Makeover mission: Former Capita boss Paul Pindar
Private equity has an image problem – but one man trying to change all that is Paul Pindar, the former 3i high flyer who then became boss of FTSE 250 outsourcer Capita for 27 years.
His venture Literacy Capital, which was founded in 2017, floats on the stock market today and he is hoping it can change how private equity is viewed.
While private equity is usually known for raking in vast returns and doling out eye-watering pay packages to its partners, Literacy Capital will donate 0.9 per cent of the fund's value every year to charities helping children learn how to read and write.
'We have an extremely unique structure because we are the only private equity firm in the UK which has part-charitable purposes,' Pindar says.
'Every year 200,000 kids in the UK leave primary school without being able to read or write properly. It's a massive barrier to economic growth.'
The idea was inspired by his wife Sharon. 'She was brought up in a tough council estate in Wrexham and her mum couldn't read or write well, and her dad was abusive,' he explains.
'The fact that her mum couldn't read or write meant she felt trapped – it affects your ability to work, and she felt that she couldn't leave.'
Pindar is happy to address the villainous image which private equity has created for itself, promising that his firm is in it for the long term.
'We will happily take a 15-year view when we invest,' he says, dispelling any worries about short-term outlooks.