The hiring picture grew more complicated this week, in the wake of widespread office closures to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Erin Carroll, a partner in the Boston office of executive recruitment firmBraddockMatthews, which conducts searches for mid- to senior-level professionals in asset management, reported the following in an interview yesterday:
1) For the most part it’s still a go for the searches that the firm has under way for private equity clients. Carroll expects that some searches might be paused, and that the pace of the hiring process will ease across the board. There’s only so much that can be done by phone and video conference. Hiring managers want to meet candidates in person; and likewise candidates don’t want to make a big career move without first seeing the office, meeting their supervisor, and meeting future colleagues.
So many wonderful relationships in private equity fall apart at the starting line.
An executive recruiter calls you about a job opportunity. You’re happily settled in a lucrative position. In a moment of pique you respond–curtly–that you’re not interested. The executive recruiter makes a note that future contact with you may prove unrewarding.
By the same token, you may recall past job searches where you emailed executive recruiters. You thought they would jump at the chance to help you. But little came of the outreach and you concluded that it was a waste of time.
The World Bank has an opening for a travel-loving junior professional who enjoys working on private equity fund investments in a cosmopolitan, university-like atmosphere.
The World Bank’s pension and endowments department, located a block from Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., manages a $30 billion pension plan along with related assets. From LinkedIn it appears that the private equity team is relatively small. It includes at least two principal portfolio managers and a senior portfolio manager.
Patina Solutions, which fills talent gaps at companies with consultants, interim executives, and permanent executives, has brought aboard Joseph G. Solari III as managing director-private equity solutions to expand its business with New York and other East Coast private equity shops.
Pointing to Patina Solutions’s network of more than 26,000 seasoned executives ready for assignments on short notice, Solari said he plans to help private equity firms find “those needle-in-a-haystack-type [executives] who can be extraordinary helpful” in both pre-deal due diligence and post-deal execution.
From 2013 to 2019 Solari (pictured) worked at lower-middle-market specialist Saugatuck Capital Company of Shelton, Connecticut. Most recently he served as managing director and partner. Along with his role at Patina Solutions, Solari serves as founder and partner at start-up Greenwich Private Investments. The private investment vehicle makes debt and equity investments in companies in a variety of industries.
MiddleGround Capital, which closed its debut fund late last summer above it hard cap, plans to launch a search for a junior-to-mid-level professional to work on deal origination and investor relations.
The ideal candidate would have three to eight years of professional experience and a background in a related field such as investment banking, private equity or management consulting. Christen Paras, head of business development and investor relations, said that the search “will be getting kicked off pretty soon.” The new hire will report to Paras (pictured).
MiddleGround Capital has been on a deal-making, fund-raising and hiring tear since its founding in March 2018 by Partner and CCO Scot Duncan, Partner Lauren Mulholland and Partner John Stewart.
Ever wonder why so many private equity firms strive to raise ever larger funds? Simple. Larger funds generate more income–more management fees for certain, and more carried interest so long as their deals turn out to be sufficiently profitable.
More management fees translate into higher individual pay, since firms don’t hire at the same pace that they expand their assets under management. And that has led to some remarkable differences in pay for folks doing similar work at large and small shops. More evidence for these disparities comes from the 2019 employment report released by Columbia Business School this fall.
Private equity firms, scrapping for every possible advantage to meet stratospheric investor expectations, continue to binge on the hiring of operating professionals.
In a recent survey-based report, executive recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles found that as investment professionals spend more time looking for deals, and less time tending to portfolios, “PE firms are adding generalists, industry specialists, and functional specialists from the middle level through the most senior ranks.” Two of the most popular hires? Head of talent and CFO of portfolio operations.
Turning Rock Partners, a New York City-based shop that closed its debut fund earlier this year at more than $400 million, plans to expand its nine-person payroll over the next 24 months by adding up to two investment professionals and a client services professional.
Managing Partner Maggie Arvedlund (pictured, second from right) said that the investment hire or hires would likely be at the junior or mid-level, although the firm is flexible. “We like to meet exceptional talent, and we can often flex up or down for the right individual,” Arvedlund said. The firm is committed to building a team with varied backgrounds. “We are a woman-owned business, and we take [diversity] seriously,” she said.
A large and growing number of private-equity firms have at least one full-time deal originator on staff. But it can still take the skills of a consummate originator to break into the field at the junior level.
All told, 59 percent of the 144 private-equity firms that participated in this year’s Deal Origination Benchmark Report have at least one business development professional, or originator, whose full-time job is relationship-building with deal intermediaries or business owners. That’s up from 47 percent in the 2017 edition.
The report is produced every year by deal-sourcing platform provider Sutton Place Strategies. All the participants are clients of Sutton Place Strategies, so the sample may not be representative of the broader industry. (Sutton Place Strategies is a consulting client of mine.)