The theme of this year’s convention, Leading in a New World, represents the challenges the global economy as a whole, and the industry in particular, have faced the past two years. As an industry, we have weathered this storm with steely resolve and must now begin the process of adapting in this “new world.”

This year’s convention committee has worked hard to create a program that will ensure that attendees’ time spent at the c will be well worth the days out of the office.

For the first time, a former U.S. president will be the keynote speaker, during the presentation sponsored by RedRidge Finance Group. George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, will address attendees on Thursday morning. Don’t miss your chance to hear his compelling story of what it was like to be the leader of the free world on September 11, 2001.

This year’s convention has top-quality content to offer as well. Ten educational panels will help keep participants up-to-date on what is happening in the industry. Here are a few highlights:

Three renowned economists will speak about the state of the global economy in the panel Continental Divide: Where Economists Meet. The CFA has put together a great trio of economists representing North America, Europe and Asia to provide perspectives on the economies of each and their relationship. This program is certain to be one of the highlights of the convention. The panel will be interactive, giving ample opportunity for questions. The panelists are all chief economists from CFA member institutions: Lloyds Banking Group, Wells Fargo and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi. Clearly, with the continually changing impact of world events on the global economy, this program will offer the benefit of up-to-the-minute commentary from the experts who will help attendees understand the current position of the world economy and prospects for the future.

In ABL & Private Equity Collaboration … a Real Life Case Study, registrants will hear about success in the midst of the storm with a case study on how an asset-based lender and private equity firm worked together to get a tough deal done.

In the panel How Entrepreneurial Lenders & Factors Win a Bankruptcy Preference Claim … or Lose it! participants will learn from a sitting bankruptcy judge, a former bankruptcy judge and bankruptcy practitioners how preference cases are being won and lost in today’s bankruptcy courts.

A panel of the nation’s premier private equity firms representing the large corporate, middle-market and small business segments will discuss the current state of the private equity world in The Private Equity Markets in the Great Recession.

Those who work for independent finance companies and factors won’t want to miss Financing and Capital for Entrepreneurial Lenders and Factors, which will delve into today’s market, industry trends, valuations and outlook from their perspective.

In Debt Capital Markets, registrants will be given an overview of the debt markets from the beginning of the recession to their current state as well as what can be expected in the future. Products discussed will include asset-based, pro-rata, leverage, B loan and convertible loan markets, as well as the high-yield bond market.

The convention also offers exceptional networking opportunities. On Wednesday, enjoy an afternoon of golf at Harborside International Golf Center, sponsored by Wells Fargo. Wednesday evening, attendees can mingle with peers at the Opening Reception, which will be held at The Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier, sponsored by Hilco. The laughs should be plentiful when The Second City, Chicago’s renowned improv group, performs during Friday’s lunch. Friday night promises to be a fun evening with tickets to the new play, Detroit, available for purchase.

The CFA is also offering its Advanced Field Examiner Workshop immediately before the convention on October 18 and 19 at the Sheraton Chicago. The workshop is a “big-picture” program conducted for field examination managers and senior examiners/auditors. The two-day workshop focuses on major issues and trends affecting the field examination role. Those who register for both the workshop and the convention will receive 20% off of the convention registration fee.

Until September 16, any company that joins the CFA as a new member will receive one complimentary convention registration. Please email [email protected] for details. For a full list of activities and to register, visit

Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE, is the chief executive officer of the Commercial Finance Association.