April 29, 2024

By -

Jamie Green

Private credit is a rapidly growing asset class, but in Australia it remains somewhat mysterious and opaque.

Private credit refers to privately negotiated loans and debt financing provided by non-bank lenders. Unlike publicly traded assets, private credit investments are unlisted, which means their market value is not transparent or determined in real-time.

These loans can take various forms, including direct lending, mezzanine financing, distressed debt and more.

Liquidity and Transparency

Liquidity: Private credit investments are illiquid compared to publicly traded assets. Investors need to consider the liquidity of their entire portfolio when allocating capital to private credit. Opacity: The lack of transparency is a key characteristic. Unlike publicly traded securities, private credit does not have readily available market prices. This makes it more challenging for investors to assess risk and returns across different lenders and opportunities.


Variability Between Lenders and Strategies

The credit quality and risk level of private credit assets can vary significantly between different lenders and also their strategies.

Confidentiality agreements often restrict access to detailed loan-level data, making meaningful comparisons between lenders difficult.

Credit Quality and Risk: Private credit lenders exhibit significant variability in credit quality, security, loan terms and risk. Different lenders pursue distinct strategies, leading to varying risk-return profiles across the full spectrum of the cap table.

Loan-Level Data: Unfortunately, assessing these differences is not straightforward. Why? Because private credit lacks transparency. Unlike publicly traded bonds, private credit investments do not provide readily available market prices. Additionally, as previously mentioned, confidentiality agreements often restrict access to detailed loan-level data including deal terms.

As a result, investors must rely on lenders disclosures, qualitative information and legal documentation to understand the underlying assets. This opacity can make meaningful comparisons between products challenging.

Historical Context During the 1980s and 1990s, banks underwent significant changes in lending standards. There was a notable shift towards prioritizing mortgage lending over business banking. As a result, small and medium-sized businesses, property companies and agricultural operators faced difficulties in accessing traditional bank financing. This created a funding gap in the market.

hand holding house

In response to this gap, specialist lenders emerged to fill the void left by traditional banks. These lenders provided privately negotiated loans and debt financing, laying the groundwork for what would eventually become known as private credit. The demand for alternative financing options grew, leading to the rapid expansion of private credit as an asset class during this period.

The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 prompted significant regulatory changes in the financial industry. 

Banks faced stricter regulations and capital requirements, which, in turn, led to tighter lending standards. As a result, many small and medium-sized businesses found it increasingly challenging to secure traditional bank loans.

In response to this tightening credit environment, the demand for alternative sources of financing surged once again. Private credit funds, with their ability to provide flexible and tailored financing solutions, gained traction among borrowers seeking capital. This period witnessed a resurgence in private credit as an asset class, as investors recognized its potential to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns amidst market volatility and uncertainty. These historical contexts illustrate how shifts in banking practices and regulatory environments have influenced the development and resurgence of private credit as an essential component of the financial landscape.

Risk and Return Dynamics

Private credit can offer compelling risk-return profiles, with performance akin to equity markets. Risk-Return Profile: It combines elements of both equity and fixed income. While its returns can resemble those of equity markets, private credit tends to exhibit lower volatility than traditional fixed income assets.


Institutional Appeal: Institutional investors have long appreciated private credit’s risk-adjusted returns. However, recent developments have made it accessible to a wide range of sophisticated investors as well.

Diversification: Including private credit in a diversified investment portfolio can enhance overall risk-adjusted returns. It provides exposure to a different set of risks compared to public markets.

Sophisticated investors should weigh these factors carefully when considering private credit allocations.

In summary, while private credit has gained fame and sometimes fortune, it remains an ill-defined and relatively opaque asset class. Understanding its nuances and carefully evaluating debt offerings are crucial for investors navigating this space.

Private credit investments often require a long-term perspective. Unlike publicly traded assets with daily liquidity, private credit investments may have lock-up periods or limited exit options. Investors should be prepared to commit capital for an extended period and align their investment horizon with the illiquidity profile of private credit investments and the underlying assets.

Given the complexities and nuances of private credit investing, seeking professional guidance from financial advisors or investment professionals is recommended. Experienced professionals can provide valuable insights, help navigate the subtleties of the asset class and tailor investment strategies to meet individual investor needs and objectives. While private credit offers promising opportunities for investors seeking attractive risk-adjusted returns, navigating this asset class requires careful consideration, due diligence, and a long-term perspective. However, investors can capitalize on the potential benefits of private credit while mitigating associated risks.

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PrimaryMarkets provides investors with access to companies that are shaping the future of global industries. We provide access to opportunities previously only accessible to institutional investors.

PrimaryMarkets is raising capital for companies dealing in private credit. One of them is Sydney Metro Fund, a pooled mortgage fund that offers Australian sophisticated investors the opportunity to gain exposure to a portfolio of loans.

PrimaryMarkets exemplifies how innovation can transform the way we invest, trade and raise capital by breaking down traditional barriers, providing liquidity solutions and promoting transparency.

As the Platform continues to grow and evolve it promises to unlock even more opportunities for investors and the companies shaping the future of economies.

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