Having spent my entire career in the corporate renewal and restructuring community, first as a restructuring lawyer for 17 years and then as a special situations investment banker for the past 16, I am honored and proud to be the Turnaround Management Association’s (TMA) Global 2015 president.
Like the current global economy, the turnaround and restructuring industry is in a constant state of flux. Our professionals are engaged in crisis management, operational and financial turnarounds, fiduciary services, raising capital, selling companies, litigation advisory, valuations, and providing legal and other professional services. Their expertise is diverse and provided to companies large and small, healthy and struggling.
With this in mind, the TMA focuses its actions under four pillars:
- Connect members to one another to drive business.
- Educate members.
- Certify members through the CTP and CTA programs.
- Represent the industry.
Driving Member-to-Member Business
Whether it’s a local chapter event, a regional conference, the annual conference, the Distressed Investing Conference or an international conference in Europe, South America or Asia, the TMA brings members together to connect, learn and do business. No other organization does this for as broad an audience as the TMA. In fact, the diverse nature of the TMA community is a critical component of our continued success.
There are more people attending TMA events than ever before — 24,000 individuals attended a TMA event at the global, regional or local level this year, compared with 18,000 last year. This statistic alone speaks volumes to the fact that restructuring professionals are taking advantage of TMA benefits more and more, and that its community is growing stronger year after year.
There is no better place to go for education in the turnaround and corporate renewal industry than the TMA. Taking advantage of TMA education and certification demonstrates the commitment, competency and expertise required in today’s complex market.
During my tenure thus far as TMA global president, I have had the pleasure of attending the Distressed Investing Conference in Las Vegas; chapter events in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Phoenix; the NOW (Network of Women) Summit; the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in Atlantic City; the Southwest Regional Conference in San Antonio and the Western Regional Conference in Carlsbad. Whether it is a panel discussion on the oil and gas industry, issues affecting distressed investors, new issues in §363 sales or a dialogue on unconscious bias, each TMA educational event has top-of-the-line programming for all of our members. With the creation of the Chapter Programming Council, TMA education will only continue to improve as new concepts are tested and elements that work are extended to chapters around the world.
A significant part of TMA education programming is getting a face lift. The Body of Knowledge courses, which serve as the foundation for the TMA certification program, are undergoing a complete overhaul. The courses, which focus on law, finance and management, will now be self-directed online and will offer a new CTA exam that will be delivered electronically. These courses and the exam, major components of the certificationprocess for both CTP and CTA designations, will now be completely digital, so no travel will be required to achieve certification. With the coming changes, there is no better time for turnaround and corporate renewal professionals to get certified.
TMA’s Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP) designation gives expert status, operational and/or financial, to qualifying turnaround professionals. The CTP designation is difficult to earn, but the application process is now significantly easier than it once was. Those who earn the CTP have met stringent standards for education, experience and professional conduct.
For the turnaround professional without the years of experience required for the CTP, TMA’s Certified Turnaround Analyst (CTA) designation will continue to grow more popular. The CTA designation also provides a perfect opportunity for private equity and hedge fund professionals to earn a professional certification and benefit from the practical education and experience that goes along with it. This, in turn, allows them to further their expertise in overseeing portfolio companies.
By moving to an online preparation and examination system, the TMA is confident the certification program will continue to grow and expand in the coming years.
Looking to the Future
A quote that has been at the top of my mind during my time as TMA president comes from Warren Bennis, widely considered as a pioneer within the field of leadership studies. “Leaders keep their eyes on the horizon, not just on the bottom line.” I have always preferred to look forward: through the windshield and not back through the rear-view mirror. So, what do I see ahead?
More challenge in an industry that has yet to settle in completely to its “new normal.” Obviously, the restructuring industry has contracted over the last few years. The capital markets remain very strong and healthy M&A is booming. Any short term interest rate hike will have very little impact on the growth in restructuring opportunities. What is going to be the catalyst for more restructuring work is speculation at this point. The restructuring opportunities today are in the lower markets as smaller companies always have more issues. In addition, oil and gas, higher education, metals, mining and healthcare are industries facing challenges.
Expanding the TMA Tent
Whatever the direction of the industry, TMA Global continues its tireless efforts to aid chapters maintaining and growing membership by expanding who should be underneath the “TMA tent.” For example, we recently launched a new website platform for TMA Global and chapters that provides members and non-members alike with a more user-friendly experience on a responsive design platform.
TMA’s attention is not confined to North America, but stretches across continents. More than 20% of the TMA membership is now outside of the traditional North American core, a number that will only grow with the launch this year of chapters in Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. International expansion will continue to bring turnaround and restructuring professionals together across town and across the world.
The restructuring industry has seen many cycles during my career and our work has morphed from mostly reorganizations in the early years to mostly transactions for the past 16 plus years. As I have always said, there is a constant in the universe: bad management will always exist, and overleverage as well as industry and technology changes will always provide work for all of us in the restructuring business.
It is a challenging and exciting time for the professionals in the TMA and we are working hard to ensure the organization is properly positioned to stay relevant and valuable well into the future.