Issuu on Google+

Special Feature

MEP ElEctions 2014 March 2014

COVER STORY

ConCentriC CirCles Global Company, Global Knowledge

p.04

INSIDE ›› International Relations: Doing Business with the Netherlands

We interview HE the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ms Rita Dulci Rahman p.08

›› MSV Life Top Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2014: Driving Success

An interview with one of the contestants Dean Gera, founder and Director of Dean Gera Hair Care p.16

›› A True Pioneer

We sit down with entrepreneur extraordinaire Frank Salt, in a close-up view with the celebrated Real Estate guru and philanthropist par excellence p.20

›› MEP Elections Special Feature: Maturity and Professionalism

Determined, vigorous and ambitious- we meet Ray Bugeja, PN MEP candidate who wants to focus on economic growth and reduce unemployment p.02S


St Julians BOSS Store Malta 2, Ross Street Malta International Airport BOSS Store MIA Gate 1, Departures Lounge


Special Feature

MEP ElEctions 2014 March 2014

CONTENTS

COVER STORY

ConCentriC CirCles Global Company, Global Knowledge

p.04

INSIDE ›› International Relations: Doing Business with the Netherlands

We interview HE the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ms Rita Dulci Rahman p.08

›› MSV Life Top Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2014: Driving Success

Feature stories

04

04 cover story: concentric circles

An interview with one of the contestants Dean Gera, founder and Director of Dean Gera Hair Care p.16

›› A True Pioneer

We sit down with entrepreneur extraordinaire Frank Salt, in a close-up view with the celebrated Real Estate guru and philanthropist par excellence p.20

›› MEP Elections Special Feature: Maturity and Professionalism

Determined, vigorous and ambitious- we meet Ray Bugeja, PN MEP candidate who wants to focus on economic growth and reduce unemployment p.02S

Publisher John Formosa editor Martin Vella Journalist George Carol

Dr Tonio Fenech, Managing Partner of the law firm of Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal talks about Tap Knowledge working system 08 international relations: doing business with the netherlands

We interview HE the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ms Rita Dulci Rahman 12 exclusive interview:

serving Justice Part 2

sales & Publication Manager Margaret Brincat

The Commissioner of Police Peter Paul Zammit in the second series of a three-part all-embracing interview

graPhic designer Jessica Camilleri

14 Msv liFe toP entrePreneur oF the

cover PhotograPhy Trust Alliance Printing PRINT IT Quote of the month: “.Build your own dreams or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” - Farrah Gray

year awards 2014: building a better Malta

Meet Archi+ Architects’ Studio dynamic team of architects made up of Richard Borg, Warren Falzon, and Adrian Mangion 16 driving success

An interview with Dean Gera, founder and Director of a major Dean Gera Hairdressing

08

For magazine and website advertising enquiries please contact: margaret@networkpublications.com.mt or call on (+356) 9940 6743 For editorial enquiries please contact: martin.vella@networkpublications.com.mt The Economic Update is published by: Network Publications Ltd., Angelica Court, Giuseppi Cali Str., Ta’ Xbiex, XBX1425, Malta Tel: +356 2131 6326/7/8 Fax: +356 2132 3432

Contributors: Melanie Borg, Dion Buhagiar Said, George Carol, Curt Gauci, Richard Geres, Kristin Sigrun Gudmundsdottir, Rene Magri, Eric Muscat, Louis Naudi; Chris Peregin. Special Thanks: Bajada Solars; Commissioner of Police; F.F.F Legal; FXDD; Dean Gera Hair Care; Hazlis & Rivas; The Economist Events; PBS. Please feel free to email us with your viewpoint, whether you agree or disagree with the standpoint of the personalities we interview or the topics we focus on. Your opinion, contribution, concern and feedback on our articles and interviews are welcome. Please include full name, contact details

18 creating brand value Jonathan J Borg’s fifteen years of leadership and growth company experience in lighting, communications, enterprise infrastructure, and semiconductors propels him as a strong contender for the ultimate title

16

20 a true Pioneer We sit down with the entrepreneur extraordinaire Frank Salt, in a close-up view with the celebrated real estate guru and philanthropist par excellence 24 insPiration & distinction An insight into one of the Malta’s most promising young female entrepreneurs: Denise Xuereb 32 business suPPort services – the Puzzling lack oF uPtake An article by Profs Louis Naudi, an Hon. Retd. Professor, (Modern British Politics) Sheffield, SSRS Danish Govt. & University of Arhus, Denmark

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed in The Economic Update are not necessarily those of the editor or publishers. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor and publishers cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs or illustrations. The Economic Update is printed by Print IT and distributed free with The Business Weekly.


Editor’s NotE

18

There are many descriptions for the world we live in. Volatile, complex, global, flat, uncertain, unpredictable, mad and so on. But I would suggest that it is fast change that defines our world best, and our greatest challenge has become living with it and learning to cope within it. It doesn’t matter whether you view this from the perspective of your personal life, or through the lens of whatever you do for a living. We have to deal with the fact that fast change is also altering the habits, routines and lives of those around us. Children are doing homework on tablets with Google Docs, and they don’t carry textbooks around anymore- does this mean the death of print and books? Absolutely, not! However, it’s a different world. It changed. And it changing faster.

20

But the good news is that, for the most part, we are able to figure it out. As individuals, we take our cues from the early adopters and we learn what to do – and what not to do. It is an interesting paradox that when faced, individually, with fast change, we are usually able to figure it out. When we cross a street and see or hear a car coming toward us at high speed, we are able to move faster to clear the crossing. Society has advanced because we, individually and collectively, figured out how to get out of the crossing and not get hit by the car – if you will pardon the metaphor. Businesses do not change much rapidly. The solution is to mitigate the adverse impact that the formal organisation structure has over the many smart people who want to do well, and who want to avoid being hit by the car while they are in the crossing, to continue my metaphor. I have suggested in the past that a good solution in the face of uncertainty is to do half of what you would like to do. Doing half breaks the psychological stranglehold of fear and greed, because regardless of what happens, part of your decision was a success. I have noticed a trend. Some of the best service leaders, the ones who win the most profitable deals, are great storytellers. They tell all sorts of stories in all sorts of situations. And these stories share a few common characteristics. In our professional services industry it is unique in that people are the product. When you tell people why you do what you do, they see how your life events have shaped your character, goals and motives. If you are honest, human and real, people will feel a connection with you. This can be very powerful, and not just for financial or business advisors. In general, I have been a good decision maker over the past years, having acted on positive impulse, rather than be overtaken by negative influences, and I want to continue using that advantage.

24

We have built our publication success story on positive stories that our subjects have given to society, even though we see more negative stories permeating the world around us. It is with a sense of duty and integrity that we look for the best stories that affect our readers. We strive to provide you with the best interviews and positive contributions that top successful leaders and entrepreneurs have contributed toward making positive changes to our world. The responsibility for ensuring a successful future for the world weighs heavily on the shoulders of its leaders, who must address the challenge of making decisions that foster long-term benefits even if it may mean postponing immediate results. Enjoy the read!

08S

Martin Vella 01(S) sPEcial FEaturE: MEP ElEctioNs 2014

Special Feature

MEP ELECTIONS 2014 March 2014

02s MEP ElEctioNs sPEcial FEaturE: Maturity aNd ProFEssioNalisM Determined, vigorous and ambitious- PN MEP candidate Ray Bugeja wants to focus on economic growth and reduce unemployment 06s stratEgy through diFFErENt iNitiativEs

Your MEP CandidatE

for all SEaSonS

Dr Peter Agius, Head of the European Parliament Information Office talks to us ahead of the EP elections on the 24th May 08s MakiNg your voicE hEard iN thE Eu We interview MEP frontrunner Roberta Metsola, who has become one of the preeminent MEPs Malta has had in the EP


COVER STORY INTERVIEW

Delivering value through ConCentriC CirCles By Martin Vella

Dr Tonio Fenech, Joint Managing Partner of law firm of Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal, and current Chairman of AT Group Ltd, discusses how the collaborative model adopted by his professional services organization provides more integrated solutions. Dr Fenech’s broad range of skills, honed from his years of professional experience as a lawyer, University lecturer and speaker at conferences are evident, as he describes how this system, known as the TAP-K working system, allows single adherent firms to interact with the market as independent professional services organisations which are enriched by a multi-layered and multi-disciplinary support infrastructure. 04 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


COVER STORY INTERVIEW

TEU: You have several professional hats, so it is best to start from the beginning. How did the law firm Farrugia Fiott Legal come about? TF:: FFF Legal came together in 2009, when tax expert Antoine Fiott, Dr. Christian Farrugia and myself decided to build on our common world-view to develop what we called “legal services in context”, which basically does not look at the law as a standalone static arbiter of rights and wrongs, but sees it as the dynamic architecture of relationships it is, fully integrated within its commercial and social context. Relationships are dynamic, and their architecture requires design which is both pragmatic as well as visionary. Our aspiration is that our professional discipline contributes to more dynamic and long-lasting relationships among our clients, which is the very stuff of commercial and social development in the so-called new economy. Drawing on the extensive expertise of the founding partners, the firm is developing a full-service value-driven legal infrastructure comprising specific centres of expertise in Corporate & Commercial Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Taxation, Banking, Insurance and Investment Funds, Trust & Fiduciary Structures, Shipping & Aviation Law, New Media Law, Regulatory Compliance & Gaming Law. TEU: Would this be sufficient to differentiate you from the competition? TF: Our approach represents our take on systems thinking in action. This, as well as our firm belief that legal services can develop as part of a broader concept of professional services, where synergies with professionals from other disciplines are fundamental, are key. This of course brings me to my other “hat”, which is the relationship we are developing with the Capstone Group, a firm of accountants and auditors which is also relatively young, and with whom we have formed what is presently known as the AT Group of Companies. TEU: What has brought about this partnership among lawyers and accountants? TF: The first step was the agreement we concluded at the end of 2011, which set the stage for collaboration on various fronts, but also provided for areas of activity to be pursued through common vehicles. This is developing in the field of corporate services, trust and fiduciary services, as well as the accounting support for these structures, subject to regulatory approvals.

In coming together, we have not merged, but have chosen to break with age-old patterns of professional services in an era which sees clients calling for wider perspectives in the structuring of tailored, integrated and flexible solutions. We rejected the silo approach seeing legal, fiduciary, accounting and tax planning services offered in isolation, and looked at how our different disciplines complement each other in spirit and capabilities. The way that these two separate firms have chosen to work together, is to see where we can apply a single service system, where we should remain independent of each other, and where more joint offering are possible within the Maltese regulatory environment, etc. The approach we have taken is open-architecture in methodology, given that our separate firms continue to develop their separate practices, but the areas where we are coming together are ever-increasing.

Our professional grouping has come about as a result of the coming together of the law firm and the accounting firm, with a vision based on system thinking in the field of professional services

TEU: Let’s focus on the offering of this professional services group that emerged then… TF: In a nutshell, the offer of our core members is based on six pillars: • legal services, • accounting and business advisory, • audit and assurance, • Trust, fiduciary and corporate services, • corporate/project finance and EU funding, • outsourced management and infrastructural services. The first three elements of the offering are provided separately by FFF Legal and Capstone Group, while trust, fiduciary and corporate services are provided by our associated company Alliance Trust Company Ltd. Corporate/project finance services are provided through RG Capital Advisors Ltd., which is led by Adrian Spiteri, while EU related expertise, historically built around the experience of Dr. Austin Sammut, has received fresh impetus only this year, by investing around the expertise of Ana Maria Magri Pantea, who has just

joined our in-house team of specialists. We will here be focusing largely on EU Funding mechanisms and programs, under the Ascend Consulting brand. Our different centres of expertise have all cosourced common management support and office infrastructure from TAP-K Resources Ltd, which is another member of the AT Group of Companies. This represents our common infrastructure, providing us with our managed physical office environment as well as management infrastructure, so crucial, and sometimes so lacking in typical local professional services offices. Thus we enjoy fully-fledged general office management and HR, Finance, ICT administration, compliance as well as marketing departments for our firms. Outsourcing, or as in our case, co-sourcing, is increasingly becoming an important element for competitiveness in the new economy, where value-add considerations are as important as cost-saving ones. TAP-K Resources is increasingly becoming a profitcentre in its own right, despite the fact that it was only established a few months ago, given our collaborative working system which allows for the provision of services to everwider circles of stakeholders. The AT Group of Companies has also invested in a growing Pension Funds Administration services provider, Momentum Pensions Malta Ltd., which is fast becoming an international operator, opening offices also in the Isle of Man and Gibraltar. TEU: What are you referring to when you mention ever-widening circles of stakeholders? TF: As professional services providers, we consider ourselves operators within the developing knowledge economy par excellence. Inter-disciplinary collaboration is intrinsic to our identity and style, as this can only enrich our core offering. This belief has naturally led to the promotion and nurturing of a wider network of independent professional services providers, originally named the “Trust Alliance Project”, and now known as the TAP Knowledge Network (www.tapknowledge.net). This is a collaborative network of like-minded companies, which however do not wish to become one organisation. It is simply a network of independent professionals, who get together regularly for the exchange of ideas and knowledge, who are interested in knowledge development in all fields, and who want to be pro-active in applying multidisciplinary knowledge at the service of the members’ wider stakeholders. March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 05


COVER STORY INTERVIEW

The aspiration of each of our core group members is thus to deliver value to our clients by being in a position to call upon a knowledge infrastructure which increases in depth and breadth, depending on the requirements and wishes of the client, in concentric circles. This is true for the law firm and the accountants, as it is for all of our other centres of expertise. TEU: Can you mention specific examples of inter-Group collaboration between lawyers and accountants in your group? TF: Our form of organization encourages us to develop further centres of expertise on an ongoing basis, allowing us to remain at the edge of international developments. These developments occur through organic growth or, as I have already mentioned, through investing around the expertise of targeted professionals who share our general world-view. A number of joint initiaitives have developed, typically at the service of particular industries, in this context. By way of example, Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal has developed a specialized unit for the Investment Funds Industry which includes specialists coming from the industry as well as accountants from Capstone Advisory. The unit operates as a single team, drawing on the experience and input of its various members, resulting in a multi-disciplinary offering which is more all-encompassing in its reach, capable of providing more comprehensive assistance to its clients. The same model has been adopted by Capstone Advisory in developing a multidisciplinary specialist unit for the remote gaming industry, under the leadership of Kris Baron who is a well-known expert in this industry, but in which lawyers from FFF Legal take a fundamental and intrinsic role. Other areas where we are actively considering development in a multi-disciplinary manner are the broad area of tax consultancy, under the leadership of Dr. Antoine Fiott, who is also the chairman of the law firm, as well as other areas in the financial services industry. The dynamic nature of our system is openended, and other areas of collaboration crop up on a regular basis. The most recent area of initiative is oour private clients unit, under the leadership of Dr. Christian Farrugia, which among other things assists clients through the various challenges associated with residence and citizenship. TEU: What is the prime mover behind all this? TF: Simple: the common values and work ethic we share. Our infrastructure cosourcing, as well as our regular inter-action, 06 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

allows our members to more easily identify opportunities for seamless integrated action for maximum result at minimal effort. This is the TAP-K working system at work! TEU: Where does this position you on a competitive level? TF: Our model allows for handling small domestic situations and complex transnational projects alike. It allows for speedy scale-up and scale-down, in terms of infrastructural capacity. A recent example of this is the Delimara power station project bid of last Summer, where our law firm was retained by one of the tendering consortia who chose to participate rather late in the day. Our model allowed us to put together a multi-disciplinary infrastructure in no time, including office infrastructure and administrative support, but also more specialist input such as financial modelling support, project management input, etc. TEU: What is your major presence at the moment, local or international? TF: We are Malta-based, in terms of infrastructure. However, our corporate services and Pension Funds administration capabilities, are widening their scope beyond our shores, as is the very nature of these industries. Through our investment in the Pension Funds area, we will have regulated activity in Malta, the Isle of Man as well as Gibraltar, while Capstone’s gaming services unit is assisting clients to set up not only in Malta but also in a number of other jurisdictions, where this is indicated. The same can be said for the FFF’s asset finance unit, which has assisted in the registration of ships and aircraft not only locally but also elsewhere. We do this both directly (FFF is an authorized professional user of the international aircraft register based in Ireland), as well as through our wide network of international collaborators and correspondents. TEU: How does your fusion of knowledge approach affect the competition? How do you harness the best expertise available? TF: Our system adopts an open-architecture model. We cannot have, nor do we seek, a mammoth in-house infrastructure on our books. We believe that Malta can be an important player on the international professional services scene particularly if Maltese operators take a more collaborative approach. We acknowledge that we cannot be experts in everything. We therefore actively seek to harness the expertise of like-minded colleagues elsewhere wherever required. We view the professional services provider “across the street” not simply as a competitor but also as a potential collaborator.

