BVCA: a new era

Peter Linthwaite has a tough act to follow in John Mackie, the previous CEO of the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA), but his experience should stand him in good stead. He has been involved in the private equity industry for over 15 years, and was most recently a founding director of Royal London Private Equity Limited, the UK mid-market private equity house. Previously, he served as executive director of Murray Johnstone Ltd, during which time he was managing director of Murray Johnstone Asia Ltd in Singapore (1995-2001) and director of Murray Johnstone Private Equity Ltd in London (1990-1995.)

Linthwaite says: “I come to the BVCA at an exciting time for the industry with important issues to be addressed in a number of fields. I believe that the BVCA is well structured to respond to these challenges on behalf of its membership in order for the industry to continue to grow and develop successfully in the UK”

He outlines the key objectives for the BVCA in the years ahead as:

Continuing to work with the government and European Commission to ensure that the legal, fiscal, and economic environment remains conducive to the continuing success of the industry and its contribution to the vitality of the UK economy. In particular, the Association will be developing closer relationships with the European Commission and Parliament as the impact of Brussels-based initiatives increasingly affects members.

? Continuing to represent the industry with the relevant regulatory authorities to ensure that, in a period of significant change, new frameworks and procedures are appropriate to the nature and structures of the private equity and venture capital firms and their client funds. A key focus for over the next year is continuing consultation on MiFID and its implementation.

? Continuing to promote the asset class and, through the maintenance and development of high quality research output, ensure that investors or other interested parties have access to information on investment activity and performance statistics covering virtually all the UK private equity and venture capital market.

? Developing further services of importance for members including high quality training programmes to reflect their needs for professional development of their employees.

When the BVCA was first set up in 1983, membership was just 34 full time and no associate members. Today, full membership stands at 170 with over 150 associate members. Since 1983, BVCA member firms have invested more than £60bn in over 25,000 companies. In doing so, they have helped thousands of entrepreneurs to start-up and expand their company, to buy into a business, to buy out a division of their parent company, and to turnaround or revitalise their business.

The association was set up by a small group of venture capitalists with John MacGregor, MP, the then Minister for Small Firms, who got together with a view to forming an association which would have a voice for the domestic venture capital industry.

The association has come a long way since it was first founded and took on a distinctly new character since John Mackie (ex Morgan Grenfell Development) assumed the role of chief executive five years ago. When Mackie was given the role he was given some very clear objectives and has since developed the BVCA into an effective and respected institution. Players are waiting to see what Peter Linthwaite, Mackie’s successor, has in store for the future of the Association.

Mackie says of his five-year tenure at the BVCA: “Anything that has been achieved at the BVCA under my stewardship has really been building on the work of many other people over many years. Overall it has been a most exciting time and I think the BVCA is now recognised as a highly active, professional and influential industry body by politicians, officials and other opinion formers. If I have made any contribution to that then it has been a real privilege to be involved.”

He mentions the three most notable features of the last five years as the following:

? The situation now that private equity has become generally recognised as offering superior returns over the long term. Five years ago many institutions were asking whether or not they should have exposure to private equity now increasingly they are asking what is the most appropriate way for them to get exposure

? The recognition by the Government that private equity is a fundamental requirement for an enterprise economy and that their task is to ensure the right framework of regulation, taxation and legal structures to ensure a thriving private equity industry and the economic benefits that brings

The fact that the UK is increasingly recognised as being a portal for Europe for private equity fund managers who want to establish a pan European investment programme.