Private Equity Growth Capital Council

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American Investment Council
PE GC Council logo.png
Formation 2007
Purpose Advocacy, research and lobbying for the private equity industry
Headquarters Washington DC, United States
President, CEO
Mike Sommers[1]

The American Investment Council (AIC), formerly the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC), is a lobbying, advocacy, and research organization based in Washington, D.C., that was launched by a consortium of private equity firms in February 2007. It focuses on defending and promoting the private equity and growth capital investment industry, to lawmakers and the public at large. Its members include some of the world's largest private equity firms.


Founding and early history[edit]

The concept for a trade association for the private equity industry originated in 2006, as the private equity market reached the peak of its mid-2000s buyout boom and it became the subject of increased criticism and government scrutiny.[2][3][4] That year, private equity firms were involved in around 28% of acquisitions by dollar value, compared to 3% in 2001.[3] In late 2006, the Private Equity Council (PEC) was formed as the industry's principal lobbying organization.[5][6][7] The trade association was officially launched in Washington, D.C., in February 2007.[8]

The original Private Equity Council logo in use from the formation of the organization through September 2010

PEGCC provides information and commissions research on issues including the impact of private equity on job creation and pension funds[9][6] in order to influence business leaders, policymakers, the media, and labor organizations about the private equity industry.[10] In addition to its research and communications endeavors, the Council's mission also includes advocacy on behalf of private equity firms and the growth capital investment industry.[11][12]

Expansion and renaming[edit]

In 2010, the PEC expanded its membership to include a broader selection of private equity industry stakeholders.[13][14] In September 2010, eighteen new members were added, including middle-market private equity firms and growth capital investment firms.[14] Following this expansion, the PEC changed its name to the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC) to reflect a broader membership.[15] According to the Council, in addition to the name change it created a committee called the "Growth Capital Committee" to focus specifically on issues related to middle and small market firms.[16] In May 2010, the PEGCC changed its name to the American Investment Council to "reflect the increased diversity of PE firms and growing focus of the industry." [17]

Member firms[edit]

The Council's members include some of the largest private equity firms globally,[13] including Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG Capital (formerly Texas Pacific Group) who were also involved in its formation.[2] Other founding members included Apollo Global Management, Bain Capital, Hellman & Friedman, Madison Dearborn Partners, Silver Lake Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners.[18]

As of 2012, member firms include American Securities, Apax Partners, ArcLight Capital Partners, Brockway Moran & Partners, CCMP Capital, Crestview Partners, Francisco Partners, General Atlantic, Genstar Capital, Global Environment Fund, GTCR, Irving Place Capital, The Jordan Company, Kelso & Company, KPS Capital Partners, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, MidOcean Partners, New Mountain Capital, Permira, Providence Equity Partners, The Riverside Company, Sterling Partners, Sun Capital Partners, TA Associates, Thoma Bravo, Vector Capital, and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.[19]


Since its launch in 2007, the Council has spent over $11 million on lobbying.[20] It also commissions and publicizes research favorable to the private equity industry.

In addition to its research and lobbying activities, the trade association has developed best practice guidelines. In 2009, it developed a set of "guidelines for responsible investment", which were adopted by its members, covering such issues as health, safety, labor, governance,[21] transparency for stakeholders and respect for human rights.[22] According to the Council, the guidelines were produced in accordance with the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), from discussions between Council members and a group of institutional investors.[22] The guidelines focus on transparency of private equity transactions and ensuring compliance with all applicable laws, both in the United States and overseas, and encourage adding value to members' portfolio companies.[22][21] The Council received positive feedback on its guidelines from PRI executive director James Gifford, and the chief investment officers of California Public Employees Retirement Systems (CalPERS)[22] and California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), but the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) remained critical of the industry, arguing that outside regulation was needed rather than internal guidelines.[21]

Public affairs campaigns[edit]

Private equity at work[edit]

In February 2012, the PEGCC launched Private Equity at Work, a public affairs campaign designed to educate the public on private equity and respond to blunt political attacks against the industry brought on by Mitt Romney’s run for president.[23] The campaign is anchored by a website featuring examples of private equity firms helping portfolio companies with information and data illustrating private equity’s contribution to the economy.[24] In addition to the website the campaign features short videos about a private equity firm’s investment in a portfolio company, whiteboard videos explaining how private equity works and infographics featuring data about private equity investment.[25]

Private equity in your state[edit]

