• 08:30

    Registration

  • 09:00

    Opening Remarks

    Mariana Valle
    Mariana Valle
    Co-Deputy Editor, Debtwire
  • 09:15

    Keynote: How climate economics will affect credit risk

    Although unlikely to affect recoveries in the short-term, reducing the impact of climate change is defining future industrial policy in Europe. No borrower with maturities in the next 5 years will be immune - from supply chain management, changing consumer habits and reducing carbon footprints, credit investors should be prepared for climate issues to affect portfolios.

  • 09:45

    Keynote panel: New strategies for deploying capital

    After three years of elevated levels of fundraising for European direct lenders, the strategy is losing none of its appeal. Banks, in an effort to win back some market share and access investors’ hunger for exposure, are launching internal direct lending platforms. Meanwhile some LPs are taking pause to reflect on the relative value proposition offered by the asset class. Investors polled cited falling yield, muted deal volumes and growing signs of distress as key concerns when considering their future allocations. Without doubt, investors are becoming more sophisticated, with the trend of co-investment rights acting as a signal that investors continue to broaden the pool of opportunities. This opening session will explore how direct lenders are differentiating their product. The conversation will talk to the emergence of funds taking underwriter roles before syndicating to other funds and banks sourcing super-senior tranches in the secondary market. Panellists will also consider the increase in club deals and the challenges of bringing other funds in without the transparency that goes in the US market.

    Mariana Valle
    Mariana Valle
    Co-Deputy Editor, Debtwire
  • 10:30

    Networking Break

  • INVESTMENT STREAM

    • 11:00

      Panel: Private equity outlook

      Sponsor-backed deals remain the driving force of direct lending activity in the region. With EUR 750bn in dry powder in the coffers of traditional buyout shops in Europe, the outlook for dealflow is an important bellweather for credit players. 

      Weak Q2 2019 volumes in core markets of France, Germany and the UK revealed the vulnerability of the deal market to macro jitters. 

      However, the year ended with resilient PE deal activity in the face of trade wars, political uncertainty and Brexit. European M&A fell 20% whilst buyout volume only fell 10% YoY. Mid-cap buyouts (EUR 100m – 1bn) mostly responsible for an uptick in Q3 and corporate disposals were up 40% in Q3.  

      Take-privates were a favoured route for PE in 2019, with 29 deals worth EUR 34bn. In the face of macro jitters, exits fell 15% YoY in 2019, as sponsors delayed exits in anticipation of an improved dealmaking environment in 2020.

    • 11:30

      Panel: Largecap precedents filter into mid-market

      In an echo of the syndicated loan market, weaker covenants are now becoming more prevalent among mid-market deals. Inspired by features in the high yield bond and syndicated loan markets, stronger sponsors are indiscriminately using precedents from the large-cap market on smaller credits. Flexibility around EBITDA add-backs, for example, are allowing borrowers to adjust not only for synergies, but for an ever-expanding definition of uncapped exceptional items. 

      The US market could provide a better balance. Whilst terms are loose, lenders have greater flexibility when it comes to transferability.

      Joelle Jefferis
      Joelle Jefferis
      Senior Reporter, Debtwire
    • 12:00

      Break

    • 12:15

      Panel: Small can be beautiful

      In an increasingly competitive segment of the market, debt funds operating in the circa. £50m opportunity set have sprung up. This panel will map such opportunities in UK and continental European markets to determine its appeal. Panellists will also consider whether the sweetspot for deals of a particular size is creating a gap lower down for smaller deals.

      Jakob Lindquist
      Jakob Lindquist
      Co-Managing Partner, Cordet Capital
      Jonathon Ferguson
      Jonathon Ferguson
      Co-Founder & Partner, AshGrove Capital
    • 12:45

      Panel: Watchlist management

      Every fund has its challenging credits. Whilst LPs seem relaxed about the relatively low default rates, around 7% of the European direct lending exposure is stressed. Much of the industry has yet to be truly tested by an economic downturn. This panel will consider the experiences to date of funds dealing with stressed opportunities, where funds have typically held positions rather than sell out. The outlook for recovery rates will be considered versus the last crisis an how weaker covenants could impact returns. Contrary to the BDC market in the US, panellists will explain how the lack of clear parameters around watchlists may leave much up to a manager’s own interpretation.

      Nicole Gates
      Nicole Gates
      Chief Credit Officer, Pemberton
      Alex Walker
      Alex Walker
      Head of Investment Execution, Alcentra
      Mariana Valle
      Mariana Valle
      Co-Deputy Editor, Debtwire
  • ALLOCATION STREAM

    • 11:00

      Panel: Innovations in private debt secondaries

      If there’s one thing we all know about middle market debt it’s that it is illiquid. Or is it? The massive growth of the private debt secondaries market in 2019 is fueling a spate of dedicated secondaries funds on both sides of the Atlantic, and challenging the image of an entirely illiquid market. Beyond the attractions for investors of a dedicated secondaries vehicle, this new development is changing the way main-stream managers handle their portfolios, and could improve returns across the market.

      Jonathan Graham
      Jonathan Graham
      Director, Asante Capital Group
    • 11:30

      Panel: Wealth managers target private debt

      The continuing influx of institutional money into the direct lending market is a well-told story, but a new wave of platforms and funds tailored to high-net-worth-investors is adding a new twist to the story. The first wave of new platforms seem to be targeting the smaller and more niche opportunities that large institutional-dominated funds struggle to look at, but as the market grows will these new investors be complimentary or competitive to institutional investors? And what will the very different liquidity requirements of private investors and institutional investors mean for the market when the cycle turns?

      Claire Madden
      Claire Madden
      Managing Partner, Connection Capital
      Jason Proctor
      Jason Proctor
      Co-Founder, Truffle Invest
    • 12:00

      Break

    • 12:15

      Panel: Adding leverage

      Leverage has become an increasingly necessary tool for European direct lending funds as spreads continue to tighten, but it is a rapidly changing space. For managers looking to tap traditional leverage facilities a new trend for leverage providers to syndicate larger exposures is clashing with demand from direct lenders for more flexible terms. Sourcing collateral is an increasing challenge in the market, but the stringent investment and diversity criteria required by leverage facilities increase the difficulty. What are the current terms in the market, and are they providing direct lenders with the flexibility they need to achieve their strategies?

      Amit Rohatgi
      Amit Rohatgi
      Director, Deutsche Bank
    • 12:45

      Panel: European SME CLOs – a novelty or a trend?

      Securitization returned to the European middle-market in November with the pricing of the first SME CLO since the crisis, but was that a one-off deal or the start of a new normal for direct lenders? Alhambra 2019-1, a securitization of Spanish SME loans, looks very different to the now standard US MM CLOs in the market, but strong support from the EIB for the reopening of the securitization market promises further developments. What were the biggest challenges to getting Alhambra done? How transferable is the CLO structure from the Spanish market to the rest of Europe, and are investors and rating agencies more interested in single-country assets or a diversified pool?

      Lars Schmidt-Ott
      Lars Schmidt-Ott
      CEO, Be-Spoke Capital
  • 13:15

    Lunch