Business leaders back private equity but want more openness says survey Monday 29 October 2007 PDF Print MEDIA INFORMATION - press enquiries to Sam Dabbs - 07711 672893 UK business leaders are overwhelmingly in favour of private equity but believe the industry should be governed by a code of conduct and be more open about its activities, according to a survey by Clearwater Corporate Finance. The poll of senior executives showed that a resounding 96 per cent believe private equity is good for the UK economy. The vast majority (84 per cent) also said they would have no qualms about using it to achieve their own growth plan or exit, despite recent negative media coverage. However almost four in five respondents (79 per cent) believed that private equity houses should be more transparent although a narrow majority (57 per cent) felt that they should not be obliged to disclose pay packages. The survey also revealed widespread support for greater governance although more business leaders were in favour of a voluntary code rather than one imposed by external bodies. In total 85 per cent felt the industry should operate according to a code of conduct while only 51 per cent agreed it should be governed by two bodies, one for mega-buyout funds and the other for smaller players. Opinion was divided as to whether the industry should have to pay more tax, with 53 per cent agreeing. The results come as private equity houses await Sir David Walker’s report on the industry and follow the recent Pre-Budget Review in which Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the end of taper relief. Simon Walker, the new CEO of the British Venture Capital Association, said: “Private equity plays an immense role in ensuring prosperity and efficiency but its contribution is inadequately recognised by the media. As this survey shows, business leaders greatly value the industry and firmly support its moves towards greater transparency and better governance.” Phil Burns, partner at Clearwater, said: "The survey shows there is massive support for private equity amongst UK business leaders. However there are clear warnings to the industry too. “With the vast majority believing that the industry is too secretive, it is time for more openness. Private equity firms have kept their activities shrouded in secrecy for a long time but their impact on the economy is now so large they can no longer continue doing this. “The majority of business leaders also believe the industry requires a better code of conduct. The time has come for industry bosses to introduce some stronger self governance, or they can expect to be governed with a firmer hand by legislation." The survey was carried out amongst a cross-section of the readership of Clearwater's in-house magazine Rainmaker, which is issued to 35,000 owner managers, chief executives, finance directors and corporate finance professionals. For a copy of the report please go to: http://www.clearwatercf.com/default.aspx?i=1129 -ENDS- Notes to Editors: Clearwater Corporate Finance is the leading independent corporate finance house in the UK with an exceptional track record of over 300 completed transactions. We advise on all aspects of corporate finance transactions from mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and company sales to management buy-outs (MBOs). Our clients include management teams, owner-managers, private equity firms and large corporates. We differentiate our service through our: Independence – as we are not linked to any larger financial institution or consulting firm, we can provide objective advice without any potential conflict of interest. Cross-border capability - the close communication between our four UK offices and the 60 member firms in IMAP, our exclusive network of international M&A firms, makes us a natural choice for cross-border transactions. Sector expertise - our global sector teams offer clients a unique insight into M&A opportunities across the world. Research and origination - with 25 per cent of staff focussed on these activities, we offer a market-leading capability to identify strategic opportunities for clients. Excellence - we are committed to excellence in our service delivery and each client project is managed in a bespoke manner. Commitment - as an owner-managed, partner-led firm, we guarantee a high level of partner involvement. We take a long-term view to build trust and lasting relationships. The size of our team and the deals we advise on make us the most active independent corporate finance house in the markets in which we operate. 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