In 2011, PEGCC started the Private Equity in Your State campaign, a yearly release of data breaking down the top 20 states and congressional districts receiving the most private equity investment and the states with the most private equity-backed companies. The Private Equity in Your State campaign features an interactive map that allows visitors to find out information about private equity investment in every state, including data about pension funds.[26] Thomson Reuters and propriety data collected by the Council provided data for the campaign.[27]

Lobbying disclosures[edit]

As required by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, the Council is a registered lobbying organization and files quarterly reports concerning these activities, including the amount of money spent specifically on lobbying.[20]

Annual reported lobbying expenditures[edit]

  • 2007: $1,720,000
  • 2008: $3,360,000
  • 2009: $3,590,000
  • 2010: $2,430,000
  • 2011: $2,220,000

Studies and reports[edit]

In early 2007 the private equity industry was criticized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which argued that the industry put employees at risk of job loss and had a negative impact on job creation.[28][29] In response to this criticism, the Council commissioned a number of studies and reports. In September 2007, a PEC report detailed three case studies of private equity owned companies that became more competitive and increased employment following their buyout.[30] The following January, a study for the Council by Robert J. Shapiro and economist Nam Pham found that 76% of companies owned by eight private equity firms reported an increase in jobs.[31] The study observed "significantly greater job gains" in private equity transactions compared with the overall market.[32] In 2010 a Council report found that portfolio companies outperform publicly owned companies by 7% over three years and 11% over five years, countering claims that private equity has a negative impact operational improvement.[33]

Other reports commissioned by the Council include a plan to improve the U.S. economy, produced by economists Martin Neil Baily and Matthew Slaughter,[34] and a report estimating the total employment by private equity owned companies to be 11 million people. Pensions & Investments magazine stated that this was the first time that employment by the industry had been quantified.[35]

Legislation and regulation[edit]

The PEGCC has advocated before Congress in support of the private equity industry on numerous occasions. In 2009, the then-president of the PEC, Douglas Lowenstein, testified before the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) in support of legislation requiring private equity and hedge funds to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).[36] He stated that the PEC supported registration under the proposed Private Fund Investment Advisers Registration Act because its members perceived the law as an important component of protection for investors against systemic risk.[37] While supporting registration, Lowenstein raised concerns regarding cost for smaller firms.[38]

The Council has testified before Congress on the industry's role in the economy. In 2007, Lowenstein testified before the HFSC on the impact of private equity on employment and companies.[39] In 2009, its chairman Mark Tresnowski testified before the Senate Banking Subcommittee on the potential role of private equity in the recovery of the U.S. economy.[38]

The PEC's initial lobbying efforts were focused on opposing proposed legislation to increase taxation of private equity managers' fees.[40][41][42] The Council supported keeping the carried interest tax on managers' fees at the 15 percent capital gains rate,[43] rather than increasing it to the earned income rate.[42] The proposed legislation was rejected but similar proposals were raised in 2009 and 2011, and the PEGCC continued to oppose them.[44]


