To outsiders, the world of turnarounds and restructurings can seem like a vast industry of disparate professionals with numerous specializations spread across the globe. In reality, our world is actually a small, tight-knit community that is closely connected through a network of dedicated and diverse professionals who share a common goal of corporate renewal and preserving and enhancing value for our clients. This small-world concept was in evidence at the 2018 TMA Europe Annual Conference in Amsterdam recently.

Amsterdam was an appropriate venue to bring together turnaround and...

While there does not appear to be single market force poised to strike in the near future equivalent to the mortgage crisis that precipitated the Great Recession, we are seeing various events that threaten to converge and create a perfect storm that could precipitate an economic downturn.

Geopolitical conflicts currently dominate news headlines—threats of reciprocal tariffs and trade wars involving the U.S., China, and other countries; fragile North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico; the impact of Brexit; conflicts with North Korea...

As professionals in the turnaround industry, we are consistently called upon to address liquidity issues and deteriorating financial and operational performance. One of the first steps we take is to diagnose the root cause of the distress. Once we identify the cause, we are better equipped to develop strategies to stem the losses and implement improvement plans to stay ahead of the curve of future problems.

Just as law enforcement adapts and evolves to stay ahead of fraudsters’ tactics, so too must our members adapt and evolve to emerging trends and disruption in our industry....

The parallels between a distressed company and a patient in need of healthcare are endless. One of the analogies we use most frequently to describe our work as turnaround and restructuring professionals is that of an emergency room doctor. Depending on the severity of the ailment, we liken the downsizing, divestiture, or liquidation of a struggling business unit to a doctor’s decision to amputate an arm to save a patient’s life. Oftentimes, we lament that the patient did not seek treatment or a routine checkup soon enough for us to implement a cure.

In our quest for continuous...

You may be familiar with the “six degrees of separation” theory—the idea that every person in the world is connected to every other person by six or fewer steps. According to the six degrees theory, every one of an estimated 7.6 billion people in the world can be connected to every other person on the planet through just five other people. It suggests that more connectedness exists between people than we might think.

American playwright John Guare popularized and labeled the concept in his 1990 play Six Degrees of Separation, which served as the basis for a movie of the...

As professionals in the turnaround industry, each of us faces disruption on a daily basis, either with our clients or with our own businesses. Change is constant, and responding to disruption, whether proactively or reactively, is woven into our fabric.

When I became a member of TMA in 2001, I joined for two reasons: to be part of a vibrant chapter community of local restructuring professionals with regional and global networking opportunities, and to meet other members who could refer business or deals. Today, I remain an active member of TMA because I value TMA’s role in those...

While the TMA membership represents a wide cross-section of professions and perceptions, one thing that the members seem to share in common is an appreciation for “the numbers.” So here are some numbers for your consideration.

Of course, numbers by themselves aren’t very helpful, so here’s a little context.

9,300: TMA’s total 
worldwide membership

2,100: TMA’s membership outside of North America (U.S. & Canada), or nearly 23 percent of the global total...

In this, my final JCR column, I will forego a sentimental retrospective of my time as TMA Global President, now Chairman. Make no mistake, my time in TMA Global leadership has been a singularly exciting and rewarding experience—truly a career opportunity. But I much prefer to look forward through the windshield, not backward through the rearview mirror.

So, what do I see ahead? More challenges in an industry that has yet to settle in completely to its “new normal.” Certainly, the restructuring industry has contracted somewhat. High-yield maturities have decreased over...

For those of us in the trenches of lower middle market special situations, there are signs of a coming disturbance in the Force.

No one knew what the disturbance was at the beginning of 2007, but we soon found out it was subprime mortgages. Who knew in 2007 that my old employer, National City Bank, a conservative regional bank based in Cleveland that bought my firm in August 2006, was one of, if not the, largest originators of subprime mortgages in the country and was the largest bank not to get federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money in 2008?

NatCity was...

A broad-based group of TMA members gathered in Chicago last month to kick off a process that will help determine the future course of TMA. In the face of ever-changing market dynamics, the group is charged with developing a strategic plan that will ensure TMA continues to be relevant and a valuable resource for all of us involved in the turnaround and restructuring industry.

Those invited to participate represented a cross-section of our membership and included former TMA Global chairs; current TMA leaders; representatives from NextGen, TMA NOW, and North American and international...