Malta Business Review Issue 12

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Issue 12 – August 2015

feature Behind The World Of Affinity Management Services (Malta) Ltd We feature the corporate organisation of the month - p.20 special feature

Malta’s Best Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2015 Presenting the nominees for Malta’s most prestigious entrepreneur awards - p.33


Excellence And Value Interview with Robin McEwen, Manging Director, Foremost Currency Group Ltd - p.46

Newspaper Post

cover story A Determined Attitude Exclusive interview with Jason Mallia, Managing Director of Zheta International - p.06


Issue 12 – August 2015

32 25

FOCUS Promoting Creativity, Breaking New Grounds Interview with Rafael Carrascosa, MD of the Insignia Group of Companies - p.10 SPECIAL FEATURE

Celebrating Malta’s Best Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards We feature this year’s main protagonists - p.25


The Business of Ecocide Melanie Vella interviews highly acclaimed British lawyer Polly Higgins - p.56


Creating a Positive imPaCt

Mapfre Middlesea CEO Alfredo Muñoz on winning the prestigious CSR Entrepreneur of the Year Award

PKF Malta – a FinanCial lotus Flower in fuLL BLoom

Following their success achieved at MBEOTYA, PKF Malta tell us why they have proven to be among the elite of Malta’s financial services

COVER STORY Leadership, Professionalism & Dedication Interview with Julia Chatard, Executive Director with FXDD - p.06

Newspaper Post

Malta Business Review

editorial There’s no question that running your own business is fulfilling. You may have seen the glamorous Instagram photos of sandy feet and laptops by the ocean, or the Facebook posts exclaiming (literally exclaiming, with five exclamation marks, minimum), “I love my job!!!!!”

MBR Publications Limited


PuBLisher MBR Publications Limited editor Martin Vella teChniCaL advisor Marcelle D’Argy Smith saLes direCtor Margaret Brincat saLes exeCutive Charlotte Munro




outsourCing offers Business oWners great advantages


“maLavit” innovations

MBR Publications Limited interviews Mr Victor Dvornikov, to discover and learn about his latest invention “Ekortr”.

the Business of eCoCide

Melanie Vella interviews highly acclaimed British lawyer Polly Higgins,who has worked with the UN on climate change negotiations

Creativity, forWard thinking & integrity

Alex Borg, Director and Managing Consultant with Support & Supply Management Group (SSM), on implementing best practice methods


CeLeBrating maLta’s Best entrePreneurs of the year aWards

We interview some of the main award-winning protagonists of this year’s highly successful MBEOTYA event

26 30

BuiLding a Better Working WorLd

We interview Malta’s Overall Best Entrepreneur of the Year Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan, CEO of AAT Research

Definitely lots of tweaking. Building a business is a process, not a checkbox to tick. It’s like a living, breathing thing that will always be evolving. The reality of never being done can be frustrating sometimes, but I have learnt to be undaunted no matter how negative internal or external forces can be, and undeterred no matter what the odds stacked against me may be. Putting your new products out there before you know if it will work is not for the faint hearted. Introducing a new product or event, publishing your work, finding clients, sharing your ideas, promoting your work, asking for help – one is always so vulnerable. Running your own business, especially in the beginning, is like wearing your heart on your sleeve on steroids. When Tolkien sent The Lord of the Rings to publishers he said, “I have exposed my heart to be shot at.” It’s like that for us entrepreneurs, too. But no guts, no glory. The past year has strengthened my resolve, determination and courage to do bigger and better things. After all great persons are defined by great deeds! This issue of the Malta Business Review highlights Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners, as we bring you stories of entrepreneurs who never give up, who drive change and who achieve success through personal sacrifice. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up,” states Babe Ruth, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

sPeCiaL feature

quote of the month


kames CaPitaL Lists for more funds in maLta malcolm J. naudi interviews stephen Baines, investment manager in the Kames Capital fixed income team

FXDD, Insignia Cards Ltd; IPPO Malta; Nexia BT; PKF Malta

All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by copyright may be reproduced or copied and reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without written permission of the publisher. All content material available on this publication is duly protected by Maltese and International Law. No person, organisation, other publisher or online web content manager should rely, or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication, whether that information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without first obtaining the publisher’s consent. The opinions expressed in the Malta Business Review are those of the authors or contributors, and are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.


insignia group of Companies

sPeCiaL thanks


Promoting Creativity, Breaking neW grounds an exclusive with rafael Carrascosa, managing director of the


a means of aChieving ComPetitive advantage

David Baker’s first contribution for MBR with an in-depth presentation on business outsourcing



Anita Aloisio; Maurice Aquilina; David Baker; Janice Bartolo; Antoine Bonello; George Carol; Sean Cassar; Charlotte Munro; Malcolm J. Naudi; Melanie Vella

“to and fro we leap, and chase the frothy bubbles, While the world is full of troubles and anxious in its sleep, come away, o human child, to the waters and the wild” W.B. Yeats: The Stolen Child


LeadershiP, ProfessionaLism & dediCation


teLePhone +356 2149 7814


We interview Julia Chatard, Executive Director with FXDD

advertising Call: 9940 6743 or 9926 0163; Email: or

offiCes 41B, Wayne, Triq il-Herba, Birkirkara, BKR 2322


Nexia BT’s insight on how reengineering has evolved from management theory to the modern management perspective: Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

Cover story

art & design Jessica Camilleri; Berthrand Pisani

Print ProduCtion Printit


Entrepreneurship is pretty sweet. But let’s keep it real. Running your own business is also challenging, humbling, and at times downright exhausting. This month, we at MBR Publications Limited celebrate our first anniversary! A year has already swiftly elapsed since we took off on our journey. So what can you expect in your first year of business?



strong LeadershiP and teamWork

Diane Izzo, CEO, Dizz Group, reflects back on her recent remarkable achievement as Dizz Group were proclaimed Malta’s Best Entrepreneurial Company of the Year

In our special feature we pay tribute and also congratulate those business leaders whose innovative and sustainable achievements earned them this year’s winners of Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. These awards are the most coveted and comprehensive recognition of outstanding entrepreneurial accomplishment. I wish to thank everyone connected or involved with this event, including all our sponsors and The Westin Dragonara Resort. Enjoy the read!

our goLd Partners




Malta Business Review

Cover Story IntervIew

Cover Story IntervIew

MBR: What drives you on an everyday basis as an entrepreneur?

Leadership, Professionalism & Dedication by Martin Vella

“FXDD is an online global business. It was designed to be international,” Julia Chatard, Executive Director with FXDD Malta Ltd tells us. In this interview Julia explains why FXDD is a leader in online forex trading, and the challenges which the FXDD team proactively address on a daily basis in order to maintain such leadership.

JC: I think what drives me is the entire business cycle – finding a solution, implementing it and seeing the results. The most efficient solutions are simple, but rarely obvious and often require a substantial research to cater for the long-term. Throughout implementation everything depends on the efficiency of the team. That is why it makes sense to involve the team at all stages of the cycle, starting from a solution design and project planning, to ultimately ensure a smooth implementation process. Results can be the most rewarding or the most frustrating part of the cycle. Surely, there can be challenges and surprises at all stages, but the result always depends on the quality of the team management, which is the toughest task and involves a lot of energy channeling. MBR: In what ways did your consultancy challenge you intellectually and opened new horizons? JC: There are many talented and gifted people who work in consulting. Working amongst them is challenging. Working at multiple projects simultaneously 80-100 hours a week is even more challenging. Building a relationship in the format “I am an expert, you are my client” with people who are more experienced and far more advanced in their careers than you is also very challenging. I believe the added value of consultancy is producing and sharing knowledge across businesses. It does challenge you intellectually and opens new horizons as you bring a new vision to existing businesses, which are most often already rather successful. In fact, sadly, unsuccessful and failed businesses never look for consulting solutions. MBR: How do you describe your role within FXDD? JC: I joined FXDD as a local executive director and have a very clear objective – to implement a global governance process. In other words, we would like to be perceived as the investment firm with the best Compliance and Risk Management process on the Island. I am certain this objective will be achieved within the next six to nine months. FXDD has the biggest international customer base among the investment firms registered in Malta. We have been traditionally focused on growth. In order to grow and remain efficient we are undertaking a major business transformation that, first of all, requires changes in FXDD structure, as well as in FXDD strategy. We update and improve the way we work with our clients, with our business partners and with Maltese Regulators. FXDD is a global firm and we think globally – big means efficient!


MBR: How do you avoid losing the firm’s culture as you grow, and is the focus on the cultural fit when it comes to bringing new partners in? JC: FXDD is an online global business. It was designed to be international with a focus on integrity, value for customers and cultural diversity among employees. Every day we service customers around the globe, and we benefit working with people from different backgrounds and cultures among our team – we service clients in many languages, amongst them: Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Italian and others. It helps us to be better professionals and understand our customers better. FXDD certainly grows and changes as a company, however we do it together providing borderless support to our colleagues. That is why, I believe, the highest cultural value of FXDD is a commitment to each other. Based on my own experience, it was not difficult to fit in.

I know some banks, whose management would only dream of having such a customer base MBR: How critical is it to maintain an entrepreneurial spirit inside FXDD? JC: FXDD is a commerce-driven organisation. Entrepreneurial spirit helps us to grow and evolve. We stimulate our people to show initiative, motivate them with opportunities to grow, to be in charge of their business decisions and career development. MBR: Would you provide a description of FXDD’s Global Practice? JC: FXDD has always been considered a “premium” brand in terms of its products and services. We provide a full range of FX Products globally via proprietary software that covers all facets of the business without unnecessary reliance on the third parties middleware. MBR: What are the strengths of FXDD? JC: As a business, FXDD has a large and loyal customer base, which are two key advantages for any retail business. I know some banks, whose management would only dream of having such a customer base. Additionally, we have a very well established introducing brokers’ network, which works every day aiming to increase our customer base. Although we have a full range of FX products, it is only 10% of what we will be offering to our customers in the future. Not a bad prospect?!! MBR: How important is it to maintain that client interaction for a top management? JC: It is very important to maintain client interaction, and it is not easy, on one hand, to act like a professional trader, and, on the

Malta Business Review

other hand, to think as a retail client. B2B and B2C are two different models. For example, when we design changes on our platform, in our products, or in our business model we always have to ensure that the learning curve for a customer is zero or close to zero. Another important aspect of a retail business is customer support. We have dedicated and experienced multilingual teams that support FXDD operations internationally. These people actually create clients’ experience in FXDD. MBR: When you are dealing with clients, how do you foster a relationship that instills their confidence in you? JC: For the last few years FXDD went through some transitions, but we retained the confidence of the customers in the FXDD brand. Traditionally FXDD has always maintained very good relationships with introducing brokers, especially in the territories where we do not have on-site presence. In fact, we intend to increase such presence through building a cost efficient branch network in the EU. We believe it will be a strong factor to increasing clients’ confidence. MBR: What advice do you give women about the kind of career this industry can offer? JC: Leadership, professionalism, talent, dedication have no gender limitation. I think it is important to be focused and plan your life to have life/work balance. Financial services industry has developed in Malta like never before, offering women many traditional roles like in Finance and in Compliance and less traditional like at the trading floor or a directorship. There is a strong trend to inspire women, to promote their talent. In fact, even some international business schools offer special scholarships to outstanding women. Maltese companies also follow the same trend offering extra job opportunities and flexibility to women aiming to create a balanced working environment in their office. It is fun to be independent, definitely recommend trying for. MBR

LICENSING STATEMENT: FXDD Malta Limited is licensed to provide investment services by the Malta Financial Services Authority. Registered Office: K2, First Floor, Forni Complex, Valletta Waterfront, Floriana FRN 1913, Malta HIGH RISK WARNING: Foreign exchange trade carries a high level of risk that may not be suitable for all investors. All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE Julia Chatard (21.07.78) is an executive director at FXDD Malta Ltd. She started her career in Deloitte providing financial advisory and internal audit services. In 2012 Julia joined Mediterranean Bank plc as a Chief Internal Auditor, later promoted to Head of Finance. Julia has a Bachelor degree in Finance and is currently reading for a Diploma in Finance Strategy in the University of Oxford.


Malta Business Review


Editor’s wine choice

It’s not very often a triple award winning wine comes along, let alone twice. But that’s what has happened with Delicata’s flagship white wine brand Gran Cavalier, when it was entered into various international wine competitions recently. Last year the 2013 vintage Gran Cavalier Sauvignon Blanc was submitted and it was rewarded with 2 Bronze medals in London and a Gran Menzione in Italy.


Consultancy & Services: H&S Management Systems H&S Policies & Procedures Risk Assessments Fire Risk Assessments Gap Analysis Audits Method Statements Construction H&S Plans Site Inspections Toolbox Talks ....and more Training: Fire & Emergency First Aid at Work Manual Handling Work at Height General H&S Awareness Tailor-made training International Accredited Training: NEBOSH International General Certificate (MQF Level 4) NEBOSH Oil & Gas NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management IOSH Managing Safely

Wine Maturation Cellars

This year however, the 2014 vintage Gran Cavalier Chardonnay was entered and it won 3 medals; a gold medal at the Challenge International du Vin in Bordeaux, a silver medal at the Chardonnay du Monde in Burgundy (the epitome of Chardonnay) and a bronze medal at the International Wine Challenge in London. The 2014 Gran Cavalier Chardonnay D.O.K. Malta Superior was barrel fermented in new French oak 225 litre barriques. It is a soft, full flavoured, dry white wine with warm toasty aromas. On the palate it has good weight and concentrated fruit flavours with a smooth, buttery, lingering finish. The official tasting note that accompanied one of the medals awarded, written by one of the international judges describes the

2014 Maltese Chardonnay grapes that have just been harvested


Fermentation Hall

wines as “Nut and buttercream aromas, in contrast with a zesty lime palate. Rich ripe and classy.” For all Chardonnay lovers, this wine is definitely worth a try, but I wouldn’t hang around if I was you because stocks of the 2014 vintage are already getting low. But don’t be disheartened, we are only weeks away from the harvesting of the 2015 vintage Maltese Chardonnay grapes that will go into the next vintage of Gran Cavalier. Once harvested, the ‘must’ will go through its barrel fermentation in French barrels and then spend some time maturing on the sediment to extract maximum flavour. Bottling of the new 2015 vintage Gran Cavalier Chardonnay should take place in the early months of 2016. MBR

2015 Maltese Chardonnay vines at bud break taken in late March

2015 Maltese Chardonnay vines at the fruit set stage in early June Contact us: 2131 1966 | e-mail:

Malta Business Review

IntervIew wIth MaIn SponSor

IntervIew wIth MaIn SponSor

Timothy Zrinzo from Insignia Cards with Matthew Bezzina from eCabs

Timothy Zrinzo from Insignia Cards with Charles Schiavone from DHL

your experience after having participated and sponsored one of the largest and most prestigious business award event in Malta?

MBR: What has motivated you to sponsor this year’s fantastic edition of Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards?

RC: Absolutely. Winners more than deserved the recognition this award gives them and I’m sure that based on the fantastic attendance and celebration of this year’s event, the future of entrepreneurial awards in Malta looks very promising.

Being that we are a relatively new company here in Malta, operating in a very competitive payment cards market, we believe that we must provide products that set us apart from our competition, both locally and abroad. It so happens that our personalised service and payment products are very well received by new business owners in Malta, which is why we have supported this great event.

Promoting Creativity, Breaking New Grounds by Martin Vella

MBR Publications are proud to present this interview with Rafael Carrascosa, Managing Director of the Insignia Group of Companies, main sponsor for Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2105.

BACkGRouND Insignia Cards Limited are a relatively new company in Malta, operating in a very competitive market – that of issuing financial Visa card products, such as credit cards and charge cards. In order for companies like Insignia Cards to be successful, they believe that they must come to the market with products that would set them apart from their competition, both locally and abroad. To accomplish this, Insignia Cards Limited encourage all their colleagues to come up with bright ideas, to challenge the norm and promote creativity, to break new ground in the market through the introduction of innovative products all within the tightly regulated financial services market which, considering the current global environment in which they operate, which is no mean feat! ultimately, Insignia Cards Limited are encouraged to be entrepreneurial.


MBR: What inspired this idea behind INSIGNIA CARDS LTD and what inspires you? RC: Over the years, the service level from some payment brands has been dropping, leaving room for another business to enter that prides itself on great service. Great service is something that I am passionate about, which is a philosophy that I push in the business. MBR: What are your entrepreneurial aspirations for the company? RC: Insignia is a business that has operated on the principal of delivering high level personalised service and payments in a way that

most other corporate brands can not. The mentality and motivation behind our business is similar to the spirit of a new business; we are passionate about what we do. We can not think like a big business. We must maintain this entrepreneurial spirit. Somehow we have managed this for almost 20 years. I believe this is because we have a unique ability to adapt. The world is constantly changing and as a company we will continue to adapt to new ways of delivering great service to the changing needs of our clients. My aspiration would be to continue to move the company forward with innovation, maintain a fresh and

Dr. Nicola Mallia from Insignia Cards with Olga Finkel from WH Partners

essential open-minded thinking in how we can deliver great lifestyle services and payment products.

RC: We were delighted to be have been one of the main sponsors of such a prestigious event, rewarding the best entrepreneurs in Malta.

