TCW Direct Lending

Alternative Products Division

In December 2012, TCW purchased the Special Situations Fund Group (SSF) from Regiment Capital Advisors, LP, an independent investment manager based in Boston. TCW Direct Lending is a senior secured lender that targets middle market companies with an emphasis on proprietary deal sourcing, attractive risk-adjusted returns and the preservation of capital. It is overseen by a dedicated investment team led by 22-year industry veteran Rick Miller.

Investment Team

  • Richard T. Miller
  • John S. Balzer, CFA
  • James S. Bold
  • Ryan K. Carroll
  • Mark Gertzof
  • Suzanne Grosso
  • Kyle P. O'Neill
  • Michael L. Coster
  • Karen E. Simeone
  • James D. Synborski
  • Alison C. Weiss

Strategy

The TCW Direct Lending strategy targets middle market companies and provides debt capital for a variety of needs, including LBOs, refinancings, acquisitions, general growth, liquidity and recapitalizations.   Many middle market borrowers don’t have access to the public fixed income and broadly-syndicated loan markets and must rely on conventional middle market banks and non-conventional debt providers like TCW Direct Lending for debt capital. Others simply require timely execution or a higher degree of certainty in closing.   TCW Direct Lending typically can close a transaction more quickly than a conventional bank and the sourcing, structuring, and execution expertise of the TCW Direct Lending investment professionals allow TCW Direct Lending to commit to a financing providing greater certainty for the borrower.  Generally, TCW Direct Lending does not participate in broadly syndicated transactions. Instead, TCW Direct Lending professionals structure highly tailored instruments to meet the needs of borrowers. These investments are typically senior secured obligations which rank higher than unsecured, subordinated or mezzanine debt in the capital structure providing greater capital preservation for the fund’s limited partners. 

Overview

TCW Direct Lending partners with senior management teams, financial intermediaries, business owners, asset-based lenders, and financial sponsors to provide customized financing solutions.  The TCW Direct Lending strategy can make individual investments up to approximately $150 million, with typical investments ranging in size from $20 million to $100 million. Investments are normally structured as first- or second-lien secured financings, including unitranche structures. In the unitranche structure, TCW Direct Lending typically invests in conjunction with an asset-based lender who takes a first-lien, first-out position on the collateral and provides TCW Direct Lending with a first-lien, last-out position on the same collateral. This structure provides a competitive edge for the senior bank lender—who with TCW Direct Lending's participation can offer to meet all of a company’s financing needs beyond the typical borrowing base formula—and a competitive interest rate for the borrower. By presenting one rate to the borrower but reallocating the pricing between TCW Direct Lending and the bank, the strategy is able to provide enhanced returns to its limited partners.

Investment Team

The TCW Direct Lending team is a group of senior investment professionals, all of whom have extensive capital market experience, including transaction origination, structuring, negotiation, due diligence, and portfolio management in the public and private markets across a wide spectrum of securities and industries. TCW Direct Lending has a track record of closing deals on time and on the terms proposed. The strategy is committed to being a long-term, creative and value-enhancing partner.

Investment Team

  • Photo: Richard T. Miller
    Richard T. Miller
    Group Managing Director

    Mr. Miller joined TCW in 2013 with the acquisition of the Special Situations Funds Group from Regiment Capital Advisors, LP. He is in charge of the firm’s Direct Lending effort. Under Mr. Miller’s leadership, the group has raised over $3.9 billion of capital since its inception. Mr. Miller has over 23 years of experience in the capital markets and previously was ranked on the Institutional Investor “All American High Yield Research Team” for six consecutive years, focusing primarily on the metals and mining sectors. Prior to his involvement in high yield research, he was at Chase Manhattan Bank in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group. He then moved on to become a Managing Director with the High Yield Group. Subsequently, he became the head of High Yield Research at BankBoston Securities and in 1999, Mr. Miller joined UBS as a Managing Director and head of the Global High Yield Research Group. Mr. Miller received his BS from Syracuse University and his MBA from the University of Rochester.

  • Photo: John S. Balzer, CFA
    John S. Balzer, CFA
    Managing Director

    Mr. Balzer joined the TCW Direct Lending group in 2016 and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, execution of new investments, and the ongoing management of portfolio companies. Prior to joining TCW, he was a Vice President in the Special Situations Group at Goldman Sachs & Co., where he spent over ten years leading direct investments in healthy and distressed middle market companies across the U.S. and Canada. Prior to that, Mr. Balzer was an Assistant Vice President and underwriter in the Media and Communication Group at GE Commercial Finance. Mr. Balzer began his career in public accounting working as a CPA and senior auditor for Ernst & Young LLP. Mr. Balzer graduated magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University where he received a BS in Accountancy, and is a CFA charterholder.

  • Photo: James S. Bold
    James S. Bold
    Managing Director

    Mr. Bold joined the TCW Direct Lending group as a Managing Director in 2013 with the acquisition of the Special Situations Funds Group from Regiment Capital Advisors, LP. He joined the group in 2005 and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, and execution of new investments, and the ongoing management of portfolio companies. Previously, he was a Partner in an energy-focused investment banking firm, Baxter Bold & Company, which he founded in 2002. Prior to that, he was a Managing Director and Head of Global Energy Mergers and Acquisitions for JPMorgan. He began his career in 1980 at Chemical Bank where he specialized in the energy, power, and natural resources industries. Mr. Bold received a BS in Business Administration from Bucknell University.

