Riverside Company and a group of portfolio company executives met with members of Congress in Washington last week to discuss how small and midmarket businesses benefit from private equity investment.
Riverside portfolio executives Dina Dwyer-Owens, co-chair of Dwyer Group, Paul Martins, CEO of MNX and Randall Smith, CEO of Censis, accompanied Riverside executives to meet with the staff of US Presidential contender Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and the offices of Senators’ Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), among others.
Raising the tax on carried interest and eliminating tax deductions for interest on corporate loans have been flagged as issues by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, as well as by Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
Fees charged by firms have come under public scrutiny following an admission from the California Public Employees' Retirement System in April that it did not track carried interest payments.
“The point was to meet with congressmen and women who serve in regions where our portfolio companies have offices and provide tangible examples of how private equity-backed companies are positively impacting their district,” said Garrett Monda, assistant vice president at Riverside Company. Garrett coordinated, organised and attended the meetings.
Monda said there wasn’t a specific request made in respect to any particular legislation during the meetings. “We wanted to provide the private equity industry’s point of view and discuss how tax deduction on interest helps companies to build new plants and drive jobs,” he said.
“I believe that it's important for lawmakers to understand the benefits of private equity for companies our size,” said Dwyer-Owens, co-chair of Dwyer Group. “Private equity has greatly enhanced the growth of Dwyer Group beyond what we would have accomplished on our own.”
She and other portfolio company executives were joined in the meetings by fellow Riverside staffers such as Mike Michienzi, a senior operating partner at Riverside, Monda and Graham Hearns, global head of marketing and communications.
Hearns said the visit by the group – the fifth year that Riverside Company and a group of senior corporate executives from its portfolio companies had visited Washington’s policymakers to discuss private equity’s role in fueling business and job growth – was received well by lawmakers.
“There continues to be an openness to hearing more about the stories, issues and the role that we play as a source of capital for small and mid-sized companies,” Hearns said.
The meetings also gave the firm’s executives a chance to discuss Riverside’s growth-oriented approach to investing in companies, and how equity investments can help a business grow its sales and product development.