Welcome to the PDI 200: Our ranking doubles in size

Our rolling five-year fundraising totals show private debt managers continuing to amass bigger war chests and shrugging off the headwinds

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Welcome to the inaugural ranking of the PDI 200, our annual list of the leading fundraisers in private debt based on a rolling five-year period.

Having started with the PDI 50, which evolved into the PDI 100, we have now doubled the size of our ranking based on the success of fundraisers and firms’ willingness to share even more information with us.

This year’s ranking shows private debt fundraising continuing to thrive, despite some challenges. Here are five takeaways.

1 Blue chips defy the blues

Today’s fundraising market is tough for many. With the denominator effect that kicked in after the public market meltdown earlier this year, followed by a lack of distributions, investors have found it hard to keep recycling capital. This has had a damaging effect on the market as a whole, as our latest fundraising figures for the first nine months of this year show – but not on the highly favoured managers at the upper end of the PDI 200. Nine of the top 10 managers in our ranking have increased their five-year rolling totals over the past year, showing that reputation counts for a lot during toilsome times.

2 Slight tapping of the brakes

While the rolling five-year totals of the most-favoured firms have continued to climb, there is some evidence they are ascending at a slower rate. Ares Management, which took its customary position at number one in the ranking, added more than $15.3 billion to its total over the past year – but that is down on the more than $20 billion it added between 2021 and 2022. HPS Investment Partners, which surged from sixth place to third last year on the back of $17.5 billion in extra capital, has this time only added an extra $362 million to its running five-year total. Thus, in a subtle way, evidence of current fundraising challenges can be identified.

3 Private debt really is a US thing

The dominance of US-headquartered fund managers is striking – accounting for 17 of our top 20. The only usurpers in the top 20 are London-based Intermediate Capital Group (in sixth place) and M&G Investments, and Paris-headquartered AXA IM Alts. Last year, in the final PDI 100, we noted that New York was home to a very large number of managers – this is confirmed in the first PDI 200, with no fewer than 60 New York-based GPs making the list. The next level of private debt GP hubs include London, with 29 managers in the ranking, Paris with 16 and Chicago with 11.

4 Asia-Pacific makes presence felt

The expansion of the ranking from 100 firms to 200 has enabled a much larger presence of managers from Asia and Australia, where the asset class is still relatively nascent. Whereas only one GP features in the top 100 (Hong Kong-based PAG at 27), 11 more make the list between 100 and 200. Among these are three managers based in Mumbai, illustrating the growing interest in private debt in India (Kotak Investment Advisors at 107, Edelweiss Alternatives Asset Advisors at 110 and SBICAP Ventures at 184).

5 Bandwagon keeps rolling

This year has not been a straightforward one for limited partners to make allocations to any private market asset class, including private debt. Having initially been hampered by the denominator effect – by which public market exposures tumbled and threw portfolio construction out of kilter – investors were then also hampered by a drying up of distributions, especially from private equity funds. But the PDI 200 shows rolling five-year totals continuing to defy challenges. This time last year, the top 10 managers accounted for just over $547 billion of fundraising between them. This year, the total stands at slightly under $599 billion.