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To buy or not to buy distressed securities?



Brad Scheler ’74

The College of Business and Economics will host a forum on the changing nature of investment strategies at Lamberton Hall on Tuesday, February 24 at 4:10 p.m. It is open to the community and free of charge.

The panel will focus its discussion on distressed securities—the stocks, bonds and other financial instruments belonging to companies that are restructuring and facing possible bankruptcy. The speakers will also address employment prospects for today’s undergraduate and graduate students, and the questions they ought to be asking.

The severe downturn in the world’s economy has made it difficult for investors to decipher the best strategies for preserving and earning capital. With investor confidence at an all-time low, financial institutions are under siege, and firm executives are facing unprecedented challenges due to the unstable credit markets.

The panel will talk about the importance of understanding current economic conditions, especially because distressed securities are only slightly tied to the overall performance of the stock market. They’ll explore other variables and indicators that determine whether distressed securities are viable investment options.

The event features a few of the most respected voices in the distressed securities arena, including:

Brad Scheler ’74, senior partner and chairman of Fried Frank’s bankruptcy and restructuring department. A highly-regarded legal mind, Scheler has managed complex transactions ranging from leveraged buyouts to strategic mergers, with particular interest in corporate restructuring and the rehabilitation of financially distressed businesses.

Allan Brown, portfolio manager and co-head of global distressed debt trading at Concordia Advisors LLC. A frequent presenter on the topic, Brown has taught classes on distressed investing and corporate bankruptcy for the New York Society of Security Analysts.

Stephen Cooper, co-founder and former chairman of Zolfo Cooper. He is a frequently sought-after interim executive and advisor to companies facing operational and performance issues. Cooper has managed more than 300 complex transactions regarding corporate restructuring.

“These three gentlemen represent the leading voices in distressed investments, and we’re honored to have them join us here at Lehigh,” says Paul R. Brown, dean of the College of Business and Economics and moderator of the event. “It’s a particularly interesting subject given the economic downturn and declining investor confidence.”

“Throughout the course of the year, Lehigh has strived to bring in executives who can share unique perspectives on the financial crisis, and these professionals certainly fit the bill,” Brown says.

Titled “Navigating Economic and Corporate Distress: An Investor Perspective,” the forum is the latest to discuss the implications of the global financial crisis at Lehigh. For a complete list of past and upcoming events, please visit Lehigh’s financial crisis Web page.

--Tom Yencho

Photo by Doug Benedict


Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

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