It was nice to be able to see some of our clients, partners, and prospects live and in the flesh again. This year, in 2022, we purposely decided to not host the symposium as a hybrid event. As a result, on 13th October, we welcomed our guests with a warm “Please come into the new Frankfurter Stadthaus” instead of “Connect via the following link”. efcom CEO Arnulf Romann, our Chief Partner Officer Federico Avellán Borgmeyer and our Head of Training Oliver Rölle looked into many curious faces during the welcome address. What innovations would be presented by efcom this time? What had the external speakers prepared? The answers to those questions follow promptly.
At first, the FCI Secretary General Peter Mulroy gave an insight into the situation on the global factoring markets and was quite optimistic about the future. It is a fact that the growth rate of the global factoring volume—according to FCI based data—has been extraordinarily high in the past years. Especially in North America as well as in Africa, the development was characterised by a high volume increase. In Europe, where the highest percentage of the global factoring volume is currently held, Germany was able to perform very well in addition to the UK, France, and Italy. As far as products are concerned, the non-recourse factoring has been leading on a global scale with more than 50%. Experience has shown that in times of growth the fraud risk is also on the rise, specifically intentional fraud. This problem dictates an increased employment of instruments for the purpose of prevention and inspection. According to Peter Mulroy, however, this will not lessen the chances for success for factoring: With an average growth rate of 6% in the upcoming ten years, it is estimated that the factoring market will surpass 10 trillion US dollars and thus constitute almost 10% of the global GDP!
Afterwards, Dr. Michael Rasche gave a philosophical (!) insight into what our search for security means since the factor of security actually has been far from playing such an important role in people’s lives (in Europe) as it does in today’s time. In the Middle Ages, for instance, people’s focus was hardly on security although those times were not any less hard or even conflict-free. In the end, religion was the pervasive factor providing a sense of security in politics, the economy and in day-to-day life: God was omnipresent and made sure that one went through life safely—as long as one kept to the rules and commandments. In the late Middle Ages, however, a break with religion occurred and the secular was foregrounded as humans discovered nature and, with it, science. From that time on, one was on one’s own or as Nietzsche said it: “God is dead and we have killed him!” The disappearance of religion as a governmental and social grasp as well as the disintegration of social milieus ultimately ensured that people were increasingly seeking security. According to Michael Rasche, ways to achieve more security include community or rationality. However, uncertainty also holds the potential for discovering and achieving something new. In this respect, each crisis entails new opportunities which must be seized. All in all, this was certainly a rather unusual presentation but not any less interesting and inspiring.
After a coffee break, the event continued with other insightful presentations: In two parallel time slots, participants of the symposium could decide whether they wanted to learn about the highlights of ef3 and efOnline or attend a presentation with a legal emphasis. Oliver Rölle presented all updates and enhancements in ef3 from the last months, including topics such as automation, authorisations and competences, imports and follow-ups. Afterwards, the highlights from efOnline were presented by Michael Petrovic (Project manager efOnline), Markus Bienek (Product manager ef3Webservices) and Markus Aigner from our partner company friendWorks. Those included, among other things, the two-factor authentication, the permanent expansion of the web service interface to make it more accessible for third parties as well as a live demo of the automatic voucher reading workflow, the latter of which was presented by Mr. Aigner.
At the same time in another seminar room, Wolf Stumpf from the lawyer’s office Noerr LLP gave an online lecture on the subject “International Factoring: Crisis-related challenges and legal framework”. The legal uncertainties at an international level were outlined as well as the regulatory requirements which can also lead to restrictions in factoring services. And the conclusions were that (unfortunately) there is no “world right” which provides a 100% legal security in factoring (yet). According to Wolf Stumpf, the possible solutions for this are factoring framework agreements, the two-factor system by FCI or the so-called Doppelstock procedure, i.e. a procedure in which a German parent company buys trade receivables from its foreign subsidiary—which is also the originator of these receivables—and sells them on to the factoring company; this procedure provides both advantages and disadvantages. In addition, crisis-related challenges such as rising insolvencies, an increasing exceedance of credit periods or the sanctions against Russia must be confronted—be it by minimizing risks through the exclusion of certain sectors or the adjustment of conditions. In the end, this presenter, too, advocated for the crisis as an opportunity.
Following that, there were partner time slots of 10 minutes each, in which each of the total of five companies could briefly introduce themselves. Hasibe Genova from AMFS in Bulgaria, Mateja Campa from Gora d.o.o. in Slovenia, José Morera from Tech4Fin in Spain as well as Romina Treml from friendWorks in Straubing, Germany, took that opportunity. Furthermore, Oliver Rölle showcased the advantages of Datango.
After lunch, Kristina Jeromin stepped onto the stage and captured the spectators’ attention with her free keynote speech on the subject Sustainability and ESG. Her tenor was that caring for sustainability in the finance sector is no longer an option but a must. Federico Avellán Borgmeyer pointed out right at the beginning of his presentation that there is no sure formula for challenges in VUCA times. Nonetheless, efcom has recently done a lot to promote resilience through a well thought-out service. That includes an increase in flexibility through modular solutions, scalability with regard to usage (pay-per-use), a continuous improvement of our client experience (anytime, anywhere, from any device), increased security, and growing internationality.
So what is our conclusion for the factoring symposium? We hope that all participants felt comfortable in the Frankfurter Stadthaus and were able to take away many new ideas and inspiration. In this sense, we are already looking forward to inviting you to the next event by efcom—until then, stay tuned!