The Insignia Cards Ltd Team during Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

Malta Business Review

MBR: How important do you consider such awards are and what are its contributions towards the enhancement of entrepreneurship in Malta? RC: It pleases me to see how much attention is given to this event as it truly shows how much weight and value Malta places on entrepreneurship. This economy has been performing very well at a time when many of our neighbouring countries have been struggling. I believe there is a strong link at play here. MBR: What are the key initiatives in your opinion that have made the difference to sponsor such prestigious awards? RC: I strongly believe that in order to succeed, personally and professionally, one needs determination, resilience and most of all hard work – lots of it! It is when someone, or a group of likeminded individuals, has the courage to take on a challenge and to try and break new ground in unchartered territory that you can accomplish something that few others have managed and be proud of that accomplishment. It is that success which we should all do everything in our power to achieve, nourish, promote and reward. In addition to the points I have already made, Insignia Cards Limited took the initiative to sponsor these prestigious awards for this very reason. We feel that the individuals locally who are breaking new ground and experiencing these accomplishments should be rewarded and celebrated. The company believes in positively reinforcing these initiatives so it was an easy decision to get involved with MBR for this event. MBR: The organisers clearly state that, “The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, healthcare innovation, personal commitment to their businesses and communities.” Do you agree with this and what is

It so happens that our personalised service and payment products are very well received by new business owners in Malta MBR: How inspiring is it to see what you have accomplished together with the Insignia team and how will these accomplishments have a positive fallout on you and on Insignia? RC: Ultimately with every success comes even more determination and ambition! Success breeds success and it’s great to be a part of this. Insignia is a company of dedicated individuals who inspire each other on a daily basis to push the company to the next level and any success only escalates this in lifestyle servicing and payments. The greatest accomplishment ultimately for all of the team however is when a service makes such a positive impact on peoples’ day to day lives as we have seen for many in Malta. It makes everyone extremely proud to work for Insignia and strengthen a reputation, which will attract new talent for many years to come. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE With a degree in Business Law and a Masters in Business Administration, Mr. Carrascosa Caballero has over 20 years of experience working in financial institutions around the world. During this period he held several positions of responsibility with American Express in UK and USA from where he moved to become Vice President MasterCard Advisors Europe for South and Eastern Europe. Shortly after, Mr. Carrascosa Caballero joined the Russian Standard Bank ZAO as Managing Director of American Express Card Business where he was promoted to Head of Retail Banking. During the last years, Mr. Carrascosa Caballero held the CMO position at Brokerage Credit Services in Moscow and was CEO at Forex Club Holding Group. He joined Insignia Group in June 2013 as Chief Executive Officer of Insignia Global Card Business where he brought with him his extensive knowledge and experience in financial services and the credit card business.


Malta Business Review



Malta Business Review

How does an ‘Ecosystem’ perspective help a business? Unified Branding The brand is a system in itself. A system of communications, products, people, services and overall visual identity. Unified, coherent branding is easier and much more effective when thinking in terms of digital ecosystems. Without such a perspective, brand messages become fragmented, user experience can seem inconsistent and the promise of the brand becomes much harder to keep. Better Cross-Channel Customer Experience & Engagement Experience elements (designs, workflows, etc.) can be re-used within systems more easily, therefore making for a better experience for customers interacting with the business through multiple touchpoints.

The Digital Business Ecosystem The digital ecosystem of a business is the combination of all relevant digital touchpoints, the people that interact with them, and the business processes and technology environment that support both.

Coherent Branding and User Experience across multiple touch points is proven to drastically improve customer engagement and conversions

Digital touchpoints can be divided into four categories:

Social publishing touchpoints are platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. A company sets up these digital presences, and then publishes content to them. However, these touchpoints are are not completely within company control, since the experience design is set up and fixed by the platform, and because user-generated content (posting / commenting / sharing) is a significant part of the experience.


Systems Can Drive More Revenue It’s easier to cross-sell between the elements of a digital ecosystem, even if it’s just a matter of linking two things together and telling customers about complementary products or services in a different channel. Isolated digital experiences can’t capitalise on these potential synergies and cross-selling opportunities, since it’s basically up to the customer to discover related items with the risk of getting lost along the way.

Case Study: eCabs

by Maurice Aquilina

Controlled touchpoints are identified as those digital experiences designed, built and run completely controlled by a business which include technologies such as web sites, desktop and mobile applications. Developing these elements usually involve the most time and investment, and are of primary importance to any business.

Without systemic coordination, customers who interact at multiple touchpoints are going to have differing levels of experience, and may have to re-learn how things work, which is far from ideal. By viewing their online elements as part of one digital ecosystem, businesses can promote a deeper and more effective level of customer engagement.

Third-party touchpoints are services such as search engines and social review services such as TripAdvisor. These touchpoints are completely out of a company’s control, but can still impact the ecosystem’s behaviour. Digital marketing touchpoints come into play with the (relatively) new concept of inbound marketing which in Malta is yet to be fully harnessed. Inbound Marketing focuses on getting found by customers. Customers are today shifting away from traditional, interruption-based marketing methods and are starting to choose themselves when and where to interact with brands. Brands must therefore develop systems which allow them to listen and converse rather than shout out their message.

eCabs is without any doubt one of Malta’s latest business success stories. Starting 5 years ago, eCabs has steadily grown into Malta’s leading minicab company, renowned for its outstanding customer service and leading-edge technologies. At M7Alpha we are proud to have assisted eCabs throughout this journey and we do now take care of all their digital front-end touchpoints thus creating a seamless user-experience which we believe is a very important part of eCabs’s success. We started off the ecosystem development by designing and developing their website (now in its third version) which quickly became the brand’s flagship. A few months later we were involved in the designing of the smartphone app to ensure coherent user-experience across both these controlled touchpoints. In the meantime we constantly monitor, fine tune and optimise all digital platforms to ensure the best possible search engine rankings. The last 5 years have seen an unprecedented rise in social media usage, something which a forwardlooking company like eCabs could not do without. Today we do manage all eCabs social media

platforms and we are very active on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest and Twitter. These social publishing touchpoints have today become eCabs primary source of customer engagement. Our creative team manages all posts, feedback and reviews and channel all service requests to the eCabs sales team. From a marketing perspective, we are proud to say that during the last year, together with eCabs we have managed to positively shake up the local marketing industry. Being so directly involved in the eCabs company culture, understanding their vision clearly and working with directors excited to try out new solutions, we were able to create digital marketing campaigns which have become the talk of town. We believe that part of this marketing success has to be credited to our unique workflow which allows us to monitor trending topics, come up with concepts and designs, and publish them within a few hours. This is crucial to create viral content. The positive response and engagement levels by the public to these adverts is beyond what we ever imagined!


At M7Alpha Creative Studios we offer services related to all the ecosystem touchpoints in order to create a complete and seamless business experience. Our favourite part of the day is meeting new business owners and discuss ideas and creative solutions. We can be easily reached by email on, web at or phone on +356 7925 6210. MBR

Maurice is the founder and director of M7Alpha Creative Studios, a web design, development and digital marketing company established in 2004. After graduating with a First Class BSc degree in Creative Computing from the University of London, Maurice expanded M7Alpha’s services to include Digital Marketing and Social Media Platform Management.


Malta Business Review


Stop the Drop by Antoine Bonello

We live in an age of constant change with the internet and other sophisticated communication devices dictating our lifestyle and bombarding us with news and gossiping, thus making our world a small place. These fast changes are also very visible in the constructing Industry with evermore architects creating innovative designs and putting no limits to building structures. Most of these buildings besides being aesthetically pleasing are also pro-environment with smart solutions to use less artificial light, cooling and heating.

In Malta certain architects have left their mark and are also adopting the concept of self-sufficient structures, utilising every single space to maximize the benefits aesthetically and financially. Being and island with low rainfall and a lot of sun, it is needless to say that not using solar panels would have been a crime against nature. However, two important factors must be considered prior their installation. The first one is apply a good resin liquid waterproofing membrane, as it will prove very difficult to apply it between the panels once installed. The second do not have the panels fixed directly to the roof with bolts. It is these unaware problems that drive serious pro-environment companies like NAICI to find simple and innovative and effective solutions. I was ecstatic when I heard about the new GUAINA REFLEX, it is a simple yet effective solution. This revolutionary product is made from resin and is reinforced with fibre glass. It is resistant to traffic, UV rays and can withstand concrete movements due to its elasticity. NAICI GUAINA RELFEX besides


waterproofing is also THERMAL, able to reduce the roof heat intake by 90%. No more humid and heat inside the houses and less air-conditioning usage. Two solutions in one product the perfect answer for our flat roofs here in Malta.

and with fewer panels you will achieve more, leaving you more free space on the roof to use at your own leisure and also stopping the urge to implement eyesore structures.

I was ecstatic when I heard about the new GUAINA REFLEX, it is a simple yet effective solution

The Resin and Membrane Centre is Malta’s largest showroom with regards waterproofing and resin flooring, were experienced personnel will guide you to the best water proofing solution that suit your needs, it is situated at 264 Old Railway track St Venera .

This strong thermal waterproofing liquid resin membrane is guaranteed to last for very long without the need of any yearly maintenance. Another astonishing property of this innovative product is the ability to increase the efficiency and the intake of solar panels by redirecting the sunrays horizontally towards them. This means more money in the owner’s pocket, an increase of cleaner energy and most of all no need to fill every single space with costly panels. With this effective solution

We are also proud to say that professional formation with regards waterproofing and resin flooring to all Maltese Installers is now a reality thanks to a combined effort of The Malta Professional Waterproofing and Resin Flooring Association and NAICI International Academy, which are holding regular teaching courses in Malta open to all Maltese Installers. All this is being made possible because we believe in Malta and in the abilities of the true skilled Maltese. We are proud to use products like NAICI that have we the environment at heart. MBR

Malta Business Review



Social Engineering: The Way Forward?

Nexia BT Participates In Nexia Turnaround Restructuring Insolvency (TRI) Summit In Rome

by Janice Bartolo

In this article, Janice Bartolo meets Architect Christopher Mintoff, President of Kamra Tal-Periti in her quest to provide the facts related ODZ. “Can you anticipate and engineer where society is going?” I ask in a busy Architect’s office in Blata l-Bajda.

streets, others cringe at the thought of it being inhabited by a population that is ageing by the minute.

The answer is a solid “yes”.

In order to decide what is to become of Gozitan land, explains the architect, one needs to start by determining the problems that the island faces. Demographic issues are one obvious hurdle. One must then attempt to solve the island’s issues as part of a nation-wide strategy. Economic inequality, infrastructural and environmental issues are problematic themes applicable to both islands.

Intrigued by how Malta has never been this willing to debate Outside Development Zones, I meet Architect Christopher Mintoff, President of Kamra tal-Periti. In January last year, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority Board approved a revised policy which regulates the use of land in ODZ land. The new policy clearly states that any proposed development which would have an adverse impact on the conservation value of any scheduled, protected area will not be permitted. Such an area may be of ecological, scientific, landscape, cultural or archaeological value. This explains some people’s thoughts on the upcoming American University of Malta. The residents of Marsaskala and neighbouring villages have been longing for some sort of activity that would kickstart the area’s economic activity. However, a number of environmentalists questioned the Government’s choice of Żonqor Point for the campus. Architect Mintoff sits back in his chair, poised behind a desk that is inundated with site plans, sketches and drawing tools. “As a country, we need an agreed vision”, he remarks. He firmly believes policy makers should move away from drawing up planning policies and shift towards urban design and social engineering. Using the American University of Malta as a case in point, he believes it must be part of a wider action plan, such as a strategy encouraging educational endeavors in southern Malta. Whilst being in favour of the economic and social boost the project may contribute towards, he insists policy makers cannot determine the future use of land on a project-by-project basis. His focus shifts towards a map of the Maltese Islands behind me and I can tell his mind is going elsewhere. “Take Gozo as another example”, he declares, proving my intuition correct. There seem to be two schools of thought. Some retain its very heart and soul lie in its quiet 16

Architect Mintoff is adamant there must be a plan that specifies which parts of Malta are to be used for what purpose, by which specific year.

Policy makers should move away from drawing up planning policies and shift towards urban design and social engineering “Wouldn’t that actually create inequalities?” I wonder. After all, much criticism has been expressed at the concentration of industrial elements in Malta’s southern area and the relatively virgin parts in the north. Dr Mintoff believes not. On the contrary, he holds that social, economical and environmental inequalities are a sure happening, should there be no human intervention. I remark that his thoughts seem to be precisely what a plan known as SPED is meant to do. The Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development is intended to replace the Structure Plan for the Maltese Islands of 1990 and provide a strategic spatial policy framework. The new plan is based on a system that ensures the sustainable management of land and sea resources, together with the protection of the environment. It guides the development and use of land and sea space, complimenting the Government’s social, economic and environmental direction. A parliamentary committee approved amendments to the plan in early June and it will

Malta Business Review

University Point Zonqor

be discussed in plenary, where further changes are possible. Architect Mintoff acknowledges the plan. He leans forward, eyes narrowing in thought, tapping his pen lightly against the wooden desk. “What we need, essentially, is to incentivise and to de-incentivise”. Once a decision is taken upon what is to become of which areas in Malta, he believes activities or movements adhering to that plan should be encouraged, and others discouraged. How do you push a particular economic activity in a specific area, or encourage youths to inhabit an area? By ensuring the right design, the right infrastructure and the right economic incentives. SPED does attempt to make policies and programmes spatial, holistic and comprehensive so that factors related to land resources, sea resources and environmental conservation are addressed. Yet what the Kamra tal-Periti head is telling me is that he would like to see a national plan for every specific Maltese town and village. Every single space, in turn, should boast characterstics that adhere to a national, long-term vision. “A tall order?” I ask, ever the skeptic. He believes that this vision of an engineered society is the only way towards progress. “We have very little room for error” the architect adds. We live on a very small stretch of land anyway. MBR editor’S Note The original proposals was for the government to regale Sadeen Group with 90,000 square metres of pristine land. The government signed an agreement with investor Hani Salah, as CEO and Chairman of the Sadeen Group, to officially approve the American university. The new university is expected to cater for 4,000 students, and it has already submitted some of its university credits for accreditation despite its pending planning application. The courses include business administration, accounting, finance, graphic design and animation, game development, and computer science, with another 60 courses still in the pipeline.

Recently, Anita Aloisio and Anton Dalli, from the Specialist Advisory Services practice of Nexia BT, participated in the Nexia Turnaround Restructuring Insolvency (TRI) Summit held in Rome, Italy. The event gathered numerous associates of the Nexia International network from around the globe.

Nexia TRI Group


Company restructuring, turnarounds and insolvency options and case studies were the theme of the TRI Summit. As a new member to the TRI Summit, Nexia BT Advisory Services Limited was invited to present the services offered in Malta. Anita Aloisio, the Partner leading the advisory services in Malta presented the innovative handson and holistic approach adopted by the Malta team to assist companies in gaining competitive advantage. These meetings are an integral part of the Nexia International strategy, during which experts from around the Nexia International network come together and work to provide cohesive, customised services to solve and advise their respective customers on wealth creation and preservation. Cross-border opportunities was also discussed and explored during the Rome forum. MBR

With more than 20 years of practical industry experience within the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, Anton Dalli applies his hands-on operational experience and technical IT expertise to assist clients in implementing the required changes to achieve business process improvements. Presently, Anton manages a portfolio of clients where he provides business intelligence, planning and project management services, and facilitates reorganisation directing a team of BPR specialists.

Malta Business Review


Fexserv Financial Services Celebrates 20 Years Of Operations In Malta At Couvre Porte, Birgu


ouvre Porte in Birgu was recently the setting for the celebration by Fexserv Financial Services on the 20th anniversary since setting up their operations in Malta two decades ago this summer. The recently restored Couvre Porte, itself a gateway into the historic city of Vittoriosa, was chosen since it symbolises the ideal venue for a company which today acts as a modern-day gateway to the ever expanding financial services industry in Malta. Besides a multitude of local guests, made up from clients, agents and staff members, a number of representatives from the foreign partners of Fexserv were present to mark this milestone. As the evening progressed and drew to an end the time came for recalling the achievements of the organisation through a video presentation and short commemorative speeches from one of

the company directors Mr. Pa Nolan and the Chairman of Fexserv Mr Tony Zahra. Mr. Nolan recalled the early days when he came to Malta together with another colleague from Fexco in Ireland in 1995 to help set up Fexco Malta and assist in the knowledge transfer process to Maltese employees. He then went on to thank the customers and staff for their loyalty throughout the years. Mr. Zahra also recalled the early memories and took the opportunity to thank his fellow directors for their sterling support in directing the company to what it is today. He stated that Financial Services is now one of the main pillars of the economy and is looking brightly to the future that this industry can have in Malta. He concluded by hinting that Fexserv will early next year be launching a very exciting new financial service in Malta through which Fexserv will be doubling its present staff compliment. MBR

Set up as Fexco Malta Ltd in 1995 and rebranded to Fexserv Financial Services Ltd in 2010 the company has today grown into one of Malta’s leading specialised financial services companies offering foreign exchange services including its landmark product Fexserv Travel Money with more than 100 currencies available, inward and outward bank payments through its correspondent bank Deutsche Bank, and remittance payment service through its agency agreement with Western Union which today is serviced through 66 locations including all Maltapost Branches. The Fexserv organisation in Malta also encompasses Fexserv Investment Services, the unique gifting solution through the One4all Gift Voucher, Fund administration services and Bastion Wealth Fund Management.

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HigHer education

Excellence In Education by Gwen Gomis

The eie Educational Group ( is celebrating its 15th anniversary, a long way from the day when it opened its doors to the first local students who found in eie an alternative to the traditional higher education system. The eie acronym stands for – Excellence in Education. Excellence is confirmed by the student and graduate testimonials that eie regularly receives from satisfied students. eie has grown into an established organisation both in Malta and internationally. Apart from locals, the eie Institute of Education ( hosts international students who choose Malta as a place to further their education. One can opt to follow part-time, distance learning or lecture based programmes, which are carefully designed to be both enticing and versatile – what our working students require while studying and coping with their busy lives. eie will help students reach their goals as highly qualified professional individuals to play important roles globally. All academic programmes offered are MQRIC recognised complying with local regulations governing tertiary educational programmes. eie Educational Group, also runs an EFL licensed English language school – eie Languages Centre ( – and offers courses in General English, Business English and IELTS preparation. Students hail from various countries and choose eie to further their English language skills. Courses start every Monday, whereby students are first tested to establish their current level and followed up with a meeting with the school’s Director of Studies, where the outcome of the course is determined as some students wish to improve their conversation skills, whilst others want to improve their writing or academic skills. This is then communicated to the EFL teacher so that they work together on achieving the client’s target. In terms of Academic courses, the institute offers the following Pathways: 20 46

Business & Management (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Bachelor, Pg. Diploma and Masters) Finance & Accounting (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Bachelor and Masters) Sales & Marketing (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Masters) I.T. (Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Masters) Human Resources (Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Diploma and Masters) Maritime Management (Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Diploma) Journalism (Certificate and Diploma) Tourism & Business Studies (Certificate, Diploma Advanced Diploma and Masters) eie collaborates with renowned foreign educational institutions and all academic courses are recognised by the local MQRIC. MBR We invite you to call eie on 21332804 / 5 or email on for any assistance. eie Institute of Education is licensed by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education as an Institute of Further and Higher Education - (License Number: 2005-TC-001), whilst eie Languages Centre is licensed by the EFL Monitoring Board as an English Language School (License Number: 282/MB 42).

