M&A Hiring Trends in Australia in 2020

01 February 2021

In 2020, Mergermarket captured the movement of at least 88 senior-level hires, with a background in M&A, in the financial, legal and private equity advisory community in Australia. Of these, 28 moved within the financial advisory (FA) space, 53 within the legal advisory community, and seven in the private equity community.

The following story has been published using Mergermarket’s proprietary People Move data. 


The data is aggregated from public documents and captures the movement of senior professionals in Australia as per MM *criteria across the following areas: financial advisors, legal advisors, private equity firms and corporates. 


In order to submit a new appointment, please email the people moves at  [email protected]. 

All moves captured within FA, LA & PE communities were of professionals with an M&A background.


Hiring in the Financial Advisory, Legal Advisory & Private Equity Space


In 2020, Mergermarket captured the movement of at least 88 senior-level hires, with a background in M&A, in the financial, legal and private equity advisory community in Australia. Of these, 28 moved within the financial advisory (FA) space, 53 within the legal advisory community, and seven in the private equity community.


Of the 28 FA moves in 2020, bulge bracket banks including Citi [NYSE:C], JPMorgan [NYSE:JPM], Goldman Sachs [NYSE:GS] and Credit Suisse [NYSE:CS] hired one individual each. Citi hired Alex Cartel previously at Deutsche Bank [NYSE:DB], as MD and head of investment banking coverage, JPMorgan brought on board former Credit Suisse MD, Duncan Mann as head of its financial sponsor coverage and GS appointed Ian Taylor as head of equity capital market for Australia and New Zealand. Credit Suisse appointed ex-acting CEO of Bank of Queensland [ASX:BOQ], Anthony Rose as head of financial institutions.


Auckland-based advisory firm Jarden emerged as the largest recruiter hiring 17 individuals for its Australian offices in 2020. Of the individuals recruited by Jarden, 10 were ex-UBS [NYSE:UBS], four ex-Goldman Sachs and one each from Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley [NYSE:MS]. Sydney-based Barrenjoey Capital Partners, which was formed in September 2020 and in which Barclays [LON:BARC] has a 9.99% stake, made four hires, including two from UBS.


The legal advisory space saw 53 hires which included 17 corporate lawyers, eight M&A and six restructuring specialists. K&L Gates and Mills Oakley were the largest recruiters hiring five individuals each. K&L appointed ex-Hogan Lovells partner Richard Hayes as partner in its M&A unit; Richard Chew, who served as partner at Sparke Helmore Lawyers was appointed as partner in its technology practice and ex-Holding Redlich employees Harry KingsleyKaveh Zegrati and Alex Garfinkel joined its corporate practice. Mills Oakley appointed Rayne Nelms as partner in its environment practice and made four corporate partner appointments which included Daniel KirkChris TaylorDanny Simmons and Lynda Reid. Nelms previously served as partner at Thomson Greer; Simmons and Reid served as partners at PwC; Taylor previously served as a special counsel at Baker McKenzie and Kirk was previously a partner at Dentons.


Of the seven PE recruitments, Sweden-based EQT Partners made two hires, David Forde and Frank Heckes, appointed to lead the PE team in Sydney. Both Forde and Heckes previously served at Archer Capital, a Sydney-based consumer, healthcare and services investor.



Hiring in the Corporate Space


In the corporate space, Mergermarket captured a total of 193 C-level executives, primarily CEOs and CFOs, who were hired by different Australia-based public and private companies. C-level corporate recruitments included 82 CEO, 72 CFO, and 15 COO appointments. 


The Energy, Mining &Utilities (EMU) sector which generated deals worth USD 16.3bn (AUD 22.9bn) in 2020, was the largest hiring sector for C-Level executive, having seen a total of 52 hires. The financial services sector registered 49 hires which stood as the third largest sector by deal value in 2020 at USD 5.7bn (AUD 8bn).




Potential Transactions in 2021/2022


Based on a proprietary formula revolving around the movement of people from one institution to another, Mergermarket believes the following 14 companies could be ripe for a transaction in 2021.


Company   Name Sector
IXUP [ASX:IXU] Technology
InvoCare [ASX:IVC] Business Services
Arch Oncology PMB
Osteopore [ASX:OSX] PMB
Stockland [ASX:SGP] Real Estate
Jervois Mining [ASX:JRV] Mining
IronRidge Resources [LON:IRR] Mining
Transurban Group [ASX:TCL] Transportation
Horizon Minerals [ASX:HRZ] Mining
First Graphene [ASX:FGR] Mining
National Australia Bank [ASX:NAB] Financial Services
Lawfinance [ASX:LAW] Business Services
AMP Limited [ASX:AMP] Financial Services
Expert360 Business Services

*Mergermarket People Move Aggregation Criteria


FA: managing directors, head of strategy, partner, head of IB, senior advisor, head of sectors

LA: partners, managing partners, counsel & of counsel with corporate, M&A, bankruptcy/restructuring experience (we do not include partners from IP, litigation, capital markets etc.)


PE: partner, managing partner, principal, managing director, vice president, senior advisors, head of investor relations


Corporate: moves for CEO, COO, CFO, head of strategy, chief investment officer, chief transformation officer, finance director, director general (for European firms)

 **Mergermarket does not include promotions, demotions, change of profiles in the same firm or retirements.

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