BusinessPeople In BusinessOn the money with Damian Wild

On the money with Damian Wild

Simon Walker has had a busy September, attending each of the major political parties’ annual conferences and sitting on platforms with the likes of City minister Kitty Ussher, Commons Treasury committee chairman John McFall and the Conservative and Liberal Democrat shadow Treasury chief secretaries, Philip Hammond and Jeremy Brown

The chief executive of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital
Association is now gearing for the launch of a manifesto for venture capital
which will seek to put ‘encouraging enterprise at the core of the economic
agenda for each of the major parties’.

Walker promises a warts and all assessment. Is this the same BVCA? I hear you
ask.
You’ll remember how, just 12 months ago, private equity bosses were dragged
before the House of Commons.

Walker’s predecessor, Peter Linthwaite, came under fire from MPs on McFall’s
committee for presenting what they said was ‘the most obstructive piece of
evidence we’ve been given for a long time’.

Afterwards BVCA chairman Wol Kolade admitted they had been kippered. ‘You ask
me whether things could have gone worse?’ he said to one journalist. ‘I’d reply
by saying, could things have gone any better?’

Just as the BVCA has seen almost 100% staff turnover in the last 12 months,
the economic situation Walker is dealing with could hardly be more different to
the climate of little more than a year ago.

Walker is clearly not risking a return to those days of private equity
hostility ­ and you’d be right to argue it’s
the credit crunch that has rendered that impossible. Nevertheless he appears
intent on presenting a very different side to his industry.

Damian Wild is editor in chief of Accountancy Age and
blogs at accountancymatters.accoutnancyage.com

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