Nordic PE professionals returning home, but for how long?

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The continuing tough climate in the UK and US is helping to lure Nordic private equity professionals back home but, while the market for now remains relatively buoyant and able to absorb this influx, some are cautioning that opportunities will become more scarce next year.

"Despite the bad news on jobs generally that has been coming out of London, the market, at least for private equity hiring, is still pretty upbeat," says David Richardson, consultant at specialist private equity recruiter PER.

Most of the current demand is in the junior ranks, he says, with the senior level largely barren in term of recruitment requirements.

"What we are also seeing is that quality candidates with perhaps three to five years' experience in London who in 2008 and 2009 would probably have stayed put and not taken the risk of moving back are now thinking there might be enough opportunities to be tempted to return," he adds.

Upbeat research such as that by Norwegian asset manager Argentum Fondsinvesteringer AS over the summer, which suggested that private-equity investment in the Nordic countries was poised to return to pre-crisis levels this year, have helped to fuel this trend.

Yet, while there has been an ongoing trend post-crisis for Nordic private equity professionals working out of London or New York to consider a move back home, PE firms are likely to be being quite selective in the coming years, cautions Tomas Ekman, partner in private equity giant 3i's Stockholm office.

"I'm not sure funds being raised is going to increase and, if anything, it may be that funds will be raising less in the next couple of years, which might have an effect on the level of opportunities.

"There has been demand for banking specialists, with both larger firms and some smaller local ones looking to beef up their internal banking teams. People with an industrial background or specialism in specific industrial sectors have also been more popular.

"But in general I do not think there is going to be a lot of hiring going on specifically within private equity, though in areas such as M&A, where volumes have continued to pick up, there may still be a need for people," he adds.

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