ECONOMIC UPDATE THE
NEWSPAPER POST | JULY 2013
IIG BANK COMMITTED TO DELIVER A QUALITY SERVICE COVER STORY Client Focused
A corporate view with Raymond Busuttil, Managing Director & CEO of IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd. p.6
SPECIAL FEATURE Libya
A fourteen page bonanza on Libya, jampacked with latest news, developments, reports and advertising. p.8
INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH Rebuilding the Future
We present Part 1 of an exclusive Interview with Dr. Simon Busuttil, new PN Head and Leader of the Opposition. p.20
TALKING POINT Reducing the Digital Divide
An across-the-board interview with Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, the Hon. Dr Edward Zammit Lewis p.34
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ECONOMIC UPDATE THE
NEWSPAPER POST | JULY 2013
IIG BANK COMMITTED TO DELIVER A QUALITY SERVICE COVER STORY Client Focused
A corporate view with Raymond Busuttil, Managing Director & CEO of IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd. p.6
SPECIAL FEATURE Libya
A fourteen page bonanza on Libya, jampackedwith latest news, developments, reports and advertising. p.8
INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH Rebuilding the Future
We present Part 1 of an exclusive Interview with Dr. Simon Busuttil, new PN Head and Leader of the Opposition. p.20
06 COVER STORY: CLIENT FOCUSED
TALKING POINT Reducing the Digital Divide
An across-the-board interview with Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, the Hon. Dr Edward Zammit Lewis p.34
PUBLISHER John Formosa
The Economic Update’s special focus on Banking begins with a corporate interview with Raymond Busuttil, Managing Director & CEO of IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd.
EDITOR Martin Vella
08 BUSINESS MANAGEMENT: DOES YOUR ORGANISATION HAVE LEADERSHIP TALENT?
JOURNALIST Martina Urso
Dr Beverly Cutajar examines why social skills are as vital as technical skills for any leadership role.
SALES & PUBLICATION MANAGER Margaret Brincat
10 INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH: REBUILDING THE FUTURE
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Berthrand Pisani
We bring you Part 1 of an exclusive Interview with Dr. Simon Busuttil, new PN Head and Leader of the Opposition.
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Network Studios
18 SPOTLIGHT ON HIGHER EDUCATION: MAKING A DIFFERENCE
PRINTING Union Print
An exclusive interview with Prof Brian GD Smart, Rector at Global College Malta, about the new institute for higher education specialising in Masters level degrees, whose campus is located at SmartCity.
Quote of the Month:
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” - Henry Ford For magazine and website advertising enquiries please contact: email@example.com or call on (+356) 9940 6743 For editorial enquiries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org The Economic Update is published by: Network Publications Ltd., Angelica Court, Giuseppi Cali Str., Ta’ Xbiex, XBX1425, Malta Tel: +356 2131 6326/7/8 Fax: +356 2132 3432
Contributors: Joseph C. Anton; Josabeth Cassar; George Carol; Beverly Cutajar; Duncan Dimech; Mark Galea; Richard Geres; Anatoli Grech; Patrick Jason; Malcolm Naudi; Michael Pace Ross; Andre Ribeiro; Martina Urso; Ana-Marija Zafirofska Special Thanks: BOV; BPC; Berta Sullivan; Domain Group; David Herrera; HSBC; JPA; MEIB; MJN Communications; Metsola Roberta Office; Ogilvy PR; PBS; VFM Ltd; 6PM Please feel free to email us with your viewpoint, whether you agree or disagree with the standpoint of the personalities we interview or the topics we focus on. Your opinion, contribution, concern and feedback on our articles and interviews are welcome. Please include full name, contact details
20 MALTA BASED PRIME BROKERAGE FIRM EXANTE AT THE CUTTING EDGE OF FINANCE
Account Managers EXANTE’s contribution about their fund platform as a potential game changer for the hedge fund industr 22 BEYOND THE EY REBRAND
We talk to Ronald Attard, EY’s Malta Country Managing Partner and Transaction Advisory Services Leader for South East Europe about the motivation behind the firm’s new identity. 26 REDUCING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE In an across-the-board interview with Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Dr Edward Zammit Lewis, we discuss the Global Residence Programme, growth measures, ICT and the digital economy. 34 LET’S TALK THE BLUE CHIP A special contribution by Antoine Briffa, Investment Manager at Calamatta Cuschieri, specialising in Blue Chip Equities.
18 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed in The Economic Update are not necessarily those of the editor or publishers. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor and publishers cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs or illustrations. The Economic Update is printed by Union Print and distributed free with The Business Weekly.
EDITOR’S NOTE When I started working in an office in the late 1980s, most employees smoked cigarettes at their desks, as we hammered out correspondence on heavy typewriters and telex machines. At lunchtime we camped at The Perfection for a scrumptious snack. Everything I have known since then about modern offices has changed to the wireless, Cloud computing and fast-paced deadlines. Another life-time shaded by my memory of how things used to be.
But now I find my sense of history is all skewed. I have just finished making a series of high profile interviews, discovering half the things I thought of as new fads turn out not to be new at all; while many things I took to be eternal facts of office life are actually rather recent. There are, however, some constants – such as envy and mistrust – as well as some things that have gone forever. The Perfection in Valletta isn’t coming back. As an Editor I am always researching to provide the best source for industry news, business trends, developments and analysis, so that our publication acts as a direct avenue to a member base of corporate business executives, representing the elite of the industry and aimed at dynamic middle and senior business managers, directors, entrepreneurs, influential political class and those who aspire to leadership roles across all sectors of the economy. One on one with many leaders, I learn from them what it takes to be a leader and their personal stories of what it means to be leader. And I hope that with my insights and analysis of situations I bring forth an intelligent interaction with what is happening in the business world today, engaging adequacy in the process. Being adequate at our job is a relatively new discovery – at least in the public sector. From the mid-20th century onwards our Civil Service was stuffed full of drooling idiots put there by relatives. To quote from a piece by FT’s Lucy Kellaway, mainly that parliamentary paper from 1855 refers to “the most feeble sons in families which have been so fortunate as to obtain an appointment, yes, and others too, either mentally or physically incapacitated, enter the Service”. Following pointless reforms in the late quarter of the 20th century, on came the revolutionary idea that to get a job you needed not only to refrain from drooling, but simply know how to write your name. Back to the 21st century it transpires that it might be most convenient to back a political party by placing your face on a Billboard during an election to be rewarded with a secure job. It appears that we don’t earn from our past mistakes, or that we will try somewhere in the near future. I believe it is ridiculous for people to be rewarded with a job for the simple reason they have paid lip-service to a political party for PR purposes during the electoral campaign.
Taking a leaf form Lucy Kellaway, in 1975 BusinessWeek famously predicted a paperless office, but for the next 25 years the volume of paper used in our offices kept rising. Even though we are now weaning ourselves off online, I still do predict that the paperless office will arrive no sooner than the paperless toilet. Hope you enjoy this issue bursting with different viewpoints from varying sectors of the business community, including exclusive interviews and also our special feature on Libya. Martin Vella
36 SAFEGUARDING BUSINESS ETHICS – PART 2
We continue our take with the new PBS Chairman Tonio Portughese, interviewed on the May issue of The Economic Update, as we continue to discuss the transition and reform taking place within PBS. 40 SPECIAL FEATURE: LIBYA Our features team present a fourteen page special on Libya, jam-packed with latest news, developments, reports and operators advertising for the Libyan market.
52 WHEN THE MEDIA MAKE NEWS Malcolm Naudi’s insights on the occasion marking this year UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, marked the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day.
56 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE– BEYOND THE REALMS OF TECHNOLOGY Joseph M Baldacchino, Associate Director in the IT arm at KPMG, talks about Business Intelligence (BI) solutions to conduct their business activities more efficiently.
48 THE EDUCATION SPECIALIST
58 FUTURE HOMES – THE KITCHEN
We meet up with Mandy Mifsud, General Manager for Domain Group, as she sits down to share her views on the Group’s key business issues: management practices, human resources, innovation, talent, and growth.
Resident contributors Exor Group discuss how technology will surely influence the way we live making it a more efficient life at home.
COVER STORY INTERVIEW
CLIENT-FOCUSED By George Carol
The Economic Update’s special focus on Banking brings us face-to-face with Raymond Busuttil, Managing Director & CEO of IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd who is keen to tell us how IIG Bank promotes itself as a niche bank, why it has based its promotional focus through a combination of media exposure in the domestic market with a select range of deposit products at a higher than average minimum deposit entry level and how the bank seeks lasting relationships while ensuring sustainable service levels.
Company DNA Name of Bank: IIG BANK (MALTA) LTD Organisation Brief: LICENSED CREDIT INSTITUTION REGULATED BY THE MFSA Line of Business: BANKING Number of Employees: SEVEN Main Products: SPECIALIST IN CUSTOMER TIME DEPOSITS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE FINANCE Worldwide Offices: IIG GROUP BASED IN NEW YORK, USA Established: 22 MARCH 2010 Fitch Rating: NOT APPLICABLE Total Equity: US$13.4 MILLION* Total Assets: US$78.5 MILLION* *AS AT 31ST DECEMBER 2012
TEU: What can you tell us about current banking regulations and the impact they have on IIG’s operations in Malta? RB: Regulation of banks has always been at the very forefront of every country’s administrative agenda because economic stability and the whole financial sector depend on a sound banking system. The 2008 crises was a huge shock to regulators worldwide as they had to recognise their system’s respective vulnerability to systemic risk as never before. 06 |
While regulation of banks in Malta had always been strong, Malta, through the MFSA, subscribes to the measures that are being devised and implemented on the international scene at EU level to strengthen and protect the industry as a whole, following the EU Framework for Supervision of the Financial System. The European System of Financial Supervision is aimed at eliminating the deficiencies exposed during the financial crises and the European Banking Authority seeks to implement a common standard of regulation within the Community, thereby ensuring the highest level of protection for depositors, while fostering economic stability within the member states. IIG Bank was licensed after the crises and has operated within the environment of the new and evolving regulatory measures. We ensure that our business planning and financial projections are well in line with any new measure that is introduced in the gradual process of such enhanced regulation. TEU: How has IIG Bank thrived despite volatility in the markets and achieved record performance in 2012/3? RB: At IIG Bank, we made a conscious decision early on about what line of banking we wished to embark on and the style in which we wanted to deliver service. IIG Group is recognised internationally as a commodity trade finance specialist and we wish to build on past experience to develop the structured commodity trade finance concept in new geographic areas. We have therefore limited our focus to this sector which needs highly specialised skills but does not carry the high administrative cost that retail lending would incur. On the liability side of our balance sheet, we foster a relationship based approach where we try to give our depositors best value, both
for the savings entrusted to us but also through a highly personalised service, which is reaping excellent results. I must admit that the crises and volatility in the international financial markets has led investors to seek more secure avenues to earn a return on their savings, triggering a major shift towards bank deposits and we benefitted from this. TEU: Who would you say are IIG’s usual clientele? RB: We set the entry level of our time deposit accounts at a minimum of Eur25,000, or the equivalent in GBP and USD. The typical client would therefore be anyone who has saved and has put money aside, and either seeks growth in savings through compounding of interest or wishes to augment his regular income or pension with regular returns, since accrued interest is paid out regularly. Our loyal customers come from every field, background and age group, typically Maltese nationals and expatriates resident in Malta. “One can say that the Maltese banking system has gone through the test of fire”
TEU: How would you describe the current state of the banking sector? RB: In my opinion, Malta has a sound and resilient banking sector. One can say that the Maltese banking system has gone through the test of fire, both during the 2008 crises and more recently, with the attack through the international media when Malta was dragged into the Cyprus debacle. Thanks to the prudent management of credit risk that the main players have traditionally applied and the
IIG Bank (Malta) Limited (“the Bank” or “IIG Bank”) was incorporated in January 2010 and principal activity is focused on structured commodity trade finance with a particular focus the International Investment Group LLC (“IIG”), an established global trade finance manage the emerging markets. IIG Bank is a fully licensed credit institution regulated by the Malta F established under the Laws of Malta.
COVER STORY INTERVIEW
strong regulatory regime that has prevailed, Malta has come out of such events, not unscathed, but proud in its ability to overcome such shocks convincingly. TEU: Looking at the challenges ahead, do you believe that trade finance, and the soft commodity sector, continues to be resilient despite the eurozone crises? RB: The essence to the livelihood and development in the world is trade. Malta’s history and cultural roots are directly linked to that great trading nation that dominated the civilized world 3,000 years ago, the Phoenicians. Banking started with trade and so long as produce is traded across borders, the role of financing and facilitating banks active in this sector remains crucial. During periods of crises, consumption of basic commodities rarely diminishes. There may be disruption of logistics, sanctions, poor harvests, over supply and other events that have a knock-on effect on the industry, but banks have always adapted to such challenges and the opportunity will always be there. So much so, that despite the crises banks have remained very active and today we experience a renewed interest, both from banks that have not been involved before, but also from fund investors seeking to enter this market. TEU: How critical is it to maintain the culture of innovation within the bank, despite your success, which can lead to complacency? RB: The most critical factor for a service provider is to remain receptive to customer needs. Innovation for the sake of being different is pointless unless there is a market expectation for this. We cannot be complacent
because we are close to our customers and despite our limited range of products, we remain attractive offering competitively priced, flexible deposit products that are tailored and that are regularly adapted to anticipate market sentiment. “Innovation for the sake of being different is pointless unless there is a market expectation for this”
TEU: In terms of recruiting advisors, are you more concerned with intellect or cultural fit? RB: In a service industry you have to have both qualities in the same person. Within the banking industry, especially within a specialised niche bank like ours, personnel are in constant contact with clients discussing personal confidential matters of a technical nature. Therefore a natural bond needs to exist for the essential level of trust that should result from such interaction. Hence we are careful and selective in adding the right components to our team. TEU: Do you ever reflect on the successes or are you always looking ahead? RB: In planning, it is always wise to look back and evaluate your position with a mindset that you can always do better. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses allows you to determine what you need in order to succeed going forward. One has to be critical even in achievement as there is always room for improvement. There is no option but to continue building and developing your business model. TEU
All rights reserved | Copyrighted
010 and was licensed to operate as a credit institution in March of the same year. The Bank’s r focus on emerging markets’ trading activity. IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd (“IIG Bank”) is an affiliate of manager based in New York specialising in the global commodity export sector with a focus on Malta Financial Services Authority and is a participant in the Depositor Compensation scheme
Editor’s Note With over thirty-five years‘ experience in the financial services sector Raymond Busuttil has significant experience in international trade finance. Prior to joining IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd., he served in several key managerial positions with various financial institutions, including FIMBank plc, where he spent thirteen years in senior executive positions responsible for various aspects of that bank’s global operation. He also formed part of the Bank’s Risk Management & Credit Committee and the Asset & Liability Committee, dealing primarily with assessment of sovereign, institutional counterparty risk and serviced commodity trading clients. Ray’s previous experiences include nineteen years working with the Bank of Valletta Group in corporate lending and private banking services targeting an international high net worth customer base. Mr. Busuttil is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (London), holds an International Banking Diploma and is qualified in Trust Administration. Raymond Busuttil serves as the Managing Director and CEO of IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd.
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
DOES YOUR ORGANISATION HAVE LEADERSHIP TALENT?
by Dr Beverly Cutajar
The increasing awareness that social skills are as vital as technical skills for any leadership role, has raised numerous questions amongst leaders and managers in an attempt to understand how they can fulfil their role effectively within their organisation. Our experience with leaders and managers spanning diverse sectors at various levels of expertise shows that in most cases, leaders and managers move up the corporate ladder mainly because of their technical abilities, with very little exposure to leadership and management competencies. This puts organisations at a disadvantage primarily because the essential role of every leader/manager is to manage people. What some or most fail to understand is the fact that the number of productive (or unproductive) hours of their respective employees will have a significant impact on output and profitability, therefore proper management of every employee within the organisation is critical. A recent study carried out amongst ICT organisations in Malta shows that the money invested to develop technical competencies is much higher than the development of leadership skills, with some organisations declaring that no budget at all is planned for the development of soft skills. This approach can be rather risky as it may jeopardise organisations’ positioning against their competitors. The first step to developing a socially intelligent organisation is to evaluate how your organisation is promoting the growth of its leadership talent. This can be achieved by carrying out a performance / skills gap. The aim is two-fold: to inform strategic decisions take by your organisation to maximise output and potential, and to support your leaders in raising their levels of accurate self-awareness in evaluating their competencies. There are a number of leadership and management competencies that should be evaluated 08 |
including the following: emotional intelligence, performance management, verbal and nonverbal communication, conflict management, time management, delegation, interpersonal relations, giving and receiving feedback, expressing empathy, problem-solving and decision-making, motivating employees and people development practices, amongst others. The lack of commitment to exploit these and other related competencies may result in important issues being left to the side which are very often never picked up. Once the performance/competency gap is identified, learning solutions need to be tailordesigned to bridge such gap. Solutions can include but are not limited to workshops, coaching and mentoring, brain storming activities, on-the-job training or job shadowing, discussion forums and e-learning. In order to maximise the investment approved by the organisation, a set of clear objectives should be designed from the outset. These objectives should be assessed throughout the process, ensuring that the process is assisting leaders to achieve their growth plans and that it enables the achievement of organisational objectives. One of the aims of this developmental approach is to ensure that leaders and managers do not only feel responsible for the performance of their own department but also see themselves as business leaders capable of embracing the company’s overall business vision and strategy. The first step to developing a socially intelligent organisation is to evaluate how your organisation is promoting the growth of its leadership talent
Such a strategy can be successful when it nurtures talent at all levels so that leaders become competent in managing their employees’ performance, lead with example and transfer these skills onto potential future leaders. What is fundamental is that companies develop a sustainable talent strategy at the heart of the organisation that drives its culture and objectives. TEU
Achievements 1. Co-founder of ThinkTalent Ltd 2. Conducted various leadership workshops amongst senior management teams in Malta and abroad 3. Coached various leaders at senior levels both in Malta and in other countries 4. Completed a Doctorate in Social Sciences specialising in HR Development 5. Nominated by the President of Malta, in his capacity as Chairperson of The Malta Community Chest Fund, to sit on the L-Istrina 2012 Core Team. 6. Chaired and appeared as guest speaker in leadership and management conferences 7.Guest presenter at the University of Leicester and appeared as guest lecturer at the University of Malta
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Banif Bank (Malta) is a credit institution licensed to undertake the business of banking by the MFSA in terms of the Banking Act 1994. Registered in Malta C41030 – 203, Level 2, Rue D’Argens, Gzira, GZR 1368, Malta.
INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
REBUILDING THE FUTURE
by Martin Vella
Dr Simon Busuttil’s main goal since being elected the new PN Leader is rebuilding the party into a strong and credible Opposition. In this exclusive and extensive interview, Dr Simon Busuttil tells us of his optimism in the sheer determination, enthusiasm and motivation that the leadership team and the party is witnessing, as he leads the Nationalist Party in probably its biggest challenge of the past quarter of a century. This is Part 1 of a broad, frank, absorbing and revealing interview TEU: 1. Following your successful bid for the PN leadership, and with the European MEP elections just round the corner, what can we expect to be different this time round for the Nationalist Party leader? The European Parliament elections are a very trying and early test that comes at a time when the PN is starting a new era. This task is a very difficult one, made harder by the short time we have before going to the polls, but it is a challenge we look forward to. Our primary focus, in the aftermath of forming the new leadership team, is to focus on regrouping and rebuilding our party. This is a party that has just lost a general election by a heavy margin. The party needs to be reorganised in a manner that makes it efficient and effective in the 21st century. Simultaneously, we must also deal with our financial challenges, as do all other political parties, and in this way we shall ensure that the foundation on which the party is set up is a sound and solid one. “We are moving from a situation where we used to focus a great deal on our leader, to a situation where we lead as a team”
TEU: 2. Earlier you mentioned the timing of the European Parliament elections. Who dictates when these MEP elections are held?
Editor’s Note Simon Busuttil took office as Leader of the Opposition in May 2013 after having been elected Leader of the Nationalist Party. A lawyer by profession, Dr Busuttil specialised in European studies and was at the forefront of the campaign in favour of Malta’s membership in the European Union. Simon Busuttil served as a Maltese Member of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2013. In his role, Dr Busuttil led the European People’s Party (EPP) in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. In June 2009, he was re-elected to the European Parliament with a record 28% of the national vote (68,792 votes), the highest percentage score in the European Union.In 2012, Simon Busuttil was elected Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party. In the 2013 election, he was elected an MP of the Maltese Parliament.
The timing of the European Parliament elections, held every five years, is not for us to choose. Our entire leadership team, including the Deputy Leader for Party Affairs and Secretary General have a large say in dictating the pace of our preparations for these elections. However, this requires hard work and resources. A political party differs from a profit-making business in the sense that it requires a large group of people working together to achieve a goal, with a great number of volunteers and helpers working towards this end. TEU: 3. With the recent elections of the PN’s secretary general, deputy leaders and
INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
executive members, do you believe the party has been rejuvenated, or should a more thorough clean out take place? Without doubt, the recent elections have brought about a generational change at party level. I am surrounded by hard-working, competent and dedicated people in all posts. My message during the leadership campaign was that we should work together as a team, and this is why we are now orienting the party towards the idea of a leadership team rather than a leader running on his own steam. This is the message I wanted to convey immediately on being elected party leader, and this is the reason why I asked for all hands on deck and introduced a second deputy leader for the PN. With regards to your question on whether this upheaval is occurring across the board, I think it is essential to point out that such change has been introduced at every level of the party, with the objective being a renewal process, and not just change for the sake of it. TEU: Yes of course, but I have monitored the election campaign closely, spoken to activists and counsellors and attended various press conferences held by the PN. An easy assumption to make would be that one of the main reasons why the PN lost the elections was the lack of unity between the PN administration and its activists and MPs, as well as a lack of discipline and communication. How are you going to handle this? SB: We have had three intense months of soul searching in order to genuinely understand the electoral result, and to a certain extent that chapter is now closed. Now is the time to move forward and rebuild, so we are looking ahead with a clear understanding of what we need to do. It is time for the PN to stop feeling sorry for itself and replace this with a positive energy and hard work. The detailed report we drew up as the post-mortem of the election serves not only to identify what went wrong, but also to map the way forward. Of course, what we have in front of us is challenging and no easy task, but I am sure that the right motivation and enthusiasm trumps over this. TEU: Do you intend to move forward by bringing in new faces on board or perhaps offering existing members a fresh start? And do you feel the need to build bridges with persons who became disillusioned with the PN in the past? SB: Our main concern, besides keeping and strengthening our existing base, is to reach out to those thousands of voters who crossed over to Labour or simply did not vote, and winning back their trust. This is achieved by convincing people in an honest manner
that the Nationalist Party is moving ahead, with the respect that our past deserves and the knowledge that those lessons have been learnt and are being addressed. TEU: Do you think that the mentality of the Nationalist Party as presented pre-election and as it stands today truly reflects today’s society and its needs? SB: I think it’s safe to say that before the election, we lost our understanding of and contact with numerous sectors of society, and that is one of the reasons why the result was so negative. One of the decisions I took in the first weeks in office was to establish a commission focusing on the changing Maltese society. Its task is to provide the party with a clear snapshot of today’s society and improve the party’s understanding of it. The party must always know the challenges Maltese families face, as well as what needs to be done to address these issues. This also includes an important aspect – what today’s society expects of a political party, and what it expects of the Nationalist Party in particular. Times are changing, and we must ensure we are in sync with the public, as after all, this is our very scope. The PN has done well over the last twenty-five years in a drastically changing society. We have taken major decisions which have been very rewarding, such as joined the European Union. Just as we knew the time to move forward and upgrade, so to speak, so must we do so now. “My message to the business community at large is that the Nationalist Party was, is and remains a pro business party”
TEU: Do you think the party statute needs to change to accommodate this? SB: Yes. In fact, one of the first things I did in the very first week I was elected was to establish a party statute revision commission, that is due to report back to us by the end of July on what and changes should be made and how they should be implemented. This commission has embarked on a wide consultation process, touring various localities and obtaining feedback from persons from all walks of life. I am very open-minded about what changes we should implement, and we’ll waste no time in introducing them. TEU: How optimistic are you about bridging the gap that exists between the parties at the moment, and what chances do you give that the Nationalist party will be able to win over those 35,000 votes? SB: II am mainly optimistic about one thing – the sheer determination, enthusiasm and
motivation that the leadership team, activists and members of the PN have to bridge this gap. This is the most vital aspect of our upcoming work, as without it all our work would be futile. I am of course aware of the very large gap that was portrayed in the last election, but at the same time it is this large gap that instigated the changes that needed to be introduced in the PN. In the twentyfive years the PN was in Government – barring the twenty-two month Labour term between 1996 and 1998, we focused on the government side of work, giving insufficient attention to the party itself. We are now best placed to work on this and yield results. TEU: Do you feel that the PN has lost support of sections of the business community, especially in the construction industry and the middle income wage earners? SB: Yes, I do think this was the case in the last election. Having said that, let me reiterate that the Nationalist Party was, is and will remain a pro-business party. This means that we want to create the right climate for companies and businesses in Malta and Gozo. Businesses in Malta have thrived and prospered, but bureaucracy and the lack of a more personalised approach hindered the progress made by some. You mentioned the construction area – this is a section we mostly lost support from due to MEPA’s shortcomings. The balance between responsible development and opening up the sector further was not reached sufficiently. My message to the business community is that the PN is a pro-business party and we will strive to support this sector in the most adequate and fair manner.You mentioned the construction area and in that respect of course we were deeply unpopular with that sector because of MEPA. In MEPA we were trying to find a good balance between responsible development and opening up to the sector. For the construction industry we did not strike the right balance, sometimes when you do try to strike the right balance you end up being criticised. My message to the business community at large is that the Nationalist Party was, is and remains a pro business party. TEU: Following the first 100 days in office, Joseph Muscat made certain decisions, some of which were heavily criticised, and rightly so. Some of these decisions concerned the Health Sector. For instance, the appointment of John Dalli seems to show a lack of confidence in the current Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia. SB: Absolutely. The decision to appoint John Dalli, a former PN Health Minister, to run the state hospital translates into a huge vote of July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
no confidence in the present Health Minister – barely 100 days into the legislature. We will now see what the government plans to implement through Dalli, and of course we will be there to scrutinise his work as well. “it is clear that the government is actually purging public administration from anyone associated of having been appointed by the PN government and replacing with well known Labour militants”
TEU: What about the decisions about the people who were discharged from work or ejected from their seat of office after giving good service, and the substantial political appointees that the Labour Party has introduced. The slogan Malta Tagħna Lkoll is being seen by many as having
metamorphosed into Malta Tagħna Biss. What are your views on this? SB: It is our aim to be a strong yet constructive Opposition party in Parliament. This means that when we agree with the Government we will rightly say so, and when we do not we shall do so as well. In the last quarter of a century we had an Opposition that opposed everything just for the sake of it. We want to do things differently. Having said that, we will not hold back our criticism when it is due. The Malta Tagħna Lkoll slogan took mere days to become a bad joke, and more evidence of this emerges almost every single day. Labour has set out on a vindictive mission to replace every position in the public administration in a partisan manner, discarding all values of competence and merit, which goes completely against what it promised in the electoral campaign.
Furthermore, the new Labour Government has taken numerous decisions that have shaken the delicate balance that exists between the executive and legislative pillars on which our democracy is built. One of these was the decision to amend various laws to allow Labour backbenchers in Parliament to take up positions in Government boards. Apart from the fact that this weakens scrutiny in Parliament, this decision is also negative because it will lead to the politicisation of even more formerly impartial boards and entities at Government level. As an Opposition, we will keep up our pressure and scrutiny to show why these decisions are harmful to the public interest. TEU
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CORPORATE INTERVIEW ESCROW FUNDING
by Josabeth Cassar
Escrow is a legal arrangement whereby an asset – something of value such as a deposit of funds, a deed, a bond or a cheque, a license or a patent as well as a written instrument or a contract for the sale of real property is delivered to a trusted neutral third party, the ‘Escrow Agent’ also known as a ‘Trustee’. This asset will be held pending a contingency or the fulfilment of a condition or obligation as predefined in the relative agreement. Should that event occurring, the Escrow Agent or Trustee will deliver or transfer the asset to the proper Beneficiaries. Once the agreement has been entered into, the terms for holding and releasing the asset cannot be altered in the absence of an agreement by all parties. A typical Escrow agreement would involve the parties negotiating the Terms and Conditions of the transaction. This is then signed by the parties involved together with the Escrow Agent/Trustee. The Escrow Trustee would then receive the relative asset which is to be held in accordance with the provisions of the Escrow Agreement. Once the conditions of the agreement are fulfilled, the Escrow Trustee will release the asset to the intended party. One may see a strong resemblance to a Letter of Credit or a Bank Guarantee, however it is worthwhile noting that an Escrow Agreement is a flexible vehicle which is tailor-made for each and every transaction and can therefore address any conditions that may be agreed to by the contracting parties. An Escrow service is useful particularly in circumstances like: i. Business transfer arrangements ii. Holding funds for business transactions iii. Holding earnest money and deposits especially in the purchase and/ or lease of real estate iv. Safekeeping of documents pending the fulfillment of a condition v. Holding funds for the settlement of claims vi. Pooling in of funds by various individuals which have to be transferred to a third party on the fulfillment of an event vii. Receiving funds from the European Commission for a particular project and distributing them to the entitled Beneficiaries on the presentation of the required documentation There are a myriad of advantages for setting up an Escrow Agreement, •
the funds or asset which is the subject of the Escrow will be held by a neutral and impartial third party;
the assets will only be released on the fulfillment of the conditions as set out and signed by the parties;
once the conditions stipulated in the Escrow Agreement are met, the Escrow Agent shall release the relative asset to the person who is lawfully entitled to it;
given that the funds/assets which are subject to the Escrow will be held in the name of the Escrow Agent, said funds/asset shall be segregated from the personal assets of the parties thus ensuring that these shall not be attacked by third party creditors.
Escrow services are highly versatile and will be structured to meet the specific needs of the clients. Why choose Bank of Valletta as your Trustee? You will enjoy peace of mind knowing that the Escrow is under the ownership, management and control of a reputable Bank offering a dedicated professional service by a fully fledged Trustee Services Unit. We will work closely with you to develop customised solutions, while ensuring that your needs are fully understood, continually evaluated and met – including the maximisation of your wealth. TEU
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Editor’s Note Josabeth Cassar has been working with Bank of Valletta for the past thirty one years. Josabeth gained a great deal of experience working in the retail arm of the bank, achieving her diploma as a Financial Advisor and managing two of the Bank’s branches for a period of ten years. When the Trust & Trustees Act was enacted in 2005, she grasped the opportunity of moving to the Bank’s fully fledged Trustee Unit where she obtained the Foundation Certificate in Trusts Law and Management. Josabeth is now at the helm of the Business Generation both in the area of Commercial and Personal Trusts as well as Foundations and Escrow Services. She has delivered various lectures and presentations on Trusts both to Maltese nationals and foreigners alike.
AMERICAN EXPRESS® PLATINUM CARD PROMOTION LAUNCHED BY BOV Bank of Valletta has announced a limited offer linked to American Express Platinum Cards. “We are delighted to announce that all customers applying for the American Express Platinum Card will benefit from 50% discount on the annual card membership fee for the first year effectively translating into an annual saving of €275 annually ,” said John Pace, Executive Head Cards Business. The offer is applicable on American Express Platinum Cards applications received up to 30th August 2013. Aside hotel and travel benefits, coupled with the superior service and prestige that is synonymous with American Express, the American Express Charge Cards enjoy a no pre-set spending limit. One must repay the full balance at the end of each month thus giving the customer total control over his expenses. American Express Cards are accepted by over 800,000 ATMs worldwide. Applications for American Express Cards, together with further information about the range of American Express premium Charge Cards offered through Bank of Valletta are available at any BOV branch. Contact: Joyce Tabone, Media and Community Relations, Bank of Valletta Bank of Valletta,BOV Centre,Cannon Road St Venera SVR9030, Malta email@example.com Tel +356 2275 3037 www.bov.com
HSBC MALTA REVAMPS SWIEQI BRANCH In recent weeks, the HSBC branch in Swieqi received a major make-over and features a revamped layout providing cashier services. All customers can visit the branch for their personal financial and banking needs while, for improved privacy, Premier customers continue to be served from the branch’s first floor. These developments are in line with HSBC’s €10 million branch refurbishment programme. The staff members in the branch are trained to help customers make use of the bank’s automated services such as ATMs, internet banking and phone banking. Over the past years, the bank has invested considerably in Express Banking services, which provide higher levels of customer satisfaction. “Backed by an investment in training that focuses on delivering superior customer service, the newly refurbished branch offers cashier facilities, personalised account planning and wealth management.” said HSBC Malta’s Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Paul Steel. The Swieqi branch offers continuous service, including extended opening hours from Monday to Thursday between 08.30 to 13.30hrs, and between 16.00 till 19.00hrs. On Friday the Swieqi branch is open between 08.30 till 19.00hrs and on Saturday the opening hours are between 08.30 to 12.30hrs. The branch is managed by Katherine Borg-Costanzi. 16 |
MAKING A DIFFERENCE by Martin Vella
In this interview, The Economic Update speaks with Prof Brian GD Smart, Rector at Global College Malta, about the new institute for higher education specialising in Masters level degrees, whose campus is located at SmartCity.
Background The new education facility is preparing for its first intake of students in September this year and aims to have 3000 students on campus by 2018, bringing a significant stimulus to the local-area economy and significant new revenue for the South of the island. Professor Brian Smart, a British educator and Rector of Global College, begins by saying that the new College is a positive step for all Maltese Islanders while presenting the nation, through Minister Evarist Bartolo, with â‚Ź38,000 worth of scholarships exclusively for Maltese nationals.
TEU: Professor Smart, â€œGood quality education makes a difference. To whom do you intend to make a difference on a personal and societal level, and how significance is the meaning of difference in terms of employability? BS: It will make a difference to all who attend GCM as students, and their employers, and hence society. Employability means that graduates are able to problem solve, are tea players and are in tune with the needs of employers in their chosen career. TEU: Why and how does the presence of Global College Malta be a positive step for Maltese nationals? BS: GCM will offer new courses not currently available in Malta, and will connect Maltese with international industry. Malta is set to become a high-value-added education hub
at the centre of the Mediterranean with Global College focused on British style education in key sectors such as Oil & Gas, IT (Cloud Computing) and Management.
BS: By providing:
There’s a growing demand for higher education, and the Maltese Government’s commitment to post-graduate tertiary education influenced our decision to invest here in Malta. We expect about 20% of our students will be locals and their parents will be saving a lot of money by not having to send their children overseas any longer to get access to best-of-breed postgraduate education in our specialist areas. Our projections show that Malta could attract up to 20,000 international students over the next five to seven years which will help to drive growth across all local institutions. Malta has strong roots in the tertiary sector that can be traced back to 1592 with the founding of the Jesuits College, which became the University of Malta. It’s an excellent heritage to work with.
• • • •
“ Mobility of talent does deliver diversity of viewpoint”
TEU: Global College is focusing also on British style education in key sectors such as Oil & Gas, IT (Cloud Computing) and Management - what is unique about these courses and what benefits do the different business segments reap besides shaping candidates for tomorrow’s business environment? BS: The subjects are unique, e.g Oil and Gas, IT Cloud technology with Management – with more to be announced later. They will be taught substantially by industry specialists. Business segments will be kept abreast of the latest developments in their area. TEU: What are GCMs immediate and long term objectives? BS: Immediate objectives are to launch courses in September 2013 and January 2014. And then to grow to about 3000 students studying a portfolio of at least 30 courses in the next 5 year or so.
The understanding required to enable problem solving and innovation Entrepreneurial skills Team working capability Confidence in their own capability Exposure to international society
TEU: How further education (FE) and training providers are responding to the challenges of globalisation through the teaching and learning opportunities they provide? BS: By offering more and more in-country courses, with face to face teaching providing the attributes listed above TEU: What’s your opinion regarding the international mobility of talent - does it deliver diversity of viewpoint and do our businesses need such different viewpoints? BS: Yes mobility of talent does deliver diversity of viewpoint. Students studying with a foreign university often go through a culture shift. It may be that in the past, the talent has had to be developed by studying in a foreign country, and that may be changing. Often people who study and work abroad return to their home country in later life, bringing their experience with them TEU: Is it true that there is recognition that global economic, social and cultural forces have influenced the nature and for of “ Globalisation offers threats and opportunities. The opportunities come from recognisining a nation’s core attributes and future-proofing them”
TEU: Can you talk about the ways in which high-value-added education, the availability of information about employment affects the job market and impact the economy?
learning over the past decade? Why is globalisation seen a linked to the changing nature of local economies and resulting skills needs and working practices?
