50 Years Facilitating Open Account - Trade Finance

4th EU Conference on Factoring in Athens

Monday 12 March 2018

FCI and the EUF held the Fourth EU Factoring and Commercial Finance Summit in Athens, Greece on the 6-7 March 2018. Sponsored by the Hellenic Factoring Association and Neurosoft, and in association with EBRD, the event brought Industry leaders together from a wide range of countries. Senior representatives heard presentations and discussion from experts on an extensive range of relevant subjects.

Opened by the newly elected Chair of the EUF, Françoise Palle-Guillabert, the group heard an analysis of the Greek economy from Professor George Pagoulatos; Alexandros Kontopoulos, then updated on the Industry.

Magdalena Barczak shared the preliminary statistics for the Factoring Industry in Europe in 2017 with the key message of continued industry growth outpacing GDP development.

Rudolf Putz of EBRD, spoke about the development of factoring in Eastern Europe, the CIS and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, highlighting how the Bank can work in partnership with Industry to develop these emerging markets.

The EUF monitors EU developments to assess their potential impact; from this analysis it organises and enacts lobbying activity to ensure that the legal and regulatory bodies take factoring and receivables finance into account. The Technical Committee Chairs shared the actions that have resulted.

Josep Selles explained plans to enter the reverse Factoring space, giving a presentation on FCIreverse, the new FCI platform for Approved Payables Financing.

The first day was concluded by Spiros Tsolis reminding the audience the importance of learning and highlighting the wide range of FCI educational offerings.

Day two started with John Brehcist sharing the launch of the EUF’s revised Legal Study. This comprehensive analysis of the legal and regulatory environments of the EU28 and five important comparator countries gives a wholly unique and in-depth perspective on the respective treatments of invoice finance. It is a key tool in discussing and promoting our Industry with regulators, lawmakers and other key stakeholders.

Practitioners Tom Gevers and Roberto Fiorini offered case studies on the extension of boundaries in industry solutions, sharing examples of real world bank/factor structuring of multi-country European receivables finance deals. 

One of the key talking points over the last year has been the potential impact and effect of the rapidly developing fintech scene; a panel of experts (Luca Bottone, Kevin Day, Magdalena Wessel and Jeff Longhurst) participated in a panel moderated by John Brehcist. Whilst the direct competitive impact as yet is limited, opportunities for cooperation and integration exist, and the potential for major disruptive change continues.

Magdalena Wessel then asked if is the Factoring Industry is entirely ready for GDPR? Andreas Bücker, Salvatore Marrone and Vagelis Papakonstantinou discussed the potential impact and concerns.

Françoise Palle-Guillabert chaired a panel of Industry experts; Richard Carter, Patrick de Villepin and Fausto Galmarini all looked to the future with a focus on what 2028 might bring. Common themes included technology development, new competition, standardisation and increase in regulation; all were thought likely to feature and impact development through the period.

The Conference was closed by FCI Chairman Çagatay Baydar, who thanked the speakers and audience for their active participation.