Four months into my tenure as Chair and, as the BVCA celebrates its 40th anniversary, I am realising that many people do not understand what the private capital industry does. The days of “we are called private equity for a reason” are at an end. If we really want to embrace ESG responsibilities we must explain who we are, what we do and why we do it.
There is a huge dividend awaiting our industry if we simply tell our story.
The good news is that our Chief Executive, Michael Moore, and his team are doing a fantastic job for us all. I have witnessed at first hand the proactive approach they are taking with politicians, journalists, regulators, and many others who have influence over the arena in which we operate.
Simply reading the Friday Focus email will give you a sense of the many things which the BVCA team are doing on our behalf, things it would be impossible for any of us to do on our own.
I have worked with our new Director of External Affairs, Karim Palant, to try to ensure we receive balanced coverage of our industry and to highlight the economic benefits for the UK of our investment activities. We are not there yet but rest assured that we are engaging with many journalists and media outlets to improve what I believe to be the unfair narrative.
The BVCA team is also pursuing initiatives to open new sources of funding for its members. For example, the recent Mansion House speech puts our members in Venture, Growth and Buy Outs at the centre of the Growth agenda which both major political parties recognise as crucial to economic recovery. Alongside Andrew Williamson of Cambridge Innovation Capital, I recently presented to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Local Authority Pension Funds on why Private Capital should be an increasing part of their portfolios. I calculated that £500 billion of assets under management was represented in the room – engagement in that process is a massive opportunity to attract more capital to our members.
BVCA Events Director, Amy Abbott and her team have continued to schedule and organise first class events with the recent High Growth event proving another excellent success. The Regional Dinners in Leeds and Belfast and associated Roundtables were sold out and were great networking opportunities for the GPs, LPs and Advisors who attended.
Like me, you will be expecting the BVCA to be alert to and indeed on the front foot in discussions about tax on carry schemes. We must protect Britain’s position as the most attractive place to conduct venture capital and private equity investment. This is a top priority for the BVCA and indeed should be for whoever governs this nation. Placing a tax on carry schemes which is not competitive with other nations would be damaging for many. I want you to know that the BVCA is putting every effort into protecting Britain’s position in this regard. The narrative in the public domain does not always reflect reality. We will continue to work with all the expertise available to us in our Tax Committee and the in house BVCA team and at the right time we will report to you on the direction of travel.
Finally, since my tenure began, I have seen crises unfold at the CBI and at RBS. The BVCA is a well-run organisation with a strong moral compass reflecting the values of its Senior Management Team and of course you, its members. I will do my best to tell our story for the remainder of my tenure but more importantly we have in Michael Moore and his team, excellent leadership and ambassadors for the longer term.
Managing Partner, Endless LLP, and BVCA Chair 2023-24