PERG | PERG writes to BVCA to begin Walker Guidelines root and branch review and refresh

PERG writes to BVCA to begin Walker Guidelines root and branch review and refresh

At the beginning of 2007, Sir David Walker was asked by the BVCA and a group of major private equity firms to undertake an independent review of the adequacy of disclosure and transparency in private equity. Sir David completed this with a view to recommending a set of guidelines by the industry on a voluntary basis. The Guidelines were named the Sir David Walker Guidelines for Disclosure and Transparency in Private Equity and were established in 2008.

Private equity, via the implementation of the Sir David Walker Guidelines for disclosure and transparency in private equity (Walker Guidelines), is focused on demonstrating its commitment to transparency by publishing additional information on its largest UK businesses publicly. The industry understands that transparency strengthens business accountability. It enables a business to establish trust with its stakeholders, including customers, employees, and investors. It also enhances accountability by providing the necessary information for stakeholders to evaluate your organisation's performance and impact. The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG), formed to monitor implementation, reviews private equity’s compliance with the Walker Guidelines annually with support from the BVCA and advisors. Each year this review is finalised with the publication of three reports.

The Guidelines were last updated in July 2014 to incorporate new narrative reporting requirements applying to quoted companies in the Strategic Report, and in 2022 to update the PERG website, set out communications plans and improve understanding of the Guidelines. Given the period of time since the last update of the narrative reporting requirements, the PERG recommended to the BVCA that a fuller review begin in 2023 to update the Guidelines. The PERG had originally wanted this exercise to coincide with government reforms, via Statutory Instrument and primary legislation. Since this legislation was not, in the end, brought forward in Parliament, the PERG, via a letter written to Michael Moore, BVCA Chief Executive, has recommended that the BVCA conduct this refresh in 2024. The letter sets out a key question that the refresh should seek to answer: do the Guidelines and the metrics deployed in the attribution analysis continue to achieve the original aims of the Guidelines? The PERG has also set out its key aims for the refresh, which will be completed by February 2025.

This review is to be accompanied by a broader programme of engagement with interested and relevant stakeholder groups such as government departments, regulators, trade unions and other commentators. The BVCA will run a consultation in the summer which will set out proposals and updates to the Walker Guidelines. Please contact Ciaran Harris, Policy Manager at the BVCA, for more information.