International Practice Group (IPG) is an international non-profit association of independent Lawyers, Accountants, Tax Advisors and other professionals. IPG members include respected law firms, accounting firms and tax advisors, all of whom are dedicated to serving the needs of their international clients. A complete list of our members can be found here. A brochure about our group can be downloaded here.
IPG members are well acquainted in joining forces to best serve the needs of clients. The following are examples of how clients can benefit from IPG:
Example 1: International expansion. The provision by Turnstone of an Isle of Man trust for commercial privacy purposes, whereby the trust held shares in a UK Intellectual Property holding company, on behalf of Italian IT entrepreneurs, and in respect of which Italian, UK and US legal and tax advice was required.
Example 2: Starting a business. A medium size German company wishes to expand its market abroad, let’s say in France. It would probably first look for a French based sales person to assess the targeted country, if only to verify there is a market. At this early stage, the client would probably need either a work contract or a service contract to be drafted in accordance with French law, and if possible, with German law as well (in the case of a service contract). As the laws of France offer a strong indemnity in the case of termination of a trade agent contract compared to their usual experience, a proper contract is essential. In addition, the complexity of such an international contract requires the assistance of a local lawyer. But what if the German company in question is unaware of this aspect? Thanks to the IPG connections of our legal members, our clients benefit highly from quick and solid advice to help them in such decision making processes. Moreover, when it comes to local tax compliance (such as salary slips and other formalities such as declarations to local authorities) the client will obviously need a knowledgeable accountant to serve him locally. IPG members are fortunate in always being able to draw from a vast network of reliable fellow members.
In this example, when business at the preliminary stage has shown to be satisfactory, the German company may decide to invest more and aim for a permanent base in France. It will then need to decide whether to simply register a branch or set up a local company. This requires knowledge of local requirements as well as legal and tax expertise on an on-going basis. The benefits for the lawyer and/or accountants and tax experts in Germany to be able to confer with and refer to reliable IPG professionals elsewhere are numerous. Not only will such interaction simplify and speed up decision making, but any unintended consequences resulting from insufficient information are kept to a minimum. With IPG, clients are able to concentrate on their businesses and make informed decisions on which structures will suit them best.
Example 3: Doing business in "harmonised" Europe. A Dutch company wishes to contract distributors in different countries, whether in the European Union or in places such as India, Mexico or the USA. Most of the time, companies with similar plans simply use a contract drafted by their own lawyers. These specify that in any circumstances the place of the distributor will be the relevant jurisdiction and the applicable law will be Dutch (thereby side-stepping the differences of laws and regulations between these countries). Even though law has been harmonised in European Union countries to some extent, this doesn’t necessarily mean that situations are the same in all member states. And in non-EU countries, laws and regulations vary even more. Certainly when it comes to terminating a distribution contract for instance, many states have adopted protective measures for the distributor. Any company ignoring these differences could very well make a terrible mistake in specifying Dutch law as the only applicable law. With over 83 members in Europe alone, IPG offers their clients a unique capacity to assess any such situation with reliable local experts in any given country.
Example 4: International transactions. Acquisition of a business abroad will of necessity require the technical expertise and experience of lawyers, accountants and tax advisors. IPG members can provide all three services to assist decision makers from start to finish. These services are not limited to big acquisitions. Experience shows that even acquiring a small business can be very problematic if not undertaken with sound professional guidance.
Example 5: Debt collection. Any company providing goods or services in another country may at some point face a situation where its invoices remain unpaid. Instead of wasting time and money on reminders from specialised "debt recovering agencies", an IPG fellow member situated in the country where the debtor resides will pursue the most appropriate way to recover the debt – taking into account the amount due and the budget of the client.