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Investment management BusIness

Investment management BusIness

Malta Business Review

Kames Capital Lists Four More Funds in Malta by Malcolm J. Naudi

Malcolm J. Naudi interviews Stephen Baines, investment manager in the Kames Capital fixed income team, who explains why Kames Capital has been continuously growing its customer base in Malta, with distribution agreements in place with the majority of markets participants.

MBR: Can you give me a brief background on the Kames Capital Fixed Income Investment team? SB: The Kames Capital Fixed Income team is one of the strongest, most experienced teams in the market. We have a team of 27 individuals with an average experience of sixteen years, headed by David Roberts, who has been in fixed income for 27 years. He has worked across all the different types of asset classes.

In the past I have covered equities, on both long only and long short bases, investment grade credit, high yield bonds and leveraged loans. I also have experience of doing restructuring work on distressed corporations. It has been very focused on individual things at different times of my career. What I can bring together now is a breath of experience that allows me to understand firstly the different phases of the credit cycle and secondly the different parts of the economy as well.

The team itself is broken down into four main sections: a team of six individuals who are involved in government bond, interest rate analysis and fund management; an investment grade credit team that is broken into two parts – five focusing on financials and six focusing on non-financial investment grade corporate; and a high yield team of five individuals, of whom I am one.

The decisions about the shape of the portfolio on a top down basis and the individual credits on a bottom up basis are arrived at through a consensus approach

This is a growing team. Last time I was here there were four of us managing high yield. In response to the growth of the business, and the growth of the markets, we decided to add to that team. Mark Benbow has since joined us.

MBR: Why is your role important in generating investment ideas and providing support to co-managers Phil Milburn and Claire McGuckin?

We have also got four support staff – investment specialists who support the product development, marketing, risk management and arranging of meetings and the like. MBR: What value does Stephen Baines bring as an investment manager in the Kames Capital fixed income proposition? SB: As an investment manager in the high yield team, I have eleven years of experience in the asset management industry. What I bring to the team is a breath of experience since I have worked for three different asset managers prior to Kames and I have worked across a number of geographies and asset classes. 22

MBR: What opportunities does Kames offer clients in the High Yield market and the Fixed Income universe in general? SB: What Kames offers in the High Yield market firstly is a global approach. Many high yield funds focus either on Europe or the US exclusively. We think that to do either is somewhat naïve. First of all you are closing off a universe of bottom up ideas that you are preventing yourself from accessing and two you are giving up on the potential to add value through asset allocation between the two markets. We think we can add value on a bottom up basis through selecting credits that firstly we think have a lower probability of default than other credits of a similar credit rating but also companies that we think can improve their credit quality, thus providing potential for capital gains to the portfolios. MBR: How has Kames Capital successfully been continuously growing its customer base in Malta?

SB: Phil Milburn and Claire McGuckin are the named managers of the High Yield Bond Fund but the approach we take at Kames Capital is really a team-based investment decisionmaking approach. We all sit together in the same office and there is a constant dialogue across the desk on an informal basis.

SB: In terms of our approach in Malta, we have been quite successful in growing the business here. It is fair to say that we don’t have a unique strategy for Malta. What we have done here is that we have brought to the market portfolios that we sell across the UK and Europe because these portfolios all have a global perspective.

The decisions about the shape of the portfolio on a top down basis and the individual credits on a bottom up basis are arrived at through a consensus approach to decision making. Phil Milburn, the manager of the fund, effectively has a veto when there is a contentious decision. It is not Phil working as an investment manager with four analysts. It is really him working as a leader of a team of five investment managers.

The second part of our strategy, which we also apply elsewhere, is that we do not typically target the end retail investor ourselves. What we do is provide an excellent level of service to financial advisers, who allocate portfolios on behalf of their end clients and we have found the financial adviser community in Malta first of all to be very happy with the quality of the portfolios that we provide, but also with the levels of services that colleagues like Edouard

Giraud, Business Development Consultant, Continental European Wholesale, and Richard Dixon, Head of Continental European Wholesale, provide on a day-to-day basis. MBR: What are the main factors why Kames Assets, under Management from Maltese investors, have been regularly registering new funds to offer new investment opportunities to the local population? Why should Maltese investors consider investing in a high yield fund such as the one you offer? SB: We register our range of global funds that we offer elsewhere for sale in Malta. It is about giving Maltese investors via their financial advisers access to globally actively managed portfolios, which for a market that is very well developed in terms of its domestic bond market, provides scope for global diversification. (The dearth of local bond issues is an added reason) why the Maltese should have a portfolio allocation to the Kames Capital High Yield Bond Fund. We believe they can improve their risk-adjusted returns by diversifying into high yield bonds because the correlation with the Maltese market is less than one and because the yields are attractive. You should be able to increase your returns slightly without taking any extra risk at the portfolio level. The reason they should opt for Kames is because of our active management expertise. We believe and we would argue that our track record shows this – that we have consistently, across our fund range, been able to generate not only above-average returns versus other managers but below-average levels of risk. We think the more sophisticated financial advisers within the Maltese community have been very quick to pick up on these attractive risk-adjusted returns.

MBR: What are Kames’ fixed income and equity capabilities? SB: We offer a broad range of funds not just across fixed income and equities. We think of six asset classes: in addition, we have property; multi-asset funds; absolute return funds, which we see as having different inherent risk and return characteristics from fixed income and equities – even though they are made up either of fixed income or equities; and also ethical products, which we have found to be very popular, particularly in the UK.

It is about giving Maltese investors via their financial advisers access to globally actively managed portfolios So I would argue that Kames offers the full suite of investment capabilities. I would encourage advisers in Malta to look more broadly beyond just fixed income. One example: Global Equity Income might be something of interest to Maltese investors. MBR: Can you identify one of the key areas for product development in Malta? SB: We have been working with local intermediaries for several years to make sure we understand Maltese investors’ requirements. The purpose of this is to ensure we engage with our client base, take customers’ feedback on board and offer investment solutions in line with their needs. We maintain a constant effort in our research and we are committed to produce marketing material to help Maltese investors understand our funds and the strategies behind them. One of the key areas we see for product development in Malta is in the Absolute Return space. Changing markets conditions (low yield

environment, interest rate rises) and the shifts operating in both the local and global financial markets mean investors have to deal with new challenges, adapt to different cycles and often seek alternative sources of income. We have been managing Absolute Return/ Market Neutral portfolios for many years, and are confident that investors in Malta can benefit from investing in funds designed to capture the best opportunities in the markets, while focusing on managing risk and preserving capital. We have registered four new funds locally, both in the Equity and Bond Absolute Return spaces. This brings to nine the number of sub funds we have listed in Malta. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

AUTHOR’S NOTE Stephen Baines is an investment manager in the Kames Capital fixed income team with responsibility for high yield bonds. He joined Kames in 2013 from Oriel Asset Management, where he was a portfolio manager and investment analyst. Prior to this, Stephen worked for Baillie Gifford before joining Babson Capital Europe, where he was responsible for credit analysis of European syndicated loans, floating-rate notes and high yield bonds. Stephen has a degree in Economics from the University of Durham and is a CFA Charterholder. He has 11 years’ experience. As a key member of the Kames Capital awardwinning High Yield team, Stephen plays an important role in generating investment ideas and providing support to co-managers Phil Milburn and Claire McGuckin. Through his regular visits to the investment community in Malta over the recent years, Stephen has been committed to give Kames’ clients the opportunity to get regular updates on our views on the High Yield market and the Fixed Income universe in general.






Special Feature Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015

Dr. Adrian Attard, AAT Research Best Entrepreneurial Ideas Entrepreneur of the Year Best Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Overall Best Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Bernard Mangion, Ben Estates Best Real Estate & Property Entrepreneur of the Year


Christine Pace, Dorkins Best Retail & Leisure Entrepreneur of the Year

Charles Schiavone, DHL Best International Trade Media Entrepreneur of the Year



Raphael Arnold, Netrefer Best Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Best iGaming Entrepreneur of the Year

Jason Potter, John Catania, Clive Vella & Ian Fenech Conti, The Other Guys Best Digital & IT Entrepreneur of the Year Best Start-Up Company of the Year

Mario Gauci Snr., Burmarrad Commercials Best Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award Roderick Psaila, Agri Bank Best Banking Entrepreneur of the Year

Paul Gostelow, Astra Consulting Best Corporate Financier Entrepreneur of the Year

Alfredo Munoz, MAPFRE Middlesea Best CSR Entrepreneur of the Year

Deborah Schembri, STM Best Knowledge Entrepreneur of the Year

Sean Cassar, Design Hub Best Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

Donna Greaves, PKF Best Tax Compliance and Reporting Entrepreneur/Firm of the Year

Irina Malvcova, Ippo Malta Best Voluntary work, Culture & Art Entrepreneur of the Year Diane Izzo, Dizz Group Best Entrepreneurial Company of the Year

Evelina Batey, European Centre for Culture Best Educational & Talent Development Entrepreneur of the Year Olga Finckel, WH Partners Best Female Entrepreneur of the Year

Oleg & Elena Roslavitskiy, MultiMax Best Entertainment Entrepreneur of the Year

Matthew Bezzina, eCabs Best Male Entrepreneur of the Year

Chef Marvin Gauci, Chef Marvin Gauci Award for Excellence

George Mangion, PKF Chairman Value Award

Dr aDrian attarD trevisan winner of malta’s overall best entrepreneur of the year awarD 2015

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Malta Business Review

Building a Better Working World by Martin Vella

Dr. Adrian Attard Trevisan, accepting the Overall Best Entrepreneur of the Year award

MBR: How does it feel to be recognised as the outright and overall winner of Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015? AAT: It was amazing to receive the overall award. Our team was already overjoyed at having received two awards that night. Being called up to receive the overall award at the end of the evening was a great surprise. It is satisfying but also humbling to be honoured in this way, and we are truly grateful. MBR: Did you expect to win the overall award as Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015? AAT: We very much believe in what we do at AAT and work with passion. When we learnt that we had been nominated to participate in the MBR Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, for us that was already a pat on the back. To be presented with 26

Dr Adrian Attard Trevisan, CEO of AAT Research and founder of an award-winning health system MENTE for children with autism, gives us an exclusive interview after he was unanimously acclaimed as Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year, and was among 32 finalists who pitched their businesses in this year’s highly successful gala award ceremony, before a panel of expert judges. And in so doing, Dr Attard Trevisan also managed to win two other prestigious awards. Let’s find out more….

three awards definitely exceeded our expectations. We were all up on our feet when I was named Malta’s Overall Best Entrepreneur of the Year 2015.

Awards such as this are of great encouragement to help you continue on that pathway, with all its ups and downs MBR: Besides the top accolade you have also won Malta’s Best Entrepreneurial Ideas Entrepreneur of the Year and Malta’s Best Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. How significant is this to you and to the AAT Research team? AAT: It validates the work we do. It encourages us to continue working with all

our might, to retain our focus on researching and developing medical devices and systems to help improve the lives of others, particular those with neurologically based diseases and conditions. Innovation is our focus and it is often tough going in so many ways, especially when you are a start-up that dreams big. Something like this is a huge boost for us. MBR: What do you attribute these awards to… is it due to the technical ability to be able to provide healthcare products and services in a specific area or is it due to your intellectual capital and capacity to position yourself as a thought leader to your respective target audiences? AAT: Entrepreneurship is a blend of so many factors – starting with a vision, an idea that you can bring to fruition, and defining what you need to make it happen. Technical ability is a must, focus

Members of the AAT team at the Malta Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015

is also necessary. The capacity to lead and influence is a huge benefit. But it’s also very much about building a team of star players who share the same goal and are dedicated to making it happen.

their businesses and communities.” Do you agree with this and what is your experience after having participated and ended up carrying three of the most important awards?

MBR: What are the key initiatives in your opinion that have made the difference to win such prestigious awards?

AAT: AAT was in very good company on awards night, in the presence of 31 other nominees from various sectors and over 500 members of the business community. Entrepreneurs need drive and determination, they need to take something new and different and render it both attractive and feasible. Hard work is core to all this – and persistence and deep commitment, both your own and, as you start to grow, that of your team. It’s a group of people with different attributes, capabilities and expertise working together. I believe the awards recognized the effort and resources that go into all we do.

AAT: Perhaps it is because our products are in the healthcare sphere with a strong social impact, making a difference in the daily lives of others, such as those whose children are on the autism spectrum. MBR: How important do you consider such awards are and what are its contributions towards the enhancement of entrepreneurship in Malta? AAT: Entrepreneurs’ key focus is on their goals as they strive to achieve success. Awards such as this are of great encouragement to help you continue on that pathway, with all its ups and downs. It’s also a form of independent review of your progress. Entrepreneurs are a critical part of any economy and awards and events like this highlight their hard work, sacrifices and efforts. I’m sure it also encourages youngsters to consider this route. MBR: The organisers clearly sate that, “The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, personal commitment to

It validates the work we do. It encourages us to continue working with all our might, to retain our focus on researching and developing medical devices and systems to help improve the lives of others MBR: What about the huge amount of focus and commitment that your work requires, does it affect your family life? AAT: I must confess that I am constantly thinking about my work. It’s an all-

consuming passion and those around me are very patient with me! I’m currently also reading my second Ph.D. so I am using any extra hours to complete that. I am blessed to have a very supportive partner in my fiancée Krystle, who I am proud to say will become my wife later this year. This is a very special year for me indeed. MBR: What advice do you have to budding entrepreneurs who wish to take the leap toward entrepreneurship, AAT: You have to believe in what you are doing and in its value – as that will motivate you and drive you forward. You need to keep a close eye on the bottom line at all times and operate as leanly as you can to get things up and running. Deliver something that is technically sound and solid. Surround yourself with good advisors and mentors – and those who believe in what you are seeking to achieve and can offer constructive criticism or a helping hand in some form or another. Keep your eye on the goal. MBR: What is your feedback on the event, its organization and how will you remember the night of the 10th July? AAT: It was definitely a night to remember – well done to MBR! It was well-organised at a great venue, and is a very worthwhile event for Malta’s business community. Our team enjoyed it and we look forward to the next edition! MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015


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Malta Business Review

Perseverance, Competence and Consistency by George Carol

Malta’s Best Female Entrepreneur of the Year Olga Finkel

MBR: You have recently won Malta’s topmost accolade as Malta’s Best Female Entrepreneur of the year. What does this mean to you and how significant is this achievement to WH Partners? OF: Achievements rarely represent a single person’s effort. Within WH Partners I daily strive to transmit team spirit and sustain a team effort. While the award carries my name, it represents the results of the work of my loyal and competent team over the years. I was delighted to walk into the office on Monday after the awards and find my team cheering. The sense was that of common achievement and converging aims. Such a feeling fuels me in my endeavors within WH Partners.

equality. I wish that we all, as society, will work together to make this category unnecessary by creating a truly level playing field for women in society to realise their full potential for the benefit of all.

Without entrepreneurship view on the problems our clients have we would not be able to come up with appropriate solutions

MBR: How does it feel to be recognised as a female business leader, especially in an industry that is so stereotypically male orientated and hard to crack?

MBR: The theme of this year’s Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards was ‘Committed to Building a Better World’. How can we build a better working world through mentoring?

OF: To me, the positive and satisfying side of the award is the recognition of my effort, perseverance, competence and consistency in result. However, the existence of the category of ‘female entrepreneur’ is sad and shows just how unbalanced the business world still is, no matter how much we all talk about

OF: I regard mentoring as wise and vital. Within WH Partners we offer numerous opportunities to law and accounting students via traineeship programmes. Traineeship has the aim of bridging the gap between the formal education and real world business requirements, so that the acquired knowledge can be applied


Olga Finkel, Founding Partner at WH Partners, took the title of Malta’s Best Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2015. During the nomination stage, the judges took particular note of the projects that Olga has worked on, commenting about her “sheer hard work and determination to deliver excellent legal service at all times”. Olga, a talented corporate and gaming lawyer who has distinguished herself internationally, tells us that professional support is crucial in ensuring successful execution of projects. to real life situations in the most effective way. Instilling the importance of corporate social responsibility is an important part of our mentoring process, so giving back to society becomes an indispensable part of their business culture. MBR: How critical is entrepreneurship and information technology, and how have those become part of the culture of how the institution operates? OF: Entrepreneurship for me means creating, while information technology means facilitating the creation. Without entrepreneurship view on the problems our clients have we would not be able to come up with appropriate solutions. Without using IT, we would not be able to offer efficient solutions. MBR: How has your career evolved and which area do you lead today? OF: At some point in my life I switched from being a software developer to being a lawyer. So, in my current role I combine university knowledge and working experience in both computer science and legal sectors. I find both sides as invaluable and providing me with a solid foundation to advise with confidence on all legal matters relating to information technology, internet and intellectual property.

Olga with her WH Partners team at the Malta Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015

MBR: What sets you apart from competition as Malta’s Best Female Entrepreneur of the Year? OF: I believe that having several totally different types of education and working experiences provides a rich mix and an excellent base for being able to approach even complex problems with a fresh outlook, which, in turn, helps to be more creative and bold. However, I will leave to others to judge what sets me apart. MBR: What is the key to the success of WH Partners and what has made the system work so well? OF: I think the key to the success of WH Partners rests on putting ourselves in our clients’ position and really taking their business to the heart. With this attitude, coupled with uncompromising competence and strong work ethics, we are fully equipped to give the best service. We strongly believe that in order to provide excellent service to our clients, there has to be exceptional coordination amongst all members of our staff. Therefore, we highly value teamwork and regard it as crucial for achieving this success. MBR: There is a strong culture within WH Partners. How do you make sure you don’t lose that culture as the company continues to expand? OF: New members of the staff pass through a selection where all the candidates’ characteristics are evaluated, including personal qualities. The way we approach new members to our team is one which

focuses on their development as a professional and as a person. It is in this manner that new members integrate within our corporate culture and grow with it. Team building activities organised at WH Partners include corporate yoga sessions, company trips abroad and other social events which give us the opportunity as a team to get to know each other better and work together better towards common goals.

