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  • Writer's pictureBjarne Eggesbo

Private Credit: A Smart Defensive Strategy for 2023

Introduction to Private Credit as a Defensive Option

As global financial markets continue to evolve in 2023, private credit has emerged as a crucial defensive investment strategy for institutional and individual investors alike. This article will provide an in-depth analysis of the resilience of private credit, discussing its key characteristics, benefits, and risks, as well as the factors contributing to its growing popularity among investors.


The Rising Importance of Private Credit Amid Deposit Shuffling

The migration of deposits from small to large banks could have significant repercussions for U.S. small businesses, which often rely on community and regional financial institutions for credit. As deposits shift towards larger banks, community and regional financial institutions may face challenges in maintaining adequate capital to support their lending activities. Consequently, small businesses could experience reduced access to credit, limiting their ability to expand, invest, and create jobs. This scenario is one of the driving forces behind the growing importance of private credit, as it offers an alternative source of financing for small businesses that may struggle to obtain loans from traditional banks.


Key Characteristics of Private Credit Investments

Private credit refers to the financing provided by non-bank lenders to privately-owned companies or projects, typically in the form of loans, notes, or other debt instruments. Some of the main characteristics of private credit investments include:

Illiquidity: Private credit investments are less liquid than public market debt, given their longer holding periods and limited secondary market activity.

Diversification: Private credit investments provide exposure to a broad range of sectors, industries, and regions, thus offering portfolio diversification benefits.

Higher Yields: Due to their illiquid nature and credit risk, private credit investments tend to offer higher yields compared to public market debt instruments.

Direct Lending: Private credit investors typically lend directly to borrowers, enabling them to negotiate favorable terms and closely monitor the credit risk.


The Benefits of Private Credit in a Defensive Portfolio

Private credit investments offer several advantages as a defensive strategy in the current market environment:

Reduced Correlation with Public Markets

Private credit investments are less correlated to public markets, providing a buffer against market volatility and downturns. This reduced correlation can help improve the risk-adjusted returns of a portfolio.

Enhanced Income Generation

The higher yields associated with private credit investments can serve as a valuable source of income in a low-interest-rate environment. This income generation can help cushion the impact of market fluctuations on the overall portfolio.

Tailored Risk Management

By actively participating in the lending process, private credit investors can influence the structure, covenants, and collateral requirements of their investments, allowing them to effectively manage and mitigate risks.


The Risks Associated with Private Credit Investments

Despite its benefits, private credit investments also carry certain risks:

Illiquidity Risk: The limited secondary market for private credit investments can make it challenging for investors to exit their positions quickly or at favorable prices.

Credit Risk: Private credit investments are subject to the risk of borrower defaults, which can lead to losses.

Economic Downturns: Private credit investments can be adversely affected by economic downturns, as borrowers may face difficulties in servicing their debt obligations.


Factors Driving the Popularity of Private Credit in 2023

The following factors contribute to the growing interest in private credit as a defensive option:

Decline of Regional Banks

The decline of regional and community banks has led to a growing demand for alternative financing options. As these banks struggle to provide credit to small businesses, private credit providers have become increasingly popular, offering valuable resources for both businesses and investors in 2023.

Search for Yield

In a low-interest-rate environment, investors are increasingly seeking alternative sources of yield. The higher yields offered by private credit investments make them an attractive option for income-seeking investors.

Regulatory Changes

Regulatory changes have constrained traditional bank lending, creating opportunities for non-bank lenders to fill the gap and provide financing to under-served borrowers.

Portfolio Diversification

As investors look for ways to diversify their portfolios and reduce correlation with public markets, private credit investments have gained traction as an alternative asset class.


Conclusion: The Role of Private Credit in a Defensive Portfolio and Polar Star Capital's Expertise

Private credit investments can serve as a viable defensive option in 2023, offering diversification, reduced correlation with public markets, and enhanced income generation. As small businesses face challenges in obtaining credit from traditional banks due to the migration of deposits from small to large banks, private credit has become increasingly important as an alternative source of financing.


In this context, Polar Star Capital Management, with its seasoned team of professionals, stands out as an expert in private credit. The Polar Star Capital team brings extensive real asset experience across multiple markets and cycles, boasting a combined $50 billion portfolio in real asset debt and equity. With core team members who have worked together for over a decade, Polar Star Capital is well-positioned to deliver successful investment outcomes for its clients in the private credit space.


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