EEFA in Vilnius - 4th annual conference report

On 14 September members of East European Factoring Association gathered in the Baltic town of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, for their fourth annual conference.

This was the largest EEFA event so far with more than 60 factoring managers from the CIS countries, eastern Europe and western Europe attending.

The emerging markets of eastern Europe and the CIS countries are just embarking on the factoring road. Most are bank owned subsidiaries and are first-time venturers into the factoring industry spurred on by the success of their western counterparts.

As such, the EEFA meetings are increasingly seen as an important opportunity for regional factors to get together and exchange views and ideas about their respective businesses.

There is also the chance to talk to delegates from the more mature markets of Europe, such as the UK, France and Italy.

These latter participants are, in most cases, attending to learn more about the potential for investment in these fledgling markets.

President of the Association, Mr Mikhail Treyvish, opened the conference and also gave an excellent presentation on the potential for factoring in the ex-Soviet Union countries. Mr Treyvish feels that the former Soviet Union is the most promising region in the world for the development of factoring.

However, Mr Treyvish pointed out that there was still work to be done in informing the public of the benefits, indeed even the meaning, of factoring.

To demonstrate this point, he cited the results of a recent survey in which people were asked: What is factoring? There was a range of answers, but only 12% of respondents answered that it was a kind of financial service. Intriguingly the most popular response (33%) was that factoring was a form of very informal relations between men and woman!

The conference is conducted in English with the exception of one session for EEFA members only that is presented in Russian. In any case, whether you prefer English or Russian, interpreters were on hand during the whole event and this seemed to accommodate just about everybodys needs.

Other speakers included experts, Jeroen Kohnstamm of Factors Chain International, who spoke about the impressive global growth of factoring; Theo Hibler of Intermarket Bank who presented his experiences of growing factoring companies in eastern Europe and Jan Becher of International Factors Group who spoke about the need to provide more holistic services to factors.

As with past EEFA conferences, the event also included some very pleasant cultural excursions on this occasion, a city tour of Vilnius and a trip to Trakai, the ancient capital of Lithuania.

Mr Treyvish and his team are to be congratulated on continually growing the interest in EEFA conferences and making the 4th another successful and enjoyable event.

Michael Bickers, Managing Director, BCR Publishing Ltd.

Source: BCR (www.factorscan.com)

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