TEU: How do you see yourselves proceeding along this path? TF: Our aspiration is to be catalysts of creativity, engendering client competitiveness and profitability. Beyond all-important savings on costs, we wish to assist clients to become active operators in the new economy, a context which is not bound by territory, and where competitiveness is increasingly determined by a creative revisiting of age-old patterns. A re-interpretation of co-sourcing and other traditional cost-centre management techniques are effective measures, but these are only indicative of a more general approach we hope to develop: where creative multi-disciplinary design, tailor-made for the characteristics of a particular business become more intrinsic to the professional services provider’s methodology, irrespective of the provider’s discipline of origin. I started by saying that the law looks dynamically to the future, as the architecture of developing relationships, as opposed to merely looking at the past, and allocating liability. The traditional view, particularly when the legal profession is only associated with litigation and the courts, is unfortunate. However, the legal profession is increasingly made up of professionals who wish to facilitate economic development through relationship design and facilitation. This is true for lawyers as it is true for all other professions. Contributing to this movement is our ultimate aspiration. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Editor’s Note Dr. Tonio Fenech obtained his Masters Degree in Maritime and Aviation law from the University of London (UCL) and his Doctorate in Maltese law from the University of Malta in 1986. He joined the family practice in 1988, when it staff complement was less than six, heading its nascent International/ Corporate Practice. By the time he left the firm in 2008, it was one of the largest legal practices on the island. Tonio became joint Managing Partner of Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal, an open architecture legal firm formed by leading professionals in their field, and leads the firm’s substantial Financial Services, Aviation, Fiduciary Relationships & structure design departments, besides being generally active in the corporate commercial legal field. He is also current chairman of the AT Group of Companies, the grouping formed by FFF Legal and accounting firm Capstone Group, as well as of the network of professional firms that has been promoted by them, known as the TAP Knowledge Network. Dr. Fenech is often a speaker at conferences, and lectures at the University of Malta in Insurance law, the law of Trusts and Fiduciary relationships, as well as the Registration & Finance of Ships and Aircraft. He is also a member and past President of the Malta Maritime Law Association and Maritime Law Advisory Council, besides other industry and professional associations and groupings.


InternatIonal relatIons

Doing Business with the netherlanDs A great part of Rita Dulci Rahman’s daily activities as the Netherlands Ambassador revolve around economic diplomacy. That is to say: promoting The Netherlands for its superb investment climate; supporting Dutch firms in finding their way in doing business with Malta e.g. information on investment rules and regulations, finding Maltese counterparts for trade and or co-investments, and also mediating in case of business conflicts. We sit down with HE the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to discover more about Doing business with the Netherlands

From left to right, Mr. Kevin J. Borg, Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry;, enterprise & industry; H.E. Mrs. Rita Dulci Rahman, Ambassador to Kingdom of the Netherlands; Mr. JP van Seventer, Dutch Game Garden; Mr. Maikel Bouricius, GreenIT, Mr. Emile Elewaut, TNO; MR. Mike Lee, Appsterdam.

TEU: Most people think of an ambassador as involved mainly in political and cultural cooperation. Is that different for the Netherlands Ambassador in Malta? RDR: Entrepreneurship is regarded as the foundation upon which the economy of the Netherlands is built. Despite its small population of 16 million, there are approximately 844.000 active SME’s in the Netherlands. In trying to bring the economy back on its feet following the EU slowdown which started in 2008, the Dutch government has identified that SME’s are to be a central part of the recovery plan. Hence, economic diplomacy has become part of core business in our Embassies all over the world. 08 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

TEU: Do you operate with any special target or plan per country? RDR: Of course not. In general, what is expected from me and my team at the Embassy, is that I open doors for Dutch companies and institutions, that I promote Dutch expertise and strong sectors in Malta and at the same time identify opportunities in these sectors. For Malta Dutch companies and expertise could make a difference in the maritime sector, in water management, in agriculture and food processing, in smart technology for a green economy, and so on. Netherlands government and private sector are strong in social responsible investments and we have gained very practical expertise in environmental protection, waste

management, renewable energy and (societal participation in) energy efficiency.

For Malta Dutch companies and expertise could make a difference in the maritime sector, in water management, in agriculture and food processing, in smart technology for a green economy TEU: All relevant for Malta. And? RDR: As soon as I arrived in Malta, I learned that the Maltese Government was putting great effort in a coordinated program to promote a green and growing-economy: green energy with lower electricity prices for public consumption and energy efficiency, improved air quality, sustainable waste


The UlTimaTe in GlamoUr and SophiSTicaTion Discover our new breaDth of Men’s apparel anD accessories in one place

WinTer Sale - enjoy an addiTional 30% off SelecT already redUced STyleS for a ToTal diScoUnT of Up To 70% 15 Portomaso Ptm 01 | 21387687


InternatIonal relatIons

management and so on. I immediately remembered the Green Aruba Project I participated in during my posting as ambassador in the Caribbean before I came to Malta. It was a model of how a small Island can harness the different sources of energy and involve all public including the visiting tourists in a green energy program.

This will be of relevance for the Maltese Government in its attempts to establish a green and sustainable economy, but also for SME’s in improving competitiveness with smart technology Like in Malta, holiday tourists do not only produce a lot of waste, they also consume a lot of energy and water. Involving the Aruban population and the visiting tourist in Green Aruba made a difference and by 2020 Aruba will be the first CO-2 neutral country in the world. In the Green Aruba program, TNO-technology for life, a Dutch nonprofit institution was the coordinating and innovating body. TNO brought in new technology such as: energy from car driving on roads; new technology in drinking water; construction/ renovation of buildings making them energy efficient; new technology in transport; new technology in air-conditioning of hotels and homes, and so in. All was in close cooperation with different Ministries, SMEs, Universities and Societal organizations. TEU: So why the Conference the Embassy organised on 23 January, “Doing Business with the Netherlands”. RDR: In the half-day Seminar on 23 January, organised in cooperation with the Maltese Chamber of Commerce, the main objective was to involve Maltese and Dutch SME’s in seizing the opportunities deriving from the green economy policy of the Maltese Government and the new technology for life developments in the Netherlands. The Embassy managed to fly in some representatives of very challenging technology and business developments in the Netherlands. First there was TNO itself explaining how TNO connects universities with SME’s via applied technology. Then there was 10 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

From left to right, Hon. Dr. Konrad Mizzi, Minister of Energy and the Conservation of Water; H.E. Mrs. Rita Dulci Rahman, Ambassador to Kingdom of the Netherlands; Mr. Emile Elewaut, TNO; Mr. Charles Buttigieg, Ministry of Energy and the Conservation of Water.

Dutch Game Garden explaining how they designed and developed Serious Games as a tool for learning in e.g. the health sector. Medical doctors doing high-tech robot operations would practise first on games of the Dutch Game Garden. During the Seminar the boss of Appsterdam (Amsterdam changed in the app centre of the world) explained the latest developments on mobile-devices and the use for industry and marketing. Finally Green-IT-Amsterdam presented their EU sponsored program in greening living quarters in a participatory way with the population. All this triggered positive reaction among the participants to use smart technology for a green development in Malta. TEU: What is next? RDR: All developments point out to the niche market between the Netherlands and Malta, can be further explored. It is green with smart technology in a publicprivate mix. As Embassy we are supporting TNO in exploring possibilities to establish a Regional TNO Branch Office in Malta. This will be of relevance for the Maltese Government in its attempts to establish a green and sustainable economy, but also

for SME’s in improving competitiveness with smart technology. TEU: Tell us about Dutch business presence in Malta? RDR: There are about 45 Dutch firms based in Malta. Netherlands export to Malta is around Euro 183 million per year (2012) and Maltese exports to the Netherlands count for approximately Euro 100 million per year (2012). Netherlands investments in Malta in 2012 were Euro 125 million and Maltese investments in the Netherlands were around 1,2 million. So one may conclude that with 45 companies Netherlands is in the top 5 of investors in Malta, while we are Malta’s 7th trade partner. Rather promising figures, certainly from the perspective of Malta. In 2016-2017 Malta will join The Netherlands and Slovakia in the Trio EU Presidency. More reasons to increase cooperation. And last but not least, in 2018 Valletta will be Cultural Capital city of the EU together with Leeuwaarden, a city in the North of the Netherlands. So, there are many reasons to join hand, and certainly in B2B. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted


CAR CAR CAR CAR

| | | |

HOME HOME HOME HOME

| | | |

HEALTH HEALTH HEALTH HEALTH

| | | |

TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL

| | | |

BOAT BOAT BOAT BOAT

| | | |

PET PET PET PET

| | | |

WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING

| | | |

BUSINESS BUSINESS BUSINESS BUSINESS

BUY INSURANCE ONLINE! BUY INSURANCE ONLINE! BUY INSURANCE ONLINE! BUY INSURANCE ONLINE! The easy way to organise all of your insurance needs. Buy and The easy way to organise all of your insurance needs. Buy and renew your insurance policies online. The renew easy your way insurance to organise policies all ofonline. your insurance needs. Buy and The easy way to organise all ofonline. your insurance needs. Buy and renew your insurance policies renew your insurance policies online.

Agents for: Agents for: Agents for: Agents for: COM NO 250214 820 COM NO 250214 820

www.laferla.com.mt www.laferla.com.mt www.laferla.com.mt www.laferla.com.mt

Laferla Insurance Agency Limited, Vincenti Buildings, Old Bakery Street, Valletta VLT 1453. Laferla InsuranceTel: Agency Old Bakery Street, Valletta VLT 1453. 2122Limited, 4405 Vincenti Fax: 2124Buildings, 6704 www.laferla.com.mt

COM NO 250214 820

COM NO 250214 820 2122 4405 Fax: 2124 6704 Laferla Insurance Agency LimitedTel: is licensed to act as an insurance agentwww.laferla.com.mt for Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. VLT and 1453. both companies are Laferla Insurance Agency Limited, Vincenti Buildings, Old Bakery Street, Valletta authorised to transact insurance business by the Malta Financial Services Authority. Laferla Insurance Agency Limited Agency is licensed to act as an insurance agent Old for Middlesea Insurance p.l.c. VLT and 1453. both companies are Laferla Insurance Limited, Vincenti Bakery Street, Valletta 2122by 4405 Fax: 2124Buildings, 6704 authorised to transact insurance Tel: business the Malta Financial Serviceswww.laferla.com.mt Authority.


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Serving

JuStice

Part 2

By Martin Vella

In a three-part interview sequence commemorating the 200th anniversary since the police force was set up in Malta, The Economic Update issues the second series of an allembracing interview with the Commissioner of Police Peter Paul Zammit, who shares his views on criminality and keeping the motivational levels high against all adversities, as he demonstrates that he is truly the human face of the police force.

TEU: What was your aspiration to become a policeman and motivational force to accept the sensitive position you hold? PPZ: Two totally different things. The simple story of how I became a police officer is funny. I don’t have any family member who became or was a policeman or soldier. It was a question of having something more challenging in life and my days as a medical representative behind a desk were counted, since I wanted to give more. No sooner had the applications for police inspectors were out that I decided to apply. When I effectively begun my law studies at the police depot to complete my course at the lecture rooms, I realised that this was my calling. I worked hard and succeeded in becoming a police inspector. In the midst of my career I decided that it was time to climb another step. From there I commenced my university studies and graduated in law, soon finding myself in a bare prosecution legal office. I started building the blocks of the legal structures there and after establishing the teaching education that I regularly gave at the Academy, following other officer’s line in what constitutes the law, decisions, sentences, procedures, law amendments, it is noteworthy to mention that in 2000 most 12 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

of the criminal code was changed and I had an integral part in those transformations. In 2008 I saw that my career sort of reached a quagmire scenario for various reasons. It wasn’t a problem I brought so I simply moved forward after serving 25 years and went to work in the private sector. There I ended up working on both sides of the House, both as defense and also as a lawyer ‘parte civile’ for the victim. This experience helped me open up more my perspective on what should or should not happen. One fine day, precisely in April 2013, I received a call with a ‘reward’, as we normally think it as a joke, and they told me that the Prime Minister wanted to see me. My heart stopped and I pondered what I had done wrong. But this was no joke and the PM asked me to accept the position as Commissioner of the Police. We discussed this for over half an hour and I told him how I deemed and felt about the Police Corps, and what I wanted. He requested me to wait for five minutes and after having consulted he returned back, asked me to follow him into a room where he there was half of his cabinet and I was informed that I had been appointed as the new Police Commissioner. Barely having any chance to digest the fortuitous information, I finally acceded to the demand. I said ‘yes’ because I firmly believe that

though the Police Force was weak, and still is because there is so much to be done, there are internal possibilities and profound maturity which only needs the right push, in the direction to steer it on the way forward.

The maximum of the criminal law worldwide is that to find someone guilty, this has to be beyond any reasonable doubt TEU: Presently in the Corps there are two main challenges; one is crime and the other one is management. Let’s take the first- what openhanded initiatives and new style of approach are you giving the police force in its fight against organized crime? PPZ: In general crime in Malta is not an extraordinary one. It is one that the officers within the Corps understand, know who the criminals are and know what is going on. The basic problem that exists is vitalcollecting evidence. Why? The maximum of the criminal law worldwide is that to find someone guilty, this has to be beyond any reasonable doubt. Therefore, you have to prove your case over any doubt dictated by reason, with the highest maxim of proof that


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

you require. To arrive to that level of proof is difficult. Even if you know, and you are morally convinced, who is behind a theft, or illegality, you still need convincing proof, since without one you cannot prosecute. One aspect of the battle is to pass on an internal message to your colleagues within the Corps that yes you are capable and trustworthy to arrive to convict. Building trust and direction is one and sundry within legal parameters. I was also labeled in another interview, that I am the criminal’s lawyer, mainly because of my belief in the rights of the accused, and not only the rights of the criminal. There is also a procedure that must be followed. I look upon those countries which safeguard fundamental human rights and have surpassed us in so doing, not just simply because criminals have basic rights, but society must also be certain that even though we may have arrived to a stage beyond any reasonable doubt, we must ensure that we do that by treating the person that we have proceeded against with full human dignity and respect. Let us not forget that a lot of criminals have been the end result which society itself has created. Every person has every right to his own existence and whatever he does will produce an effect, and that effect is part of the reason of life. Seriously joking- if there was no crime, I would be out of work! TEU: Do you think that there is a serious problem in Maltese society apart from rampant lawlessness- ‘anything goes’ mentality- uncontrolled drug abuse, youth going out late at night drinking heavily and returning home the next morning, that there is a shortcoming in educating people on what are the do’s and dont’s. Even court cases have increased to attest to rising crime tendencies. Don’t you think that there should be a concerted national campaign to redress these abnormal and alarming tendencies? PPZ: Depends on the way you look at it. One of the different attitudes that people perceive about me is that I am positive; positive in certain extremities. You said that crime rate has increased, no? If you are speaking of statistics, it is obvious that the crime rate has amplified, considering an augmentation of our population. So you are talking of percentages. And isn’t it obvious that percentages have increased when the reporting percentage has itself increased? And isn’t it obvious that there was a surge in crime rate when there is wide-ranging

and far-reaching material and technology available? Today, a simple mobile phone worth Euro 400 makes a difference- what did our predecessors work with- value-forvalue? So with the economic upheaval and developments, there is widespread greater value in diversification of tools and knowhow. Therefore, we have to look at economic and social impacts. Society has a role in all of this development and unfortunately does not care about most of the after-shocks. We form part of it and unfortunately we don’t give these socio-economic problems their due attention, and as a consequence we have to bear the effects of human conditions such as mental impairment or disability, result of family divisions, broken families, separation, low self-esteem and lack of moral values. Here it is worth highlighting how the local church has lost it’s moral impetus and impulse that it had with people. Unfortunately the government forgot certain brackets of the public and also how these have permeated into society to a high degree of concern.

