The Commercial Finance Association (CFA) and the International Factors Group (IFG) have formed a strategic alliance to increase international awareness of factoring products and services.

Under the current agreement, CFA and IFG will work together on advocacy projects, joining forces in dialogue with regulators, and organise joint conferences, but the collaboration could go further in the future.

IFG secretary general Erik Timmermans tells GTR: “At this point in time there are no changes in legal structures. We want to start working on advocacy projects and joint conferences and so on, and then we’ll see what the future brings. Many people in the industry agree that the best thing would be to have one voice, and that’s the biggest idea behind this alliance.

“In the future there will also have to be structural changes, because it doesn’t make sense to operate completely separately next to each other and try to work together. But in the first place it is about joint projects and we’ll see what comes out of it.”

He explains that US-based CFA was looking to expand its international reach, something that IFG could help provide, and that in return IFG decided to team up with the 300-member strong association for its experience and proven track record in advocacy. “We have always tried to work hard to get more harmonisation and have one specific voice to talk about the industry’s advantages with regulators. Commercial finance and factoring are great products because they offer finance to SMEs at low risk for the financial institution, so it’s the best of both world. But this message has never really had enough reach in our minds. Our combined efforts can be much more successful for the industry.”