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Business Development Companies (BDCs) Losses, Lawsuits, and FINRA Arbitration Claims: Everything You Need to Know

If you invested in any business development companies (BDCs) and may have suffered losses, please contact Levin Law managing partner, Brian Levin, at (305) 402-9050,, or visit Levin Law’s website,

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Business Development Companies (BDCs)

In the 1980s, Congress created Business Development Companies (BDCs) through a series of amendments to the Investment Company Act of 1940 by passing the Small Business Incentive Act of 1980. According to the Small Business Investor Alliance BDC Council, BDCs were initially created to “enhance access to capital for small and medium-sized domestic business and give the public opportunity to invest in high growth private business.”

Small businesses are essential to the American economy, and on paper, BDCs provide much-needed access to capital for these companies. For the average investor, however, these may be high-risk investments and unsuitable for your portfolio.

Business Development Companies (BDCs) as Defined Under Section 2(a)(48)

BDCs are defined under Section 2(a)(48) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“1940 Act”). According to the 1940 Act: “Business development company means any closed-end company which—

  1. Is organized under the laws of, and has its principal place of business in, any State or States;
  2. Is operated for the purpose of making investments in securities described in paragraphs (1) through (3) of section 55(a), and makes available significant managerial assistance with respect to the issuers of such securities.”

The 1940 Act also requires that 70% of a BDCs total assets satisfy section 55. This means that the vast majority of a BDCs assets are securities of “eligible portfolio companies.” The United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently expanded the definition of eligible portfolio companies to include “Exchange-listed companies that have less than $250 million in market capitalization.” Prior to the recent amendment of Rule 2a-46, eligible portfolio companies were limited to domestic operating companies not listed on an Exchange.

BDCs as Regulated Investment Companies (RIC)

BDCs are generally treated as regulated investment companies (RICs). Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §851, Regulated Investment Companies must have at least 90% of its gross income derived from:

  • Dividends
  • Interest
  • Payments concerning securities loans, and
  • Gains from the sale of stock or securities, or
  • Other income derived with respect to its business.

In addition, BDCs may not invest more than 5% of their assets in a single security and not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of an issuer.

Furthermore, not more than 25% of the value of its total assets may be invested in:

  • the securities of any one issuer;
  • the securities of two or more issuers that the taxpayer controls and are engaged in the same or similar industry;
  • or the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships

Positives of Investing in a BDC

Because BDCs must follow the requirements of regulated investment companies, they are required to distribute a minimum of 90% of their investment company taxable income to shareholders. BDCs were designed to help provide access to capital for small businesses.

Investing in a BDC helps to provide funding for small and mid-size companies that otherwise may not have access to the capital they need to survive. BDCs may allow a sophisticated investor to diversify their portfolio with investment in businesses that could have a high return on investment.

Negatives of Investing in a BDC

BDCs assets generally are made up of financially distressed companies or brand new, unproven, small to mid-size businesses. Therefore, they are risky investments. The companies that make-up BDCs are not market-tested, so there is uncertainty in how they will perform. An investor may not have access to all the information regarding the underlying assets that make up a BDC’s portfolio.

Furthermore, BDCs may overvalue the companies in their portfolio, a material fact of which investors are not informed. Without transparency regarding the underlying investments that make up a BDC, there is no way for an investor to know what kind of risk they are taking.

Business Development Companies are Risky

There are publicly traded BDCs and non-listed BDCS. The non-listed BDCs can carry higher yields but they can be much riskier investment than publicly traded BDCs.

Some examples of private BDCs are:

  • Business Development Corporation of America
  • Carey Credit Income Fund
  • FS Energy and Power
  • Sierra Income Corp.

One significant risk of non-traded BDCs is their lack of liquidity. Investors in non-traded BDCs can be stuck in their BDC investments for years, or sometimes forever. Further, the true value of such private BDCs usually is unavailable. Indeed, the stated value is not a market value and usually does not reflect what the BDC shares could be sold. BDCs are risky investments and can result in an investor losing all of their principal investment.

Brokerage Firms’ Recommendations and Sales of BDCs to Unsophisticated Investors and Retirees

Most private BDCs pay far higher commissions to the brokers and brokerage firms selling such BDCs than traditional investments like common stocks and bonds do. As such, to “earn” such high commissions, many financial professionals recommend and sell BDCs to risk-averse customers like retirees and other investors who rely on the income from their investment to live.

