The Loan Market Association (the LMA) recently published the results of their November 2019 survey on the outlook for the syndicated loan market for the upcoming year.

Respondents to the survey were all members of the LMA, meaning that there would have been input from various players within the syndicated loan market including borrowers, lenders, investors and advisers.

Because respondents are all active in the syndicated loan market, the results of the survey are interesting to read as they are likely to reflect the reality of what will happen in the market in 2020.

Since the survey is an annual survey where some of the questions are identical to the previous year, it is also possible to track how the perspective of LMA members has changed over the course of a year

As in last year's survey, respondents answered that they expected the best opportunities in the loan market to lie in refinancings followed by restructurings. There did not seem to be too much concern that lack of bankable transactions would hinder market growth and instead the macro factors of economic and political uncertainty were considered as the principal barriers.

Respondents believe that borrowers and investors, closely followed by lenders, will be the parties who drive forward the growth of green and sustainable lending in 2020. Only 12.4% of respondents thought that regulators would be at the forefront of this movement.

However, it is clear from the results that although respondents believe that green and sustainable lending will be driven by the parties themselves, many also think that certain overarching frameworks are needed in order to assist the parties including a clear, globally applicable approach (e.g. eligibility critieria) and regulatory relief for sustainable finance products.

In terms of our own outlook for 2020, the Brodies banking team are seeing both lender and borrower clients pushing ahead despite sometimes challenging market circumstances. This is across the breadth of financing types including real estate finance, project finance and acquisition finance, and certainly not limited to only refinancings and restructurings.

Therefore if our clients and others in the market continue to perform in this way, with a resilient and forward-looking approach, 2020 is shaping up to be a year of continued opportunity for all players in the loan market.