They're big, they're active, and they're hiring.
While Western private equity funds flounder around trying to decide where to put their money, government-led funds in the Middle East and China are flashing a lot of cash.
Citigroup isn't the only one benefiting from their largesse. The Financial Times today reports that sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) now control around $2,500bn of assets and that SWFs have invested $37bn in Western financials alone so far this year.
With all that money to spend, it's little surprise that some of the largest funds are looking for staff. Dubai International Capital, which made a 'substantial investment' in Sony earlier this week, is hiring everything from associates and senior associates to vice presidents.
Similarly, the China Investment Corporation is advertising for risk managers, compliance managers and an assortment of fund management professionals. Candidates are asked to submit their CVs before 6 December.
Open to outsiders
You don't necessarily need to be Chinese or Arabic to land a job. While some of the jobs in China specify prior experience working for a 'state owned enterprise', others actually cite an overseas education or overseas work experience as a prerequisite.
We also spoke to the head of recruitment at a Middle Eastern fund, who says private equity experience counts for more than an ability to speak Arabic: "We're very open to people moving from London - it's not necessary that you have prior knowledge of the region."
Pay is decidedly opaque, with no one willing to say whether employees of sovereign funds receive carried interest (we think not), and the China Investment Corporation reportedly telling the FT that pay won't be competitive with the West.
However, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for one appears to pay quite well - accounting firm Witan Jardine recently advertised for a regional financial controller for ADIA on 75k plus benefits. Not bad, considering it's tax free.