Financial services M&A veteran joins Carlyle

UBS investment banker Olivier Sarkozy has joined The Carlyle Group’s recently formed financial services team. The team aims to exploit low valuations in the financial services sector, which has been hit by recent worldwide credit market problems.

US investment firm The Carlyle Group has appointed Olivier Sarkozy, the half-brother of the French president, as co-head and managing director of its Global Financial Services Group. He takes the position of Ned Kelly, who left Carlyle to become president of Citi Alternative Investments in January. 

Sarkozy was joint global head of FIG Investment Banking at Swiss bank UBS. He will be based in New York and will start working for Carlyle next month.

David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of Carlyle, said in a statement: “[Sarkozy] has an incredible track record and network that will help Carlyle capitalise on the dislocation in the financial services sector and extend our record of success to this important and growing part of the global economy.”

Sarkozy, who will continue to work with UBS in an advisory capacity, has advised on numerous private equity and M&A transactions in the financial services sector including the JC Flowers consortium’s attempted acquisition of US student loan provider Sallie Mae for $25 billion (€16.5 billion) and ABN Amro’s sale of LaSalle Bank to Bank of America.

Prior to joining UBS in 2002, Sarkozy had worked at US investment bank First Boston Corporation since 1993 where he was managing director and head of the depository institutions group. Sarkozy began his career at US brokerage Dillon, Read & Co in 1990.

Carlyle is one of many private equity firms looking at potential acquisitions in the financial services sector where share prices have been devastated by losses related to problems in the global credit markets. A new fund being raised by financial services specialist JC Flowers was close to securing a $4 billion investment from Chinese state investment arm the China Investment Corporation last month, according to media reports.

Carlyle set up its Global Financial Services Group in June last year. It now has nine investment professionals including: co-head and managing director David Zwiener, former president and chief operating officer of The Hartford Financial Services Group's property and casualty operations; managing director Randal K. Quarles, former under secretary of the US Treasury for domestic finance; and managing director David Moffett, former vice chairman and chief financial officer of US Bancorp.