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

So far we’ve used three methodologies to size the universe of middle market loans.

Using annual issuance data and average life calculations, we arrived at outstandings of $410 billion, before run-off and refinancings. Then we took the middle market refinancing cliff, which is overstated relative to outstandings, to come up with a midcap universe of $518 billion, including non-sponsored loans.

Finally, Fitch estimates middle market institutional outstandings of $140 billion. Accounting for non-institutional and non-syndicated loan boosts that to $450 billion.

Now let’s examine how these middle market loans are held. There’s some transparency to this information. For example, in the world of collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), we know that for middle market assets, the outstandings are around $33 billion (see Chart of the Week). Some of this issuance has been significant of late, with MidCap Financial and Antares Capital both coming out with large vehicles.

Assets held by business development companies (BDCs) also are relatively easy to track, at least for public ones.