The UK private placement market—starting 2015 on a high note

The UK private placement market—starting 2015 on a high note

Why has the UK private placement market started the year on a high note? Sophy Lewin, financing support lawyer at Slaughter and May, considers the UK government’s recently proposed withholding tax exemption for qualifying private placements, and the Loan Market Association’s (LMA) new suite of private placement documentation, and looks at why these latest developments are also positive signs for the pan-European private placement market in 2015.

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Removal of barriers

The barriers to the development of an active UK private placement market have included the lack of favourable tax treatment and standardised documentation. Notable strides forward have now been made on both fronts, with the provision of a withholding tax exemption for the market in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in December 2014 and the publication of the LMA’s suite of English law private placement documentation at the start of January 2015.

Growth of a pan-European private placement market

The last few years have seen a growing momentum to establish a pan-European private placement market to complement the established US private placement market. The drive, post-financial crisis, for long term returns and diversification has resulted in clear demand from both European borrowers and investors.

Until now, the European private placement market has been an expanding but fragmented market, with pockets of regional activity, most notably in Germany, France and the UK.

Favourable amendments to tax legislation in certain European jurisdictions, the introduction of template documentation, and the imminent launch of a market guide, are all positive developments for the further development of a pan-European private placement market in 2015.

What is a private placement?

Private placements are privately placed debt instruments issued directly to institutional investors (such as insurance companies and funds).

The US private placement market is a mature market and investors (mostly US insurance companies and pension funds) have many years’ experience of investing in private placements, and have highly trained credit review functions. European borrowers

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About the author:

Miranda is a solicitor specialising in leveraged and acquisition finance. She trained at Hogan Lovells International LLP and qualified into the international banking and finance team. During her time at Hogan Lovells she worked on a variety of domestic and cross-border transactions, acting for both borrowers and lenders. She also experienced secondments to Barclays Bank PLC and Kaupthing Bank hf.