Published: October 2016Contents
i) What are the hot topics?
While, of course, no credible predictions as to the consequences of many current factors for insolvency and restructuring activity are possible, past experience has taught us that where there is uncertainty and stress, there is a healthy restructuring market. As such, this work continues to be relevant and important, in particular, as a result of the international nature of many corporate restructurings.
ii) Tell us about any key legal developments – recent or pending – and their international impact.
Recent years have seen considerable drama unfold in the economic and political spheres and it seems that 2016 was remarkable even by these standards. Restructuring and insolvency practitioners based in the United Kingdom have, of course, been preoccupied by the implications of the vote to leave the European Union.
The realignment of British politics and policy presaged by Brexit appear to form part of a wider trend in the advanced democracies for the reassertion of national and popular politics after a long period of affluent apathy. In the wider world, the continuing turmoil in the Middle East and the adoption of an ever more assertive posture by China suggest prolonged uncertainty and the further overturning in the future of long-held assumptions in politics and diplomacy.
iii) What are the biggest opportunities and challenges for practitioners and clients?
Uncertainty. Given the context, anyone claiming to be able to predict clearly the future of the global economy cannot be believed. All we can say for certain is that anything can happen. A further factor to note is the continued employment of unorthodox monetary policy by many central banks. Many commentators were predicting the end of the current policy mix of ultra-low (or in some cases negative) interest rates and monetary laxity in the months to come, with potentially grave results for many overleveraged businesses. The renewed uncertainty prevailing now that the historically unprecedented monetary policy approach of previous years may in fact be set to continue for some time, and a reversion to the pre-crisis world seems ever further away.
Harney Westwood & Riegels Hong Kong
Harney Westwood & Riegels Hamilton