The past dozen years of corporate restructuring activity were punctuated by default cycles on each side of the “teens” decade associated with two recessions, a stark reminder that the prospects of our profession remain highly dependent on the vagaries of an economic cycle that is often unpredictable and more often benign than harsh. Moreover, the recessions of 2009 and 2020 that ushered in these two default cycles were triggered by unforeseen “Black Swan” events that kicked off a wave of restructurings across the corporate landscape but subsided far sooner than most expected — much to the surprise of the restructuring profession. Extreme policy responses by the federal government early on in these downturns contributed meaningfully to relatively speedy resolutions, but it is unclear if such aggressive responses can be or should be part of any policy playbook going forward. For the restructuring profession, the “teens” decade was often challenging to navigate, as cyclical events that typically propel spikes in restructuring activity occurred less frequently and were difficult to anticipate and manage through, while global financial markets benefited from unprecedented monetary stimulus from central banks and were more tolerant of aggressive capital structures and debt financing solutions for high risk companies.
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