Survey Says

If you want to know what middle debt investors are thinking, why not ask them?

This novel concept was rolled out simultaneously last week by two experienced middle market practitioners in the form of questionnaires. We thought it would be instructive to give you a sense of what the respondents had to say.

The first came from our friends at Lincoln International. In their Annual Financing Markets survey, this top-tier middle market investment bank asked debt providers their expectations related to pricing, terms, and trends for the coming year.

Top of the list was deal volume: how was last year’s activity level, and what are you looking for this year? Roughly two-thirds of firms said 2015 was a better year than 2014, and about 60% expected 2016 to be better than last year.

Structures are also projected to be buy-side friendly with about 95% of lenders forecasting lower or no-higher senior leverage this year. A similar sentiment was expressed for total leverage, with only 10% calling for higher leverage.

Then they looked at pricing. Again,