This year, our national congress, which is already the twenty-eighth, was held during the 9th and 10th March at the Hotel Finca Cortesín, a beautiful hotel inspired by typical Andalusian architecture close to Marbella.
The conference began at 9:30. Well, the truth is that we started with some delay; it is what happens when you meet colleagues from Vigo, Madrid and Barcelona who you have not seen for a long time, between greeting each other and chatting a little, in the end we always get a little late.
The congress, as usual, began with the welcome of the president of Balms Abogados, Mr Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada to all attendees and the presentation of the 2017 annual accounts and economic objectives of 2018, by office and department. This is always the aridest part of the congress, but it helps us to see how the office works and to establish some objectives for the following year. Thus, the staff is motivated and is involved in the achievement of them.
Once the first part was finished, Mr Antonio Heredero-Posadas, partner of Balms Vigo and president of the Balms Foundation for Children, showed us a very emotional video of the 4 countries in which the Foundation has a project right now: Colombia, with our ‘Casa Valores’ that currently has 107 children, Peru, where we collaborate with the ‘Colegio Sagrado Corazón de Jesús’ of Jimarca, in the DR of the Congo, where our maxim is to equalise the male and female literacy rate and reduce the rates of child marriage and in the Dominican Republic, a project that seeks to promote sustainable human development in the Santa Lucía neighbourhood, creating synergies with Dominican educational policies and guidelines. It is always a breath of fresh air to see how different projects are progressing, how we can all help these children, who unfortunately do not have the same opportunities as us. Antonio Heredero, as always, took the opportunity to thank Balms Abogados and all of us for our involvement with the foundation, both for the financial contribution and for the volunteer work in the different events.
Afterwards, our colleagues Mr Francisco Lorenzo Martínez Ramos and Mr Carlos Javier Castillo Rodríguez delighted us with a pleasant and participative talk about the prevention of money laundering: what is it, who is the obligated party, the control measures and possible sanctions for non-compliance, and where we review the protocol of action with clients, which we already know is mandatory. According to Law 10/2010, on the Prevention of Money Laundering, lawyers and tax advisors are some of the subjects obliged to take measures with the aim of alleviating fraud and money laundering in our country.
After the talk, we could enjoy a coffee break in one of the terraces of the hotel. While we drank coffee and what our parents called a snack, different groups of colleagues were forming, chatting animatedly about the year since the last congress and what was seen during the morning in the room.
Next, a presentation on the different corporate pages was given (Balms Abogados, our letter of introduction, Balms Group International, our international network of independent firms, BGI Magazine, our digital magazine, and finally the Balms Foundation for Children website) and where it was also stressed the importance of teamwork, with contributions to them with articles of interest that keep web pages alive. Subsequently, and following the online marketing outlined, the different satellite web pages designed over the last year were presented. Satellite web pages are websites that are positioned by the same keywords as your home page, but these are fragmented into others looking for specific niches according to the different services or products that are offered. To date, the websites developed are: mortgage formalization expenses, purchase of shares of Banco Popular, Tramiuris Ltd, our management and processing company, Fers Ltd, our tax and accounting department and Balms Advisory, our new strategic and investment consultancy.
Finally, Mr Luis Fernández-Combarro and Mr Jaime Bouza presented Balms Advisory, our strategic and investment consultancy where professional advice is offered to the different companies, for their organizational, economic and strategic efficiency, providing the solutions that best adapt to each business and company.
At its conclusion, Mr Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada ended the session and after the family photos of rigour, we enjoyed a meal together in Estepona, dismissing the day until the next day.
The second day of the congress is always more relaxed. We met again at 9:30 for a coffee and then we met by department to talk about the issues of interest of each department specifically.
At 13:30 the cocktail and appetizer were served and the twenty-eighth congress of Balms Abogados was concluded. Next year we will be 30 years old... We shall have to start thinking about how to celebrate it.