This year’s Power Finance list was by far the most challenging one to compile since the list’s inception.
In years past we’ve looked at power through the lens of originations, market influence and deal making. This year, we’ve looked at the stars of our industry not only in terms of their 2019 activities but also how their platforms responded to COVID-19, and how the pandemic has impacted their respective businesses.
In 2019, most everyone saw their businesses balloon, with several lenders and advisors registering record years. Competition was high, yields were low, but the deals kept coming. Word that the coronavirus had reached U.S. shores circulated in late January, and within weeks, absent any real warning, the pandemic paralyzed the industry.
After an astonishing 12-year run, the music had finally stopped.
While the industry’s heaviest hitters battened down the hatches to focus on asset management, it didn’t take long for some firms to find their feet again.
Borrowers soon learned which lenders would stand by their commitments, which would re-trade them and which would walk away altogether.
Banks underscored their relationship-lending prowess, taking care of their existing customers and proving that measures implemented by regulators post-global financial crisis were working, and well. The CMBS market all but shuttered, before a few nervy firms went forth and tested the water, issuing a sizeable COVID-insulated conduit deal that reopened the market. Alternative lenders saw some of their highly levered troops fall, as margin calls resounded. And then there were the brokerages, crucial intermediaries who worked tirelessly to help clients navigate through a crisis that was truly unprecedented.
Brighter days are surely ahead, and we look forward to a hopefully much healthier world in the second half of 2020, from both a human and an industry perspective.