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Alex Lawson

Alex Lawson

Alvarez & MarsalFlagship Building2nd Floor, 70 Harbour DriveGeorge Town, Grand CaymanCayman IslandsKY1-1104

Thought Leader

WWL says

Alex Lawson impresses peers with his “total understanding of how the complex world of offshore finance works” as well as his “wealth of experience in complicated insolvency and restructuring assignments”. 

Questions & Answers

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 lifecycle 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. 

What operational challenges has covid-19 presented to restructuring and insolvency practice, and in what ways have you and the firm overcome them?

In terms of engagement challenges, creating essential rapport and building trust (or equally calling individuals out) with management, key creditors and investors, requires a change in approach and style given the absence of in-person meetings being possible. 

Previously, a tremendous amount of ground could be covered by a focused one to two week on-site presence. To solve that we find other ways to rapidly advance engagements including frequent one on one calls with key parties, establishing smaller working groups to focus on specific tasks together, and matching personality types between the A&M engagement team and the client to accelerate effectiveness. 

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. 

Global Leader

Asset Recovery - Experts 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Alex Lawson is held in high esteem for his significant experience in complex cross-border asset recovery and insolvency proceedings.

Biography

Alex Lawson is a managing director and the head of A&M Cayman Islands and is a qualified Cayman Islands insolvency practitioner.

He brings over 15 years of experience in restructuring and specialises in offshore and cross-border engagements. His primary areas of concentration include hedge funds and PE funds, mining, oil and gas and alternative investments.

Mr Lawson leads international teams focused on delivering bespoke solutions to maximise stakeholder returns across stressed to distressed situations involving complex cross-border cases. With a strong focus across all hedge funds and PE funds, international corporations and conglomerates, Mr Lawson has developed a reputation as an industry leader in the offshore restructuring market and has been recognised as an expert in the field by Who’s Who Legal.

Mr Lawson has been appointed by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands as an inspector, provisional liquidator, and official liquidator to many high-profile cases. In addition, he has been appointed as a controller by CIMA and acted as voluntary liquidator to many Cayman Islands registered companies. Outside of the Cayman Islands, he has been appointed joint liquidator by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court over British Virgin Islands companies and has been recognised in the Courts of Norway, Hong Kong, Dubai, United States and Australia.

Prior to joining A&M, Mr Lawson worked at KPMG in the Cayman Islands for ten years and was a partner in the restructuring practice.

Mr Lawson earned bachelor’s degrees in both commerce and law from the University of Queensland. He is an admitted lawyer (non-practicing) with the Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia and is a CPI and JIEB pass holder with the Insolvency Practitioners Association of England and Wales and member of INSOL and the Cayman Islands RISA chapter. Mr Lawson is an insolvency practitioner in the Cayman Islands and chartered accountant (Australia and New Zealand) as well as a member of the Cayman Islands Society for Professional Accountants (CISPA).

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Alex Lawson stands out a prominent insolvency practitioner with over 15 years' experience in offshore and cross-border proceedings.

Biography

Alex Lawson is a managing director and the head of A&M Cayman Islands and is a qualified Cayman Islands insolvency practitioner.

He brings over 15 years of experience in restructuring and specialises in offshore and cross-border engagements. His primary areas of concentration include hedge funds and PE funds, mining, oil and gas and alternative investments.

Mr Lawson leads international teams focused on delivering bespoke solutions to maximise stakeholder returns across stressed to distressed situations involving complex cross-border cases. With a strong focus across all hedge funds and PE funds, international corporations and conglomerates, Mr Lawson has developed a reputation as an industry leader in the offshore restructuring market and has been recognised as an expert in the field by Who’s Who Legal.

Mr Lawson has been appointed by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands as an inspector, provisional liquidator, and official liquidator to many high-profile cases. In addition, he has been appointed as a controller by CIMA and acted as voluntary liquidator to many Cayman Islands registered companies. Outside of the Cayman Islands, he has been appointed joint liquidator by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court over British Virgin Islands companies and has been recognised in the Courts of Norway, Hong Kong, Dubai, United States and Australia.

Prior to joining A&M, Mr Lawson worked at KPMG in the Cayman Islands for ten years and was a partner in the restructuring practice.

Mr Lawson earned bachelor’s degrees in both commerce and law from the University of Queensland. He is an admitted lawyer (non-practicing) with the Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia and is a CPI and JIEB pass holder with the Insolvency Practitioners Association of England and Wales and member of INSOL and the Cayman Islands RISA chapter. Mr Lawson is an insolvency practitioner in the Cayman Islands and chartered accountant (Australia and New Zealand) as well as a member of the Cayman Islands Society for Professional Accountants (CISPA).

WWL Ranking: Recommended
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