Friday letter: PDI 2015 Awards: polls close today

The race for top spot remains close in almost every one of our 50-plus categories, with Newcomer of the Year one of the tightest.

Debt managers, asset managers, bankers, lawyers, advisors, investors; they’ve all voted in this year’s PDI awards.
And it’s not too late to add your voice to the thousands of votes already cast. You have until the end of the day today (8 January) to join the poll. Every vote counts (except those for yourself). 

One of the closest races is a new category and our only global award: Newcomer of the Year. 

In a market with a large number of new firms and with new entrants making their presence felt every month, we thought it was time to recognise the newbies making a splash. The Newcomer of the Year category honours managers that have launched in the last five years. This year’s shortlisted firms are AllianceBernstein’s new private credit unit headed by Brent Humphries, AB-PCI; Susan Kasser’s new private debt team at Neuberger Berman; and Legal & General-backed Pemberton, led by Symon Drake-Brockman. 

The Distressed Debt Investor of the Year category in the Americas will be decided in the next few hours. The race is now between Oaktree and Oak Hill Advisors with Fortress Investment Group a not too distant third.

In an even tighter battle, this morning just one vote separated the two frontrunners for Deal of the Year. The shortlisted transactions are: American Seafoods, the $800 million package led by Ares Capital Corporation; Golub Capital’s $515 million unitranche loan for Data Device Corporation; and Lightower Fiber Networks, which mandated Highbridge and Partners Group for a $500 million mezzanine deal. 

In Europe, one firm from Alcentra, Ares Management and ICG has pulled ahead in the race for Lender of the Year. The trio are also nominated for Senior Lender of the Year, for which the battle is still close with just a few votes separating the three firms. 

In contrast with the rest of the world, Asia-Pacific’s categories are dominated by one name which, given the difference in time zones, suggests those races are now decided. 

If you haven’t voted yet, do it now. Today is your last chance to influence the outcome. 

Private Debt Investor will publish the results online on 1 March and in our Annual Review, which is distributed with our March issue.