BS: The availability of well and appropriately qualified graduates in Malta will encourage employers to recruit and locate here. For the international student leaving home for the first time Malta is able to offer a wonderful experience and we expect our campus will be a melting pot from the Commonwealth which will help to broaden the student’s outlook while enjoying this delightful country to the full. I also suspect it will be great for creating a spirit of regional community through Malta’s various education institutions. Gifted young people with specific career goals will be able to discover what makes Malta and the Mediterranean way of life so special during their time here,Foreign students who leave Malta after graduation will remember Malta with fondness, and may in the future seek strategic partnerships with Malta, as their influence in their industry grows.
BS: Globalisation offers threats and opportunities. The opportunities come from recognisining a nation’s core attributes and futureproofing them. Also by looking for new developments and taking strategic decisions to provide for them. Malta can and is doing this. The provision of foreign courses will help.
TEU: How and in what ways colleges and other training providers are equipping learners to live and work in a global economy and global society?
TEU: Is the role and support of senior management key to any support and any engagement with the global agenda within a college or by a training provider? TBS: Senior management in industry need to communicate their needs to the higher education providers, but also listen when the institution suggests things to them. The pull-push model that GCM advocates is paramount to this engagement. TEU
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Editor’s Note Prof Brian Smart has over 20 years experience as a senior academic and researcher based in the UK and abroad. He has consulted with the international petroleum industry and government agencies, bringing analytical capability, creative thinking and innovation to problem solving and capacity building in the fields of science, technology, strategy and higher educational processes. He has worked in the mining industry and three British universities, most notably being Head of the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University for seven years, and ultimately a Vice Principal with responsibility for the Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus. He helped create a new University in East Africa. He has always worked closely with industry. With his former colleagues in the Rock Mechanics Research Group. He invented the first rock testing cell capable of applying true triaxial stresses to core plugs, and has developed pragmatic methods for producing the reservoir data required for geomechanical studies. Retaining Honorary Professorships from Heriot-Watt University and Tomsk Polytechnic University Russia, he is now Rector of Global College Malta.
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
CORPORATE FUND MANAGEMENT INTERVIEW
Malta based Prime Brokerage firm EXANTE at the cutting edge of finance By Patrick Jason
www.exante.eu Malta has redefined its role within the international business community to one of initiative and success. The Island has been very successful in diversifying its economy away from traditional economic activity generators. By developing new sectors like ICT, iGaming, Pharmaceuticals and Financial Services, the economy is gearing these diverse operations to compete effectively in world markets. Malta also continues to win business from more-established fund jurisdictions also. The island has benefited from a growing demand by investors for transparency as well as from fears among hedge funds that the EU was becoming increasingly hostile to firms based outside of it. Dozens of large U.K. hedge funds and funds of hedge funds have shifted part of their operations, including accounting and investor relations, to Malta. High quality global journalism requires investment. The Mediterranean island is emerging alongside traditional rivals to London, such as Swiss towns Geneva and Zug, as another European location for hedge fund managers keen to maintain flexible operating arrangements and avoid heavy tax bills.
Account Managers EXANTE “Setting the standard and constantly raising the bar,” Forbes recently wrote about Portomaso based brokerage firm EXANTE that in seeing a niche in the hedge fund marketplace have received much acclaim for their financial instruments, technology and products. The company was founded in March 2011. With offices in Singapore, Russia and Amsterdam the company has seen rapid expansion. “EXANTE has managed to do this by marking another first in the world of Bitcoin investing”
EXANTE’s fund platform is a potential game changer for the industry as it gives investors the opportunity to invest directly in hedge funds,” stated Gatis Eglitis, one of EXANTE’s managing partners. “The critical factor is the ability to generate meaningful alpha EXANTE is not too concerned about the types of strategies on the platform but rather their quality. What counts when assessing a manager is audited historical performance, as this shows past volatility. If performance is exceptional, we first ensure that there is
nothing hidden beneath the tip of the iceberg. When confirmed, we are happy to work with the hedge fund managers to list their fund.” Gracing the cover of The Financial Times is no mean feat, but EXANTE has managed to do this by marking another first in the world of Bitcoin investing, when they opened up their Automatic Trading Platform (ATP) for their landmark Bitcoin Fund to allow share trading by investors The well- established Bitcoin Fund was designed to institutionalize one of the most successful electronic currencies, Bitcoin. The purpose of the fund is to give an opportunity for professional investors and eligible counterparties to take an advantage of appreciation of the digital currency Bitcoin, which otherwise would not be possible. The growth of Malta’s fund industry has been so rapid that it was once feared whether Malta, with a population of just 414,000, has enough accountants and financial analysts to keep up with demand. In turbulent times around Europe it is great to see the Island fighting off its competitors within this sector. TEU
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Editor’s Note Patrick has worked as a business journalist for many of Europe’s leading business magazines. He presently contributes to The Hong Kong Business post as well as being a part time lecturer in media studies.
ASSURANCE AND TAX
BEYOND THE EY REBRAND
By George Carol
Building a better working world is an ambitious objective. We talk to Ronald Attard, EY’s Malta Country Managing Partner and Transaction Advisory Services Leader for South East Europe about the motivation behind the firm’s new identity. Corporate Brief EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services and is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. It employs over 167,000 people worldwide and generates over $24 billion in annual global revenues. The company was ranked No. 1 in the Forbes Magazine’s Best Accounting Firms to Work For in 2012 and won the Accountancy Firm of the Year at the prestigious Financial Times / mergermarket 2012 European M&A Awards.
TEU: Ernst & Young has recently rebranded to EY accompanied by a new tagline: ‘Building a better working world’. Can you walk me through the reasons for this move? RA: 1 July 2013 was an important date for our organisation. We not only celebrated the appointment of a new Global Chairman and CEO, Mark Weinberger, but we also announced the adoption of EY as our new global brand name, unveiled a new logo and adopted Building a better working world as our purpose. Shortening our name will provide consistency and ease of use for EY practices and clients around the world. We have also redesigned our logo, reflecting our new brand name clearly in the design. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders
Editor’s Note Ronald Attard is EY’s Malta Country Managing Partner and the Transaction Advisory Services Leader for South East Europe. He is a Chartered Certified Accountant, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a senior visiting lecturer at the University of Malta.
Our new brand name and logo demonstrate clearly and boldly who we are and reflect the goal we have recently set ourselves to be the number one brand in our profession. Building a better working world is EY’s purpose, our tagline and is central to our brand. We know that building a better working world is an ambitious objective. But
ASSURANCE AND TAX
it is an incredibly important aspiration and will be front and centre of everything we do as an organisation. Every day, every EY person contributes to building a better working world – for our clients, our communities, and our families. We believe that everything we do – every audit, every tax return, every advisory opportunity, every interaction with a client or colleague – contributes to building a better working world. We are able to execute anywhere with a common methodology and top-down accountability
TEU: What are EY’s core values and how do you put them into practice? RA: EY’s values are the fundamental beliefs of our organisation and remain the bedrock of our culture. We encourage and expect our people to demonstrate integrity, respect and teaming, have the energy, enthusiasm and courage to lead and build relationships based on doing the right thing. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a crucial role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
We have given particular attention to recruitment, training and development of our people, and new technologies. We have grown in a number of ways – in the number of people we employ, in the nature of the work we do, in the breadth of expertise we employ, in the clients we service and in many other ways. We have witnessed significant growth in financial services and continue to experience growth, albeit at a smaller pace compared to other sectors. TEU: Why should a medium-sized or large company choose EY over your competitors?
RA: What distinguishes EY is our truly integrated global practice. Most professional services organisations are collections of locally controlled national practices. We are not. We take pride in our global approach to client service. We are able to execute anywhere with a common methodology and top-down accountability. We have achieved this by moving from the traditional professional services firm structure — a collection of affiliate firms — where country boundaries tend to dominate and hinder global-scale efficiencies and synergies.
TEU: How do you see the future of the local financial sector and the economy in general? RA: The local financial services sector has grown consistently in recent years. We continue to see increased interest particularly in the asset management and insurance industry. The World Economic Forum ranks Malta 13th out 144 countries, in terms of soundness of its banking sector. Our highly respected quarterly EY Eurozone Forecast, developed in conjunction with Oxford Economics and available to download from ey.com/malta, has just run a special feature on Malta. It forecasts steady, albeit slow, growth which is mainly driven by exports, tourism and services. Lower inflation provides support to real incomes. The growth outlook relies on investment in services and high-tech industries. Raising skills by investing in education would further enhance Malta’s attractiveness to businesses and foster medium term growth. TEU: How has EY Malta grown in the last few years? RA: We have been investing substantially in our growth in recent years, creating a competitive edge based on technical precision and professional dedication.
EY Malta forms part of the EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) Area combining 93 country practices into a single operating unit, which now embraces over 78,000 people and 3,500 partners. This structure enables us to commit the best of our global resources to helping our clients achieve their goals. TEU: Many tertiary level students are choosing to specialise in the financial sector. Why should EY be one of their ports of call? RA: Recruiting, managing and retaining top talent is at the heart of our vision. We want to create a workplace that encourages collaboration and flexibility – somewhere where the great people who form our borderless teams can truly excel. Our employees get to experience the global nature of our business
from the outset. Within a year of joining, over 50% of our new recruits have been seconded to another European country for an average stint of 6 months. Globally, EY ranked 4th (3rd in Europe) in Universum Top 100 IDEAL™ Employer Awards 2013, has featured in FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 15 consecutive year and ranked No. 1 in the Forbes Magazine’s The Best Accounting Firms to Work For in 2012. Locally, we were awarded the Employee Engagement Award at the Malta People Awards 2012 and were runners up in the Learning and Development Award. EY has a clear vision for the years ahead and hiring bright, talented people lies at the heart of this vision. We are investing heavily in the future. This quarter, 25 graduates and experienced hires will be joining us on a full time basis. In addition, we also have 60 trainees who will be with us for the summer. We offer these students the opportunity of working with a global company alongside established professionals. Students benefit from a whole range of technical and soft skills training opportunities including classroom and on-the-job training as well as extensive web-based learning from our award-winning learning management system that contains over 16,000 courses. In Malta we have established ICAEW and ACCA schemes which combine a good balance between work and study. These paid schemes enable students to benefit from professional work experience alongside formal training and mentoring in addition to providing them with study leave and tuition support. TEU: Recently, you have been appointed EY’s Transactions Advisory Services Leader for South East Europe. What does this post entail and how could Malta benefit from it? RA: I am responsible for leading our Transaction Advisory Services across our practices in South East Europe. Ultimately this means being responsible for EY’s performance in these markets, consolidating and strengthening our presence in them. We are actively seeking out new growth opportunities in individual countries and the region. From a Maltese angle, it will also open up new ways to continue to integrate local and international business ventures. TEU
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July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
WELCOME TO A WORLD OF SOLUTIONS OFFICE GROUP LTD IS AWARDED ONCE AGAIN AS ONE OF MALTA’S SUPERBRANDS
David J Dingli receiving the Superbrands Award on behalf of Office Group Ltd during The Superbrands Tribute Event Ceremony and Dinner.
Office Group Ltd has been Konica Minolta’s local distributor/partner for over 25 years. Having a vast production print client base both in Malta and North Africa, the organization covers most large organizations, government departments and corporations. OGL is renowned for providing reliable and efficient after sales services, backed by qualified technical engineers who are trained overseas. OGL specialises in document management systems and services, enabling clients to improve document workflow and efficiency. By integrating and applying industry-leading expertise and innovative technology, OGL helps companies meet today’s complex document workflow demands, providing customised, scalable solutions that streamline every phase of the document lifecycle - from input to output, as well as distribution, storage and retrieval. On the evening of June 26th, Office Group Ltd was awarded once again the prestigious Superbrands seal during the publication’s gala dinner for the launch of its 2013-2014 edition at the Pavilion Hall of The Westin Dragonara 24 |
Resort. The award reinforces the company’s strong identity, high levels of quality and performance, and client satisfaction.
and document management costs, enhance your productivity, improve your business and increase your profits.
Among the wide range of products that feature in the company’s portfolio, OGL supplies Laurel Note Counters/Sorters, which carry today’s most advanced currency processing technology, and EBA Shredders and Guillotines, with Made in Germany quality and renowned for their durability, operational safety and sophisticated functionality. Office Group Ltd is also the official distributor for OCÉ large format printers/scanners and plotters, providing the ultimate solution for engineering and architecture business, as well for other wide format production printing demands.
OGL also specialises in supplying equipment and technical service infra-structure to the Production Printing market. The Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS and bizhub PRO series leads the industry in digital production print performance — with revolutionary colour image quality, ultra-high-speed output, pro-quality inline finishing options to meet any job specs, and purpose-built reliability to stay competitive and keep pace with rising client workloads.
“OGL’S exclusive selection of highly efficient multifunctionals helps you lower your print and document management costs, enhance your productivity, improve your business and increase your profits.”
The products and services supplied by the organisation carry the philosophy of constant innovation which has produced the present generation of technologically superior devices and systems. This exclusively designed choice of highly efficient and perfectly compatible multifunctionals will help you lower your print
From OGL’s new business centre, Konica Minolta Business Solutions GmbH provides full support to the local market, to the CAMEA area (Central Asia, Middle East and Africa) and beyond, through their Representative Office in Malta. Office Group Limited welcomes all to visit their new showroom in Birkirkara and to experience the new world of business solutions available onsite. TEU
Office Group Ltd, Oftec Business Centre 1/2, Notabile Road, Birkirkara BKR1876 Tel: (356) 2149 3483 - (356) 2149 5596 Fax: (356) 2148 4320 - (356) 2149 1795 www.oglmalta.com - firstname.lastname@example.org All rights reserved | Copyrighted
REDUCING THE ‘DIGITAL DIVIDE’
by Martin Vella
Real-estate agencies, the Chamber of Commerce and developers, welcomed the newly launched Global Residence Programme. Following the government’s launch of this programme in the first 100 days, the eyes of the public are now focused on the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth. We discuss with the DrEdward Zammit Lewis, the Global Residence Programme, the ICT industry and about how the government formulates growth measures, what is feasible at the moment, what the priorities are and the biggest issues facing the government. TEU: You wrote that, “Learning to work with those with whom one does not agree, building consensus around one’s basic beliefs, welcoming constructive criticism, respecting the rights of minorities, building an all inclusive society where everyone enjoys equal opportunities and success is based on merit, these are among the hallmarks of transparent and unselfish political leadership.” Do you still retain this standpoint and do you think that the government has met this benchmark? EZL: Yes, the Government of which I form part has maintained the premise of “Malta Taghna Lkoll”. In this regard one can look at the appointments on boards, entities, commissions and authorities. I myself have practiced this approach where sectors under the previous administration were performing well, such as the Financial Services sector. I am ready and already made myself available to all persons who are willing to work with this Government. This will be my approach through the next five years. To date I already met with hundreds of people coming from different sectors and having different political views, but are willing to work with this Government and invest. TEU: You recently launched the Global Residence Programme, Malta’s latest residence option, launched for non-EU 26 |
Edward Zammit Lewis at the Malta Communications Authority foreigners. How does this offer great advantages and favourable thresholds, and allow people who buy or rent a property in Malta direct their income to Malta to benefit from a residence permit? EZL: The Global Residence Programme is a positive initiative which came about after consultation with all interested partners including professional high officials of government departments and authorities together with the private enterprise. My aim is to install stability and to reinstall Malta’s credibility in the relevant markets after a period of uncertainty which embarrassed Malta on an international level. The programme is by far more advantageous than any previous scheme, because it is clear, more attractive and has the backing of all the stakeholders, whilst respecting EU rules TEU: Will applicants of the new Global Residence Programme also be able to work or set up business in Malta, and what flat tax rate will be charged on any income arising in Malta? EZL: It is our intention as a Government to create incentives for persons who are ready to purchase or lease property in the Maltese Islands under the Global Residence Programme, set up commercial activity in Malta. As a Government we will be ready
to serve as a catalyst for more investment generated towards Malta. TEU: How does this specifically address the needs of non-EU and non-EEA foreign nationals and is it the government’s intention to look into all the programmes that Malta has and if introduce improvements to make them more attractive? EZL: Yes the Government is ready to introduce any improvements in the programme and is ready to look into all programmes of non-EU and non-EAA foreign nationals to come to Malta and invest. Yes the Government is ready to introduce any improvements in the programme and is ready to look into all programmes of non-EU and non-EAA foreign nationals to come to Malta and invest.
TEU: When will the similar residence programme available to EU nationals be published? EZL: The programme available to EU nationals will be published shortly. TEU: How does the government’s intend to create and support the climate for more quality jobs, especially in the ICT industry?
EZL: One of the key actions my secretariat (through MITA, MCA and other stakeholders) is currently working on is the drafting of a National Strategy for ICT. This strategy will address various perspectives, including building a digital economy that will flourish with the creation of more quality jobs. The ICT industry in Malta is past the stage where it can achieve higher levels of economic activity only on the basis of low labour costs. A greater focus on knowledge and innovation-based investment is required. Our objectives, in line with the Digital Economy and the sustained growth in jobs that it will bring, are to: • Ensure that the ICT Industry is a key pillar of the socio-economic development for Malta. Government will champion growth of the ICT sector and of digitally-enabled business through supportive public policy. • Ensure growth of Digital Businesses, especially the micro enterprises and SMEs, across different economic sectors, through the confident use of ICTs in operating, provisioning and selling products and services, and thus facilitate growth of Digital Jobs across the economy. • Improve, in collaboration with the Malta Enterprise, Malta’s value proposition to investors, partners and visitors. • Increase ICT entrepreneurial activities and promote budding technology businesses. • Support individuals /entities pursuing entrepreneurial activities enabled through technology (including focused access routes for start-ups) and increase the number of startups relying on ICTs to operate and provision products and services.
alliance, setting up of ICT Malta and through MITA opening an office in Smartcity Malta. • Increase the level of R&I and applied R&D that is conducted. • Improve access to multiple sources of finance, including venture capitalism sources. • Facilitate ICT market intelligence and trend analysis that will enable new policy making by the public entities and new business models, products or services by the private sector. • Minimise e-skills gaps and mismatches where both the quantity and the quality of the supply of competences better suit the industry’s requirements. • Consolidate Malta’s competitive offering for the iGaming Industry operating in Malta. • Strengthen the nascent Digital Games Production Industry operating locally. • Reinforce the economic relevance of the Financial Services sector by establishing an environment which enables sector innovations in terms of service provisioning through technologies and e-payment solutions. This Government is committed to facilitate Government’s operations by ensuring value optimisation and maximisation from ICT investments.
• Improve access to ICT infrastructure, resources and investment for businesses. TEU: How does your secretariat intend to decrease the ‘digital divide’, enforce the ‘digital literacy’ and build a digital society where everyone can be involved?
