The month of April brings not only a pleasant change to the weather, but also the biggest factoring conference in the world, drawing together domestic and international banks and finance companies committed to financing through factoring. Casual and cool Surf City USA® will host this year’s conference at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Huntington Beach, CA, from Wednesday, April 18 through Saturday, April 21. Surf, sand, sun and subtle sophistication encapsulate what the city of Huntington Beach is all about. With 8.5 miles of pristine beaches, ideal weather, a welcoming attitude and a wide variety of entertainment options, Huntington Beach is the perfect destination for all.

This year’s program presents diverse topics from fraud prevention to search engine optimization. Programs like Factoring 101, Issues for Factors and an Economic Forecast will also be featured. Here is a brief synopsis on the accomplished speakers that will be featured:

James W. Paulsen, Ph.D., of Wells Capital Management, will lead the Economic Forecast on Thursday morning. He is nationally recognized for his views on the economy. BusinessWeek named him Top Economic Forecaster for 2001. BondWeek has twice named him Interest Rate Forecaster of the Year. For more than 25 years, Paulsen has published his own commentary assessing economic and market trends through his newsletter, Economic and Market Perspective. Money named his newsletter one of “101 Things Every Investor Should Know” in March 2004.

Frank Abagnale, of Abagnale & Associates, will lead two sessions on Thursday: Catch Me If You Can, and Fraud: The Art of the Steal. Abagnale is one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents. Between the ages of 16 and 21, he successfully posed as an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor and a pediatrician, in addition to cashing $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. Abagnale has been associated with the FBI for over 30 years. More than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies use his fraud prevention programs.

Mike Ullman, Esq., of Ullman & Ullman, will speak on Thursday on Hot Issues for Factors. He is a member of the Florida Bar. He currently serves as co-counsel to and has been a frequent lecturer for the International Finance Association for over a decade. Ullman & Ullman has specialized in all forms of commercial transactions and litigation.

Juliet Funt will present Overcommitted, Overwhelmed and Over It! on Thursday. Her mission is simple: to help people shift the way they think about daily pressures and responsibilities so they can prioritize their time, reach their goals and be present and peaceful enough to live life to the fullest. Funt is a member of the National Speakers Association and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Shape, L.A. Parent and Professional Speaker Magazine. The daughter of Allen Funt, Candid Camera television show creator, she has spent her life observing the hidden truths beneath our social selves. She’s written a weekly Web column and co-authored two books, The Communication Path and The Wellness Path.

Darla Auchinachie of Bridge Capital Finance Group, will present Factoring 101 on Thursday. She has been an active member of the working capital finance industry since 1992 and holds the honor of maintaining a top-rated speaker status for the IFA. She also serves as a Subject Matter Expert for the IFA’s Account Executive Certification program.

Mick Goik of Crestmark, Tim Stute of Milestone Advisors and Jeff Goldrich of North Mill Capital will hold a panel on mergers and acquisition activity, M&A Activity in the Factoring Sector on Thursday. Goik has led several recent mergers and acquisitions for Crestmark and recently won Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 Award. At Milestone, Stute is responsible for the origination and execution of corporate finance and financial advisory assignments for the firm’s community bank and specialty finance clients, with a particular focus on the asset-based lending, factoring and leasing sectors. Goldrich is the president and CEO of North Mill Capital, based in Princeton, NJ.

Robyn Barrett of Factors Southwest, Steve Kurtz, Esq. of Levinson, Arshonsky& Kurtz, Sally Stark of Sierra Capital and Gail Reints of Sky Business Credit will present Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Notifications & Verifications … But Were Afraid to Ask on Thursday with Reints moderating.

Barrett founded Scottsdale-based Factors Southwest in 2001. She is an active member of numerous industry organizations including: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Risk Management Association; Commercial Finance Association and the Association for Corporate Growth. Kurtz is one of the foremost experts in the factoring and asset-based lending industries. A partner at Levinson, Arshonsky & Kurtz, he practices in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial law and litigation, workouts and secured transactions.

Stark has managed two startup factoring companies and has extensive experience in establishing credit policy and operating procedures. In addition to managing Sierra Capital, Stark has served as chairperson for the Houston Area Factors Association, is on the board of directors for the International Factoring Association and is a founding board member of the Hudson Valley Women Business Owners Association. Prior to starting Sky Business Credit, Reints was managing director of Bibby Financial Service (Midwest). She is also currently serving as a subject matter expert for the IFA’s Account Executive Certification program.

Bob Zadek, Esq. of BuchalterNemer will present Report From the Courts, lessons to be learned from this year’s court decisions, on Friday. Zadek is one of the premier attorneys and an expert in the field of factoring. He handles loan documentation, trade finance and letters of credit, loan workouts and bankruptcy.

