(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. clients have started to accelerate their plans for mergers and acquisitions to the first half of the year to avoid the US election in November, according to the firm’s head of global acquisition finance, Christina Minnis.

“Many of our clients have tried to move their transactions into the first and second quarter, which is one of the reasons why I think we’ve had such a robust first quarter — and I expect that to continue up until the summer,” Minnis said at a Bloomberg New Voices event Wednesday. “I think we are quite concerned about the fall.”

Large leveraged buyouts are starting to come back gradually, she said, adding that she anticipates a “fairly robust” level of M&A activity. 

“I think it starts with the economy,” Minnis said. “If we started to see some nervous signs in the economy, both here in the US as well as globally, that would concern us. But I also agree that the geopolitical situation for 2024 is going to be the next stage.” 

More broadly, big deals are creeping back after a pervasive slump. Capital One Financial Corp. last week announced a $35 billion all-stock transaction to buy Discover Financial Services, the biggest merger deal globally this year. The previous record was set by Synopsys Inc.’s roughly $34 billion acquisition of software developer Ansys Inc. announced in January. Charter Communications Inc. is also exploring a takeover of smaller cable provider Altice USA Inc., Bloomberg previously reported. 

Read More: US Election Will Increase M&A Volatility, PJT’s Taubman Says

In a wide-ranging discussion, Minnis said Goldman is well-placed to compete with private-credit firms, an industry that has ballooned into Wall Street’s biggest rival in leveraged lending. Goldman Sachs has one of the largest private-credit businesses in the world, Minnis said, adding that she’s seeing more competition in pricing in the market thanks to the influx of firms. 

“What I want is the best cost of capital and structure to drive the best price for my sell-side client or the buyer,” Minnis said. “I think Goldman is uniquely positioned in that fashion because we’re in both markets.”

Through its asset-management arm, the New York-based company has been expanding in the $1.7 trillion private-credit market, which has more than doubled in size over the past five years. The firm recently launched its first European private-credit fund to target the region’s affluent investors, and is also teaming up with Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and Mubadala to boost transactions and deals in Asia. 

Minnis joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 as a vice president in the investment-banking division, where she focused on leveraged finance. She once served as the co-head of leveraged finance in the Americas and co-head of the health-care group in the Americas before rising to lead the global acquisition finance and credit finance teams. 

Minnis is one of a few top female bankers to run a revenue-producing unit at Goldman. During the event, she said female mentorship helped in her rise to the top ranks. 

“I’ve had many, many women partners that have been really good advocates but also tough critics,” she said, adding that “they have given me again some really tough feedback.”

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