Investors are searching further afield (Source: Getty)
Last year, a record $6trn (£4trn) was invested in businesses across the world, coming in the form of loans, bonds and equity.
But the firm warned that this was less indicative of a financial recovery, and more reflective of the wider range of investment choices available. "Investors have been reacting to the new landscape – searching further afield for yield," the report said.
While lending in Europe was still below its pre-financial crisis peak, there was a surge in investors lending to Asian businesses. Over the seven years to 2014, annual investment into Asia-Pacific companies went up from $549bn (£360bn) to $870bn (£571bn).
According to Allen & Overy, a combination of low interest rates and quantitative easing in the US has caused borrowing costs and sovereign yields to drop, encouraging lenders to look beyond the West for the best returns possible.
In the case of global bonds and equities, there has been a much more gradual increase since the financial crisis, with bond issuances actually declining in 2014 compared to the year before.
Loans have risen at a faster rate than bonds or equities (Source: Allen & Overy)
“Corporates have more options than ever before, and there is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach,” said Angela Clist, co-head of Financial Institutions Group at Allen & Overy.
“As competition continues to increase not only in the type of products corporates choose, but locations where they source funding and the players who ultimately provide it, banks have an increasingly pivotal role to play in facilitating access to this broader and more global market.”
The research showed that funding no longer comes solely from banks, however – on average, bank lending remains the single biggest source of funding among European corporates, but alternative finance now accounts for 41 per cent of their total funding mix.