A Sydney team from global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has supported the World Bank and INSOL International to launch the Global Guide: Measures Adopted to Support Distressed Businesses Through the COVID-19 Crisis, published today.
The Guide is in the form of an interactive digital map and, so far, covers 38 countries. The focus is on the various COVID-19 fiscal stimulus and support measures that have been introduced by governments to date, from specific payments to SMEs to support cash flow and employee retention to broader measures such as government guarantees for new lending and tax deferrals and waivers, as well as emergency insolvency measures that have been adopted in a number of jurisdictions to provide incentives for businesses to continue to trade, or at least make use of more streamlined and workable formal and informal insolvency and restructuring processes.
It is intended for the Guide to be kept ‘live’, so that it is updated with new developments on a rolling basis as the global response to COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve. New countries will also be added over time.
Scott Atkins, deputy chair and head of risk advisory in Australia for Norton Rose Fulbright, and vice-president and fellow of INSOL International, co-led this thought leadership initiative with Mahesh Uttamchandani, practice manager for financial inclusion, infrastructure & access in the finance, competitiveness, and innovation global practice at the World Bank.
Mr Uttamchandani noted in the introduction to the Guide that the unique and critical circumstances we are now experiencing across the globe in response to COVID-19 provided the impetus for the Guide. He commented:
“In many countries, the effects of reduced demand, disrupted supply chains and tighter liquidity are already causing significant distress for businesses – from large public entities to SMEs and informal traders – desperate to survive until the crisis subsides. Many governments are introducing new financial, legal and regulatory measures to manage the devastating economic effects of the crisis in an effective and timely manner.”
Mr Atkins commented:
“The Guide enables readers to instantly access, and compare and contrast, the latest policy and regulatory responses to the crisis in what is truly an extraordinary time.
“For businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions – no matter what sector – the Guide is an invaluable tool in assessing how the new laws impact on their existing operations. It also previews the scope of likely future developments that will shape how they develop their risk management frameworks, regulatory dealings and resourcing. It cuts across the incredible complexity of diverse government responses globally and clearly identifies the key things that matter in a seamless, targeted manner.
“We are proud of having brought this Guide to the market in such a short space of time and given the extent of the jurisdictions covered.”
Norton Rose Fulbright partner John Martin, who led the writing of the Australian chapter of the Guide, commented:
“In writing the chapter, we were able to draw upon our extensive insolvency and restructuring experience and our involvement in some of the most high-profile matters and insolvency law reform initiatives in Australia over the last decade, which has continued right up to the current emergency measures adopted to suspend insolvent trading liability for six months, to allow statutory demands to be issued only for a minimum $20,000 value and with a six month response period and to give the Australian Commonwealth Treasurer the power to amend the Corporations Act in any way necessary to help companies respond to the financial and economic impacts of COVID-19”.
Norton Rose Fulbright senior advisor Dr Kai Luck worked alongside Scott and John and in the drafting and editorial process.
To view the guide, please click here.
Norton Rose Fulbright has one of the largest and most highly regarded financial restructuring and insolvency practices both in Australia and globally.
For more information, contact:
Alex Boxsell, Head of Digital Content & Campaigns, Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia
Tel: +61 (0)2 9330 8165 Mob: +61 (0)414 985 556
Angela Han, Communications Executive, Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia
Tel: +61 (0)2 9330 8610 Mob: +61 (0)438 429 798