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Direct lending is an established asset class that provides a total return to investors typically between that of high yield bonds and mezzanine debt. It is considered private credit because the assets in a direct lending portfolio are loans originated privately between the direct lending fund manager (acting as lender) and the borrowing company. Due to the private nature of direct lending, the asset class produces attractive risk-adjusted returns supported by reduced competition, lower volatility, and favorable negotiation leverage for the direct lender. Since the financial crisis of 2008, direct lending as an asset class has featured unprecedented growth in deal volume as well as assets under management. This growth is attributed largely to post-crisis regulations that effectively forced banks, the traditional direct lenders of the past, to shed their direct lending operations. Non-bank direct lending asset managers have in turn benefitted from the significant rise in direct lending opportunities.
Equity market strength through the third quarter continues to challenge the common expectation going into the year. Cumulatively through September…
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