Often, private equity funds want to complete a deal that may be too big for the fund or it would be "imprudent" to commit large amounts of capital to one acquisition, leading them to seek additional investors, he said.
But now, it's a model more of Asia's ultra-high net worth individual investors are seeking out, with co-investment opportunities in high demand, said Nicolas Campiche, chief executive officer for alternative investments at Swiss private bank Pictet.
(Read more: CNBC Explains Private Equity)
"It's a way investors can get closer to the real economy – by owning privately-owned companies,"Campiche told CNBC. "For a client who was an entrepreneur, it echoes their own experience."
Investor surveys in the region have noted that Asian investors also tend to be very conscious of costs, indicating that the chance to invest alongside private equity while avoiding much of the fees would likely be attractive.
(Read more: Private equity poised to pounce on southern Europe)
Thompson also noted the serendipity between the region's wealthy and private equity.
"For generations, ultra-high net worth individuals have been [using a] similar kind of approach to what the private equity businesses have institutionalized," Thompson said. "It makes a lot of sense for them to team up," he added.
He also noted that in Asia, co-investors and private equity funds tend to partner for more than just capital.