BVCA head says Walker report will go international

Simon Walker has supported growing momentum to make the transparency reforms apply beyond the UK shortly after PEO revealed they currently affect only 32 portfolio companies.

Simon Walker, British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) chief executive, has predicted that the transparency initiatives drawn up by Sir David Walker have the potential to spread overseas.

Simon Walker:
catching on

While speaking at a seminar to discuss the ex-Morgan Stanley chairman’s transparency guidelines, which were issued last November, the BVCA chief executive said: “There is international interest in the voluntary approach. I think it will catch on.”

He said: “The far greater level of information these guidelines will bring about is good business and it will be good for the entire industry. ‘Demystification’ is my watchword and it will be so for the next year.”

Last week PEO revealed that the Walker report’s criteria only require an estimated 32 companies owned by 16 firms to comply, representing less than 10 percent of the affected firms’ UK portfolios and 2 percent of their global portfolios.

Already European GPs are looking to take the reforms further. UK buyout firm Terra Firma is planning to adopt the reforms across its European portfolio, according to a spokesman. Cinven and Apax Partners are also considering applying the reforms internationally, according to sources close to the companies.

Speaking at the same event the architect of the reforms, David Walker, said: “We are not seeking to be extra-territorial… my hope is they will be seen as pragmatic and practical, something to be admired and something for emulation in the way that the [UK] Takeover Code was.” He noted that interest had been expressed by Scandinavian and German firms in the reforms.

“It will be of interest to see how they are adopted elsewhere. My hope is that the major private equity firms will see that it is in their interest [in areas with political sensitivities] to stave off the regulatory approach.”