Structured Debt & Loan Markets

  1. How would we describe the current recruitment environment? How has this impacted on compensation?
    • A pick up in acquisition activity has still meant some movement in the leveraged / acquisition finance teams more at mid-level than senior level. It has been selective based on need and deal flow and has been more evident in global firms than domestics, who appear to be still not replacing if people leave.
    • Project finance is continuing to see deal flow, especially in infrastructure and energy / power. Resources has been less active of late. Teams have remained relatively steady but have hired selectively, even with some new entrants to the market.
    • Real estate finance has also been busier considering the activity in that sector – although it will depend on whether this is covered from specialist product teams or out of coverage teams.
    • The debt advisory teams in CA firms have also been selectively hiring – targeting ex bankers – more a middle market focus.
  2. Any client or candidate trends observed since the start of the year?
    • At senior level, per above, firms are generally not replacing like-for-like, but rather at next level down. This results in some of the more experienced professionals moving from global banks to smaller advisory firms.
    • Some senior candidates are trying to work out what might come next. The challenge is those with loans / balance sheet experience applying that in a different way – for example in an advisory setting.
    • We are still seeing evidence of candidates wanting ‘to do something different’…not an easy one in this market, despite an uplift in sentiment. There has also been a lot of enquiry from loan market bankers wanting to move to buy-side as we see more evidence of superannuation funds participating in loan syndicates.
    • Candidates are now considering the CA advisory teams more seriously than before, given their larger platforms and access to clients.
  3. Any predictions for the rest of this year / beginning of 2016?
    • To be honest we are not expecting to see much different.
    • If (big if) global and local markets remain (relatively) stable and global firms continue to have appetite for structured debt deals, then we could see some more activity.
    • Superannuation funds and offshore pension funds playing more in the debt space – it’s coming albeit slowly !
    • Let’s hope 2016 continues along with increasing confidence in local and offshore markets, stronger risk appetite and ability for banks to deploy balance sheet to execute deals.

Patrick Everest
02 9235 9440