Largest CLO Managers Lose Some Ground

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Moody’s Investors Service’s ranking of the top 10 managers of collateralized loan obligations at year-end 2015 was largely unchanged from mid-year, both in terms of deal count or assets under management. But the biggest players collectively lost some market share to their mid-sized brethren. They top 10 finished the year with a total of $112.5 billion of assets under management, or 29%, of the approximate $388 billion in outstanding CLO volume rated by Moody’s.

But that figure now trails the 30% share, or approximately $116 billion, held by large firms outside the top 10 with at least 10 deals outstanding. This category held only 22% of industry assets in 2014, but substantially grew their holdings over the past year, where it was difficult for managers with fewer than 10 deals to come to market. Managers with fewer than four deals had only 14% of the pie in 2015, shrinking from the 17% share in 2014.

CIFC Asset Management (30 deals), Carlyle (27) and Credit Suisse Asset Management (25) held down the top three spots for the number of outstanding deals in the U.S. The trio also led in total CLO assets under management, with Credit Suisse at $15.8 billion worth of deals, Carlyle at $13.1 billion, and CIFC at $12.6 billion). Ares Management (25 deals, $12.4 billion) and GSO/Blackstone Debt Funds Management (24, $11.8 billion) came in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Moody’s cited volatility in credit markets, which slowed issuance of leveraged loans – the primary collateral for new CLOs – as well as regulation that takes effect in December 2016 requiring them to hold a 5% economic interest in deals. Investors have shunned smaller, less capitalized managers well in advance of the rules.

Only three new CLO managers entered the field in 2015: DoubleLine Capital, Z Capital and Wellfleet Credit Partners, according to Moody’s. 

Six other firms made the top 10 list under number of deals managed in the U.S: CVC Credit Partners (21), Voya Investment Management and Apollo Global Management (20 each); Highland Capital Management (19 deals). Golub Partners and Prudential Investment Management tied for 10th with 18 deals apiece. Strong second-half issuance propelled Golub and Prudential past Babson Capital Management, the 10th-place deal holder in 2014’s league tables, according to Moody’s.

The top 10 U.S. league table for year-end assets under management was rounded out by Apollo ($11.4 billion), Octagon Credit Investors ($9.3 billion), MJX Asset Management ($8.9 billion), Highland ($8.6 billion) and Voya ($8.6 billion). [Octagon in late 2015 agreed to be acquired by Conning, a global insurance asset management firm, in a deal driven by the forthcoming U.S. risk-retention rules].

Globally, Carlyle replaced GSO/Blackstone of the top manager at year’s end 2015 with 41 deals totaling $18.1 billion of assets under management. In Europe, Carlyle’s 14 deals totaling $4.7 billion were second to Alcentra’s 16 deals amounting to $4.9 billion, as both firms bumped GSO/Blackstone from the top spots that the latter held in 2014 for deals and AUM.

U.S. CLO 2.0s, or the portfolios issued since the resumption of the CLO issuance market following the 2008 financial crisis, have grown to 656 deals that account for 82% of outstanding U.S. CLOs in the market, totaling $317 billion.

Ares, Carlyle, GSO/Blackstone and Golub were the most active issuers in 2015 with six CLO deals in 2015. 

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