Press Release: ACC Publishes Financing the Economy
Published: 20 November 2019
Private credit set to continue its upward trajectory
- Optimism for structural growth is tempered with concerns for economic downturn ahead
- Pension fund and insurance capital expected to fuel ongoing growth of private credit
- Borrowers often prefer private credit solutions despite the availability of financing from traditional sources
Embargoed 09:00am 20th November, New York: The Alternative Credit Council (ACC), together with global law firm Dechert LLP, has today published its fifth annual flagship Financing the Economy paper. This research draws together insights from 30 industry leaders and data from 60 firms managing close to US$400 billion in private credit assets and identifies key trends that will define the future of private credit.
The research finds that private credit will continue to expand across both existing strategies and into new markets. 68% of survey respondents plan to increase their lending in the SME/mid-market space, despite the sense that this core market is suffering from saturation. Distressed, real estate and asset-backed lending are among the other more popular growth strategies.
The European and U.S. markets continue to be the biggest source of growth for private credit. Half of respondents expect to invest more capital in Europe while 43% expect to invest more in the U.S. market. A third of managers are targeting future expansion in the Asia Pacific region, with almost 20% specifically targeting either India or China. The report also indicates that interest in the UK market appears to be cooling slightly.
Optimism amongst managers is tempered with a strong sense of realism. 73% of those surveyed expect that the economic and credit cycle will affect their future growth. This sentiment is influencing all aspects of the lending process, from changes to underwriting practices, investment in technology and restructuring capacity.
The research concludes that institutional capital is driving the future of private credit. This asset class is a key component in institutional portfolios, particularly for those seeking income producing assets at a time of low yields in public fixed income markets and relatively high equity market valuations. Over 80% of managers surveyed expect to raise more capital from pension funds and insurance companies.
Borrowers prefer the value of a bilateral relationship with a sophisticated counterparty in comparison to commoditised lending products. While private credit began as a funding option for those who could not access bank financing, public bonds or the broadly syndicated markets, it is now also chosen by those who can still make use of these traditional sources. Today, single transactions above U.S. $1 billion are becoming more frequent. 80% of respondents expect to increase their direct relationships with borrowers.
Jiří Krόl, Global Head of the Alternative Credit Council, commented: “This year’s ‘Financing the Economy’ report reveals the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for private credit as it continues to expand. The expansion takes place at a time when questions about the sustainability of private credit become more prominent in the thinking of investors and policymakers. Rather than shying away from challenges presented by them, many managers have put them at the forefront of their thinking when building their businesses.”
Chris Gardner, Partner, Financial Services at Dechert LLP, added: “Whilst the impressive progress made by the private credit industry should rightly be celebrated, we think private credit managers have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible for the asset class. There will likely be some challenges ahead and the resilience of business models will be tested over the next five years in different ways. The success of the asset class during this period will come from private credit managers continuing to be a valuable and trusted partner to their borrowers and investors in good and bad times.”
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Notes to Editors:
The ACC surveyed over 60 management firms and cites 30 leading industry individuals, with an aggregate AuM of nearly $400bn in private credit strategies. It provides an insight into the minds of industry managers on the hurdles they expect to overcome, and the opportunities they will capitalise on in the years ahead.
We are grateful for the contributions of the participants of this research. They are listed on pages 8-9 of the report.
About the ACC
The Alternative Credit Council (ACC) is the global body representing asset management firms in the private credit and direct lending space. It currently represents over 170 members that manage $400bn of private credit assets. The ACC is an affiliate of AIMA (the Alternative Investment Management Association). It is governed by its own board which ultimately reports to the AIMA Council. ACC members provide an important source of funding to the economy. They finance mid-market corporates, SMEs, commercial and residential real estate developments, infrastructure and the trade and receivables business. The ACC provides guidance on policy and regulatory matters, supports wider advocacy and educational efforts and produces industry research to strengthen the sector's sustainability and economic and financial benefits. Alternative credit, private debt or direct lending funds have grown substantially in recent years and are becoming a key segment of the asset management industry. The ACC seeks to explain the value of private credit by highlighting the sector's wider economic and financial stability benefits.
The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) is the global representative of the alternative investment industry, with more than 2,000 corporate members in over 60 countries. AIMA’s fund manager members collectively manage more than $2 trillion in hedge fund or private credit assets. AIMA draws upon the expertise and diversity of its membership to provide leadership in industry initiatives such as advocacy, policy and regulatory engagement, educational programmes and sound practice guides. AIMA works to raise media and public awareness of the value of the industry. AIMA set up the Alternative Credit Council (ACC) to help firms focused in the private credit and direct lending space. AIMA is committed to developing skills and education standards and is a co-founder of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation (CAIA) – the first and only specialised educational standard for alternative investment specialists. AIMA is governed by its Council (Board of Directors). For further information, please visit AIMA’s website, www.aima.org.
About Dechert LLP
Dechert is a global law firm with approximately 1000 lawyers in 26 locations worldwide. Over 200 lawyers are dedicated to funds and financial services and 250 lawyers focus on finance matters. The firm has expertise across all major asset classes, fund domiciles and structures and provides expertise at every stage of the investment lifecycle. We were the first and are the leading major international law firm with a funds practice that spans the key European investment fund centres – Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Luxembourg, Munich and Paris – as well as throughout the U.S., Middle East and Asia. As a result, our lawyers are in a unique position to give jurisdictional-neutral and unbiased advice about the right structures for raising and deploying capital both in Europe and beyond, with strong attention to tax efficiency and market terms. Dechert is one of the most active law firms in the sphere of debt fund formation, representing a range of debt fund sponsors from large platforms to boutique and emerging managers. The firm’s internationally recognised finance practice provides complex financings and deal structuring.