GLAS recently welcomed Tino Mehlmann, a New York-based Vice President in the firm’s business development team. With a background that extends across traditional financial institutions, fintech and alternative asset managers like Greensill Capital, Tino joins GLAS to spread the firm’s technological prowess to clients in the US and grow its relationships with direct lenders and other players.
Tino recently discussed his career journey, evangelizing GLAS proprietary technology with clients and the trends that will define the experience of deal parties leveraging technology in 2022.
How does your experience – from fintech to alternative asset managers – position you well to serve the GLAS’ clients that are hungry for tech solutions?
Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to combine financial acumen with technological expertise. I started in financial risk modeling and building technology solutions for banks, working my way up to the office of Treasury, handling issues related to trading and capital markets.
Following the Great Financial Crisis, I went to work for a fintech company called Triforce Financial where I built algorithmic investment plans for clients. My tech and finance background really came together when I started at Greensill’s Origination and Credit departments. While there, I was able to combine my fintech experience to deliver better solutions to companies and investors than traditional financial institutions. Among them were fully electronic supply chain finance programs for domestic and international companies across multiple industries as well as factoring facilities that were based on performance data rather than traditional credit analysis.
At GLAS, the people come from so many interesting backgrounds – legal, finance, sales, front office, back office – but what unites us is our drive to be entrepreneurial and look for opportunities to grow, particularly in providing highly technical solutions to our clients’ complex problems.
How is GLAS’ approach to technology different than other agents in the market?
Technology is where I see the most growth for our business in the U.S. and the industry overall. Our field – debt administration – has been dominated by established players for a long time. They are largely very traditional banking institutions and have not invested the resources to improve their back-office function. Clients and deal parties need a more tailored approach than what they’ve been getting.
For all our transactions, we develop unique portals for all the involved parties: borrowers, lenders, attorneys representing one side or the other – they all receive login information from us. With that login, they can get real-time deal information whenever they want. Whether it’s 2am or 2pm, they don’t have to worry about not hearing back from the agent.
In what kinds of situations does GLAS’ technology help clients?
One of our biggest use cases for our technology is in bondholder consent solicitation. Deal parties can log in to their portal at any time to see how close they are to a given consent threshold. I think it’s also going to be very useful for syndicated deals with a high number of lenders or for asset back lending activities.
We also see lots of use cases for private loans. Most deal parties, because they have to continue to go to the agent to obtain real-time information, must rely on outdated information from service providers like Bloomberg. Because of our portal, we have this information ready and up-to-date and can provide back to deal parties almost instantaneously.
This is really new, and I’m really excited about it. It’s something that’s going to grow along with us as GLAS continues to expand globally.
What kinds of transactions are you most excited about bringing through the door at GLAS?
Financial markets are always changing, but one of the clearest growth areas right now is in private credit. Last year, private credit fundraising reached a record $195 billion according to Preqin. That’s quite a lot of capital that needs to be deployed.
Most of these players don’t see the benefit of having a full-fledged back-office operations department. While GLAS can and typically does support these funds on a deal-by-deal basis, we’re looking to establish a framework for debt funds and private lenders to come to us for all their transactions.
Where do you anticipate will be high activity areas for the market in 2022?
We’re likely going to see an increase in bankruptcies and restructurings. 2021 has been a year of slow activity in this space due to the (soon to be formerly) cheap cost of capital and relative ease with which companies could refinance their debt. Ultimately, interest rates will rise as expected and the refinancing environment will be much more difficult.
Our restructuring and insolvency team is ready to step in as a successor agent, should that come to pass.
What about the sunset of LIBOR? How is that impacting GLAS?
The new risk-free-rates have been around for a long time and in the lending space, deal parties are slowly transitioning out of it. On syndicated deals, there typically is no consensus for how to calculate interest payments and which rates to use. We’re continuing to find that deal parties actually turn to GLAS and look to the agent to tell them best practices.
Overall, I don’t think we’re going to see some big bang moment where all U.S. deal parties suddenly switch off LIBOR. It has been and will continue to be a slow transition. Nonetheless, we anticipate questions coming up and we’ll be ready to answer them.
If you’re interested in scheduling a conversation with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
To read more from the GLAS team on what’s happening in debt capital markets, keep in touch with us HERE.