Reflections on the Private Debt Market in 2015 |

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Reflections on the Private Debt Market in 2015

Banks and funds fight for market share

In the second quarter of 2015 AIMA published a research paper highlighting the growing and important role of private debt funds in financing Europe’s economy. This research underlined that one of the most enduring consequences of the financial crisis is that Europe’s debt markets have moved, particularly for the funding of SME and mid-market transactions, to a model more akin to that which prevails in the US, where bank loans only account for approximately 25% of corporate debt. 2015 saw a continued shift away from banks (traditionally accounting for between 80%–90% of financing for European companies) to a variety of new debt providers such as private equity, institutional investors, insurance companies, pension funds and a variety of alternative credit providers. This shift in funding sources for European corporates is now a permanent, structural feature across a number of different asset classes including corporate, real estate and infrastructure debt.

The principal reasons for this structural shift in the European financing markets are now well documented and focus on a combination of bank retrenchment in a number of lending markets (as the panoply of national and international regulatory frameworks introduced since the financial crisis have forced banks to strengthen their balance sheets) coupled with the unprecedented low interest environment which has forced institutional money to hunt for yield in less liquid corporate and other debt instruments. Given this background this article summarises a number of the key themes emerging in the private debt markets last year and looks at some of the challenges that may lie ahead for the industry.

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