We’ve been waiting so long for the rush of distressed debt hiring that we’ve got a little bored of predicting its imminent arrival.
But during yesterday’s conference call, Goldman CFO David Viniar, said things are finally looking up on the distressed front because buyers and sellers are very nearly ready to agree on price.
Some recruiters are also making noises about a coming surge of distressed hiring. “There’s been a lot of noise for a while in distressed debt and we’re finally seeing the activity,” says one hedge fund recruiter.
Other recruiters say distressed debt hiring remains a mirage, however. “Everyone says it’s about to explode, but there’s been a massive problem raising capital,” says Lee Thacker of search firm Silvermine Partners. “There’s been a sum total of around five hires in the sector in the past six months.”
Various distressed debt vehicles would like to take off. Ravi Mehra of struggling Vega Asset Management is setting up a distressed fund with HFX capital management. Former Merrill prop trader Mark Devonshire has launched a distressed fund.
Deutsche has suffered numerous departures from its Asian distressed team, and it’s expected the departed will set up a fund.
Goldman’s also raising a distressed debt fund of its own. This may be encouraging Viniar to engage in wishful thinking.