By Richard D. Gumbrecht

I hope this letter finds you safe and well as we continue to navigate and lead the way through this pandemic.  I noted earlier this month how inspired I am by examples of how our community members are keeping essential supply chains intact, funding providers of critical services and responding to the surge of funding requests from businesses that have pivoted away from their usual products to manufacture PPE to ease the shortage, not to mention those who are donating and raising funds for groups being adversely affected during this unprecedented time.

When members of the SFNet staff sat down last summer to plan out the 2020 TSL themes, May naturally became the International Issue as SFNet’s International Lending Conference was scheduled for this month. Then along came Covid-19, bringing a new meaning to “disruption.” We have kept the cross-border-themed articles as they remain relevant and the authors quickly updated their content to reflect current conditions, but, of course, this issue also features Covid-related topics. Our cover story focuses on the threat of force majeure clauses, by frequent TSL contributor Myra Thomas, and members of the Dopkins team discuss the effects of the pandemic on field exams. 

On page 20 is a case study by Jones Day partners of a cross-border restructuring (syncreon) over many foreign and U.S. jurisdictions. Syncreon is widely considered to be the first case where an English scheme has been used to restructure the liabilities of a U.S.-based company.  

We all know the current health crisis has resulted in an economic crisis and many in our community are adapting to the widespread economic downturn.  On page 33, Mark Kirsons of Sidley Austin provides a primer on the unique and interesting challenges of workouts.

In Staying Secured in Uncertain Times: A refresher on taking security in Canada, page 30, attorneys from McMillan LLP discuss the differences between the personal property security regimes between the U.S. and Canada. 

As more and more companies look at integrating sustainability into their business processes and strategy, there is still much room for growth in the green and sustainable finance market. The Covid-19 crisis is only expected to increase interest in this area. Turn to page 27 for Green and Sustainable Finance by Jaco Belder and Anne Geluk of NautaDutilh.

I want to take this opportunity to update our readers on the various ways SFNet has responded to the current crisis. On the relief effort front, our Advocacy Committee has been working tirelessly, communicating with legislators and meeting directly with Treasury and Fed officials to advocate for the interests of secured lenders concerning the Paycheck Protection and Main Street Lending Programs.  We’ve also begun delving into the HEROES Act, released by House Democrats this month as a marker for the next round of negotiations for COVID-related relief.  There will be additional opportunities to press our interests with our champions on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks and months. And, for our international members, we have had success influencing, and are continuing to engage the UK government to bolster secured lender rights in the new Corporate Insolvency and Governance legislation.

Since mid-March, nearly 5,000 participants have registered for SFNet’s fees-waived-for-members “Crucial Conversation Webinars”. These programs have focused on critical topics of relevance to our constituent groups from large banks to small factors, service providers and everyone in between. We are grateful to our panelists and sponsors for supporting this essential programming.

Looking forward, we recognize our world has been changed by these circumstances and SFNet is adapting to these new realities. We will be introducing new technologies and resources while reimagining and transforming our events during this time of social distancing.  We are excited to be announcing our 2020 40 Under 40 Awards recipients in mid-June. Although the June celebration has been delayed, the September issue of TSL will feature profiles of this year’s winners and we are planning for additional ways to celebrate these future leaders of the industry. The Women in Secured Finance Conference has been converted to a virtual conference (our first ever) July 29-20 as have our YoPro Summit and Cross Border Conference. Details will be announced shortly. 

Although we may not see each other in person for a bit, we remain a connected community and I thank you for doing your part in fulfilling our mission of putting capital to work.


About the Author


SFNet Chief Executive Officer