If You Can Sign Up PE Investors, You're Golden

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Demand is booming for people with a book of institutional investors with money to put into private equity funds.

Placement agents - firms (including units of investment banks) that specialize in fundraising for alternative investment vehicles - are bulking up to cope with a "spike" in demand from PE firms, Financial News reports. Evercore Partners' placement group, Paris-based Triago, and Jefferies are hiring fund placement staff and opening offices across the world.

Evercore Partners recently made hires for the placement group it acquired from Neuberger Berman in February. The group now employs 13 people, up from nine at the time of the acquisition. Triago, which has 35 employees now, has openings at all levels in New York, Paris and Dubai, and plans an Asian office in the near future.

At the same time, PE firms including London-based Coller Capital and BC Partners are hiring more in-house fundraising staff.

The spur for all the activity is pent-up demand for capital from PE funds that are coming back to market after the crisis-induced funding drought. The challenge they face is that investors continue to hold back from committing fresh money to PE - the $41.3 billion raised by all such funds in the second quarter was the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2003, according to data provider Preqin - while many more funds are competing for attention.

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