Comparing Lincoln’s European and U.S. Senior Debt Indices

Lincoln International releases two private credit reports each quarter: the U.S. Senior Debt Index and the European Senior Debt Index, encompassing our comprehensive data research and analysis.

The indices provide overviews of the U.S. and European markets and reveal a high correlation of private credit lending returns and yields between both geographies for the past five years.

Explore a comparison of both reports below.

How We Obtain the Information

On a quarterly basis, globally Lincoln values over 5,000 private companies primarily owned by over 150 alternative investment funds. These companies are levered via borrowings from the direct lending market. We then bifurcate loans by geography creating a U.S. Senior Debt Index and a European Senior Debt Index. As the subject companies are private, both the U.S. and European Senior Debt Index constituents are based upon Lincoln’s valuations of these loans for our alternative investment fund clients and therefore not disclosed publicly. For many of the private companies valued quarterly, Lincoln advises on the fair value of at least one senior debt security in the capital structure. All valuations conform with U.S. GAAP and IFRS and fair value principles and have been reviewed by fund management, fund boards, limited partners, and auditors. The U.S. and European Senior Debt Indices are size-weighted. However, the maximum contribution to the index of any single loan valuation in any period is 2.0% (i.e., no one loan can constitute more than 2.0% of the overall index value).

 

Total Returns

Date Index Value ESDI Index Value US SDI
December 31, 2018 100.0 100.0
December 31, 2023 148.5 145.1
European returns were higher than the US prior for the 5-year period through 31 December 2023

 

Date Index Value ESDI Index Value US SDI
June 30, 2020 100.0 100.0
December 31, 2023 134.6 133.3
Post-COVID lockdowns, US and European cumulative returns have remained similar

 

European private credit returns over the past 5 years have been similar to US private credit returns.

Quarterly Returns

Index Yields

  • Yields and returns of the EU and US SDI are highly correlated; Private credit returns in Lincoln’s indices are negative for only one period: Q1 2020; Returns are higher in Europe due to higher OID and spreads, while yields are higher in US due to higher base rates(1).
  • European average returns are higher than US  by about 12 bps.
  • European average yields are lower than US by about 35 bps.

Fair Value

Both indices show high correlation (r = 0.94) over the 5-year period of Lincoln’s European Senior Debt Index (although COVID and higher inflation and interest rates have had a greater impact on US fair values).

Decomposing Yields in the Direct Lending Market – LIBOR/ SOFR Floors and Spreads

Lincoln’s European Senior Debt Index

 

European quarterly returns in Lincoln’s Senior Debt Indices have been 88% attributable to credit risk, compared to 54% in the US over the same 5-year period, although overall returns have been nearly identical for both indices.

Lincoln’s US Senior Debt Index

Average Quarterly Return ESDI (5-year) US SDI (5-year)
Attributable to Interest Rate 0.2% 0.7.%
Attributable to Credit Risk 1.8% 1.2%
Total Quarterly Return 2.0% 1.9%

Median LTM EBITDA (in EUR)

European private credit borrowers in Lincoln’s European Senior Debt Index have remained consistently smaller than their US counterparts, which have generally been growing in size on an LTM EBITDA basis.

 

Methodology

Source of Data and How We Obtain the Information

On a quarterly basis, Lincoln values over 5,000 private companies owned by over 150 alternative investment funds. Most of these companies are levered via borrowings from the direct lending market. A significant percentage of the Lincoln ESDI constituents are based upon valuations of loans provided by private investment vehicles and, therefore, not disclosed in public filings.

For the private companies in the Lincoln ESDI, Lincoln advises on the fair value of at least one senior debt security in the capital structure on at least a recurring quarterly basis. All valuations conform with accounting fair value principles and have been reviewed by fund management, fund boards, limited partners, and / or auditors.

Additional information about the methodology discussion can be found at: www.lincolninternational.com/perspectives/an-overview-of-the-lincoln-senior-debt-index.

Academic Advisor

Professor Pietro Veronesi is the Chicago Board of Trade Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Professor Veronesi’s research has appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics and Review of Financial Studies. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 2015 AQR Insight award, the 2012 and 2003 Smith Breeden prizes from the Journal of Finance, the 2008 WFA award, the 2006 Barclays Global Investors Prize from the EFA, the 2006 Fama / DFA prizes from the Journal of Financial Economics and the 1999 Barclays Global Investors / Michael Brennan First Prize from the Review of Financial Studies. Professor Veronesi teaches both masters- and Ph.D.-level courses. He is the recipient of the 2009 McKinsey Award for Excellence in Teaching.

His undergraduate work was in economics at Bocconi University where he received a laurea magna cum laude with honors in 1992. He earned a master’s degree with distinction in 1993 from the London School of Economics. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty upon obtaining his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 1997.

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: The Lincoln European Senior Debt Index is an informational indicator only, and does not constitute investment advice, an investment recommendation or other information recommending or suggesting an investment strategy (within the meaning of the EU and UK Market Abuse Regulations), or an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security. It is not possible to directly invest in the Lincoln European Senior Debt Index. Some of the statements above contain opinions based upon certain assumptions regarding the data used to create the Lincoln European Senior Debt Index, and these opinions and assumptions may prove incorrect. Actual results could vary materially from those implied or expressed in such statements for any reason. The Lincoln European Senior Debt Index has been created on the basis of information provided by third-party sources that are believed to be reliable, but Lincoln International has not conducted an independent verification of such information. Lincoln International makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy or completeness of such third-party information.

The Lincoln ESDI should not be construed as an offer to sell or buy, or a solicitation to sell or buy, any products which refer to the Lincoln ESDI. The use of the Lincoln ESDI in any manner is not endorsed or recommended by Lincoln International and Lincoln International is not responsible for any use made of the Lincoln ESDI, and is by permission only via a Data Usage Agreement with Lincoln International. The Lincoln ESDI must not be used to: (i) determine the amount payable under a financial instrument or a financial contract or the value of a financial instrument; or (ii) measure the performance of an investment fund with the purpose of tracking the return of the Lincoln ESDI or of defining the asset allocation of a portfolio or of computing the performance fees (within the meaning of the EU and UK Benchmarks Regulations). Lincoln International does not guarantee the accuracy and/or completeness of the Lincoln ESDI and Lincoln International shall not have any liability for any errors or omissions therein. None of Lincoln International, any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, nor any of its directors, officers, employees, representatives, delegates or agents shall have any responsibility to any person (whether as a result of negligence or otherwise) for any determination made or anything done (or omitted to be determined or done) in respect of the Lincoln ESDI and any use to which any person may put the Lincoln ESDI. Lincoln International has no obligation to update the Lincoln ESDI and has no obligation to investors with respect to any product which refers to the Lincoln ESDI. Any investment in such a product will not acquire an interest in the Lincoln ESDI. Lincoln International is not an investment adviser and will not provide any financial advice relating to a product which refers to the Lincoln ESDI. Investors should read any such product offering documentation and consult with their own legal, financial and tax advisors before investing in any such product.

© 2023, 2024 Lincoln Partners Advisors LLC. All rights reserved. LINCOLN SENIOR DEBT INDEX, LINCOLN EUROPEAN SENIOR DEBT INDEX, and LINCOLN INTERNATIONAL are service marks owned by Lincoln Partners Advisors LLC and its affiliated entities. Any use of these service marks and these materials, including the reproduction, modification, distribution or republication of these materials, without the prior written consent of Lincoln International, is strictly prohibited.

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