Careers in Private Debt
Considering a career in private debt? David Wilmot, Partner at Apera, has some key questions to ask yourself to understand if it could be the right career for you.
- Are you genuinely interested in the way businesses work? Fundamentally it’s a credit investment role so understanding the drivers of a business, the markets it operates in and the risks it faces are central;
- Can you manage a range of tasks? As your experience grows - at any one time you could be doing a highly detailed analysis of the financials, discussing macro drivers with industry experts, negotiating legal documents and commercial terms with the sponsor. It’s never boring but you need to be able to move between these roles without blinking; and
- Do you want to originate deals? An important part of the job as your career develops is the ability to build a network of advisors and sponsors who know, like and trust you. That doesn’t suit everyone – but I’ve always enjoyed it and it’s an important competitive advantage for a private debt fund. It you want things neatly packaged for you to work on – it’s probably not for you!
- The less glamorous aspects of portfolio management such as valuations and reporting are highly important. Do not ignore them. Effective communication internally and with investors through clarity and transparency of ongoing portfolio company analysis and reporting is vital and a key focus area for investors.
- Be team orientated. The best teams which I have been involved with or managed have had a shared commitment to common objectives. This is not always easy to achieve but is a pre-requisite of sustained success in my view.