Jeffrey Alpert, Esq. of Torkin Manes, Martin Fingerhut, Esq. of Cassels Brock & Blackwell and Oscar A. Rombolà of ITC Invoice to Cash will report on Factoring in Canada on Friday. Alpert acts for banks and other lenders in commercial loan transactions secured by real estate and personal property. He has expertise in asset-based lending, including receivables purchase financing. He has been a director and officer of the Canadian Business Law Journal since 1987.

Fingerhut was the founding chair of the American Bar Association’s Securitization and Derivatives Subcommittee, chair of the ABA’s Business Financing Committee and vice-chair of the International Bar Association’s Securitization Subcommittee. Rombolà started his career in the factoring and financial industry in 1998 and is a partner and vice president of business development at ITC Invoice to Cash.

Tina Capobianco of JD Factors and Glen Dalzell of TCE Capital Corp. will moderate the Canadian Roundtable, which will include Alpert and Fingerhut. Capobianco’s extensive career in factoring started in 1992 as an account executive and has covered all areas of factoring including operations, credit and underwriting and business development. Capobianco was involved in launching the first IFA Chapter in Canada, and sits on the chapter’s board of directors. Dalzell has been instrumental in the growth of TCE Capital through his leadership overseeing sales and marketing activities of the company. With his diverse business background, he has an ability to find unique funding alternatives for growing Canadian enterprises.

John Beckstead, Esq. of Holland & Hart, Robert P. Grbic of Capital Business Credit and Einat Steklov of Coral Capital Solutions will discuss UCC filings and subordination in Funding in Second Position and The Art of Subordination on Friday; Steklov will moderate. Beckstead’s transactional and litigation commercial finance practice includes commercial lending transactions, loan documentation, problem loan workouts, factoring, secured transactions and letters of credit.

Grbic is the COO and chief credit officer of Capital Business Credit (CBC). He has more than 30 years of commercial lending experience, and has been with CBC since 2005. He has served as an instructor for the Finance, Tax and Law Department at the NYU School of Continuing Education. Steklov leads Coral Capital’s strategic direction, business development and structuring of financing solutions. Steklov is a lawyer by training and had practiced law both in New York and in Israel. She served as a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Nick Hart of Bibby Financial Services and David Tatge, Esq. of Epstein Becker & Green will discuss the evolution of factoring in Factoring: Past, Present & Future on Friday. As managing director of Bibby’s California region, Hart oversees the company’s Los Angeles, Phoenix and Sacramento operations. Hart has tripled the performance of the West Coast division since arriving in 2008 from the Bibby UK offices. Tatge represents factors in client fundings and in various other business matters. Tatge is an attorney specializing in working with transportation factoring specialists and factors with transportation portfolios.

After conducting many tests and appraisals on top producers in the factoring industry, Mitchell Haber of Profiles International and David Rains of Commercial Finance Consultants will present the results in Friday’s Traits of Top Factoring Sales Performers. Haber’s career included working with Prudential Securities and Bank of America. Haber spearheaded business development and integration with institutional partners for The Sterling Trust Company before joining Profiles International. Rains is one of the nation’s foremost recruiting professionals in the U.S. He has earned a reputation as an expert in commercial finance. Throughout his career, Rains has been recognized as a top performer in executive search.

Steve Wiideman will present on Search Engine Optimization on Friday. He is one of America’s leading SEO experts. He culls from more than 12 years experience of significantly improving traffic to clients’ websites. Wiideman authored SEO in a Day: The SEO Agency Killer, revealing the secrets to having websites show up on Google in less than a day. He currently works for Enterprise SEO Experts as lead strategist and search marketing evangelist.

Melissa Donald of LDI Growth Partners, Darrell Fleck of RMJ Capital and David Jencks, Esq. of Jencks & Jencks will moderate the Small Factors Roundtable on Friday. Launched in 2007, LDI works to increase awareness of the benefits of factoring for businesses in all stages of growth.

Fleck is a managing partner in RMJ Capital, a niche alternative financing company focused on the financial needs of small- to medium-sized companies across many industries. Jencks is an attorney specializing in working with transportation factoring specialists and factors with transportation portfolios. On Friday, he will also present Current Topics in Transportation Factoring.

An optional training class on Wednesday for Portfolio Management will also be held focusing on best practices employed by seasoned factoring companies, and will be led by Auchinachie and Marc Marin of Gateway Commercial Finance.

Whether you’re looking to network with others in the industry, brush up on industry trends, hot topics or challenges, connect with other businesses and exhibitors, share best practices or learn about new products, the annual conference has a magnitude of possibility for every factoring professional.

Heather Villa is communications director of the International Factoring Association.