Lead Left Interview – Robert Radway

This week we chat with Robert Radway, chairman and chief executive officer of NXT Capital. Started in 2010, NXT is a finance company that is focused on middle market corporate finance and commercial real estate along with having a very significant asset management platform. Prior to NXT Robert Radway was founder and president Merrill Lynch Capital.

The Lead Left: Robert, thanks for making time for us today. How has the blueprint for NXT changed since you started the firm in 2010?

Robert Radway: Thanks Randy. We’ve evolved in corporate finance and commercial real estate as we and our capital partners thought we would when we launched in 2010. NXT has recaptured a significant portion of the competitive position Merrill Lynch Capital enjoyed both in middle market leverage finance and in commercial real estate bridge lending. The flow, scale, and sponsor relationships – we have achieved much of what set out to do.

What is surprising is the extent to which institutional capital has come into the market. It’s really changed the business and the firms competing in it. For NXT, it has meant that the amount of off-balance sheet capital we manage is substantially greater than what’s on-balance sheet, which we didn’t anticipate when we launched the company. Back then we thought we might have one or two off-balance sheet programs. Today we have nine and we recently closed NXT Capital Senior Loan Fund V with over $1.0 billion of capacity. Access to off-balance sheet capital is now a strategic and competitive imperative.

TLL: How large is NXT today? How does your model differ from that of Merrill Lynch Capital?