If you do not understand you need to make an effort with a level of empathy, then you cannot move forward TEU: Don’t you think there is a great need for re-organisation within the police force to redress the balance concerning such issues, for example having a police department attending local and educational schools, more presence within local councils and good governance campaigns, especially in high crime areas- and I am sure that such people will understand that if society is willing to attend their needs, they will listen?

PPZ: Agreed. It is society who has neglected these people, so they are victims of society and situations. This is where I agree with youit is here that the police need to go out more and meet the public. We have the CMRUCommunity Media Relations Unit, who work tirelessly going around government schools on prevention and safety campaigns. Today, we have an online presence on social media through facebook, where we produce ‘in-house’ clips drink and driving, texting while driving, and so on. We are opening up toward the media and shall soon launch a Career Opportunity Issues, together with the Education Department, explaining to students where they can arrive. Whatever campaigns we do, there are still those who still lag behind and live in emarginated

circumstances, living without scope and hope. Without motivation, these people turn to other conditions and opportunities, which regrettably lead to crime. I am willing to go to society, and there is need to talk with the voice that society talks and understand the language that society speaks. If you do not understand you need to make an effort with a level of empathy, then we cannot move forward. There is a difference between hearing and listening. I can hear you, but am I listening? So you have to understand the other part. If we work with the methodology of our society today, then one can achieve results, for example by being a hands-on person. Police need to be rigid but flexible yet hands-on. Understanding first-hand and listening are key to the future. We are equipping our force with the budget that we have and if one of our members suffer injuries, they are irreplaceable. The cardinal rule is to equip, upkeep and also educate our members to listen so that they may uphold the law to the best of their abilities. Very shortly there will be a re-organisation of the force, internal and external, following the appointment of three deputy police commissioners, which is part of this process, even if there is a cross-over in duties at lower levels, this should facilitate the administration, management, dispensation and supervision of the police force. TEU

Part 3 of the interview continued in the April issue All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Editor’s Note Peter Paul Zammit joined the Malta Police Force as Police Inspector in 1984 and was promoted to Police Superintendent 19 years later. Between the years 1997 and 2000 he read for a Bachelor of Arts in Legal and Humanistic Studies followed by a Diploma for Legal Procurator, both with the University of Malta. He also obtained the warrant to the Bar. Mr Zammit retired from the Malta Police Force in 2009, completing 25 years of service. During these years he served in a number of police stations around the island as well as the Criminal Investigations Department, Forensic Laboratory and the Force’s Legal Office. During his years in the Police Force he was nominated as expert for Commonwealth meetings in the fields of counter terrorism, money laundering and police cooperation across the Commonwealth. He was also nominated as expert in United Nations meetings regarding hate crimes and human rights as well as an expert in E.U. meetings concerning data protection, European arrest warrants and criminal law. In April 2013 he was appointed Commissioner of Police by the Prime Minister of Malta. Reading and travelling are two of his many interests. Mr Zammit is married with two children.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 13


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

Building a Better Malta

By Martin Vella

Archi+ Architects’ Studio dynamic team of architects made up of Richard Borg, Warren Falzon, and Adrian Mangion tell The Economic Update that they came to architecture together through their love of arts, culture and the history, still an important component of their philosophy of design. Their work takes form when they are completely immersed in the spirit of a place to the point that they fall in love with it. Their studio, in large sprawling warehouse, is based in Iklin and works primarily in Malta, where there is an urgent need for greener initiatives. Here, they talk about their work, projects and personal point of view on the contemporary architecture scene.

TEU: Why is competition important? AAS: Competition is important as it helps keep the market (whatever sector) active. What I mean is that any form of competition encountered will necessitate that all the stakeholders improve on their services with particular methods that will improve the market itself. Any competition is healthy, especially when one can use said competition in his favour to further ameliorate his commercial stand and also provide for a better service. Should competition stop altogether, I believe that it could lead to a stagnation in both the commercial aspect of the service being provided and also the actual creative output. TEU: What is your competitive advantage and why can’t it be copied? AAS: Firstly, I do not believe that our ‘competitive advantage’ cannot be copied. However, I do believe that our set up is currently unique on the island. Our team is solely made up of young, fresh and ambitious individuals full of energy; that precisely is what distinguishes us form other firms. Of course, this set up can be copied, however, once this is copied, we would have adapted ourselves in a way and manner that would necessitate further change for a commercial entity to try copy us again. What I mean is that our company is based on individuals, individuals who are able to continually adapt, take responsibility and also delegate work at different levels. As soon as the team sees that the market is not responding as we wish we are able to change and mitigate such a situation in the shortest time possible. This would re-affirm our ‘competitive advantage’. In other words, as a team we are constantly adapting ourselves to any change that the market dictates. TEU: Why do you think your team is best placed to deliver results?

AAS: Our team is best placed to deliver results as we tend to adopt a horizontal way of management. This means that each and every one of us has a sense of entitlement in each project which in turn leads to each individual in the team giving his best. Furthermore, we have realized that an architectural office needs to be a multidiscipline identity, this in order to be able to tackle a variety of commissions which a sole architect would not be able to handle. TEU: Do you think alliances and partnerships are important? AAS: They are not only important, but also essential for the growth of a company. The sharing of knowledge brings about better results and it is a belief of ours that the results and outputs of a partnership or an alliance are greater than the sum of its parts. TEU: What are your views on networking and what significance does this bring to top entrepreneurs? AAS: Networking is vital, especially for entrepreneurs. Firstly, it helps in expanding your reach within the market, and also it helps in strengthening a number of abilities that are essential for an entrepreneur. The ability of being in a room with complete strangers, and being able to break the ice and initiate small talk which in turn leads to a full conversation is an art in itself. In the end it is individuals that are the core of any business and communication is always key. It is our belief that communication, in every way and manner, is of paramount importance for an entity to strive and be profitable. The pitch and first meeting is usually a game changer. If one has the perfect product, yet is not able to pitch it, then he might as well not have anything at all.

Warren Falzon, I had been working with a local firm for 10 years prior to meeting Adrian and Richard. We were working within the same office and they approached me with the idea of forming a multi-disciplinary entity that could handle a variety of different projects. I was reading for a degree in Quantity Surveying and had been working with 3D processing suites for a number of years. My ability to handle 3D jobs and post processing was ideal as it was the final cog needed for us to truly establish ourselves as an independent unit. Richard Borg, Graduated in 2007 as an Architect and Civil Engineer. Started working with one of the largest local firms immediately after graduation. My realisation that the profession needed more multi-disciplinary entities led to the realisation of an Architects’ Studio whereby each and every team member has ownership over a project, be it creative ownership or commercial ownership. Adrian Mangion, Started working in the same local firm as Richard in the Summer Warren Falzon

14 |

Richard Borg

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

Adrian Mangion

of 2009. Upon forming Archi+, our first commission was to manage the finishes of Buidling 01 in Smart City. I was literally thrown in the deep end of a commission and had to adapt myself to managing 8 sub-contractors within one of the biggest projects on the Maltese Islands. Needless to say, it was a great learning experience which led to further commissions in the area of management of projects.


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

ARCHI+ ARCHITECTS STUDIO Company name: Archi+ Architects’ Studio Top exeCuTive: Richard Borg / Warren Falzon / Adrian Mangion exeCuTive Summary: Archi+ was conceived and set up by three individuals who sought a common need to work in a system, which breaks the modus operandi of the average architectural practice in Malta, and pursue a fundamentally different model of operation. This model is based on the need to consolidate the different services, which are offered for the building industry,into one entity. Company deSCripTion: Architectural firm offering services ranging from project management to civil engineering, interior design and product design amongst others. We are also a firm that seeks to collaborate with different service-providers to further expand our capabilities. aChievemenTS: Published on various websites such as e-architect. co.uk, published on Patron Magazine (Malta) for our project ‘Flowt’, various mentions for our interior design of the Diaril-Bniet outlet (a new agro-tourism concept), commissioned for the project management of Building 01 in Smart city, commissioned for the project management of finishes of the new parliament building. Within three years of operation we expanded our workforce from three to eleven individuals. Revenue from rendered services saw a constant thirty percent increase throughout the four years of operation. innovaTive idea and BuSineSS model Being propoSed: ‘Flowt’ Nearing 450 years of age, our beloved capital has undergone a multitude of changes. Such changes have implied both physical and social development. What we look for today in our capital does not coincide with what it was built for. This understandably encourages dialogue for further improvement in its infrastructure to better accommodate its present social role. With Valletta being a hub of activities, both commercially and for leisure the team identified the need for more green walking spaces, deeper care of its coasts and a more efficient means of mass access. What led us to this was the fact that, even though there seemed to be a multitude of different layers forming Valletta’s building fabric, one issue remained constant throughout the centuries; the importance of it’s coast and harbor area.

The team translated this constant into a design concept, which would help in attracting a further number of tourists to the city and to further strengthen the position of Valletta as a commercial hub. This idea proposes the creation of an array of easily linkable floating modules over the seas with different functions. Some of these floating modules can be pulled like a snake from a thug-boat and arranged to form a floating garden. Such arrangement could provide for multiple ferry terminals and enable the public to ‘walk over the waters’ The modules could take the shape of a long passageway, which can, for example, for a specific day in the year, act as a walk-bridge connecting Valletta to the surrounding cities. Such events would give the unique possibility to approach Valletta in a special and, frankly, spectacular manner. The final such function that these modules could have would be for them to conglomerate next to one another and form a large platform; which in turn would serve as a floating theatre with the grand harbour as a backdrop. aBiliTy of The parTiCipanT To CreaTe and exeCuTe on The BuSineSS idea: The idea presented is one that can be easily executed with the help of local authorities and tradesmen. The build-up of the system is relatively simple. The logistics would be the main concern for such an idea. The modularity of the system is a great advantage should it be executed. Furthermore, such a concept touches on a lot of issues currently being tackled with regards to our capital city, such as, the ingress into the city, means of transport towards the city, V18 and the overall regeneration of the harbor area BeST ComBined uSe of inveSTing, Trading and negoTiaTing: This is manifested in our own office space where we traded various services for actual materials and works. Such a space was fitted out using the good relationship that we managed to form with a number of commercial entities, which are at the forefront of the market when it comes to building products and finishing products. WhaT’S your philoSophy on enTrepreneurShip in 10 WordS or leSS: Vision, venture, implement. TEU

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 15


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

Driving SucceSS By Martin Vella

Dean Gera, founder and Director of a major Dean Gera Hairdressing, is ready to take on his busy day. As he idly sits at the foyer sipping tea at the stately San Gorg Corinthia in downtown St Julians, he gives me a glimpse into the life of an established young entrepreneur. Tons of things are going on with the DG brand; new make-up franchise store, products abrewing, preparations for the new DG concept hairdressing and a new beauty salon at Valetta. Dean Gera brand has left its mark, and Dean tells me why in this exclusive interview.

DEAN GERA Company name: Dean Gera Hair Care Ltd. Top exeCuTive: Dean Gera Company DeSCRipTion: Hairdressing establishment aChievemenTS: We have opened three salons, with a fourth opening in Valletta later on this year. We have formed business partnerships with retail franchise The Make Up Store at The Point, which we shall also be pairing up with in Valletta. Furthermore, we shall be launching another retail brand at The Point in April. innovaTive iDea anD BuSineSS moDel Being pRopoSeD: We have created and marketed a brand, we deliver high quality hair care, and we have positioned ourselves in multiple top establishments, all with easy access.

16 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

STRaTegiC viSion anD maRkeT viaBiliTy of The iDea: To expand the brand and maintain the quality of the service. aBiliTy of The paRTiCipanT To CReaTe anD exeCuTe on The BuSineSS iDea: We aim to expand the company and insist on intense and continuous training of all employees in both service and company philosophies, whilst remaining passionate about what we do. BeST ComBineD uSe of inveSTing, TRaDing anD negoTiaTing: We are situated in top locations, we negotiate terms and make ourselves an essential part of that establishment’s identity. WhaT’S youR philoSophy on enTRepReneuRShip in 10 WoRDS oR leSS: Creating a product you truly believe in and going for it.


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

TEU: Who do you look up for advice / mentoring and who is your role model? DG: In general I look up to family members for advice, on the one hand because I come from a family of established hairdressers and on the other because nobody has my best interests at heart as much as they do. Even though I seek advice sometimes, I tend to weigh it all out in my head and ultimately make my own decision, the one I see best for the benefit of the company. My role model would have to be Trevor Sorbie. I like what he did for hairdressing, but more than that I appreciate that even with all his success he remains humble and insists on giving a lot back, including his philanthropic work through his foundation for cancer patients. TEU: How would you describe your key management skills? DG: I aim to be a good motivator for my team, by showing the team how truly passionate I am about what we do, modeling a drive to be the best and showing them that every achievement, no matter how exemplary, can always be improved upon. I believe firmly in adopting the strong work ethic that I expect of them, and I strive to create a team with good dynamics, who support each other and work towards always being at the top of their game. TEU: Why do properly nurtured ideas lead discovery, value creation and a better tomorrow? DG: A good idea leads discovery because it’s new, it’s fresh and it’s aesthetically attractive. Innovative ideas are exciting ones that entice people to try something different, and if they like this change they will want to be a part of them and be associated with them.

TEU: Why do you think you have become a successful entrepreneur? Is it down to yourself, your strategy, your product or your people?

DG: It is a without a doubt a combination of all the above. I could have all the ambition in the world but without establishing a clear direction, a superior product and a highly skilled and motivated team, I could achieve very little. Having said that, I do account much of my success to being a very positive person, and anything that I take on I do with enthusiasm and drive. I am also a perfectionist and every day I strive to be better than I was the day before. Positivity and meticulousness are key elements to creating, maintaining and developing a successful business. TEU: Entrepreneurs do not to sit in their comfort zone. Very often this is interpreted, or rather misinterpreted, as being ‘over ambitious’. Would you agree that this is the breakdown of quite a few businesses, and what’s wrong with being ambitious anyway?

DG: There is always going to be that fine line between a company doing very well and a company becoming overambitious to the point of failure. Being ambitious is imperative to being a successful entrepreneur. I believe that any potentially fruitful opportunity that comes your way should be taken. Sometimes you are not going to be in the best financial position to take on new opportunities, but you should also consider that the opportunities might not present themselves again. Everything is going to be a bit of a gamble, but if it’s well thought out and you believe in it, then put in the hard work and go for it. TEU

Editor’s Note Dean Gera welcomes you to a world of aesthetic advancement and achieving the exemplary, where you leave feeling your absolute best. The young and dynamic team will help you reach and realise your full beauty potential. Hair is a woman’s ultimate beauty asset, the only thing that she never takes off.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 17


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

Creating brand value By Martin Vella

Jonathan J Borg brings fifteen years of leadership and growth company experience in lighting, communications, enterprise infrastructure, and semiconductors. Prior to Smart Light Systems, Jonathan was a Senior Accounts Executive with Finserv Ltd, a subsidiary of Frosch Touristik International Group, where he led a financial team handling the US regional accounting of the group. During his tenure at Smart Light Systems, Jonathan led multiple lighting projects from start-up to success, putting his company in a market-leading position for various niches.

