Carlyle bucks downturn in leveraged finance hiring

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Carlyle Group is expanding in Australia with the appointment of ex-ANZ banker David Balint as director of leveraged finance.

The US-based private equity firm will now have two dedicated teams Down Under - buyout and leveraged finance - with eight executives based in its Sydney office.

According to Balint, this is just the start of a determined push by Carlyle in the region. "The leveraged finance team sees great opportunities where shorter term players who've been affected by subprime require immediate liquidity," he says.

Despite Carlyle's expansionary plans, one Sydney-based recruiter remains doubtful whether it's a sign of better job opps for leveraged finance professionals. Victoria Biggs of Jon Michel Executive Recruitment comments: "I don't think the appointment of David Balint is an indicator that the market for leveraged finance professionals is any stronger than it was last month or 18 months ago."

She adds: "The private equity sector is not super active. We've been filling positions carried over from last year rather than creating new roles."

As for the impact on earning potential, Mary Grant, principal consultant from Hudson's banking and finance division, says the credit crunch has had little bearing on private equity salaries, but bonuses have been slashed.

"Directors can still earn salaries of between AU$250k and AU$400k, with bonuses representing 100% to 150% of salary. But now the deal flow is down, it's more like 70% or 80%, and lower if they're not doing deals," she adds.

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