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FILA Celebrates 10 Years in Helsinki

INSOL Europe’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Newson, was invited to be the opening speaker at FILA’s tenth anniversary event in Helsinki, Finland, from 18-19 August.

The Finnish Insolvency Law Association (FILA) was founded in 2011 and brings together lawyers specializing in insolvency law, as well as other professionals working with insolvency issues. The Association has around 250 members, the majority of whom are attorneys at law who act as administrators in bankruptcies and reorganization cases.

Day 1: Hot topics of the day
The first day of the conference took place at the offices of Castrén & Snellman Attorneys in the centre of Helsinki, attended by over 130 delegates, and was opened by Tuomas Hupli, Chairman of the Board of the Association.

Paul’s presentation was entitled ‘Responding to Change’ and started by giving the delegates a background to INSOL Europe, including how members can get involved at all levels, whether by simply attending events or contributing to one of our many working groups and forums. During what was to be one of the hottest days ever recorded in the city, Paul moved onto some of the hot topics of our profession such as cross-border schemes and plans - how they work in different jurisdictions, and the harmonization of insolvency laws at EU-level. 

Paul then went on to relate the challenges that our profession is facing to the key topics to be discussed at the Annual Congress in Dubrovnik, reminding the audience that “Resilience is the ability to navigate adversity and to grow and thrive from challenges” according to the American psychologist Karen Reivich, and that on account of the current crisis, companies will have to adapt their businesses to cope with rising costs, supply chain challenges, and changing markets to be resilient. The way insolvency and restructuring professionals react to this crisis and aid their clients in dealing with the plethora of issues they are faced with in these uncertain times, will have a profound effect not only on individual businesses and their respective workforces, but on the economy at large.

Finally, Paul invited the delegates to find out more about INSOL Europe and how we are working to get a better understanding of this new landscape and what insolvency and restructuring professionals may be able to offer their clients, what tools they have at their disposal in their respective countries and what is in store in terms of future regulation.
The seminar continued (in Finnish) with a lecture by Jaakko Mikkilä (Supervisory Team Supervisor, Legal Unit, Patent and Registration Board) and a long and detailed history of the most peculiar bankruptcy cases in Finland by the legendary Eero Lyytikäinen, Bankruptcy Ombudsman Emeritus, who is allegedly responsible for creating the bankruptcy industry in Finland. The audience were certainly enthralled by the tales although as Paul’s knowledge of Finnish is very limited, he was unable to join in the jokes!

Rounding off the day’s lectures, FILA scholarships were handed out to recently qualified students before the delegates were released into the fresh air to enjoy some well-earned refreshments.

Day 2: The heat continues in Tallinn
After a short cruise to Tallinn, Estonia, the second day of the conference took place at the Tallink Spa Conference Hotel, in the harbour area of the town, on yet another day with record-breaking temperatures.

Lectures continued in Finnish by Pekka Puolakka, EY Law Baltics Managing Partner, Tallinn on “Bankruptcy and related disputes, the good, the bad and the ugly of the late 1990s and early 2000s”; “Insolvency vs. imminent insolvency in restructuring of enterprises” was covered by Tuomas Hupli (Faculty of Law, University of Turku and Chairman of FILA) and lastly “Self-incrimination protection” by Professor of Procedural Law Mikko Vuorenpää (Faculty of Law, University of Lapland). Tuomas Hupli then closed the day’s proceedings and thanked everyone for attending.

Paul Newson would like to thank Olli Rantanen (Head of Legal Services, Domestic Financing at Finnvera plc, Oulu Area, Finland; COO of FILA) and Tuomas Hupli (Chairman of FILA) for the opportunity to attend the conference, and Jan Lilius (Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd; Country Co-ordinator for INSOL Europe) for facilitating the arrangements and helping with the Finnish translations on the day!
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