We prefer a fast and personal deal over a lengthy lawsuit
In October we visited our member IA group in Almada. During a nice and informative afternoon with Rui da Costa Fernandes we gained more insight in the core business and current affairs of the IA group in the intercontinental trade world.
Founded in the Amsterdam area in 1978, the IA group has experienced a steady growth of their business since its inception. Operating in a niche market with credit insurance companies and trading companies as their main customer groups, the IA group has a clearly defined core business, consisting of 2 main activities:
a. Specialized and tailored claim investigations. Collecting evidence of shipping and proof of trade deliveries and payments at an agreed destination. Sometimes a forensic accounting puzzle!
b. Quick recovery of outstanding debts. For these global debt collection activities the company has developed a personalized strategy, tailored to each local market. This entails amongst other things, a face-to-face negotiation in the local language with the debtor.
Rui da Costa Fernandes, a Portuguese, born and raised in Amsterdam, joined the IA group in 1999. Operating in just 7 countries at the time, the IA group was focusing on opening the Iberian market. Speaking the Portuguese and Dutch language fluently and quick to adopt Spanish and English, Rui became the go-to guy for “all matters Iberia”. Which meant frequent travels to Portugal and Spain to solve matters for local customers of the IA group. Rui vividly remembers that 1999-2006 was a particular exciting time for Portugal. After the big success of the EXPO 1998 and the entry in the eurozone, the country was experiencing a huge boom with many infrastructural projects and EU funds flooding in. The activities of the IA group in Portugal grew steadily and in 2005 the company opened a local office in the Lisbon area. Rui was invited to lead the Portugal branch with focus on expanding business in Portugal, Spain and Brazil. Without hesitations, Rui and his wife Luisa packed their bags and moved to Portugal!
Expansion and diversification
Although Rui has been working at the IA group for a long time, he never experiences a dull moment. The company now has offices in 27 countries and is active in 180 countries. There is always a deal to be negotiated or a problem to be solved for a client somewhere. The IA group is currently expanding in Latin America and Africa. Rui is managing the Portugal office and is the key account manager of several major clients. The IA Group also experiences an increase in requests for market research and consultancy projects. An interesting area to consider with the extensive local network the IA Group has established in each of the 180 countries. Wife Luisa has in the meantime also joined the IA Group and is making serious waves! Luisa is currently working as Team Leader.
Value of membership of the CCPH
Since 2000, the IA group has joined the network of the CCPH. This has helped a lot in the initial stage of setting up the business in Portugal and in introducing the company to new local partners. The IA group has participated in the trade mission EURO 2004 with the CCPH and Rui carries fond memories of this period. Nowadays Rui continues to be a loyal member of the Chamber and is present at many of the network events. Would you like to learn more about the activities of the IA Group, feel free to connect with Rui via Linkedin.