Party in Prague

ITFA’s Prague conference was one of the most successful in the nine-year history of the Association.

The 185 attendees from 34 countries gathered at the Intercontinental Hotel on Wednesday 3rd September in the historic Czech Republic capital for the two-day event, which culminated in cocktail reception and gala dinner at St. Agnes Monastery.

At the AGM and board meeting Paolo Provera was elected treasurer. His former position of head of regions was taken over by new board member David Lilley of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in London. Charles Brough, who is head of the ITFA’s Asian region was elected head of membership. Sema Zeyneloglu was also elected to the board.

Presentations at the conference included a briefing from Sean Edwards on the Primary Market document which is in its final stages and which is likely to be released in the next few weeks. It is currently being reviewed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris whose input ITFA believes will be useful in the context of UCP and other documents which set rules and standards for the conduct of international trade and payment arrangements.

Charles Brough’s presentation served as a useful briefing on the rapidly developing forfaiting market among Asian countries. Vincent O’Brien gave another entertaining session on technical aspects of trade payments that affect forfaiters.

Mr. Thierry Senechal of the ICC was a welcome guest whose presence at the conference signalled the growing collaboration between ITFA and the ICC. His colleague Pavel Andrie gave a presentation on Friday covering the revision of Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG). Denton Wilde Sapte’s Simon Cook gave a useful speech on the BAFT Master Risk Participation Agreement. This, as we learned from Charles Brough, is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the Far East. Copies of this document can be downloaded at

The final presentation of the conference was made by Marie-Victorie De Groote of Fortis SA/NV on the state of the world economy one year on from the start of the credit crunch and taking into account all that has beset the banking sector since then.

Perhaps though we owe our apologies to Ms. De Groote as her audience were not as numerous and not perhaps at their best following the preceding evening’s events at St. Agnes Monastery.

Waitresses dressed as nuns served drinks among the magnificent, ancient cloisters before dinner was served in the great hall. This was later to serve as the scene for Nick Cullen, dressed as a priest, to dance with the “nuns” as the evening livened up and entertainment was, fittingly, provided by Johnny and the Angels who also performed at the ITFA conference in Cannes last year.

The Prague conference was a triumph of organisation led by Paolo Provera assisted by Faye Hamilton of International Conference Solutions. It was, as ever, the highlight of the forfaiting calendar. It proves that our market is active and growing despite troubles elsewhere in the global financial system, and quite a lot of fun as well.

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