• Strengthen collaboration with entities, private and public, which are investing in the availability of incubation and innovation centres.
EZL: Reducing the ‘digital divide’ is a key priority for government. Through MCA and MITA, we will take measures that will help our citizens to:
• Strengthen the organisational setup, including the strengthening of the eSkills
• Be aware of the opportunities and benefits brought about by using ICT in daily life and at
work including through the use of the Internet and mobile devices. • Have affordable access to basic technology and connectivity. • Have access to quality content and services which are relevant to their respective lifestyle needs, cultural background, employment and level of education. • Use ICT as a means to improve their quality of life whether their issues relate to social, health, age and/or disabilities. • Learn new ICT related competences to be able to effectively make good use of technology in daily life and at work irrespective of age and employment. • Use ICT as a tool to balance family commitments and lifelong learning, and to live an active life whether within their employment or the community. • Feel safe and empowered in a digital world, particularly when browsing or transacting online. • Be educated in ICT education from their early years; this will be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, including through the implementation of the tablets initiative. The Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), which falls directly under my portfolio, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders (including MCA, FITA, Local Councils, e-Skills Alliance and ETC), will implement a number of outreach programmes aimed at improving the digital literacy and to reduce the digital divide. We will: • Appoint the e-Skills Alliance Board of Governors and Executive Committee. • Organise national e-Skills Week campaigns, possibly on an annual basis and in conjunction with similar EU campaigns. • Revise the e-Skills Demand and Supply Monitor to reflect today’s context and implement initiatives aimed at reducing the identified gaps. • Develop and implement engagement activities aimed at different target audiences (including educators, students, parents etc.). • Develop and implement a two-year action plan aiming at improving areas in the government websites and on-line services which, as they are currently implemented, may lead to a digital divide. • Support the Local Councils in the development of programmes to provide, primarily, eGovernment ICT tutoring services for target communities to reduce gaps in digital-age divide and socio-economic divide.
Dr. Edward Zammit Lewis addressing the press during the launch of the electronic forms for the Small Claims Tribunal
• In collaboration with e-Skills Alliance and ETC, promote a set of core operational skills as the underlying basis for ICT engagement July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
across society for ETC to provide widely accessible training programmes across the prospective employment sector. TEU: How does the government intent to utilise the investment of €8 Million in the best way with regards to the new data centre at MITA? EZL: The MITA data centre is a TIER III Data Centre which hosts the government infrastructure and information systems. This Data Centre is the fifth data centre in Western Europe and one of only 34 data centres worldwide that have been certified to reach the Tier III Facility Certification. This Government is committed to facilitate Target
Government’s operations by ensuring value optimisation and maximisation from ICT investments. The data centre is the back-bone for an interconnected government. We will adopt policies favouring the consolidation of ICT investments, thus ensuring that the MITA data centre will host: • New corporate systems and shared services; • New government and eGov services intended to reduce Government bureaucracy; • New mobile Government services intended to accelerate accessibility and transparency; • New ICT services that will facilitate the implementation of concepts such as Open Government and eDemocracy.
We are also committed to increase the number of employees per square meter – thus, maximising the usage of the floor facilities. Within the next few months, a number of MITA resources will move from the MITA Head Office to the MITA Data Centre. TEU: Will Malta reach the objectives of the Digital Agenda leading to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth across the European Union? EZL: The Digital Agenda is the EU’s strategy to help digital technologies, including the Internet, to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth. Launched in May 2010, the Digital Agenda for Europe contains 101 actions that have to be in place by 2020. These include:
Results for Malta
Basic broadband target, which requires that Statistics published in June 2013 show that Malta has reached this target with 99.95% of the broadband services should be available to Maltese territory today covered by both fixed and mobile broadband infrastructures. every citizen, in all Member States, by 2013 Fixed broadband subscriptions, as a In January 2013, the penetration rate for Malta reached 32.6% i.e. 3.8% above the EU average of percentage of the population in Malta 28.8%. (penetration rate) Availability rates for Next Generation Malta has one of the highest availability rates for Next Generation Access with 99.9% of homes. This Access (NGA - the availability of very high means that Malta has reached the Digital Agenda for Europe target in this regard, well before the speed broadband services, with speeds of at stipulated target of 2020. least 30 Mbps) Subscriptions reaching a speed of at least Malta has been witnessing significant growth in this area so that as at the end of March 2013, 30Mbps 10.4% of local subscribers had a connection of at least 30 Mbps. Nevertheless, this is below the EU average of 14.8%. Subscribers having ultrafast connections The percentage of subscribers having ultrafast connections amounts to 1% which is below the of at least 100Mbps EU average of 3.4%. The further deployment of nationwide NGA networks is expected to bring prices down and in turn, spur the take-up of higher speed broadband connections.We remain committed to explore Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) initiatives to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place, together with other measures to drive demand for such services. This will push Malta to reach the EU target of having at least 50% of broadband subscriptions on speeds of at least 100 Mbps by 2020 General Internet usage
Malta fares slightly behind the EU average of 70%, with 66% of the Maltese population using the Internet on a regular basis. 29% of the population has never used the Internet, against the EU average of 22%. On this front, a number of initiatives are underway to raise awareness regarding the benefits of ICT and provide affordable learning opportunities for people who have not yet started to make use of ICT.
Internet usage through mobile devices (e.g. Internet usage through mobile devices (e.g. Smartphones and tablets) in Malta is above the EU Smartphones and tablets) average, with an average rate of 40% in Malta, in contrast to the EU average of 36%. Proportion of the population with medium The Commission also reports that Malta has a larger proportion of the population with medium and high-level Internet skills and high-level Internet skills when compared to other Member States.
Our country registered a high percentage of cross border purchases in common with other small states. The number of Maltese SMEs engaged in eCommerce sales in 2012 was marginally above the EU average. Furthermore, the proportion of enterprises’ turnover achieved through eCommerce in 2012, was slightly higher than the EU average.We will prioritise actions around Cyber Security to increase trust and security in ICT networks, as well as interoperability and standards, to improve cross border activities.
In the 2012 eGovernment Benchmark report, published by the European Commission, Malta ranked: o First (amongst 32 countries) in four benchmarks - user-centric government, transparent government, citizen mobility, and business mobility. o Second in the key enablers benchmark. o Seventh in the effective government benchmark. o Thirteenth in the user-centric government benchmark. Malta has once again been confirmed as a front runner in the supply of eGovernment services. However the 2012 survey also highlighted a number of areas for improvement. eGovernment users are expecting more from the services that are being supplied. MITA, as the agency responsible for the delivery of the eGovernment programme, will ensure that it is meeting these expectations and delivering services that add practical value to the citizen online experience.
Circa 34.8% of business expenditure on R&D (BERD) in 2010 (equivalent to €9.1 million) was invested in the ICT sector, exceeding the equivalent EU average of 19%.This figure is not matched by public funding of R&D which still remains low. Hence, more public support for ICT R&D is needed to sustain and encourage increased participation of both private and public sector organisations in EC driven R&D programmes such as Horizon 2020, or through other means such as innovative procurement.
ICT in Education
Malta is still below the EU average in general terms with many businesses reporting difficulties in recruiting ICT specialists. We will continue to adopt best practices for enhancing Digital skills. Whilst our schools and students are increasingly digitally equipped, we need to encourage teachers to be digitally supportive. This is essential for the take-up of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects so critical for ICT jobs. At a higher education level we will be supporting public and private institutions to offer diplomas, degrees and doctorates allowing our work force to increase its’ ICT skills and also specialise in various facets within this sector. Thus strengthening our human resources from a quality aspect
Whilst Malta is performing well in most areas, it is evident that more needs to be done to get the general public using these services and enjoying the benefits that this brings with it. Our performance amongst business is encouraging, but this does not mean that
our efforts stop here. More can be achieved across the board, particularly in getting subscriptions to higher broadband speeds up and ensuring that our nation has the skills to fully participate in this digital economy.
policies and initiatives, through continued investment by our industry players and the ever-increasing demands of Maltese consumers, we will reach the EU digital agenda targets by 2020.
I am confident that through forward looking
All rights reserved | Copyrighted (Photos courtesy of DOI)
Dr Zammit Lewis meeting staff forming part of the customer care team at one of the local communication companies
Hon Dr Zammit Lewis Edward is Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth. Hon Zammit Lewis forwarded his candidature on the 8th and 11th districts. Born in Birkirkara and residing at Lija, he was chosen by the Labour Party leader Dr. Joseph Muscat to represent and assist the Opposition in the rent law reform amendments in 2009. He occupied the post of President of the Labour Youth Forum for two years and has contributed by writing various topical articles on the local newspapers about the political scenario.
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
CORPORATE FUND MANAGEMENT INTERVIEW
Gold standard for retail investors By Anatoli Grech Head Strategy and Regulatory Affairs Another significant change is the replacement of the Simplified Prospectus with a Key Investor Information Document (KIID). The KIID provides a clear, concise, easily understandable and easily comparable information to retail investors to enable them to make sound investment decisions. It’s two page format and highly prescriptive nature with five key headings certainly provides for more streamlined information to retail investors than was available under the Simplified Prospectus. A key feature of the KIID is the Synthetic Risk and Reward Indicator (SRRI). The SRRI is a measure of the overall risk and reward profile of a fund on a scale between 1 and 7. A numeric value of 1 means a low risk/low reward investment while a value 7 on the scale indicates that the investment carries a high level of risk but an equally high level of potential return. The European Commission has carried out extensive research on investor preferences of understanding the level of risk and reward attached to a fund before deciding on the use of a SRRI. This research revealed investors were more confident in their ability to compare the relative risks associated with different funds when it was presented on a numeric scale.
Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities, commonly referred to as UCITS, are collective investment schemes established and authorised under a harmonised European Union (EU) legal framework under which a UCITS established and authorised in one EU Member State can be sold cross border into other EU Member States without a requirement for an additional authorization. Originally introduced over twenty years ago, UCITS have become the gold standard EU investment fund product, recognised not only by the European financial services community but also beyond with many nonEU jurisdictions accepting UCITS as suitable for retail sale into their domestic markets. Whilst sold across the full spectrum of investor types, UCITS have been designed principally for the retail market as diversified and liquid products with their parameters, permitted asset classes and investment and borrowing restrictions being laid out in EU law. Importantly, UCITS is not a product which has stood still, rather it has and continues to evolve, most recently with the introduction, among others, of master/feeder type structures allowing a UCITS (feeder) to be ‘fully’ invested in another UCITS (master). This allows UCITS to have increased economies of scale and lower operational costs and makes the framework more attractive for structuring funds for investors.
The concise format of the key facts included in the KIID has encouraged investors to consider UCITS funds in their investment portfolio in view that the KIID helps investors assess whether a particular investment meets their needs. Valletta Fund Management (VFM) manages a number of UCITS funds which invest in different asset classes, geographical markets and are available in different currencies. A KIID for each fund and/or share class of a fund is available for investors to review before making their investment decision. For more information on the range of UCITS funds and the KIID pertaining to each fund or share class thereof, investors may visit www. vfm.com.mt or visit Bank of Valletta plc Branches/Investment Centres and other Licensed Financial Intermediaries. The opinions expressed herein should not be interpreted as investment advice. The value of the investment may fall as well as rise and any initial charges may lower the amount invested and the amount received upon redemptions. Investments should be based on the full details of the Prospectus and the Key Investor Information Document which may be obtained from Valletta Fund Management Limited (“VFM”), Bank of Valletta plc Branches/Investment Centres and other Licensed Financial Intermediaries. VFM is licensed by the MFSA. The Vilhena Funds SICAV plc is licensed by the MFSA and qualifies as a UCITS. Issued by VFM, TG Complex, Suite 2, Level 3, Triq il-Birrerija, L-Imrieħel, Birkirkara BKR 3000 Malta. Tel: (356) 2122 7311, Fax: (356) 2275 5661, Email: email@example.com, Website: www.vfm.com.mt. Source: VFM
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The Vilhena Broad Opportunities Fund (Feeder Fund) is structured as a UCITS Master-Feeder Fund. The Feeder Fund invests permanently 85% or more of its assets in units of the Class B1 Euro Shares Class of the Insight Broad Opportunities Fund, which is a sub-fund of Absolute Insight Funds plc, which also qualifies as a UCITS and is incorporated under the laws of Ireland. The value of the investment may fall as well as rise and any initial charges may lower the amount invested and the amount received upon redemptions. Investments should be based on the full details of the Prospectus and the Key Investor Information Document, which may be obtained from Valletta Fund Management Limited (VFM), Bank of Valletta plc Branches/Investment Centres and other Licensed Financial Intermediaries. VFM is licensed by the MFSA. The Vilhena Funds SICAV plc is licensed by the MFSA and qualifies as a UCITS. Issued by VFM, TG Complex, Suite 2, Level 3, Triq il-Birrerija, L-Imriehel BKR 3000. Tel: (356) 21227311, Fax: (356) 22755661, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.vfm.com.mt. Source: VFM
CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING
A SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHIC SNAPSHOT by Michael Pace Ross
A cross-section of the resident population of Malta
INTRODUCTION The latest Census of Population and Housing, held in November 2011, showed that the total population stood at 417,432. Persons residing in private dwellings reached 408,794, whereas 8,638 were enumerated in institutional households. Although the gap between the sexes continued to narrow over the 2005 Census, females still surpass the 50 per cent mark. Over a century, the total population of Malta has almost doubled, but there are signs of lower rates of growth. The population is set to peak and will then start declining over the next fifty years. The Census was held across the European Union, with Malta once again emerging as the most densely populated Member State, with an average of over 1,300 inhabitants per square kilometre, well above secondplaced Netherlands, with a comparable density of below 500. Residents were mostly concentrated in the two harbour area 32 |
districts. Gozo’s population density is three times less than the mainland’s. For Census purposes, those persons residing in Malta for at least twelve months on Census Day, irrespective of their nationality, were enumerated. Persons coming to Malta prior to Census Day, with the intention of staying at least one year in Malta, were also counted. This makes figures comparable with other Member States, and reduces double-counting substantially at an EU level.
AN AGEING POPULATION Malta has an ageing population: since the Census held in 2005, another decrease was observed in the population share of younger age groups. Between 2005 and 2011, the average population age went up from 38.5 to 40.5. The mean age for Gozitans, at 41.7, was above average, while Mdina residents were 52.4 years of age, on average. On the other hand, the average resident of Pembroke, Xgħajra and Mtarfa was under 35. Persons
aged 60 and over increased from 19 per cent of the population to almost 24 per cent. This share is projected to go up to 30 per cent in 2025, and to 36 per cent in 2050. Significantly, those over 70 will double in percentage terms to almost 21 per cent by 2050. At the same time, the population share of children under 15 years of age stood at 15 per cent.
A MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY Non-Maltese nationals increased by 66 per cent in six years, surpassing the 20,000 mark. Almost a third are British citizens, with Somalis ranking second in the foreignnational scale. Italians, Bulgarians and Germans complete the top five. Next in line are Russians, Eritreans, Serbs, Swedes and Libyans. In all, persons from over 140 nationalities reside in the Maltese Islands, making for a truly multi-cultural community. Close on 5,000 non-Maltese residents do not hold a local identity card. In contrast to the Maltese population, non-Maltese residents are
predominantly male and under 40. Nearly onefourth are aged between 25 and 34, compared to 14.1 per cent of Maltese nationals in this age bracket. Settlement patterns are interesting – for example, the share of Maltese residents who live in the Northern Harbour district was 28 per cent, compared to 38 per cent for nonMaltese nationals.
MARITAL STATUS AND HEALTH The Census also produced results on the marital status of residents. Excluding those below the age of 16, over 56 per cent of the population said they were married, and a further 32 per cent were single. Just under 6 per cent were separated, annulled or divorced, and another 6 per cent were widowed. A good majority of the respondents, about 88 per cent, did not report any disability or impairment in the statistical definition of the term.
SURNAMES On a lighter note, an analysis of surnames shows there are more than 19,000 in the Maltese Islands, with Borg, Camilleri, Vella and Farrugia covering approximately 50,000 residents. Zammit, Galea, Micallef, Grech, Attard and Spiteri are all among the ten most prevalent surnames. Despite an increasingly mobile population, many surnames still have strong ties to specific localities, even in a relatively small country such as Malta.
CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING CASE STUDY
and changing household compositions, this may affect other decisions taken by Malta in the years and decades to come. Malta’s old-age dependency ratio, in spite of a slow but steady increase over a decade, stands at 23.7 per cent against nearly 26 per cent across the EU. As this ratio goes up, there may be an increased burden on the productive part of the population to maintain the upbringing and pensions of the economically dependent. This could directly impact financial expenditure, and may have other indirect consequences. TEU
Malta’s population is living longer, and this will offer challenges for policy makers in the future, with the demand for medical goods and services set to rise. Coupled with a declining birth rate
For further details visit www.census2011.gov.mt or www.nso.gov.mt All rights reserved | Copyrighted
“Malta’s population is living longer, and this will offer challenges for policy makers in the future”
FOCUS ON LOCALITIES The population in the Southern Harbour district decreased in percentage and in absolute terms. In contrast, a relatively large increase was observed in the Northern district, particularly Mellieħa. Tarxien and Santa Venera registered the largest intercensal changes in population density, while Ta’ Xbiex and Senglea had the highest negative changes. However Senglea, one of Malta’s oldest cities, still remains the most densely populated locality, as in 2005, followed by Tas-Sliema and Fgura. Għasri is the least dense, and compares with the overall EU average. The largest localities in terms of population counts remained unchanged, with Birkirkara, Mosta and St. Paul’s Bay at the top of the list and Mdina at the bottom. Xgħajra registered the largest growth rate, followed closely by Birzebbuga and St. Paul’s Bay. The Census revealed that a significant share of residents lived at an address which was different from that shown on their identity card.
DWELLINGS Occupied dwellings increased substantially to 153,000, as one-person households continued to increase, while socio-demographic changes have led to smaller families, with an average 2.67 persons per household, an all-time low. The vast majority of occupied dwellings are owned freehold, while around 25,000 are owned with ground rent. Almost 22,000 were rented unfurnished. Vacant dwellings were in excess of 72,000, almost a third of the Islands’ stock. In Gozo there are more vacant dwellings than occupied ones.
Editor’s Note Michael Pace Ross is Director General of the National Statistics Office, and a member of the European Statistical Advisory Committee representing the European Statistical System. He was appointed Census Officer in 2011.
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
LET’S TALK BLUE CHIP
2013 is turning out to be a year of double-digit gains and dreary dips for the stock market, keeping the majority of investors on their toes wondering what’s next. The FED’s see-sawing between cutbacks and maintained stimulus has caused stocks, bonds and commodities, that run in tandem with decisions of this magnitude, to yoyo significantly, all in all it hasn’t been your run of the mill Q2. But for most global investors the markets are starting to feel sanguine, and why not, the frantic pace seems to be coming to a halt, and well, there are still the blue chip companies, feet planted firmly in the ground rising at their own pace So the question beckons, are blue chip equities a good approach? Well, firstly, as the comparison to bonds is usually the norm, the former are historically cheaper, and if the ‘near death experience’ of the global financial system is behind us we can now contemplate a rocky path to normalisation, a path that seems to suggest that equities should increasingly form part of our portfolios. Unsurprisingly I’m an equity investment manager primarily focused on blue chip equities; meaning I like the large, stable household names. This doesn’t mean I blindly follow equities and would unseeingly choose them over other forms investments but I shall
by Antoine Briffa
offer some strong reasons on how to go about choosing the right Blue Chip companies to invest in.
divided and earnings that have been translated into a steady increase in price over time that is over 8% on an annualised basis.
Rule Number 1: Always pick a firm that is increasing its market share and steer away from those that are losing it. Market share increase or decrease is a strong indication of the relative competitiveness of the company’s products or services. Take BMW for example. This firm’s focus on emission technology has meant that cars are cheaper to import in many countries, consequently a dramatic increase in BMW’s may be seen on roads globally. In the meantime, the share price has increased over 150% since the crisis.
Rule Number 3: Never get too attached to an investment. Investments are about making money so set a stop loss limit and if your investment touches that number swallow your pride, get out and don’t look back. It will be tough, trust me, but in the long run it pays. Make sure that you have a balanced portfolio not an accumulation of single assets, diversify your portfolio! Investments are bound to disappoint from time to time but as long as your investment portfolio is within your target, one asset gone bad should not be a problem.
Rule Number 2: Do not compare bond yields with dividends but compare them with earnings per share over price. Johnson & Johnson, the US pharmaceuticals company, have recently paid a dividend of over 2% annum, managing to increase dividends year in year out. 2% per annum does not compare favourably with bond returns, but what one should consider is that this 2% is only a part of what JNJ are earning. The company is constantly yielding around 5.5% per share on an annual basis and with such consistency that it puts any investment grade security to shame. Investors have been rewarded with a yearly
Now before you start head first into the world of investments remember another thing: take care of the money you have worked so hard to earn. Make sure that you have carefully weighted the risks and you are investing according to what you can afford to invest. Seek advice from professionals you trust or otherwise look for an investment in a fund that is professionally managed and has a solid track record. And my final golden rule: heed advice only from those that are ready to put their money behind their advice. TEU
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Editor’s Note Antoine Briffa is an Investment Manager at Calamatta Cuschieri, specialising in Blue Chip Equities. He has gained experience through various senior roles at a top financial institution in Malta. Antoine was also advisor to a number of local funds. Antoine holds an M.A in Economics and is a Certified Financial Risk Manager (GARP).
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Safeguarding Business Ethics – Part 2 by Martin Vella
The new PBS Chairman Tonio Portughese was interviewed and appears on the May issue of The Economic Update. We continue to discuss the transition and reform taking place within this national sensitive communications body. The interview highlights the key to success in diversifying PBS and growing it is to know the markets in which you operate, to have excellent management in place, and to ensure that you have reliable systems in place to be able to deliver to your customers and to key stakeholders. TEU: A new review board will be appointed shortly that will usher in new laws on public broadcasting. What new ventures and programmes are envisioned? TP: Today we have a number of departments and our main question is: should this setup remain as it is? Where a flat organisation is in place, today one must work with the resources available and try to improve on technology. The time has come to complete a new, big innovative project, which we call our Creativity Hub. Creativity Hub (all radio and television operations will be in place by this October including the newsroom, this migration will then allow us to proceed with two other commercial phases by transforming Malex House and the ex TVM buildings as new pillars in our business strategy). We are also going to have facilities for production houses which will be available for people to use on location, and we will take a friendly approach to get closer to production houses. There is a very big interest from the production houses where there will be space for offices and production. A project has several phases and so bringing production houses closer to us is vital. Production houses have an important role; our intention is to encourage them to participate more. Where it is even possible, I believe we should also give our journalists for current affairs a chance to show their creativity and capabilities. With regards to programmes- the vision I gave to the board of directors is divided into five segments, firstly financial sustainability – with programmes of a level of high quality, focus on radio response on society, history, arts, folklore, and so on, where people can listen and then judge by using their mind 36 |
Recent visit to PBS by President George Abela and Mrs Margare Chairman, Board Directors, CEO, Management and E
Tonio Porthugese was a director of PBS in the early nineties, has vast experie He is a lecturer in management and is the author of a number of books and pub chairman of the Industrial Tribunal and chairman of the ETC. based n the information flow such as news and current affairs. Television station must not be biased in any way. Viewers must feel comfortable watching our television station. The next one is human resources - how we must manage our staff, and how we train them. Our most important segment is our customer focus -who are our customers? Our customers are our stakeholders that use our services, production houses, all those who come to present our programmes and so on. However our biggest customer is the Maltese public. We, as a national station are obliged to make sure our stakeholders feel represented both on radio and television. “I have the advantage of coming from a multinational company where you learn that you have to strive for survival”
Culture is important because it improves the level of education of our viewers. There must also be an element of entertainment because people enjoy change, rather than constantly watching programmes about politics. Sports
is another section which has advanced a lot and very importantly we must promote our cultural identity. People tend to criticise the station because the Maltese language is not used enough on television. Therefore, there are people in the Maltese council monitoring programmes to see where the Maltese language can be used more often; such as the news and other sectors. The Council of Maltese language is doing all this at a minimal charge, because for them it is a priority to deliver the Maltese language in the best way possible. Everything depends on the image, trust, and as credibility increases then the chances of high revenue is more possible. It is a medium where you have thousands of people watching, whilst radio there are less people listening to it. However, even so radio does still have a lot of potential, and we have to make sure we reach the whole population by including more elements on both the radio and television stations such as culture, knowledge, music, discussions. It is important for us to try to be innovative in our programmes, yet at the same time ensure they are of good quality.
Gozo. We are obliged to capture these activities, and improve the quality of our programmes. For instance with regards to music we must find more space and give more variety, not only pop music. Our aim is not to annoy people but to educate them. “we have to take decisions based on facts and not on emotions, or opinions, and that is something we have to practice in our style of managementl”
TEU: At STS you demonstrated leadership values, outstanding operational capabilities, and proven development skills. How will this allow you to move into this very challenging role and how well equipped are you to be the leader that PBS needs now and for the years ahead?
argaret Abela in photo with t and Employees
xperience both in Malta as well as abroad. nd publications. Portughese also served as TEU: Now more than ever, Maltese public need a strong public television system. How committed are you to doing all you can to ensure that they have it and meet its current challenges to enhance the level of credibility from all quarters and players in Malta’s society? TP: I am commited to all the stakeholders. Inclusiveness is an important factor for our stakeholders, in the sense that whether it is music, culture, art, or anything, we must ensure that everything is covered because at the end of the day the station is not mine, and not of the government, but of the stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to make space for everything on television and also on radio; the same with news and current affairs. We must also give space to local councils, the university, MCAST, banks, national theatre, orchestra, and more. Everyone must feel like they have a ‘space’ on tv and radio 24/7. If we want to improve the identity of the Maltese we need to pick up on the realities of today, and record attractive activities both in Malta and
TP: Personally, after 35 years with managerial responsibilities, in Malta and also overseas, I have learnt a lot when it comes to guiding people. There is an engagement; from our employees such as journalists, cameramen, technical people, salespeople, and more, to be able to compete and hold our financial sustainability. I have the advantage of coming from a multinational company where you learn that you have to strive for survival. Survival comes from the success you will have by obtaining market share. Employee engagement is a priority, starting from management and I learnt from my experiences, what we today call ‘sustainability ascendance’. Before it was known as total quality and environmental management; the principles remain there. The first being management commitment; that we do our duty well and give it our all, and follow our business ethics and integrity of our company for continuous improvement. We also have fact based decision making; where we have to take decisions based on facts and not on emotions, or opinions, and that is something we have to practice in our style of management. Besides we also have employee empowerment which is very important to us; where employees must feel part of the decision making. This is very important to enhance motivation for our employees. Lastly but most importantly is customer focus, where we have internal and external customers. The internal customers are us who work in several departments and have to work together for that goal of financial sustainability. The external customers comprise of our production houses who we have to work with, political parties who we give services to, as well as all the stakeholders. TEU: How do you bring about diverse viewpoints to television and provide
high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment which have been missing from TVM? TP: All in all, our prime obligation is to introduce a new dimension to our industrial culture and we must interact with our shareholder - the Maltese population. We have a policy with the government that we must have certain programmes which are mandatory. I see no difficulty with the industrial culture being applied here because everything can be translated. Obviously there must be leadership inspiration, and where and on what we are going to focus. There is no doubt that we have great artistic talent here in Malta. Assimilating talented individual together with professional artists, we can bring any divergent opinion on air. It is vital at the minimum that at least we reach breakeven, with a slight profit. It is of utmost important to identify and put a head light on those sectors which require more incoming revenue, so we may stand of our own two feet. So now I’ve started making reviews on different sectors and revenues, prospects and I feel confident that for the upcoming year 2014 PBS will become more financially sustainable. Once that financial sustainability is achieved we will be able to provide the high quality entertainment one expects. TEU
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Editor’s Note Tonio Portughese has been associated with business and industry throughout a span of 35 years performing top managerial positions with a vast field experience not only in Malta but also in industrial enterprises in Italy, France, Morocco, Singapore, China and Malaysia as wordlwide coordinator of HR Development Programmes. He is also active in training and development, having been one of the founding lecturers of the ST University in France, and in Malta shared his extensive international experiences with different bodies. He was decorated with the recognition of ‘Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana’ and has published the book entitled “People Engagement for Business Excellence and Social Well-Being” addressing practical field case studies and best practices through inspirational leadership. He has recently been appointed new Chairman of the Public Broadcasting Services. He has been conferred the national Order of Merit as Member by President George Abela for his contribution to Malta’s socio-economic development.
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
TO LEASE OR NOT TO LEASE... MIZZI AUTO LEASING HAS THE ANSWER! Over the past fifteen years, leasing has become an extremely popular and convenient method to acquire and drive a new car without depleting your available cash. Car leasing is set up in a way to make cars more affordable, and in return enable people to drive the car they have really set their hearts on. When one decides to lease a car, they have agreed to pay an amount of money each month, for the right to use a vehicle over a given agreed time as set out in the lease agreement. Once the contract expires, one may opt to purchase the car at a pre-agreed value, or return the car back to the company with no further commitment. If you are the type of person who likes to change their car every number of years, leasing is an ideal option which will, in the long run, save you money on maintenance and repairs. Mizzi Auto Leasing has made the leasing vs. buying choice very simple. With prices you cannot find anywhere else on the Island, driving a car has become much easier!
AUTO LEASING Operated by Mizzi Motors
A typical lease from Mizzi Auto Leasing would include: • Fully comprehensive insurance and road licences • 24/7 breakdown service (RMF) • Regular servicing in accordance with the maintenance programme as recommended by the manufacturer. All leased cars are serviced at state-of-the-art garages which are the exclusive authorised garages of the manufacturer in Malta. All parts used are guaranteed original parts. • A replacement car which is an optional feature of a lease will be provided whenever the leased car is in for repairs or maintenance. • Weekly car wash is also offered as an optional feature. For more information, do not hesitate to contact Mr. Godfrey Mangion, the leasing manager at Mizzi Auto Leasing on 23264524 or email him on email@example.com TEU
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The right car. At the right price. From the right people. Being one of Malta’s largest car leasing companies, mizzi auto leasing strives to offer clients the best car leasing options, at the best value for their money.
member of the:
Mizzi Auto Leasing, Mizzi Motors Ltd, Rue D’Argens Gzira GZR1368 Tel: 23264524 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality business education makes a difference... www.gcmalta.com
In today’s business world specialisation and employability go hand-in-hand. Global College Malta has assembled the most innovative tertiary education programme to put you in business fast. To get the best start in business get the best business education you can.
• Foundation Course in Management with English • BA in Management • MBA • MSc Cloud Computing with Management Coming soon Oil & Gas Masters with Robert Gordon University
British style education. Full-time British lecturers. Full range of scholarships and financing options available. Tel: +356 2180 1252 email@example.com SmartCity Malta SCM01, Ricasoli
GLOBAL COLLEGE Good quality education makes a difference!
SPECAIL REPORT : LIBYA
LIBYAN AIRLINES TO HIRE MORE STAFF
Libyan Airlines has announced that it wants to hire more cabin staff, reports Libya Herald. As part of its expansion plans, which include the delivery of two new Airbus 330s next week, it is looking to employ more Libyan and foreign air-hostesses who are fluent in English (with preference given to those who have other foreign languages). They must be aged between 18 and 30, unmarried, and comply with a number of other conditions. The company has just resumed flights after a two-day strike by cabin crew. (Source: Libya Herald)
Renewables, Solar Energy
LIBYA SOLAR POTENTIAL 5X LARGER THAN OIL RESERVES If Libya covered just 0.1% of its land mass with solar panels, it could generate around five times the amount of energy from solar power that it currently produces in crude oil according to research published in the journal Renewable Energy.
It has the potential to become a renewable energy giant, boasting a very high daily solar radiation rate — on the flat coastal plain it is about 7.1 kilowatt hours per square metre per day (kWh/ m²/day) and in the south it is about 8.1kWh/m²/day, more than double the figures in the UK. The report argues that, with the right investment and training, the country could surpass its current revenue base with clean, sustainable energy. (Source: CleanTechnica)
Leisure & Tourism
LIBYA COUNTS ON TOURISM TO HELP REBUILD Libya’s Ministry of Tourism has enlisted UNWTO to help implement an action plan to rebuild its tourism sector as an effective way to increase national revenue, create employment, foster national cohesion and enhance the county’s international image. A UNWTO mission led by Secretary-General Taleb Rifai made a first approach on the specific needs of the country during a workshop on technical cooperation in the capital Tripoli (9-10 June 2013). Libya is counting on tourism to help rebuild the country, in the light of its ongoing socio-political transformation. Libya’s Ministry of Tourism has drawn up an action plan focused on institutional capacity building to pave the way for sustainable tourism development and calls on the support and participation of its public and private sectors to help implement its plan. “Achieving sustainable tourism is a propeller to create employment, diversify Libya´s national sources of income and promote our image as an attractive tourism destination domestically and abroad,” said the Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Ikram Bash Imam. “Revitalizing domestic tourism will likewise help foster national cohesion in this significant period of nationwide rebuilding,” she added. 40 |
Industry & Trade, Transportation
FEDEX HAS RE-LAUNCHED ITS SERVICES IN LIBYA FedEx has re-launched its services in Libya, according to a report from TradeArabia. Takween Airfreight Services has become a licensed Federal Express Global Service Provider (GSP), responsible for offering a range of FedEx services to customers in Libya including import, export and customs clearance. David Ross, senior vice president of FedEx Express, said, “Libya has great growth potential as the economy stabilizes in the post-revolution era. Its growth is not only being spurred by the oil and gas sector, but also by other industries such as trade and construction.” “As a big contributor to international trade, FedEx will significantly support Libya and its business community, enhancing flexibility and speed to market.” FedEx has been active in Africa since the early 1990s, through a network of Global Service Providers. The new agreement with Takween allows FedEx to utilize the service provider’s existing infrastructure, systems and resources, to meet customers’ growing shipping needs. (Source: TradeArabia)
“Libya is a prime setting for tourism development, being blessed with natural, cultural and archaeological assets, including five UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” said UNWTO SecretaryGeneral. “Tourism is the right vehicle to contribute to the international repositioning of Libya whilst contributing to its sustainable economic development and job creation particularly among the youth,” he added. Following a request by the Ministry of Tourism to assist in its tourism development efforts, a UNWTO delegation delivered a first approach during a two-day workshop, addressing issues such as institutional framework building, human resources development, sustainability, image building and marketing. (Source: UNWTO)
SPECAIL CORPORATE REPORT: INTERVIEW LIBYA
Leader in International Education by George Carol
We speak with Roger Bugeja, the School Director for EF Malta, to find more about the full package courses available at the EF Malta school. TEU: What is the heritage of EF and how does the full immersion programme combine with the needs of Libyan students?
destinations for Libyan students. In Malta,
RB: With over 47 years of experience, EF’s mission has always been to help people of all ages learn languages, travel abroad and experience meaningful cultural exchanges. EF has highly trained staff in every course centre so as to ensure that the highest standards of instruction, comfort, safety and service are maintained. When it comes to Libyan students, Malta is a very appropriate destination because it is close to their homeland, but yet gives them a different cultural and linguistic experience.
that travelling with EF means travelling with
TEU: How does the EF promote professionalism within the language learning industry and why is quality assurance, accreditation and affiliation paramount to ensuring consolidation of the sector?
Editor’s note Roger Bugeja has over 17 years of professional experience in International Education. He holds degrees in Management, Public Policy and Sociology, as well as a Diploma in Change and Innovation in Tourism. Roger has worked in different markets with EF; the countries mainly being Malta, UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Switzerland, with his current position being the School Director of EF International Language Centre in Malta. Under his leadership, the centre received a number of professional recognitions and accreditations. Proving to be an example in the Customer Service sector, Roger was also chosen to run a Customer Service Training program for EF centres worldwide.
RB: EF has always been dedicated to finding the most effective way for people to learn. In the 1990`s, EF launched a major initiative collaborating with Apple to design an online school of the future, which today has evolved to become our benchmark teaching strategy. In addition the EF research Unit at the University of Cambridge Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics was awarded a grant from the prestigious ISAAC Newton Trust of Trinity College in 2011 to carry out groundbreaking research improving the way students learn English.
good weather and a multicultural environment are guaranteed. People in Libya can be certain an organization they can trust. In addition, EF Malta is accredited and certified by CEN 18404 ; ISO9001 ; EAQUALS ; and Cambridge University. It is also the featured school for the industry in Malta through its presence in Superbrands (Malta). EF Students go back home with a portfolio of academic achievements including the EFCELT (EF and Cambridge English Language Test) certificate. We also have special programmes to prepare students for language proficiency exams
examinations, TOEFL, IELTS as well as University Placement Programmes. TEU: How broad is the range of programs at EF and how do you fit these programs to fit with Muslim culture and lifestyle?
