Database key terms and methodology

What is in the database?

Private Debt Investor’s Database holds live information on active investors in the private debt asset class (limited partners), managers of private debt funds (general partners) and service providers to both LPs and GPs (investment consultants and placement agents), alongside data on the funds themselves through their fundraising life-cycle.

What do we mean by private debt?

For the purposes of the Database, private debt is defined as capital raised through limited partnership structures, co-investment funds, separate accounts and private mandates for dedicated programmes of investing in the debt of private companies, or the debt financing of leveraged buyouts, infrastructure projects and real estate. This includes all elements of the capital structure except equity: senior, unitranche, mezzanine, asset-backed lending, distressed debt or credit-oriented special situations funds and CLOs.

Our definition of private debt funds does not include:

  • High yield bond funds
  • Traditional fixed income vehicles
  • Hedge funds
  • BDCs

How do we define a limited partner?

A limited partner (LP) is an institutional investor that commits capital to private funds through limited partnerships. LPs can include corporates, family offices, foundations and endowments, insurance companies, investment firms, pension funds, banks, sovereign wealth funds, fund of fund managers and other select institutional investors. As our primary goal is to track how institutional capital is being invested, our listing of limited partners in the Database does not extend to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) – many of whom invest via family offices, which we do include – or crowd-funding platforms. For funds that receive commitments from HNWIs and institutional investors, we would add the fund and the institutional investors to the Database but not the HNWIs.

We track investors that commit capital to closed-ended or open-ended funds managed by general partners. We do not track any investor capital dedicated to a strategy of investing directly into the debt of or lending to private businesses, property of infrastructure projects. Qualified investors must have limited liquidity options and the fund manager must have full discretion over investments made.

We hold the following information about limited partners on our Database: assets under management, current and target allocation to alternative asset classes including private debt, contact details, current allocation preferences by geography, strategy and sector, appetite for future fund investments, and current and historic fund commitments.

How do we define a general partner?

A general partner (GP) is a fund manager that raises capital from institutional investors through closed-ended or open-ended fund structures and/or non-fund vehicles with fund-like economics (co-investments, separate accounts, private mandates). Capital raised through such vehicles is invested by the fund manager directly into the debt of private companies or the debt financing of leveraged buyouts, infrastructure projects and real estate. Capital raised may also be invested into third-party private debt funds through a fund of funds platform.

The fund manager must have full discretion over the investments it makes.

The general partner information that we hold on our Database includes: assets under management, contact details, current investment preferences and fund-level details, such as amount targeted, amount raised, key dates, LPs in the fund, service providers used.

What strategies do we cover?

Senior debt

The most secure form of debt as it takes priority over other unsecured or more junior debt in the issuer’s capital structure and is usually collateralised by assets. When a company borrows money, it must repay this debt first.

Subordinated/Mezzanine debt

Subordinated debt ranks below senior debt in priority. In the event of liquidation, a company must pay back its senior debt before its subordinated debt.

Mezzanine debt is a form of subordinated capital that often has equity-like instruments associated with it. It is often associated with acquisitions and buyouts because it can be used to prioritise new owners over existing owners in the event of bankruptcy, but it is not always the case that debt will be converted to equity.


A hybrid of senior debt and subordinated debt with a blended interest rate that falls between the two. The strategy combines senior-style risk with subordinated-style returns.

Distressed debt

The securities of a company that has defaulted or is on the verge of bankruptcy; the company has too much debt to continue operating. GPs always purchase distressed debt at a discount, and usually the goal is to gain control of a company once it has turned around, although not all distressed funds aim to control a company. Even if bankruptcy occurs, investors can often still profit. As per PDI’s definition, special situation vehicles are also considered as part of the distressed space.

Venture debt

Debt financing for early stage companies or start-ups, which is often complementary to equity venture investing. No collateral is required because this type of firm does not usually have substantial assets, but venture debt financing is typically provided to firms that have already completed several rounds of equity fundraising.

Fund of private debt funds

The GP invests into third-party private debt funds, rather than directly lending to, or acquiring the debt of, a company.

Royalty financing

A company receives money from the GP based on future revenue and the GP receives a proportion of the company’s revenue in return. Repayment terms are negotiated at the start of the loan and the company’s revenue and income will determine how long it will take to repay it.


Collateralised loan obligations are single securities backed by a pool of debt. They are usually a collection of first lien bank loans to companies and ranked below investment grade. The investor receives scheduled debt payments from the underlying loans and assumes most of the risk if the borrower defaults.

What sectors do we cover?


The debt of private, unlisted companies.

Real estate

Debt secured by property as the collateral, which is often in the form of a mortgage or deed of trust.


Debt secured by assets that provide essential public services, including transport, social infrastructure, utilities, telecoms and energy.

How do we calculate fundraising statistics?

Our quarter-end and full-year fundraising statistics count the final closes of all funds and vehicles with fund-like economics (including co-investments, separate accounts and private mandates) with a closed-ended structure, which meet the above criteria.

Fund in market statistics count closed-ended funds and associated vehicles (co-investments, separate accounts and private mandates) that have launched and/or have held interim closes but have not yet held a final close.

We track the equity capital committed to a fund by institutional investors as well as the equity capital contributed by the GP. Leverage is not included in the size of a fund; we do not count total investable capital.

Our fundraising statistics are all given in a US dollar denomination. To calculate conversion rates for funds that do not have a US dollar-denomination we use an average exchange rate for the year in which a fund held a final close. For funds in market we use the exchange rate for the day in which the statistics are created. For example, Q1 statistics will likely use an exchange rate that is correct as at 1 April. All exchange rates are taken from

Public funds, equity funds, high yield bonds, traditional fixed income vehicles, hedge funds, BDCs, and open-ended/evergreen funds are not included in our private debt statistics. If a fund has some private debt investments but this is not its main strategy, then we will not include the fund in our statistics.


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