Conditions remain challenging for private equity firms. For funds that closed in the second quarter of 2010, US$41bn was raised, down from US$92bn in the same quarter last year and US$195bn in the second quarter for 2008, according to Preqin, a research firm. And as this blog has addressed before, the effort required to raise even these more modest sums is rising; the average time it takes to close a fund now stands at nearly 20 months.