Global credit funds & CLO's
August 2020 | Issue 226
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Event awards
New firms are rocking all over the world
August 2020 | Issue 226
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Sayed Kadiri
Editor
Rockford Tower and other small global CLO issuers are showing that you don’t need decades of experience to be successful. It can be better to change the tune rather than repeat the classics
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Rockford Tower Capital Management has shown that size doesn’t matter in the CLO industry by winning the Manager of the Year trophy at Creditflux’s first-ever virtual awards event.
Had Rockford Tower picked up the gong at Creditflux’s traditional awards dinner at London’s Landmark Hotel, it might have done so to the sound of the 1970s hit Rockin All Over the World.
After all, Rockford Tower has an unusual team set-up with a global approach to CLO management, rather than siloed US and European units. It has gone from debutant in 2017 to the best in the business in just three years. There hasn’t been a rise like this since, well, 2019, when Spire Partners won Manager of the Year just four years after issuing its first CLOs.
The success of these firms comes at a time when CLO investors are re-tiering managers based on how they have performed during the coronavirus crisis. This creates an opportunity for today’s small, successful CLO managers to become the tier one managers of tomorrow.
Other small CLO issuers were also recognised for their performance during 2019 at this year’s edition of the CLO awards, with Brigade, Nassau and Symphony challenging the status quo.
Creditflux Manager of the Year
Rockford Tower
Finalists Hayfin Nassau Spire
Methodology Highest average ranking across all deals
Eligibility Firms with at least four current actively-managed CLOs
“We are very appreciative of our supporters”
Young Choi, Portfolio Manager

Choi thanks investors and the team that works globally on Rockford’s CLOs. Rockford is the CLO arm of King Street Capital Management. It moved into CLOs after spotting an opportunity during the risk retention environment.
Best European CLO manager
Spire
“Thank you for establishing Spire in the CLO industry”
Oliver Drummond-Smith, Portfolio Manager

Spire’s rise has been rapid. It has collected 11 Creditflux award wins in four years. Its consistency leads us to draw comparisons with Meryl Streep — a prolific winner at the Academy Awards.
Finalists Apollo (Redding Ridge) BlackRock PGIM
Methodology Mean blended outperformance across European CLOs
Eligibility Firms with at least four actively-managed CLOs that invest in European collateral
Best closed-end CLO fund
Blackstone/GSO Loan Financing Ltd (BGLF)
GSO
“While this fund was a response to regulatory change…”
Jane Lee, Head of Capital Formation

“… it could not exist without the support of Blackstone and we want to thank investors in the fund and investors in GSO CLOs,” says Lee, alluding to the fact the fund was a response to risk retention rules. It was up 14.5% last year.
Finalists Alcentra Structured Credit Opportunity Fund III
CIFC CLO Opportunity Fund II
Oxford Lane Capital Corp. (Oxford Funds)
Methodology IRR
Eligibility Funds that invest predominantly in CLOs and have no periodic redemption requirements
Best closed-end CLO fund
Flat Rock Opportunity Fund
Flat Rock
“We like middle market CLOs”
Shiloh Bates, Managing director

Flat Rock has used an interval fund to buy equity tranches in mid market CLOs. It uses the same vehicle to invest in the equity of broadly syndicated loan CLOs managed by top tier issuers, which gives it additional liquidity.
Finalists
Alegra ABS 2
BK Opportunities Fund V (Crystal Fund)
Sound Point CLO Fund
Methodology Volatility-adjusted weighted performance
Eligibility Funds that invest predominantly in CLOs and are present in Creditflux’s monthly performance listings
Best European boutique CLO manager
Guggenheim
“The key party to thank is our investors”
Adrian Duffy, Head of European corporate credit

Duffy also thanks Citi, which has arranged most of its CLOs, and the Guggenheim team in Dublin. Although the Guggenheim platform is huge, the firm tends to be a steady issuer of CLOs: it has priced one a year in Europe for the past three years.
Finalists
Brigade
Permira
Rockford Tower
Methodology Mean blended outperformance across European CLOs
Eligibility European CLO managers with three or fewer active deals
Best US CLO manager
Rockford Tower
“To the dozens of analysts, legal and back-office support I want to express my heartfelt thanks”
Young Choi, Portfolio manager

Consistency is one of the reasons Rockford Tower won. All its CLOs are in our top 30.
Finalists
ArrowMark
CBAM
Nassau
Methodology Mean blended outperformance across US CLOs
Eligibility Firms with at least four actively-managed CLOs based on broadly syndicated US collateral
Best new US CLO
Nassau 2019-II
Nassau
“Thanks to the investors who supported initially”
Alex Jackson, Chief investment officer

This is Nassau’s second Creditflux award after winning best boutique US CLO manager last year. The firm opts for a high spread strategy and is in the top five for CLO weighted average spread.
Finalists
Carlyle US CLO 2019-2
ICG US CLO 2019-1
Venture 34 (MJX)
Methodology Blended outperformance
Eligibility CLOs with broadly syndicated US collateral that went effective in 2019 and are listed in CLO-i
Best new European CLO
Dunedin Park
GSO
“It was the tightest triple A for a European CLO”
Alex Leonard, Senior portfolio manager

Leonard thanks his colleagues, GSO’s investors and Deutsche Bank. He has picked up 14 Creditflux award wins over the years: eight at Harbourmaster and six at GSO. He also reveals that the CLO is pronounced Dune-ed-in, as opposed to Dun-ee-dun.
Finalists
RRE 3 (Redding Ridge (Apollo))
Carlyle GMS Euro CLO 2019-2
Arbour CLO V (Oaktree)
Methodology Blended outperformance
Eligibility CLOs with European collateral that went effective in 2019 and are listed in CLO-i
Best US CLO
Battalion CLO XII
Brigade
“Battalion CLO XII is our largest CLO”
Jared Worman, Portfolio manager