TEU: Let’s start with “smart” light systems. How did you decide on that? JJB: Well we chose Smart Light Systems as I did not want to just produce lighting, but I wanted to produce smart lighting solutions, which in the long run can also collect information on the light usage as well as outside surroundings. We also realised there is a niche for not just lighting, but also systems, so rather than just offering lighting solutions, we also wanted to offer complete lighting solutions to give us a competitive edge. TEU: As an introduction to the company, can you talk a bit about who your customers are and how they use your products? JJB: Following several years of experience in the manufacturing of LED manufacturing, in 2007 we conducted an in-depth market research exercise to explore new possible uses of existing or new LED products for commercial uses, the research resulted in a positive outlook on the various possible markets which could be tapped into successfully from Malta. This led to the incorporation of Smart Light Systems Co. Ltd was incorporated on the 5th of September 2008, following the results which came out and developed a new series 18 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

of lighting solutions. The new range started from the development of a 50mm LED lighting, which emits an equivalent light of a 30Watt halogen spot light, but only consumes 1Watt. Due to its low wattage it emits ‘cold’ light and has a life-time of over 50,000 hours. The development of such products gave the company an opportunity to create a range of spots for various applications. Since then we have had installations of this range in five star hotels, catering establishments, retail outlets, homes, hospitals and work places, the first installation was done in late 2008 and until today we are very proud to say that the products are still being used for over 12 hours a day and have not lost light intensity or colour temperature, which is a true testament to the quality and reliability of our products. TEU: Can you tell me about what Smart Light Systems design is offering and what makes you unique? JJB: We offer innovative ideas, we offer quality and efficiency, we offer future trends. We keep ourselves updated with latest technological ideas through international fairs and through our network of international business acquaintances and contacts. We do have our own R&D capabilities in house and experiment with new concepts, which we later field test prior to market launch. This

gives us not only a competitive edge over our customers, but it also offers the end user the flexibility to dictate what kind of lighting they would want to purchase without having to be restricted with “off the shelf” products. Another key point which we have is the capability to retro-fit our solutions to existing luminaires, which saves on the initial capital cost which one would have to invest if they were going to change a complete installation. In the past years we have also done an extensive amount of R&D in developing lighting solutions which work using solar energy which has also catapulted us in various new markets in the field, our most notable success is the development of a solar-powered charger for 12V installation use which is far more superior in efficiency then most off-the-shelf solar chargers, which when coupled with most of our lighting solutions, resulted in a much longer battery life time, and in turn longer hours of light for the end user TEU: What kind of impact does using an LED intelligent lighting system have on a building’s overall energy usage? JJB: This depends on what kind of building we are talking about here, from a commercial building perspective one has to consider that lighting constitutes around 30-40% of the


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

overall overheads in a commercial building if not more. Realistically using fully integrated intelligent lighting solutions establishments stand to save from 60-90% in the lighting cost depending on the kind of installation done, and also depending on what lighting the old installation was made of. With these figures, once can easily see the benefits and return on investment for having such lighting solutions. TEU: Can you walk our readers through the process of installing an LED intelligent lighting system. Is it possible to retrofit an existing system or do you have to start from scratch? JJB: We generally examine exisiting layouts, discuss with client their individual needs, concerns and wishes and we analyze all information and we recommend alternatives, or customization options. We also recommend when possible a staggered installation program suitable to both parties so we can have a timely delivery and the customer can also have a reasonable payment program. Retro fitting gives the customer a lower cost option while increasing energy savings, of course this sometimes has its limitations as it depends on how the previous installation was made, most of the time TEU: What about your road LED-lit signage- can you outline challenge of design, use and how are they powered with solar energy? Why are the pedestrian crossing made much more safer? JJB: In 2011 Smart Light Systems competed with over 254 participating companies from 30 different countries, for the 2011

Living Labs Global Awards, using our solarpowered street signage. Eight global cities were looking for innovative technologies to solve urban challenges in fields such as transport, health care, sustainability, social services and tourism. The winning companies in each category would have the opportunity to pilot their projects in the respective city. Smart Light Systems (M) Ltd, not only competed but was the only company to be shortlisted on two different proposals and was awarded most points on “innovation”, “ability to execute” and “environmental impact”. This achievement saw it awarded a Shortlist Living Labs seal in recognition of its innovative solutions.

This gives us not only a competitive edge over our customers, but it also offers the end user the flexibility to dictate what kind of lighting they would want to purchase without having to be restricted with “off the shelf” products The city was looking for customeroriented traveller services to support shifts in mobility patterns away from cars, and towards public transport, biking and walking, Smart Light Systems offered a solution combining intelligent traffic management systems with unique aesthetics to complement the highend street furniture normally found in developed areas. This system works using solar energy and built in sensors. The current version determines when the natural light level dips below a certain threshold and turns itself on, and does the reverse once the light levels turn up again in the morning. During the day the solar energy is converted into power and stored in the on-board battery. However these solutions come with over 24 months of research and constant development and it was not just a matter of putting lights around a sign to make it noticeable. When we were in the initial stages we carefully studied what the Highway Code and EU regulations require from such a unit and we made sure that the signage is up to the highest possible standard. In fact our signs inform traffic exactly what the sign is supposed to say (pedestrian crossing/stop etc) and not just flashing lights leaving the driver to figure out what the sign is supposed to say.

The next version of these products will also have the capability to collect on-board information and ambient information such as temperature levels inside and outside of the unit, but will also be able to measure vehicular and pedestrian traffic on a realtime basis and collect statistics on current traffic conditions too. Something which we feel can put us further ahead in the forefront for intelligent traffic management solutions. The pedestrian crossing was one of the first signage we have and continue to develop, since this is the one mostly in demand. The demand is generated from the visible safety results which several local councils have experienced by having such installations. The first and most obvious is the cost, since they are solar powered and not on the national grid, the cost of application (and lead time for meter installation) is saved, making our solution far more worth the investment for the local council. The second result is the fact that drivers see the sign from a distance and understand instantly what the sign is communicating and react in good time to slow down. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Company desCription: Research, development and manufacture of Intelligent Lighting Systems for Domestic/Commercial use. exeCutive summary: I originally come from an Accounting background, having studied in an ACCA course (Association for Certified Chartered Accountants) and I later on got an MBA in operations management. I have been in this field since mid-1999 and today use my experience and drive to pioneer new solutions in the field of renewable energies and lighting. aChievements: Shortlist Living Labs Global Showcase Award 2011

Editor’s Note Lighting is going through a massive industry change, both in technology and in the way the industry itself works. There’s a “perfect storm” of regulatory pressure, desire from utilities, ESCOs and others, the support for green buildings, and of course new technology. This rapid change is really emerging in two key areas – first, the drive for energy efficiency in lighting sources (such as LEDs); and second, the drive for energy efficiency and management through better control. This is where Jonathan J Borg and Smart Light Systems focuses – making buildings more energy-smart by providing better control of when and how lights are used.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 19


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

A True Pioneer By Martin Vella

Property negotiator, investor, critic, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, Frank Salt played a key role in the transformation of the Real Estate sector in Malta. Facing many challenges throughout the years, Mr Salt ultimately decided the best option was to invest and grow the business, creating the FSRE brand. I had the huge pleasure to catch up with him ahead of the March edition of The Economic Update. 20 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

TEU: In relation to your beginnings does the word ‘pioneer’ define you best? FS: There were a few foreign companies when I started, with one or two estate agents, but today most of them are gone. We were the first ones to create something constructive and to make the profession specialised. We opened shops with window displays, we were the first to open branches, the first to computerise, and the leaders in many spheres. I saw the possibility of real estate offices throughout the island and the prospect of people working in this modern day atmosphere, and it all appealed to me. Nowadays, we all use these modern things. We all have properties on display, we all have latest cell phones, every office has computers, we all make use of the progressive technology available. In the future there will be even more technology. I told my employees, which are now more than 110 people, that in the future we will see things that we wouldn’t believe. I mean clients coming in will be going through a virtual office; these are things that have always been at the forefront, and our company has always been at the vangard, a forerunner. One of the things I did was to qualify in public relations, because this is a company that deals with service to human beings, so you need to have knowledge of how to deal with people, how to deal with honesty, be professional, and train staff. We have a training branch where employees are trained to make sure everyone is competent before they are dealing with clients professionally; anybody that doesn’t, does not work with us. I remember when I was starting my business, I met Monsignor Azzopardi from Dar tal-Providenza, at the British High Commissioner’s party. I asked him what he would like and he said he wanted to generate electricity and air-condition the whole place he built. Therefore, we were the first ones to embark on a nationwide campaign for Dar tal-Providenza. It was extraordinarily successful- we got all the money for the air conditioning and the generator. And that was extremely successfully thanks to my knowledge of PR. Now what does this have to do with Frank Salt Real Estate? Ever since it started I always gave something in return for something which I earned, and by working in this sort of philanthropic situations, I always felt good in giving something to people of my own. So I felt

good from getting something from other people and carrying it on. How does this carry on? I am a member of Rotary Club Malta where we do a lot of fund raising for Dar I’ll Kaptan and for other charities. I am a Knight of Malta, which means we collect a lot of money to distribute to people. All the time we are doing these things which are part and parcel of our work with human beings. We not only earn money, but also give as much as we possibly can, and this makes me so much better at what I do. I don’t feel so guilty earning money, because I am pushing back a lot of what I earn; it gives you a good feeling.

When you know that something can be done and someone tells you that it cannot, it is very annoying, and when you are working in a private enterprise you can make it happen I remember when I first brought along TuneIn magazine, everyone said I should forget it, because I could never bring in a free magazine in the newspapers, and I said we can do it. We were the first ones to bring this kind of magazine and it was a tremendous success. Competitions on every page- I can show you photographs of piles of letters coming in for these competitions. I like being somebody who tries something out differently. I remember about the product planning for the Tourism Authority and I got very frustrated, because things were not done as I wanted them to be done. Today these projects have been realised. I left them with a pile of my suggestions, like the Hop on hop off bus going around, the Barrakka garden’s lift, which have been now realisedit is a matter of someone pushing them. Next step will be the airport in Gozo, if it happens. When you know that something can be done and someone tells you that it cannot, it is very annoying, and when you are working in a private enterprise you can make it happen. TEU: Does anything really stand out of everything you did? FS: We have increased in size, we have fourteen offices, with 70 qualified people working, and we look forward to increasing our workforce by 50% of the sales force. Therefore, we are positive that Malta will have a very good five

years ahead for property sales for both foreigners and Maltese. We have had challenges throughout the years- you have got to have someone to keep you there, and I always say ‘if you don’t have an enemy, create one’. After so many years we are still here. It is a family owned company, therefore we can dictate the policies and to make sure everyone does what we want them to do properly. And we have that total control. TEU: If you had to single out a very important achievement what would distinguish your CSR drive throughout the years? FS: Firstly, we have the whole ball rolling selling to the Maltese. We are instrumental in fighting for the mortgage situation, which we managed to get. We were instrumental when this first started, to treat clients properly and we made sure that everyone developed this approach. This has a certain sense of responsibility and is something which is very important to be done in that way, because this is the biggest expenditure for people in their life. So you want to make sure that they find the right place. You are dealing with people’s lives, therefore it is very important not to let them down. TEU: What would your advice be for a young entrepreneur starting up a new business and where does leadership come about? FS: You have to be prepared to work very hard and get qualifications depending on what you are going to do. If you are dealing with people like us, then public relations is very important. If you want to deal with people in technology, then you have to make sure you get a form of qualification, that apart from the actual doing, you know the serial behind it- to put theory into practice. I can tell you that there isn’t even one sale during my many years of experience that I have been ashamed of. I have actually paid money to people that said we have done the wrong thing, even though we haven’t; only so that we will not be associated with wrong doing. In the long run I know people will buy from the devil if it is the right kind of property, but success ultimately comes from people recommending you and knowing that you are going to do the right job for them. The short term people do not last very long. March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 21


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

TEU: What does the word opportunity mean to you vis-a-vis good entrepreneurship? FS: In my case the opportunities were there. I started my own enterprise quite successfully. My children went to get their degrees, and when they graduated from University they joined our company. They are now running the company extremely effectively and they have the advantage to run a company, which already exists. But the people that work for us; we have managers, we have people that have been working with us for many years, have been earning money like you wouldn’t believe per annum. They do it because they sell properties and get very good commissions. Nowadays I don’t see a reason why someone should open a real estate company, because the commissions are very high from people like us, with no overheads whatsoever. They earn as much as they succeed, therefore there is a tremendous opportunity for young entrepreneurs to earn themselves an awful lot of money. And you can see these people are so happy doing their job and earning a lot of money.

Success ultimately comes from people recommending you and knowing that you are going to do the right job for them TEU: What changes would you like to see, or something you have wished you have done differently? FS: No. I have done it in the best of my ability, in an honest way. I don’t think I would have liked to change anything. We have had so many things as a learning experience in real estate and all of this has been a learning experience. If you knew it all when you first started, you would not have gone through this educational experience. We are now turning our focus on Valetta. We are trying to get consciousness for Valetta and we are doing something which most others think we are mad to do. But when you go for these talks in Valletta, you become very proud that so many people are coming to attend something that you have organised. 22 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

TEU: What does the fact that you are the first one to come up with this idea? FS: We are a company with a sense of corporate social responsibility; we are there not for people to see us as just making money and we like to give things

back. So the company decided to go with this fantastic idea. Valetta has places which can be sold to people and we feel that it has the opportunity for businesses, for boutique hotels, for people that like old cities and this is working.


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

TEU: Can you tell me about some of the major challenges you had to change, or instances when you thought ‘what am I doing’? FS: In real estate we decided a long time ago to split the company in two, and so far we have been able to sell to Maltese and foreigners. It is roughly 50- 50, and it has always been like that. Over the years properties have changed. One month it is the seller’s market, one month is it the buyer’s market, then the government comes with new conditions for residency, then the next they come up with bad conditions of residency, and suddenly its like a yo-yo. Therefore, if you are not able to weave and sway with these new conditions, you will get stuck in a big way. That is why we have arranged things in such a way as to be successful. If it is a Maltese market we go straight to the Maltese, if it is a foreign market, or new conditions for residency as there are at the moment, we push and swing the residency side of real estate. We then have broken into the commercial side of it, or into the letting side of real estate. Our letting is huge at the moment because there are so many people coming over. The cleverest thing being done is to link Malta with the rest of Europe within this communications, because for example, you can have the Edinborough newspaper sales team selling their advertising in Malta and they don’t have to be in Edinborough. Which means you can have 20 people here phoning up on a UK number selling advertising, doing everything on the computer, back and forth. What does Malta gain out of this? It gains 20-30 people being paid E30,000 a year, all eating in the restaurants here, living in hotels, or renting, and we as estate agents have a huge rental market. There are 10,000 Swedes here bringing in E30,000 a year, which is E300 million a year! Who needs to strike oil when you have this kind of money? So what do they do? They eat, they drink, they live here… and not just them, there are so many foreigners here. I was speaking in Gozo last week to some business people. Once they put in a computer link to Gozo, there could be a lot of youngsters working there bringing in tech companies, software, iGaming

and other internet based companies. And Gozo will highly benefit from this. This is something I have been pushing for a very long time in my own private way, that Gozo should have its own independence. They should have their own people working there, their own facilities of getting people in and out, they should have their own tourism rather than depend on the leftovers from Malta, or rather some Maltese going there for a ‘Fenkata’. They should know what they want and then they should be able to achieve it.

FS: Our organisation would not exist without the people working in it. I have had a managing director here for the past 40-45 years here. He has been my friend and a valued director of the company; he is a non-family member, which means he is very important. Loyalty; you got to pay well, to keep them happy and to keep the right atmosphere. That is important for the operation of the company. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Editor’s Note

We are there not for people to see us as just making money and we like to give things back TEU: Let us go back to leadership qualities, what defines a strong leader nowadays? FS: Someone with a strong mind, a doer, that does not back down from decisions, does not mind getting his hands dirty. When I am in charge of a group like the Fund Raising Committee for example, I am not a dictator, but people like to have someone to be told what to do- they all feel happy. Even though all those people around the table are big entrepreneurs themselves, the fact that there is someone there to tell them this is what has to be done, they like that. Therefore, someone who is able to have this type of leadership in their own business makes them successful. Hard headed; you have to know what you think is right and how to do it, and to be successful. We made beautiful adverts which were prejudiced here, so you cannot be right all of the time. That is the good thing about being an entrepreneur- when you realise you are not good at it, you get out. A good advice came to me by a big businessman, he said, “You always make mistakes, but you know when you have made a mistake get out, don’t keep on doing what you do”. You have to take a certain amount of calculated risks, but by gaining experience you learn what you have to do. TEU: How valuable are employees as a part of the organisation and what do you expect out of them?

