Starting with the large leveraged buyout loans of the mid-1980s, the syndicated loan market has become the dominant way for issuers to tap banks and other institutional capital providers for loans.
At the most basic level, arrangers serve the investment-banking role of raising investor dollars for an issuer in need of capital. The issuer pays the arranger a fee for this service, and this fee increases with the complexity and risk factors of the loan. As a result, the most profitable loans are those to leveraged borrowers--issuers whose credit ratings are speculative grade and who are paying spreads (premiums above LIBOR or another base rate) sufficient to attract the interest of non-bank term loan investors. Though, this threshold moves up and down depending on market conditions.