Our business grew from a standing start in 2000, doing second-lien
ABL loan transactions, mostly in and
around the retail industry with Hilco
under the banner of Hilco Capital
from a small suburb of Chicago with
about $38 million in AUMs, to an asset
management firm today with almost
$4 billion in AUMs, over 200 portfolio
company borrowers, eight offices
located throughout the U.S. and one in
Toronto, 75 employees and 10 investment fund vehicles later. We made
64 investment loans in 2015 involving
close to $2 billion. It’s been remarkable for me to watch the evolution of
Monroe and even more so, considering
the senior management team of Tom
Aronson, Mike Egan, Alex Franky and
I have been together since we first
opened the doors of Monroe in 2004
and, prior to that, at Hilco Capital.
Since then, we have added more high-quality management talent, including
Zia Uddin, Jeremy VanDerMeid, Aaron
Peck, Jim Cassady, Carey Davidson and
others, to help manage our private
investment fund vehicles, our CLO
vehicles and our publicly traded BDC,
Please tell our readers how you got
your start in asset-based lending.
I learned asset-based lending (ABL) the
old-fashioned way—as a lawyer billing
a ton of hours in the late 1980s and
1990s representing some of the best
asset-based lenders and thought leaders in the industry.
I did loan documentation work for
clients such as Congress Financial, The
CIT Group, Foothill, Finova, GE Capital,
LaSalle Bank, American National Bank,
Continental Bank, Greyhound Financial, Nationsbank, Heller Financial,
BancBoston and Fleet Bank, among
others…what is really amazing is that
none of these institutions are still
around today in the business of ABL
with the exception of CIT. I also had
the benefit of watching and learning
the business directly from the likes of
Bill Davis, Larry Marsiello, Vic Russo,
Pete Schwab, Jim Ungary, Walter
Macur, Mike Sharkey, Dennis Harrison
and Ward Mooney, all ABL legends.
Finally, I was fortunate enough to
learn my legal craft from the best of
the best ABL attorneys, who were all
much older and wiser than me like
Bruce Bernstein, Jon Helfat, Richard
Kohn, Bob Zadek and Ken Latimer. All
of these individuals took time and
effort from their busy days to help a
young and hungry lawyer (me), who
asked lots of questions about granting
proper security interests, perfection
and priority of liens, possible bank-
ruptcy outcomes, and many other
more mundane topics. These firms
and individuals created and built the
modern-day ABL industry and gave me
my MBA and Doctorate degrees in ABL.
For that, I am tremendously grateful.
What about Monroe? How did the firm
begin and grow to be what it is today?
Monroe Capital was established with
the idea to be a customer-friendly
middle-market finance company that
did what the banks could not do well
or on a timely basis. I never thought
that 16 years later it would mean
displacing most of the traditional
banking industry in the middle-market
for transactional leverage finance
(buyout lending) and, to some degree,
asset-based lending in certain circumstances.
Theodore L. Koenig, president, CEO and founder of Monroe Capital LLC, has over 30 years of experience in structuring and investing in debt and equity transactions. Monroe Capital LLC is a leading provider of senior and junior debt
and equity co-investments to middle-market companies in the U.S. and Canada. Investment types include unitranche
financings, cash flow and enterprise value-based loans, acquisition facilities, mezzanine debt, second lien or last-out
loans and equity co-investments. Monroe has been recognized by Global M&A Network as the 2015, 2014, and 2013
Small Middle Markets Lender of the Year by Private Debt Investor as the 2015 Lower Mid-Market Lender of the Year, the
2014 Senior Lender of the Year, and the 2013 Unitranche Lender of the Year; and by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the 2015 Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) of the Year.
Koenig also serves as the chairman, president and CEO of Monroe Capital Corporation (NADAQ: MRCC), a publicly
traded business development company (BDC).
Prior to founding Monroe Capital in 2004, Koenig was president and CEO of Hilco Capital LP, a junior secured/mez-zanine debt fund established in 2000. Prior to that, he spent 13 years at the Chicago-based law firm of Holleb & Coff
as partner and co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Finance groups, where he
supervised and was responsible for structuring, negotiating and documenting acquisitions and sales of middle-market
companies as well as representing the firm’s bank, financial institution and commercial finance clients in financing
transactions for buyout, growth, recapitalization and restructuring transactions. Before joining Holleb & Coff in 1986,
Koenig spent three years in the Mergers/Acquisitions and Corporate Finance practice group of Winston & Strawn, where
he was involved mostly in structuring and documenting buyouts, sales and financings for middle-market companies.
Koenig is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University (B.S.) in accounting with high honors and
Chicago-Kent College of Law (J.D.) with honors. He is also a certified public accountant. Koenig is a director of the
Commercial Finance Association, and a member of the Turnaround Management Association and the Association for
In this interview, he discusses Monroe’s beginnings, its recent growth, and his 2016 predictions.