RB: At EF students can select the focus and intensity of their course along with their choice of special interest classes. We have short term programmes and long term programmes such as our Academic Year Abroad courses that can
Combining the very best in teaching and technology, the unique EFEKTA™ Blended Learning system is the first system to fully integrate face-to-face classroom teaching with the latest in interactive technology. Whether in class, online or in a language laboratory, students are given the freedom and flexibility to learn, accelerating language acquisition by up to 55 %.
last as long as 11 months.
TEU: How has EF become more active in the field of promoting Malta as a quality ELT destination to Libyan students and what certification does it provide to graduates attending EF’s courses?
Ramadan the iftar meal is also offered.
RB: In our EF Office in Tripoli, we present EF Malta as one of the most suitable language
All EF Schools around the world welcome a high percentage of Muslims, and this is because we can adapt our services to different cultural needs, for example offering halal food at our EF Restaurants, and providing areas in the school where they can pray. During At EF we do our best to make students from all over the world feel comfortable and at home, allowing them to focus exclusively on living TEU
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International Language Centers
English Language Courses EF International Language School St.Julians` Malta specializes in English Language Training. We pride ourselves as a Quality school and enjoy a very high reputation as the worlds` leader in Language learning. Lessons are held in our air-conditioned classrooms and our team of highly qualified teachers bring the English language to life with EF`s own books and online training system EFEKTAâ„˘. Our school is also an Exam Centre for Cambridge English AND Courses start every Monday all year round. We have a variety of Courses from which to choose: > Professional Individual Courses for the 25+ age group > EF Business Course > One-to-One Lessons > Communicative Age 50+ course > EF Academic Year programme 6 / 9 / 11 months > Adult Individual courses for the 17 + age group As part of our services, we also provide EF official residences and Host Families where students may reside whilst studying here in Malta EF Malta School: Roger Bugeja School Director EF International Language Centres St.George`s Bay, St.Julian`s Malta STJ 3312 Ils.firstname.lastname@example.org +356 2570 2000 www.ef.com/maltaschool www.facebook.com/EFMalta
EF Libya Office: Ebitsam Ibrahim Opposite the Libyan Petroleum Institute KM-9 Al-Syahya - Gergarish road Tripoli - Libya Phone: +218 (0) 21 711 8888 Email: EFLibya@EF.com www.ef.com/maltaschool
ASSURENCE AND TAX SPECAIL REPORT: LIBYA
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION Roberta Metsola, Member of the European Parliament, held talks this morning with EUROPOL Director Rob Wainwright on how best the European Union can tackle the organised crime networks profiting from illegal immigration. Following a series of meetings with top ranking EUROPOL representatives at the Agency’s Headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, Roberta Metsola praised the solid work being done by EUROPOL on immigration. She underlined that Malta’s systems remain under significant pressure and emphasised that work must continue to tackle the criminal networks who profit from this human tragedy. It is particularly important that EUROPOL and Member States’ law enforcement and intelligence authorities tackle those groups operating out of Libya. “Immigration is a multi-faceted phenomenon that must be tackled on a number of different fronts. I reiterate that the European Union must do more to address the root causes of immigration and that Member States, while always ensuring human rights and human dignity are safeguarded, must step up to the plate and shoulder their responsibilities for what is essentially a European issue. But at the same time we must also work to stop these abhorrent criminal gangs who facilitate illegal immigration. EUROPOL’s capabilities and the support they offer Member States are crucial in this respect. These criminal networks are profiting by exploiting some the world’s most vulnerable people, often taking what little money they have before placing them in rickety boats waiting for the Maltese authorities to rescue them – this is exploitation at its worst and we must ensure that the European Union remains one step ahead of these criminal networks and that the legislative frameworks are in place to ensure that crime never pays”, said Roberta Metsola. Roberta Metsola was also given high-level briefings on the EU’s fight against Cybercrime and Human Trafficking before touring EUROPOL’s newly established European Cybercrime Centre. The Centre is expected to be the focal point in the EU’s fight against cybercrime, contributing to faster reactions in the event of online crimes. It supports Member States and the European Union’s institutions in building capacity for investigations and cooperation with international partners. Pledging her cooperation from within the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola underlined that credit-card fraud, child abuse images online and identity theft in particular were all issues that required constant cooperation between EUROPOL, Internet Service Providers, industry and national law enforcement agencies.
EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL The European Research Council (ERC) has selected 287 top scientists in its sixth Starting Grant competition, which is the last one under the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). They are awarded nearly €400 Million, with grants being worth up to €2 million each. This coveted funding will enable early-career talent to develop their best, innovative ideas across the European Research Area (ERA). This competition saw an increase in the share of successful female researchers. The demand for these grants also rose by 50% this year, which is a continuing trend. The next Starting Grant calls will fall under the new Framework Programme ‘Horizon 2020’. The projects selected cover a wide range of topics, such as designing a unique coastal defence against tsunamis, developing high-tech radiotherapy that can potentially help patients with head-and-neck cancer, investigating real-time monitoring of air pollution by means of GPS technology, or producing new low-cost and more effective photovoltaics. Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire GeogheganQuinn commented: “The European Research Council has changed the research landscape for young talent, and raised the level of science across Europe. It is funding blue-sky research that is advancing human knowledge, but also producing breakthroughs that could make their way into our daily lives in future. The ERC is now an established label of excellence, and it will go from strength to strength under Horizon 2020.” ERC President Professor Helga Nowotny said: “With this ERC Starting Grant call, we are adding a new group of very bright young researchers to the over 2,300 ERC-funded starting and consolidator grantees. This means that almost two-thirds of the overall 3,860 top scientists funded by the ERC since 2007 belong to the age group that will shape the scientific future of Europe. Their ground-breaking ideas and the growing stream of research results we see so far will make a difference – for science, for innovation and for society at large. For the first time ever, the proportion of women amongst the grantees went up to 30%. This is a very encouraging and augurs well for the future.“ The share of women amongst the successful candidates in this Starting Grant call (30%) increased from last year (24%). This is a continuing trend over the past years. This call attracted 3,329 applications, which is a 50% increase compared to the corresponding group last year. Due to the substantially increased number of applications, the overall success rate dropped to around 9%. The ERC calls are targeting top researchers of any nationality, based in, or willing to move to Europe. In this call, grants are awarded to researchers of 34 different nationalities, hosted in 162 different institutions throughout Europe, with 13 of them hosting five grantees or more. The average age of selected researchers is about 34 years. Furthermore, around 44% of the applicants were selected in the domain ‘Physical Sciences and Engineering’, nearly 38% in ‘Life Sciences’ and just over 18% in ‘Social Sciences and Humanities’. These grants will also allow the scientists selected to build their own research teams, engaging in total over 1,000 postdocs and PhD students as ERC team members. The ERC thereby also contributes to supporting a new generation of top researchers in Europe.
Roberta Metsola MEP meeting with EUROPOL Director Rob Wainwright
ERC Press Contacts Madeleine Drielsma (Press and Communication adviser) Tel: +32 (0)2 298 76 31 email@example.com Maud Scelo (Press and Communication adviser) Tel: + 32 (0)2 298 15 21 firstname.lastname@example.org
VRF SYSTEMS MULTI SPLIT INVERTER SYSTEMS DIGITAL SPLIT INVERTER UNITS SINGLE SPLIT INVERTER UNITS
Cutrico Ltd, Mriehel Bypass, Mriehel BKR 3000, Malta Tel: +356 2149 8658 / 2149 8693 | Email: email@example.com
SPECAIL REPORT : LIBYA
Jobs in Libya, Warriors Affairs Commission (WAC)
$5.6BN FUND FOR NEW VENTURES IN LIBYA A fund of 7 billion Libyan dinars [$5.6 billion] is to be allocated to new ventures in Libya. Abdulmonem Alyaser [Al Yaser], GNC member for Khoms and member of the National Security Committee, told Libya Herald that this amount should be spent on SME and large-sized joint venture projects in solar power, cement, steel, agriculture and tourism. He said that according to the Warriors Affairs Commission (WAC) database, there are about 50,000 who expressed an interest in starting their own businesses and in total 89,000 who wanted to be in the private sector generally, whether in the SME sector or large business. However, Alyaser feels that very few of those wishing to start their own businesses posses the commercial, skills or management capability to succeed with their projects. He believes that it is more realistic to expect to employ 50,000 initially through the 7-billion joint venture programs, which if they were to be 50/50 partnerships between a Libyan state-owned holding company and other Libyan and foreign investors, would result in a total investment as high as LD 14 billion. According to the report from Libya Herald, WAC have proposed a programme aimed at training and funding 5,000 SME projects in 2013, subject to obtaining funding. Alyaser believes that this number is too small to make an immediate impact on Libya’s current problems and represents only 10 per cent the number of people that need to be trained and employed. He says that there should instead be investment in large national projects in solar power, cement, steel, agriculture and tourism.
Construction & Engineering
STALLED PROJECTS NEED TO BE COMPLETED Prime Minister Ali Zeidan [Zidan] (pictured) has said that LD 20 billion [$15 billion] has been allocated in the budget to existing and stalled projects executed by foreign companies. According to the report from Libya Herald, Zeidan said that Libya will lose twice because it already paid for these projects and the (foreign) Prime Minister Ali Zeidan [Zidan] (pictured) has said that LD 20 billion [$15 billion] has been allocated in the budget to existing and stalled projects executed by foreign companies. According to the report from Libya Herald, Zeidan said that Libya will lose twice because it already paid for these projects and the (foreign) companies will start court cases against us if we don’t pay them. Moreover, he said that it is possible that the claims could be paid from Libya’s frozen accounts overseas, therefore Libya must spend on existing projects and compensate companies, he added, and that the existing budget is barely enough to cover that. The implication from Zeidan’s statement is that his government is in favour of paying foreign contractors and that it may be the GNC which is stalling on this policy. It will be interesting to see if there is a slight shift in policy by the GNC under its new head Nuri Abusahmain, who is more business friendly in view of his business background and stronger business connections relative to his predecessor. The Libyan government had in theory offered foreign contractors 50 percent of their outstanding debts upon recommencing their work, with subsequent payments to follow. (Source: Libya Herald)
(Source: Libya Herald) Current Affairs
MALTA WANTS THE STRENGTHENING OF LIBYA’S BORDER AUTHORITIES
Joseph Muscat’s position concerning his push-back approach during the bilateral talks caused internal dissent in Labour’s parliamentary group. Joseph Muscat, Hermann Van Rompuy and Libya’s deputy Prime Minister, Sadiq AbdulrahmanDuring the talks between European Council President Van Rompuy, Joseph Muscat and Libya’s deputy Prime Ministe Sadiq Abdulrahman, Malta encouraged the objective of strengthening the sense of border management by Libyan authorities.The Prime Minister sounded optimistic that Libya would be willing to cooperate. “Libya only needs the technical equipment required, not financial aid,” sources at the Office of the Prime Minister said. Current Affairs
FACILITATING THE PROCESS FOR MULTIPLE VISAS FOR LIBYA
The Malta Chamber has been requested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Libyan Authorities to draw up a of list persons who travel frequently to Libya on business. This will facilitate the process of securing multiple entry visas to the country for those persons included in the list. The list shall be submitted 46 |
to the Libyan authorities via the Maltese Government. Members wishing to include their names - and those of their employees – on the said list are kindly requested to call at the Malta Chamber with their passports and a declaration from a Chamber member confirming that they are in their employment.
Facilitating the process for multiple visas for Libya
Only persons who are covered by this declaration and who have clearly travelled to Libya in the last 12 months can be included on the list. This list shall be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, 1st July 2010. Only those persons who have applied prior to this date can
be included. The next list will be submitted in January 2011. Please contact Johanna Calleja on tel: 2203 2319 or email: johanna.calleja@ maltachamber.org.mt should you require any clarification.
SPECAIL REPORT : LIBYA
MALTA, LIBYA OIL SUPPLY AGREEMENT SOUGHT Libya intends to supply Malta with oil according to Prime Minister Ali Zeidan following talks with Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat. Libya is “ready to offer the amount Malta needs” but the details still had to be worked out before an agreement could be made, he said. The implication is that Libya will provide Malta with guaranteed oil supplies at fixed prices, as it has done with Egypt and Tunisia. At present, Malta buys oil at international market rates. Dr Muscat who was accompanied by Malta’s Energy Minister, Konrad Mizzi, and Home, Foreign and Tourism Ministers, said that he did not want to go into specific details of what had been discussed on energy but “looking first to buy oil and products”. The plan was “an agreement to collaborate much more on energy”. He was “confident”, he said, that it would happen. A start “had been made” today, he said. Dr Muscat arrived at Mitiga Airbase early in the morning accompanied by Interior and National Security Minister Emanuel Mallia, Foreign Minister George Vella, Tourism Minister Karmenu Vella and the Energy Minister. After a closed session, the two premiers were joined by the Maltese ministers and their opposite Libyan Ministers, Interior Minister Mohamed Al-Sheikh, Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdulaziz, Oil Minister Abdulbari Al-Arusi and in the case of the Tourism Ministry, the Undersecretary, Abdulsamea Mahboub. The ministers then held separate one-on-one talks. Oil was not the only issue discussed. “We discussed economic affairs, investment and security”, said Zeidan. Talks also covered Libyan funds frozen in Maltese banks, as well as visas, illegal immigration and both countries’ security. They additionally centred in part of Muscat’s hopes for a different relationship with Libya. Dr Muscat had “presented a new vision of relations between the two countries,” said Dr Zeidan. In relation to investment, Dr Zeidan said that it had been agreed that particular sectors of the Libyan economy would be open to Maltese companies, specifically tourism, investment and the construction sector. On the visa issue, Dr Zeidan said that Dr Muscat had offered to put in place a new system under which Libyans would be able to secure visas for Malta “far easier than for other countries” and that Malta’s Prime Minister had emphasised Malta’s desire for more Libyans to visit as tourists, students and businessmen. Dr Muscat explained that what was planned was a new agency that would ensure that Libyans and others would be able to acquire visas “in the shortest possible time”. Malta, as part of the Schengen Visa Area, had to abide by EU rules, but it was dealing with the issue and results would be “positive”, he promised. Article By: di-ve.com news
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
THE EDUCATION SPECIALISTS
by Martin Vella
As we join Mandy Mifsud, General Manager with Domain Group, she sits down to share her views on the Group’s key business issues: management practices, human resources, innovation, talent, and growth.
TEU: How have all these roles moulded you into becoming a GM with Malta’s leading education Group and what encouraged you to become the General Manager with Domain Group today?
Mandy Mifsud has been involved in the Education and Training sector for the past 14 years both within the private and public sector. Her experience ranges from managing Sales and Marketing as well as the Operations functions within organisations. Today she is the General Manager of Domain Group. Mandy is also an expert communicator and public speaker.
MM: My career started through my studies first. I went to University took a Communications degree course, and before I even graduated I got a trainee job in education. That is how I got introduced to the educational sector. At that time MITTS had a training division which was situated in Swatar, Had-Dingli. That is where my love for education started. In fact, during the last fourteen years I have been working in the educational sector, mainly private, although I also a spent a year and a half working in the public sector, I have mainly focused on IT. Today, my interest covers other areas of the educational sector. However, if I had to highlight the main parts of my career they would be STC training. One could say I was there from the very beginning and from something that was publicly owned became a private training centre where today it’s a profitable company with 1000 students. I was
one of the first people with the CEO to build this company, wherein we built the structure of a company and processes involved. This turned out to be a very good experience for me and made me what I am today. “My role at this point in time is exactly that; consolidating and keeping what’s working and also looking into innovative ways of changing”
TEU: Your Position as a GM is a very big responsibility because you are in touch with different people from different departments, people with different moods, modus operandi and so on. How do you manage to deal with diversity? MM: As a General Manager, I am overseeing four companies and not just one for Domain Group, which besides Computer Domain are Domain Academy – which is an institute for further and higher education and offers degrees in collaboration with prestigious international universities, English Domain – a provider of English language training
for foreigners and Domain Services which provides products and services that support educational institutes. All companies are related to Education and together they form quite a large operation. I coordinate all staff within these companies and deal with many other stakeholders such as clients including students and professionals in private organisations as well as lectures, suppliers, freelancers, parents and individuals from our foreign collaborators such as the University of Hertfordshire. This situation invariably brings me in contact with a multitude of people, opinions and modus operandi which you have to manage in their diversity. Diversity is crucial in the workplace; it is at the core of the creative process in business and therefore it should be looked upon as a benefit not a threat to organisations. In fact central to my position as GM, is to bring these different individuals and their roles together by creating an environment where people can work in sync and accept and value differences. Diversity does pose its challenges and sometimes it can get tiring to keep everyone happy and I wish everyone was on the same wavelength! I have actively sought out exposure to different experiences both in my professional and personal life and this invariably brought me in contact with people from various walks of life; people from different age groups, backgrounds and nationalities, highly technical individuals from my experience within the ICT sector to artistic ones whom I met through my involvement in drama, culture and the arts. I have learned that the trick to manage diversity is to be humble and to reach out to people by listening and understanding their view of the world. I am sensitive and perceptive to other’s people’s needs and create environments where people are comfortable expressing their opinions. This has greatly helped me with managing diversity in my current role. TEU: Do you ever go abroad on work and what would you be involved in? MM: Of course. One of my latest trips was to University of Hertfordshire, since we have a partnership with them. We offer their degrees locally, and we practically discuss new ventures and business development, and what else we can do or create at the University together. TEU: What is the heritage at Domain Group? And how have you worked to maintain it since coming on board? CD: Domain Group is a family business. Seventeen years ago it started off as a two person business, who today are the two directors of the company and are still very active as directors. They started off in the
computing sector only, which operated as a computer institute and then continued growing throughout the years. I joined practically nine months ago, so I am still relatively new to this company. My role in the first few months was to analyse the current situation by talking to staff and understanding their needs and their priorities. Following that we started working together to maintain and improve what was still working and to change and implement new ideas and processes in those areas where the current modus operandi was not valid any longer. My role at this point in time is exactly that; consolidating and keeping what’s working and also looking into innovative ways of changing. TEU: Since the company grew and expanded, how important was it to keep innovation? MM: The directors have always had a vision in mind; one of innovation and direction which is future orientated, especially a big company with many clients and a healthy turnover. Nowadays, in terms of innovation it is important to keep it up. At times when a company grows, it tends to become slow and that could stifle innovation. This is the challenge we face as we continued to grow. Having said that, we now have more human resources coming from different backgrounds and I feel that at this point I should limit the effect of the company becoming slower or bureaucratic, yet at the same time take advantage of its growth. Now that there are more human resources, there are also more ideas, opinions, different thinking styles and that helps. So when a company grows certain things can complicate innovation, whilst others can help it.
