In what it must hope will be seen as a carefully considered and constructed response to the European Commission’s hastily drafted and ill-thought-out proposed directive, the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association — the voice for private equity in Europe — calls for the threshold for reporting on its companies’ activities to be lifted to 1 billion euros assets under management from 500 million.
It argues that private equity firms smaller than that specialise in managing small and medium-sized companies and should be subject to national legislation.
EVCA also wants a grandfathering clause introduced so firms existing funds that use no leverage and have no redemption rights (the vast majority of all unlisted private equity funds) would be exempt from the directive. It argues that failing to do this could result in termination of these funds “with disastrous consequences for the industry and its portfolio companies”.
The big question is who in Europe is listening?
Having already gained a surprise concession in the published draft, which lifted the reporting threshold to 500 million euros from an expected level of 250 million euros, private equity may be seen as pushing its luck by asking for further leeway.