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Mr. Koenig Goes to Washington ... and Far Beyond

Date: Jul 07, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

He continues, “I went to the White House with one of my partners, Zia Uddin, who runs our SBIC investment fund business. It was actually a lot of fun--we were in the West Wing. I was surprised at how great it was to be there.” To satisfy our readers’ curiosity as well as our own, we asked whether or not the President, who incidentally hails from Koenig’s hometown of Chicago and is also an avid basketball player, made the presentation. Alas no, we learned; and Koenig adds, “The President was on the West Coast at Nike headquarters…but it was exciting nonetheless.”

Back at home in terms of Monroe’s future, Koenig comments, “We are growing and we will continue to grow. Today, we are focused on adding high quality individuals to our platform who can help us utilize the synergies we have at Monroe to help expand our platform and our investment product offerings. I think right now, we are in the later innings of the credit cycle. Multiples are high and capital is plentiful so we are trying to de-risk our portfolio and focus more on the senior part of the capital structure as opposed to the bottom of the capital stack. We did the same thing back in 2008 and 2009 and it turned out pretty well for us.”

Koenig explains that Monroe is well positioned to weather an economic contraction. He says, “I am not assuming there is going to be another credit crisis, but we are going to bring even greater care in terms of our underwriting process. I think we also have to come to grips with the fact that we will be in for a period of low economic growth, and that means we are all just going to have to slug it out in the credit space. For us, that means doing our jobs more thoroughly and carefully … doing good credit work because as we have seen with others, it is hard to recover from large losses. I think Monroe is very well-positioned in the marketplace.”

Founded in 2004, Monroe celebrated its ten-year anniversary last year. It is unlikely that at the onset of this journey, Koenig envisioned his company being honored by the head of the U.S. Treasury and the head of SBA at the White House. Throughout it all, Koenig had a clear vision that Monroe would grow and succeed to be a best-in-class player in middle-market and lower middle-market finance.

In parting, we asked Koenig if there were any secrets to Monroe’s success. He responds, “From the very beginning, I wanted to establish the firm as the ‘go-to’ financing source for lower middle-market company transactions. While there are many competitors in this space, we are probably the deepest with the greatest reach and offer the most in terms of financial flexibility to our borrowers . Some of it has been luck, but I think we have made our own luck as well. We have what I think are the best people in the industry working with us and our firm has experienced virtually no senior level turnover.  As we planned for growth in our various investment products, we have always had our eye on generating the best possible risk adjusted net returns for our limited partners and public shareholders.”

“We have been focused on building strong and solid relationships with others in our industry. I don’t view this as a zero-sum game … I view it as a win-win situation where we often partner with others who have similar investment philosophies. I have learned over the years that there are a lot of close calls in our business involving personal relationships. At the end of the day, people want to do business with people and firms they like and trust.”

Senior Editor | ABL Advisor
Stuart Papavassiliou is senior editor of ABL Advisor and Equipment Finance Advisor. He has worked in publishing for more than fifteen years.

Contact Stuart Papavassiliou at 484.380.2964 or

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