Private equity IS bad news for employees
Employees generally lose benefits and job security when their company is bought out by private equity funds.
Another trade union criticism of the rise and rise of private equity funds - big enough now to buy a US property company for $38bn and prowling the Sainsbury supermarket group in the UK for around £10bn?
No, this time the critic of private equity is a leading light in that heart of capitalism - the City of London.
Paul Myners is the former chairman of prestigious retailer Marks and Spencer and now heads hedge fund Ermitage.
He has told the Financial Times that the private equity model rewards the “principal participants” for the risks they take. But … “The one party that is not rewarded is the employees who, generally speaking, suffer an erosion of job security and a loss of benefits.”
He also told the FT that private equity has to become more transparent: "We are seeing public companies go private and they go from being transparent and accountable into a dark box."
Global unions launched a campaign in Nyon last November to drive private equity funds out of the shadow where they thrive and to alert governments and regulators to the implications of their rapid growth.
My Myners questions whether pension trustees are looking sufficiently closely at the costs of investing in private equity as opposed to investing in public stocks.
He also urged the UK government to examine tax structures that give an advantage to groups with heavy borrowings and to private equity partners and their personal remuneration schemes.
His intervention is significant says the FT because Mr Myners headed a 2001 review into institutional investment, in which he recommended that pension schemes should consider investing in a wide range of asset classes including private equity and hedge funds.
Pension trustees should "wake up", he is quoted as saying, to the need to debate the relative merits of private equity, given its higher management expenses and fees.
Mr Myners accepts that some hedge funds too have poor disclosure on their activities but insists that private equity needs higher scrutiny as they buy entire companies - with implications for public policy.