Frank Salt started his business in the early‘60s, first with a company called KB, and following a company decision to stop operating, he founded his own firm, just himself and his secretary. From then onwards, he began basically selling property to foreigners in Malta. When the Labour Party was elected in the early ‘70s, there was a mood reflecting problems related to properties belonging to foreigners, so a lot of foreigners decided to leave, and this left a lot of property in the market. Maltese at that time were not property buyers, there were no mortgage facilities, however they realised there were opportunities to buy decent properties and Frank Salt started selling properties to the Maltese. He was the very first to do this and this caught on terrifically, that today it reaches 80% of Maltese owned properties. The mortgage facilities came out at 8% for about 30 years, but as the real estate expanded, the Maltese got very keen on the market, foreigners started coming in again, and the company grew with two sections. Selling to foreigners under the new residency scheme, Frank Salt today turns its attention on property investments market, which is growing rapidly, thus remaining an important element of the real estate market.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 23


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

InspIratIon & DIstInctIon By George Carol

The building, construction and machinery sector has always been a world for men only, and women were not ready to take the risk trying to gain experience, skills and motivate themselves to think. Enter Denise Xuereb, who takes the reign as AX Construction’s first female Construction Director, succeeding her high-flying father Angelo Xeureb. Since taking over, Denise is credited with the new re-branding strategy and reorganisation off the company, and is deeply committed to making lives better through spaces and environments which they create.

Company name: Ax Construction Ltd. Top exeCuTive: Construction Director exeCuTive Summary: Upon completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Management, Denise joined the AX Construction team during the construction and finishing of the Five-Star The Palace Hotel. Having caught the project management bug, Denise pursued her studies further by reading for an MSc degree in Programme and Project Management at the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Paris. Denise then re-joined the AX Construction team as Project Manager and has since been promoted to Construction Director, charged with the strategic and general management of the company. Company deSCripTion: AX Construction Ltd, founded in 1977, is recognised as one of the major local construction and restoration service providers. The company has successfully completed a wide variety of complex and prestigious projects, and enjoys an enviable reputation for offering clients a product and service of superior quality, delivered efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. aChievemenTS: Ensuring company health and further growth during a time of low business by diversifying into other related albeit untapped markets. Transforming the company into a leaner and more flexible operation, focusing on increasing competencies in critical areas whilst shedding non-core in order to keep the company going. One of my main tasks was consolidating the company - to strengthen on your strengths and shed off the weak parts. innovaTive idea and BuSineSS model Being propoSed: One of the main achievements would definitley have to be the new brand image I’ve given to the AX Construction brand. Our re-branding isn’t just about a new logo or new uniforms, yes they are important but our re-branding is deeper than that. It is a reflection of our values and philosophy.

Denise Xuereb 24 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

WhaT’S your philoSophy on enTrepreneurShip in 10 WordS or leSS?: For me entrepreneurship is all about Creativity, Efficiency, Challenge and Perseverance!


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

TEU: What are your main motivational forces and role model/s? DX: My motivation is my job; I love what I do! I strongly believe that for someone to do his/her job well they need to do it with passion, like everything else in life. I find great satisfaction in starting a project and finishing it to high standards and on time and handing the finished product over to the client. It’s fulfilling giving life to a building or project – seeing the transformation of it! My role model has to be my father when I talk about construction. I inherited a passion for the industry from him. I recall as a child going with him every Saturday and Sunday to visit the construction sites – it was the highlight of my week! He taught me the hands-on experience and tricks of the trade, which I then backed up with formal and professional schooling on the subject. TEU: How comfortable are you with failure? DX: Not at all and it is something which does not go so well with us at AX Construction Ltd!! However, I must draw a distinction between outright failure and the making of mistakes, since the latter is of crucial importance for success! Making mistakes helps you grow – the most important thing is to analyse and learn why you have made mistakes to limit the chances of it happening again. It’s also important to impress on your team that, even though failure is not an option, genuine mistakes are a perfectly normal element of any success story. TEU: What kind of person makes a successful entrepreneur? DX: Many people say that successful people are ‘lucky’. I do not believe in luck when it comes to business. Success doesn’t happen alone – it comes with foresight and lots of hard work and perseverance. A successful entrepreneur needs to believe in his idea and with determination follow it through to fruition, overcoming any obstacles encountered. It is also important that the entrepreneur puts together a team which is knowledgeable on the subject and has the necessary skills and proficiencies to turn an entrepreneur’s dream into reality TEU: What makes you so effective as a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated environment, and how do you define what it means to be an effective leader today? DX: In the early days of my career in the construction industry, I must admit that it wasn’t easy as I got quite a few odd looks and comments from people asking to speak to a ‘male’. It therefore makes it harder to obtain the acceptance of your peers and subordinates, and that is where knowledge and self-confidence is key. My management style has always been one of treating every employee at whatever level with the necessary respect. Also, being close to the operation by visiting and directing sites and understanding the employees’ work realities help in getting accepted within the workforce. The situation on that front has improved a bit, with more and more women entering the construction world. TEU: Is there more of a need to have business experience or business acumen today? DX: They both are important and they both need to complement each other, but if I had to give more weighting to one of them, I’d probably say business acumen is more important since it is the foundation rock of any successful business operation. Naturally, experience will be lacking in the early years of anyone’s career, however business acumen is something that

Denise with her father Angelo at the new parliament site while under construction

cannot be taught and is even more crucial for success in today’s complex business world. TEU: How do you determine whether you are capable of starting an idea and manage a successful business? DX: ….by first taking the necessary professional advice and, upon getting the necessary comfort, actually trying! Many people keep saying, “I think this could be good or this would be successful”, but they then stop short of making the first step towards actually achieving it. The hardest step in anything, is the first step! Once you set your mind on doing something, then it is important to keep believing in what you are doing. Gut-feeling is also an important factor in doing business however, in today’s complex business world one still needs to do some research and reasonable business plans, to keep tabs on legal aspects and client wants and needs. TEU: Why is competition important? DX: Competition is the motor of the business world. Competition is healthy; lack of competition means lack of progress, and the natural result is that companies become complacent. It is however important to remain close to your competitors, study them and make sure that you remain a step ahead of your competition to maintain that competitive edge with your customers. TEU: Do you think alliances and partnerships are important? DX: Yes they are important but they need to be done with a lot of caution. It is important that the mentalities of the people directing the alliance are similar but it is also important that the company structures and ways of doing business are also congruent. TEU: What are your views on networking and what significance does this bring to top entrepreneurs? DX: Yes by all means; Networking becomes more crucial in the early days of a start-up so that the entrepreneur can establish himself/herself or the new product/service. Even when the company or entrepreneur establishes themselves, networking is still a very important element of the business function. Businesses are constantly dealing with other businesses and it opens up many new avenues for further business, growth and diversity. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 25


MSV LIFE TOP ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2014

NaThaN FaRRUGia– EntrEprEnEurial MindsEt Company name: The Inspire Foundation Top exeCuTive: Nathan Farrugia exeCuTive Summary: Nathan Farrugia is the Chief Executive of the Inspire Foundation, a philanthropist, world record endurance athlete, public speaker, executive mentor, husband and father. Nathan is recognised for his work in civil society and his ability to develop social enterprise activities that generate the €3 million required annually to support over 1000 disabled children, adults and families with therapy, education and social services. His ability to create startup initiatives that are turned into sustainable income-generators is a true example of his entrepreneurial mindset. This mindset has proven useful in his world record breaking challenges that have raised hundreds of thousands of euros for charities across the EU and in Africa, accomplishing ‘impossible’ goals including running 27 back to back full marathons in as many countries, running non-stop for 100 miles around mountains and taking on the infamous Marathon des Sables in the Sahara. He has set up a number of other social enterprises including Empower, which brings together the country’s top business people to use their expertise and resources to create employment opportunities for adults with intellectual disability. His experience in the sector is

supported by a first degree in physiotherapy as well as an MBA from Strathclyde. Company description: Inspire Foundation is Malta’s leading non-profit organisation (€3million T/O circa) that provides therapeutic, educational and social services for 1000 disabled children and adults and their families in Malta & Gozo. It employs over 150 people. aChievemenTS: · The creation of a number of sustainable income-generating activities that raise thousands of euros a year funding services to vulnerable people in the Maltese community. · Through his dedicated team, changing the lives of vulnerable people for the better. · Inspire others to ‘challenge themselves’ and push their own boundaries of achievement. innovaTive iDea anD BuSineSS moDel Being propoSeD: A sustainable model for nonprofits to diversify income streams, through the creation of social enterprise and community interest companies that create savings for the welfare state and engage civil society. Social Entrepreneurship must become the new economic pillar, strengthening both the economy and civil society at the same time. Strategic vision and market viability of the idea: A paradigm shift is required for the creation of

PPPs with the third sector and government, with the inclusion of business partners, pooling in resources, expertise and goodwill for the benefit of the community at large. This shift will open many doors that will emancipate and empower our society beyond the ‘business economy’ and create a much stronger ‘social economy’. Ability of the participant to create and execute on the business idea: Proven track record with the leadership of Inspire, Empower and other projects. WhaT’S your philoSophy on enTrepreneurShip in 10 WorDS or leSS? “Entrepreneurship starts with the individual; to grow requires teamwork; to thrive, requires a deeper meaning”. TEU

BETSSON GROUP Company name: Betsson Group Top exeCuTive: Ulrik Bengtsson (CEO) exeCuTive Summary: CEO at Betsson Malta since July 2012. Responsible for the Betsson Group gaming operations. He has worked with consumer services for the last 12 years, most recently as CEO of Pay-TV broadcasting in Emerging Markets at Modern Times Group (MTG), before that he was CEO for Viasat Sweden. Ulrik has extensive leadership experience and a deep understanding of consumer services, business development as well as business operations. Company DeSCripTion: The operational companies in Betsson Group are present in a number of markets, both with fully operated gaming sites: www.betsson.com, www.betsafe. com, www.casinoeuro.com, www.nordicbet. com and Starcasino.it, as well as several partner brands such as www.dhoze.com, www. harrycasino.com. Betsson Group currently employs over 900 personnel made up of a mix of almost 40 different nationalities. Most work in the operational Head Office in Malta but there are also other offices around the world, largest ones being: Stockholm, Kiev, Tallinn, Gibraltar and Manila.

26 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

innovaTive iDea anD BuSineSS moDel Being propoSeD: Become the most customer centric company in the industry. Transform our business by becoming a data-led best in class digital marketing company that leverages a multi-brand model and a single technological platform. STraTegiC viSion anD markeT viaBiliTy of The iDea: Our vision is to have ‘The best customer experience in the industry’. Through observing other industries we have come to a firm belief that by achieving and supplying this, we shall ensure that we keep our market leader position. aBiliTy of The parTiCipanT To CreaTe anD exeCuTe on The BuSineSS iDea: Last year we worked on hiring the best possible candidates to make this happen. We are confident of the strong team we have now and we strive to ensure that they have the appropriate tools and best environment to work in to accomplish this. WhaT’S your philoSophy on enTrepreneurShip in 10 WorDS or leSS?: Dedication, vision and hard work! TEU


Special Feature

MEP ELECTIONS 2014 March 2014

Your MEP CandidatE

for all SEaSonS


MEP ElEctions sPEcial FEaturE

Maturity and ProfessionalisM By Martin Vella

As I sat down with Ray Bugeja, a PN candidate for the forthcoming EP elections, I could not help notice how he is a paragon of civility, yet has come face to face in his country of birth with antiquated politics, threats to democracy and individual rights and freedoms, a slowing economy and rising unemployment, and the disproportionate burden of EU-bound irregular immigration which threatens to erupt into xenophobia. He is determined to contribute to resolving these problems.

Ray’s EU Project: “My goal is to have a discussion with each of our constituents to improve my understanding of where they stand on some of the key issues. I research where necessary the underlying issues so that I can focus my discussion time on the key aspects. I prioritise subject topics of major concern and then write as concisely as possible for sharing in social media. My main focus is on economic growth and the reduction of unemployment, especially among the young. I seek policy changes that I believe in while resisting excessive bureaucracy, directives and invasiveness or infringement of private property rights and freedoms.

TEU: What made you want to stand as a European Parliament (EP) candidate? RB: At this stage in my life, I am realising my childhood aspiration to enter politics. I started working in the PN on my return to Malta four years ago. I contested the leadership, was elected to the executive committee, headed the finance commission and I am part of the finance group. The Party feels I can make a contribution in Europe – hence my candidature. TEU: Do you expect that your campaigning and performance so far truly reflects your ability to reach out to all sectors of society, including Labourleaning voters? RB: I am trying to reach out to everyone. Labour-leaning voters are simply people with a different political perspective. The time available and the effort put in are never enough in politics. I am reaching out and communicating who I am and what I believe in and what i am able to offer. I feel I am being well received by those I meet. But an MEP election is nationwide and logistically difficult. 02 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


MEP ElECTIONs sPECIAl FEATUrE

TEU: Don’t you think that the PN needs to identify a heavyweight politician who can thrust the party towards its declared objective of winning three out of the six available seats and do you see yourself as the answer to this problem? RB: The PN team of candidates is a good mix of age and experience, whether professional or political. An MEP is firstly a professional and then a politician. EU policies are formulated in the committees, where maturity and professionalism are more important than political stature. I believe I have the heavyweight qualities, professional and to some extent political, to be part of the answer. TEU: Do you think that the PN candidates, despite being successful professionals, lack the political experience needed to reach out to the swarms of voters who abandoned the party? RB: Being a successful professional should appeal to an important section of the disgruntled voters. The key to getting voters back however is to have an open and listening approach to people – and these are qualities professionals, and not only politicians, have or should have. TEU: Why should Maltese voters bother about the European elections and why should they vote for Ray Bugeja? RB: Europe is fundamentally important for Malta, It is the world’s largest economy and provides a vast opportunity for our young to seek education, employment and/or enterprise – as it did for me. Europe and MEP candidates should communicate more the benefits of membership to all citizens. I have spent 32 years in a number of countries in Europe, speak five European languages, apart from Maltese, and have extensive experience in finance and economics, two crucial areas for the EU to stimulate economic growth and reduce unemployment. TEU: Do you believe that it’s important to have contesting views on the Europe and don’t you think that we lack scope for a genuine debate ?where real and tangible issues matter most? RB: Contesting views are always healthy for a democracy. But there should be open and constructive dialogue. Unfortunately, Malta still suffers from partisan diatribe where name-calling and mud-slinging obfuscate reasoned debate, leaving little scope for discussing important issues and reaching a consensus in the country’s best interests.

TEU: Your past has provided opportunities to you to work in various countries. A lot of American political sentiment is generated around negative attitudes towards larger businesses seeming to control a lot of the party politics. This is present also the European Union system, which is very different. What about the system in Malta- don’t you think it’s the same and what would you do to change this in future? RB: Lobbying by large companies which provide a high degree of employment undoubtedly exists in most if not all countries - including Malta no doubt. And it is right that large employers should have a voice with government in the formulation of policy which may affect them and therefore also their employees. As with everything else, it is a matter of balance and compromise. I would not want to change this. I would however endeavour to ensure that policies are fair to all of the people.

