P.R.I.M.E. Finance Conference 2020

P.R.I.M.E. Finance Conference 2020

Camilla Macpherson, Head of Secretariat at P.R.I.M.E. Finance, discusses P.R.I.M.E. Finance’s key achievements in 2019, the main issues discussed at the P.R.I.M.E. Finance conference 2020 and aims for P.R.I.M.E. Finance ahead.

What are P.R.I.M.E. Finance’s key achievements from the past 12 months?

We have increased the size and scope of our Expert Panel. We now have nearly 200 internationally recognised finance and dispute resolution experts on our panel, with more to be added soon.

We also held two major conferences. Our ninth annual meeting at the Peace Palace in The Hague took place in February 2020, attracting more than 250 participants from the worlds of finance and law. The conference feedback has been exceptional, with participants commending ‘the quality of panels and their presentations’ and describing the conference as ‘outstanding’, ‘a great success’, ‘very well-organised and inspiring’ and ‘thoroughly enjoyable’.  In October 2019, we also welcomed nearly 100 participants to our second New York conference.

We have continued our special judicial training program, training judges in a range of locations—most recently in Taiwan and Lisbon—in complex financial instruments and standard documentation. We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Halsbury Award for Rule of Law at this year’s LexisNexis Awards in recognition of our work in this area.

What did P.R.I.M.E. Finance set out to achieve at its Hague 2020 conference?

The Hague conference is traditionally a reporting out event for experts on our panel in respect of developments that lie at the intersection of financial markets and dispute resolution.

This year, we devoted an afternoon to discussing climate change and sustainable finance to enable a deeper dive into this vitally important area.

The effective resolution of disputes concerning complex financial transactions is a key part of P.R.I.M.E. Finance’s mission, and with this in mind we also included a number of arbitration-focussed panels in the programme.

What were the main issues discussed in the 2020 conference?

The impact on the financial sector of climate change and sustainable finance was a core focus for the conference, with a number of pre-eminent speakers considering the issues from a range of different perspectives. Topics covered included the regulatory framework, scope for disputes, the green ‘taxonomy’, the EU green deal and its implications, and Islamic finance.

With the end of LIBOR and other IBORs now very much in sight, benchmark transition remains high on the agenda. Our panel considered the effects of benchmark transition and the possible implications.


The conference opened on the first working day after Brexit, so naturally we also allowed some time for reflection on the impact of Brexit on financial services.

Other panels considered: the increasing use of arbitration for the resolution of banking disputes; current challenges facing judges and arbitrators; sovereign immunity in financial law; the EU Payments Services Directive; new trends in financial disputes; and the latest trends in third party funding.

We were very pleased to welcome Lady Arden, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and Patrick Pearson, Head of Financial Market Infrastructure and Derivatives, European Commission, as our keynote speakers. Lady Arden spoke about the unique role played by the Privy Council, and Patrick Pearson about the current state of regulatory reform affecting derivatives.

Hugo Siblesz, Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (the PCA), gave an update on the PCA’s expansion and diversification and recent developments in investment treaty arbitration.

What are P.R.I.M.E. Finance’s aims going forward?

Several years ago, P.R.I.M.E. Finance joined forces with the PCA to combine the subject matter expertise of P.R.I.M.E. Finance’s Panel of Experts with the PCA’s efficiency in administering arbitrations. As a result, arbitrations and mediations under the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Arbitration and Mediation Rules are administered by the PCA, and parties to complex financial transactions have access to an efficient arbitration and mediation mechanism to resolve their disputes. Our cooperation with the PCA provides P.R.I.M.E. Finance with a fantastic platform for progressing our work in complex financial dispute resolution, in particular by encouraging parties to use the P.R.I.M.E. Finance arbitration and/or mediation clauses in their agreements and bring cases to the PCA under the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Arbitration and Mediation Rules. This is a key aim for 2020.

We also plan to continue to support judicial systems through our unique judicial training programme. In the course of our annual meeting, discussions took place about arranging sessions in Brazil, Argentina, Poland and various African countries.

On 15 September 2020, we will hold our first ever Singapore conference, with New York to follow later in the autumn. And of course we are already excited at the prospect of celebrating P.R.I.M.E. Finance’s tenth anniversary in 2021!


Interviewed by Emma Millington.

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About the author:

Emma is head of the Banking and Finance team and the Finance Group at LexisNexis®UK.

Emma has wide-ranging experience in derivatives and capital markets with a particular emphasis on credit derivatives and structured products. Emma qualified as a solicitor with Allen & Overy LLP, working in the derivatives and structured finance teams in both their London and Paris offices before gaining experience with Deutsche Bank AG (advising the foreign exchange prime brokerage desk) and Crédit Agricole CIB (advising the fixed income and derivatives desk) before joining LexisNexis®.