Greenhill & Co. launched a fund placement arm, poaching several former Lehman Brothers executives to spearhead the effort.

Christopher Kirsten will serve as the head of the fund placement advisory group. Kirsten, was previously the global head of Lehman’s private fund marketing group. Patrick Dunleavy and Neil Banta are also joining Greenhill as managing directors, while Dave Brown and Meghan Kelly are joining as principal and vice president, respectively. All previously served at Lehman Brothers.

While the credit crunch has hampered dealmaking among financial buyers, PE firms continue to raise huge pools of capital. According to the latest data from Preqin, in the first quarter of 2008, LBO firms closed on $82 billion globally, with U.S.-focused funds accounting for 48% of the total.

Prior to Lehman Brothers, Kirsten spent time at Deutsche Bank. Dunleavy, meanwhile, worked in the fund advisory business at Lazard before joining Lehman, while Banta put in an eight-year stint at Citigroup prior to joining Lehman.

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