FCI hosted today the first of a two-day session of the 53rd Virtual Annual Meeting 2021 through a new, innovative and interactive virtual platform. Welcoming over 600 attendees, this year’s meeting focused not only on the year in review, but the members were updated on the global economic outlook, was provided a year in review of the factoring and receivables finance industry, and also explored various topics including the role technology and robotics will play in our sector, the evolution of compliance, the rollout of the new edifactoring 2.0 platform and much more.

The day started with a warm welcome from the FCI Secretary-General, Peter Mulroy, followed by the FCI Chairman, Patrick de Villepin, who presented his report on his term as FCI Chairman. He took a moment to highlight the challenges that his second term brought including; the awakening of the Coronavirus, the Trade War, BREXIT, US Elections, and many other regional geopolitical events. He followed by saying “… these times are not for the weak hearted! But we are members of a robust & powerful organisation”.

Patrick closed his report by thanking his FCI colleagues and saying: “In a still-dangerous world, I am confident & optimistic for the near future. As the Factoring community excels in this crisis period, I expect FCI membership to meet the challenge. Just as it has for the past 50 years.”

 Peter Mulroy

In Peter Mulroy’s ‘Year in Review’ session, he stated: “Factoring is in high demand right now, as this crisis dissipates.  We see the rebound occurring as reported by many of our members.  In fact, if you assume that our industry size in all of its components is approximately US$5 Trillion today, equivalent to 6% of Global GDP, we estimate our industry will grow to over $10 Trillion by 2030, accounting for nearly 10% of global GDP.  But this will not come without its challenges, with the environment around us still quite in turmoil.  However, factoring and Receivables Finance is an extremely resilient industry, and no matter what, I anticipate bright skies for our future ahead!”

The live event dove into a very informative lecture from Alice Fulwood, a journalist from The Economist, on the evolution of technology in finance, and its application to receivables finance.  This was followed by a panel discussion with panellists Daria Johnen, HSBC UK and Michael Sugirin, Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore where they discussed the future of digitisation in Receivables Finance and attempted to answer the question, will humans be eventually replaced by robotics in the Receivables Finance industry.  

There is no doubt that over the past year and a half the members have been on a wild ride but from the industry leaders that spoke on day one of the Annual Meeting, it will only get better from here. There is a somewhat renewed sense of hope for the future as companies and people are more adaptable and resilient to challenges than ever before. The second day of the FCI 53rd Annual Meeting will only emphasise this point further.