The headcount within ANZ Private Equity has approximately halved as the manager pursues exits for its portfolio of remaining mid-market deals, following the bank’s decision to shut the division down in October.

It is understood that the team has shrunk to number 15 members, while the amount of deals awaiting an exit has been reduced to 40, after the bank decided to end its private equity program following a review of its institutional businesses.

The review, which was led by acting institutional boss Alex Thursby and completed in October, also closed the bank’s alternatives, structured credit and equity capital markets operations.

“The new leadership [of the institutional division] decided what was core business, and what wasn’t,” a spokesman for ANZ said.

Thursby has temporarily replaced Peter Hodgson, who left in August after the stinging outcome of a review of the bank’s securities lending program.

A former member of the ANZ Private Equity team said the bank had not determined how many staff would be asked to stay on to wind up the portfolio.

At presstime, ANZ was unable to confirm how many staff remained in the private equity team and the size of the portfolio they managed.

It is understood that the role of Jeremy Steele, the head of ANZ Private Equity, was made redundant after the review, as was that of NSW executive Robert Read.

Set up in 2000, the private equity team focused on deals in Australia and New Zealand, and posted regional directors in both countries. But the team would now be based in Melbourne, the former employee of ANZ said.

At one point, the portfolio held 87 mid-market transactions, the largest being $50 million. Among its exits were management buyouts of Nortruss Builders Supplies and Michel’s Patisserie, and the acquisition and expansion of Ibis Care.

The remaining deals will be managed and not hurriedly released in a fire sale, the former employee said.

Possible reasons for shutting the business could be attributed to the market downturn and the resultant volatility, impacts on capital adequacy ratios in the portfolio and the cost of funding.

In addition to Steele, the managing director of ANZ Capital, David Tonuri, also left in October after the review.

“Since they’ve gone, the degree of senior support for the business is not there,” the former employee said.

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