MM: Getting foreign business for domain group depends on mainly two factors. The first is that, when it comes to students we have agents; where our relationship will be with the agent who then deals with the student. The second is personal contacts. We still believe that personal contact, even outside of Malta, is what will help most for a relationship to grow. Therefore we strongly believe in business trips, talking face-to-face with people. Contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 21433688 TEU
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Corporate Brief Domain Group is a further and higher education institute recognised as a leader within Malta’s educational sector. As education specialists, Domain Group provides educational programmes ranging from introductory training to Masters degrees. Since 1995 when it was founded; the group of companies has evolved into a dynamic and energetic organisation and today consists of Computer Domain, Domain Academy, English Domain and Domain Services.
“Now that there are more human resources, there are also more ideas, opinions, different thinking styles and that helps”
Today we are looking at the way the company is structured and being managed, which is a challenging process because we want to keep the structure as flat as possible. And when discussing a new product or a new course, it is important to try to include a variety of people as possible in coming up with ideas; involve people not on the basis of whether they are in a managerial post of not, but according to who you think can contribute; for example we could have meeting where I can involve a tutor, the director and even an outsider from the company, such as a client. In my opinion, that’s how the creative process works. TEU: How do you build successful relationships in other companies?
Editor’s Note Current: General Manager at Domain Group Past: Marketing Consultant at STC Training Manager; Business Development & Operations at STC Training; Professional Youth Worker at Foundation for Educational Services Education: University of Leicester; L-Università ta’ Malta; The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
! t S e B e h t h it w S r e n t Par
29/5, roeBuck ManSionS Fort road, MoSta MSt 1853, MaLta teL. +356 21 331136 , +356 27 331136 LiBya oFFice: +218-91-6878312 MoB. +356 9947 7408, +356 9942 6218 Fax. +356 21 341595 eMaiL: email@example.com SkyPe: srservicesmalta
When the media make news by Malcolm J. Naudi
This year UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, marked the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day with several themes. These included: ‘Ensuring the Safety of Journalists and Media Workers’, ‘Combating Impunity of Crimes against Press Freedom’ and ‘Online Safety’. In a world where the media is becoming increasingly fragmented, media ownership is turning away from traditional media and seeks to make ‘new’ media, mainly on-line media, profitable, it is journalists and media workers in general who have been affected 52 |
most. This massive change has also not been helped by the international financial crisis. According to statistics published by the European Union to mark World Press Freedom Day, celebrated every year on 3 May, no fewer than 12,353 lost their jobs within the EU in the five years of the financial crisis between 2008 and 2012. Add to this figure those of Greece, where state broadcasting was literally switched off and 2,600 media workers lost their jobs in this profitable company, and a few hundred others who also lost their jobs or left their employers in other EU countries in the first six months of the year, and the severity of the situation slowly sinks home. This is a clear indication that the journalism profession is under threat more than ever before. And not only in Europe. In the past
few weeks we have followed how senior Department of Justice officials in America have obtained e-mail records of a TV reporter, apart from telephone records linked to the same case. And not only journalists – there is systematic effort being made in many national governments to monitor all electronic and telephonic communications in an unprecedented ‘Big Brother’ undertaking. All in the cause of the battle against terror. In practice governments look on journalists who do their duty and inform their audiences in a correct and professional manner as a threat. This is why journalists around the world should always be prepared to reveal the truth as they see it and play their part so that their audiences are informed and educated on current affairs which they believe are in their interest to know.
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According to the same EU statistics, no fewer than 88 members of the media lost their lives in 2012. To these are added 879 journalists who were arrested, 1,993 who were threatened or physically attacked, 38 who were kidnapped and 144 bloggers and netizens who were arrested. There is no doubt that the work of those engaged in the media to safeguard democracy is highly dangerous and the situation is deteriorating. The World Press Freedom Day International Conference, held in Costa Rica in May to coincide with the day, had the theme ‘Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media’. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) this year appealed to promote journalism as a public good in an age of austerity, media restructuring and unprecedented commercialisation of journalism. Arne König, President of the EFJ, said: “We are worried to see that literally thousands of journalists have lost their work in the past months throughout Europe, some affected by job cuts and others being allocated to more precarious positions. Precarious work and lack of investment in human resources have a major impact on quality of the information and press freedom.” Even in wealthy European countries, press freedom is an issue. “The economic context is harsh, but it cannot be an excuse for neglecting journalism and its contribution to democracy. Under the pretext of flexibility and competition, public broadcasting is
submitted to cuts, journalists’ pay is declining and collective bargaining is by-passed. You can’t get free media and quality news if you neglect the professionals who need to report, investigate and inform the public,” König said. After all the major changes that occurred in our neighbouring countries in North Africa, the international media turned its attention to other countries, including Syria. The number of journalists who lost their lives in 2012, including in this conflict, in Somalia and countries like Pakistan and Brazil, among whom a record number of on-line journalists, spiked at 70, according to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists. “The media in Malta... should remain focused on doing what it knows best...”
Turning closer to home, the change in government in a most peaceful manner brought with it a new agenda, including discussions on changing the Constitution, a change of the guard in the PBS Newsroom and instability among many journalists, whose income was put on the line amid restructuring. The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IĠM) has not stood idly by and works tirelessly, mainly behind the scenes, to ensure that the media remain focused on what they do best: news reporting that is impartial and
multisourced, a balance of opinions and the democratic right to access information in the public interest. There are three main pillars on which the IĠM bases its efforts and activities: professionalism, through the annual Malta Journalism Awards, this year in their 23rd edition; education, working with the Tumas Fenech Foundation for Education in Journalism to raise the level of knowledge among those who work in the media and those who come in contact with the media; and ethics through the Press Ethics Commission (PEC) to increase awareness of the Code of Journalistic Ethics. Later this year the IĠM is organising a national conference to seek agreement between all the stakeholders on a common code of ethics for all the media in the country. The President of Malta, Dr George Abela, is taking a personal interest in this initiative, and the highest authorities in the country and all those who wish to make a contribution in this area will be invited to make their contribution. The IĠM believes that the report it prepared for the Parliamentary Committee for the Recodification of Laws should be considered in any change in legislation. The media in Malta, as in all democratic countries in the world, should remain focused on doing what it knows best, but it also needs to function away from the media spotlight within a serene climate that does not threaten all that has been gained over the decades. TEU
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Malcolm J. Naudi has chaired the Institute of Maltese Journalists since 2000, having been a founder member . of the IGM in 1989. He is a Trustee of the Tumas Fenech . Foundation for Education in Journalism (FTFEG) and occupies PR positions at Board level on a voluntary basis with the English-Speaking Union of Malta and the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation. He is the author of three books, the first two editions of Superbrands Malta and Random Recollections and Memories about Anthony Miceli-Farrugia (1914-2002). After an early career in journalism and as a communications trainer, including 16 years as Deputy Editor of The Sunday Times, he set up Malcolm J. Naudi Communications, which specialises in public affairs, PR consultancy, TV production and new media, in 2008. In 2010 he entered a partnership, FranklinCovey (Malta) Ltd, with his brother, Jimmy Naudi, who is based in the UK, and secured the local franchise of FranklinCovey, a leading global consulting and training organisation based in the United States.
Business Intelligence – beyond the realms of Technology
by Joseph M Baldacchino MSc. DMS, CIM, FIAP
As organisations seek to emerge from the global financial turmoil which has hit various economies, companies are looking to grow their business by relying more on Business Intelligence (BI) solutions to conduct their business activities more efficiently and effectively. On the local scene, the organisational and management changes resulting from the extensive restructuring taking place in various local entities have highlighted the importance of providing consistent and accurate BI for reporting across multiple functions. The specific challenges include: - The management of information for reporting at senior executive and board level, whilst retaining ownership and accountability of the data at operational level - Ability to provide consistent and accurate business information for executive functions - Increasing the adoption of shared services for support functions. The improved coordination of cross function, and indeed cross company master data Large technology investments in BI solutions do not necessarily mean or guarantee better information. Rather, companies should focus first on getting their data right through appropriate methods of gathering, managing, processing and ultimately presenting data. I am often faced with the question, ‘But what is BI?’ Simply put, BI solutions help organisations acquire. collate and analyse operational and managerial information. With the relevant information at hand, an entity is much more likely to make a timely and informed decision. Typically a BI Solution will allow a company to identify its most profitable products, its least profitable products, areas/ locality where it sells most units, inefficient production factories/production lines and so on. Advanced BI Solutions also offer predictive analytics. Such solutions help analyse previous trends and identify peak months to sell in, where to sell, and so on. 56 |
Recent research suggests that BI seldom delivers the intended benefits. A recent study commissioned by Cambridge University and conducted by KPMG International suggests that approximately fifty percent of managers interviewed said they have no confidence in the numbers presented to them. Even more compelling is the evidence suggesting that an increasing number of executives rely on spreadsheets to gain some visibility and understanding of the business – this grossly contracts with the industry’s assumption that BI weans the business off the use and dependability of spreadsheets in the decision making process.
BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE – VALUE PROPOSITION In order to deliver consistent and accurate business information it is important that we
have a full understanding of our raw data, where and how it is stored, that it is easy to access and that it requires limited manual intervention. The key objective is to deliver the BI value proposition. A myth that is being actively challenged is that having more data will improve business performance. Actually what is really relevant today is more useful information and an improved insight. However, it is easy, even dangerous to assume that a new technology-driven BI solution will solve an organisation’s data issues. I have come across a number of companies that have invested heavily in updating their information systems only to find that the data is being delivered faster and in a more attractive format, however there is no improvement in data quality or usefulness. The main driver to achieving a better result is by moving away from a technology focused, tactical solution
approach to a longer term strategic approach that places more emphasis on the relevance of information itself. This is achieved by: 1. Initial identification and definition of the business requirement through the development of a business requirement document. 2. Optimisation of the solution to meet the business need by articulating the requirements to produce a detailed business blueprint
3. Finalisation of the chosen solution by agreeing the design for processes, technical, organisation and operational aspects as documented in the business blueprint The first step in this journey is to look at the business drivers of the organisation and how the flow of information influences the management of the business. It is important to link the information used to manage the business to key business strategies, as this will determine the information needed to support these key activities. The key business drivers are those activities usually unique to the organisation’s structure, industry or customers. This enables the organisation to operate on only ‘one version of the truth’. The key objective derived from this approach will guarantee the delivery of the value proposition.
BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE – BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION To achieve the full potential of any BI deployment, one must also consider the wider implication of business transformation. Business transformation should aim to unlock the full operational potential of an organisation through the strong alignment of processes, data standardisation, management and organisational change. A key element
of business transformation involves treating information as a strategic company asset instead of a byproduct of a business activity or process. Those overseeing BI initiatives should be experienced in conducting business analysis and design. Companies should only consider investing in BI technology once the business requirements have been articulated and agreed by all stakeholders involved. It is also extremely important that all the stakeholders involved agree on exactly what information is of most value to the organisation.
“BI solutions do not necessarily mean or guarantee better information”
initiation of the project, before a technology or even a BI tool is selected. Without the complete confidence in the data that the BI tool will be reporting on, there can be little confidence in the resulting BI reports. Joseph Baldacchino is an Associate Director with KPMG Malta. He can be reached at email@example.com. TEU
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Edito’s Note Joseph Baldacchino is an Associate Director in the IT Advisory team, specializing in programme and change management, stakeholder engagement, the management and delivery of complex information systems including Business Intelligence solutions and Enterprise Resource Planning deployments.
Paradoxically, the most important work in a BI deployment actually takes place at the
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
The kitchen is the major operations hub within our homes. We tend to discuss daily matters, prepare our daily food to consume and get information from the media. The list of activities carriedin the kitchen continues to grow in relation the ever changing world. The technology experienced so far in kitchen has change over the years but the change was slow and evolution has not been in line with the human evolution. The stove used by our ancestors in very similar to today’s ovens when comparing then at the technological level that is a source of heat bakes a cake or cooks some the turkey during the festive seasons.
FUTURE HOMES –
THE KITCHEN In future homes, kitchens will have a higher level on intelligence. Shelves will use technologies to identify the items they hold, the quantity they have and the expiry date of each object. Doors will change in colour if the item picked has an expiry date of a later date than that of another object of the same type still stored on the shelf. This is called reactive technology and can be used in other places such as the refrigerator and the oven although it may have a different function. The refrigerator currently works by compressing a gas to produce the cold needed to keep items at the right temperature. The process is inefficient as apart from the wanted component, the system generates heat. New technologies being studies such as gel and ultrasonic cooling might be more energy efficient as the unwanted
component known as heat may be negligible or not present at all. Many state that the refrigerator may be used to contain a large screen but we believe that the refrigerator door will be a piece of art but not containing a screen, if the refrigerator door will exist. The oven will not serve readymade food based on an individual’s diet programme. We will still prepare our own food but may be able to cook different types of food without mixing tastes and still cooking each different food to the optimal level through differentiated cooking. The kitchen ware used in the oven makes cooking even more greener as only items in these containers will be heated while keeping the remaining space as cool as possible as not to have residual heat.
Editor’s Note Mr. Duncan Dimech, the Managing Director of EXOR Group Ltd, earned his Masters Degree with the University of Liverpool, home of 9 noble prize winners, and specialised in Information Security. Over the past 15 years, Mr. Dimech has been involved on a number of projects for local and international business entities and is leading a number of IT research projects funded by the European Union. Mr. Dimech is a Member of the British Computer Society and a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta.
All information gathered from each unit in the kitchen will be relayed in real time to your contact lens. The information is personalised as not to receive information related of other family members and can contain information about the status of the items being cooked, the latest news articles of your interest, health information and all of the social updates from the social sites you are enrolled in. Technology will surely influence the way we live making it a more efficient life, however, the technology will not change the way we live. The kitchen will still remain the place where we discuss family issues and welcome our inner circle friends but we will be doing it with more style and more respect to the individual’s personal taste. TEU
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Editor’s Note Ms. Ana-Marija Zafirovska, the Business Solutions Advisor at EXOR Group Ltd, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Marketing with The Chartered Institute of Marketing. Ms. Zafirovska was actively involved in the journalism sector at International levels for the past 3 years and is a researcher on a number of European Union funded projects.
HEALTH AND FITNESS
The No. 1 requirement for weight-loss by Richard Geres
The No.1 requirement for weightloss, even though apparent to most people is often disregarded due to the continuous emergence of new, fancy diet programmes and supplements that promise outrageous weight-loss results. While most people are aware that eating less and exercising more is supposed to induce weight loss, many do not realize that the underlying principle of weight-loss lies in obtaining a caloric deficit. In a nutshell, a caloric deficit is achieved when the total amount of energy expenditure over a certain amount of time is larger than the energy intake during that time. Energy expenditure, expressed in calories, is the amount of energy the body uses on a daily basis to support its metabolic processes, known as basal metabolic rate (BMR), plus any physical activity performed during the day. The more physically active you are, the higher your daily energy expenditure will be. Your basal metabolic rate can be estimated fairly accurately on the basis of your lean body mass, which is established by undergoing a body composition analysis. For accurate measurements of BMR a Metabolic Rate Analyser can be used. Calorie intake comes from the food and drink you consume. The difference between these two will either lead to a calorie surplus, or a calorie deficit. The latter is the requirement to lose weight.
your deficit. This type of compensation can happen unconsciously, which leads to confusion about why you are not losing weight or why you are gaining. That often leads you to make excuses or blame the wrong thing. Anything but the calories. Therefore, “focus on the deficit” defines the most important key to weight loss more accurately than “exercise more and eat less.” Make sure you understand this distinction and then follow this advice. Keep in mind that to metabolise 1kg of bodyfat you need to achieve a caloric deficit of 7,000kcal! It is also important to keep in mind that there are a lot of ways to establish a deficit and many of those ways are really dumb. Eating nothing but grapefruits, cabbage or onion soups, but in a deficit? What a dumb thing to do! “Keep in mind that to metabolise 1kg of bodyfat you need to achieve a caloric deficit of 7,000kcal!”
There are a variety of diet programmes and weight loss “gurus” who claim that calories don’t count. They insist that if you eat certain foods or avoid certain foods, that’s all you have to do to lose weight. Dozens, maybe hundreds of such diets exist, with certain “magic foods” put up on a pedestal or certain “evil fat storing” foods banished into the forbidden zone. Other weight loss “experts” invoke the insulin/ carbohydrate hypothesis which claims that
Melvin Williams, PhD, professor emeritus of exercise science at Old Dominion University quoted in his Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport (McGraw Hill) :
carbs drive insulin which drives body fat. That’s akin to saying “Carbs are the reason for the obesity crisis today, not excess calories.”
They are all mistaken. Of course, there IS more to nutrition than calories. Food quality and nutrition content matters for good health. In addition, your food choices can affect your energy intake. We could even point the finger at an excess of refined starches and grains, sugar and soft drinks (carbs!) as major contributing factors to the surplus calories that lead to obesity. However, that brings us back to excess calories as the pivotal point in the chain of causation, not carbs. A caloric deficit is a required condition for weight loss, even if you opt for the low carb approach. And that’s where your focus should go, on the deficit. Now, here’s that critical distinction: A calorie deficit is required for fat loss, but once your deficit is established, the composition of your hypo-caloric diet DOES matter. That’s why any good fat loss programme starts with calories but doesn’t stop there - you also need to look at protein, essential fats, macronutrients, micronutrients, food quality and how the diet you choose fits into your lifestyle. Don’t let the simplicity of this idea fool you. This is the Number One key to your successful weight loss this year, and every year! So focus on the deficit! TEU
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Editor’s Note Richard Geres is an internationally certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist specialising in weight-management and functional fitness. Over the last 18years he has helped thousands of individuals achieve slimmer, fitter and healthier bodies through lifestyle modifications and personalised exercise programmes. He can be contacted for seminars and individual consultations through his website on www.richardgeres.com.
