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IR Hires Show Shifting Demand in Alternatives

Private credit managers are adding more marketing staff as investors seek to diversify, while private-equity firms continue to raise assets faster than they can hire talent.

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Recent hiring trends at alternatives firms reflect investors’ growing interest in private credit strategies.

They hired 251 marketing and investor relations people last quarter, continuing high levels of hiring activity, according to Context Jensen Partners. The firm said 21 were for private credit roles, indicating allocator demand for longer lock-up funds and yield strategies less correlated to the broader market.

“There have been really interesting stories in private credit where you can get long-term, regular yield, and there’s a requirement for that in institutional portfolios,” Sasha Jensen, the firm’s chief executive officer, said by phone.

Jensen, who recently returned from meeting with investors in Asia, said she saw a lot of demand for private credit strategies there. She expects allocations to the asset class to continue to rise over the next twelve to eighteen months.

Still, hedge funds remained the most active in adding marketing staff last quarter, accounting for 29.1 percent of all investor relations hires. While hedge funds’ hiring activity slowed to 73 staff appointments, from 107 during the first three months of the year, the number of hires is up from the second quarter of 2016.

“What we’re seeing has a lot do with retaining the right staff,” Jensen said. “There’s a juggling for the right type of talent who can spearhead a campaign.”

Private-equity firms also invested significantly in their marketing staffs last quarter, coming in a close second with 24.7 percent of all appointments. Given the torrent pace of fundraising, Jensen said IR hiring at private-equity firms is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.

The need for marketing talent has leaked into private fund groups, third-party sources of fundraising and distribution for private-equity firms, according to Jensen. She said there’s “so much hiring across the board” due to managers lacking enough staff to keep up with the current pace of raising money.

“It has been an enormous quarter for private-equity fundraising and we continue to see enormous demand for investor relations, marketing, and business development roles," Jensen said.