A warm welcome to the Private Debt Investor Awards for 2021, highlighting the managers, institutional investors and advisers that have, in the eyes of their peers, set the benchmark during the year.

There are 53 categories in this year’s awards, now in their ninth year, across three regions: the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific, as well as the much-coveted global prizes. Awards up for grabs included Fund Manager of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Investor of the Year, Deal of the Year, and for the first time, Responsible Investor of the Year.

The result of thousands of reader vote, they remain the only awards that are decided solely by – and for – the industry. Choosing the winners is a painstaking process. Every November, our global editorial team starts soliciting the views of colleagues and contacts in the market to find out which firms, funds and deals that stood out during this most challenging of years.

We then draw up a shortlist of four and let you decide the winner, even including a fifth write-in box to suggest an alternative, in case you think we left anyone out. We then invite you, our readers, to cast your votes online throughout December and early January. Finally, our editorial team stringently vets the results to ensure they fully comply with our rules.

As ever, votes poured in from all over the world, proving yet again that these really are the most keenly contested awards in the private debt industry.

Highlights included Blackstone Credit claiming the coveted Fund Manager of the Year, Global award after a stellar year that saw record deployment of $11.2 billion in the third quarter, driven by $8.6 billion from US direct lending. During the second and third quarters, credit became the fastest growing segment of the firm.

Intriguingly, the global gong for Newcomer of the Year went to the asset management unit of a bank, HSBC, which says all you need to know about the growing attraction of private credit to the banking community.

We were especially pleased to add the Responsible Investor of the Year awards this year. Private Debt Investor has a proud history of charting ESG’s growing role in lending – we published our first Responsible Investment supplement last year with the 2022 edition planned for April – so it was pleasing to see this area recognised. Blackstone Credit, KKR, Tikehau Capital and HSBC/Temasek Holdings picked up the four gongs this year, in hotly contested races.

Congratulations to all the winners and the runners-up. The following pages detail their achievements and show just why the private debt industry is seeing such incredible growth as an asset class.