For AMFIE, frontiers no longer exist

Dear members and colleagues

I am a natural optimist, but to be honest my optimism fell to zero in late February 2020 when, returning after a very congenial meeting of FICSA in London, Svend Booth and I both found ourselves marooned, he in Rome and I in Paris. There was no further prospect of our visiting our beloved organisations for they had all, one after another, cancelled all our presentations, and that sine die.

For years I had been preaching to the deaf, extolling the benefits of LinkedIn to no great effect. Meanwhile, Xavier Roblin has fortunately been elected to the board, and Xavier knew. He will be reporting on it after me.

So Svend, Miguel Figuerola and I, with the support of Alexandra Roger in the Secretariat, began a prospecting campaign using LinkedIn. It proved to be a great success, making AMFIE's name known around the world.

What we found most striking, though, was that with the virus, the nature of our relations with contacts had totally changed.

Before, when contacting international officials to ask whether we had their permission to send them information – as the GRPD requires – the reply was mostly a short OUI/YES.

Since Covid, that short YES/OUI has become rare, because it turns into a dialogue, often personal, sometimes wide-ranging, together with thanks, to the point that it is sometimes quite moving. Our correspondents, who have often been teleworking for many months, seem happy to be able to talk to us. Maybe they take a little more time to take an interest in their own financial situation, since they need to spend less of it commuting or in meetings. This very positive development in our online relations is most pleasing.

And then one of our friends in HR or a staff association asked me whether we could do webinars.

First, I panicked, because we had nothing to offer. But then, once again, Svend took up the problem, and in collaboration with Julian Finn, produced a presentation which we rated as "presentable".

From September 2020 we began a series of presentations in places as diverse as the Hague, Beirut, Rome, etc., and then in January 2021, London, and in February, Baku, Brussels, Munich, Lyon, and more. Xavier will tell you more about this.

For me, one of the most positive aspects of these on-line presentations is that we have been able to bring in the members of the development team, who took over from us without ever having had the pleasure of working out in the field – so Alexandra and Giancarlo Danieli, but also Virginie Segura and from time to time Muammer Kardelen of course, have been on hand during presentations and can answer specific questions directly. And at the same time, participants can immediately book telephone appointments with them.

Obviously, on-line will never replace human contact and the pleasure of face-to-face meetings. Because first, the number of participants can be high (more than 300 at the EBRD in London), and secondly not everyone will switch their camera on. But I am sure that once things have returned to normal, our face-to-face meetings will be all the richer, because our colleagues will have the impression that they already know us. And beyond that, we will have been able to raise awareness of AMFIE's services in parts of the world where the association could never afford to send us. Result: for AMFIE, there are no longer any frontiers.

Ms Janine Rivals

Online service means service without frontiers

You will have first noticed it years ago: AMFIE's board and authorised management work together to harmonise the experience of members who entrust their savings to our association. In addition to the improvements constantly being brought to AMFIE.NET, members can now use the app to access their accounts and for their everyday transactions. These are just the start of an ambitious programme to improve our services, which the management will continue to roll out following the recent installation of Mozaik as our platform.

With this upgrade to the core of your experience, it has become possible to work on expanding our association's membership and begin AMFIE's plan for development both geographically and in terms of the range of organisations represented. The Coronavirus crisis, travel restrictions and the development of teleworking have all contributed to hastening the adoption of the commercial prospection tools offered by Linkedin.

For there are more than a million international officials and consultants, from 162 international organisations, who have a LinkedIn account. That is why the AMFIE teams chose to get training in all the professional tools offered by the platform. Their aim? To make AMFIE much better-known and initiate real personal contacts between potential future members and the "globetrotters" who in normal times travel the world to meet you at your offices.

The results are already very encouraging. Thanks to Linkedin, thousands of international officials and eligible consultants have discovered the existence of AMFIE, and several hundred have followed the remote presentation webinars. This is just the beginning of an ambitious development which, together with the hoped-for resumption of meetings at the workplace, will allow AMFIE to recruit many new members.

The fact is that in a cooperative, the members are its lifeblood. The more they are, and the more different backgrounds they come from, the better AMFIE will be able to finance the development of innovative services which benefit all but are at the same time tailored to each. Unity makes strength: even in this digital age, some things never change.

Mr. Xavier Roblin

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