John Mackie, the outgoing chief executive of the British Venture Capital Association, said: ?Private equity in the UK has really come of age. Twenty years ago it was a cottage industry, but over the years has grown exponentially. It's a success story for British industry.?
In fact, Mackie said this in 2001, shortly after becoming head of the UK's private equity trade association. Since then, British private equity has really, really come of age, with buyout activity hitting an all-time high in the last quarter with a value of £8 billion (€11.6 billion;$14 billion).
UK private equity deals now dominate headlines and draw buyers from across the Atlantic. At the same time, the industry faces new regulatory and tax challenges, as well as integration issues with continental Europe and North America. Clearly, the BVCA has played an important role in these regards, and Mackie has led the charge.
Most recently, Mackie has been outspoken on the ?disastrous effect that a proposed amendments to the Pensions Bill may have on the private equity industry. The amendment would make buyout sponsors liable for pension deficits.
He has been a foe of tax rules that prevent portfolio companies from being able to claim tax deductions on interest payments on loans from private equity investors. The rules are an ?attack on an industry that makes a major contribution to the UK economy, said Mackie.
Now, with the appointment of Peter Linthwaite to the BVCA's top executive post, the UK has a new advocate for private equity at an important inflection point. Linthwaite brings homebred as well as international perspective to the role – prior to becoming founding director of local middle market buyout firm Royal London Private Equity, he was executive director of Murray Johnstone, during which time he worked from Singapore for Murray Johnstone Asia for five years.
Linthwaite, who had an early career in banking and corporate finance after reading law at New College, Oxford, will have a busy first few months, as the BVCA prepares a pre-Budget submission and makes its second trip to the European Commission.
Mackie will now focus on his role at Parallel Ventures, where he is already a non-executive director. Mackie will relish the ?cut and thrust of the private equity industry, as he has a number of things he still wants to achieve, said BVCA spokesman Mark Fox.