Thursday, 8 March 2007

Private equity update 2 - Balls


Economic Secretary Ed Balls has made his heavily-trailed speech. As expected it goes heavy on private equity, mainly defending it, but does announce the tax review. There's also an interesting review of the 'investment chain' and what Labour has tried to do to address failings within it.

There's a rather cynical view of the motives behind the tax review in the Telegraph.

There's a bit in the Balls speech about voting disclosure too (something I'll return to later):

A further area highlighted by Myners I want to mention particularly is the need for greater accountability for the exercise of voting rights attached to shares - a crucial element in an effective engagement strategy. Again, some progress has been made, but there is clearly a long way to go. We have taken a reserve power in the recent Companies Act to enable us to require disclosure, but our preference is for voluntary, industry-led approach, with an effective 'comply or explain' code of practice based on a clear set of principles.

I met the Institutional Shareholders Committee this week to discuss progress with a voluntary approach and am pleased to say that the ISC have agreed that we should have an industry comply or explain code up and running by the Summer, following a period of consultation. The Treasury will cooperate fully with the ISC in this and we will encourage them to involve a wide range of interested parties in the development of this code.

So in this area too, we look forward to further progress.

1 comment:

ilanit said...

In September I would have speculated that MS would not be treating a first-tier Orange Country business investment like Blackstone this way. But as the Fall has progressed and the potential liability increased it is clear that banks are willing to risk even their largest clients to wriggle away from some of these deals.