EXPERT ADVICE

In November, the European Commission will release a white paper detailing a series of initiatives and recommendations put forward by a group of industry experts to enhance Europe's framework for private equity funds.

The group comprises 14 European private equity practitioners from 10 countries. In early July, it published a report outlining its recommendations to policy makers. The white paper will be based on this report.

The European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA), has high hopes for the projects. Justin Perettson, regulatory affairs manager, explains its significance: “It's the first time Charlie McCreevy, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, has made this kind of initiative. It gives the industry the chance to address both perceptions and misperceptions, as well as raise awareness of the benefits of private equity, such as its contribution to growth and employment.”

Carol Kenney, senior partner at Pantheon Ventures and one of the group's speakers, says the point is to provide evidence-based input showing that private equity can be “a tremendous source for good” in comparison to the more negative image frequently touted in the press.

Kennedy says that a key objective is to standardise regulation across Europe as the private equity industry becomes more transnational: “The rules have had a national focus and don't provide the same treatment for investors in private equity as in public equities.”

That is why the group is urging the EU to remove any obstacles at national level to the development of a single market for private equity funds.

Kennedy, Ulf Soderholm of Andulf Advokat and Allianz's Thomas Pütter will speak at a hearing with the commissioner in late July to discuss the report.

The other members of the expert group are: Monique Cohen, Apax France; Anne Glover, Amadeus Capital Partners; Josyane Gold, SJ Berwin; Javier Loizaga, Mercapital and EVCA chairman; Jan Moulijn, Taros Capital; Vince O'Brien, Montagu Private Equity; Fabio Lorenzo Sattin, Private Equity Partners; Ari Tolpannen, CapMan; Pascal Lagarde, CDC Enterprises; Maria Leander, European Investment Fund; and Julian Tzvetkov, Hungarian Development Bank.

SOVEREIGN BOLSTERS BUSINESS SERVICES
UK lower mid-market private equity firm Sovereign Capital has appointed Phil Hinson as an assistant director. Hinson has spent the last six years at PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance, where he was a founding member of the business services sector team. While at PwC, Hinson focused primarily on the facilities management sector. Prior to PwC, Hinson began his career with Coopers & Lybrand in 1996, where he qualified as a chartered accountant.

BENCHMARK HIRES EUROPEAN PARTNER
Early-stage technology venture capital firm Benchmark Capital Europe has appointed entrepreneur Klaus Hommels as the firm's first European venture partner. Hommels will be based in Benchmark's London office and will primarily focus on new investment opportunities. Prior to joining Benchmark, Hommels spent several years as a private investor with a track record of investing in European technology and media companies including Skype, Midas Player, StarDoll and OpenBC. Before that, Hommels was a partner in the Munich office of US and German venture capital firm BV Capital; he also worked at Apax Partners in Munich and Zurich.

F&C STRENGTHENS PE FUNDS TEAM
F&C Asset Management has appointed Richard Nairn as associate director in its private equity funds team. Nairn has joined the Edinburgh-based private equity funds team from Intelli Corporate Finance, a London and Edinburgh-based corporate advisory company with a focus on asset managers and closed-end investment funds. Nairn has been a manager at Intelli Corporate Finance since February 2001, and has worked on a number of transactions including fundraisings, capital reorganisations, hostile actions, mergers and beauty parades. Prior to Intelli Corporate Finance, Nairn trained and qualified as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

JARVIS' LOVELL TO JOIN TERRA FIRMA
Alan Lovell, chief executive officer of Jarvis, a UK support services business, is joining Terra Firma Capital Partners, the private equity firm founded and run by Guy Hands, to head up a division of portfolio company, Waste Recycling Group. At Terra Firma, Lovell is understood to be examining whether the Waste Recycling division, which specialises in converting waste into energy and has yet to be given a name, should attempt a listing or be sold. Terra Firma bought UK landfill operator Waste Recycling Group for £530.9 million in June 2003. Since then, the firm has returned €327 million to limited partners following a refinancing.

DUKE STREET HIRES FOR FRANCE
Duke Street Capital has appointed Didier Bismuth, formerly a director at Apax Partners France, as a partner in its Paris office. Bismuth, 37, joins Duke Street's French operation, headed by managing partner Frédéric Chauffier. Prior to joining Duke Street, Bismuth spent 11 years at Apax Partners France.

RYAN JOINS AIG EUROPEAN PE TEAM
AIG Global Investment Group has appointed Rhonda Ryan as a vice president and head of its private equity funds group's London team. Ryan is responsible for managing a private equity team of five people, and is in charge of overseeing all European fund investments in conjunction with the team's Zurich-based professionals. She will also be in charge of sourcing, due diligence, monitoring product development and marketing. Before joining AIG Global Investment Group, Ryan was head of private equity at Insight Investment, the asset manager of the Halifax Bank of Scotland group, where she managed a portfolio of over €1 billion for institutional clients.

BENSON ELLIOT HIRES GEERY
Private equity real estate firm Benson Elliot Capital Management has appointed Trish Geery as a partner in the firm. Geery will focus on private equity real estate transactions in France and other continental European territories. She will also be a member of the investment committee for the firm's first fund, Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners II. Geery joined Dubai Investment Group (DIG) in 2004 where she was responsible for more than €1 billion of real estate investments. Geery started her real estate career at Goldman Sachs in New York in 1994 and from 2002 headed the $220 million GS Core Plus Real Estate Income Fund.