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Leveraged Loan Index (LLI)


The Leveraged Loan Index (LLI) is a financial index that tracks the performance of institutional leveraged loans in the U.S. market. It provides insight into return rates, as well as price fluctuations and volatility in the leveraged loan market. Compiled by S&P Global Ratings, the LLI is widely used by investors and analysts for benchmarking and market analysis.


“Leveraged Loan Index” phonetically can be pronounced as “leh-ver-ijd lohn in-deks”. The abbreviation “LLI” can be pronounced as “el-el-eye”.

Key Takeaways

1. Performance Indicator: The Leveraged Loan Index (LLI) is a financial tool used to track and assess the performance of leveraged loans. It provides investors with information about the overall market trends, performance, and returns on leveraged loans. Investors and financial analysts can use this index to detect changes in the market and forecast future trends.

2. Representative of the Market: The LLI includes a vast variety of leveraged loans and thus, provides a comprehensive view of the leveraged loan market. It incorporates information from both the primary and secondary markets which help to provide a holistic view of the overall market.

3. Guidance for Investment: By observing changes and trends in the LLI, investors can make informed investment decisions about entering or exiting leveraged loans. As the LLI reflects the performance of individual leveraged loans, it helps investors to understand the risk-reward ratio and thus, helps them to take suitable investment decisions.


The Leveraged Loan Index (LLI) is important as it provides a market benchmark for the performance of major leveraged loans. This index represents the returns of institutional leveraged loans based on market weightings, spreads, and issuance. It gives investors a clear picture of the market’s performance, and also helps them measure the risk and return characteristics of their portfolio against the broader leveraged loan market. By analyzing the LLI, investors get vital information on market trends and the overall health of the high-yield, speculative-grade debt market. This helps them make informed investment decisions and strategies, thereby managing their risk effectively.


The Leveraged Loan Index (LLI) primarily serves as a performance benchmark for the leveraged loan market. In a broader sense, the LLI can give analysts, investors, and portfolio managers insights into the health of leveraged loans as an asset class and the market conditions surrounding these loans. By tracking the aggregate performance of participating leveraged loans, the LLI provides robust and valuable data about this particular market sector. This data is quite relevant to those dealing with high-yield bonds or loans, as it offers a representative sample of the hundreds of tradable loans in the leveraged loan market.The data from the LLI can be used for multiple purposes. It can aid in the construction of financial products such as ETFs and mutual funds that replicate the LLI’s balance and performance. It can also guide high-yield portfolio managers in balancing their portfolios, as the LLI provides insight into market trends or possible challenges. In addition to serving as a reference for the pricing of leveraged loans, the LLI can inform investment and divestment decisions by providing detailed information about the yields, defaults, and recovery rates typically seen in the leveraged loan market.


1. The S&P/LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 Index: This index is an example of an LLI administered by Standard & Poor. It is designed to reflect the largest facilities in the leveraged loan market and to provide investors consistent, impartial insight into the leveraged loan market with an emphasis on the overall market return. 2. The Credit Suisse Leveraged Loan Index: This is another real-world example of an LLI composed of approximately 1,500 distinct loans covering more than 1,000 issuers. Managed by Credit Suisse, this index serves to understand and track the overall movements of the leveraged loan market.3. The J.P. Morgan Leveraged Loan Index: This LLI is used by J.P. Morgan Asset Management to track the investable universe of U.S. dollar institutional leveraged loans. This index informs investors on market trends, risk and return components, and helps in benchmarking portfolio performances. In each of these examples, an LLI provides a broad measure of the performance of the leveraged loan market. It represents an important tool for institutional investors in leveraged loans as it provides a benchmark for comparison with their own portfolio returns.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Leveraged Loan Index (LLI)?

The Leveraged Loan Index (LLI) is a benchmark index that represents the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated leveraged loan market. It’s curated by S&P Dow Jones Indices and reflects returns on fully-funded, senior-secured, first-lien leveraged loans.

How is the Leveraged Loan Index calculated?

The LLI is calculated by compiling the return from a pool of leveraged loans. The return is calculated based on interest payments received, any changes in the loan’s value, and assuming that all cash distributions are reinvested into the index.

What are leveraged loans?

Leveraged loans are loans extended to companies or individuals that already have considerable amounts of debt. They are called ‘leveraged’ because the ratio of the borrower’s debt to equity is high. These loans typically have higher interest rates as they are considered high risk.

Who uses the Leveraged Loan Index?

The LLI is used by asset managers, institutional investors, and other financial services companies to benchmark the performance of leveraged loans. It’s also used to evaluate the risk versus return of the leverage loan market.

How often is the Leveraged Loan Index updated?

The Leveraged Loan Index is typically updated on a monthly basis. The updates include the total return of the index and the contribution by subcomponents.

Can an individual invest in the Leveraged Loan Index directly?

No, individual investors cannot directly invest into the index. However, there are mutual funds and ETFs that replicate the performance of the index which investors can buy into.

What factors can influence the Leveraged Loan Index?

Factors that can influence the LLI include changes in interest rates, credit quality of the loans in the benchmark, and defaults on the underlying leveraged loans. Changes in policy, economic conditions, and market sentiment can also affect the LLI.

Is the Leveraged Loan Index considered risky?

Yes, it’s considered risky because it’s based on leveraged loans, which are extended to borrowers with a significant amount of pre-existing debt. If these borrowers default on their repayments, it can significantly impact the performance of the index.

How can I access updates on the Leveraged Loan Index?

Updates on the LLI can be accessed through financial market news providers, proprietary databases used by financial institutions, or directly from the S&P Dow Jones Indices website.

: Does the Leveraged Loan Index only include U.S. based loans?

: Yes, the LLI specifically represents the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated leveraged loan market. However, some of the companies included might be international companies that have U.S. dollar-based debt.

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