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Update on Rome Conference

Update on Rome Conference Article by Irving David

“Rome is the City of all time, and of all the world” so it was appropriate that in October 2015, 141 delegates, spouses and candidates from 29 countries joined their hosts, Silvano Spito, Lisa Rosen and Monica Giovannini of Studio Spito & Associates in Rome for IPG’s 2015 Autumn Conference.
Located on Via Veneto, a street immortalised by Federico Fellini in his film “La Dolce Vita”, the Five Star Ambasciatori Palace Hotel, once home to ambassadors visiting Rome and more recently the US Embassy Library, provided the ideal Conference base.
For those who arrived early, our Italian hosts had organised on the Wednesday afternoon a private guided tour of the Musei Capitolini, founded in 1471, followed by aperitifs on the Terrazza Caffarelli and dinner at a 100 year old Italian beer house, Antica Birreria Peroni.
Thursday, 22 October was designated “Sporty Thursday” with Golf and Tennis Tournaments at the Sheraton Golf Resort and the Foro Italico, a sports complex built in the 1930s and then referred to as “Mussolini's Forum”.
The Conference began that evening with an informal dinner at the Marriot Grand Hotel Flora. Appetisers on the hotel’s Ailanto Rooftop Terrace, offering a panoramic view of Rome, were followed by dinner featuring “Paccheri di Gragnano”, a typical Italian pasta. The highlight of the meal was an enormous cake featuring the IPG logo which was proudly paraded around the restaurant by Chef Pasquale de Simone and his team before being enjoyed by the diners.
On Friday morning, 23 October, after jogging in Villa Borghese and Pincio Parks for those so minded and breakfast with spouses, the official Conference programme and presentations took place in the Conference Room “Sala Ambasciatori”.
Welcome speeches by Graham Wallace, Chairman of IPG and by Lisa Rosen of our host firm, Spito & Associati were followed by informative presentations by Mr Luigi Campitelli, Director of Lazio Innova on the theme “Open to innovation and to internationalisation, a change of paradigm for the economic eco system in the Lazio region” and “Investing in Italian Funds: Market and Taxes used for foreign investors” by Mrs. Arianna Immacolato, Tax Director of Assogestioni Rome and Mr. Alessandro Rota, Head of the Economic Research Department of Assogestioni, Milan, which represents Italian and foreign investment companies in Italy.
Andrea Cevese and Alberto Dal Ferro, partners from Studio DFA spoke on “The possibility for individuals to claim damages for breaches of European Law: from the liability of Member States to the liability of the European Institutions”.
This was followed by the presentation of candidates standing for election as new members of IPG at Saturday’s AGM.
After a buffet lunch in the hotel, several IPG members gave brief presentations on “Doing Business” in their respective countries including one by Sharokh Koussari of DWFM Beckman on “The expected lifting of sanctions – potential business opportunities in Iran”. Sharokh outlined the historical background and how the “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” would put an end to nuclear sanctions against Iran and open the market to foreign companies and investors. He explained the scope of the proposed sanction relief, the timeline, and the opportunities and challenges arising from the lifting of the sanctions.
The presentations were followed by networking with Italian entrepreneurs and the opportunity for individual delegates to meet and make new friends ahead of the Gala Dinner.
The delegates’ spouses, meanwhile, enjoyed a full programme of guided sightseeing on the Friday including a tour of the Galleria Borghese followed by lunch at Le Lu Lo restaurant.
The Gala Dinner was held at the stunning Palazzo Brancaccio, the last noble palace to be built in Rome by Salvatore Brancaccio, a member of one of the oldest and most distinguished families of the Neapolitan nobility and his wife, a wealthy American heiress. A lavish buffet was followed by a magnificent three course meal with superb wine, the evening ending with a disco.
The Conference AGM took place on Saturday morning. After the usual statutory items, Olivier Sanviti of Aston was elected to the IPG Board and the five candidates for IPG Membership were formally elected and welcomed as new members. They are:
Accountancy & Tax firms
        1. Avacor Ag, St. Gallen, Switzerland
        2. Fiduciaire Jean-Marc Faber, Luxembourg, Luxemburg
        3. S K Loonker & Co, New Delhi, India
Law firms
        4. Finizio & Finizio, P.A., Miami, USA
        5. Crosslaw, Brussels, Belgium (Formerly De Wolf & Partners)
The elections were followed by audio-visual “trailers” for the 2016 Conferences presented by Stephen Wood of Barnes Roffe LLP and Peter Bridson of DWFM Beckman Solicitors, two of the co-organisers of the Spring Conference in London and by Rahul Chadha of Chadha & Co, co-organisers of the Autumn Conference in New Delhi.
An initiative to form expert sub-groups was proposed for the following practice areas:
  1. Legal services: dispute resolution/ ADR/ mediation; insolvency; intellectual property; corporate / M&A; financial services; real estate/construction; and employment
  2. Tax services: VAT and CIT/PIT
  3. Accountancy services
  4. Trust services
To facilitate consideration of this plan, separate tables were allocated at lunch, each with a label relating to a different field of expertise, so that delegates wishing to support particular expert sub-groups would have the opportunity to discuss the concept in more detail with colleagues over a working lunch.
Meanwhile, the spouses enjoyed another morning of sightseeing with highlights including the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. And after lunch they joined the delegates on two alternative guided tours organised for all the conference participants: one, a tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica; the other, the Coliseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Everyone, at the Farewell Dinner at Casina Valadier, commented on how well-organised, informative and fascinating the two contrasting afternoon programmes had been.
Built between 1816 and 1837 by the renowned Roman architect and urban planner, Giuseppe Valadier, Casina Valadier is on the highest point of the Pincio Gardens and boasts another incredible view of Rome. The ghosts of Gandhi, King Farouk, Strauss, Pirandello and others who had dined there before mingled with the delegates in the elegant atmosphere where we enjoyed a Farewell Dinner prepared by Chef Massimo D’Innocenti.
The majority of delegates left Rome on Sunday morning, but those remaining had one last opportunity to sightsee, visiting the popular Basilica Santi Giovanni e Paolo, founded in the early 5th Century and located on the Celian Hill. Our visit was followed by a tour of the magnificent residential complex comprising Roman houses of different periods located beneath the Basilica.
Lunch at “Angelino Dal 1899”, an Italian Osteria serving traditional Roman dishes, served as a fitting finale to an overwhelmingly successful Conference in Rome.
We can now all look forward to two exciting Conferences in 2016: in London in May and New Delhi in November. But Rome will, indeed, be “a hard act to follow”.
Irving David
101 Wigmore Street
W1U 1FA London
+44 (0)20 7408 8888