For small biz, hedge funds are the new banks

Leon Black
Source: The Milken Institute

Investor Leon Black, like many peers, has urged caution given high market valuations. But the Apollo Global Management CEO said his $163 billion firm is rapidly expanding one of its business lines: lending money.

"Credit in general is a huge, huge opportunity today," Black said last week at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, noting the diminished role of banks in providing loans.

Black's Apollo is one of many investors to see the opportunity.

A new paper from the Alternative Investment Management Association, a London-based hedge fund lobbyist, estimates that private debt funds—including hedge and private equity funds, among others—now manage about $440 billion globally, with $64 billion of new capital allocated to the sector last year alone, per Preqin data.