There is life after leveraged finance

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Things are not good if you're a leveraged financier. As Blackstone amply illustrated

earlier this month, existing leveraged loans are still subject to big writedowns and new ones are scarce. According to

Bloomberg, leveraged loan issuance in the US fell to $11.7bn in January and February 2009 from $66.3bn in January and February 2008 and $158.7bn for the same period in 2007.

It's fortunate, therefore, that leveraged financiers are also in demand as debt restructurers.

Morgan Stanley has redeployed Simon Parry Wingfield, its former European head of leveraged finance, into its restructuring arm. Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup are said to have done the same.

"Credit Suisse basically just reprinted all the business cards of their leveraged loan people and said they worked in restructuring and debt advisory," says one former leveraged financier.

Debt advisory and restructuring are hot. Gleacher Shacklock, Moelis, the Big Four, MPC Partners and various others are hiring.

Unfortunately, leveraged financiers can usually only move into restructuring if they do so internally (ie. redundant leveraged financiers will find the move hard to make). "The people who are hired externally usually have insolvency expertise," says Lee Thacker of search firm Silvermine Partners.