  • Photo: Ryan K. Carroll
    Ryan K. Carroll
    Managing Director

    Mr. Carroll joined the TCW Direct Lending group in 2016 and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, execution, and monitoring of investments. Prior to joining TCW, he was a Managing Director within the US Private Capital group at BlackRock. He joined BlackRock in 2015 with the acquisition of BlackRock Kelso Capital Advisors, which he joined in 2005. During this time, Mr. Carroll helped source, structure and monitor debt and equity investments across diverse industries, and he sat on numerous private company boards as a director. Prior to joining BlackRock Kelso Capital Advisors, he worked at JPMorgan in the leveraged finance group, where he began his career in 2004. Mr. Carroll received a BSBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.

  • Photo: Mark Gertzof
    Mark Gertzof
    Managing Director

    Mr. Gertzof joined the TCW Direct Lending group as a Managing Director in 2013 and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, and execution of new investments, and the ongoing management of portfolio companies. Prior to joining TCW, he was the Managing Partner of a middle market investment banking and credit advisory firm, Monroe Credit Advisors, which he co-founded in 2009. Prior to that, he was a Managing Director and team leader for Merrill Lynch Capital’s Corporate Finance leverage lending group where he spent six years. Mr. Gertzof started his career at Bank of Boston in 1989 and spent 13 years at BankBoston/Fleet Capital in various positions primarily focused on asset-based lending. Mr. Gertzof holds a BS with high distinction in Finance and Investments from Babson College.

  • Photo: Suzanne Grosso
    Suzanne Grosso
    Managing Director

    Ms. Grosso joined the TCW Direct Lending group as a Managing Director in 2013 with the acquisition of the Special Situations Funds Group from Regiment Capital Advisors, LP. She joined the group in 2004 and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, and execution of new investments, and the ongoing management of portfolio companies. She has worked in the public and private financial markets since 1994. Previously, Ms. Grosso worked on private equity transactions in Bear Stearns’ Merchant Banking group and was a high yield research analyst at Chase Manhattan Bank. Ms. Grosso received a BA from Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Photo: Kyle P. O'Neill
    Kyle P. O'Neill
    Managing Director

    Mr. O’Neill joined the TCW Direct Lending group as a Senior Vice President in 2013 with the acquisition of the Special Situations Funds Group from Regiment Capital Advisors, LP. He joined the group in 2005, and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, execution, and monitoring of investments. Previously, Mr. O’Neill held various positions in the investment banking firms of JPMorgan and Baxter Bold & Company. During this time he worked on mergers, acquisitions, and capital markets transactions for companies engaged in the energy, power, and natural resources industries. Mr. O’Neill received a BA from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business.

  • Photo: Michael L. Coster
    Michael L. Coster
    Senior Vice President

    Mr. Coster joined the TCW Direct Lending group as a Senior Vice President in 2014 and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, and execution of new investments, and the ongoing management of portfolio companies. Prior to joining TCW, he was a Director in Houlihan Lokey’s Technology, Media, Telecom, and Gaming Group, where he spent five years leading debt private placement and M&A transactions for the international investment bank. Prior to that, Mr. Coster was a Managing Director in the investment banking division of Libra Securities and its predecessor firm, U.S. Bancorp Libra. Mr. Coster has also spent over six years as a finance executive for two large private companies in the manufacturing and telecommunications industries and he began his career in public accounting working as a CPA for Ernst & Young LLP. Mr. Coster is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia where he received a BS in Accounting.

  • Photo: Karen E. Simeone
    Karen E. Simeone
    Senior Vice President

    Ms. Simeone joined the TCW Direct Lending group as a Senior Vice President in 2013 with the acquisition of the Special Situations Funds Group from Regiment Capital Advisors, LP. She joined the group in 2012 and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, execution, and monitoring of investments. She has worked in leveraged finance since 1998 and has experience with loans, high yield bonds, and distressed assets. Previously, Ms. Simeone helped to launch Stairway Capital, and she worked in the special assets group of HypoVereinsbank. She began her career at JPMorgan in leveraged finance and high yield research. Ms. Simeone received a BS in Foreign Service with a concentration in International Economics from Georgetown University cum laude and completed the General Course at the London School of Economics.

  • Photo: James D. Synborski
    James D. Synborski
    Senior Vice President

    Mr. Synborski joined the TCW Direct Lending group as a Vice President in 2013 with the acquisition of the Special Situations Funds Group from Regiment Capital Advisors, LP. He joined the group in 2010, and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, execution, and monitoring of investments. Previously, he worked at NewStar Financial, a Boston-based commercial lender that focuses on the middle market. He has been involved in structuring, underwriting, and monitoring middle market senior secured loan transactions since 2005. Mr. Synborski received a BS in Finance from Babson College.

  • Photo: Alison C. Weiss
    Alison C. Weiss
    Senior Vice President

    Ms. Weiss joined the TCW Direct Lending group as a Senior Vice President in 2014 and is involved in the origination, due diligence review, structuring, and execution of new investments, as well as the ongoing management of portfolio companies. Prior to joining TCW, she worked in idea generation/investment analyst roles at MAST Capital Management and Harbinger Capital Partners where she focused primarily on High Yield and Distressed Credit opportunities. Ms. Weiss began her career in High Yield Research at BankBoston Securities where she focused on the Metals and Mining and Forest Products sectors before moving on to hold various positions at UBS Investment Bank in High Yield Research and High Yield and Distressed Sales. Ms. Weiss received her BA from Colgate University.

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