Private equity investors saw record yearly earnings in the boom years of 2005 to 2008 as easy access to financing led to ever-larger leveraged deals. Then it all came to a halt with the global financial meltdown. In 2009, PE firms with reasonable liquidity weathered a tough year as many put their portfolio companies through rigorous restructurings. This year, talk is slowly turning from retrenchment to opportunity, at least in the U.S. and Asia, according to speakers at a recent Wharton Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference titled, "A New Dawn: Investing in the Post-Crisis World." However, private equity managers remain concerned about the broader economic environment, particularly in Europe, where the PE market faced further contraction even before the most recent sovereign debt crisis hit.