Unfortunately for many brokerage firm customers, many stockbrokers inform their clients that BDCs are “safe” or conservative investments suitable for risk-averse investors. When making recommendations to purchase securities, financial advisors have the duty to fully explain all important risks of such investments. Many investment advisors, however, do not disclose the true risks inherent in BDCs, including the high risk level associated with investing in BDCs, resulting in investors thinking that their investments in certain BDCs will not suffer significant losses.

Popular Business Development Companies

  • AB Private Credit Investors Corp.
  • Alcentra Capital Corp.
  • Apollo Investment Corp
  • Ares Capital
  • Audax Credit BDC Inc.
  • Bain Capital Specialty Finance Inc.
  • Barings BDC
  • BlackRock Capital Investment Corporation
  • BlackRock TCP Capital Corp.
  • Blackstone / GSO Secured Lending Fund
  • Business Development Corp. Of America
  • Capital Southwest Corporation
  • Capitala Finance Corp.
  • Cion Investment Corp.
  • CM Finance Inc.
  • Corporate Capital Trust II - T
  • Crescent Capital BDC Inc.
  • Equus Total Return
  • Fidus Investment Corp
  • Firsthand Technology Value Fund Inc.
  • Flat Rock Capital Corp.
  • FS Energy & Power Fund
  • FS Investment Corp IV
  • FS Investment Corp. II
  • FS Investment Corp. III
  • FS KKR Capital Corp.
  • Garrison Capital
  • Gladstone Capital Corp.
  • Gladstone Investment Corporation
  • Goldman Sachs BDC
  • Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.
  • Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit Corp.
  • Golub Capital
  • Golub Capital BDC 3 Inc.
  • Golub Capital Investment Corp.
  • Great Elm Capital Corp.
  • GSV Capital Corp.
  • Guggenheim Credit Income Fund
  • Hancock Park Corporate Income Inc.
  • Harvest Capital Credit
  • Hercules Capital Inc.
  • Hms Income Fund Inc.
  • Horizon Technology Finance Corp.
  • Mackenzie Realty Capital Inc.
  • Main Street Capital Corp.
  • Medley Capital Corp.
  • Monroe Capital
  • Monroe Capital Income Plus Corp
  • MVC Capital
  • New Mountain Finance
  • NexPoint Capital Inc.
  • Oaktree Specialty Lending Corp.
  • Oaktree Strategic Income Corp.
  • Oaktree Strategic Income II Inc.
  • OFS Capital
  • OHA Investment Corporation
  • Owl Rock Capital Corp.
  • OWL Rock Capital Corp. II
  • Owl Rock Technology Finance Corp.
  • Oxford Square Capital Corp.
  • Parkview Capital Credit Inc.
  • Pennant Park Investment
  • Pennant Park Floating Rate Capital
  • Portman Ridge Finance Corp.
  • Princeton Capital Corp.
  • Prospect Capital
  • Rand Capital Corp.
  • Runway Growth Credit Fund Inc.
  • SCP Private Credit Income BDC LLC
  • Sierra Income Corp.
  • Siguler Guff Small Business Credit Opportunities Fund Inc.
  • Solar Capital
  • Solar Senior Capital
  • Stellus Capital Investment Corp.
  • TCG BDC II Inc.
  • TCG BDC Inc.
  • TCW Direct Lending LLC
  • TCW Direct Lending VII LLC
  • Terra Income Fund 6 Inc.
  • THL Credit
  • TP Flexible Income Fund Inc.
  • TPG Specialty Lending, Inc.
  • TriplePoint Venture Growth BDC Corp.
  • Venture Lending & Leasing IX Inc.
  • Venture Lending & Leasing VII Inc.
  • Venture Lending & Leasing VIII Inc.
  • WhiteHorse Finance

About Levin Law

Levin Law is a premier securities and class action law firm with significant experience based in Miami, Florida and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan but represents investors throughout the country and the rest of the world. Brian Levin, Levin Law’s founding attorney, has obtained recoveries and settlements in excess of $100,000,000 through securities arbitration and litigation for individual and institutional investors throughout the country and the rest of the world. Levin Law represents retirees, individual investors, high-net-worth investors, ultra-high-net-worth investors, institutions, family offices, trusts, publicly held companies, and others.

If you invested in any business development companies (BDCs) and may have suffered losses, please contact Levin Law managing partner, Brian Levin, at (305) 402-9050,, or visit Levin Law’s website, Levin Law accepts most cases on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that clients are not obligated to pay Levin Law’s attorney fees unless money is recovered for the investor.

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