Amany Attia, ThinCats CEO, took part in a panel discussion at the BVCA Alternative Fund Strategies Conference, discussing ‘Private debt and SMEs – beyond the covid crisis’ with moderator, Marion Bernard, Principal - UK Managing Director at The Firmament Group. We have summarised some of the key points and you can find the full video below.
How are you seeing the upcoming challenges for SMEs?
Government programmes have helped SMEs rebuild some capital and to survive, but what is now lacking is a ‘beyond’ programme; how to grow and to take advantage of new opportunities. Traditional banks have been active in supporting their existing borrowers, but the post-covid recovery stage will be more about funding growth and how businesses are able to access capital for this.
How do data analytics give an edge?
It makes us smarter and more efficient, helps us weed out the companies that aren’t suitable. More data enables us to compare companies more effectively, against others in their sector, and speeds up our ability to respond.
How does the asset class evolve long term?
We are looking to do an increasing amount of lending on balance sheet, funding through capital markets in a year or two from now. The mid-sized SME private debt asset class should be attractive to institutional investors, but they are lacking in knowledge – it is our challenge to educate them to the very good risk adjusted returns that are available. We have brought in a number of institutional investors on a managed basis – it is about trying to take the asset class more to these investors and away from the traditional commercial banks.