Fund Finance Observations for June

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
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Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

The fund finance markets continued their healthy clip into June, with activity levels remaining elevated. Below are our observations since my last update.

Transaction Volume and Pipeline. Transaction volume remains double digits ahead of 2020 year-to-date, with a strong push to get a number of matters closed by the end of Q2. While the majority of that timing drive is emanating from the funds, we are seeing banks push to book assets by the end of the quarter as well. We do not see any material headwinds for the market in the short term as both forward indicators and anecdotal feedback suggest demand will remain robust for the foreseeable future.

LIBOR Transition. Incorporating LIBOR transition language in multi-currency transactions, particularly in amendments, is a complicated task and takes longer to accomplish than most business people’s initial expectations. We are all trying hard to get the technicals into the documents properly. Deal lawyers need to better forecast the scope of the project when these amendments are requested. There are also multiple variations of LIBOR fallback and some non-SOFR based alternative rates that are floating in the market. While this is adding optionality, it is also adding more complexity on syndicated transactions as the parties look to find a common approach.

ESG. One of our early 2021 suggestions for banks was to get their ESG facility game plan together. That suggestion has proved on point. We are fielding a lot of calls with questions on KPIs and structuring options. Wes Misson and Katie McShane are doing a host of presentations and updates in the coming weeks to try and keep the market informed. YTD we have worked on 7 ESG-linked facilities and expect this to grow. This is a rapidly expanding market and we hope to share some insightful trends later in the year.

FFA Updates. The Fund Finance Association has been very active the last month. The Miami conference (in person!!!) is now scheduled — February 16-18, 2022. Jeff Johnston did a sensational job working with the Fontainebleau hotel over the last year under very difficult COVID-driven circumstances. The negotiations around our 2021 cancellation, postponement and rescheduling were very difficult for both sides, and Jeff did a terrific job steering a great outcome for the FFA. Sponsorship and ticket price information will be distributed in early fall, but please be sure to reserve budget for a full 2022 slate of FFA events! The FFA also received over 60 applications for the European and Asia-Pacific Executive Committees, and the Board was thrilled with the level of enthusiasm for the roles. Way more submissions were received than we expected, so please bear with us over the summer as the team works through the process. Our hope is to communicate further on the Committees by the end of July.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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