The image of the cresting wave looming behind the dais in the Loews' Americana Salon during Douglas Holtz-Eakin’s keynote address posed a central, if unintended, question that was addressed by more than one speaker during the three-day conference. Are we riding a wave to recovery or facing a deluge of maturing debt? For most of the 1,200 industry participants that occupied Miami’s South Beach for CREFC’s annual January conference last week, there seems to be no certain answer (other than almost unanimous agreement that South Beach is a better Winter destination than our Nation's Capitol).
Notwithstanding, the overall tenor of the conference seemed to be a determined optimism projected against the overarching blanket of volatility. European instability, a jobless recovery, a newly normalized, lumbering pace of economic growth and a constantly evolving regulatory framework continue to make uncertainty the only sure bet. As one might expect, a number of clients we spoke with last week are adopting a cautiously optimistic demeanor for 2012 and plan to tread the market’s murky waters slowly.
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