Direct lending strategies are growing in popularity, fueled by regulatory constraints on bank lending and investor demand for income strategies that can provide meaningful returns in a low-interest-rate environment. Fund managers face difficult choices, however, when deciding how to structure direct lending funds to address tax, compliance and marketing concerns. To help address those issues, a recent program hosted by Strafford CLE Webinars, featuring Sadis & Goldberg partners Alex Gelinas, Steven Huttler and Daniel G. Viola, examined the advantages and disadvantages of different structures for direct lending funds. This first article in a two-part series weighs the merits of pursuing a closed-end, open-end or hybrid fund structure, as well as certain regulatory concerns associated with the strategy. The second article will analyze the tax impact of different direct lending fund structures on U.S. investors, U.S. tax-exempt investors and non‑U.S. investors. For additional commentary from Sadis & Goldberg partners, see “Program Gets Into the Weeds on Cannabis M&A” (Aug. 1, 2019).