I believe, in particular, that more should be done to provide sources of finance, including alternative finance, to entrepreneurs where financiers will be partners in the projects rather than only conservative lenders MBR: Should more be done to raise the awareness of how critical entrepreneurship is for economic growth? OF: I believe so, as entrepreneurship is often the driving force of innovation, creativity and, therefore, employment and economy in general. I believe, in particular, that more should be done to provide sources of finance, including alternative finance, to entrepreneurs where financiers will be partners in the projects rather than only conservative lenders. I strongly believe that the government should lead in this culture change. Moreover, as

society, we should accept that failure is a necessary part of entrepreneurship as a whole and should embrace it. Failure is means of learning and ensuring that the next idea, the next project will succeed. MBR: What are you doing to help women become leaders? OF: At WH Partners we strive to provide environment to our female members of the team that will allow them to make their contribution to the firm while providing flexibility and accommodating their family situations. For instance, young mothers can work from home or work flexible hours. We are an equal opportunity employer and employ and promote employees strictly according to merit. We encourage everyone, including women, to lead projects and develop themselves professionally. Personally, I believe in leading by example and I do my utmost to do just this on a daily basis! MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE Olga Finkel is an expert in the gaming and technology fields. Her expertise extends to e-payments, crypto-currency, e-commerce, software licensing, data security, IP, and cross-border M&A. She is ranked globally by Chambers & Partners as a top-tier gaming lawyer, and by Who’s Who Legal as a leading internet and technology lawyer, and lectures gaming law at the University of Malta.


Malta Business Review



never give-up. Once early stages of success are registered the entrepreneur has the option to re-invest into the business with a view to further growth and increased returns on the investments.

Strong Leadership and Teamwork

MBR: Do you agree that entrepreneurs are amazing people. In general, if you meet someone who is an entrepreneur they have all had so many things that they have gone through and worked hard at that there is a quality about entrepreneurs that distinguishes them from other individuals? DI: To me an entrepreneur is in fact a person who thinks outside the box and comes up with innovative business ideas. The most amazing entrepreneurs I have met to date are those who started off from scratch and worked their way up towards success. Such entrepreneurs usually have a bright mind and the courage to think and act differently.

by George Carol

MBR Publications interview a beaming and radiant Diane Izzo, CEO, Dizz Group, who reflects back on her recent remarkable achievement during this year’s Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which she dedicates to all her team at Dizz Group of Companies.

MBR: What does winning Malta’s Best Entrepreneurial Company of the Year mean to you and also to Dizz Group?

MBR: How did you decide to participate in Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards?

DI: Winning the award marks another accomplishment for our Group of Companies and demonstrates that the Dizz Group is running at optimal performance. To me this is of great personal satisfaction and I feel that it is important to celebrate our success from time to time, as our Group continues to undergo further growth. It also suggests that we are ready for the future brands and projects which we have planned to take over in the pipeline.

DI: I had heard that the event was organised once a year and that there were various entrepreneurs who participated in this yearly event. This year I decided it was time I participated myself as I felt confident that with the drive and commitment we gave out, I could qualify to compete for a prestigious award for our Group and myself.


MBR: What has been central to Dizz Group’s strategy for success? DI: The key to our success has always been a strong level of leadership and teamwork.

Malta Business Review

Karl & Diane Izzo

Diane Izzo, CEO, Dizz Group recieving her award, presented by Tommy Diacono, Managing Director, New York Best

We engage only the best and most dedicated members of staff and believe in delegating equal responsibilities, since we feel this is the only way the Group may continue to grow, experience further profitability and overall success. MBR: Dizz Group enjoys some successful market dominance. Does this boil down to integrity for your partners, customer and staff, innovation, or your continued effort to focus on human resources? DI: Our mission is that of exceeding our customers’ expectations by providing them with the highest standards of service delivery and quality standards.

The group targets ongoing growth prospects across a spread of industries whilst providing further employment opportunities to a dedicated team of personnel. In essence our successful market dominance particularly in fashion retail is achieved by targeting customers’ expectations by means of well-known brands and collections for all seasons, together with a focus on our staff and our service standard. MBR: Do you think that customer satisfaction is usually something that is taken for granted in corporate management? DI: Yes I believe that in today’s times a carefully managed company must certainly focus on customer satisfaction, as this is becoming more and more important, particularly in a market where word of mouth spreads fast and customers have more choice where to spend their money. Today customers enjoy shopping at our Liu Jo, Terranova & Calliope outlets or have a break at our Pascucci Coffee Shops and we know that these customers are after an enjoyable

shopping or relaxing experience whilst spending their money.

We engage only the best and most dedicated members of staff and believe in delegating equal responsibilities MBR: Why is it that dreams, like ideas you have for a business, aren’t valuable unless you act on them? DI: Everyone wishes all their dreams could come through. In truth converting a dream into reality takes a lot of effort, perseverance and a willingness to achieve the target of actually fulfilling that dream or idea. MBR: What is your advice to early-stage entrepreneurs and how to go about taking an idea and turning it into a business? DI: I believe that any early-stage entrepreneur must take a calculated risk and plunge into the business he or she believes in. A new business requires strong dedication and my advice is to

MBR: How can you relate your story with the above? DI: From a young age I always admired my dad and the way he ran his business. I always felt I wanted to be as successful and in the future run my own business. I believe that the above question does relate to my story because I opened up Liu Jo, Terranova and Calliope outlets without having inherited any business and also moved on to diversify and open up the Pascucci Coffee Shops, the Makeup Store, You-Vee Sunglasses and also teamed up with Dean Gera Hair Care Ltd, and each business was a success. MBR: Does being a best entrepreneur mean you first have to conquer all personal problems and that you have to have full control over yourself because your ability to control a business, which is a group of people, will be too small if you haven’t mastered yourself? DI: I would tend to agree with this, yes. Having full control over yourself is essential. Personal problems do tend to get in the way of effective leadership however they also help to make you stronger as you continue to persist and tackle them on their own merits. The biggest ongoing challenge is to look at problems more like challenges and overcome such hurdles with a positive and forward looking attitude. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015


Malta Business Review



Creating A Positive Impact by Martin Vella

“At Mapfre Middlesea, CSR is an integral part of our values,” stated Mapfre Middlesea CEO Alfredo Muñoz, who recently won the prestigious CSR Entrepreneur of the Year Award during Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, confirming that Mapfre Middlesea business is to provide peace of mind, whilst contributing towards the society in which it operates.

same. We strongly believe that building a reputation as a responsible business sets you apart. This is because it can have a positive impact on how they are seen by their customers and in fact stakeholders often favour companies who implement responsible policies. We also want our employees to feel proud of the organisation they work for. An employee with a positive attitude towards his or her company, is less likely to look for a job elsewhere. It is also likely that as a company, you will attract the kind of people you would want to work for you, as a result of the high positive impact of CSR on employee wellbeing and motivation. Being socially responsible also creates goodwill and a positive image for our brand. Trust and a good reputation rank at the top of our company’s most valuable assets. In fact, without these, we wouldn’t be in business. We believe that being socially responsible is a must, and that is how we aim at becoming the most trustworthy insurance company. MBR: To what do you attribute the success?

MBR: What significance does it have to you personally and also to MAPFRE Middlesea to win Malta’s Best CSR Entrepreneur of the Year Award? AM: I am pleased and honoured to have received this award. At Mapfre Middlesea, and at the whole Mapfre Group, CSR is an integral part of our corporate values. We make it a point to give something back to the communities where we operate, and to contribute to making these better places in which to live, work and grow. We also believe it is essential to bridge the gap between society and the business sector. Our business is to provide peace of mind, and we hope to extend this not just to our clients but also to all stakeholders, whilst contributing towards the society in which we operate.

We believe that being socially responsible is a must Although many forward-looking companies in the world today agree that corporate social responsibility is normal business practice, this idea is not yet shared by everyone. For us at MAPFRE Middlesea Corporate Social Responsibility isn’t just about doing the right thing. It means behaving responsibly, and also making sure that we deal with stakeholders who do the 32

Malta Business Review

AM: MAPFRE Middlesea has always been at the forefront of CSR in Malta, by supporting and contributing towards a number of initiatives. Mapfre Middlesea’s employees also benefit from an Employee Volunteering Program, whereby a number of working hours can be allocated to doing volunteer work; one of the initiatives undertaken as part of this programme was the restoration of Majjistral Park. And some important initiatives, have been developed by our ultimate parent company Fundación Mapfre which has supported two nationwide educational campaigns - focusing on road safety awareness and healthy living habits respectively, which so far have reached over 15,000 children and their parents. We also believe that our focus on Corporate Social Responsibility has helped us create a positive image for the brand, and has helped us attract more customers, who are increasingly capable of discerning between companies on the basis of their corporate behaviour. More customers understand that by opting for our services , they are in the long-run also helping themselves. In addition, investors are more likely to become a part of the business, because people want to invest in a business that has high ethical standards and has a strong customer base. Moreover, by adopting energy-saving measures we contrbute to environmental sustainability. Overall, Corporate Social Responsibility will result in winning over customers and more investors, which make the the business more efficient.

Alfred Munoz, CEO, MAPRE Middlesea recieving his award, presented by Mr Joseph Calleja, General Manager, Palumbo Malta Shipyeards

MBR: Is it valuable to incorporate a CSR component within insurance and how do you convey to your people that this is essentially a service business? AM: The benefits to Corporate Social Responsibility go beyond simply helping a charity, or giving the company a good image. They affect everyone in the business, including shareholders, employees, and customers, as well as everyone in the community. We believe that focused and programmed CSR initaitives can enhance the brand and promote customer loyalty. CSR initiatives have a direct impact our customers’ experience of our brand. We are in the business of providing well-being and a better life through peace of mind, so the link between our CSR focus and our brand promise is a very direct one.

People want to invest in a business that has high ethical standards and has a strong customer base MBR: How critical is entrepreneurship and information technology, and how have those become part of the culture of how the institution operates? AM: CSR provides the opportunity to share positive stories online and through traditional media. Companies no longer have to waste money on expensive advertising campaigns. Instead they generate free publicity and benefit from word of mouth marketing. CSR is not something for the short term. It’s all about achieving long term results and business continuity.

On a macro scale, the use of latest information technologies ( website, CRM, online sales, internal processes, etc) makes the company be more responsive to market demands and consumer needs . MBR: When you came into this role, what steps did you take to ensure that CSR was in place to put the company on the path toward managing the growth ahead? AM: We are fortunate in that our parent company MAPFRE has in place detailed guidelines on how companies within its group are meant to deal with CSR within their respective communities. Middlesea already had a strong policy in place in this regard, so basically my priority was to provide a focus and more depth to the company’s CSR activities, through the formulation of a structured CSR Programme. Corporate Social Responsibility is part of our promise to create a positive impact in the world; it means we care about the society wherein we operate and the world in general, whilst trying to generate return to our shareholders MBR: How critical are your efforts in enrolling your business leaders in the company’s strategy? AM: I play a critical role in ensuring that all of us in the company share the same values and I believe it is crucial to have all employees being aware of the company’s strategic direction, pulling the same rope, being engaged in the future welfare of the company. I do my utmost to make my business leaders feel that they share the destiny of the company. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015


Malta Business review



Malta Business review

Malta’s Best entrepreneur MALTA’S BEST



the new Victorians

of the Year awards 2015 by Jessica Camilleri

On Friday 10th of July 2015, Malta greeted the best entrepreneurs and eminent business leaders during the prestigious gala award event – Malta`s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015. The aim of this prestigious event is to recognise the achievements and important contributions made by a microcosm of Malta’s best entrepreneurs towards the economy and also society. The event was held at the Westin Dragonara Resort and successfully organised by MBR Publications Limited.

sophia narmanja

Kalinka dancers

aMe health & safety


Chef Marvin Gauci

stM Malta ltd


david dingli & wife


stephanie spiteri, Joe dimech & wife

Yvonne and myself would like to thank you profoundly for inviting us for your Super Event last Friday. Indeed, it was a majestic experience for all involved to be proud of and cherish and for just guests like us to simply enjoy and acclaim. Kompli Kun Miġnun għaliex Int Kapaċi! Thanks again....u Prosit ancor. Wilfred Sultana & Associates publishers of ‘Yachting in Malta’ dorkins fashion

palumbo Malta shipyard

Prosit and congratulations for the exceptional event, it was a fantastic evening. We really enjoyed ourselves and we are proud to have sponsored Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. We will be definitely supporting your events in future, as it is well worth it! Sue Zrinzo, Marketing Manager, Insignia Cards Ltd, Main Sponsor

aat research

design hub


Margaret Brincat presenting the president of Malta he Marie-louise Coleiro preca with a token of appreciation

archi+ architects studio

“The event was a great success and we all enjoyed. We are glad that we were sponsors to this event as its success is a reflection of your hard work and dedication.” Adrian P. Sciberras, Head of Secretariat, Parliamentary Secretariat for Competitiveness and Economic Growth


IIG Bank


agri Bank


wh partners

alison Mifsud & edward agius

Margaret Brincat & Martin Vella

new York Best & dean Gera

Malta Gaming authority

Marco parascandalo

Yvonne ellul & wilfred sultana


Malta Business Review



Malta Business Review

The DHL Express Malta team at the Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015 gala evening (from left): Josef Attard, Operations Manager; Reuben Zammit and Shirley Zammit Cacciattolo, Finance Manager; Patrizia Cassone, Telesales Representative; Patricia Schiavone, Charles Schiavone, Gordon Buhagiar, IT Manager; Rose Sciriha, Ivan Sciriha, Customer Interface Manager; and Lawrence Bugeja, Sales Manager.

innovations: customer service, operations, finance, sales. We adopted many new tools and changed systems over the years. This keeps me always monitoring the changes we do and expecting the next one to come because these changes never stop. Then you have to monitor the result. Because of Malta’s size, we face many challenges because we do not have the economies of scale that justify the investment in certain tools, but we still have to go around and find affordable solutions to produce the same results. All the tools we have come from the corporate sector, yet we do not have all the tools.

Timothy Zrinzo, CEO Insignia Cards Ltd, on left presenting the award to Charles Schiavone, Country Manager, DHL Express Malta

From Good to Great by Martin Vella

With its prestigious pedigree and legacy, Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year honours local entrepreneurs who have established and sustained a successful and profitable business. Charles Schiavone, Malta Country Manager for DHL, was bestowed Malta’s Best International Trade Media Entrepreneur of the Year. In this interview he tells us why this award has since grown to become a prestigious mark of success that entrepreneurs aspire to attain, and a platform where deserving entrepreneurs are showcased nationally.


MBR: How does it feel to win Malta’s Best International Trade Media Entrepreneur of the Year Award during this year’s celebrated Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards? CS: Honestly, I was not expecting first of all the nomination, and even less the award. This was the first external award I have ever won, and I must admit that I was over the moon when I heard my name announced. During my long career with DHL, I won several awards as a member of the Malta team. The first, I recall was in 1988, when I was managing the operation. We were part of the Africa region and Malta won the Best Performer in Operations in the region. In 2012 we won the Sales Excellence Europe award, which was presented to me in the Dubai Conference. Recently, we won the EU Sales Country

of the Year Award. We also won the Cross-selling campaign for 2014 and our Sales Manager went for a Champions League match to watch Bayern Munich vs Shakhtar Donetsk. This year our Telesales representative was one of the winners of the Sales Champions Club and enjoyed a two-day trip to Dubai.

I also strongly believe in what I do and I inspire others through interactive motivation MBR: What ignites you as a top thinking, innovative entrepreneur with 30 years of dedicated service with DHL? CS: In all these years I had hands-on involvement in many changes and

MBR: “Put people in a position where they can be successful. Make sure they know you have their back, as long as they work hard and do the right things,” NBA Champion David Robinson is quoted at the Hall of Fame Centre. Do you relate and can you give us your reasons how this is factual compared with your 30-year background? CS: My team consists of several personalities with diverse characteristics. I choose people who I believe in. I have retained staff who initially worked under my supervision. Others were chosen because you think they can deliver. Having new blood is also a good thing from time to time. I can say I have a good team around me. Together we have moved forward building a successful business. We are now moving from ‘good to great’, which is also a DHL slogan, and we will continue to grow even more in the years to come. MBR: Do you think that being an authentic leader has helped you in your aspirations leading to this prestigious award? CS: Yes I do. I am typically this type of person. First of all, you have to be reliable, consistent in what you do and loyal. I also strongly believe in what I do and I inspire others through interactive motivation. You have to be trustworthy and honest with everyone you work with. I am that person who believes in persuasion. I usually give my opinion, my advice and share my experiences. A good manager has to learn to wait to obtain results.

MBR: How important was your career position and working hard to your career growth?

MBR: What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs, who wish to take the leap towards entrepreneurship?

CS: Positions are important. In my career I came a long way, starting from the bottom as a courier, which provided me opportunities to meet and build a good rapport with many people in business, who I still know to this day and still meet in the course of my work. I moved on to a supervisory level, whereby I was close to my subordinates on a day-to-day basis. Managerial levels in various departments followed, enabling me to be more responsible and accountable in my job.

CS: You have to be confident with yourself, you have to perform with excellence, and you have to be sure that what you are doing is the right thing and is leading you to the right direction. You always need to achieve your targets and goals, and know your people. These are the paths of a good entrepreneur. One must be consistent and mature in management decision taking. Do not be afraid to take them, once you have evaluated all aspects of the impact and you believe that that is the right decision. Having taken a decision, support the outcome.

You have to understand each individual person around you. I built genuine relationships with my team. Of course, you have to work hard. Nothing is so easy. There are moments when you take decisions that could have been better, but you learn from your own mistakes, as they say. Then you will be more cautious when you take your next decision and you will take the best one available. Satisfaction is also important in my job.