Unfortunately, Malta still suffers from partisan diatribe where name-calling and mud-slinging obfuscate reasoned debate

TEU: As a potential European Parliamentarian, do you feel there is a gap between your constituents and your party? RB: The 36,000-vote gap between the Labour and Nationalist parties clearly meant there was a significant gap between the PN and its constituents. The PN recognises this and has embarked on a programme of radical renewal. There is a new leadership team. There are many new faces in the executive committee. The statute has been considerably revised. One key change is that in future the leader and the deputy leaders will be elected by all of the Party members, not just by the councillors. The Party, from the leader all the way down, is carrying out an intensive programme of house visits and member events at the Party offices throughout Malta and Gozo. All of this is aimed at getting close to the people. TEU: What are the main issues that you think will determine this campaign and win public support?

RB: Until recently the passports for cash scheme was a major issue. It remains to be seen whether the government will honour the agreement reached with the European Commission on an effective residence in Malta of at least twelve months. The current major issue is the proposed massive LNG tanker in the bay of Marsaxlokk. In both cases the government has shown disregard for the voice of the opposition and of the people – so much so that the opposition had to seek remedy with the European Commission and Parliament. There are several other issues such as the armed forces, the police, the broadcasting authority, the smart-meters scandal, etc. The major issue in the course of erupting is the lack of economic growth and the rise in unemployment, especially among the young. All these things, coupled with the PN’s renewal, should win public support in favour of the PN. TEU: What would you like to get out of these elections? RB: For the PN, the third seat and a reduction in the votes gap seen at last year’s general elections. For me, a seat in the European parliament so as to have the opportunity of serving my country and its people by contributing to the strengthening of the EU and bringing the largest possible share of the ensuing benefits back to Malta. I also intend fighting to the hilt to ensure Malta remains in the EU, given the euro-sceptic positioning of the Labour Party candidates. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Editor’s Note After thirteen years with Reuters in various countries across three continents, Ray joined TNT (the transportation group) in London and then Milan. In 1992, after six years with TNT, Ray was headhunted for the position of COO with Giubergia Warburg in Milan (equity brokerage). In 1999, while working as Deputy COO European Equities in the London Head Office of Warburg (now UBS), he and three colleagues from Giubergia Warburg decided to set up their own investment management company (Kairos). This started in London and extended to Milan, Turin, Rome, Lugano, Luxembourg, New York and Hong Kong. At its peak, before the last recession, the group managed some €7 billion of client monies. For Ray, success came with hard work and determination and this is an example of what a start-up success story is all about.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 03


MEP ElEctions sPEcial FEaturE

“Think EuropE - AcT LocAL” Jonathan Shaw

New ways of thinking have played a large role in generating new insights. And creative approaches to visualising politics may be a far better approach at seeing patterns and frequently prove integral to the process of creating knowledge. Jonathan Shaw’s thinking is brimming with new initiatives and proposals which can seriously contribute towards the realisation of a more practical and flexible approach to European politics. Jonathan Shaw is a PN, MEP candidate running for the 2014 MEP election

During his electoral campaign launch Jonathan Shaw reaffirmed, “Think Europe - Act Local, is an attitude and approach of how to work within a bigger group, in this regards, Malta within a bigger group made of other EU countries.” And Jonathan does not mince his words- he said that the chosen slogan reflected his commitment, adding that “whilst it’s good to deliver and think on a European level and mindset, we need to primarily also act and deliver on a local level.”

Simon Busuttil described Shaw as having “great charisma, and one that can communicate effectively with the electorate.” The PN leader views Jonathan’s selection by the commission “ one which reflects the party’s mission to also embrace new and valid people in its ranks.” TEU

www.jonshaw.com

Asked how he intends to accomplish as a new politician in an EU landscape ridden with socio-economic issues, financial crisis, illegal immigration and bureaucracy, Jonathan Shaw said, “I plan to achieve results through my drive, enthusiasm and commitment to make things happen. This means that whatever the issue that I’m working on I want to accomplish whatever is best and possible on that particular issue at that particular time.” He describes the EU as, “an opportunity for the country in a constantly evolving destination where Malta can not only follow progress but also lead the creation of such progress.” Speaking about his vision and priorities, he described youths as, “machines of ideas and enthusiasm that need to be channelled with a change in mindset and culture.” PN Leader 04 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

PN Leader Dr Simon Busuttil with Jonathan Shaw


Trade Finance Solutions engineered for business success

documentary collections bonds and guarantees treasury management warehouse finance commodity trade letters of credit ship finance forfaiting factoring

FIMBank is an international trade finance specialist with an established reputation as a dynamic and customer-driven provider of trade finance solutions. FIMBank is headquartered in Malta and benefits from a growing network of international offices.

fimbank.com

21322100

SINGAPORE Sテグ PAULO NEW YORK MUMBAI MOSCOW MALTA LONDON ISTANBUL DUBAI CAIRO BEIRUT


MEP ElEctions sPEcial FEaturE

Strategy through Different initiativeS By Martin Vella

Maltese businesses have an important role to play in Europe. This is the strong belief of Dr Peter Agius, Head of the European Parliament Information Office in Malta. The office supported the initiative to launch a joint Maltese business manifesto for Europe on the 14th of February 2014, together with five major employer organisations in Malta. Dr Agius explains how in this manifesto they are laying out their expectations from the European Union in view of the European Parliament elections taking place on May 24th this year.

TEU: What was the outcome of the recently launched process leading to the drawing up of a joint manifesto on the expectations of Maltese businesses in the forthcoming MEP elections and the EP legislature? PA: First of all, there are a number of issues on which Maltese businesses are on the same wavelength. Europe ghas an impact on small businesses, whether they are part of GRTU, the hotel and restaurants industry, employers represented by the MEA, or any other business from the Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry. The bottom-line is the same: we need MEPs who represent the interest of the Maltese businesses well in Brussels. In fact, the organizations laid 06 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

out a number of principles which should guide those who will be representing them. Firstly, respect of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. This means that what can be decided better in Malta, should be decided in Malta and not in Brussels. This is subsidiarity. On the other hand, where the European Union can make a better impact than a member state deciding on its own, decisions are to be taken at EU level. Related to that is the need to increase the sensitivity of European legislation on Malta’s insularity and peripheral position. It seems that a number of businesses see the European Union as a ‘one size, fits-all’ construct. Personally, I think that this is to an extent misguided.

Where there is European harmonization, there is still a degree of flexibility that affects different businesses of different sizes in different ways. So we are moving towards a system of business legislation which is particularly attentive to the size of the businesses itself and the nature of transactions that it carries out. But there is still the perception within Maltese businesses that there is considerable ‘one size, fits-all’ regulation coming our way. TEU: Reduction of regulatory burdens, ‘one size fits all,’ access to finance, EU funding, public procurement and employment conditions were among the themes discussed. What can you tell us about these important issues?


MEP ElECTIONs sPECIAl FEATUrE

PA: We try to facilitate the flow of information on decision-making at European level and explain how it affects the Maltese population. Hence, we can only seek to foster debate and raise awareness through our different activities in the context of the upcoming European elections. One activity, for example, focused on EU funding, wherein a strong message came out against bureaucracy and access to finance, especially when it comes to start-up funding. But the EU is not only about funding. There are various rules that have an impact on businesses, like public procurement, accounting obligations, market access rules or anything related to production of goods, or marketing of services. These are obligations that businesses have to abide with in their operations. All this is reflected in the Maltese business manifesto. In fact, Maltese businesses are saying, and here I quote, ‘We need smart regulation which leads to less bureaucracy’. Maltese businesses do, in fact, take note of progress in this area. When it comes to funding, much of the bureaucracy can be easily eliminated through practical and realistic measures seeking better balance. TEU: How will you provide a platform for all Maltese citizens and candidates to discuss the Europe that counts for them? PA: We are currently organising a number of events where candidates feature in discussions with stakeholders and the public in general. In these events we discuss specific themes. One event, for instance, was about financial services and the impact of the European Union on financial services. We had a number of representative practitioners as well as officials from FinanceMalta and leading firms to discuss key issues in the field directly with MEP candidates. We also discussed accounting obligations and the reduction and the simplification of accounts for small businesses in an event we held with the Malta Institute of Accountants. The seminar attracted around 200 accountants to discuss proposed initiatives. Secondly, we seek to amplify this message via the media. You can reach

only a limited audience in a conference. The media is an important partner that helps us amplify the outcomes of such events to a wider audience.

the recipient, whether we are addressing a mother who decided to stay home for a few years, or a businessman, trying to grow his business.

The third aspect of our work is to reach out, especially to youths and to those who are less likely to come to our events. Through Facebook, for example, we are reaching already around 50,000 Maltese citizens every week. We are doing this through a mixture of media visuals, photos, videos, links – seeking to present even technical matters in simpler ways.

This requires different kinds of communication. Voter apathy will always play a part, even though turnout has traditionally been relatively high in Malta. Yet, we need to be very careful in order to consolidate the trend. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

In fact, Maltese businesses are saying, and here I quote, ‘We need smart regulation which leads to less bureaucracy. And Maltese businesses do in fact take note of progress in this area TEU: What is being done to ensure accountability of the EU institutions. How vital are these MEP elections? PA: I think these elections are fundamental because the European Union is at a crossroads. Things change. Ten years ago irregular immigration was not really on the agenda, we didn’t have such a thing as an online gambling industry, and financial services were also in a very initial stage. Today financial services and online gambling make up almost 20% of our GDP, and immigration is amongst the top concerns for Maltese citizens. MEPs are taking decisions for us in Europe. This is why the next elections are extremely important. Not only for us to choose our representatives and for them to make a strong impact in the European Parliament, but also because we need to know what is happening around us. Taking an interest in European elections is fundamental for us as citizens. We need to be aware of what Europe means to us and how it affects us in our daily lives. TEU: What is your vision for this office and your views on voter apathy? PA: My intention is to make sure that on the 24th of May everyone goes out with at least an increased level of knowledge of what Europe means to them; on how one can influence, or how we as Maltese could influence the European agenda. We try to adapt our message according to

Editor’s Note Peter Agius is the Head of the European Parliament Office in Malta. He worked with the Council of the EU in Brussels for ten years. In his role with the Council he negotiated with the European Parliament on internal market legislation. Dr Agius, who took up office at the European Parliament Information Office in July 2013, read Law at the University of Malta where he graduated in 2000. In 2006 he obtained a Masters degree in European Law from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He joined the legal services of the Council of the European Union in 2008, where he was assigned the role of political advisor to the presidencies of the Council, a role which put him in charge of assisting in negotiations in dossiers related to the internal market including the services directive, the professional qualifications directive and betting and gaming. As of 2009, he also assisted the office of Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, on topics related to the internal market.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 07


MEP ElEctions sPEcial FEaturE

Making Your Voice Heard in tHe eu

By Martin Vella

TEU: You are a lawyer specialised in European law, and were a legal advisor to the European Union’s High Representative, Catherine Ashton – why did you leave that behind to represent Maltese & Gozitans in the European Parliament? RM: I have always believed that if you want to make a difference and bring about change, politics is the best means to do just that. Being elected as a Member of the European Parliament means that I can combine my legal background with representing the people of Malta and Gozo and ensure that their best interests are always taken into consideration. Complementing my legal career with politics comes naturally. Even as a young law student I was already involved in the IVA campaign for Malta to become a Member of the EU as well as being the secretary general of the European People’s Party student arm, it was a natural step to also be involved in Maltese politics at a European level. TEU: You were elected as one of Malta’s first female MEPs, to fill Dr Simon Busuttil’s seat in the European Parliament in April 2013. In less than a year you have already made a huge impact. Can you mention some of the major highlights of your term so far? RM: Following the record number of ten women being elected to the Maltese parliament at the last general election, we now also have three female MEPs, finally erasing the unenviable label of being the only EU Member State not to have female representatives in the European Parliament. The discussions on the lack or shortage of female representation now need to shift and focus on Malta to having the best representation possible, irrespective of gender.

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola has expertly championed many causes in the European Parliament, where she has gained a reputation of an articulate, respectful and highly meticulous parliamentarian. Having also been appointed as rapporteur on four separate reports related to the European Asylum Support Office’s (EASO), and its role with associated European Union member states, Roberta has become one of the best MEPs Malta has had since it joined the EU in 2004. 08 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

Even though I have been in the European Parliament for less than a year, I am very proud to have been able to make a valid contribution in the interests of the people I represent. Whether it was pushing to make sure that SMEs are given invaluable exemptions from the EU’s new Data Protection rules; negotiating the Consumer Programme for the next seven years; pushing for better recognition of rights for disabled people; helping to eliminate unfair mobile phone roaming rates; cutting red tape when it comes to access to funding for businesses and NGOs; helping to negotiate a plan for immigration which found the backing of the majority of MEPs, while voting to increase Malta’s specific funding on this issue; standing up to ensure people’s rights as EU citizens are always respected be it during debates on the sale of citizenship sale or submitting a petition signed by


MEP ElECTIONs sPECIAl FEATUrE

thousands of residents about the gas tanker in Marsaxlokk bay; or being appointed as the European Parliament’s rapporteur on four asylum dossiers, my positions were always in the best interest of the people I was elected to represent. A lot has been done already, but there is still much more that we can achieve. TEU: As a distinguished MEP, you have been asked to stand to remain as one of Malta’s representatives in the European Parliament at the next election on 24 May. What is Malta’s role in the EU and what do you have to offer should you be re-elected? RM: Malta’s place is at the same table as our EU partners. Around 80% of all legislation implemented in Malta is first negotiated in the European Parliament, making a strong voice there indispensable. We are only six MEPs from Malta so it is essential that we toe the same line where the best interests of the people of Malta and Gozo so dictate. We may be the smallest national delegation, but I will continue to work to ensure that the voice of our people is always heard. Should the people of Malta and Gozo confirm me to continue to serve in the European Parliament for the next five years, I will keep on working hard to make sure that we are best represented in those committees that have the most significant impact on Malta and that we have concrete systems in place to ensure that the voices of Maltese and Gozitan citizens, businesses and consumers are taken into consideration in every single position I adopt on their behalf. TEU: Does Malta always need ‘more Europe’?

RM: Europe needs to be big on the big things and small on the little things. This is the ethos of the European People’s Party and one that I share completely. There are some issues such as immigration, integration, fundamental rights, consumer affairs, mobile phone roaming charges, cutting red-tape for business etc where the European Union must continue to lead and must take into account all our concerns. On the other hand there are some issues that individual Member States are best placed to implement at national level such as taxation, education, defence and more. A one-size-fits all approach does not work, so it is essential that we find a balance that fully respects individual Member States’ competence in particular fields, especially where there are ethical concerns, without a cost to what can be achieved on a European level.

TEU: Do you think there is still the need for more widespread education in Malta on the EU? RM: Yes. Definitely. We have come a long way in the last ten years with citizens becoming more and more aware of their rights and the standards that are required – but there is still a great deal to be done. We have the European Commission Representation Office, three Europe Direct centres, including one in Gozo, the European Parliament Information Office, MEUSAC and a myriad of other entities which have specific roles. They all work extremely hard to ensure that people are more aware of, and able to exercise their rights and privileges as European Union citizens.

