Leveraged finance moves point to more recruitment

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Concerns about loan defaults have done nothing to take the impetus out of leveraged finance recruitment.

"Leveraged finance is probably the highest demand sector for financial services recruitment in Europe right now," says Lee Thacker, a partner at search firm Highland Partners. "It is just as active as it was in 2000, and two-year guarantees are pretty much standard."

The volume of recent moves is proof of the sector's health. Among others, Credit Suisse has hired both Paul Kelly, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, and Javier Lavros, a director in leveraged finance from Goldman Sachs.

UBS has hired John Sinik, a managing director from Deutsche Bank, and is understood to have also added Michael Gibbons, a director at BNP Paribas.

Alex Spain, a managing director in Lehman Brother's leveraged finance team, is understood to have quit, and the bank is understood to have hired Mark Nielsen, a vice president from Deutsche Bank, moves the bank was unable to confirm.

UBS did not return a call on the subject.

Thacker says there are more hires in the pipeline. Matthew Venning, a consultant at recruitment firm Walker Hammill, agrees: "Most banks are trying to add to their leveraged finance teams at the moment, and it's pretty much across the board."

Venning says there are plenty of openings for mid-ranking leveraged financiers, and that many banks are also interested in juniors with MBAs.