Let me begin by wishing you a slightly belated happy new year and all the best in your professional and personal endeavours through 2024.
Over 15 organisations have joined the LMA so far in 2024 and I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new members. We expect several more to join over the next month and I look forward to introducing you to these new members of our community in my next newsletter.
Thanks to your support, the LMA ended 2023 in a strong financial position. We have generated a small profit and have a healthy current account balance, which we are looking to invest to support growth in our markets and membership. We now have an exciting year ahead and I very much look forward to spending time with many of you as we continue to make progress with our goals.
I hope you will have seen by now that I am very passionate about hearing more from you and ensuring that we reflect your priorities in our work. I asked in December for you to share your Christmas Wishlist for the LMA CEO and have been overwhelmed by the response! Dozens of you were kind enough to let me know what you wanted from the LMA and I have been delighted to respond to each of the thoughtful messages I received.
This exercise provided us with some valuable insights into the themes that are front of mind for our members. There was a strong focus on the LMA’s work on sustainability, operations and settlement times and documentation. We also saw ideas related to our continued efforts in trade finance and export credits, as well as the LMA’s initiatives to support younger professionals who will be the lenders of tomorrow.
The LMA exists for its members, and also has an obligation to represent the broadest constituency of participants in the EMEA loan markets. I have spent a lot of time meeting with institutions that have not yet joined to try and understand their needs and perceptions of the LMA. I will continue to listen to current and potential members and respond accordingly.
In December we successfully launched a commercial and strategic piece of work for members following the EC NPL Directive. Amelia Slocombe led on our response and engagement with regulators, which has been very successful and positive for perceptions of the LMA.
Despite the challenges inherent in representing a broad spectrum of members, we were also able to provide a robust and informative response to IOSCO on leveraged loans and CLOs in December. I believe the LMA’s position in this response represented the balance of members’ interests well, and I am grateful to those on the Board who were influential in helping Nick Voisey put it together.
We have been focusing on developing the different lanes for implementing our three-year strategy and laying the foundations necessary to enable its delivery. We are also stepping up our media and communications activities. Having spent some time clarifying the LMA’s priority topics, below, and our points of view on them, we will be seeking to engage our audiences with advocacy via a broader range of media and speaking platforms. To make a start with this, I just moderated a panel at the DealCatalyst European Direct Lending & Middle Market Finance Conference here in London.
The priority topics to support the overarching LMA goals are:
- Championing institutional investment in the loan market;
- Driving growth and innovation in sustainable finance; and
- Promoting technology as a driver of efficiency
As we step up our engagement with members and a broader audience, I would very much welcome your feedback on what you want more (and less) of, as well as what channels you want to see us on.
The Executive team has also been asked to define Member and Event strategies and specific targets for 2024. This directive has delivered immediate results, enabling us to sharpen our focus on priority areas.
I hope you will all agree that less can often be more. With this principle in mind, we will be reducing the overall number of events in the LMA calendar and ensuring that we deliver a more streamlined programme of high-quality, high-impact conferences, seminars and webinars.
I am confident that this shift in approach will allow us to create more valuable learning and networking opportunities for our members, increasing the LMA’s impact and enabling us to grow our membership.
Our priority in the first quarter will be our settlements and operations workstream and our efforts to help accelerate the transmission of capital through the loan markets. I will be engaging with a broader range of institutional investors – including those that are Limited Partners in funds as well as fund finance providers – to advocate for them joining the LMA. I believe it is vital that we reflect the voices of these participants to ensure that we represent the whole of today’s diverse market.
Here’s a quick preview of what else you can expect from us over the months ahead:
- An ESG quarterly publication offering expert insight into regulatory developments and more;
- A pipeline of engaging Blog posts with guest contributors and a focus on the factors shaping the future of our markets;
- The first thought leadership campaign around one of our priority topics; and
- A new conference dedicated to our junior lenders and the lenders of tomorrow.
Here’s to a successful 2024 and our continued partnership in delivering on the LMA’s mission.