These awards encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and recognise human endeavours in the face of various challenges MBR: How important do you consider such awards are and what are its contributions towards the enhancement of entrepreneurship in Malta? CS: These awards encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and recognise human endeavours in the face of various challenges. Even though I have been in this line for so many years, I still feel I can give more and I will continue to achieve success in business and in my career. Awards also encourage my team because they can see themselves in a similar situation; they can also be nominated one day.

MBR: What is your feedback on the event, its organisation and how will you remember the night of the 10th July? CS: It was very professional. Everything was organised at a top level. My team on my table agreed that it was a marvellous occasion and they were very happy with my award. MBR: How inspiring is it to see what you have accomplished together with the DHL team and how will these accomplishments have a positive fallout on you and on DHL? CS: Working together works. I cannot achieve this business success on my own. Everyone contributes, from the bottom line upwards. I look on the local set-up as I would the human body with each department fulfilling a vital role without which the entire organisation cannot function MBR: What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur so far and what steps did you take to overcome this? CS: One of the challenges is to keep my team motivated. People are motivated when they can apply their best abilities. Maintaining loyal customers is another challenge which I manage successfully. Finding the balance between costs and service quality is imperative and an ongoing challenge. Achieving this is what makes our company profitable. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015


Malta Business Review



Malta Business Review

Sean Cassar

the news. At first I thought it was one of my friends playing a very creative joke and soon after it dawned on me on how far I have come with my company Design HUB Malta.

Marian Theuma CEO from Aġenzija Żgħażagħ presenting Oliver Lalani from Design Hub with Malta’s Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Igniting Growth by Sean Cassar

One of the youngest, dynamic winner during Malta’s Best Entrepreneur Awards of the Year 2015 is Sean Cassar, Managing Director of Design Hub. In this article Sean tells us that in his profession he deals with many different clients and contractors, why he enjoys managing a project and the importance of understanding the responsibility we would all have towards the client.


am very grateful and honoured to be awarded Malta’s Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015. To be honest, I am embarrassed to say I wasn’t aware these awards existed before I was nominated. I may have been too busy working to even notice I guess. Since I have only established my business less than a year ago, I found it extremely surprising to be awarded with this prestigious honour, but also a very humble moment to know how far I have come, and the things I have managed to achieve over this short space of time. I have been receiving excellent feedback from clients, suppliers, friends and family and for that I am extremely grateful. 38

I would like to honestly thank my Fiancé for all the support she has given me over the past years. Another very special person I would like to thank on record is Oliver Lalani, my best man, who flew from Uganda to take this award in my stead as I was graduating in the UK on the very same day I received this award. It is evident that on the local market the competition in the field of interior design has been growing exponentially over the last seven years. I consider this as healthy competition and like most Maltese markets over-saturated with different companies offering different levels of similar services. A client is therefore in a comfortable

position to invest in the level of service that is required, which is related to his or her affordability, and tastes. Most of the time people want to buy a Ferrari for the price of a Mini, but once they are educated on the amount of work which goes into a professionally structured design service, they can understand and appreciate the investment that they will be making in the long run. I would like to thank the people who have actually taken note of me and nominated me for this award. I was not expecting this and it is an overwhelming feeling. I received and random phone call from an MBR Representative surprising me with

I am in the process of building a company that can offer different professional services in the multi-faceted world of design to the local market. From interior and exterior residential or commercial design to brand identity design, custom website design to custom designer weddings. I always let creativity, time and opportunity direct me towards other business ventures. Interior and exterior residential or commercial architectural design is what I live by. A passion that has grown through my talent in art, attention to detail and passion for travelling around the world enjoying the luxuries materials and nature have to offer. I have been designing consistently for the past eight years now. I have graduated BA Hons in Interior Design and keep studying till today towards getting my PhD in Interior and Exterior Architectural design. I take a lot of pride in offering a service where attention to detail is paramount. I want to eradicate the common Maltese phrase onsite ‘hu mhux Xorta!’ To help stop this I deliver sketches, renderings and working drawings including all dimensions for contractors to follow biblically. These safeguard the client in case there are any variations onsite to what plans and sections illustrate. In such cases contractors are forced to rectify the mistakes or bad workmanship leaning on the detailed documentation they had in hand onsite prior to the commencing of any works.

This award also brings to my mind a quote by Freakonomics co-author Steven D. Levitt, “The young companies that are growing and are absolutely beating the pants off the old companies because they know how to be creative, innovate and use information.” And this has spurred me to try to figure out the creations with incentives that get people to behave the way they do.

I take a lot of pride in offering a service where attention to detail is paramount. I want to eradicate the common Maltese phrase onsite ‘hu mhux Xorta!’ My target market is generally for any client who is comfortable to spend a little bit extra to finally have a lot more investment. My services come as a luxury to investors that either want to live in a more lavish, one of a kind functional space or for an investor to actually profit from the design investment he has made in my services. It is not uncommon for me to have clients who discuss and determine the overall expected profit increase on a villa needing restoration. So we discuss the price of the property, permits and alterations, design services and finally finishes, furniture and fittings to determine the expected margin of profits based on the local market. Over the years I have also made many good friends in the estate agency field which tend to help with price predictions and saleability. Honestly I get a kick from

getting involved and aiding a client in maximizing profits through my services. Design HUB Malta offers an exclusive, highly-personalised interior and exterior design service for a discerning clientele that aspires to elevate the standards of their living and work spaces. For commercial, packages I offer a range of specialised design packages that are tailored for a wide variety of business concerns, ranging from corporate branding, commercial outlet designs, office design and custom furniture, to full hotel designs, nightclubs and restaurants among others. Recently I have incorporated a new package for those clients who would not want to go into all the stages of a full interior design package. Since one may just want to freshen up their space and not go into such a big investment I have created the property styling package. Most recent company service we are working on is Designer Weddings. This is a very customised exclusive service dealing with client satisfaction and peace of mind throughout the preparations on such a special day. Offering different locations and customised designs and services for the local and foreign market. I am so thankful for the professional way MBR Publications Limited have organised these impressive awards and I am certain that this entrepreneurial achievement will enable the company to concentrate on the customer, the consumer and our innovation. If it’s it done right, that branding message can be really powerful. And all this thanks to Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015


Malta Business Review




Trust: mutual trust within the organisation and with other stakeholders


Passion: lastly and most importantly, to become successful as an entrepreneur, the one thing that is essential is to be passionate about what you do and this overarches everything else that an entrepreneur does!

MBR: You have always said that real job creation comes from entrepreneurs and growth companies. Is it more difficult today to start and build such a company with all of the regulation in effect? DS: STM Malta is registered as a Retirement Scheme Administrator with the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). It is also authorised to act as trustee or cotrustee to provide fiduciary services in terms of the Trusts and Trustees Act.

A person with adaptive thinking can spot a business need, decide what skills are needed to address it, and then apply them quickly and effectively Over the past few years, Malta has established itself as a centre for the management and administration of personal pension plans. The creation of international pension plans in Malta became a possibility fairly recently, as pension provision has traditionally been considered from a purely domestic perspective; however the increasing mobility of both people and companies has facilitated this paradigm shift. Martin Vella, MBR Publications Ltd presenting Deborah Schembri from STM Malta with her award

Dedication, Determination & Values by Charlotte Munro

Being recognised as the best entrepreneur who is exploring and promoting the practice of knowledge entrepreneurship as well as a humanistic philosophy of entrepreneurship in general was not something Deborah Schembri was expecting. Yet, the judges get it right in rightfully awarding Deborah as Malta’s Best Knowledge Entrepreneur of the Year Award. MBR: What significance does it have to you personally and also to STM Malta to win Malta’s Best Knowledge Entrepreneur of the Year Award? DS: Being one of the final nominees for the Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015 organised by MBR Publications Ltd is already a success. Surely the high-level event was a celebration and recognition of the hard 40

work performed by entrepreneurs in general and the final nominees in particular. I am delighted that I won the Malta’s Best Knowledge Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 2015. Winning such a prestigious award puts on me more responsibility; however it also acts as a motivator to persevere in one’s work. It is also an acknowledgement for the hard work and

determination that goes behind one’s role. Such an award is also great for STM Malta, because it adds credibility to the business and motivates all the staff members. MBR: Is thought leadership a key component of your entrepreneurial success? DS: A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors

recognise as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialisation, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organisation for the said expertise. So I yes I strongly believe that thought leadership is a key component to my entrepreneur success. MBR: What is the key ingredient to being a successful entrepreneur? DS: Every individual is unique and entrepreneurs are no exception to the rule. However there are common traits among successful entrepreneurs. Five traits that define a successful entrepreneur include: -

Resilience: the ability to face constant challenges without weakening what you believe in Agility: address every problem quickly and adeptly Patience: success only comes after hard work and commitment

The growth in the international pensions industry in Malta was only possible through the local strong regulatory framework. Retirement schemes and their administrators are fully regulated by the MFSA. So I feel that in our case regulation was the key to grow this new industry in Malta. MBR: Is entrepreneurial ability something that you have to be born with or can it be taught? DS: I would say that 70% is born, 10% nurture and 20% trainable. I think that such people have two genetic characteristics: 1) 2)

Adaptive thinking Seeing reality with a positive spin

A person with adaptive thinking can spot a business need, decide what skills are needed to address it, and then apply them quickly and effectively. One can do this again and again as new needs or requirements arise. Also entrepreneurs are better able to see if something is going wrong with a certain plan and how to turn this into a positive,

Malta Business Review

by happily switching to something else. However this question is frequently asked but rarely answered once and for all. Long may the argument continue, for all the way it does, we get the chance to understand more about what makes a successful entrepreneur. MBR: When the opportunity came about to be the lead participant in this prestigious event, did you feel the qualities you had would fit the role and has there been a learning curve? DS: When in June I was informed that I have been nominated and being one of the finalists for the Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, 2015 I was thrilled, both on a personal basis and for the business. I believed that both my personal qualities and the company’s performance were instrumental to this. Being a leading participant in such prestigious event was already an achievement for me. I took the whole assessment judging process both as a learning experience but also an enjoyable experience. Winning Malta’s Best Knowledge Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 2015 is really the cherry on the cake! I would like to thank my husband, family, employees, codirectors, external advisers/stakeholders for the collaboration over the years. I would like also to congratulate MBR Publications Ltd for organising such a great event. My advice is that: “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand”. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

Definition: Knowledge entrepreneurship describes the ability to recognize or create an opportunity and take action aimed at realizing the innovative knowledge practice or product.

EDITOR’S NOTE BA(Hons) Accty., Dip. Tax., FIA, CPA, DipPMI, MIM, MBA (Henley) Deborah has twenty years experience in the financial services, gaming and hospitality industries. In her various senior managerial roles she had formulated new strategic directions and implemented the necessary changes. She has been instrumental in setting up STM Malta. She is a Certified Public Accountant, holds a Masters in Business Administration from Henley Management College and she holds a Diploma in Retirement Provision pursued with the UK Pensions Management Institute. She is the only Maltese resident holding such a qualification in pensions. She is a Fellow Member of the Malta Institute of Accountants, and a Member of the Malta Institute of Taxation, Malta Institute of Management, Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and Pension Management Institute UK.


Malta Business Review



PKF Malta – A Financial Lotus Flower in Full Bloom by Marilyn Mifsud

with public bodies such as the Civil Aviation Directorate, Malta Enterprise and MIA. “In a bureaucratic system, useless work drives out useful work” (Milton Friedman). In its drive to eradicate bureaucracy, the government is advised to listen to what investors have to say as otherwise the bureaucratic monster raises its ugly head and leads to an inefficient use of resources. A comparison with Dublin is vital, as the latter considered one of the red carpet airline industries worldwide. ‘Dear passengers, we’ll soon be landing’, but before doing so we require an insight into the certainty of continued aviation operations in Malta. It is hoped that policymakers consider the results forthcoming from this survey as a worthwhile indicator in the midst of policy implementation.

Focus Female Participation in the workforce: An object which

Nancy Caruana, PS from Office Of The PS Ministry for the Economy, Investment & Small Business presenting Donna Greaves from PKF with the Best Tax Compliance and Reporting Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Over the last 27 years PKF Malta has proven to be a lotus flower in blossom among the harvest of financial services, progressing through the waters of experience and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.

Having launched a modestly sized statistics department in early 2014, the same has since flourished into a spin-off hosting a number of junior economists in addition to the math and statistics gurus, the former whose flair brought a welcome zest to a promising synergy. This development came consequent to an agreement PKF Malta struck with the University of Malta in view of providing mentoring to economics degree finalists.

studies currently brewing in the PKF Summer 2015 program.

The following will briefly outline a surveillance on the thrust of the main

As we taxi down the runway we start off by studying the current scenario, being


Focus Aviation: Did you know that the

aviation industry in Malta accounts for roughly 2.5% of the GDP and 5,500 jobs? PKF Malta has devised a questionnaire in order to get up close and personal with the movements within this industry. So ladies and gentlemen fasten your seatbelts as we wish you a pleasant flight.

most Member States seek to attain is the increase of female participation in the labour market. A high female participation rate is particularly essential to a country as it would feed a growth in the economic activity. In Malta, the highest female activity rate was registered in 2014, at 52.1%. However, although the rate increased considerably from previous years, it is still not close enough to the desired target. George Mangion from PKF recieving the Chairmain Value Award from Mr David J. Dingli

the identification of assets and challenges faced by operators in choosing to conduct their business from Malta. This is a critical step because before implementing any new policy, one needs to assess the responsiveness of operators to present policies. Policymakers need to take heed to what operators have to say regarding the challenges presently faced. Midway through our voyage we elicit airline beliefs on what should be put into effect. This exercise is centric to their perception of regulations and relationships

The primary aim of PKF’s ongoing research on this subject is to assess the different perspectives of Maltese women on female employment. In order to conduct this study, four particular groups of females are being considered. These groups comprise female business owners (entrepreneurs), females in employment, females seeking gainful employment through ETC and idle/ inactive females. The perspectives of these particular women will be assessed through surveys that converge to a common denominator while featuring tailored hues pertaining to the particular demographic of respective recipients. The main questions will tackle perceived

impediments to gainful employment and reasons for unemployment, as well as the awareness of the various incentivising government employment schemes available. Another kernel of this study is to establish significant portents, if any, of influence on female inclusion in the labour market. Statistical methodologies will be used in order to analyse past female activity rates in conjunction with other factors such as education.

Policymakers need to take heed to what operators have to say regarding the challenges presently faced The survey is being disseminated to recipients online in collaboration with various local authorities such as the ETC and GRTU, the latter entities who have demonstrated their dedication the betterment of an economic reality seeing increased and contented females in the work force.

Focus Gaming Industry: Following the successful reception of last year’s gaming study which was presented to Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Hon. Dr Jose’ Herera, PKF Malta is in the process of drawing up a sequel Gaming survey, with the ultimate aim of conducting a study depicting current trends in the gaming industry. In the last decade Malta has managed to attract tier one companies to its shores, instilling a resounding reminder that this industry is evergrowing to be one of the strongest in the Maltese economy. The necessity to understand the growing needs and expectations of businesses in this sector is highly sought after given the changing aspects of this industry. In recent years Malta has been competing fairly well with other jurisdictions when it comes to regulations, innovations, access to telecommunication services, and technology advancements. On the

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other hand, new regulations are frequently being introduced in different jurisdictions across Europe which may adversely affect companies operating from outside that same jurisdiction. Recently there has also been an issue on whether harmonization of legislation across the EU would be beneficial or not at all. Innovations in this industry have also brought about different technologies on how to deliver the gaming experience, such as, the growing use of mobile applications. In addition, innovative products, such as, Esports and Fantasy Sports are also on the rise, the latter which might be seen as the new way towards European company product diversification. This survey will also help in linking the private sectors’ needs with those of the local regulators’. It will highlight the most important changes within the gaming sector focusing mainly but not exclusively on the European market. Gaming firms in Malta fall under the highest importance for Business Advisors and this will potentially give private companies the opportunity to portray their opinion, enabling us in turn to better customize our services to suit their needs. Albeit in its infancy, a sequel study is also anticipated in the realm of reduction of VAT rates within accommodation, in furtherance of the in-depth report published by PKF last year and presented to the Minister of Finance his Hon Prof Edward Sciculna. MBR Marilyn Mifsud LL.D, the author is Business and Securities Associate at PKF Malta All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE George Mangion, Senior Partner PKF was awarded the prestigious Chairman Value Award & Donna Greaves, Auditor & Audit Partner PKF won Malta’s Best Tax Compliance and Reporting Entrepreneur of the Year Award during Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2015.


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Oliver Lalani from Design Hub presenting Bernard Mangion with Malta’s Best Real Estate & Property Entrepreneur of the year Award

MBR: What do you think are the most important factors that have contributed to this success?

Defining Positive Strategy by George Carol

Bernard Mangion, Managing Director of Ben Estates, has devoted his career to developing real estate properties that anchor communities, promote further development and spread economic prosperity. MBR Publications Ltd was delighted to interview him following his award as Malta’s Best Real Estate Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2015.

MBR: You have been awarded by a panel of judges this year’s prestigious Malta’s Best Real Estate Entrepreneur of the Year Award – how does it feel and what has been the feedback so far? BM: The feeling is unexplainable! It is very hard to determine what I was feeling during those seconds walking up to receive the award. My mind and body were flooded with positive thoughts and feelings. I must say that it felt so good and rewarding. Finally after six years of hard work I feel that my business is recognised and that it is growing in the right direction. On the night I won the award i experienced flashbacks of the past six years, the ups and downs, together with thoughts of how I can keep the company progressing well. So far the feedback was great, since that night, I came across many people and friends, and the first thing they tell me is


congratulations for the award. This feels great and must say it has boosted my ego. I am already working on new ways and ideas of how I can keep Ben Estates Ltd growing.

Since that night, I came across many people and friends, and the first thing they tell me is congratulations for the award MBR: How did you decide to participate in Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards? BM: Well, I received a phone call saying that I got nominated to participate in this event, I could not believe this, and delightfully I accepted the nominations.

