I am very pleased to present this ninth edition of The Restructuring Review. As with the previous editions, our intention is to help general counsel, government agencies and private practice lawyers understand the conditions prevailing in the global restructuring market in 2016, with a view to the coming year, and to highlight some of the more significant legal and commercial developments and trends that have been evident in recent years, and that are expected to be significant in the future.
Recent years have seen considerable drama unfold in the economic and political spheres and it seems that 2016 is proving 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, which are discussed in more detail in the England & Wales chapter of this volume. 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.
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. At the time of writing the previous edition of the Restructuring Review, 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 over-leveraged businesses. The renewed uncertainty prevailing at the time of writing this ninth edition suggests 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.
While, of course, no credible predictions as to the consequences of the above 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.
I would like to extend my gratitude to the contributors from some of the world’s leading law firms who have given such valuable support and cooperation in the preparation of this work, and to our publishers, without whom this work would not have been possible.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP