Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund sees growing investment opportunities in the world of private credit, joining the likes of SoftBank Group and BlackRock in touting the $1.5tn market.
The $450bn Qatar Investment Authority has been “very active in the credit space” over the past two years and is keen to do more as companies with good business models struggle with the double whammy of high interest rates and low liquidity,” chief executive officer Mansoor Al Mahmoud said in a panel at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha on May 23.
“Normally, an institution like us, who are very liquid, have a very long-term risk appetite for these type of investments,” he said. “I would advise for the next one year that the credit space is an interesting place to deploy some investments.”
The credit space will be interesting for the next 1 year, QIA’s CEO H.E. Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud tells @business Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait @QatarEconForum https://t.co/XjqP4MrWon #QatarEconomicForum #منتدى_قطر_الاقتصادي pic.twitter.com/I2CD7g6Mmu
— Bloomberg Live (@BloombergLive) May 23, 2023
Sovereign wealth funds enter private credit market
Private lending has been gaining traction over the past few years as investment banks and traditional debt investors pulled back from leveraged debt amid fears around rate rises and an economic slowdown.
Investors seeking higher yields have poured money into the asset class, turning private credit into a thriving market. More recently, the industry has been booming as lending conditions became even tighter in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s failure and the Credit Suisse Group AG crisis.
In the US, some of the biggest names in private investing including Apollo Global Management, Blackstone and Carlyle Group have angled for openings as regional lenders came under pressure. In Japan, SoftBank is working on plans to become a lender in the world of private credit, Bloomberg reported this week.
In the oil-rich Gulf region, sovereign wealth funds — like the QIA — have also been increasingly looking at private credit, providing further evidence of the market’s rapid growth.
Apollo in January formed a joint venture with Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala to lend about $2.5bn over the next five years. It also provided $750m of senior secured private debt for Mumbai International Airport last year.
Separately, Al Mahmoud said he’s not concerned about the fund’s exposure to the global financial sector after the turmoil at Credit Suisse and the collapse of four US lenders. The QIA, a long-term backer of the Swiss bank, saw the value of its holding crash just months after upping its stake.
Al Mahmoud said, “The banking sector is based on confidence. Whatever you do to your balance sheet, if you lose that confidence you can collapse.” He added, “Just because of what happened with Credit Suisse it doesn’t mean that all banks will have that issue. We are a very mature institution and managing the risk and expecting the risk is part of our job and part of our bread and butter.”
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