BM: Success does not come easy. However, in order to be successful one must be disciplined, a risk taker, a salesperson, an assertive leader, possess inspiration and be persistent. Last but not least, being honest and genuine moulds you into a successfully reliable person. MBR: What words of advice would you give to other budding and young entrepreneurs? BM: Never give up! I kicked off the business in the worst possible times of global recession (December 2008), when the property market in Malta was really slow and at a halt, and with little capital to inject in the company I managed to build the company to what it is today. One must take up challenges with a pinch of salt, face your fears, and most importantly, think big! MBR: Do you think diversity is the key to your company going forward? BM: Yes, diversity is a key of having the company growing larger. I feel I must focus on the property business, however diversify into other sectors, and finding better ways of giving an excellent service. Successful companies are not the ones that

build a business. Thriving and innovative companies are the ones that build diverse teams. Diversity is a mentality and not just a strategic one.

A business is successful when the whole team is pulling the same rope in the same direction MBR: How do you motivate people to build and create something, and to share in the success? BM: I always use my own example as someone who started off with small financial help. When there is will there is a way. One of my favourite motivational speeches is taken from the film Rocky Balboa ‘believe in yourself,’- it’s not how hard you can hit, but it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. Success is more fun when you have positive people surrounding you and sharing it with. MBR: Edmond Harty states, “Innovation to me is like baking a cake: you have a lot of ingredients and it’s how you combine those ingredients together that makes something your customer likes. It’s not

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splitting the atom.” What significant is innovation to you and Ben estates? BM: Ben Estates Ltd is a team and not just myself. A business is successful when the whole team is pulling the same rope in the same direction. Now that we have a wonderful team we are performing well. I always preach that altogether we will be successful, but on your own it is impossible to be close to success. MBR: What range of leadership skills do successful entrepreneurs need to have? BM: Honesty, communication, ability to delegate, sense of humour, confidence, creativity, most importantly a positive attitude. MBR: Do you consider this award a recognition of your business model? BM: Yes I definitely recognise the award as being a recognition of my business model. Being awarded some time or another is important, as it makes you understand what you are capable of doing and in which direction you are heading. Since the first year in business, I never failed to present a variety of awards to the team. I am planning to increase these by giving a monthly award to the best performer of the month. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015


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Experience, Excellence & Value by George Carol

Ray Busuttil from IIG Bank presenting Roderick Psaila from AgriBank PLC with his award

The reason for the prestigious nature of Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is the independence, rigor, impartiality and transparency of the evaluation process. The award programmes are run by a team of research judges who conduct extensive desk and field research, including interviews with nominees. This year the judges were unanimous in their choice for Malta’s Banking Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which they awarded to Roderick Psaila, CEO, AgriBank. Peter Bonavia from Carmelo Caruana Ltd presenting Christine Pace from Dorkins Ltd with her award

Commitment, Team Building & Dedication by George Carol

Christine Pace – Dorkins Ltd has been the judges choice for this year’s award as Malta’s Best Retail Entrepreneur & Firm of the Year. In this interview we learn one of Christine’s driving and winning virtue is a calm and down-to-earth approach.

MBR: How does it feel to be recognised as the winner of Malta’s Best Retail Entrepreneur & Firm of the Year? CP: I’m very proud of this achievement. When one’s hard work, commitment and sacrifice have been truly recognised by such an award, it is a great personal satisfaction. MBR: What are the key initiatives in your opinion that have made the difference to win such prestigious awards? CP: A few years back , I won an award in Amsterdam at a Clarks International Conference, this was ‘Best Partner of the Year’. Certainly, the same objectives describe this award: Commitment, team building and dedication to my business. MBR: The organisers clearly sate that, “The awards program recognises entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, healthcare innovation, personal commitment to their businesses and communities.” Do you agree with this and what is your experience after having participated and ended up carrying away one of the most important awards? CP: I totally agree, and with this gratifying award winning experience it gives me more courage and ambition to pursue higher levels of achievement in my career. My experience as a businesswomen who participated and was awarded by the judges for having demonstrated a visionary business leadership role fills me with more courage,


determination and impetus to accomplish more in the future. MBR: How inspiring is it to see what you have accomplished together with the DORKINS team? CP: It is one of the most rewarding experiences to achieve such a positive result from a team that I have invested so much in, both from a personal and professional level. It is one of the greatest inspirations to future achievements.

Having demonstrated a visionary business leadership role fills me with more courage, determination and impetus to accomplish more in the future MBR: What has been your biggest challenge as a top Female Entrepreneur so far and what steps did you take to overcome these challenges? CP: We operate in a very demanding and fast moving environment and there are so many challenges that you can’t really opt for one as THE challenge. When you deal on a daily basis with various business partners, a certain number of staff members, several outlets and financial institutions the challenges are all big and your steps need to be fast and steady. From experience I have found that a calm and down-to-earth approach will solve most of your issues. MBR All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

MBR: How does it feel to win Malta’s Best Banking Entrepreneur of the Year Award? RP: It feels great. It was an honour in the first place, to be nominated for the Award and it’s even better to win it, particularly with the exposure the event has been given this year. Moreover, the fact that the Award refers to the Banking industry means a lot to me. I am a banker both academically and by profession, so being presented with an award related to my area of expertise is the ultimate compliment. MBR: How significant is this to you and to the whole AgriBank team? RP: It is significant both for me and the team at AgriBank. We are a very small team at the Bank and I feel that we have achieved a great deal from its inception. These achievements have to be considered in a scenario where together with the CFO of the Bank, Paul Grech, I started working on the bank license application from scratch, way back in 2011. After obtaining the license in 2012, we were also responsible for setting up the Bank, which was reasonably demanding given that the Bank is completely new and not a subsidiary or branch of a foreign parent bank. Shaping the Bank in a manner to start operating in a relatively short term and making important strides forward in the two years of existence is something we take pride in. MBR: What do you attribute this award to… is it due to the technical ability to be able to provide banking services in a specific area or is it due to your

intellectual capital and capacity to position yourself as a thought leader to your prospective clients?

MBR: What is your feedback on the event, its organization and how will you remember the night of the 10th July?

RP: It is probably a bit of both. I have been a banker for 25 years, practically my whole working life. In all those years, one gains considerable experience, is exposed to new situations on a continuous basis and improves technically, both through academic studies and also from knowledge gained on the job. I have been lucky enough to manage different teams at the Central Bank and also led a few banks within the industry and such experiences may have provided me with the nous to do well.

RP: The event was very well organised from every perspective. Exquisite setting, video and photo coverage were excellent, good food and service, and we were also treated to a pleasant entertainment programme. It was obvious that the organising team went to great lengths to ensure a high level event. MBR

I would like to think that the prominence assigned to such awards continues to increase one year after the other MBR: How important do you consider such awards are and what are its contributions towards the enhancement of entrepreneurship in Malta? RP: I would like to think that the prominence assigned to such awards continues to increase one year after the other. As with all other awards in the different industries and sports, getting recognised for the contribution one is bringing to his/her business niche is flattering and should encourage entrepreneurs to think out of the box and come up with even better innovative ideas.

All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE Roderick Psaila is a qualified banker, having graduated as an Associate of the UK Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB) and subsequently read a Masters in Economics at the University of Malta. He joined the Central Bank of Malta back in 1990 and had an eighteen-year career at this highest financial body in Malta, where he held various positions related to Banking, Monetary Policy Statistics and Financial Stability. In 2004, Roderick was engaged by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt to work as an expert on a specific assignment. In his last three years at the Central Bank, Roderick managed the Financial Stability Office. In 2008, Roderick joined Nemea Bank and as COO, he led the management team and was responsible for the setting up of the Bank. In 2010, Mr Psaila was engaged as General Manager by a prospective bank to obtain the banking license and develop the bank from scratch, before he moved on to set up his own consultancy firm, specialised in licensing and setting up of banks and financial institutions. Roderick started working on the AgriBank project in 2011, when the Firm was engaged to obtain the bank license and set it up. The license was granted in October 2012, at which point Roderick was appointed CEO of the Bank, a position he still holds.


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Malta Business Review

Forward looking: BPR as a continuous process improvement tool Being a corporate finance and restructuring specialist with broad experience in costmodelling, strategic management and financial planning, Anita assists companies in adopting a forward looking approach which allows them to grow to their full potential. She has managed a number of corporate restructuring projects for complex organisations, both for the public as well as the private sector.

A Means Of Achieving Competitive Advantage

The right timing for BPR With more than 20 years of practical industry experience within the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, Anton applies his hands on operational experience and technical IT expertise to assist clients in implementing the required changes to achieve business process improvements. Presently, Anton manages a portfolio of clients where he provides business intelligence, planning and project management services, and facilitates re-organisation directing a team of BPR specialists.

by Anita Aloisio

Since the early 19th century, reengineering has evolved from management theory to the modern management perspective: Business Process Reengineering (BPR)- analysing the way a company operates in order to implement the necessary changes to radically improve customer care and gain competitiveness. This allows for a reduction in operational costs and improvement in bottom line profits. The purpose of reengineering is to make all business processes the best-in-class. The BPR activity organises activities and human resources, while making the best use of IT systems to support the strategic goals of the company.

Having built his own practice over a span of 20 years, Brian has been the driving force in growing Nexia BT into one of the leading firms in Malta. His advice and restructuring skills were critical in assisting clients to evolve their business. Under Brian’s direction, some of the clients grew their revenue base from a couple of thousands per year to 7 digit figures.

Forming part of a holistic strategic plan, the BPR places the customer at the core of the exercise. With the right business model, businesses have the potential to become industry leaders. This starts with the right vision, leadership and most importantly a robust roadmap of the people, processes, and technology required. Our approach leverages IT as a competitive tool and our project management techniques combine practical industry knowledge with process analysis skills. Companies that are leaders in their respective fields or aspire to grow further, aim to implement BPR as a continuous process improvement tool, in order to remain at the forefront of their respective markets.

Selecting the right timing for embarking on a BPR project is critical to success. Businesses that enjoy a strong market position can plan for BPR to strengthen their competitive advantage or widen the gap from their competitors. On the other hand, when companies are facing problems, they can plan for BPR to consolidate their position and avoid deterioration of the situation. On the other end of the scale, companies that are in the brick of bankruptcy need BPR to survive and to revolutionize their strategies and modes of operation.

Challenges facing BPR Having gained more than 25 years of business and financial experience in various industries, including construction and hospitality, Reno plays an instrumental role in providing customers with assistance in financial and administrative restructuring, whilst supporting clients in obtaining project financing. Managing the Corporate Services area, he handles a portfolio of clients from different industries, who rely on his strategic insights for their continued survival and development.

Having access to Nexia BT’s expertise renders it possible to adopt a radical approach, allowing ‘thinking outside the box’, in order to change the current ways of doing things so as not to limit opportunities to achieve substantial process improvements. Our role is to manage resistance to change by facilitating implementation plans that are tailored to secure the project’s success, and most importantly, employee buy-in. Our team forms an integral part of the process through collaborative interaction with employees throughout the BPR project.

Failure of BPR projects mostly revolve around employees’ resistance to change. Without detailed guidance and support during the implementation phase, BPR will not reap the desired benefits. Rather than describing BPR exercises as the situation before (as-is) and after reengineering (to-be), Nexia BT’s method focuses on the approach required to reach the final situation. To reach the desired results, we take on a facilitation approach, most of the time mentoring clients’ staff to own the project and to guide them in changing the processes, steering the implementation on course at all times. MBR

Nexia BT The Penthouse, Suite 2, Entrance C, Capital Business Centre, Triq taz-Zwejt, San Gwann SGN 3000, Malta. Tel: +356 21637778 Email: Figure 1: Areas for BPR improvement 48

Figure 2: Our proven BPR approach


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Business OutsOurcing

Business OutsOurcing

Outsourcing Offers Business Owners Great Advantages by David Baker

The majority of entrepreneurs have a great idea and frequently possess great talent to nurture and grow that idea. But many a mistake is made along the road to success with the belief they can do it all when it comes to building a business. “That can really put the brakes on the growth of the business,” says Szabolcs Toth, Director, Management Consultancy and Business Development at Sparkberg, a Malta-based outsourcing Consultancy. “More and more start-ups are realising a way to avoid this pitfall is to outsource the day to day back-office tasks, giving the owner more time to focus on generating income.” Entrepreneurs all too frequently believe that outsourcing is a strategy reserved for mega corporations, but technology has made it a more available discipline for small businesses--and there is an increasing number of case studies which showcase how outsourcing has influenced and had a positive impact on expansion, productivity and most importantly bottom lines. Outsourcing tasks these days has become a lot easier and affordable in large part due to technology which has progressed to the point of professionals being able to work from anywhere in the world. This has been coupled with the readiness and availability of an ever growing pool of qualified professionals who have decided or been forced to leave the corporate world, such as web designers, HR consultants, marketing directors, graphic

designers, bookkeepers, PR directors, IT experts, to name but a few. And a new specialist that can be added to that list is Business Development. “By coming on board as consultants they save the small business owner the burden of paying overheads. This can include taxes, payroll or expenses such as health insurance. And with increasing office rental costs, the expansion into a new space can be delayed,” says Toth Figuring out how to build a business with help from external experts can offer improved competences and economies of scale. David Walsh, the author of the book Source Control, an e-book on effective small business outsourcing is quoted as saying: “Progressive entrepreneurs realise the unstoppable power of outsourcing to handle aspects of their business that are essential but simply don’t make sense for them to deal with personally. Small business, augmented by a global pool of human capital, can compete directly with the biggest players in their space, and win.”

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Finding the Right Consultant Internet search engines make it much easier than it once was to find capable, reliable outsource providers right across the globe, but it is important to be sure the right partner has been chosen before passing everything over “It is important that for each task that needs to be outsourced, the performance measurements need to be determined,” Toth says. “Some outsourcing providers might focus on delivering results quickly (at the expense of quality) or conversely they take a long

time to deliver a high quality result. There is nothing wrong with either approach as long as there is a clear understanding of what the business wants and what the provider specialises in. Unfortunately there are times when SMEs don’t realise that there are large differences among outsourcing providers and wrong choices are made. So, we insist that there is an open and clear conversation between both parties at the outset in order to ensure both parties are clear as to what these key performance metrics are.”

Making it Work “After a provider has been found and references checked, it is important to put time and effort into creating a specific contract that outlines exactly what performance is expected,” Toth continues. “At Sparkberg we are used to incentives in motivating and focussing us on what is most important to the client rather than our own preferences or assumptions about what they want. “To achieve this, it is important that a client clearly communicates their expectations and the steps included in the job. It is wrong to assume that everyone is on the same page without an in depth discussion, so it is very important that the requirements and expectations are laid out in the beginning, and that nothing is left to assumption.” A very important ingredient in engaging an outsourced activity and getting the results desired, is to step back, relinquish control, and allow what are effectively a company’s new team members to do the job they’ve been hired to do. “There has to be some measure of trust,” Toth says. “If we end up being overlycontrolled, all the savings can easily be lost.”

Performance metrics So, what can one expect to pay a consultant for enabling a company to focus on its core strengths while building a better business for them? It depends on the type of work or service that’s required, the skill level and other specific preferences. “The expression, ‘you get what you pay for’ is true, wherever you go in the world,” Toth says. “Always pay someone what they’re worth, regardless of location. We would stress placing value on outcomes over hours. If an outsourced project or activity doesn’t deliver the outcome the client needs, it doesn’t matter how much time has been spent along the way.


When is the right time to outsource? Determining when the right time to outsource is, depends on a number of factors and is different for every company. In-house staff will already be in place to handle daily operational requirements, but may need external support help to undertake a specific project that perhaps doesn’t warrant the cost of another full-time employee. Every employee has a responsibility to help grow the business but when day to day business starts suffering as a result of the drive towards a bigger and better business that can be the time to consider outsourcing. For start-ups or very small businesses, outsourcing could commence from the outset through perhaps a bookkeeper and/or a virtual assistant and growing the team from there.


So, what to Outsource? Before choosing which tasks can be farmed out, the business needs to be closely examined and its strengths determined. “Businesses need to identify their core competencies and capabilities and focus their own talent management and resources on being the best in their industry,” adds Toth The types of tasks that are best outsourced fall into three general categories and include: •

Highly skilled, or executive, expertise. For example, it may not be necessary to pay a CFO’s salary, but a CFO-level person could come in a few times each month to provide financial analysis and strategic advice as well checking the accounting is being handled properly.

Highly repetitive tasks. Purchasing, accounts, entering sale data and logistics could fall into this category.

Specialised knowledge. An example might be the new business development. There may not be the budget available, nor the need for a full-time BD person. It is also easier to change to an outsourced provider with the right skill set as needs change.

Reaping the Benefits Outsourcing ultimately offers business owners great advantages. The process allows them to build a team of skilled professionals without adding the expense of full-time employees, and to avoid getting bogged down with tasks that can be completed without personal supervision.

David Baker is a director of Sparkberg, an outsourced marketing and business development consultancy which provides strategic advice and operational support to help companies, big and small to grow, win and sustain more business.

“It’s an affordable, proven strategy for growing a business without getting in the way of day-to-day work, and avoids sleepless nights created when trying to juggle too many balls,” says Toth. “Just as saying no is among the hardest things to do, then trusting an outsourcing consultancy is equally hard for an entrepreneur and small business owner. But when they objectively, ruthlessly and systematically consider their core activities and the steps they need to take to perform them, then the reality that outsourcing CAN be a good thing dawns on them,” he concludes.

He is a veteran of the Middle East and North Africa marketing communications industry having worked in region for over 30 years, the majority of them in international agencies in Bahrain, the UAE and Libya.

In summary, the success or failure of your outsourcing efforts depend on many factors, such as the nature of your business, how the outsourcing arrangement is structured and the in-house employees managing the outsourcing efforts. When done right, the benefits from outsourcing are undeniable affording management the time to focus their time, attention and resources on the company’s core competencies--and spend the time setting new goals and finding ways to achieve them. MBR

During his time in the region he has acquired broad and extensive experience working across a wide range of business sectors, delivering all types of marcomms programmes, ranging from aviation, travel & tourism to education, automotive and healthcare. He also has extensive crisis communications experience handling issues for FMCG, aviation, food and oil clients.


