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Financial sponsors sponsor additional hiring

The boom in private equity fundraising and deal-making has prompted a surge in investment banks' Asian financial sponsor teams.

In the last year, Merrill Lynch, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, ABN Amro, Lehman Brothers. HSBC and GE Capital have all hired professionals. And they're all expected to continue doing so again next year.

"It seems as if everyone is hiring, but that's only because there weren't any dedicated financial sponsor teams in Asia before," says CK Wan, a director covering investment banking and private equity for Asia at Akamai Financial Markets in Hong Kong. "Now most of the houses are looking to build up on the solid bases they've established. It's a growing bull market phenomenon."

Financial sponsors need to have strong corporate finance backgrounds. They also need be good at managing relationships, both outside and within the bank.

"Financial sponsors are reliant on the guys doing both the country coverage and also the sector coverage for deals," says Wan. "It's on their ability to handle those relationships that financial sponsors do well."

Bulge bracket firms are looking to hire across the board, from the managing director level down to vice president and associate.

A managing director with five years experience can expect a base salary of US$250,000 with a bonus of US$1 million or more depending on performance. A vice president can expect to earn anywhere between US$350,000 to US$750,000 per year, says a headhunter based in Singapore.

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