Worman thanks Morgan Stanley for introducing new investors to the Brigade platform, and also the Brigade CLO team: Justin Pauley, Mia Qian, Priya Kothari, Cole Gauthier, Karen Ndegwa, Jeff Frusciante and Cailin Blaney.
Finalists
CBAM 2018-6
ICG US CLO 2018-2
Rockford Tower CLO 2017-3
Methodology Blended outperformance
Eligibility CLOs with US collateral that are within reinvestment, went effective before 2018 and are listed in CLO-i
Best European CLO
Aurium CLO IV
Spire
“It was an honour to be nominated”
Oliver Drummond-Smith, Portfolio manager

Spire launched its CLO business in 2015 and has won a plethora of Creditflux awards since, including manager of the year in 2019. It’s the third time in a row it has won best European CLO.
Finalists
Halcyon Loan Advisors European Funding 2014 (Bardin Hill)
BlackRock European CLO V
Dryden 35 (PGIM)
Methodology Blended outperformance
Eligibility CLOs with European collateral that are within reinvestment, went effective before 2019 and are listed in CLO-i
Best US CLO redeemed in 2019
California Street CLO V
Symphony
“There is no substitute for hard work”
Himani Trivedi, Co-head of investments

Constantly underwriting and re-underwriting each credit in a CLO pays off, says Trivedi. She adds: “Thanks to all our investors for your trust. We will strive to deliver with the same passion and hard work.”
Finalists
Aimco CLO 2014-A (Allstate)
Halcyon Loan Advisors Funding 2012-2 (Bardin Hill)
Atrium VIII (CSAM)
Methodology Final IRR
Eligibility CLOs that owned US collateral and repaid all their debt in 2019
Best Middle Market CLO manager
Cerberus Business Finance
“Thank you for recognising the dedication we put into managing CLOs”
Joe Carden, Senior vice president

Cerberus wins its fourth Creditflux mid market CLO award. It is tied with Golub as the most decorated firm in this part of the market.
Finalists
Bain
Golub
MidCap
Methodology Mean blended outperformance across middle market CLOs
Eligibility Firms that manage CLOs which invest in middle market loans
Best European direct lending fund
Ares Capital Europe II
“Thank you on behalf of Mike [Dennis], myself and the broader Ares team”
Blair Jacobson, Co-head of European credit

Ares has won this award two years running. By the end of last year its direct lending fund had generated an IRR of 8.9%.
Finalists
Cordet Direct Lending Fund I
Oquendo Mezzanine II
Permira Credit Solutions II Senior Fund
Methodology Leverage-adjusted IRR
Eligibility Private equity-format funds that invest predominantly in non-syndicated debt from European companies with ebitda below €50 million
Best new middle market CLO
Golub Capital Partners CLO 44 (M)
Golub Capital
“This is testament to our win-win relationships”
Craig Benton, Head of structured products

Golub has notched up four Creditflux middle market CLO award wins and Benton says he appreciates the confidence the market places in the firm.
Finalists
BCC Middle Market CLO 2019-1 (Bain)
Cerberus Loan Funding XXVI
THL Credit Lake Shore MM CLO I
Methodology Blended outperformance
Eligibility CLOs that closed in 2019 and which invest in mid market loans
Best middle market CLO
Cerberus Loan Funding XXIV
Cerberus Business Finance
“Thanks again to Creditflux
Joe Carden, Senior vice president

Cerberus runs a high-spread strategy for its middle market CLO business, along with a less-leveraged capital structure, and this approach has paid off with two award wins this year.
Finalists
Ivy Hill Middle Market Credit Fund XIV (Ares Management)
Golub Capital Partners CLO 38 (M)
Diamond CLO 2018-1 (GSO)
Methodology Blended outperformance
Eligibility CLOs that invest in mid market loans and which are still in their reinvestment period
Best US boutique CLO manager
Gallatin Loan Management
“We’re very excited about being an award winner
Justin Driscoll, Portfolio manager

Driscoll says that Gallatin has been a finalist in this category three times, so it’s exciting to finally pick up the trophy. The firm has 2017 and 2018 deals to its name after acquiring the MatlinPatterson CLO platform.
Finalists
AGL
Hayfin
Saratoga
Methodology Mean blended outperformance across all the manager’s deals
Eligibility US CLO managers with four or fewer active deals
Best US direct lending fund
Monroe Capital Private Credit Fund II LP
“This is testament to our people, process and investors
Ted Koenig, Chief executive officer

Monroe has a hat-trick of US direct lending fund award wins after Monroe Private Credit Fund II generated an IRR of 9.5% last year. Koenig says he is honoured by the accolade.
Finalists
Churchill Middle Market Senior Loan Fund
THL Credit Direct Lending Fund III
AG Direct Lending Fund II (Twin Brook)
Methodology Leverage-adjusted IRR
Eligibility Private equity-format funds that invest predominantly in non-syndicated debt from US companies with ebitda below $50 million
Best non-traditional CLO
Anchorage Credit Funding 5
Anchorage
“It takes every component of the firm to deliver success”
Yale Baron, Head of structured credit
Baron applauds the Anchorage team and thanks Dechert, GreensLedge and Anchorage’s investors. The firm is a leader in bond-flex CLOs and has used this flexibility well, going from 55/45 loans to bonds in December, to 45/55 by June.
Finalists
Brigade Debt Funding II
Cirrus Funding 2018-1 (GSO)
ZCCP CLO 2018-1 (Z Capital)
Methodology Blended outperformance
Eligibility CLOs that have the flexibility to invest in a high proportion of triple C assets, or bonds
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