We are only six MEPs from Malta so it is essential that we toe the same line where the best interests of the people of Malta and Gozo so dictate We MEPs also have a responsibility to further disseminate knowledge and awareness of what the EU stands for and what it means to each and every one of us in our everyday lives. People must feel comfortable and have the easy opportunity to approach us for answers on European issues as well as to give us their viewpoints, opinions and suggestions for initiatives that we can take. Over the last year I have spoken at numerous conferences and addressed a number of secondary schools & University students answering their queries and trying to give them an accurate picture of what the process of negotiating European legislation is like behind the scenes. TEU: What can you as an MEP do for Maltese businesses? RM: My basic position is clear. Investment in businesses creates jobs and jobs are the engine of our economy, providing the resources for our country’s social model. If I could identify one major cross-cutting concern that comes up time and again, it is the need to improve the connections and communication which take place between the business sector and their elected representatives. Too often businesses feel cut off from the decision-making sphere and this will be the hallmark of my activity. We need to work incessantly on our communication with all stakeholders in any particular piece of legislation going

through Parliament so that we are able to fully represent their views and lobby our colleagues in the best interest of the people of Malta and Gozo. Whether it is about the need to reduce bureaucracy when it comes to accessing EU funds, or the need to construct an EU data protection framework legislation that takes into account the size and nature of most Maltese businesses, more often than not, we are able to reach a common position that benefits all concerned. TEU: What are your expectations for the EU elections? RM: Five years ago saw the Nationalist Party unfortunately electing only two representatives, with four seats going to Labour. Since we have been in Opposition, we have shown the Maltese and Gozitan electorate the importance of a strong European counter-balance to the Maltese Government. We hope that this will also result in a vote of stronger support for the Nationalist Party in May, also in terms of votes. As regards expectations vis-à-vis my personal performance at the polls, I have worked hard at both the Brussels, and the Malta ends of my role, and it is now up to the electorate to pronounce itself – the democratic ideal is, after all, vox Populi, vox Dei. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Editor’s Note Roberta Metsola is a lawyer and has specialised in European law and politics. She served as Malta’s Legal and Judicial Cooperation Attaché within the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union, and as legal advisor to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. In her student years, she formed part of SDM (Studenti Demokristjani Maltin), KNZ (The National Youth Council) and MZPN (Moviment Zghazagh Partit Nazzjonalista), before being elected as Secretary General of the European Democrat Students (EDS - the student branch of the EPP), as well as to posts within the European Youth Forum (YJF). In 2002, she was elected vice-president of the Youth Convention on the Future of Europe which paved the way to her being closely involved in the negotiation and drafting of the European Constitutional Treaty and, later, the Lisbon Treaty. She has been constantly active within the Partit Nazzjonalista in Malta, serving within the party’s international secretariat; actively campaigning for a ‘YES’ vote in the 2003 EU membership referendum; volunteering with the PN’s election arm ELCOM. She successfully contested the casual election to fill in the vacated seat of Simon Busuttil on 24 April 2013 for the European Parliament, becoming one of Malta’s first female Members of the European Parliament.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 09


MEP ElEctions sPEcial FEaturE

Polls show PN gaiNiNg oN Previous MeP electioN By George Carol

Just a year into the Partit Laburista’s election victory with a sweeping 36000 votes, the Nationalist Party seems to have turned the tables completely on their rivals if the latest poll regarding the May MEP Elections prove to be correct. After a sample of 2,000 votes, the PN garners no less than 49 per cent of the vote compared to Labour’s rather poor 38 per cent, with around 13 per cent not casting any vote.

cyRus eNgeReR

MaRio FaRRugia BoRg

chaRloN gouDeR

iVaN gRixti

MaRleNe MiZZi

alFReD saNt

DeBoRah scheMBRi

FleuR Vella

liNo BiaNco

cliNt caMilleRi

PeteR coRDiNa

MiRiaM Dalli

On a personal level, the performance and expertise of MEP Roberta Metsola is showing real time dividends, since she leads the polls with an impressive 19.5 per cent of the vote, meaning a vote count of around 50-60000, which sees her elected on the first count. If this proves to be correct, she will be inheriting a large chunk of the votes of PN leader Simon Busuttil, who achieved an all time record votes at an MEP election in 2009.

per cent mark, Ray Bugeja and Kevin Plumpton are on the same boat at around two per cent. MEP Marlene Mizzi stands around two per cent of the vote, while several candidates seem to be failing the test – among these we see MP Deborah Schembri, Helga Ellul, Muslim activist Mario Farrugia Borg, lawyer Kevin Cutajar. AD’s level of support stands at an influence vote around four per cent, which means a surprise showing.

On the Labour side, Alfred Sant is also tweaking above the rest of his colleagues with 18.5 per cent of the vote, although still behind Metsola by one percentage point. Next is Labour’s Miriam Dalli who polls a respectable eleven per cent. Apparently, from our latest polls, it appears that these three candidates will be elected firs time round. Indefatigable campaigner and PN party heavyweight David Casa is close behind with around seven per cent of the vote, so it would be fair to predict that he will also be one of the six MEP’s elected in May.

With these initial results and a plus or minus of four-five per cent margin of error, the writing is on the wall - the PN could score a remarkable victory over Labour come May. Major issues such as the citizenship scheme, the controversial gas storage facility in Marsaxlokk Bay, ‘jobs for the boys’ tags following the ‘Malta Taghna Lkoll’ slogan seem to have made a considerable impact on voters vis-a-vis Joseph Muscat’s electoral promises.

Human rights lawyer Therese Commodini Cachia and disgruntled television pundit Norman Vella are virtually tied with just less than four per cent of the vote, while gay activist and EU funds expert, Cyrus Engerer stands to garner approximately four per cent. Outsider and successful business entrepreneur Jonathan Shaw may be the surprise hot rider of this election, as he is appealing to a good section of the young voters with over four per cent prefernces. Other candidates such as Stefano Mallia, Francis Zammit Dimech reach the three

Ray Bugeja

10 |

NoRMaN Vella

FRaNcis ZaMMit DiMech

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

RoBeRta Metsola

KeViN PluMPtoN

Results of two recent polls held by local media have shown surprisingly similar results. Both MaltaToday and The Malta Independent on Sunday have shown the top three candidates as being Roberta Metsola, Alfred Sant and Miriam Dalli with the other candidates spreading out and receiving boundary votes. While Malta Today’s poll tends to lean towards the PL, the Independent indicates a swing of around 20,000 votes in the PN’s favour which could make a significant difference come next May. Both polls have a high number of non respondents, while other parties such as Imperium Europa are off the trail.

joNathaN shaw

TEU

DaViD casa

theRese coMoDiNi cachia

KeViN cutajaR

helga ellul

steFaNo Mallia


SPECIALISED CARGO SERVICE

Cassar & Cooper’s specialised Cargo Service division is well equipped and experienced to offer several specialised cargo services and logistics solutions including: – LOGISTICS & WORLDWIDE PROJECT FORWARDING – OUTSIZE CARGO – LIVE ANIMALS – REMOVALS AND RELOCATIONS – FAIRS AND EXHIBITIONS – TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED MOVEMENTS – VALUABLES AND FINE ART

25, Air Cargo House, Triq Ġanni Vassallo, Luqa. T: +356 2558 4884 • E: specialcargo@cassarcooper.com

www.cassar-cooper.com


IT

Mobility allows for increased eMployee productivity, but is your coMpany prepared to Manage the data leak threats that coMe along with it? By Curt Gauci

Even as the global economy went through a dip over the past decade, data and network security spending continued to be robust as business and IT leaders sought to protect corporate assets and achieve compliance. The largest corporate security vulnerability is data loss and it is getting harder to protect it. Here’s why… The concept of work has changed significantly in the last decade. Gone for good are the days of nine-to-five working hours located in a headquarter facility. The modern concept of work is based upon anywhere and anytime. In one word – mobility. Regardless of the specific types of mobile devices you choose for your employees, there is a significant opportunity to increase productivity across your business. Today’s employees want greater flexibility to work where and when they can. When you can give them the right device for the job, you can help them work more efficiently. In Intel’s case, for example, employees report saving an average of 57 minutes a day using mobile devices. That’s nearly an hour of productivity gained each day by simply providing a different way to work. Think of the productivity benefits you could gain by scaling this flexibility across your entire organization, ultimately reducing the cost of doing business. Where is the catch? With greater work flexibility comes greater vulnerability to data loss or security breaches. Employees are encouraged to share information and spread it freely between those with a need to know; but this comes with risk as information, potentially even customer information, is intellectual property, which becomes more vulnerable as employees work remotely. According to a Gartner CISO survey, Data Loss/Leak Prevention (DLP) was the biggest priority for 2012. DLP is typically defined as any solution or process that identifies confidential data, tracks that data as it moves through and out of enterprise and prevents unauthorized disclosure of data by creating and enforcing disclosure policies. Since confidential data can reside on a variety of devices and move through a variety of network access points there are a number of solutions that can tackle the problem of data loss, data recovery and data leaks.

How many times have you left your tablet, mobile or even laptop behind? How many instances of briefcase or handbags been stolen have you heard of? There are numerous other intentional and accidental ways in which data leakage can occur – an employee copying data on a USB stick, losing a USB stick, emailing or uploading confidential data accidentally or intentionally. We have seen this situation and similar happen time and time again. After all everybody is human and these are circumstances which anyone can find themselves in, at any point in time. The unfortunate thing is that it usually takes such occurrences to sound an alarm bell with business owners alerting them of the importance of implementing a data leak prevention strategy.

With greater work flexibility comes greater vulnerability to data loss or security breaches Loss of sensitive data is really and truly an operational risk for any company. Safeguarding the security of your data and network is essential to avoid the negative business and financial impact security threats have on a business’s viability, productivity, resources, data and reputation. Having deployed several Data Protection Solutions we have the experience required to design and implement a security system capable of protecting your data from internal and external threats. Our security services are designed to prevent information leaks in case of loss of device, network violations and virus threats, as well as brand defamation due to malicious, inappropriate or fraudulent activity on a network. TEU

Editor’s Note Curt is director and co-Founder of Kinetix IT Solutions, a local leading IT Systems Integrator. Kinetix are HP, Cisco, Microsoft, Kerio, Trend Micro and Symantec certified partners.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 27


IT ADVISORY

Perils of Poor data migration Planning when imPlementing business aPPlication software By Eric Muscat (Partner responsible for IT Advisory Services at KPMG in Malta)

One of the challenges when implementing a brand new software application is the migration of data from the outgoing system. For the untrained eye this looks like a straightforward undertaking because it is not difficult to extract data from the outgoing system to a standard format using a simple query tool, and it is not difficult to take in data from this standard format into the new software application using utility software. However the challenge is not so much about the movement of data between the old and the new environments, but in the mismatch between the data layout of the two systems, the poor quality of data within the old system, the difference in interpretation of the data by the two systems, the missing data that is necessary for the new system to operate as well as the timing of the migration which is different for master and transaction data. Let us consider some of these issues one by one. It is common to find that the outgoing system includes items of data that have nowhere to be stored in the new system. This could be the case where functionality in the old system is not entirely present in the new system, or when the new system deals with specific functional issues in a different manner. This issue is typically more acute when the organisation is moving from a bespoke system to a package. It is even more common to have the new system requiring data that is not found in the outgoing system. Most systems today will have specific fields that need to be populated in order for a record to be

completed. These are the mandatory fields and they can be one or many depending on how the new system has been configured. Without populating these mandatory fields there will be records that cannot be migrated and could be rejected or lost. Another common problem is the poor quality of data in the old system. Poor quality data will impact systems differently and one can expect the incoming system to fail in some aspects due to inconsistencies in the data. A related problem is the misinterpretation of data resulting in data being placed into the wrong fields in the new system. Errors of this nature could be difficult to unravel once the new system goes live and will cause havoc with reporting. Therefore how does one manage the migration of data to the incoming system? In the first instance create a data dictionary. This is a catalogue of all the items of data you have in the outgoing system. This will enable you to understand the data you have and the rules to which it needs to adhere. It defines the data itself, what it represents, the validation rules, the values it can contain, etc. With a data dictionary in hand one can start to assess the quality of the data in the outgoing system and take decisions on the action that needs to be taken to improve it. For example, if the dictionary dictates that a particular field can contain the values ‘X’, ‘B’ or ‘T’, what action would you need to take if some of the data contains the value ‘P’? The data elements need to be mapped to fields in the new system. In some cases the data will need to be changed or transformed

to fit the new data field; for example an address that fits into a single field in the old system may need to be transformed to multiple fields including ‘city’, ‘postcode’ and ‘country’. It is important to understand how each field will be treated to prevent any misunderstandings and to capture any errors before the data is applied to the new system. There will be data that is not transferred to the new system as it cannot be accommodated in the current configuration. Some of this data may not be needed in the system but it may be important for reference or for reporting. Therefore, a decision needs to be made on whether to keep this data and where to keep it. The new system may need data that is not available in the outgoing system. Identifying this data requires an understanding of the new system and access to the data dictionary. Once the gaps are identified decide how to source the missing data which may require the establishment of default values or data entry. Assess where and when the data entry is to take place keeping in mind that data would need to be kept up to date until the new system goes live. Migration programs can then be written and tested and the entire migration process also needs testing as multiple migration iterations will be required as migrated data is used for testing of the system by end-users before it is used for the new system to go live. Clearly, the complexity of data migration is such that sound project management principals need to be adhered to throughout the process. TEU

Editor’s Note Eric has over twenty years experience working in various information technology functions covering the entire spectrum of the systems development lifecycle, IT project management, IT strategy, selection and implementation of IT solutions, process reengineering, IT risk management, learning strategies and change management. Eric is responsible for a team of professionals engaged on IT Advisory projects covering IT project management, IT assurance and IT governance.

12 | 28

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


Your dream yesterday, is your reality today

It’s understanding the importance of protecting the dream that sets us apart from the rest. In addition to excellent service and first class credentials the highly experienced team at Equiom can provide efficient and professional fiduciary services.

Our services include: Trusts & Companies: Yachting & Aviation: Crewing: e-Gaming: Property:

the establishment, formation and administration of trusts, foundations and companies multi-jurisdictional registration, VAT planning and effective ownership structures MLC compliant employment solutions and automated payroll management of licence applications, tax-efficient compliant corporate structures and the provision of key personnel tailored property solutions and the highest standards of corporate governance

“…The proactive approach taken by Equiom ensures that their innovative ‘added value’ client proposition distinguishes them from their peers, and we thoroughly enjoy working with their professional and dedicated team...” Treasury Advisor

Malta: Tel: +356 2546 6614 | Email: enquiries@equiom.com.mt | www.equiom.im Equiom (Malta) Limited is authorised to act as a trustee and fiduciary services provider by the Malta Financial Services Authority.


SOLAR ALTERNATIVES

Do What is Doable By Martin Vella

Mark Bajada made his own energy transition in his career. He is a man with his feet firmly anchored to the ground. He makes it clear that Bajada New Energy depend on their customers and that the company’s best investment is in their customers. Bajada discussed, among other things, what makes Bajada New Energy different, the future of solar power, and the company’s success so far after 25 years on the market.

