The Unlikely CLO Boom
Dodd-Frank’s CLO risk retention rule became effective in December 2016, and led many to make pessimistic predictions for new CLO issuance in 2017. However, investors’ search for yield and floating rate assets have kept demand for new loans at an elevated level. As a result, U.S. CLO structuring fee pool has reached $1.5b in 2017, already higher than any year on record. This growth has brought about a new competitive landscape compared to the previous up-cycle. J.P. Morgan, the top CLO banker before the 2008 crash, has been overtaken by Citi, which now dominates this market with 22% market share. Independent banks have also emerged: GreensLedge, founded by ex-JPM & Natixis bankers, and Jefferies now take a combined 6.5% of the pie.