How Big is the Middle Market? (First of a Series)

As great mysteries of life go, it’s not quite in the same category as what’s the universe made of, how does gravity work, or what ever happened to tan M&Ms. But for those who make it our career home, one of the most often-asked and vexing questions over the years has been, how big is the middle market?

It feels like something that should be answerable. As our Chart of the Week depicts, the outstanding total of all US leverage loans is well-established at around $925 billion. One would think it a simple matter to separate out smaller loans from that data set.

Unfortunately there are several hurdles. First, there’s no consensus on what constitutes the middle market. As a loan conference veteran, we’ve witnessed midcap panelists each proffering different definitions...

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Everyone is starving for yields, chasing different assets.”
Jim Madison, portfolio and cash services analyst, Manulife Asset Management.

Chart of the Week: Expanding Universe

The outstanding volume of all US leveraged loans, now at $924 billion, has steadily risen.

Lead Left Spotlight

George Majoros

Co-Managing Partner

EagleTree Capital

"Understanding trends remains critically important for private equity."

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Mary Katherine DuBose

Co-Head of Asset Backed Finance and Securitization

Wells Fargo Securities

"The market is diversified and fragmented, therefore the middle market encompasses a large opportunity."

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Tess Virmani

SVP and Associate General Counsel

Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA)

"Fed, OCC, and FDIC have worked to be more aligned, so there's less "regulator arbitrage"."

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Chris Ullman

Managing Director & Director of Global Communications

The Carlyle Group

"Everyone has a whistle. You just have to find it."

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David Brackett

Managing Partner and Co-CEO

Antares Capital

"Private BDCs appear to be the better route these days but we’re still early in the process of analyzing the opportunity."

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Ted Bililies

Managing Director & Chief Talent Officer

AlixPartners

"Twenty-first century leadership is all about being able to motivate, inspire, and develop talent. That’s how the best firms succeed."

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