Investec expanding PE presence

The specialist investment bank has appointed Paul Bail as a director in its debt advisory team, part of its efforts in the last few years to increase its private equity profile and cater to the needs of GPs.

Investec Investment Banking and Securities has hired former Barclays Bank managing director Paul Bail as a director in its debt advisory team, with a focus on expanding the team’s profile within the private equity industry.

Before joining the specialist investment bank, Bail also served as a board director of Barclays Financial Investments, and before that he spent eight years at Bank of America working on financial structuring, leveraged finance and mergers and acquisitions issues.

“Investec has already made substantial progress in terms of expanding its offering within the private equity community,” Nick Soper, head of debt advisory at Investec, said in a statement. “This, combined with increasing demand in the sector for debt advisory services, presents a significant opportunity for us, and [Bail’s] appointment will ensure that we are in an excellent position to take advantage of it.”

In a Dow Jones article from last week, Bail spoke about the current increase in buyout activity that is driving up debt levels. “We are definitely seeing more activity than last year, and all the main banks are active in the market,” he said.

Bail’s appointment is the latest move by Investec over the last couple of years to strengthen its private equity presence, starting with its appointment in 2008 of former Deloitte adviser Gareth Taylor to focus on mid-market deals in the UK. Investec also recently conducted a survey of 120 general partners in the UK that showed increased optimism over the economic environment in the country and the likelihood of raising a larger fund during their next fundraising cycle.

Last September Investec also launched its private equity partner and fund finance service, which is intended to take advantage of the need for credit by GPs. The service typically lends up to £25 million to private equity GPs, secured against private equity investments, management company cash flows or investor commitments.

Finance is made available to those operating in the private equity universe to capitalise on whatever individual opportunities present themselves, which so far have included buying interests from distressed LPs and investing in their own funds. The bank is focusing its efforts on mid-market GPs, having made a conscious decision not to go into the large buyout space.