Members attending the International Forfaiting Association (IFA) annual general meeting (AGM) in Barcelona elected four new faces to the body’s board in a shock defeat of board members that were up for re-election on September 18.
Gone are chairman Hans-Jorg Egli; Margrith Lutschg-Emmenegger, chair of the Education Committee; Ragnar Granelli, chair of the Market Practice Committee; and Tim Everitt, secretary of the Market Practice Committee.
Providing new blood to the board are Salvatore Chiappinelli of SFC Swiss Forfaiting Company; Lucio Matassoni of SMBC; Stephen Coleman of Meinl Bank; and Dino Skandalis of Standard Chartered Bank.
A meeting of the revamped board the morning after elected Skandalis as chairman and Matassoni as vice-chairman. Sharing the market practice responsibility will be Coleman and Matassoni. The secretariat will remain in Switzerland and come under Chiappinelli’s remit. Giovanni Rosa remains chair of the Regional Committee, Ian Guild chair of the Membership Committee, Nobert Fritsch as treasurer and Daniel Vignial as chair of the Communications Committee. As for the Education Committee, Skandalis expressed to delegates the importance of this area and of the immense time and effort put into the role by Lutschg. He will personally take temporary responsibility for the activities of the committee.
Proceedings at the AGM have been heated at times during the three days of the AGM and largely dominated by the nature of market practice guidelines and how members should adopt these (as in Dublin’s meeting last year). Several attendees commented to GTR that, while some new blood is needed on the board to reflect some members’ views they were quite surprised that all four new faces were elected. This said, most delegates agreed that the new board members will bring dynamism and fresh ideas to the table. Interesting and challenging times lie ahead.
The consensus view is also that, whatever one’s views on market practice and the future of the IFA, the outstanding work and commitment shown by the outgoing board members (including those who founded the association) has been appreciated and noted – something that all four new board members are quick to admit “in the spirit of moving forward,” according to one.
Indeed, the new board has overwhelmingly agreed to invite Egli to remain actively involved by providing an advisory role for the revamped team. Skandalis told attendees that he was honoured to step into the shoes of such an excellent chairman, who has done a fantastic job. Egli is considering the proposal.
This is a time of major change for the IFA, unseen in its short history. Members have voted for a change and a change is what they will certainly get.
Market practice is still on the agenda and it has proved a passionate issue for several years. The guidelines, redrafted by Geoffrey Wynne of law firm Denton Wilde Sapte following IFA members’ feedback, will incorporate the views from this year’s meeting and be put to members in a few months time.
Next year’s favourite for hosting the AGM is Istanbul , although the board has invited other suggestions to be received by October 31.
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Forfaiting is the non-recourse originating and trading of discounted trade finance assets. Visit the IFA at www.forfaiters.org for more information.