PERG | Private Equity Reporting Group publishes 13th annual report and Good Practice Guide

Private Equity Reporting Group publishes 13th annual report and Good Practice Guide

The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG) has today published its 13th annual report on the industry’s work on disclosure.

Key highlights from the report include:

  • 93% compliance with the disclosure requirements in the sample of portfolio company annual reports reviewed (2019: 100%).
  • 60% of the sample reviewed achieved at least a ‘good’ rating on their disclosures, up slightly from 53% in 2019, containing particularly strong narratives around the impact of Covid-19 on their performance and financial position.

Established in 2008, the PERG reviews the private equity industry’s compliance with Sir David Walker’s Guidelines for disclosure and transparency and makes periodic recommendations to the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA).

Each year, a sample of around a third of portfolio companies that fall within the scope of the Guidelines are reviewed for compliance with the disclosure requirements. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic a quarter of the total population was considered for the 2020 report.

Additionally, reports produced by both PwC and EY in conjunction with the PERG have also been published on the BVCA’s website. Designed to be read in tandem, both the ‘Good Practice Reporting Guide for portfolio companies,’ and the ‘Annual Report on the performance of portfolio companies,’ highlight the private equity industry’s commitment to transparency in their activities and commitment to the UK economy.

Other highlights include:

  • 61 UK portfolio companies (2019: 55) met the criteria for this year’s report.
  • 60% of the sample reviewed prepared disclosures to at least a ‘good’ standard (2019: 53%). Within this, two companies produced excellent disclosures (2019: One).
  • All BVCA members in scope, published disclosures on their own websites to communicate information about themselves, their portfolio companies and their investors.
  • The level of detail on performance and financial position increased reflecting the impact of Covid-19. 64% of portfolio companies published an independent statement on their response to the virus.
  • The coronavirus pandemic, and increased attention on climate change and inequity in society, has amplified pressure on investors and companies to build sustainable businesses that support wider environmental, societal and economic, objectives. The findings in this review illustrate areas where improvements are required, for example companies’ approach to environmental and gender diversity matters.

Read the reports

Published 1 February 2021

Nick Land

Chair of PERG said:

“The pandemic has been indiscriminate in its impact on UK business. Private equity is well positioned to aid in the economic recovery post-COVID and firms must now demonstrate how their portfolio companies are contributing to this, as well as their wider benefit to society. The Guidelines provide a framework for the industry to do this but, as the findings show, significant improvements are required in certain areas. While it is positive to see more companies falling within the scope of the Guidelines this year, the slight dip in compliance indicates more work is needed to ensure improvement in the quality of all disclosures.”

Media Contacts

For further information, to learn more about the PERG or the Guidelines contact [email protected].

Notes to editors

Reports published

Published 1 February 2021

The Walker Guidelines

In February 2007, the BVCA asked Sir David Walker to undertake an independent review of the adequacy of disclosure and transparency in private equity, with a view to recommending a set of guidelines for conformity by the industry on a voluntary basis. This review resulted in the publication of the Guidelines in November 2007.

The Guidelines have four main components – three that apply to portfolio companies and a fourth that applies to the private equity firms managing or advising funds that own the portfolio companies:

  • Portfolio companies should prepare disclosures as stipulated in the Guidelines in their audited annual report and financial statements, and prepare a mid-year update.
  • Portfolio companies are required to publish their annual report and a mid-year update in a timely and accessible manner on their company website.
  • Private equity firms should publish certain disclosures on their own website.
  • Portfolio companies are required to share certain data, which is presented in an aggregated performance report by EY to illustrate the contribution of private equity to the UK economy.
  • The Guidelines operate on a ‘comply or explain’ basis.

The Private Equity Reporting Group

The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG) is an independent body that was established in March 2008 to monitor conformity with the Guidelines and make periodic recommendations to the BVCA for changes to the Guidelines if required.

The PERG is chaired by Nick Land, a non-executive director on a number of boards and previously the executive chairman of EY in the UK. He is supported by two other independent members: Baroness Drake, a labour peer and former president of the TUC, and Glyn Parry, an experienced finance director working with FTSE companies such as BT Group.

Representing the private equity industry are Ralf Gruss, Chief Operating Officer at Apax Partners, and Tony Lissaman, Chief Operating Officer of 3i Group’s private equity business.

More information about the PERG can be found here.

Population within the scope of the Walker Guidelines

61 portfolio companies were required to comply with the Guidelines this year (2019: 55). The number of private equity firms managing or advising funds that owned portfolio companies within scope remained at 51 this year. This includes 21 firms that conduct their operations in a ‘private equity-like’ manner, such as infrastructure, credit and pension funds.