ICC Banking Commission meeting in retrospect – part 1

I am just back from the ICC Banking Commission meeting in Vienna. As always it was a great experience. For me this no doubt is the greatest Trade Finance event of the year. This year the structure was as it has been for a couple of years. In reflection there surely are some elements that the ICC should consider – but also this meeting showed interesting development.


This year the theme of the meeting was “Global regulations and compliance in trade.” Again it was a 2 day event – the first day being “high level” touching upon trends, outlooks, strategies and the like. The second day was more practical; offering updates on ICC rules – discovering the need for new rules – and walking through the Draft ICC Opinions.


As you many imagine this huge variety of topics – creates a real challenge in terms of the audience. I spoke to a colleague of mine who told me that all that was being discussed on “day 1” was totally “black” …. i.e. no clue what they talked about. “Day 2” however was spot-on her daily job. I am sure I can find people that say the exact opposite.


It seems that the ICC Banking Commission is trying hard to expand its reach: ICC Banking Commission Legal Committee has been established. The URBPO (Uniform rules for bank payment obligations) has been released – and so has the URF (uniform rules for forfaiting). And of course the “good old” products such as documentary credits and guarantees are also on the agenda. This year it was argued that a process for the purpose of developing factoring rules should be started. By the way; this was a 1 hour 15 minutes session where members of Factors Chain International (FCI) went through each and every article of a set of existing forfaiting rules … hmm perhaps not the best way to sell the idea …


In any case – the ICC is driving a huge expansion of the reach of the Banking Commission. I have no problem with this – but I do have concerns. How to make one meeting with one group of people with such diverse agenda? That must be reconsidered for sure. One natural idea is to establish parallel sessions – acknowledging that it is rarely the same people who have an interest in Basel III – that enjoy the ICC Opinions session.


Another issue is that it seems hard to find the right “form” for a number of the sessions. Most of the sessions on “day 1” is build around “panels” who discuss a certain topic. In reality there is no real discussion – there are some “mini presentations” often without slides – and without any real “moderation” by the moderator. I lack moderators who manage the panel in a good way – based on thorough preparation.


One real surprise … of the good ones was the session about the ICC Draft Opinions. After Gary Collyer has stepped down – 3 new technical advisers are trying to fill his shoes. I.e. David Meynell, Nicole Keller and Don Smith. I am sure that a lot of us were concerned how that would work. And what can I say: This was great. It was clear that the 3 technical advisers supported each other – and stood as a “united” group.” That was good to see. But above all stood David Meynell who managed the ICC Banking Commission like it has never been managed before. In his kind and direct way he was 100% in charge – and steered the room through the Draft Opinions … some of which was rather controversial. That was a perfect job done … all moderators can learn a lot from that. Watch and learn!


Also at the meeting was the news that George Affaki and Dan Taylor is stepping down as Vice-Chairs. This is sad news indeed. Both as some of the “rare” species that both have strategic visions – and detailed insights. They will be missed.


It seems clear to me that the ICC Banking Commission is at a Crossroad – lots of choices must be made. I think that all answers on how to proceed can be found by doing a thorough evaluation of the ICC Banking Commission meeting last week in Vienna. Here you saw all the do’es and dont’s.    


The above are my first reactions from last weeks meeting. In the coming weeks – I will share more reactions from the meeting. Look out for it on this channel.


And do not forget to take care of each other and the LC.


Best regards



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LCViews - ICC Banking Commission meeting in retrospect – part 1