Private Equity Reporting Group publishes 10th annual report

8 December 2017

  • Tenth anniversary report highlights greater transparency of the UK private equity industry
  • Compliance in the sample reviewed falls to 79% in 2017 from 86% in 2016; non-compliance driven by non-BVCA members
  • 63% of the sample reviewed achieved a rating of good or excellent, up from 57% in 2016, rising to 80% for compliant companies (2016: 67%)

The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG) the body established to review the private equity industry’s transparency and disclosure, has published its 10th annual report on disclosure and transparency in private equity.

PERG, formerly known as the Walker Guidelines Monitoring Group, was established in March 2008 to monitor conformity with the Guidelines recommended by Sir David Walker in 2007 and make periodic recommendations to the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA).

Each year, a sample of approximately a third of portfolio companies that fall within the scope of the Guidelines are reviewed for compliance with the disclosure requirements. In 2017, compliance fell again to 79%, against 86%. This fall is attributed to the failure of some private equity firms and their portfolio companies to embed the 2014 revisions of the Guidelines , and the continued rise in reporting standards by FTSE 350 companies, the benchmark PERG uses for judging compliance.

The PERG acknowledges that within the sample reviewed, all BVCA members and their portfolio companies are compliant with the Guidelines or have provided appropriate explanations. Non-compliance is unfortunately driven by non-BVCA members, although the PERG recognises the strong efforts by some non-BVCA members and their portfolio companies to comply with the Guidelines.

Six portfolio companies included in the sample have not complied with the Guidelines in full. They are Advanced, Village Hotels, Camelot, MRH, London City Airport, and NGA Human Resources.

Other highlights include:

  • Sixty-three percent of the sample reviewed in 2017 achieved an overall rating of good or excellent/”best in class”, up from 57% in 2016. Excluding non-compliant companies, the level of good quality disclosures compared to basic disclosures is actually higher this year at 80% of the sample compared to 67% in 2016.
  • Seventy-eight percent of portfolio companies have published an annual report in a timely manner on their website. This rises to 93% where companies uploaded their annual report after the initial deadline. Seventy-two percent have published a mid-year update on their websites in a timely manner.
  • The PERG reviewed the websites and/or annual reports of all private equity firms covered by the Guidelines to assess compliance with applicable disclosure obligations relating to their own activities. All members of the BVCA have met these requirements.

Nick Land, the Chairman of the Private Equity Reporting Group, said:

“Since its creation in March 2008, the Private Equity Reporting Group has driven the private equity industry to greater levels of openness and transparency, continuing to raise reporting standards and updating the Walker Guidelines to ensure they remain relevant and fit for purpose. Its impact has been felt across the asset class with almost all private equity firms, whether they fall within the scope of the Group or not, now far more open than they were 10 years ago.

Whilst it is disappointing that compliance with the disclosure requirements in the sample reviewed fell this year, we need to highlight the efforts of BVCA members as this fall in compliance was not attributable to them. Excluding non-compliant companies, the quality of reporting did improve. We will continue to encourage firms to aspire to the highest standards of reporting, particularly given the UK government’s work on corporate governance and its recognition of the efforts made by the industry through its support of the Walker Guidelines.

With the increasing scrutiny on the behaviour of large private businesses, the Guidelines and the work of the PERG remains critical to demonstrate how private equity can be responsible owners. The PERG will continue to promote the importance of the Guidelines and their value to the industry and its stakeholders.”

To read the report, please click here

Media Contacts

Gurpreet Manku, Assistant Director General, BVCA
gmanku@bvca.co.uk

Tom Allchorne, Director, Communications, BVCA
tallchorne@bvca.co.uk

Note to Editors

  1. The annual report of the Private Equity Reporting Group can be found here
  2. The Walker Guidelines
    In February 2007 the BVCA asked Sir David Walker to undertake an independent review of the adequacy of disclosure and transparency in private equity, with a view to recommending a set of guidelines for conformity by the industry on a voluntary basis. This review resulted in the publication of the Guidelines in November 2007.
  3. The Private Equity Reporting Group
    The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG) is an independent body which was established in March 2008 to monitor conformity with the Guidelines and make periodic recommendations to the BVCA for changes to the Guidelines if required. Formerly known as the Walker Guidelines Monitory Group, PERG is chaired by Nick Land, a non-executive director on a number of boards including the Financial Reporting Council and Vodafone Group. He is supported by two other independent members: Baroness Drake, former president of the TUC, and Glyn Parry, Director of Group Financial Control at BT Group. Representing the private equity industry are Ralf Gruss, Chief Operating Officer at Apax Partners, and Tony Lissaman, Chief Operating Officer of 3i Group private equity business. More information about PERG can be found found here
  4. Population within the scope of the Walker Guidelines
    The number of portfolio companies required to comply with the Guidelines has decreased from 60 companies in 2016 to 52 this year, a result of 13 exits and five new transactions.
    The number of private equity firms managing or advising funds that owned portfolio companies within scope decreased by 15, from 74 to 59 this year. This includes 37 firms that conduct their operations in a ‘private equity-like’ manner, such as infrastructure, credit and pension funds, which outnumber private equity firms by 15.

© PERG

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