Paris-headquartered firm BNP Paribas Asset Management has tied a strategic partnership and acquired a 10% stake in Caple, an alternative credit manager specialised in small and medium-sized enterprises.
BNPP AM and Caple are to provide a platform offering alternative credit to European SMEs.
Caple works alongside international institutional investors to address gaps in the funding landscape by providing complementary financing solutions to traditional bank loans.
Caple relies on a proprietary technology platform combining origination by local partner networks of accountancy and advisory firms with an initial credit assessment by Caple’s experienced credit analysis teams.
The partnership between both companies is part of the establishment of BNPP’s SME Advanced Solutions platform, a recently-launched initiative within its Private Debt & Real Assets investment group, led by David Bouchoucha.
The open architecture platform will aim at sourcing loans across multiple origination channels in Europe, including banks and fintechs, and distribute them to institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies.
The platform is supported by bank infrastructure and selected partners, such as Caple, who will originate loans for BNPP AM through their own network of accountants and advisors across Europe.
The platform will focus on senior unsecured fixed rate loans of between €0.5m and €5m, initially targeting SMEs in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, before expanding more widely within Europe.
Stéphane Blanchoz, head of SME Advanced Solutions at BNP Paribas Asset Management said: “This alliance combines the needs of BNP Paribas Asset Management’s investors with Caple’s expertise as an originator of SME loans. The trend towards disintermediation and the growing need for SME funding creates opportunities for lending platforms, such as SME Advanced Solutions, that can offer alternative credit as a complementary source of finance alongside traditional bank lending.
“Meanwhile, as institutional investors look to diversify their portfolios and generate higher levels of return than are available in public fixed income markets, they are increasingly attracted to the enhanced yields potentially available from SME lending.”
Dominic Buch, managing partner of Caple, commented: “Caple’s experienced local market credit teams, partner networks and proprietary technology, together with BNP Paribas Asset Management’s credit expertise and institutional distribution capability is a compelling combination. This alliance allows us to effectively address the significant gaps in the European funding landscape by offering access to alternative credit to complement traditional lending models.
“We look forward to working with the SME Advanced Solutions Platform and our Partners in the accountancy and advisory industries to provide successful SMEs with access to fairly priced business loans at scale, across Europe.”