“The level of understanding of private equity in policy circles is extremely low. There is both a lack of understanding and a lack of knowledge, and either of them is problematic from a public policy standpoint.”

Douglas Lowenstein of the Private Equity Council in Washington

“Private equity is a misnomer now given the scale of the industry – we are in the public market.”

Nick Ferguson, head of SVG Capital, a London-listed private equity specialist and the largest investor in funds advised by Permira

“We've won the intellectual argument, but when the mob speaks, emotion wins, not intellect. It's not a fair attack on private equity, but an emotional one, and we're just not used to dealing with it. Why is private equity being singled out, but Richard Branson or Philip Green, who have made enormous amounts of money for themselves despite the occasional failure, have escaped censure, and have instead been knighted? It is because the public can understand who these people are.”

Guy Hands of Terra Firma Capital Partners, speaking at an industry gathering in March