Institutional Investment in Syndicated Loans
45 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2008 Last revised: 20 Jul 2015
Date Written: April 2010
A recent development in the syndicated loan market has been the arrival of institutional investors, including hedge funds and private equity funds as lenders. This paper asks several related questions regarding institutional participation in the syndicated loan market, and presents the first empirical analysis in the literature. We show that institutional investors who participate in the syndicated loan market act as lenders of last resort. We find that institutional investors primarily lend to riskier borrowers, for riskier purposes such as takeovers and recapitalizations, as opposed to commercial banks. Our results show that institutional loans have higher loan spreads than bank loans in the primary market, ceteris paribus. The higher riskiness of institutional loans however, does not fully explain this additional spread. Following information based theories we argue that this higher spread on institutional loans primarily serves as compensation to these investors for engaging in costly information production about borrowers, since institutions are uninformed investors in the syndicated loan market. We also show that borrowers are willing to pay the higher spread to institutional lenders as they are lenders of the last resort for these firms. Finally, consistent with the information production argument, our results show that the secondary loan market is primarily driven by trading on institutional loans; while on average only 6% of bank loans are traded, 30% to 35% of institutional loans are traded in the secondary market.
Keywords: Institutional investors, Syndicated loans, Loan pricing, Loan resales
JEL Classification: G21, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation