Insurance companies and other regulated purchasers are flush with capital and clamoring for opportunities to invest through private funds, but they have been stifled by stringent regulations. A new product – PE collateralized fund obligations (CFOs) – has emerged in recent years to overcome those impediments. Despite its substantial potential, the future of the PE CFO structure is still mired in uncertainty as regulators continue to issue proposals meant to shape its use going forward. This two-part series summarizes a panel on PE CFOs that was hosted by the Fund Finance Association, moderated by Matthew Kerfoot, managing director at Société Générale, and which featured Witold Balaban, partner at Latham & Watkins; Lawrence R. Hamilton, partner at Mayer Brown; and Phillip Titolo, head of direct private investments at MassMutual. This first article examines the structure of CFOs, as well as some of the primary challenges that PE managers face when issuing CFOs. The second article will describe emerging trends and regulatory developments at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that will affect whether CFOs will remain attractive to insurance company investors. See our two-part series: “How PE Collateralized Fund Obligations Operate and Why Insurance Companies Increasingly Structure and Purchase Them” (Mar. 1, 2022); and “NAIC Regulations Shape the Current Adoption and Future Growth of PE Collateralized Fund Obligations by Insurance Companies” (Mar. 8, 2022).