U.S. Private Credit: What the Markets Are Missing About Attractive Risk-Reward Tradeoff

The following insights are curated from our March 26, 2024 “What’s the Market Missing?” webcast featuring Angelo Manioudakis, Northern Trust Asset Management’s global chief investment officer and Chief Economist Carl Tannenbaum.

“What’s the Market Missing?” is a monthly webcast designed for investors, financial professionals, and anyone eager to bolster their financial expertise. Each session offers strategic portfolio considerations, market risk cues, and innovative risk strategies.

Private credit is benefiting from a structural shift away from lending by banks,” as Angelo Manioudakis, Northern Trust Asset Management’s global chief investment officer, explained in his March 26, 2024, presentation on “What the Market’s Missing” with Chief Economist Carl Tannenbaum. The asset class appears positioned to benefit from a good balance between demand and supply. It also benefits from the strength of the U.S. economy, supported by underappreciated themes, including government spending, immigration and relatively loose credit.

Returns Attract More Investors

Historical returns in the range of 9-12% are attracting more investors into private credit — loans made directly by nonbank lenders. Demand has grown steadily, with private credit assets under management rising from about $41.5 billion in 2000 to about $1.7 trillion as of Dec. 31, 2023. (Exhibit 1).

Some might wonder if there is enough supply of private credit to satisfy this growing demand without forcing investors to take more risk or to accept lower returns to maintain a similar level of risk. However, the supply of private credit benefits from a structural trend that appears unlikely to end soon.