After the financial crisis, many alternative investment firms moved into the private credit and direct lending space, helping to create jobs and economic growth. But with some policymakers describing the activity as “shadow banking”, we stepped up our advocacy efforts globally and, in particular, in Europe where the financial markets have been dominated by bank lending. In 2014, to formalise our work in this arena, we set up what we believe to be the only advocacy structure for the private credit sector, which we called the Alternative Credit Council or “ACC”. We have hosted the ACC under the wider AIMA umbrella and have given the group its own unique identity, reflecting the distinctive characteristics of the space.
Today, the ACC has its own board (overseen by the AIMA Council) and its own logo, tagline (“lending for growth”), and web address (www.lendingforgrowth.org - which directs the user to an ACC section of the AIMA website). The ACC is funded by its members, who comprise hedge fund firms, private equity firms with credit funds as well as traditional long only and pure direct lending asset managers. More than 80 of our manager members are now active in this space, managing private credit assets worth about $300bn, or roughly 50% of the global sector.
Our engagement has helped to reframe the debate around private credit. Our large research reports and the case studies within them, under the banner of “Financing the Economy” (2015 and 2016), have helped to enhance understanding about private credit with politicians, regulators and the media. Today, it is more common to hear the term “market-based finance” than “shadow banking” in policy discussions and there is widespread support for initiatives such as loan funds and the EU’s capital markets union.
If members have any questions about the work of the ACC and its place within AIMA or would like to become more active in ACC activities, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All AIMA members can become ACC members free of charge.
Finally, I want to highlight a workshop for private credit, titled “Financing Economic Growth”, which will take place in Paris on Monday 3rd April, the day before one of our flagship events, the AIMA Global Policy & Regulatory Forum 2017. The workshop, hosted jointly by the ACC and the AFG, the French asset management association, is open to all AIMA members and will be held at the Westin Vendome, Paris. More details are here.
Jack Inglis, CEO, AIMA