“The Best Place to Be” (Last of a Series)

The name George Laurer may not be familiar to our readers. But his invention certainly is. Mr. Laurer, who passed away two weeks ago at the age of 94, created the bar code.

The UPC is now a universal feature of consumer products, but prior to its adoption in 1974, cashiers had to manually input a description or item number. An early bulls-eye symbol smeared too easily. The first official test at an Ohio supermarket scanned a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum. It cost 67 cents.

Private credit, like automated check-out counters, seems a given today. And certainly the asset class has a longer history than generally recognized [link]. But its prominence in asset selection discussions among institutional investors has only taken off in recent years.

As we’ve outlined in this special series, private credit has been a darling of investors who saw its credibility as a consistent performer considerably strengthened coming out of the Great Recession. As the current cycle has lengthened, many of the same investors are questioning if private credit’s benefits will continue to hold true.