“Human energy systems are governed by the same laws of physics that rule all energy transformations. No substantial evidence is available to disprove the caloric theory. It is still the physical basis for bodyweight control.” You’ve heard it said, “exercise more and eat less” a million times. However, saying “focus on the deficit” is NOT the same thing. If you don’t understand the difference, you could end up spinning your wheels for years. You could exercise more, but if you compensate by eating more, you cancel your deficit. You could eat less, but if you compensate by moving less, again you cancel
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
BANK OF VALLETTA REDUCES CARBON FOOTPRINT BY 144,000KG Bank of Valletta has taken yet another step towards reducing its carbon footprint through the replacement of the lighting on the façade of its Head Office in Santa Venera with low consumption light fittings. It is estimated that the replacement of metal-halide lamps with LED light fittings will reduce electricity consumption by over 24,000 kilowatt hours per year, translating into a reduction of over 26,000 kgs of harmful Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. This initiative forms part of a long-term project that Bank of Valletta has embarked upon in its bid to minimise its carbon footprint. The initial phase of the project involved a full lighting audit of its offices and branches, as well as the usage of lower consumption fittings. The second phase saw the installation of over 300 photo-voltaic panels generating 135,000 units per annum reducing a further 118,000 kgs of CO2. Given that the average tree absorbs 7 kg of carbon dioxide every year, it would take over 20,000 trees to absorb this amount of CO2. “The greatest challenge in implementing clean energy solutions is dealing with old infrastructure in existing buildings, which need to be upgraded and converted to cleaner more efficient systems using alternative power sources,” said Mark Marmara, Environmental Responsibility Manager at Bank of Valletta. “We are also looking into our operations with efforts being made to introduce initiatives aimed at reducing the use of paper and generate less waste,” continued Mr Marmara. Bank of Valletta’s green strategy recognises its people as the biggest asset. Significant efforts are made to increase awareness about environmental responsibility both at work and at home with initiatives and seminars organized regularly. Only last week, the Bank in conjunction with the Malta Business Bureau organized a seminar for BOV staff wherein, through the ‘Investing Water Project’ best practices for water conservation were explained and discussed.
Contact: Kenneth B. Micallef, Media & Community Relations, Bank of Valletta, BOV Centre, Cannon Road, St Venera SVR9030, Malta | firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel +356 2275 7570 | www.bov.com
POLICE DOGS SECTION RECRUITS MORE POLICE DOGS WITH HSBC MALTA SUPPORT The Malta Police Dogs Section will be taking on additional canine recruits in connection with a three year sponsorship from HSBC Malta Foundation. “With HSBC Malta’s support, we are enlarging the force with additional Belgian Shepherd Malinois, a breed renowned for being particularly easy to train and being highly versatile workers,” explained Police Sergeant Matthew Attard. “We have a one-dogper-officer policy, to ensure that highly trained animals receive all the exercise and care they require to be healthy, happy, and at top performance on the job,” added PS Attard. HSBC Malta’s Chief Operating Officer and Director Ranjit Gokarn presented the bank’s sponsorship to Police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit during a Police Dog demonstration at St George’s Square, Valletta, also marking the 199th anniversary of the corps. “Police dogs continue to provide an indispensable service to society by helping to fight drug trafficking and criminal elements in society. HSBC Bank Malta is delighted to support this worthy cause by providing sponsorship in a very tangible manner,” said Mr Gokarn. “These highly trained dogs, like their police officer handlers, often face very risky situations and injury as a normal part of their careers. We salute their efforts for making our nation safer.”
Police dogs exhibited impressive obedience and agility during a parade that also marked the 199th anniversary of the corps.
The Malta Police Dog Section includes two divisions: protection and assault dogs that assist in various police duties, and search dogs trained to sniff out explosives and narcotics. Belgian Shepherd Malinois can be trained to work within either division.
Idroplast Manufacturing Ltd â€˜CLAF Buildingsâ€™ Triq il-Kummerc, Qormi T- 00356 21650127 M- 00356 79454746 Libya number- 00218 0919256202 E- email@example.com W- www.italcris.com www.idroplastmalta.com
CORPORATE INTERVIEW MEDIA
Believe in Whatever You Do by George Carol
BACKGROUND Wotzmedia is a highly contemporary and creative company offering a variety of services in the fileds of media and entertainment. At Wotzmedia, we strive to provide our clients with consistently high quality and innovative products based on unique requirements TEU: Based on your model can you tell us how students can start-up a business from nothing? DB: Well it’s easier said than done, it requires dedication, motivation and most of all the belief in knowing that you can succeed. Also always keeping in mind that whatever you do is kept at highest quality possible. TEU: How do you deliver targeted programs that teach people how to start and run better businesses? DB: No particular institution can teach you the ins and outs of entrepreneurial enterprises. There is an organic learning curve to business. What institutions should teach is the stark reality of life as an entrepreneur; no matter how good you are at your skills set you always need to improve. Such programs should also educate us young people that business is all about delivering of services and collecting of money in a timely manner. TEU: Can students juggle student life and a successful business? DB: In the media sector I believe it poses some difficulties as deadlines are normally very tight and quality deliverance of products requires a lot of concentration. Editor’s note Duncan Bray is a young entrepreneur in the field of Media. After working with different studios for three years he has teamed up with other like minded partners to form WotzMedia. He is furthering his studies in media, communications and PR.
TEU: How do you define leadership? DB: The belief in whatever you do. Without that self-motivation you wouldn’t be able to lead yourself or others. A good leader leads by example and not by instruction!
“A good leader leads by example and not by instruction”
TEU: Can you give us an overview of how to evolve from a start-up to a public company? DB: Long hours, perseverance, dedication and a lot of coffee. Practically you need to set up the building blocks and where you want the company to head. Once these work in unison the start-up company will automatically turn into a public company naturally. TEU: What’s more important: communication or networking? DB: Our experience has shown us that these two go hand in hand together. You need to be able to balance and give the same attention to both. TEU: What does it mean to be a manager, and does it differentiate to trust and empower employees to know what sort of people we need in company departments? DB: A manager is someone who has the ability to manage and motivate his team. People in managerial positions should have a firm grip on what is happening whilst at the same time feeling comfortable enough to trust and empower employees. The very fact that you employ someone is an act of trust; empowering them on the other hand takes skill and steadfast. TEU
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THE BEST OF ROMEO AND JULIET BALLET AT THE XARA LODGE, MDINA By Joseph C Anton
The Best of Romeo and Juliet Ballet is classical ballet presented by the Malta Art Events and will be performed by the famous National Theatre of Prague in the open air at the beautiful Xara Lodge with the magnificent scenery of Mdina in the backdrop. We interview Radka Zemanova events director, who talks about her approach to build on the traditions of the great full-length ballets, in historical costumes, hoping that the audience will be moved by truthful acting and dance performances of her artists.
TEU: Why is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet coming together with Prokofiev’s music as the ideal arrangement for a ballet and an exquisite combination for open air performances at Xara Lodge? RZ: Romeo and Juliet is a ballet by Sergei Prokofiev, based on William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. It is one of the most enduringly popular ballets. Music from the ballet was extracted by Prokofiev as three suites for orchestra and as a piano work.
Based on a synopsis created by Adrian Piotrovsky (who first suggested the subject to Prokofiev) and Sergey Radlov, the ballet in its original form was completed by Prokofiev in September 1935, on commission by the Kirov Ballet, since when he first presented the music to the Bolshoi Ballet that year, they claimed it was “undancable”. The original version had a “happy” ending, but was never publicly mounted, partly due to increased fear and
caution in the musical and theatrical community in the aftermath of the two notorious Pravda editorials criticising Shostakovich and other “degenerate modernists” including Piotrovsky. The conductor Yuri Fayer met with Prokofiev frequently during the writing of the music, and he strongly urged the composer to revert to the traditional ending. Fayer went on to conduct the first performance of the ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre. Suites of the ballet music were heard in Moscow and the United States, but the full ballet premiered in the Mahen Theatre, Brno (then in Czechoslovakia, now in the Czech Republic), on 30 December 1938. It is better known today from the significantly revised version that was first presented at the Kirov Ballet in Leningradon 11 January 1940, with choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky and with Konstantin Sergeyev and Galina Ulanova in the lead roles.
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
SUPERBRANDS TRIBUTE EVENT
The Economic Update Editor, Martin Vella, receiving the Superbrands award on behalf of Network Publications
CELEBRATING EXCEPTIONAL BRANDS Second Superbrands volume launched at Tribute Event Maltaâ€™s top brands received the status of Superbrands at the gala Tribute Event during which the second volume of Superbrands was launched at the Pavilion Suite of the Westin Dragonara Resort last month.
Maltese Superbrand. No fewer than 12 brands that were in the first edition are in the second edition and some brand owners even increased their presence with a second brand.
The large majority of the brands that have been included in this volume were present to collect their Superbrands certificate and speak about their brands.
Alberto Luxardo, Project Manager of the British Superbrands Group for the Italian market, said the Superbrands list with the strongest brands in Malta had been compiled with the help of Misco and the international research firm Brand Analysis UK.
In her introduction, Giorgia Comollo, President of Superbrands Italy, whose territory includes Malta and Mauritius, paid tribute to her late father, Maurizio, who passed away prematurely in February, 2012, aged 56.
The keynote speaker of the evening, Jesmond Saliba, Director of Corporate
Identities, tackled the power of branding and his personal experience through his career in the media, as a ministerial communications co-ordinator, brand manager and founder of his PR and corporate communications agency. Among those present were members of the Superbrands Malta Council, headed by Dr Francis Zammit Dimech. The evening came to an end with a dinner. Superbrands was launched in the UK in 1994 and in Italy in 2002. TEU
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She listed the benefits of Superbrands status, including the splendidly produced coffee table book, a dedicated website â€“ www. superbrandsmalta.com, the use of the Superbrands seal for their marketing and branding initiatives, and a dedicated YouTube channel, Superbrands TV, which provides brands with powerful 3-minute videos. The Malta edition is the 150th publication by Superbrands worldwide. Some 15,000 presentations have been compiled of the leading brands in almost 90 countries around the world. A notable inclusion in this second volume is of Professor Edward de Bono of lateral thinking fame, who was named a 64 |
Giorgia Comollo, President of Superbrands Italy, with responsibility also for Malta and Mauritius, speaking during the gala Tribute Event to launch the second volume of Superbrands Malta
TEU: The Prague National Theatre has played a dominant role in the development of Czech ballet art. Can you tell us something about the ballet ensemble performing at the Xara Lodgeon 8th and 11th August? RZ: The Czech National Ballet has played a dominant role in the development of Czech ballet art resulting not only from its statute but also from the fact that it is the largest ballet ensemble in the Czech Republic. Its founding in 1883 gave rise to the continuous evolutionary tradition of Czech professional dance.
classical ballets (by John Cranko: The Taming of the Shrew and Onegin; Youri Vàmos: Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol and Othello; George Balanchine: Tchaikovsky, Pas de deux and Theme and Variations), as well as modern creations of both Czech and foreign provenience (choreographies by Jiří Kylián, Itzik Galili, Conny Jansen, Mats Ek, Petr Zuska, Nacho Duato, Jan Kodet, Stijn Celis, Christopher Bruce, Jean-Christophe Maillot, William Forsythe, Jerome Robbins, etc.)
excited to be performing in Malta and I believe that each production is a new challenge and an opportunity for choreographers and dancers to portray all human emotions such as love, hate and devotion amongst others. In my dancing career, I have interpreted Romeo’s part in two successful productions and I believe that this forthcoming classical ballet is the most natural way of telling an exciting story surrounded by the magnificent scenery of Xara Lodge, with Mdina in the backdrop.
TEU: Why is this forthcoming classical ballet the most natural way of telling an exciting story surrounded by the magnificent scenery of Malta and Mdina in the backdrop for Malta Arts Events?
RZ: Malta Art Events chose this ballet after consultation with the choreographer Jiri Horak. Through this ballet Malta Arts Events objective is to encourage and support artistic events, as well as to promote culture and the arts as an entertaining, fulfilling, challenging and exciting activity. We cherish organising such events and this is a milestone to us to present in the open air ambience of the Xara Lodge, which is a perfect setting and a dream come true. Malta Art Events is also preparing for Maltese public the Opera Gala at the Hilton Hotel, planned for late September as a big tribute to the Two composers Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner.
At the present time, the Czech National Ballet company has 82 members and is headed by its artistic director Petr Zuska. The dancers are from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, the USA, Great Britain, France, Hungary, New Zealand, Japan and Italy. Owing to its conception and artistic management, the Czech National Ballet is a standard European company, yet one possessing a special artistic spirit arising from the enchanting Prague multicultural milieu. At the beginning of the 2002–2003 season, the dancer and choreographer Petr Zuska became the new Artistic Director of the Czech National Ballet. Under his guidance, the ensemble has proceeded in several directions. It has performed works of the classical repertoire (Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle, La Sylphide / Napoli), neo-
RZ: Ballet does not need words, and it is the universal language for all peoples and all generations. Dance can be expressed love, friendship, courage, honour... We are very
TEU: What does this ballet presentation of Romeo & Juliet mean to the Malta Arts Events?
Malta Art Events are at the service of culture with a varied offer of shows for the Maltese public under a global coverage of optics TEU
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SINGLE EURO PAYMENTS AREA (SEPA)
WHAT DOES SEPA MEAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
From a practical viewpoint, SEPA means that your systems will allow you to make fast and secure transfers between bank accounts anywhere in the Euro area. The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a European Banking standardized initiative that enables secure electronic payment transfers between bank accounts in an easy manner. The SEPA project is strongly supported by the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and its necessary legal framework is provided by the Payment Services Directive offering better payments in all EU countries. In fact, from a payroll perspective, if you employ and pay employees through a payroll system, then you must know about this EU initiative.
IS YOUR PAYROLL SOFTWARE SEPA COMPLIANT?
ARE YOU OBLIGED TO CONFORM TO SEPA STANDARDS?
YES. EU regulation 260/2012 means that all businesses must conform to the new SEPA standards when affecting bank transfers after the 1st of February 2014. As a market leader in providing Payroll Software, we at DataByte have created the necessary modules that will help both our own Payroll Systems (WASP Version 5) to become SEPA compliant as well as to help build the necessary SEPA payment modules for third party applications. Our SEPA-ready Payroll Software Systems can be of service to your organisation. TEU
WASP Payroll versions currently powers 12 bureau agents providing Payroll services in Malta as well as 200 other organisations with their approximate 8000 employees. DataByte is www.databyte.com.mt or 23456 300 All rights reserved | Copyrighted
SEPA Credit Transfer allows you to make Euro electronic payments on a local as well as on a pan-European scale. Through SEPA: •
Payments and reconciliations are simplified by using a single automated system
File formats are developed and standardised
International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC) will replace national bank sort codes and account number.
July 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE
ASSURENCE AND CORPORATE NEWSTAX
GLOBALCAPITAL PLC AGM REPORTS BEST OPERATIONAL RESULTS IN FIVE YEARS.
THOMAS SMITH INSURANCE BROKERS OPENS NEW BRANCH IN MOSTA
Around 100 shareholders from across the country filed into the Corinthia San Gorg on Friday June 28 to hear encouraging news from the company at GlobalCapital plc’s annual general meeting (AGM). Deputy Chairman Mr. Nicholas Ashford Hodges, standing in for Chairman Mr. Dawood Rawat who was indisposed, told the shareholders that the company has enjoyed its best operational results in five years, including a healthy operating profit with the prospect of more sustainable success going forward.
Thomas Smith Group has opened its new Insurance Brokers branch in Mosta to expand its network, with the objective to better serve clients in the northern areas and further increase its customer base.
Mr. Ashford Hodges said that like other companies in many other industries GlobalCapital had continued in 2012 to face tough challenges with legacy issues and from a variety of external forces, including low interest rates, currency fluctuations, financial and property markets volatility and regulatory and political uncertainty.
Simon Balzan, Business Development Executive at Thomas Smith said that “Thomas Smith Insurance Brokers aims to reach clients more effectively. The opening of the Mosta branch would constitute a more accessible customer experience for people living or working in the central and northern areas of Malta.”
A full range of insurance services will be available, namely motor, home, health, life, travel, commercial risks, yacht and pleasure craft, cargo and hull. The new branch will open Mondays through to Fridays from 8am till 6pm, whereas on Saturdays, the outlet will open from 9am till 12pm.
GlobalCapital Group CEO Bashar Khatib informed the shareholders that on the operational side significant progress had been made in improving efficiency and effectiveness, although financial and property assets did not perform well and impacted negatively on overall results. Legacy issues, he emphasised, continued to offset the substantial improvements made in operations. Mr. Khatib also informed the AGM that health insurance income grew by 10% over the prior year despite a heavily competitive market, and with alterations to the business model GlobalCapital Health Insurance Agency Limited, which is the exclusive representative of Bupa in Malta, reported an increased net profit after tax of €859,798 in 2012 compared to €438,605 in 2011. Summing up the 2012 operational report Mr. Khatib said, “Despite the unsettled market environment of the past few years, core earnings improved for most of our businesses during 2012 and our underlying operating performance was solid. Our business fundamentals remain sound, as shown by our improved and consistent sales in all lines of business. We continue to move towards sustainability through the resolute execution of a proven restructuring strategy and our ability to leverage our reductions in the cost-base. We have stronger positions in each of our 3 key business units, life insurance, health insurance and investment services..” For further information visit GlobalCapital plc’s office in Testaferrata Street, Ta’ Xbiex or GlobalCapital’s website www.globalcapital.com.mt
Visit Thomas Smith Insurance Brokers at 34, Nicolo Isuoard Street, Mosta MST 1132 or call +356 2205 8581.
THE LA VALETTE FAR EAST OPPORTUNITIES FUND REACHES OVER US$4.5 MILLION IN ASSETS La Valette Far East Opportunities Fund has registered an increase in fund size reaching over US$4.5 million and more than 900 shareholders. The fund was launched and registered on the market in July 2000. The La Valette Far East Opportunities Fund (“the Fund”) forms part of a wide range of growth focused investment solutions managed by Valletta Fund Management Limited (“VFM”) and aims to achieve long term capital growth through investment in the BNY Mellon Asian Equity Fund which invests in a portfolio of Asian (excluding Japan) equities. Caroline Keen, Fund Manager at Newton Investment Management (part of BNY Mellon Group) and responsible for the BNY Mellon Asian Equity Fund, stated that “a thematic stock picking approach is used to identify high conviction stocks of companies listed and located in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan)”. She continued that “Newton is renowned for its distinctive and proven global thematic investment approach, which is consistently applied across all strategies”. Speaking on this occasion, Mark Agius, Head of VFM stated that “VFM offers investors a range of investment solutions that have a fit as a core or satellite position within one’s portfolio and the La Valette Far East Opportunities Fund is a typical fund to form part of a satellite holding within one’s portfolio”. He also stated that the Fund can be accessed from as little as US$50 per month.
GlobalCapital plc held their AGM at the Corinthia San Gorg on June 28 announcing improved operational performance.
For further information on the La Valette Far East Opportunities Fund and VFM’s range of Growth Investment Solutions, investors may visit any BOV Branches/Investment Centre, Licensed Financial Intermediaries or www.vfm.com.mt.
FINO AMEX .52
FINO AMEX .52
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