Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wow, Has it been a month already?

One might wonder why, with all the activity in the markets (okay, EXTREME volatility), I haven't had much to say.

That would be a bit misleading. I've been a little busy, but I plan on catching up over the next week or so.

I had a great time over the last few weeks refreshing and updating my skills by taking a class in distressed security valuation at NYU's Stern School of Business. Unlike Professor Altman, the Adjunct Professor that taught the class is a practitioner (hedge fund manager) - and I'm not sure that he would appreciate my mentioning his name, so I won't. He also brought in a top bankruptcy attorney to instruct us on the current law and to give us a better feel for the restructuring process; and what an investor in distressed securities needs to be aware of.

Both teachers were excellent speakers, passing along important information with good humor and letting students feel at ease with their down to earth styles.

As I mentioned in my post on Professor Altman's class, the learning experience at Stern is remarkably different from my tenure 20 years ago. Certainly that is to be expected, but the information that is now easily available over the Internet significantly improves the students' education (while raising the expectations of their work product). The changes in technology have also made it easier for students to really become engaged in the classes.

Back in the early 1990s, I was very involved in the restructuring business at Deloitte (in the valuation practice) and I participated in two of the week-long seminars conducted at NYU's Law School by the late Larry King. These seminars gave me an excellent understanding of the bankruptcy law at the time. I also travelled to the Bankruptcy Judges Conference in San Antonio where there were numerous useful lectures, and opportunities to network with other restructuring professionals.

Of course, I also took Professor Altman's Bankruptcy and Reorganization class while I attended NYU.

All of those learning opportunities, however, were related to the old Bankruptcy Law.

I now feel much more comfortable with the changes made to the Bankruptcy Law in 2005. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I expect there to be significant growth in the distressed/restructuring markets over the next few years. This course has updated my skill set to better identify, and profit from, the upcoming wave of opportunities.

Bottom line, I've been focusing on learning the past few weeks (in addition to my more normal activities). I expect to be writing more regularly, at least for the next few weeks.

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