Collapsing stock markets and tightening credit are bad news for most investment bankers. Restructuring specialists are the exception.
If, as looks increasingly likely, the US economy lurches into recession, one senior economist warns that it's only a matter of time before local defaults start to hot up.
Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital Investors, says, "I would expect that if the US goes into recession the Australian economy might start to show the effects in 2009, and [then] we might start to see an increase in defaults by [local] companies."
Given the prospect of tougher times, recruiters around Australia are seeing more demand for restructuring specialists.
Bob Olivier, a director at the Olivier Recruitment Group in Sydney, says restructuring teams always grow when times get tough. "The banks have been increasing their teams for a while now, in the same way insolvency firms have been building their capacity."
For bankers considering a change of scenery, Olivier says, "Turnaround specialists often come with a background in corporate finance. You need good financial modelling, negotiation and relationship management skills."
Caan Krsztew-Ivanow, a senior search consultant at Melbourne-based financial services specialist Graeme V. Jones & Associates, expects major players such as Goldman Sachs, Lehmans, Investec and the big four Aussie banks to lead the restructuring market.
"They'll be looking for people with a minimum of five years' experience, who have knowledge of financial markets and how deals are structured. [Candidates] can expect salaries between AU$200k and AU$250k, plus potential bonuses 2 to 2.5 times salary."