Investment bank Houlihan Lokey appointed Christian Keller and Ann Sharkey to the firm’s European Financial Sponsors Group, both as managing directors.

These appointments follow the recent arrival of Leon Gillespie, who joined the team in London in October to focus on U.K. private equity clients.

“As part of the ongoing expansion of Houlihan Lokey’s footprint in Europe, we continue to grow the European Financial Sponsors Group and now have six dedicated senior officers across the region,” said John Mavredakis, global head of the Financial Sponsors Group. “Christian and Ann bring deep industry experience which suits our culture perfectly. Their expertise will complement our existing team, enabling us to strategically expand both our geographic coverage capability and our coverage of hedge funds and alternative investors in Europe.”

Based in Frankfurt, Keller will lead coverage in the DACH region. He most recently served as HSBC’s managing director and head of Leveraged & Acquisition Finance in Germany, where he was responsible for the origination of event-related financing transactions for private equity and corporate clients and sponsor coverage for large and mid-cap private equity clients in DACH. Prior to HSBC, Keller spent 16 years at Unicredit Bank, latterly as a managing director in Financial Sponsor Solutions.

Sharkey focus on covering hedge funds, alternative investors, and financial institutions in London. Most recently an investment consultant to real estate funds and private equity funds, she has previously served as a managing director at both Castlelake and Carval Investors, focusing on European credit opportunities. She also spent eight years at Citigroup, covering European and U.S. distressed investors and served as head of Research for the European arm of Citigroup’s Global Special Situations Group. She began her career in 1997 with Merrill Lynch, specializing in investing in European distressed companies.

Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Sponsors Group consists of 18 senior officers across Europe and the U.S., covering over 750 private equity firms, 200 hedge funds and 100 family offices. In 2017, the group worked on over 800 sponsor-related engagements.