Sir Mike Rake goes North Korean

Posted on / Lex / Alternative Investments - Private equity disclosure.

I admit I'm no fan of Mike Rake. He headed KPMG to near disaster and a $456 million fine during his tenure as worldwide senior partner. How and why he got a knighthood and got further work after leaving that firm beats me.

But he did. He was asked to review the voluntary code of conduct for private equity firms, and has now reported. It looks like the Lex column at the FT are no bigger fans than me:

Most research into the private equity industry has little credibility. It is partial, based on carefully selected information and usually sponsored by the industry itself. The naturally suspicious will therefore look with scepticism at Sir Mike Rake’s glowing report into compliance with the voluntary code of conduct that the industry adopted last year. Intended to stave off accusations that the private equity model depended unduly on leverage, job-cutting, asset-stripping and tax avoidance, the code is part of an industry strategy to deflect calls from politicians and trades unions for regulatory and legislative constraints on the buy-out artistes.

This year’s report gives the sector North Korean-style acclamation. All 34 private equity firms covered by the guidelines met all the code’s disclosure requirements.

Mike Rake less than objective? Shurely not?

But it remains fair to ask why did he get this job given what happened at KPMG?