Carlyle hires financial institutions team

The private equity giant will begin investing in the financial sector following the hiring to two senior executives from Mercantile Bankshares and Hartford Financial, respectively.

The Carlyle Group is set to become a “serious investor” in the financial services sector, after hiring two managing directors to run a dedicated investment team.

The new Financial Institutions Group will be led by David Zweiner, the former president and chief operating officer of The Hartford Financial Services Group, and Edward “Ned” Kelly, the former chairman, chief executive and president of Mercantile Bankshares Corp.  Marcantile Bankshares announced a merger with PNC Financial Services group at the end of last year.

The two new managing directors will “build a team to pursue investments around the world” in the financial services sector, according to a press release.

In a statement, Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein said: “The global growth in demand for financial products and services combined with our ability to attract accomplished professionals makes this an opportune time to start this new investment practice. We expect Ned and David will leverage Carlyle’s global platform to quickly establish us as serious investors in the financial services space.”

Kelly is a well-known figure in the US banking sector from his time at Mercantile, which saw the bank’s assets nearly double. He also oversaw its $6 billion sale to PNC earlier this year, achieving a premium of nearly 30 percent for the group’s shareholders. Zwiener has worked in the financial services industry for 30 years, most recently with Hartford and before that with ITT Financial Corporation and Heller International.

Kelly said the chance to build on Carlyle’s global platform was too good to turn down. “Through Carlyle we’re able to combine smart capital with intense sector expertise, supported by a global network.”

Carlyle was recently named as the world’s biggest private equity firm by assets in the PEI 50, a ranking produced by PEO’s sister magazine Private Equity International, after raising $32.5 billion in the last five years. The firm has diversified its activities across a number of alternative asset classes, with specialist real estate, infrastructure, hedge fund and leveraged finance divisions as well as its private equity activity.