Barclays Capital is said to have trimmed 20 people from its leveraged finance team (Independent), Citi is said to have cut its team in half (Private Equity Online), JPMorgan’s said to have chopped leveraged financiers in New York (Dealbreaker) and probably in London, and there’s been heavy trimming at ABN AMRO (Bloomberg). If you’re one of these people, or if you’re a leveraged financier working elsewhere and fear you might be next, we’ve done a little digging to help you plot your next move.
As far as we can see, there are two options. And they are:
· What was formerly known as the second tier: while banks like Deutsche have dropped off the league table for syndicated loans for LBOs in Europe, others, like HSBC, Commerzbank, Calyon and Lloyds TSB, have been moving up. According to Dealogic, Calyon ranks second for leveraged loans for the year to date in Europe, for example. Last year it ranked in the no-man’s land outside the top 15.
We haven’t spoken to Calyon, but we have spoken to Bank of Ireland, which has also soared up the league table in recent months. Peter Dunsby, head of European acquisition finance at the bank, says they have been “actively recruiting and continue to look at people on an opportunistic basis in response to strong sponsor dealflow”.
Headhunters say Mizuho, Kaupthing and HSBC are also in the market. Last week, HSBC revealed it had hired Deutsche’s Steve Snizek (Reuters) as European head of loan sales and trading.
One leveraged financier who escaped a dying team for the second tier says it’s given him a new lease of life: “I’ve moved from an organisation whose balance sheet was under pressure to one with limited exposure to those issues. It makes it much easier to gain penetration in the current market.”
· Private equity/asset management: with firms like Sankaty Advisors, Avenue Europe (Wall Street Journal), GoldenTree Asset Management and Alcentra queuing up to buy leveraged debt, some are in the market for hires. John Sinik, former global head of leveraged finance at UBS, joined TowerBrook Capital Partners in April, for example.
“There’s definitely a use for these guys in the private equity space,” says a partner at one of the firms above – who declined to be named for fear of drowning in a flood of CVs.
Finding a new position is unlikely to be a cake walk, though. “We’re getting loads of CVs,” says one senior leveraged financier in an up and coming team. “There are some stunningly good people who are no longer in employment.”