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The rise of hedge fund activism is a trend to watch, says Kathryn Sutherland-Smith of White & Case

Kathryn Sutherland-Smith

Kathryn Sutherland-Smith of White & Case

TMA Member Profile

What makes the TMA Australia great?

The TMA brings together a community of dedicated turnaround professionals across a range of industry sectors and seniority levels. It provides members with opportunities to learn from industry leaders and make meaningful connections with peers who share the same passion for our profession. The TMA is committed to both the professional development of its members and making a lasting contribution to the industry – its participation in law reform projects continue to shape the turnaround landscape in Australia.

Why or how did you get involved in TMA?

I have been involved with the TMA and TMA NextGen from the very start of my career as a law graduate at Ashurst. After a few years as a restructuring lawyer, I was fortunate enough to work with the TMA board on its submissions to the Australian government on the recent Safe Harbor and ipso facto law reforms, which has been one of my career highlights. Through TMA membership I have built many lasting relationships that I treasure, both in Australia and now in New York.

What’s the most significant trend or event happening in the turnaround and restructuring industry?

One trend to watch is the rise of hedge fund activism in Australian restructuring processes. Distressed debt acquisition, the pursuit of loan-to-own strategies and claims trading are now regular features of U.S. turnarounds. The engagement of hedge funds and alternative lender in restructurings brings with it exciting new financing and workout opportunities for distressed entities. However, it also raises some interesting challenges for the insolvency industry such as the regulation of distressed claims trading and derivative products that create an incentive for investors to “short” reorganisations. It will be interesting to see how these dynamics play out in the Australian market.

What would someone who only knows you professionally be surprised to learn about you?

I play the bagpipes!

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