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Morning Coffee: How pay in private equity seems to have halved

This doesn't apply to pay

This doesn't apply to pay

Back in the day, private equity was the place to be. People like Stephen Schwarzman at Blackstone and Guy Hands at Terra Firma were demi-Gods throwing lavish parties and making so much money that it became necessary to escape to a tax haven, leaving your wife and children behind in South East England. Things have now changed. At Schwarzman’s Blackstone it seems that people are living mostly off their salaries.  And while Guy Hands still lives alone in Guernsey, on the basis of future earnings he could feel inclined to return to Kent in the near future.

The Financial Times reports that Hands has been forced to significantly lower the asking price for the investment he’s currently trying to exit. Last week, Hands attempted to list Deutsche Annington, a German property company, for as much as €1.2bn. Unfortunately there was limited interest from investors and the listing was pulled. This week, Hands is having another go – at a new price of €575m-€590m.

At this new price, someone is taking a €610m hit. And that someone is likely to be Hands and his team, who will receive significantly lower ‘carried interest’ payments as a result of this less profitable exit from that fund in future. If other investments suffer a similar fate, it seems fair to expect that carried interest payments at Terra Firma will be halved. So, was this a one-off? Maybe not. The end of quantitative easing in the U.S. is hanging over European markets, says the FT: investor appetite for IPOs isn’t what it was. Last May, Hands paid 70 of his staff retention bonuses equivalent to £286k per head to buy their loyalty and compensate for lower carry. At this rate, he may need to do the same again soon.

While Hands’ experience suggests private equity is going to the dogs, the same can’t be said for asset management in general. Last week’s survey from PWC and the Confederation of British Industry in the UK suggested fund managers were very bullish about hiring.  Now, a new survey by KPMG suggests much the same thing: 84% of fund managers expect their revenues to increase in 2013, 48% expect to carry on hiring.

Meanwhile:

The ex-general counsel at Bridgewater will soon be receiving a $3m parting gift from the fund. (HedgeFundIntelligence) 

Intern in an investment bank works quite acceptable hours: 8am to 6pm. (Wall Street Oasis) 

JP Morgan is relocating Achintya Mangla form Hong Kong as co-head of EMEA equity capital markets. (WSJ)

Stephen King, chief economist at HSBC, warns that Europe’s ageing rich are encouraging a 1381-style peasant’s revolt. (Telegraph) 

Sydney-based hedge fund is hiring – ‘hours will be long, but clothing will be casual.’ (Bronte Capital)

If you ever suspect your firm is in trouble, and you want an accurate picture, read the biscuits, not the emails. (300 Hours) 

Britain pathetically excited about the sunshine. (Daily Mash) 

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