EVCA revamps data gathering process

The Brussels-based trade body has unveiled a new research platform to provide “neutral, bias-free” data on private equity and venture capital activity in Europe.

The European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA) has launched PEREP Analytics, a data gathering platform for industry activity in Europe.

Funded by EVCA, PEREP’s aim is to become the “independent database of private equity activity in Europe and will be closely monitored by its governing board”, according to a statement. Javier Echarri, EVCA’s secretary general, told PEO in an interview that PEREP’s mandate to provide “neutral, bias-free data and research” for the industry was “extremely important”.

To ensure objectivity of the information being produced by PEREP, the governing board chaired by Professor Christoph Kaserer of Munich Technical University will provide supervision and audit all research processes. Also on the board are Professors Stefano Caselli of Milan’s Bocconi University; Markku Maula of Helsinki University of Technology; Mario Levis of the Cass Business School in London; and Philippe Desbrieres of Université of Bourgogne. Bernard Felix of Eurostat in Luxembourg completes the line-up.

“The board is fully in charge of the development and the evolution of PEREP’s methodology,” Echarri said. The first set of PEREP numbers on investment, fundraising and exit activity to be used by the industry will be published at EVCA’s Investors’ Forum in Geneva next week.

The quality and integrity of private equity data has been a point of contention ever since the industry came under intense scrutiny as a result of the buyout boom. Only two weeks ago the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) came under pressure when its findings on jobs created by private equity in Britain were described as “dodgy” by Jon Moulton, founder of BVCA member Alchemy Partners, because it did not take into account the jobs that are lost when private equity-backed businesses fail.     

According to Echarri, EVCA’s board decided in October 2006 to create PEREP. Beta-testing of the PEREP software began in the second half of 2007. “It is a work in progress, and we have been surprised how quickly other European industry associations have decided to join this initiative,” said Echarri.

So far the bodies representing private equity firms in Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and Sweden have endorsed the new platform.

Echarri said EVCA and BVCA, which gathers its own activity data, are currently discussing how to most effectively pool resources. 

EVCA’s annual survey of its members’ investment performance will continue to be produced by Thomson Financial.