Investing in private debt

We can help you plan, build and monitor well-diversified private debt portfolios, seeking the best-possible risk-adjusted returns. We break down the complexity of this asset class by focusing on risk-and-return objectives, income orientation, flexibility and ESG integration. We use our scale to negotiate better fees and provide access to highly rated asset managers and strategies.

Why investors are looking to private debt

Investors look to private debt for resilience, diversification and to pursue better returns. Investing in private debt could give your portfolio access to alternative sources of higher yield and flexibility to invest in the global real economy. Private debt investments can also be an effective way of diversifying away from listed bonds and growth assets.

Investors in private debt generally receive a yield premium over traditional fixed income. The return premium can vary depending on the type of investment strategy, however, it's been robust over the past decade.

Private debt loans are typically floating rate. They offer investors some protection from inflation eating away at their returns, especially compared to fixed-rate bonds, which lose value in a higher-inflation or rising–interest-rate environment. In a deflationary period, with a decline in interest rates, rate floors in private debt deals can also help soften the impact of rate declines.

Themes driving private debt investments

With inflation returning, it is hard to access real yield in public markets. Over the past decade and more, many investors have successfully built a core allocation to private debt that aims to generate the income lacking in other parts of their fixed income portfolios.

Many private debt asset managers have bolstered their resources to help identify opportunities and mitigate risks associated with environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations. By investing directly, managers can have greater influence on the terms of the loans. For example, it is becoming more common to see lenders offering interest rate reductions to companies for meeting ESG targets.

Since the global financial crisis, banks have retreated from providing credit in the face of tighter global regulations. Private debt lenders have stepped in to fill the void in an attempt to help these organisations on the path to continued growth. We believe this trend will continue, with significant growth and opportunities for investors over time.

Private equity has boomed in recent years, with more companies now in private hands than listed on public markets. The demand for private debt capital has grown to support the expansion of the private equity market. This has supported the illiquidity premium available to private debt investors over time, and we believe it will continue to do so.

Potential benefits of investing in private debt

Private debt can provide you with several potential benefits, including higher returns, diversification and access to a wide range of global investment opportunities.

Private debt is an illiquid asset class and not traded in the public capital markets. This means you could access an “illiquidity premium”, as compensation for taking on this risk, potentially resulting in higher returns than traditional liquid credit.

Private debt is an attractive portfolio diversifier because it typically has a low correlation to listed stocks and bonds. It adds diversification through lower volatility and income-based returns.

Asset managers in private debt have a more direct role in writing the terms of the loans they provide. This allows specific lender protections to be “baked-in”, potentially giving you more security as an investor.

Choosing a private debt strategy aligned with your objectives

The private debt universe is extremely broad and offers a wide range of strategies from which you can choose to populate your portfolio.

This is one of the broadest areas of the private debt market. Loans can be made directly to companies of all sizes, from large-cap companies all the way down to venture-capital-funded startups.

Structured credit transactions are usually backed by a pool of assets, with performance dependent on those underlying assets. Asset pools can include property, mortgages, consumer debt (such as credit cards), corporate loans, and many other types of assets. Investment strategies are often complex and can offer the potential for higher returns in compensation for taking on this complexity.

Private debt markets have a wide range of speciality areas. You can allocate to music, film and media royalties, insurance, litigation finance, transport finance, trade finance, and dedicated ESG or impact assets. These niche areas are complex and often require specialised knowledge, creating barriers to entry and increasing potential returns.

This segment broadly includes debt backed by real assets such as real estate and infrastructure. Our private debt teams work closely with specialists to identify opportunities.

If you're willing to take on a little more risk in your private debt portfolio and access capital appreciation opportunities, you could consider allocating to special situations or distressed debt strategies. Dislocations in credit or equity markets (whether asset-specific or more wide-ranging) can create attractive investment opportunities, albeit with higher risk.

How to find the right manager for you

Private debt is an extremely broad and versatile asset class, offering a variety of approaches. That's why, when establishing a portfolio, you need to know which styles and strategies will best suit your needs.

Your investment objectives and existing holdings will shape how you approach private debt and which sub-categories you select. We use our global reach and sophisticated tools to select high-quality managers and build portfolios to match your desired risk and return profile.

Two important factors for private debt investing:

  • 1. Ability to leverage scale

    Being able to allocate more money means you can diversify across more managers and assets. It can also drive down costs and improve efficiency. Accessing economies of scale through a collaborative platform can help you achieve these aims.
  • 2. Asset manager relationships

    Accessing high-quality managers requires long standing relationships. Asset managers often need to move quickly to access new opportunities, and investors need to have cash ready to allocate quickly and efficiently.
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