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Product Focus


Malta Business Review

IPPO MALTA The Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society International NonGovernment Organization

Irina Malikova being presented with Malta’s Best Voluntary Work, Culture & Art Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2015 by Margaret Brincat from MBR Publications

The IPPO MALTA is a voluntary, non-profit, social purpose and non-governmental organisation operating under the Voluntary Organisations Act, Chapter 492 of the Laws of Malta, registered with Office of the Commissioner for voluntary organisations, Malta (V/O 1003). by Alice Kort

2015 is marked by the new invention, “Ekortr” – the real break in “Malavit-tekhnologii”.

Victor Dvornikov, the Honored inventor of the Russian Federation, the CEO and the founder of the Altai Company “Malavit”. One of the best enterprises among producers of perfumery and cosmetic production who are registered and work at the territory of the Russian Federation. “EkotrOM” is the new invention of Victor Dvornikov. He created special installation in which underlay the principles of “a gold proportion”, some multicomponent devices which transfer resonant information streams. “EkotrOM” – the bio power generator structuring space. The range of its action is extremely wide, beginning from individual improvement of health, finishing with improvement of environment. The invention has full success and was submitted on the 3 international technological forum TEHNOPROM. The effect is proved by great results and love of consumers and numerous awards, diplomas, medals which are gained by the “Malavit company” for the production at exhibitions and competitions of producers. “I am really happy that the invention turned out with such wide range of useful effect, it is hi-tech inventions of the last 52


years in combination integrated with great variety of eco-friendly bio power processes which are positively influencing the person and world around.”. – said the inventor “A human body is a self-regulating, selfrepairing the system – Victor Dvornikov told. - Only the impulse is necessary for it to restore balance of forces. Such impulse also gives “EkotrOM”, and the person starts feeling more harmoniously: passes fatigue, the body is filled with energy, the feeling physical and a peace of mind comes”. 5-10 minutes in my device – enough to clean the person and space from information smog. After 10 sessions the person felt permanent improvement of a state are necessary. This ecological device generates the life-giving power-information rhythmic streams remotely transferring curative properties of gifts of the nature, their primitive purity. Under their influence the space, products, water or a human body are cleared and sated with useful qualities. It helps to harmonize activity process. Each of my achievement is devote to “Love”: Love to myself, to Children, to my the Beloved, the Homeland, the Nature, to the World and Mankind. MBR

The IPPO MALTA is registered with the Registrar for Legal Persons in term of the Second Schedule of the Civil Code, Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta, and has a separate juridical personality from its members. - Promotion of historical and cultural heritage studies, assistance in restoration and preservation of monuments of Christian culture remaining in Malta, and in the Mediterranean countries. One of the objectives of the Association in Malta is the promotion of cultural heritage in Malta, including the preservation of monuments of Christian culture remaining in Malta. The International Academy of Culture and Arts (“IACA”) established in Malta. - Organise scientific, cultural and educational activities in the field of arts and culture, history, and spirituality; - Conduct scientific research, organise conferences and expeditions in the field of social sciences and humanities.

DREAM Since my childhood I wanted to help people. From 14 years I dreamed to invent a youth elixir. And I devoted all the life to development of the preparations and devices revitalizing people and space. In my youth I tried to create a preparation which would be multipurpose, cured diseases at the genetic level. After my graduation from the Medical University, I studied an Ayurveda, homeopathy, east medicine and always was engaged in creative and inventive activity in the field of medicine and medical equipment”. Victor Dvornikov, the Honored inventor of the Russian Federation, the CEO and the founder of the Altai Company “Malavit”.

- Create and support activities of existing museums, libraries, archives, cultural and scientific information centers, as well as assist in the preservation and exhibition of rare books, manuscripts and map collections available to the members and other persons. - Create and support scientific and educational institutions in the field of humanities in Malta and in the Russian Federation. - Create and set-up media, publishing and printing and media replicating activities. - Scientific, educational and humanitarian conferencing and management of lectures, workshops, exhibitions, concerts, cultural and educational programs, production of TV and radio programs, claim settlement and legal works, etc.

Board Member of the COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE RUSSIAN COMPATRIOTS ASSEMBLY IN MALTA (CCRCA) - http:// Since 2004 the International Charity Society is under Highest patronage of GREAT PRINCESS MARIA Vladimirovna Romanova. The official visit to Malta H.I.H. GRAND DUCHESS MARIA OF RUSSIA is planed for coming year. Recognitions • The Highest Degree of the Chapter of the Russian IMPERIAL House – Irina Vladimirovna Malikova was awarded with a silver medal «For diligence and the help». • For charitable work Dame Irina Malikova received the medal of the Austrian Society Albert Schweitzer (relief fund to children). • Mrs. Irina Malikova and ICS Hon. Chairman of the Board trustees - Doctor Victor Emanuel Ragonesi visited Russia under V.V. Putin’s invitation. Award of Lomonosov as an estimation of his philanthropic activity and strengthening of cultural connections between peoples of Malta and Russia was received from V.V. Putin. • Mrs. Irina Malikova acknowledged by the Imperial Order of St. Anna from H.I.H. GRAND DUCHESS MARIA OF RUSSIA for supporting the “National interests of Russia from a pole to a pole”. • Under the decree of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, on 27 December 2014, the Certificate of the Russian Nobility was awarded to Family Malikov. MBR

"the Guardian angel " devoted to good, mercy and charity. ALL EXPENSES RELATED TO THIS PROJECT WILL BE BORNE BY THE DONATOR

The International Academy of Culture and Arts in Malta (IACA MALTA) In Malta will be the 35th unique Statue of the “Guardian Angel” of the International Project.

- Assisting in the development of pilgrimage infrastructure Mrs. Irina Malikova is the President of IPPO MALTA: www.ippo. info, and and also Director of the International Charity Society:

In January 2014 in Cannes took place presentation of similar Angel


Malta Business Review


Celebrating 30 Years Of Successful Service DHL Express, the global market leader in the logistics industry, celebrated 30 years of successful service in Malta in 2014. DHL Express Malta has seen volumes rising significantly over the years but even more so in the year 2013-2014. This, according to Lefteris Samaras, DHL Express Greece, Cyprus & Malta Managing Director, is because of general market growth, while e-commerce demands have also increased.

Lefteris Samaras, DHL Express Greece, Cyprus and Malta Managing Director (fourth from right), with the DHL Express Malta executive team headed by Country Manager Charles Schiavone (third from right)


r Samaras was in Malta to join DHL Express Malta in its 30th anniversary celebration and was keen to stress that the Malta subsidiary is important to DHL both as a local business and as part of the global network comprising 220 countries and territories, and about 315,000 employees worldwide.

“We have an overnight connection with Europe, excellent facilities at the airport and well trained people. We constantly invest in training, equipment, technology and automation, but the most important element is our people because our competitors also have vans, scanners, facilities and planes – it is DHL’s people who make the difference,” he said.

“DHL is committed to Malta. We have a dominant position here and our plan is to further strengthen our presence by continuing to invest in our people, our facilities, and in the necessary equipment,” he said. “Additionally, we intend to further develop operations, employ more people, expand our facilities and contribute to the national economy even further.”

With its 30 years of experience operating in Malta, DHL have the track record and the market know-how that enable it to go the extra mile to serve their customers. “I have talked to a lot of customers during my visit,” Mr Samaras said, “and they all expressed their satisfaction with us, as we are always there for them, ready to meet their Express needs on a daily basis.”

Apart from facing the normal, day-to-day challenges, like competition and the general economic environment, Mr Samaras said customers are becoming more and more demanding, and DHL has to adapt to their fast-changing needs. He noted the shift to e-commerce that had caused the spike in deliveries as an example.

DHL Express’s promise to its clients is “Excellence. Simply Delivered: Satisfaction of our customers is paramount”. The company aims to deliver outstanding customer service, which is at the heart of everything it does. “For this, we strive to create a positive experience for our customers every time we interact with them. We are committed to making that interaction move from ‘Good to Great’.”

Among the biggest strengths of DHL’s Malta operation is the ability to offer the “biggest operating window”, Mr Samaras said. “Our dedicated DHL cargo aircraft, a Boeing 757 Freighter, arrives first thing in the morning and leaves in the late afternoon. So we can make the earliest possible deliveries and collect the latest pick-ups possible.

DHL Worldwide Express, as the company was then known, first started operating in Malta in 1983 and was registered locally as DHL International Ltd, with five employees. Today DHL Express Malta has over 50 staff and operates from a dedicated logistics centre at Luqa within the Malta International Airport, managed by Mr Charles Schiavone as a country Manager. MBR

Car Hire

Car Leasing Date

DHL Express Malta Milestones


A courier was on board commercial flights to and from London Heathrow every day carrying bank and business documents and dutiable items from most countries worldwide. Legal and shipping companies were also among its first customers


Moved to the current dedicated logistics centre with facility access to the Malta International Airport


Customs Bond and official in our premises during office hours


Certified as an AEO (Authorised Economic Operator)


Introduced Express 9 and Express 12 delivery in main European cities


Dedicated DHL Boeing 757 aircraft daily from and to Leipzig, DHL’s European hub. DHL is the only logistics company in Malta that works with its own plane (Boeing 757), which means earliest delivery and latest pick-ups


High investment in DHL’s IT infrastructure enabling it to scan all movements of each document/parcel to enable track and trace all the way


Moved from the original premises in Fgura to new premises in Luqa outside the airport


ISO 9000 certified (pioneers)


Security programmes were introduced all over the DHL network to secure its employees, premises and customers’ shipments.


Invested in Security with the latest technology X-Ray device


Full global visibility access from various sources of each piece from time of collection to delivery


Moves per day increased by 19% (compared to previous year)

With Malta’s entry in the European Union, DHL improved its efficiency in import customs clearance for 75% of the shipments received which originated from all EU countries


ISO 9001:2008 certified


20% increase in our workforce since 2013



Courtesy: Malcolm J Naudi Communications Limousines

One Stop Shop Car Repair Centre

Meli Car Rentals Ltd. 90, Fremond Street Qormi, QRM 2379 T: 79 03 10 10 E:

Malta Business Review



The Business of Ecocide by Melanie Vella

Malta Business Review

a law was implemented he would not have the competitive advantage needed to convince shareholders to invest in new minimally invasive practices,” explains Higgins. Higgins has submitted a proposal to the United Nations to open an amendment to the 1968 Rome Statute to include a fifth crime against peace in the international criminal court - the International Crime of Ecocide. This will require two-thirds of the Rome Statute’s signatory States to vote in favour of the law. The International Criminal Court will have the power to intervene, even if the person or State involved is a non-signatory. The Rome statute is one of the most powerful documents in the world, and it is where the current laws against genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are legislated against. The purpose for creating the offence of Ecocide is to put in place an international law at the very top level. These crimes are the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole and supersede all other laws. This is a much easier approach than that of climate change where 194 nations are required to agree on targets to re-engineer their economies and cut consumption. The implementation of the Law of Ecocide would have a fundamental and required change in the way business is conducted.

Polly with permaculturist Peppi Gauci at Bahrija Oasis with Yasmin De Giorgio and Simon Paul Sutton

Melanie Vella interviews British lawyer Polly Higgins to discuss the implications of implementing a law that places a duty on international business to protect the Earth. Higgins has worked UN on climate change negotiations, is currently spear heading the acceptance of Ecocide law into International Criminal Law, was in Malta to make several public appearances and host public talks. “Business and the environment should be able to co-exist together,” says Polly Higgins, international lawyer, barrister and awardwinning author who has been working on a law to protect the Earth- the Law of Ecocide. Higgins visited Malta recently to meet H.E. Mrs Marie Louise Colerio Preca, business owners and hold public talks on the value of having a law whereby corporations and companies can be held accountable for the destruction of the planet. What if business could become much more innovative? What if competitiveness depended on a business’ ability to turn harm of the environment into harmony with the environment? Currently we are faced with global challenges of ecocide, where natural ecosystems are being 56

wiped out. Such as deforestation, oil spills and the poisoning of rivers and water systems. Issues that affect us all. Higgins’ solution is to declare environmental destruction illegal. “The Law on Ecocide creates a legal duty of care that holds persons of ‘superior responsibility’ to account in a court of law, both criminal and civil. The inclusion of Ecocide law as an international law prohibits mass damage and destruction of the Earth,” explains Higgins.

technology providers. A legal duty of care will be imposed on governments to drive environmental improvements as the primary economic growth strategy,” she explains. Businesses will then be enabled to move into a green economy and invest in these solutions and innovation is driven by competitiveness in this field.

“We need to question why business has come to the point where it is destroying a fundamental part of the resources that sustain it – the environment,” says Higgins.

Mining is an example of an industry based on old-fashioned technologies that are very heavily reliant on high levels of energy usage. The coal mining industry uses very aggressive processes, blasting rocks and engaging in very harmful practices to extract the rare minerals from the land. In the process communities are being displaced and soils are being polluted.

“A Law of Ecocideprovides the missing legislative framework to enable private and public capital to be invested in emerging

This can be fundamentally changed. “I met the head of a mining consortium who was in favour of implementing the law on Ecocide. Until such

Currently, businesses have a legal duty to prioritise the interests of their shareholders first. The maximization of profit overrides all other interests. However, with the introduction of Ecocide law, persons and companies are held responsible for serious environmental damage caused by their commercial activities. “The normative way of doing business will flip,” says Higgins. “This will change long-term investment signals. Investors will no longer engage and invest in ventures that cause harm and destruction of the environment in the interest of profit, as they can be held liable for Ecocide in the International Criminal Court.” Currently, investors refrain from investing in activities, which cause Genocide, like the manufacturing of gas chambers, even though this would yield high profit margins because it is illegal. “Implementing this law would make it illegal to invest in activities, which cause mass destruction to the Earth as a corollary of dangerous industrial activity,” she explains. This would mean that investing in fossil fuel would be considered a high-risk investment, while investing in renewable energy would be a valuable, low-risk investment.

Polly Higgins addressing 1 of the ‘Law on Ecocide’ talks at The Grassy Hopper Cafe in Gzira

A business that changed the long-term investment signals is BP, one of the world’s supermajor oil and gas companies. Back in 2005, Lord Brown, CEO of BP wanted to change their name to Beyond Petroleum and shift the company from fossil fuels into renewable energy. He couldn’t enforce this for a number of reasons. The most prominent reason was

It is evident that businesses are causing significant harm to the environment. The Climate Change negotiations are not highly successful that since it is an international company, there is no international law that would prioritise the innovation in this direction and make it a crime to carry out these significantly harmful activities. The shareholders had the legal right to demand that the company carries on capitalising on the larger profits from fossil fuel.” BP never managed to make this shift. “The Ecocide law is providing the support of law to allow businesses to change. The problem then becomes the solution. Currently, big energy companies can’t do this because it will affect their bottom line in the short term. Those who are in conscious businesses and want to make decisions that consider the wellbeing of people and the planet and allow profit to be generated from this aspect, have a vested interest in seeing this law come to fruition. Is this law required? “It is evident that businesses are causing significant harm to the environment. The Climate Change negotiations are not highly successful,” explains Higgins. “The answer is then yes it is required because Ecocide is occurring and it is not sustainable.”

“In Malta one of the main incentives to support the Ecocide law would be the need to protect the pollution of the water table.” says Higgins after discussing her campaign with various Maltese agricultural specialists. Implementing the law would help shift farming practices from being heavily reliant on herbicides and pesticides towards natural, organic and permaculture based solutions which are more sustainable for the long term good of the island. This law is in the process of being drafted. Many academic institutions are using Higgin’s book ‘Eradicating Ecocide’ as a course book – law schools, environmental studies and business schools. It is just a matter of time until a law against ecocide is as natural to us as the law against genocide now is - the only question is how much of our natural resources will we lose until we say ‘enough! No more!’ MBR The website provides further information about the Law of Ecocide campaign. All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE Polly Higgins is an inspirational and visionary speaker who has been invited into governments across the world to advise on the law. She has been voted one of the World’s Top 10 Visionary Thinkers by the Ecologist and named The Planet’s Lawyer by the 2010 Change Awards. In 2010 after the publishing of her book ‘Eradicating Ecocide’, a mock Ecocide trial was held in the UK Supreme Court and streamed worldwide by Sky News. The trial’s success brought global coverage to this crucial global issue.


Malta Business Review

Business Leaders interview series

Business Leaders interview series

Malta Business Review

Alex Borg is also: 1: Board Member of GS1 Malta ( 2: General Secretary & Board Member of ITS Malta (www.itsmalta.ue) 3: Council Member of the Touring Club Malta 4: Council Member of the National Road Safety Council – Ministry of Transport ( 5: Logistics consultant for Malta Enterprise. 6: Logistics Policy Advisor for the Ministry of Economy and Investment in Malta 7: Partner with Logistics Learning Alliance – UK ( 8: Consultant with Wisdom Logistics Training & Consultant in UAE ( 9: Consultant & Trainer with IIR / INFORMA ME. 10: Trainer & Consultant with different training and consultancy groups in different countries.

Alex Borg is also a member of the following institutions: SSM Group Head Office, Hamrun

Creativity, Forward Thinking & Integrity by Charlotte Munro

Accustomed to managing all levels of expenditure; utilising best practice methods, management of negotiations, contract formation, implementation and category management, suppler appraisal schemes, forward scheduling, Alex Borg, Director and Managing Consultant with Support & Supply Management Group (SSM), also boasts a hands-on knowledge WMS and the management of procurement and supply chain operations.

MBR: Would you talk about the history and heritage of SSM Group, and how the firm has evolved? AB: My professional background was always at the back of house activities and operations. I have worked with different groups in different sectors such as: · Import and Distribution · Hotel and Project Management · Manufacturing · Import, Wholesale and Retail Environment I was always an individual who browse for new and smart ideas, including best practice. If you evaluate my CV you will notice that I have taken a lot of courses at different institutions in Malta and overseas on my own initiative and expense. One of the main ideas to open a firm offering professional training and consultancy was shaped upon my return from UK after attending a training 58

programme and I knew that in Malta things were done totally opposite from what I call best practice. At the end of 1994 I joined ETC as part time trainer to deliver different programmes related to the Supply Chain Management. This initiative completed my professional career. In 1997 I attended the Institute of Logistics in UK to start evaluating in setting-up an awareness and training centre in Malta. At the end of 1998 I established the first training center in Malta offering a comprehensive portfolio of courses in Logistics and Supply Chain Management accredited by the Institute of Logistics UK and Ministry of Education in Malta. Over fifteen years have elapsed and today we feel very proud because we were the pioneers in the field. Nowadays, we continue to be leaders in the field through different professional services we provide and offer to our partners and clients both locally and abroad.

