and characteristics of private finance

Less regulatory scrutiny

Private finance transactions are subject to fewer regulatory requirements compared to public transactions. While there are still regulations in place to ensure fair and transparent dealings, private finance allows for more flexibility and customisation in financial arrangements, especially when the finance is of a commercial nature as opposed to a private main residence.

Customisation and flexibility

Private finance arrangements often offer greater flexibility and customisation compared to standard public financial instruments. Parties involved can negotiate terms that specifically meet their needs and objectives.

Diverse financial products

Private finance involves a wide array of financial instruments, including private equity, venture capital, private debt, mezzanine financing, and other alternative investments. The names given to these diverse products can include Bridging Finance, Commercial Finance, Development Finance to name just a few of the instruments that cater to various investment preferences and risk profiles.

Investments in private companies

Private finance often involves investments in privately held companies, which are not traded on public stock exchanges. Private investors, for example, acquire ownership stakes in private companies with the aim of increasing their value and eventually realising a profitable exit.

Debt transactions

Private finance also includes private debt transactions where lenders provide financing to individuals or companies in exchange for interest payments and the eventual return of principal. Private debt can take various forms, such as bank loans, mezzanine debt, or peer-to-peer lending.

Venture capital and startups

Venture capital, a subset of private finance, focuses on providing funding to startups and early-stage companies with high growth potential. Venture capitalists typically take an equity stake in the companies they invest in.

Real estate financing

Private finance is prevalent in development finance, with investors providing capital for real estate development, acquisitions, and other projects. Private real estate financing can include both equity and debt investments.

High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and Family Offices

High-net-worth individuals and family offices often play a significant role in private finance. They may invest directly in private companies, real estate projects, or other alternative assets.


Due to the private nature of these transactions, private finance often involves a level of confidentiality and discretion not typically found in public markets. Parties involved may prefer to keep details of their financial arrangements private.

Private finance is dynamic and diverse, providing a range of opportunities for investors and borrowers alike. It offers flexibility, customisation, and the ability to tailor financial arrangements to specific needs, making it an attractive option for those seeking alternatives to traditional public market financing.

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