Walker names team and outlines terms

Sir David Walker has called some of the biggest names in UK private equity to help him draw up a voluntary code for increased transparency and disclosure. Half his team are from big buyout firms.

Sir David Walker, the former banker charged with improving the buyout industry’s reputation for transparency, has revealed the line-up for his BVCA-sponsored working party.

Sir David Walker: high level group

Big buyout firms predominate. Most of the criticisms engulfing the industry have to date focused on large deals.

Adrian Beecroft, deputy chairman of Apax Partners, David Blitzer, senior managing director of The Blackstone Group and Lord Hollick, a partner at KKR, are contributing.

Cinvens managing partner Robin Hall and Dwight Poler, managing partner at Bain Capital, underline the bias towards big fund managers.

The BVCA has all along said the working group needs to recognise the very different types of investment and issues relating to different segments of the industry from small start-up financing to large buyouts. It will also take account of the size of the portfolio companies concerned.

William Jackson, managing partner of Bridgepoint, and Rod Selkirk, chief executive of Hermes Private Equity, represent the mid-market. Anne Glover, chief executive of Amadeus Capital Partners and a former BVCA chairwoman, is a lone voice for venture managers.

Baroness Hogg, 3i’s chairwoman, and Sir Michael Rake, international chairman of KPMG, complete the list.

Walker said: “The first part of our work will be to establish a foundation of principles for appropriate enhancement of disclosures on which I plan to issue a preliminary document for consultation with all interested stakeholders.”

His group will assess what are appropriate levels of narrative and financial reporting; whether and to what extent the case is made for increasing the level of reporting for portfolio companies and the timing of any increased reporting.

Then he said the group would draw on the results of this open consultative process in framing additional specific transparency and reporting guidelines for adoption by the industry.
The working group will consult widely. It is inviting representations from within the private equity industry, with interested parties and among other financial institutions, pension funds and the investment community. It will also canvass opinions from portfolio companies, trade unions and employer representatives.

Walker plans to produce his report by the autumn with a voluntary code requiring firms to “comply or explain”.