Private Equity Hiring of Financial and Operational Staff Increasing

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Private equity executives have a bigger appetite for hiring right now as opposed to last year, says a new survey from accounting and advisory firm EisnerAmper in New York which finds optimism among PE executives regarding new acquisitions and their affect on the pace of private equity transactions.

“The hiring trend now includes more financial and operational professionals in addition to their primary hiring of research/analysis and compliance professionals,” says the firm.

It interviewed 113 general partners as well as CFOs, COOs and vice presidents and other senior private equity officers between October 2011 and January 2012.

What they said was that the first half of 2012 will reflect a “steady or increasing hiring environment,” with “a meaningful 37 percent of private equity respondents planning to increase their staffing and 56 percent keeping the staffing the same.”

Fifty percent of respondents said they planned to bring on financial staff, while 55 percent are seeking operational staff and roughly one-third indicated they plan to hire in the research/analysis area.

“Only slightly more than a quarter selected compliance as an area where they'd be hiring, which may be surprising given the imminent compliance demands of Dodd-Frank,” says EisnerAmper in its report on the findings.

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • Private equity firms' projected activity for new acquisitions will be up and their outlook for fundraising is more sanguine
  • Sales or dispositions are projected to be higher for the first half of 2012, though not significantly
  • While competitive bidding activity remains low, there is evidence that some PE firms are anticipating an uptick in deal flow.

With PE firms focused on adding value to their portfolio companies, they are adding more financial and operational resources including professional staff; and using the efforts and time of fund executives more than ever before. Funds are adding value to the holdings by addressing their corporate strategies, revenue growth and human capital, as well as financial management.

“While not specifically tied to results from this survey, we can predict increased levels of fund raising, in a somewhat more competitive environment, for the foreseeable future,” the report states.

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