The continued low rate environment has resulted in many life insurers intensifying their search for spread product. Directly originated structured credit provides an investment grade option to earn spreads that are meaningfully higher than comparably rated corporate credits, broadly syndicated ABS deals and narrowly syndicated private placements. The spread premium is driven by illiquidity, sourcing, size and customization. Besides increased spread, these deals are all secured by physical or financial collateral (e.g., cell towers, middle market loans) which makes this asset class a defensive play vis a vis BBB unsecured corporate credit.
The key success factors for such deals include rigorous analysis of the underlying collateral as well as structuring the deal with additional portfolio-level covenants and lender protections. Insurers also benefit from being flexible regarding the sourcing of the underlying collateral. Deal flow tends to be opportunistic with collateral sectors being attractively priced for a period and then becoming normalized as the sector attracts capital.
Listen now to gain insights into how Blackstone is addressing the low interest rate environment.
Kevin Relihan, Managing Director and Head of Relationship Management, Blackstone Insurance Solutions
Robert Camacho, Senior Managing Director and, Co-Head, Structured Products Group, Blackstone Insurance Solutions
Mike Hackmann, Director of Fixed Income and Senior Portfolio Manager, Shelter Insurance Companies
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