P.R.I.M.E. Finance New York Conference 2019

P.R.I.M.E. Finance New York Conference 2019

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

What have been P.R.I.M.E Finance’s key achievements in 2019?

We have had a number of successes this year. First, 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.

We have also held two major conferences. Our eighth annual meeting at the Peace Palace in The Hague took place in February, attracting more than 300 participants from the worlds of finance and law. In October, we were thrilled to welcome nearly 100 participants to our second New York conference, held at the offices of Jones Day.

We continued our special judicial training program, training judges in a range of locations—most recently in Taiwan—in complex financial instruments and standard documentation.

Kasper Krzemiński, partner in NautaDutilh’s Litigation & Arbitration practice group, has also recently replaced Bastiaan Assink as Secretary General of P.R.I.M.E Finance.

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

We live in an unpredictable world, so we chose disruption and disputes in a changing financial market landscape as the theme of the conference. The aim was to be forward looking and the conference was a great opportunity for leading legal and financial experts to come together to discuss and debate predictions for the future.

What were the main issues discussed in the 2019 conference?

Market reality and market expectations as a source of disputes

The recovery following the global financial crisis is now ten years old—a very late stage compared to past cycles. This panel discussed the likelihood of a downturn and considered the types of disputes that might arise, as well as reflecting on the ways in which ‘once in a lifetime’ crises now seem to occur ever more frequently.

Disputes on the horizon—predictive trends in financial markets disputes

Court cases can lead to new litigation trends and a rethinking of existing approaches to financial products. This panel focussed on trends that are likely to find prominence in dispute resolution in light of recent cases, and considered how counsel, adjudicators and practitioners can best mitigate exposure. Multi-jurisdictional collective redress actions, the sharpening focus in Europe on the civil law duty of care of banks, the use of statistical models to support claims of market manipulation, net short debt activism and third party funding were all discussed.

Benchmark, get set, go—the race towards alternative benchmarks

The transition from LIBOR and other IBORs to alternative rates represents a monumental shift across financial markets worldwide. This panel considered the possible ramifications of benchmark transition for existing long-term contracts, alternative benchmarks and possible areas for disputes. It was clear from the significant degree of audience engagement that this topic was high on the agenda for many attendees.  

Disruptions from the FinTech sector—what’s coming and how should we prepare?

Using developments in the crypto-asset and related derivative sectors, this panel discussed how various legal and regulatory bodies have been dealing with the evolving FinTech landscape, and some of the challenges that arise as established institutions, processes and practices face disruption.

Legal ethics in an age of evolving technology

Developments in technology have the potential to be transformative in many ways, but can also result in new ethical challenges. This panel reflected on possible ethical considerations across a range of new technology, with discussion covering the global dimension of technology alongside the development of predictive justice, the rise of hacking, advances in e-disclosure and the growth of online dispute resolution.

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 Permanent Court of Arbitration (the PCA) to combine the subject matter expertise of P.R.I.M.E Finance’s Panel of Experts with the PCA’s administrative efficiency. As a result, arbitrations under the P.R.I.M.E Finance/PCA Arbitration Rules are administered by the PCA, and parties to complex financial transactions have improved access to arbitration and mediation 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/PCA arbitration clause in their agreements and bring cases to the PCA under the P.R.I.M.E Finance Arbitration Rules. This is a key aim for 2020.

We also plan to continue to support judicial systems through our unique judicial training programme. We are currently planning sessions for Ghana and Portugal.

Our annual conference in The Hague will take place on 3 and 4 February 2020 at the Peace Palace. We expect to hold another conference in New York later in 2020 and are looking to add additional cities such as Singapore.

Interviewed by Emma Millington.

The views expressed by our Legal Analysis interviewees are not necessarily those of the proprietor

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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®.