The International Factors Group (IFG) has unanimously approved the proposal of a union with Factors Chain International (FCI) at its 53rd annual meeting in Vienna, Austria.

The union seals the fate of IFG, which will transfer all assets, liabilities, and membership to FCI and will be liquidated as of January 1, 2016. The new entity will acquire a new name, still to be decided, and will have its headquarters in Amsterdam, with a division in Brussels.

The union is seen as a natural consequence given that the two associations were developing along similar and overlapping paths, like launching e-learning programmes on factoring with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The new association should instead harness efforts towards common goals, such as increasing business opportunities, regional reach, and educational programmes. “The benefits are more than what we are giving up,” summed up Margrith Lütschg-Emmenegger, IFG outgoing chairman, at the annual meeting, attended by GTR. “It will change the way the industry operates,” she said, adding that she believes the factoring sector could grow from €2tn to €10tn.

The annual meeting also provided the opportunity for the membership to elect a new board, the shortest-lived in the history of the Group, as its mandate will expire on December 31, 2015.

Jörg Diewald of GE Capital has become the new chairman, and Peter de Koning from ABN Amro, was elected as vice-chairman. Carlos Baudrand retained his position on the board. Other appointments included Peter Klaus from Eurofactor and Ulrich Brink from Bette-Westenberger-Brink in the legal committee, Simon Peterman, Fimbank, and Ilya Pokamestov, Politeks, in the education and events committee, and Nordea’s Jan Danielsen in the innovation committee.

The board and committee members will continue supervising and advising the unifying process of IFG and FCI. “It’s a good thing to take complexity out of the system,” said Diewald, “Our voice will be heard a lot better across the board.”

FCI members had approved the union at their annual general meeting in Singapore in June. FCI’s Peter Mulroy is due to take the helm of the new association as secretary general in January 2016, with IFG’s Erik Timmermans as deputy. “This is a golden era for the industry, it is the right time to do this,” Mulroy said.