Sunday, 10 September 2017

TARTAN FORFAITING - THE 2017 ITFA CONFERENCE IN EDINBURGH by Alexia Vella - ITFA, Head of Administration

In the first week of September, ITFA took over Edinburgh for its 44th Annual Conference. The association pulled out all the stops to make sure it was the best one yet! And from the feedback we have been receiving, it has most certainly fallen nothing short of outstanding in every sense:  great content, substantive and relevant education, effective networking and building on great friendships, all enjoyed in a spectacular social setting.

With over 220 delegates attending the ITFA conference, this event proved a high-point of the trade finance year. The ITFA team would like to thank all those who honoured us with their presence. Moreover, may we take the opportunity to thank all the conference sponsors who showed their trust in ITFA by supporting this great event - Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Bank of China, Crown Agents Bank, UniCredit Bank, Wilben Trade, Sullivan & Worcester, Willis Towers Watson, Lloyds Bank and Codix.

ITFA events are interactive, innovative and idea-based. A delegate described his ITFA experience and explained that ‘’nothing beats being in the conference room at an ITFA event.’’ Below are some of the topics that were discussed during the three day conference.

After the conference opening by our chairman, Sean Edwards, an excellent presentation was made by Chief Economist, Jeremy Lawson of Standard Life on ‘Worlds Colliding - politics, economics and the impact of Brexit and Trump on Global Trade.’ Following this session, a great panel discussion ensued on a critical and very relevant issue - 'Digitising Receivables: the future is here now and it's going to get better' – moderated by Sean Edwards – ITFA; panel participants Kah Chye Tan - CCRManager, Glenn Kocher - LiquidX, Angus Scott - Euroclear and Richard Tynan - TradeIX. The day’s events ended with an update on the BAFT MRPA revision - Stacey Facter, BAFT and Paul Coles, ITFA.

The second day of the conference started with an extremely interesting presentation by Markus Sablatnig of Amcor detailing what a corporate treasurer requires from their trade finance providers. We then moved on to a very well attended panel discussion ‘Banking Africa - Doing it right.’ Highly experienced panellists discussed how to effectively transact in Africa, chaired by Duarte Pedreira - Crown Agents Bank, with panellists Louis du Plessis - First Rand Bank, Ian Henderson - Gulf International Bank, Alastair McLeod - Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) and Christian Karam - Africa Trade Finance. During the last session of the morning, we had the pleasure of being addressed by Iain Kirkpatrick of PwC on thaccounting framework which individuals from our industry have to deal with, with a focus on IFRS9.

This was followed by the ITFA AGM in which importantly, two new Board members were elected in addition to two existing members being returned to their positions. Please read the next article by Shannon Manders’s (GTR) on ITFA’s new executive Board Members and reshuffling of Board Member duties and responsibilities. As always, the networking event in the afternoon of Thursday the 7th September was very busy with individuals setting up as many as four meetings in an informal setting.

The final day of the conference started with a panel discussion from the ITFA Regional Chairs; Sophie Zhong Fei - Bank of China, Dieter von Boddien - Atlantic Forfaiting, Renato Schulman - Banco Finantia, Dalia Kay - Federated Investors (UK) LLP, Mag. Semih Ozcan MA - DenizBank AG and Waltraud Raderschall - Commerzbank AG, and moderated by Damian Austin - Bank ABC. Mag. Semih Ozcan MA included a special update on the impact of sanctions in Russia. The concluding session of the Conference saw Geoffrey Wynne - Sullivan & Worcester chairing a panel on 'Trade Finance insurance - credit risk mitigation,' looking to see how insurance compares to guarantees, risk participations, surety bonds and other risk sharing techniques. Introduced by Silja Calac - Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, other panellists were Irene Port - Unicredit Bank, Volker Handrich - Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Huw Owen - Liberty Specialty Markets and Robert Nijhout - ICISA.

Sean Edwards closed the excellent 2017 conference by addressing all present and letting them know that we will be working on the organisation of the 2018 conference as from the very next day. See you all in Cape Town in 2018!

To view all the photos taken at this year’s conference, please visit the member area of the ITFA website or the ITFA Facebook page. We have uploaded lots of photos as evidence of the fantastic three days we spent together, in the company of great colleagues and friends. Also, since many of you were asking for a copy of the opening video of the conference, we thought it would be a good idea to also include it on the ITFA website - it can also be found in the Member Area section under ‘ITFA videos’. Enjoy!

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