MBR: To what do you attribute the success of SSM Group? AB: To the innovation factor, creativity-link, forward thinking approach, integrity and solid relationship we have with our local and foreign partners and clients. MBR: How do you define your role at SSM Group and what are your key areas of focus? AB: We support our partners and clients through different professional services but mainly we focus on Logistics, Transport and Supply Chain Management. Our Group has always played an important role within the public and private sector in Malta especially in the past two years, wherein we were involved in the drafting of National Logistics Policy and in the Integrated Maritime Policy within the Ministry of Economy. Furthermore, we support a number of private organisations through different services.

MBR: How do you ensure that the firm’s culture remains intact as you continue to grow? AB: Changing and evolving is a must, otherwise you lose the track. But our objectives always remain clear-cut, intense relations. MBR: Even with your international reach, does the MENA region and North Africa still remain the priority? AB: Yes, always. We have built a very solid foundation in this region, and we support different organisations and students.

Our Group has always played an important role within the public and private sector in Malta especially in the past two years, wherein we were involved in the drafting of National Logistics Policy MBR: Do you worry that technology is taking away from the personal touch and the human relationship? AB: This is part of the innovation and globalization process. We have to stay in touch and updated to be able not to lose track of the latest technology and best practice. Having an on-line platform from where you can reach more students is positive for our business because you will be able to

offer prompt reply. We have a lot of students around the world following a course or qualification, and if internet was not available, it would not have been possible for them to do it.

A: Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (U.K). B: Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport C: Malta Institute of Management D; GS1 Malta / International E: Foundation for Human Resources Development (FHRD) F: Member of the Institute of Supply Chain Management UK.

MBR: In a market like Malta, how do you differentiate yourself from the competition? AB: Through the innovative professional service we offer and new product launch from time to time such as TransLog Events and Awards, including subject specialisation. MBR: In leading this business for SSM Group, how do you focus your efforts and how critical is it to find time for client interaction? AB: Thorough planning, long hours and persistent of follow –ups. MBR: How do you define your client profile? AB: We have different clientele, mainly from the manufacturing, shipping, transport and service industry. MBR: What innovation is taking place within the surety space and is that also a differentiator for SSM Group? AB: To continue investing on our online platform with our partners LLA in UK, so as to be able to continue offering latest technology and best practice, always offering innovative programmes, which are relevant to the latest trends, while continuously maintaining the edge through our professional services. MBR

During the SCATA Awards in 2012 – SSM Group where awarded with The Best Training Provider of the Year 2012. The team consist of the council members of CILT UAE

EDITOR’S NOTE Alex Borg is Managing Partner of Support & Supply Management (SSM) Group Ltd., a company based in Malta with joint offices in UK & UAE. The company specialized in professional training and advisory services in Logistics, Transport, Supply Chain and Operations Management. Mr. Borg is a chartered trainer and consultant in Logistics, Transport and Supply Chain Management with over twenty years working experience in strategic procurement and contract management, sourcing and purchasing, Inventory and materials management, warehouse and distribution, commercial and retail management. He is also involved in various consultancy projects and assignments after being entrusted by various public and private organisations in different European Countries, North African Countries, Middle East / Gulf Region and South East Asia. Alex has spent six years (2008 -2013) as Regional Director for CILT for UAE & GCC Region based in Dubai. During his term in office at CILT UAE, Alex has achieved a lot of success through growth of membership, education, events, awards and expansion of CILT in the GCC region. In 2015 Alex joined the Institute for Supply Chain Management in UK with the objective to develop the institute in the Middle-East Region.

All Rights Reserved | Copyright 2015


Malta Business Review

MiGS – Malta iGaMinG SeMinar

MiGS 2015 Launched

The seventh edition of the Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS) was launched on 30th July, 2015 in the presence of Hon. Jose Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary of Competitiveness and Economic Growth and Mr Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) at the Mistral Suite and Terrace at the Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach resort. This year’s MiGs will be held at the Corinthia Hotel, St. Julian’s between the 16th and 19th of November. Speaking on behalf of MiGS, Jeffrey Buttigieg, Director of MiGS and COO of RE/MAX Malta, thanked all attendees and collaborators for providing their support to the event. “Founded in 2008, today MiGs has become globally recognized as a must-attend conference on the iGaming Calendar. Over the last two years, the event has seen a transformation and has matured into a top-ten event, as quoted by, a major iGaming online portal. Last year, the event was especially successful as we attracted over 450 delegates to MIGS14 and we started seeing the fruit of our labour during the previous five years,” Mr Buttigieg stated. The Director of MiGS also explained how in spite of competition from other events being held abroad and in Malta, MiGS managed to consolidate its position as leader regardless of the challenges it faced. Mr Buttigieg thanked the Malta Gaming Authority for their yearly support, as well as other sponsors, speakers and those who work tirelessly in the background to coordinate the event, including Ramona Mifsud from BMIT, Kris Baron from Capstone Group, Sue Schneider from Egaming Brokerage, as well as the rest of their team members. One of the highlights of the upcoming event in November – in line with the conference theme, “Past, Present and Future of iGaming” – will be hosting a panel that will include four remarkable pioneers 60

of the industry that have a combined experience of over 100 years. The event will also expound on a number of ensuing topics, including the latest EU directives, emerging jurisdictions, payments, advocacy as well as subjects of potential growth including Mobile gaming, eSports and others. In 2015, MIGS will be introducing a concept called “Fishbowl conversations” which entices the delegates to get closer to the speakers, ask questions, and become moderators, therefore providing a new dimension of interactivity and fun to the conference. Mr Buttigieg confirmed that every speaker will be an authority in their field of expertise and the tight-knit networking, which MiGS is renowned for, will continue to be a mainstay of the 2015 event. Mr Joseph Cuschieri, Chairman of MGA, said he was honoured to launch an event, which the Authority has supported from its humble beginnings, and congratulated the organisers for bringing together so many people for this launch. He said that this proves that MiGS has a strong backing as he encouraged individuals to attend. He added: “MiGS has not only played an important role in promoting the Malta Gaming industry over the years, but has also placed the country on the international gaming map, as a destination to attend a top level iGaming conference that attracts international executives.” Hon. Jose Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary of Competitiveness and Economic Growth stated: “I am honoured to be able speak at the launch of such an entrepreneurial initiative from the private sector. The Malta iGaming Seminar is a must-attend event and I’d like to thank the organisers for doing Malta proud.” For more information about MiGS, please visit

Malta Business Review



Russian Cultural Seasons In Malta The European Centre for Culture & Arts (Malta) in collaboration with The Russian Maltese Cultural Association (RMCA) is starting the “Russian Cultural Seasons” in Malta beginning with the wonderful concert “A Night of BALLET UNDER The STARS” by the internationally acclaimed soloists from the Russian ballet theatres of Moscow & Saint-Petersburg Ballet artists from the Bolshoi Theatre, Music Theatre of Stanislavsky & Nemirovich-Danchenko, The Crown of Russian Ballet Theatre, St. Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre by Jacobson will perform the most specular and, immortal Golden Ballet Classic of all time: “SWAN LAKE”, “ROMEO & JULIETTE”, “SPARTACUS”, “DYING SWAN”, “DON QUIXOTE”, “CARMEN”, “GISELLE”, “NUTCRACKER”, “SLEEPING BEAUTY” and many more. The Russian Ballet technique is renowned and admired as the best in the world. We hope that this unique high quality Concert will not disappoint anyone. Do not miss this rare opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Tchaikovsky’s, Prokofiev’s, Saint-Saens’s, Minkus’s, Khachaturian’s, Adan’s music and beauty of dance with spectacular costumes by professional and internationally acclaimed soloists of Russian ballet theatre’s performing in Malta on Sunday, 6th September 2015 at 9.00pm at the Old Royal Opera House, Pjazza Teatru Rjal in Valletta. More info: MBR

IIG Bank Inaugurates New Branch Office In Qui-Si-Sana, Sliema A new and larger branch office of IIG Bank at Qui-Si-Sana, was recently inaugurated officially by Justice Minister Dr. Owen Bonnici in the presence of distinguished guests, Board members and staff. Dr. Mario Demarco, PN Deputy Leader for Parliamentary Affairs, also attended the event.

Ray Busuttil, Minister & Alf Mifsud

Minister & Joseph Grioli


stablished in 2010, IIG Bank, with its head office situated at the Portomaso Business Tower, St. Julians, has operated a customer service office at the same location in Sliema since 2011. However, after five years of rapid growth, the need for larger premises that offer better customer servicing facilities was being felt. The new premises with over 280 square meters of office space addresses both the immediate needs of the Bank and those in its future plans to expand its business operations from this office.

Bank, emphasised the importance that the Bank gives to customer relationships “From inception our objective has been, and will remain, focused on delivering a superior customer service, embracing traditional principles of relationship banking. Our customers are an important resource for the success of our business.”

sheet grew by from $111 million in 2013 to $156.3 million, and its equity, composed of its share capital, the investments’ fair value reserve and the retained earnings after tax for the year, increased from $14.8 million to $20.1 million.


Speaking at the event, Mr. Raymond Busuttil, Managing Director and CEO of the

From RUSSIA with LOVE!

Malta Business Review

IIG Bank was established by New York based Group specialising in international trade finance. Despite challenges that the external environment presented in the past 5 years, the Bank has reported record profits, year on year. In 2014 the Bank reported pretax profits of US$2.8 million. Its balance

Thanking all the distinguished guests present, Mr. Busuttil said “Malta has certainly played a significant role in our success. Years of hard work by government and institutional bodies in promoting Malta as a solid base for international business is paying off. We are encouraged to continue building on our achievements and therefore value very highly your continued support”. MBR



This is why we take pride in assisting you every step of the way and ensure that your business event does indeed become one to remember. The first performance of the ENSEMBLE «GUBERNIYA» took place in Tver (Russia) in 2002 in the jubilee concert devoted to the anniversary of the newspaper “Veche Tveri”. Vladimir Derevyagin (accordion), Natalja Bogdanova (dombra-viola), Alexander Nekrassov (balalaikacontrabass), Mikhail Rikhmajer (balalaika), Marina Korchagina (vocal) are all professional musicians with higher conservatory education and professional concert experience. They try to be original in every musical piece they perform. The wide repertoire includes Russian classical pieces, Russian traditional folk sketches and Pop. A great number of the instrumental compositions were created by the artist director of the group Vladimir Derevyagin. His authoring works and the arrangements of 62

folk pieces (the world-known “Kalinka”, the gipsy romance “Black eyes” and others) are full of creative fantasy and musical humour. The performance of the popular tunes from the repertoire of such groups as “ABBA” and “Bony-M” sounds very special thanks to the Russian folk musical instruments and always receive standing ovations. Unusual and brilliant innovations, professional performance and great energy that comes from the musicians to the audience in combination with masterly playing - all that, distinguishes this ENSEMBLE «GUBERNIYA» and make it unique. MBR Organizers of the event, European Centre of Culture & Arts (Malta) would like invite you to listen this wonderful ENSEMBLE with a difference on Sunday, 27th September 2015 at 7.00pm at the Temi Zammit Hall of the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.

Surrounded by breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, the Paradise Bay Resort Hotel’s unique position, make it the obvious choice as an ideal venue for your next business event. The hotel offers a number of halls, suites and outdoor venues, including halls with sea views and natural daylight, which can host various tailor made functions, conferences, business meetings or other related events. The property’s extensive grounds and outdoor venues also make it the perfect venue for larger events. Our conference rooms, equipped with all requirements, come in a variety of sizes and guarantee efficient working conditions. Our food and beverage team can also assist you in choosing the right catering requirements to compliment your event.

Contact our events department now on 21 521166 or

Malta Business Review

Organic Waste

Rethinking and Rebranding Waste Management in Malta


asteserv has recently revealed its new brand identity which captures its fresh and focused approach towards waste management, putting resource creation and the country’s sustainability at the centre of the company’s philosophy. The announcement of the new brand aptly coincided with the launch of a pilot project on source separation of organic waste in households, a project with a long-term vision that ties in perfectly with the company’s mission to ‘create resources from waste’. As part of the rebranding exercise, a redefined company purpose was developed which simultaneously answers three key questions: What do we do? How do we do it? Why do we do it? The company’s purpose is now defined as “We manage waste by maximising the extraction of good quality recyclable materials and by generating renewable energy as part of our sustainable contribution to the Maltese Islands.”

the company aims to not only minimise the amount of waste landfilled but also to operate its Biological Treatment Plants in a more efficient manner The ‘organic bag’ pilot project is a perfect example of how the current management team, headed by Chief Executive Tonio Montebello, is looking at the future with clear targets in mind. By removing the organic fraction of waste from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), commonly referred to as the black bag, the company aims to not only minimise the amount of waste landfilled but also to operate its Biological Treatment Plants in a more efficient manner thanks to better waste inputs, with the ultimate result of generating more energy from the treatment process.

Concurrently, from an EU perspective, such a project is expected to contribute to multiple targets, including biodegradable landfilled waste and renewable energy targets. “Apart from improving the efficiency of our Sant’Antnin plant and tangibly creating resources from waste, this pilot project is also projected to improve Malta’s position in terms of specific EU targets,” said Mr Montebello. The organic bag project will commence later this year in five localities, with an additional four local councils joining in early 2016 for the second phase of the project. After a total trial period of six months, the best way of introducing the scheme nationwide will be determined. MBR

Malta Business Review


Malta Business Review

bank of Valletta reports interim profit of €58.8 million for fY 2015 - Declares the development of the company’s domestic payables capabilities in 105 countries, as well interim DiViDenD of €0.039 per share

as having built the Trade, Supply Chain and Cash Management businesses in MENA, West TheRussia Bankand of the Valletta Grouphis has announced a pre-tax profit of €58.8 million Africa, CIS, amongst major achievements at Citibank. for the first six months of the financial year 2015 (FY 2015). This represents Mr Subramanian holds a Bachelor of an increase of €8 million (16%) over profit registered during the same period Technology in Mechanical Engineering degree lasttheyear. core ofoperating from IndianThe Institute Technology,profi as stood at €42.9 million (FY14: €40.6 Global trade finance specialist FIMBank plc, well million). as a Masters in Business Administration, These financial statements has announced the appointment of Mr Murali Finance and International Business from the have been reviewed by KPMG Malta. Subramanian as its new Chief Executive Officer Indian Institute of Management. (CEO). Mr Subramanian, an Indian national, is assets the as at 31 March 2015 stood at €9.0 billion (Sep 14: The Board has declared a gross interim dividend“We of €0.039 share, to- Total are per delighted announce a results-oriented senior banker with a proven appointment of Murali Subramanian as CEO,while equity attributable to shareholders of the €8.3 billion), which is equivalent to last year’s interim dividend when the latter is track record in developing and executing comes at aBank crucial time for by 4% and amounts to €640.9 million. increased restated for the bonus share issue of January which 2015.appointment The dividend growth strategies on a global basis. the Group,” said Dr John C. Grech, Chairman will be paid on 27 May 2015 to shareholders on the Bank’s register - Net advances increased by €122 million (or 3%) over the past Prior to joining FIMBank, Mr Subramanian of the FIMBank Group. “Mr Subramanian is an ofwas members at the close of business on 12 May 2015. months to €4.0 billion. Growth was registered across all Executive Vice President at Abu Dhabi experienced banker with an six impressive track segments; however home loans remained the main growth Commercial for 6results years, where The highlightsBank of the are: he held the record. Throughout his career, he has proven Mr Murali Subramania driver. strong position of Head of Transaction Banking of the himself as a corporate leader, possessing - Group. Interest margin amounts to €71.1 million. This represents a 15% - During expertise the first six months of FY 2015, the Bank continued to His key responsibilities at this financial banking acumen and particular improvement over year, mainly to higher deposit institution included thelast management ofattributable trade in trade finance and financial technology witness an increase in customer deposits which now stand at volume. confident completion of all other mandatory formalities. and supply chain growth business where he innovation,” added Dr Grech. “We €7.8arebillion thattoheimprove will successfully the Bank towards Meanwhile, Mr Simon Lay, who has held the the growthand andtrading return to profitability - oversaw Net commission income continued across steer Commenting on the results, Group Chairman John Cassar White the goals increase we have ofset, and that under his position of Acting CEO at the Bank since January ofallthis 250 product million revenue business. This theUSD Bank’s lines, registering a year-on-year spoke of the challenges which the Bank had faced over the last six leadership credit these will effectively lead to restoring 2015, will be appointed as Deputy CEO, while followed 21-year career Citibank and earlier 14% toayield gains ofat€40.3 million. Bancassurance, card months. These included high levels liquidity in combination maintaining hisofposition aswhich, Managing Director value.” ABN Amro, where he occupied various posts in andshareholder business, investment related services foreign exchange with historically low yields, exerted pressure on margins. The Bank of London Forfaiting Company Ltd. several geographies, ending his career at Citi as The appointment of Mr Murali Subramanian will business were the main contributors towards this result. is seeking to overcome these and future challenges through Managing Director, Global Head of Domestic be effective as from the 6th August 2015 and is For more information about the FIMBank a - The Group’s share of profits from its associated companies, MSV multifaceted strategy which includes the transformation ofMBR business Payables. Mr Subramanian considers his role in subject to the MFSA’s approval as well as the Group please visit

Life plc and Middlesea Insurance plc, amount to €7.8 million (FY14: €5.4 million). - Operating expense for the first six months of the FY 2015 amounts to €54.6 million, an increase of 17% over the same period last year.

processes, driven by a change of the core IT systems. Concurrently, the Bank will seek to strengthen its balance sheet by raising capital levels and introducing reforms to improve the quality of the loan book. The Chairman described these initiatives as the cornerstones of the Bank’s strategy over the next five years. MBR

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