Alvarez & Marsal
Flagship Building, PO Box 2507, 2nd Floor, 142 Seafarers Way
KY1-1104, George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Peers and clients say:
"Alex is a very impressive asset recovery expert"
"Mr Lawson has excellent commercial awareness and people skills"
"He has built a good all-round practice"
Alex is a managing director and head of the Cayman Islands office for A&M. Alex has over 18 years of restructuring and insolvency experience having started his career with KordaMentha in Australia and then Deloitte before being permanently based in the Cayman Islands since 2008. Alex was a partner at KPMG before launching A&M in the Cayman Islands in 2018. Alex earned commerce and LLB degrees from the University of Queensland, is a chartered accountant, admitted legal practitioner (non-practising) with the Supreme Court of Queensland, is a JIEB pass holder and a member of RISA.
What do you enjoy most about leading teams on complex cross-border engagements?
Making sure as the leader of the team that I and those working with me maintain an open mind when it comes to strategy and that we are constantly drawing on the best resources from the various jurisdictions to feed in accurate information about the realities of local laws and local business culture that will impact execution and overall success of our plan.
When it comes to very complex cross-border engagements, making assumptions or forcing a pre-written playbook onto a situation will not yield the right outcomes and it is the ‘clean piece of paper’ at the start of the job that creates real excitement for me as a leader.
How is restructuring and insolvency changing, and how is the firm adapting to these changes?
The fundamentals of restructuring and insolvency have not changed but the complexity and tools needed to deliver the best outcomes certainly have. Accordingly, the need to fully appreciate how sectors in the market are evolving across their corporate structure set up, financing and operations is essential. Given the rapid pace of change and increased complexity that exists, every good practitioner and firm must do two things. Firstly, invest in keeping pace with industry developments and their impact across the life cycle of an entity and secondly, use that understanding to drive solutions that work in the new environment. Only by having this deep understanding can a practitioner promote innovative transactions, financing solutions or perform effective investigations and asset recovery strategies.
A&M positions itself to deliver in such a way by having leaders with a thirst for knowledge and deep industry relationships, who actively and regularly engage with leaders across industries and sectors. Most importantly, A&M has a culture of leaders actively sharing insights within the firm from top to bottom, and who step up and deliver results for stakeholders.
Are you seeing different sectors approaching restructuring work differently, and if so, how?
Historical levels of patience to find consensual resolutions have certainly been tested in recent quarters, most notably across shipping, and oil and gas. Lenders have justifiably shortened the rope they are willing to extend and management are being asked to demonstrate genuine turnaround or refinancing progress in a shorter period of time than they were in those sectors pre-covid-19. Of course, the opposite is true for the leisure and hospitality sectors until the new normal is established.
In what ways does Alvarez & Marsal distinguish itself from the competition?
A&M doesn’t leave behind a PowerPoint slide deck, we roll up our sleeves and produce results. It is this action-based approach and genuine desire to tackle the most difficult situations and work with management and stakeholders that sets us apart.
You will never hear me simply talk about the engagements we won, but instead what we were able to achieve. Winning a big-ticket job is simply an opportunity to demonstrate what we can do, and too many firms think the prize is in the win and not the outcome.
Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?
The best firms will need to be demonstrated deal makers and have a track record of completing even the most complex of engagements in a relatively short period of time, and for fees reflective of the outcome achieved. A firm with a reputation for bureaucracy or inability to move a job forward will not fare well in the future.
There is also a clear need for the best firms to have a global footprint, and everyone is keeping a close eye on the potentially negative impacts on culture and performance for those firms that are newly private equity backed.
What advice would you give to younger experts hoping to one day be in your position?
Always identify the value proposition and make it the cornerstone of your engagement strategy, and never underestimate the benefit of commitment to getting the job done…it’s not meant to be easy but that is exactly why it can be so rewarding.