Private Equity Reporting Group publishes 11th annual report and Good Practice Guide

14 December 2018

  • 100% compliance against disclosure requirements in the sample of portfolio company annual reports reviewed, up from 79% in 2017
  • Looking at only those companies that fully complied, 73% of the sample reviewed achieved a good rating, down from 80% in 2017

The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG), the body reviewing the private equity industry’s compliance with Sir David Walker’s Guidelines for disclosure and transparency, has published its 11th annual report and latest Good Practice Reporting Guide.

The PERG was established in March 2008 to monitor conformity with the Guidelines 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 2018, all companies reviewed were compliant with the disclosure requirements, compared to 79% in 2017.

Four companies in scope of the Guidelines have not complied with the Guidelines in full. They are Advanced, London City Airport, Pure Gym and Punch Taverns.

The PERG acknowledges that non-compliance is driven by non-BVCA members but it recognises and welcomes the efforts of some non-BVCA members and their portfolio companies to comply with the Guidelines. All BVCA members and their portfolio companies are compliant with the Guidelines or have provided appropriate explanations.

Other highlights include:

  • 73% of the sample reviewed in 2018 achieved a good rating overall, up from 63% in 2017. Comparing this on a like-for-like basis and excluding those companies that were non-compliant, the level of good quality disclosures compared to basic disclosures is lower in 2018 (2017: 80%).
  • 81% of portfolio companies have published an annual report in a timely manner on their website (2017: 78%). 74% have published a mid-year update on their websites in a timely manner (2017: 72%).
  • All members of the BVCA have published certain disclosures on their own websites to communicate information about itself, its portfolio companies and its investors are required by the Guidelines or have provided an explanation.

Alongside the annual report, the PERG and PwC have published the latest version of the Good Practice Reporting Guide for portfolio companies. The Guide has been updated following the review of portfolio company disclosures this year and highlights examples of good practice in order to aid portfolio companies with their narrative reporting next year.

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

“The Walker Guidelines continue to highlight how private equity can be responsible owners, especially in an environment where trust in business is high on the political agenda. The PERG welcomes the compliance of BVCA members and other firms that aspire to provide disclosures to a good standard. In particular, it has been pleasing to see all companies sampled have complied with the disclosure requirements this year. With the introduction of the government’s corporate governance reforms and the related Wates Principles, the spotlight is on large private companies in the UK. Private equity owners and their portfolio companies should therefore seek to continuously improve the level of transparency and quality of their disclosures, especially on gender diversity and human rights issues where improvements need to be made.”

To read the report and the Good Practice Guide, please click here.

Media Contacts

Gurpreet Manku, Deputy Director General and Director of Policy, 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
  3. 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.

    The Guidelines have four main components – three that apply to portfolio companies and a fourth that applies to the private equity firms managing or advising funds that own the portfolio companies:

    • Portfolio companies should prepare disclosures as stipulated in the Guidelines in their audited annual report and financial statements, and prepare a mid-year update.
    • Portfolio companies are required to publish their annual report and a mid-year update in a timely and accessible manner on their company website.
    • Private equity firms should publish certain disclosures on their own website.
    • Portfolio companies are required to share certain data, which is presented in an aggregated performance report by EY to illustrate the contribution of private equity to the UK economy.

    It is important to highlight that the Guidelines operate on a ‘comply or explain’ basis so there is an opportunity to explain non-compliance with the Guidelines.

  4. The Private Equity Reporting Group
  5. The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG) is an independent body that 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. The PERG is chaired by Nick Land, a non-executive director on a number of boards including the Financial Reporting Council and Thames Water Utilities. 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’s private equity business. More information about the PERG can be found here.

  6. Population within the scope of the Walker Guidelines
  7. The number of portfolio companies required to comply with the Guidelines has increased from 52 companies in 2017 to 55 this year.

    The number of private equity firms managing or advising funds that owned portfolio companies within scope decreased from 59 to 51 this year. This includes 24 firms that conduct their operations in a ‘private equity-like’ manner, such as infrastructure, credit and pension funds.