RREEF to boost private equity activity

Nick Gaynor, Deutsche Bank’s head of financial sponsor coverage for the EMEA region, has joined the subsidiary alternatives firm to lead its charge into direct and co-investments.

The alternatives arm of Deutsche Bank, widely known for its real estate and infrastructure investment activity, has appointed Nick Gaynor, formerly Deutsche’s top banker to private equity clients in the Europe Middle East and Africa region, to build up its fledgling private equity investment programme.

Gaynor, who remains in London, has become managing director reporting into Chuck Leitner, global head of RREEF alternative investments. Gaynor will lead the RREEF’s direct and co-investments in private equity.

Of the €53.3 billion in assets under management that RREEF had at the end of 2008, only €775 million was invested in private equity, with the lion’s share invested in real estate and infrastructure assets.

Gaynor, who joined Deutsche in 2004 from Goldman Sachs, has advised clients such as UK-based private equity firm Charterhouse Capital Partners. His move to direct investment comes as investment banking fees earned from advising on financial sponsor activity have dropped off significantly. Deutsche earned $16 million from financial sponsor activity in the first quarter of 2009, compared to $70 million of the same period last year, according to data provider Dealogic.

Since the onset of the credit crunch a number of high ranking bankers have moved into direct investment. The former head of JPMorgan Securities’ financial sponsors group, John Coyle, joined buyout house Permira in April last year, while UBS has lost John Sinick, its head of global leveraged finance, and Richard Allsopp, its private placement head, to TowerBrook Capital Partners and Babcock & Brown, respectively.