The sun has set on ITFA’s most successful conference to date. A record number of participants attended the main conference and the educational seminar, held at Dubai Chamber with the assistance of our partners at the ICC, which was the most interactive and lively I have attended. One of the challenges we set ourselves in organising the conference in Dubai was to impart some of the accumulated knowledge of our particular brand of originating, managing and distributing trade finance risk to bankers and financiers in the Middle East and, with wide local and regional attendance, I feel that we rose to that challenge very well.
As I mentioned during the opening night dinner this was a conference of firsts and lasts. The “first first”, and, for me, the most personally significant, is that I have now become your Chairman. This is, of course, a great honour but equally a great responsibility as ITFA is now, I believe, at a seminal point in its existence. As the frontiers, and even the meaning, of supply chain finance, of which we are part, evolve and expand, the association has the opportunity to play an important part in this dynamic and very elastic sector. Which brings me to the second first, namely the new members of the Board. As we have already announced , the existing Board has been joined by Zeyno De Vries-Davutoglu of Credit Europe Bank, Chris Hall of Lloyds Bank and Anurag Chaudhary of Citibank. With the current members of your Board, I believe we have a strong team to make an even stronger impact.
Some of these changes would not have been possible without two of the lasts I would like to mention. Paolo Provera, our chairman for these last six years, has retired from his position and Dubai was therefore his last conference as Chairman. ITFA and his members owe him a large debt of gratitude. Under his faultlessly charming leadership, the association has broadened its profile and enhanced its professionalism. He will certainly be a tough act to follow. Dubai was also the last conference of Daniel Schär our treasurer. Finally, our conference organiser of the last 15 years, Faye Hamilton, has retired from business life. Her last conference was as always flawlessly organised and her successor, Ana Sjolund, who assisted Faye as a conference hostess, will have a high standard to live up to. (As I write we are exploring our venue options for next year).
It is not necessary for me to remind the membership of the recent turmoil in world markets and especially in commodities. The situation is volatile and may yet recover or at least stabilise but one of the strengths of our particular market is its relative resilience due to its broad base. Moreover, the large pool of unbanked receivables globally which can be unlocked, in part, by use of the techniques we excel at underpins the prospects of future growth. ITFA has an important part to play in fostering that growth and ensuring it reaches its full potential.
Last but not least, with the Christmas season fast approaching, the ITFA Board is pleased to invite all ITFA members to attend the yearly informal gathering; the ITFA Christmas Cocktail Party. To view the invite please click here. The event is being held at The Roof Garden, Kensington, London on Monday 7th December 2015 at 19:00 hrs. As always, we encourage you all to attend this valuable networking opportunity, so please…save the date!
As always, we look forward to hearing from you with any feedback you may want to share with us by sending an email to myself, any of the Board Members or to our general email, email@example.com.