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Business Development Companies

Chair: Ian Simmonds, Sixth Street

Created in 1980 with overwhelming bipartisan Congressional support, Business Development Companies (BDCs) are job-creating engines that provide access to capital for American small- and medium-sized businesses. BDCs invest in and provide management expertise to these companies to help them grow. BDCs invest at least 70% of their total assets in “eligible portfolio companies,” which are generally defined as public and private U.S. operating companies valued at under $250 million. In addition to providing access to capital for small and middle market companies, BDCs also allow individual investors access to highly-regulated investment opportunities that were once available to only wealthy individuals and institutional investors.

The BDC industry is growing rapidly and there are currently 138 BDCs with over $274 billion in AUM investing in small- and medium-sized businesses across the country. This financing helps businesses expand and create jobs, providing much needed growth to Main Street USA. Nascent companies rely on BDCs to purchase land, equipment, and factories. The more capital there is available to BDCs means more American small businesses have the opportunity for growth.

The Small Business Investor Alliance regularly engages with members of Congress, regulatory agencies, and outside stakeholders to promote the role of BDCs in small business capital formation and to ensure that BDCs maintain their critical role in financing and growing the Main Street economy. In 2022 alone, SBIA conducted more than 120 meetings with regulators and Congressional offices to educate policymakers on BDC priorities.

SBIA is recognized as the “go-to” resource for Congress and regulators on all issues pertaining to BDCs and their investors. After SBIA’s year-long education campaign, “BDCs Work for America,” legislation modernizing BDC regulation was signed into law in March 2017. The legislation allows the BDC industry to provide billions of dollars in additional growth capital to American small businesses through streamlined regulations and an optional increase in the leverage ratio.

Members of SBIA participate in industry councils for sector-specific updates on policy and regulatory matters and educational opportunities. These groups convene regularly to discuss relevant issues and time-sensitive topics. The Business Development Company (BDC) Council brings together BDCs to advocate for reforms that will provide easier access to capital for America’s businesses while maintaining strict investor protections. It offers an interactive, industry-specific forum for members and often features presentations by external stakeholders and policy-making entities, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

By The Numbers

There are currently 138 BDCs with over $274 billion in AUM investing in small- and medium-sized businesses across the country.


There are 47 publicly traded BDCs with $130 billion in aggregate assets, allowing ordinary investors a chance to purchase shares in the growth of middle market America.

There are 69 private BDCs with $57 billion in aggregate assets.

There are 22 non-traded BDCs with aggregate assets of $87 billion

BDCs Making a Difference

Industry News

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