Private Credit Performance in 2023

January 28, 2024

2023 presented a unique set of challenges for investors, with high inflation, rising interest rates, and volatile markets shaking both traditional and alternative assets. In this context, Private Credit funds faced heightened scrutiny, raising questions about their ability to deliver on their expected returns and resilience. While the answer isn’t entirely straightforward, let’s dive into the performance of Private Credit in 2023 and what the future might hold.

Performance Highlights:

  • Positive returns, amidst volatility: Overall, Private Credit funds delivered positive returns in 2023. Preqin estimates an average Net Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 4.2% for H1 2023, exceeding most traditional fixed-income options. However, performance varied across sub-strategies and regions.
  • Direct Lending outperforms: Direct Lending funds, focusing on providing debt financing to mid-market companies, performed well, benefiting from their flexible structures and ability to capture higher yields.
  • Uncertainty impacts valuations: Rising interest rates and economic slowdown concerns led to valuation pressure in some sectors, particularly those reliant on leverage. This impacted some Private Credit funds holding these assets.
  • Geopolitical factors at play: Global events like the Ukraine war impacted specific sectors, requiring active portfolio management to mitigate risks.

Navigating the Uncertain: What Lies Ahead?

The future of private credit remains promising, fueled by several trends:

  • Continued demand for yield: As low-interest-rate environments persist, investors will likely continue seeking alternatives like private credit for potentially higher returns.
  • Evolution of the market: The private credit market is continuously evolving, with new strategies and technologies emerging to enhance efficiency and transparency.
  • Focus on value creation: As competition intensifies, private credit managers are increasingly focusing on actively creating value for borrowers and generating superior returns.

Making the Right Choice:

Deciding whether private credit is right for you requires careful consideration of your individual circumstances:

  • Risk tolerance: Private credit generally carries higher risks than traditional fixed income, so ensure your portfolio can accommodate potential volatility.
  • Investment horizon: Private credit investments are illiquid, requiring a long-term commitment, align your investment timeframe accordingly.
  • Investment objectives: Clearly define your return and diversification goals to effectively evaluate if private credit fits your overall investment strategy.
  • Seek professional guidance: Consulting with a qualified financial advisor specializing in alternative investments can help you navigate the complexities of private credit and make informed decisions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Resilience amidst volatility: Private Credit demonstrated its ability to deliver positive returns even in a challenging environment, highlighting its potential diversifying effect in investor portfolios.
  • Strategic selection matters: Performance varied significantly based on fund strategy, target sector, and geographic focus. Selecting the right strategies with experienced managers proved crucial.
  • Focus on fundamentals: Underlying credit quality and borrower strength remained paramount, particularly in an environment of rising interest rates.

Looking Ahead:

  • Continued growth expected: Despite headwinds, the Private Credit market is expected to continue growing, driven by investor demand for yield and diversification.
  • Selective approach crucial: Careful due diligence and strategic selection will be even more important as economic conditions evolve.
  • Focus on value creation: Private Credit funds with a focus on actively managing and adding value to their portfolio companies are likely to outperform.

Beyond the Numbers:

While performance figures offer a snapshot, understanding the nuanced factors impacting Private Credit in 2023 is crucial. Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Increased competition: The growing investor interest in Private Credit has led to increased competition among funds, putting pressure on fees and driving innovation in investment strategies.
  • Technology adoption: Technology is playing a bigger role in Private Credit, from deal sourcing and due diligence to portfolio management, leading to greater efficiency and transparency.
  • ESG considerations: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are gaining importance in Private Credit decisions, with investors increasingly seeking sustainable and responsible investments.


Private Credit emerged from 2023 with a mixed performance, demonstrating its resilience while facing market headwinds. By understanding the key drivers of performance, investors can make informed decisions about allocating capital to this dynamic asset class. With continued growth expected and a focus on value creation, Private Credit remains a compelling option for investors seeking diversification and potentially attractive returns in the years to come.