What are the biggest lessons in your career so far?
Taking a step-by-step approach to problem-solving is a great way to progress in your career – Do not be afraid of failure, face problems bravely and diligently, and always bear in mind that every challenge presents an opportunity to hone your abilities and expand your expertise in specific areas. Dealing with financially distressed companies or individuals can indeed be challenging, particularly when there are negative sentiments involved. It’s important to approach these situations with professionalism, empathy, and a focus on finding solutions.
How did you come to specialize in insolvency and restructuring?
I started in auditing and worked on some relatively straightforward liquidation work. Recognizing my growing fascination with restructuring, I decided to join the EY restructuring team. This was the beginning of my dedicated career in insolvency. At EY, I immersed myself in a wide range of challenging projects, which allowed me to further hone my skills. I transitioned to PwC before I moved to Alvarez and Marsal (A&M), a renowned firm specializing in financial restructuring and insolvency, distressed merger and acquisitions and dispute resolution. I like the dynamic nature of the work. Each project presents a unique set of challenges, requiring innovative thinking and adaptability.
What is the biggest challenge restructuring and insolvency practitioners currently face?
Insolvency proceedings initiated in one jurisdiction may need to be recognized and given effect in other jurisdictions where the company operates or assets are located. However, achieving recognition and coordinating actions across jurisdictions can be time-consuming, challenging and costly. Some sizable cases involving companies incorporated in offshore jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands or the Cayman Islands, listed in Hong Kong, and with operations and assets in China can be particularly complex. Navigating the differences between common law in Hong Kong and civil law in China can be challenging when dealing with asset tracing, enforcement and recovery exercises in China. We are delighted to see the recently rolled-out mutual recognition and assistance mechanism for insolvency proceedings between courts in three pilot cities in the Mainland (Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen) and Hong Kong.
In what ways has the Institute helped you in your career?
Being an Institute member enhances my professional standing. Also, serving as a member of the Restructuring and Insolvency Faculty (RIF) Executive Committee allows me to connect and collaborate with other professionals in the same field and enhance my presence in the market. This provides opportunities to build relationships with like-minded people, including fellow committee members, industry experts, and practitioners. It has also given me the opportunity to provide support to RIF members and the community.
How did your time at two Big Four firms prepare you for your current role at A&M?
One significant benefit is the exposure to large-scale projects and a wide range of clients across various industries. This allowed me to gain a comprehensive understanding of different business models and their challenges. I also had the opportunity to work with diverse teams comprising professionals from different backgrounds and areas of expertise.