  1. ^ Andrew Joseph (30 January 2012). "Judge Named President and CEO of PEGCC". Influence Alley. National Journal. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Yerak, Becky (27 December 2006). "Takeover firms form trade group: Private-equity council plans education push". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Birnbaum, Jeffrey (27 December 2006). "Private Funds Prepare To Lobby: Equity Firms Merge To Fight Regulation". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Duhigg, Charles (24 December 2006). "Can Private Equity Build a Public Face?". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Nolan, Hamilton (1 December 2006). "US PE firms ready first trade assoc". PR Week. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  6. ^ a b MacFadyen, Ken (30 October 2006). "PE Trade Group Nearing Launch Amid Intensifying Scrutiny: The need for a private equity trade group was magnified when the Justice Department launched an informal probe into the industry". Investment Dealers Digest. SourceMedia, Inc. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Private equity group says lawmakers misunderstand industry". Silicon Valley/ San Jose Business Journal. American City Business Journals, Inc. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Big Equity Funds Make Their Move". Intelligence Online. Indigo Publications. 12 January 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Fugazy, Danielle (March 2007). "Private Equity Lobbying Group Gives the Market a Voice". Mergers & Acquisitions. SourceMedia, Inc. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Your mission, should you decide to accept it". Private Equity International. February 2007. 
  11. ^ Alder, Neil (27 December 2006). "Texas Pacific, others form private equity trade association". Dallas Business Journal. American City Business Journals, Inc. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "About". Private Equity Growth Capital Council. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Should you join the PEC?". Private Equity Manager. Private Equity International. 22 April 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "PEC adds 18 members, changes name". Private Equity International. 14 September 2010. 
  15. ^ Lattman, Peter (14 September 2010). "Private Equity's Makeover Effort Starts With Trade Group". Dealbook. The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "Private Equity Council adds 18 new members, changes name to Private Equity Growth Capital Council". Private Equity Growth Capital Council. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Private Equity Growth Capital Council Updates Mission; Changes Name to American Investment Council". May 10, 2016. 
  18. ^ "US lobbying association seeks more members". Private Equity International. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Members". Private Equity Growth Capital Council. 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  20. ^ a b "LDA Reports". The United States Senate Official Website. United States Senate. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c MacFadyen, Ken (16 February 2009). "PE Adopts Responsible Investment Guidelines". Mergers & Acquisitions Report. SourceMedia, Inc. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c d "Private Equity Council members adopt guidelines for responsible investment" (pdf). Principles for Responsible Investment. Private Equity Council. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  23. ^ Roose, Kevin (2 February 2012). "Private Equity". DealBook. New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2014. Mr. James’s comments came on the same day that the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, the buyout industry’s lobbying group, started a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to rebut attacks on the industry. 
  24. ^ Schroeder, Peter (2 February 2012). "Private equity industry rolls out new campaign to counter campaign trail attacks". Policy. The Hill. Retrieved 12 May 2014. The keystone of the effort is a new website, which includes a series of examples of private equity aiding companies, as well as industry fact sheets and data highlighting its stronger points. 
  25. ^ "Videos". Private Equity Growth Capital Council. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  26. ^ "Private Equity at Work in Your State". Interractive Map. Private Equity Growth Capital Council. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "The $214 Billion Map: PEGCC Report Breaks Down Pension Fund Investment by State, Ranks Top Funds by Returns and Allocation". In the News. Private Equity Growth Capital Council. 17 September 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2014. Today, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC) unveiled Private Equity at Work in Your State, an interactive map that, for the first time, aggregates state-by-state information about large public pension plans and their investments in private equity. 
  28. ^ Foley, Stephen (17 May 2007). "Congress warns private equity over excess profits". The Independent (London). 
  29. ^ Michael J. de la Merced (4 June 2008). "Union Takes Anti-Buyout Campaign Worldwide". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  30. ^ "PEC: buyouts better businesses". Private Equity International. Private Equity International. 6 September 2007. 
  31. ^ Adler, Neil (18 January 2008). "Private equity transactions led to more jobs". Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  32. ^ "Study finds buyouts boost jobs". Private Equity International. 17 January 2008. 
  33. ^ "Private equity industry rejects criticism". Hedgeweek. GFM Ltd. 29 July 2010. 
  34. ^ Sanati, Cyrus (17 December 2008). "Private Equity Council's View of Obama's Priorities". Dealbook. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  35. ^ Jacobius, Arleen (17 May 2010). "Council measures private equity's impact". Pensions & Investments. Crain Communications Inc. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  36. ^ Phillips, Frank (16 November 2009). "Pagliuca sees a role for lobbyists; Firm's record at odds with campaign stance". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  37. ^ "Testimony by Douglas Lowenstein, President, Private Equity Council" (pdf). House Financial Services Committee Hearing. U.S. House of Representatives. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  38. ^ a b Schor, Elena (15 July 2009). "Private Equity Council supports SEC registration rules". Infrastructure Investor. PEI Media Group Limited. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  39. ^ "House names witnesses for PE hearing". Private Equity Asia. PEI Media Group Limited. 8 June 2007. 
  40. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross (11 March 2007). "Of Private Equity, Politics and Income Taxes". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  41. ^ Labaton, Stephen; Anderson, Jenny (11 July 2007). "Mr. Kravis Goes to Washington (Capra Rolls Over)". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  42. ^ a b Schor, Elena (27 April 2009). "Private Equity Firms Lobby Less, As Industry Trade Group Takes More Cash". Washington Independent. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  43. ^ Lattman, Peter (23 August 2011). "Private Equity's Top Lobbyist Steps Down". Dealbook. The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  44. ^ Rubin, Richard; Sloan, Steven; Talev, Margaret (13 September 2011). "Obama Proposes Tax on Bonds, Carried Interest for Wealthy". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 

External links[edit]