Blackstone’s Murphy takes helm at Invest Europe

Blackstone Europe chairman Gerry Murphy, who succeeds Quadriga Capital’s Max Römer, will focus on transparency and reputation during his tenure.

Dr Gerry Murphy, senior managing director and chairman of Blackstone Europe, has been named the new chair of industry association Invest Europe.

Murphy takes over the role from Quadriga Capital founding partner Max Romer. Invest Europe’s membership is divided across four platforms – venture capital, mid-market, large buy-out, and limited partners – and the chairmanship rotates between each platform.

Murphy joined Blackstone’s team in 2008. His primary role is to support the firm’s activities across Europe and Asia.

Prior to joining Blackstone Murphy spent 25 years in various roles at public companies across Europe, including as CEO, director, and committee chairman. As such, “my standards for transparency and reporting are those of big public companies”, Murphy told Private Equity International.

“I’m very keen to support Invest Europe’s initiatives in that regard,” Murphy said.

“We have a very effective campaign within Invest Europe to improve professional standards, to improve transparency, which is very much the kind of thing I’d like to see. I want to see how I can advance that agenda, both inside of the organisation and with other stakeholders.”

Murphy said the reputation of the private equity industry as a growth stimulator and producer of superior returns is what gives the industry as a whole a “licence to operate”.

“We need to continually remind our stakeholders of the performance of the industry. Long-term performance of something like 15% IRR net of all fees is about double what investors get from the public markets over the long term,” Murphy says.

“That’s why we exist. That’s why pension funds invest in our firms and our funds, because they need those returns to average up their economics for their stakeholders.”

“There’s a lot of very good stories to tell about the industry that go to its reputation. And we need those to be understood so that we get the right kind of hearing when the challenges emerge around issues like leverage and tax and fees, for example.”

Invest Europe’s agenda is set by its board, with input from national associations. Key themes for the industry association – continuing to work with regulators on the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, supporting the Capital Markets Union, and engaging with the debate around the OECD’s Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) project – will remain a priority.

“A single market for capital is a pretty important high-level objective,” Murphy said.

On AIFMD, Invest Europe will continue to work to resolve issues around passporting for third countries, as well as preparing for AIFMD II.

“We want to ensure the freedoms that we have in AIFMD I for our kind of capital don’t get eroded,” Murphy said. “Hopefully we can address some of the technical issues that have emerged.”