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The Walker Guidelines and Private Equity Reporting Group

The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG) was created in 2007 as an independent body to monitor the private equity industry’s compliance with Sir David Walker’s Guidelines for Disclosure and Transparency in Private Equity. This was in response to the increased scrutiny and negative publicity the private equity industry faced in 2007 from the media, trade unions and politicians, culminating in the Treasury Select Committee hearings.

Since then, the industry has embraced and adopted these Guidelines with over fifty portfolio companies currently providing additional disclosure voluntarily. Further detail and reports can be found on the Group’s website and below we set out the objectives and benefits of the Guidelines to the private equity industry.

In 2022, the PERG and the BVCA began the process of updating the Guidelines. This has taken into consideration current and forthcoming changes to the narrative reporting landscape, as well as increased stakeholder interest in the private equity industry following high-profile transactions involving well-known businesses in the UK. This work will continue in 2023 and into 2024 as we build on the recent developments and changes to various aspects of the Guidelines.

Read the latest reports


"My hope and expectation is that implementation of these guidelines and recommendations will mitigate many of the specific concerns about large-scale buyout activity that have emerged in the recent past and will provide for better understanding of how private equity operates and its contribution to UK economic performance in terms of employment, productivity, investment and growth."
Sir David Walker

Objectives of the Walker Guidelines

  • To demonstrate the private equity industry’s commitment to transparency of its activities.
  • To provide data to support the private equity industry’s contribution to the UK economy.

Benefits of compliance

  • The Guidelines provide a framework for the private equity industry to enhance stakeholders’ understanding of our activities and address concerns about a lack of transparency in the industry. These stakeholders include government, regulators, media, employees, customers and the public more widely.
  • The data published on the performance of portfolio companies supports the advocacy work the BVCA does on behalf of the private equity industry. It gives us the credibility and evidence we need when discussing the industry’s contribution to the broader economy in terms of employment, productivity, capital investment and growth. This in turn allows for more informed and proportionate decisions on policy and regulation by government and regulators. It also provides a returns attribution analysis which quantifies the impact of strategic and operational plans implemented under private equity ownership as well as the impact of leverage.
  • By publishing annual reports on portfolio company websites and including further disclosure on private equity firms’ websites, the industry is able to demonstrate its commitment to transparency is real and here to stay.
  • Enhanced reporting by portfolio companies and disclosures by private equity firms on their investment approach further demonstrates we are responsible owners and builders of businesses. The reputational impact benefits the portfolio company itself as well as its owner and the Guidelines support those portfolio companies with reporting ahead of a listing on a public market.
  • The Guidelines are monitored by an independent body which further validates the private equity industry’s transparency commitment.

About PERG and its role

The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG) was established in March 2008 to monitor the industry’s compliance with the Walker Guidelines and make periodic recommendations to the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (the “BVCA”).

This was in response to the increased scrutiny from stakeholders and the desire to understand more about the private equity industry’s approach to the businesses they invest in.

Since 2007, private equity firms operating in the UK have embraced and adopted the Walker Guidelines with over 70 of the largest UK private equity-backed companies currently:
  • providing additional disclosures in their annual financial statements voluntarily; and
  • making these accessible on the company websites.

What is the role of PERG?
  • To review the extent of conformity with the guidelines of large UK private equity backed companies, through compliance or explanation, on an ongoing basis.
  • To publish an annual report (The PERG Report) on the work of the Group.
  • To review the EY performance report and provide the BVCA with comments.
  • To keep the guidelines under review and to make recommendations for changes when necessary to be implemented by the BVCA (after due consultation) to ensure that the Guidelines remain appropriate in changing market and industry circumstances.

About the Walker Guidelines

At the beginning of 2007, Sir David Walker was asked by the BVCA and a group of major private equity firms to undertake an independent review of the adequacy of disclosure and transparency in private equity. Sir David completed this with a view to recommending a set of guidelines by the industry on a voluntary basis.

Private equity, via the implementation of the Walker Guidelines, is focused on demonstrating its commitment to transparency by publishing additional information on its largest UK businesses publicly.

The Private Equity Reporting Group (PERG), formed to monitor implementation, reviews private equity’s compliance with the Walker Guidelines annually with support from the BVCA, PwC and EY.

Each year this review is finalised with the publication of three reports.

Scope of the Guidelines

Portfolio company
For the purposes of the Guidelines, a portfolio company will be in scope of the Guidelines if it is a UK company that has been acquired by one or more private equity firms (as defined below) and meets both part a and b of the following tests:
  • a) Acquisition in a public to private transaction where the market capitalisation together with the premium for acquisition of control was in excess of £210 million.
    OR
    Acquisition in a secondary or other non-market transaction where enterprise value at the time of the transaction was in excess of £350 million.

    AND
  • b) More than 50% of revenues were generated in the UK.
    OR
    UK employees totalled in excess of 1,000 full-time equivalents.

Private equity firm
Private equity firms for the purposes of the Guidelines include private equity and ‘private equity-like’ firms. Private equity firms include those that manage or advise funds that either own or control one or more portfolio companies for the purpose of the Guidelines (as defined above). Private equity firms include those that acquire portfolio companies: i) with funds provided by one or more investors; ii) an exit/disposal of the company is envisaged and iii) may play an active management role in the company. This would therefore include, but is not limited to, other types of investment funds including infrastructure funds, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and credit/debt funds. It also applies to firms that may be headquartered outside of the UK. Banks and credit institutions, other than their asset management operations, are specifically excluded.

Further details can be found in the Q&A on the PERG website.

View the highlights from this year’s PERG reports

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BVCA/EY Walker Guidelines 2023 webinar

An integral part of the BVCA’s mission is to promote and defend the industry via the Walker Guidelines. These guidelines are a set of voluntary requirements that promote transparency and disclosure in the Private Equity industry.

This webinar, hosted by Ciaran Harris, BVCA Policy Manager, will introduce the Walker Guidelines process before James Walker, Kelsey Gray and Disha, take us through the EY annual report on the performance of portfolio companies. The EY team will run through the information gathering process, including the information gathering template, and discuss some common errors and frequently asked questions.

This is a great opportunity for portfolio companies and their owners to learn more about the Walker Guidelines and, importantly, the EY process.

View webinar

Further information

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT THE BVCA

 +44 (0)20 7492 0400

 policy@bvca.co.uk