Updated market practice guidelines have been sent to the heads of all the committees of the International Forfaiting Association (IFA) by the body’s Market Practice Committee. The IFA vice-chairman, Lucio Matassoni, with Denton Wilde Sapte’s Geoffrey Wynne and input from Sumitomo Mitsui’s in-house lawyer, Sean Edwards, have been working hard to present the committees with an updated working document that follows on from membership comment and input from the IFA annual meeting in Barcelona in September last year (see GTR, Nov/Dec 2003, p46). The idea now is to aggregate all member feedback through the regional committees and hopefully thereafter to have a final document that, in the words of IFA chairman Dino Skandalis, will have a “very sound legal basis now”.

He adds: “We are trying to ensure clear and simple principles all along the chain of use. There’s no fuzziness now. In the end we”ll have an option which is a balance. Some will like it, but I”m sure some will not. But at some point we have to draw the line. If the market does not then take the guidelines up, it will be at its own peril.”

Matassoni agrees. “If the guidelines are rejected now, we would not have done our jobs properly. I shall try to be present at every regional committee meeting with Geoffrey Wynne or Sean Edwards to listen. We are ready to change things if necessary, but people should put up now or shut up.”

The main issues that have been ironed out with the guidelines are those of satisfactory documentation and representation of warranties.

Meanwhile, with the retirement of Ian Guild from Standard Bank, the IFA’s Membership Committee and its functions have been merged into the various regional committees. Guild was formerly chairman of the IFA’s Membership Committee.