Boutique PE Firms On the Move

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The boutique world is certainly on the upswing and making headlines with some tidy deals as of late, knocking well-known names in private equity to the sidelines in some recent big time transactions.

So, just what sorts of job opportunities are coming about from all of this activity? According to Jeanne Branthover, managing director and head of the global financial services practice at Boyden Global Executive Search, the job titles are all across the board. Whether it's IR, industry specialists, analysts, or CFOs, the hiring is on for almost every job title.

"We've never seen anything like it before," she tells eFinancialCareers. "There's certainly a bit of top level poaching going on," notes Branthover. "Firms are also looking for people to replace those who aren't performing." Plus, the boutiques are evaluating their portfolio companies, looking to change management, she adds.

Branthover says her PE clients are asking for people with "an enterprentuerial spirit, the ability to work on their own and with little supervision. They want people who have the wherewithal to make things happen-big fundraising capabilies." But since the boutiques are smaller PE firms, they really need someone who can be a team player, says Branthover. "If you're looking for an 'in', it does help to know someone there," she says. "When you want a team player, it helps to know the person ahead of time. It's less risky.

The latest coup by Centerview Partners and Qatalyst Partners, advising on Google's $12.5 billion bid to buy Motorola, indicates just how much interest there is. In July, Centerview Partners announced the launch of a new restructuring advisory practice.

With the boutiques in serious growth mode, there's been an increase in hiring at almost every level, with execs snagged primarily from the big investment banks. Evercore Partners has made moves to broaden its advisory capabilities, adding to senior staff across many parts of the firm. Hedge fund Citadel just increased its stake in Evercore Partners to a sizeable chunk, so times are promising to be good.

Lazard has expanded its financial institutions group, bringing on a number of top-level UBS hires. Moelis has also thrown out a wide hiring net. The boutique PE firm has hired and poached a string of managing directors in the past few months, including former UBS M&A head Liam Beere, Citi M&A head Gregg Polle, Credit Suisse managing director Kent Savagian, and JPMorgan corporate finance head Yorick Van Slingelandt. The recent formation of a global advisory board for international expansion and Moelis' boost in square footage at its NYC headquarters seems to indicate that more hiring-possibly substantial-could be on the way.

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