IR trade body to launch this summer

Private equity’s investor relations professionals will have their own UK trade body from this summer. The launch of PEIRA, which will focus primarily on training and networking, comes as the industry faces increasing pressure to improve its public image.

The UK private equity industry is continuing its attempts to improve its reputation for transparency, with the launch of a trade body designed to promote best practice in investor relations.

The Private Equity Investor Relations Association, which launches this summer, will provide IR, marketing and client relations professionals with a “support, networking and resource centre”, while representing their views to investors and regulatory bodies. It also plans to publish research on investor sentiment and IR issues, although exact details remain unspecified at this stage.

The initiative is being backed by the BVCA, whose IR committee also aims to promote best practice for IR professionals. However, PEIRA is expected to focus more on education and training, while the BVCA continues its lobbying and policy-making role. Vince O’Brien, a director at Montagu Private Equity and former chairman of the BVCA, said PEIRA’s main remit would be to provide “support and development resources” to the IR community.

O’Brien and Thomas Kubr, chief executive of Capital Dynamics, will form part of a “high-level” non-executive advisory board, the other members of which have not yet been named. There will also be an executive board of investor relations professionals.

Kate Goodall, head of client relations at Capital Dynamics and a founding member of PEIRA, accepted that the launch of the trade body reflected the industry’s need to improve its image: “At a time when private equity is finding itself under the media and political spotlight, PEIRA has been formed to provide training and promote best practice communications in the industry.”