TEU: Can you begin with a brief introduction to Real Goods Solar, including some highlights from the company’s history and an overview of your current operations? MB: A dreamer boy that pursues his dreams, it all started 25 years ago. Basically, I was always fascinated with the fact of generating free electricity everywhere. The idea to have electricity generated at any place, at any time, wherever you wanted it and Photovoltaic (PV) was one of the solutions. When I started at that time, there was no market here in Malta. I don’t think there was a market anywhere in the world; as PV’s were mainly used for satellites and generators. My first partner was a French company, Photowatt and it was a vertical integrated company. They primarily produced all the process from Silicum to the finished products. When I started 25 years ago I was a young boy 18 years of age, with a full bag of ideas, but with an empty bag of money. One of my attributes is perseverance. I wanted to do something which really and truly was something different, and gives me intrinsic satisfaction that makes sense. 30 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

I started out with €2300 Euros loan, (1000 Maltese Lira). I remember the person that really trusted me was my mother, who gave me a space under her staircase where I could install my business tools, my desk and a telephone set. It was a challenge all the way, because you had to invent a business to do business, but it was fun. I was enjoying what I was doing and I loved brainstorming, generating lot of concept and good ideas in principal. My first market was getting electrification in places where there was no electricity such as country houses, farms, rooms that could not be reached with electricity, campers, or floating buoys. Back then the challenge was quite tough, but in due course the company has moved into two different interesting and low cost sectors: gadgets such as solar lights and solar ventilators. The next natural business was to go to the solar water business, which I was quite adamant that this will be a good business area. One should recall that 25 years ago the electricity was relatively cheap, whereas the investment of photovoltaic was very expensive. There was no funding as it wasn’t on the government agenda at

that time and information on the subject was lacking. Malta was not in the EU, so one route I wanted to go through was the AIDA model. I was mainly focusing on going through the process of first creating awareness, interest, desire and acquisition. So the process was very tough; people were not educated, they had to be convinced about this investment, and I was looking into each market. I was doing all the required jobs at the time, I was the managing director, the accountant, the sales man, the marketer, the installer, everything. But I enjoyed it. Then we entered into the solar water heating business. I must say we were extremely successful with this business. As a matter of fact, we managed to sell in Malta over 10,000 solar water heaters, which is extremely significant for the size for Malta. Gradually, we grew in numbers. Today, we employ 60 plus full-time employees. At that time it was an evolving process, people were becoming more educated, people wanted to invest. At the beginning, when we entered with the solar water heaters, people that bought


SOLAR ALTERNATIVES EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

them did not have the mind-set of saving money it was more of a status-symbol; ‘I had a villa with a solar water heater’. So for us it wasn’t tough, because people wanted to buy the best, As this evolved, the natural step was that I acquired 50% shareholding in a company in Greece, so we were producing solar water heater internationally. Then I decided to set up my own production line in Malta. We have a very good set up in Marsa. We produce everything from scratch; from a sheet of stainless steel- we punch it, we roll it, we weld it, we pressure test it and the outcome is the complete solar water heater. We have invested quite a lot in research and development and innovation in renewable energy. This is one of our strong points. We invest a lot of money in R&D because we believe that this is the road map to success. That is the road map to achieving your goals. I was the first one to import solar panels in Malta and that’s why they call me the solar Pope (jokingly). I was the first one to import these solar products. This brings us closer to our 25th year and nowadays as a company we do a lot of exports, mainly to Italy and Libya. Also we do other projects, one of them being called RAPS- remote area supports supply systems, wherein we do electrification for areas where they do not have electricity. It is like a hybrid system, by means of the appropriate equipment you generate electricity at any space, and at any place. One of our attributes is that we are a listening company. We don’t just sell what we have to sell, but we listen to what people need. This places us in a different area to many other competitors. So we try to understand the real needs and wants of our customers, and this in itself is a challenge, because the economies of scale in Malta, unfortunately are what they are. Nowadays, we are quite upbeat. We have quite a different representation of big brands like Sonyo, Panasonic, Sharp, etc. We are very proud to say that we are the regional service centre of KACO, where we employ six engineers on site and this places us as one of the companies here in Malta that provides this type of service where we sell this to neighbouring countries like Italy, Libya, Tunis, Egypt and others. This creates value added for Malta. If you have to ask me about my 25 years, I have to say it was a journey that

changed me as a person, in the sense that I am very pleased to look backwards at what I have achieved so far.

is why we have so many personnel involved to take care of these details. And I can say we are meeting these objectives.

TEU: During these years what does green energy mean for Bajada and what contributions has Bajada made by providing these renewable energy resources to reduce environmental impact?

TEU: If you had to highlight the main achievements of the company in respect to CSR and environmental responsibility, what will they be?

MB: Bajada New Energy really and truly has the focal point of green energy. Whatever comes with green energy that you can imagine we can do it, whether it’s solar water heaters, geo-thermal, wind, photovoltaic, or wave energy. We are already doing a lot of projects that involve also charging stations- electricity generated though PV panels. Then comes the issue of dynamics of renewable energy they are changing on day-to-day bases, so you have the traditional methods that everyone knows about, then you have the other part, which is the innovative side. This is the most interesting side for me, where there are changes, innovations, or a new whole process. However if I had to limit myself to Malta, I would go with three to four products.. Therefore the economies of scale kick in. I think every little bit counts and my philosophy is ‘do what is doable,’ my role here is not to re-invent the wheel, but doing what many other countries are already doing. With our knowledge and experience we are trying to understand the success stories that are happening in other countries and we can use this as our model.

We need to focus on this by giving to customers what they are really after; value for money, very good service and very good quality TEU: What importance do you give to quality and service? MB: What I can say is that I am very pleased to be working in this environment, because we have no issues to be delivering top product. For us it is a run in the mill that we produce good quality products and deliver excellent service. This is one of our objectives, we depend on customers and in a small country like Malta you cannot mess around with your customers. We need to focus on this by giving customers what they are really after; value for money, very good service and very good quality products.We strive to ensure that this is happening. That

MB: There were several. One of my main challenges at the beginning of the 25 years was education. I consider myself a key person in the educational development of such product. I recall myself spending most of my time writing on newspapers, or magazines, or visiting schools. I used to do this on regular bases. One instance is when the local councils were formed I used to visit them, set-up an information area and bring all my goodies (like the PV panels). At each session I was really flooded with people asking me lot of questions, because back then there was no knowledge on the subject and people were really intrigued. I was seeing my potential growing really fast. Other events were my visit to several schools. I used to do like 20 vistis per year. During these visits children shared their ideas on solar energy,, I distribute ‘saving the planet’ stickers, kids were doing drawings and asking questions. I have and I got a lot of great memories; it was a learning process even for myself. TEU: Where do you see the company in the next 25 years? MB: I started at a very young age, so I think my only downside is that I still have the thrill in myself. I still have the ambition to do things. One of the main things we are working on are projects. Outside Malta where we are investing heavily in generating electricity, or any other type of renewable business, always as a core business, doing it at a very fast pace. TEU: Each product has a life cycle, how important are the employees to the company? MB: In our company, everyone is ‘Bajada’. I consider each and every member of the company as a family member- Bajada is just a name. Everyone is important and we treat each and every person in the company as the most important asset. Every morning I start very early and every evening I am the last one to leave, always thinking of what I will do tomorrow and ensuring that everyone is safe and happy! TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 31


OpiniOn

Business support services -The Puzzling lack of Uptake By Louis Naudi

At a recent BOV conference on Maltese SMEs and the EU budget, Karl Herrera, Head of Incentives at Malta Enterprise, candidly admitted he didn’t know why the “take up” of services was disappointing I would argue that despite good intentions, it is a failure by government to understand the behavioural characteristics, motivations of small business owners, the development process and SME business sector dynamics. It is a fundamental mistake to view small businesses as a single homogeneous grouping with common needs and problems supported by an off the peg business support product menu. Small businesses are represented in many sectors, vary in their needs and problems and approach growth differently. Business development models typically describe these as being: start up, growth and maturity, similar to product life cycles. The major weakness of this approach is the failure to clearly or consistently address the transition from one development phase to another. As businesses change form and shape during growth, so does the type and level of need. Growth is not one of regular expansion but involves periods of advance punctuated by discontinuities or transitions, reflecting some qualitative change in the business, to deal with new demanding opportunities. Each transition presents new risks and new skills may be required to address them. Transitions require a resource investment and typically stretch management, often to the limits of its capability. Effective management at transitionary phases is crucial and external support at these stages can make them less painful, as SMEs do not always know how to see a clear way forward. Thus the process of growth is a sequence of transitions followed by periods of consolidation. Small businesses are typically managed in a very informal fashion-loose organisational structure, informal but frequent communications between staff, with senior management multi tasking. Such informality is reflected in their creativity and ability to quickly respond to changing customer needs. As firms grow, informality is problematic and a more professional structure is needed; some owners thus deliberately decide not to grow and stay small. 32 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

Why? Many lack the skills to manage growth which often involves a break with established ways of operating, taking the business into unchartered territory with its additional risks and fear of moving out of comfort zones; they are risk averse. Growth cannot be presumed and motivations for setting up a business vary considerably. Some do not recognise they need assistance and, if they do, will not seek external help as offered by Malta Enterprise, often turning to their professional advisors. Use of external advice by a micro business in marketing and strategy is even less common. They have a healthy scepticism of the costs/ benefits for publicly funded support from ‘management experts,’ believing that they do not understand what is involved in running a business, theirs in particular! Training of staff, unless there is career progression often leads to another firm’s gain.

Use of external advice by a micro business in marketing and strategy is even less common

on one or more non time based business support services, using customer friendly language. In the first year, uptake improved dramatically and subsequent qualitative research demonstrated the enthusiasm and value generated by businesses. The key to success was the creation of full time but independent business advisers whose primary function was to identify those with potential which would benefit from support, stimulating enterprise by acting as a catalyst to a firm, strengthening the mechanisms of business experimentation and growth; it was not just about identifying potential winners but ensuring that winners emerged through market driven processes, supported at appropriate transitionary phases. Long term hands on relationships were crucial with support when necessary, resulting in trust and empathy from this client driven process. Added value and outcomes replaced volumes and was rolled out nationally The issues For Malta Enterprise are: •

Should it prioritise businesses to support –those managed for growth? Is it better to work with fewer rather than more and not on a timed basis? Should businesses with growth potential but not managed as such be included? Should it identify achievable outcomes or return in improved performance? Should it Identify attitudes of management teams which are crucial in each case?

Growth is seen as the least important of their objectives. There is nothing automatic about the growth of a business; it has to be willed and managed from the top against strong internal & external constraints requiring both motivation and leadership.

Malta Enterprise currently provides a number of individual support products which mirror the standard model of business development, a key part being the self employed business advisor. They identify needs and highlight what is available which is a limited product driven process, often using intimidating language. In the UK, the Small Firms Service in the 1990’s faced the same “uptake” problem with SMEs.

Ultimately, improved economic performance needs to be clearly defined otherwise the sale of a number of products is really a poor measure of money spent.

An experiment was undertaken in one UK region where the menu and all product names in customer communications were removed and replaced by a simple support process, an extra pair of hands, working alongside owners at its heart, drawing

• •

TEU

A synopsis of an article published in the UK by the author.

Editor’s Note Profs Louis Naudi is an Hon. Retd. Professor, BA (PPE) Oxon, MA Oxon, MA (Modern British Politics) Sheffield, SSRS Danish Govt. & University of Arhus, Denmark, M.CIM, Chartered Marketer, FCIM


BOV START PLUS

access to finance has become easier If you want to start a new business activity, talk to us to find out about our BOV Start Plus ∙ our lowest rate ever ∙ our best terms ever ∙ added value support for your business Your success is our goal.

BOV BUSINESS BANKING 2131 2020 I bov.com

BOV Start Plus benefits from a guarantee issued under the European Community’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. All loans are subject to normal bank lending criteria and final approval from your BOV branch. Terms and conditions apply.


human resources

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

The KEY to dramatically increase PROFITS

- ARE YOU MISSING OUT? By Kristin Sigrun Gudmundsdottir

If you are missing out then you can wave goodbye to the ultimate dream of increasing profits while managing or (ideally) decreasing costs. According to Gallup, organisations with engagement scores in the top quartile experienced an Earnings Per Share (EPS) growth 2.6 times greater than organisations with below-average scores.

Additionally, highly engaged organisations have the potential to reduce staff turnover by 87% and improve performance by 20%. Impressive numbers when it comes to performance, productivity and profitability! Towers Watson found that of seventy five possible drivers of engagement the one that was rated as the most important was the extent to which employees believed that their senior management had a sincere interest in their well-being. Then consider that 75% of leaders have no engagement plan or strategy even though 90% say engagement impacts on business success (ACCOR), and that less than 50% of CFO’s appear to understand the return on their investments in human capital (Accenture). In Western Europe employee engagement is at a worrying low and according to Gallup’s new 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace the following shocking results were produced: •

ONLY 14% of employees are engaged at work - Engaged employees fuel the company with their passion and involvement. They take responsibility for the company’s success.

66% are NOT engaged - Non-Engaged employees simply do the nine to five. They’ll work just about enough not to get fired.

34 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

20% are actively disengaged - Actively Disengaged employees act out their unhappiness at work undermining what their engaged co-workers accomplish.

The indications are clear. High employee engagement is important when it comes to profit and one might say the key to turning your workforce into a focused and dedicated successdriven engine. Improving employee engagement is not simply about improving productivity — although organizations with a high level of engagement do report 22% higher productivity, according to a new meta-analysis of 1.4 million employees conducted by the Gallup Organization. You know an emploYee is activelY engaged when:


HUMAN rEsOUrCEs

An engAged employee:

Accepts more projects instead of turning them down

Serves as a mentor to a new employee

Actively participates in training opportunities

Offers to stay late to meet a deadline instead of leaving early to beat the traffic

Helps a colleague to meet deadlines

Passionately supports organizations mission, vision and values

Are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their co-workers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization

Speaks positively about the company when interacting with others

Engaged employees actively listen to the opinions of people close to the action and help their colleagues see the connection between their everyday work and the larger purpose or mission of the organization. When engaged employees do this they create a virtuous circle where communication and collaboration nurture engagement and vice versa. SmAll TweAkS = exponenTiAl improvemenTS

So if you Are commiTTed To improving engAgemenT, where do you begin?

My advice is focus on purpose: The why. Why does your company do what is does? Why does it exist? Take a look at the company values and reassess if they are still relevant and make sure they are incorporated on all levels of the organization. Communicate the purpose and values of the organization clearly to all employees and educate your managers on how to work with each employee on how employees’ individual purposes fit into that purpose. The role of managers in this process is crucial, as when employees clearly know their role, have what they need to fulfil their role, and can see the connection between their role and the overall organizational purpose, their level of engagement will rise. Empowerment, collaboration and motivational factors are another key element when it comes to engagement. It is very important to take a look at how collaboration takes place and on how to increase it. Empowerment is key when it comes to ownership and taking responsibility and increasing innovation and creativity. Furthermore motivational factors as salary, bonuses and other benefits all fit in on different levels depending on if the lack of engagement is because of low autonomy, bonuses or simply the lack of leadership on the why and the values. It is highly recommended that top management seek advice from specialists on: •

creating an action plan for incorporating the company values and purpose at a strategic level, to serve the company’s vision and mission

how engagement, productivity and profitability can be increased

workshops and resources to help your managers and project/team leads master the dynamics of engagement and increasing performance and productivity

Each company is different and therefor a customised plan for harnessing employee engagement in your organisation is essential. I believe that business leaders must raise the bar on employee engagement, increasing workplace engagement is vital to achieving sustainable growth for companies. The importance lies in businesses seeking to adapt to rapidly changing global economic conditions and in learning how to maintain highproductive workplaces, regardless of region or industry. TEU

Editor’s Note

Considering the benefits of high employee engagement, my question is therefore: Why do companies still struggle to foster engagement? Are they measuring the wrong things, or too many things, or don’t make the data intuitively actionable? Are they not making engagement a part of their overall strategy, or clarifying why employee engagement is important? Or is it maybe that they don´t provide quality education to help managers know what to do with the results, and in what order?

Kristin Sigrun Gudmundsdottir is an HR Consultant, currently working for Quad Consultancy and specializes in assisting companies increase levels of employee engagement. Kristin has a MA.Ed.Ant. (Educational Anthropology) from the University of Aarhus in Denmark and has formerly held positions as Head of HR for Debenhams Iceland and HR consultant for HR United in Copenhagen. Kristin is Icelandic, married married with two children aged 16 and 19, and in her free time enjoys traveling and meeting new people from all over the world.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 35


Company FoCus

Securing the Future The business environment over the last few years has not been the easiest for businesses involved in operations in North Africa, yet Medserv has continued to grow. The Company shares some insight with the Economic Update

Eni appoint Medserv (Cyprus) as logistics support providers for their Oil & Gas Operations Offshore Cyprus Stavros G Caramondanis, Commercial Director at Caramondani Engineers; Mr Anthony Diacono, Chairman Medserv plc; Cristiano Salino, Managing Director ENI Cyprus Ltd.

Strategic vision has been key. The last few years have not been easy and yes the unrest in North Africa did cause a lot of business disruption. In Medserv’s case this disruption translated itself in business postponed not lost. Our strategy was to diversify and consolidate where possible, invest and use the time to make us stronger going forward. We have a very strong management team in place that not only makes this possible but also takes the company from strength to strength. At Director level the role is more strategic, with emphasis on long term vision. It is this approach that allowed Medserv to come out of these turbulent two years even stronger as the diversification plans adopted by the company were all successfully implemented by the strong management team. Our professional executive management team is second to none. They demonstrate commitment both to the brand and to our clients, but most of all they run a tight ship! Efficiency is critical in any business today and our team all work towards sustainable business. We have cut out any unnecessary padding whilst at the same time we have continued to invest in our facilities and will continue to do so. 36 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

The Medserv name has become a recognised brand in our industry. Clients’ are increasingly coming to us with new requests and asking for support in additional areas, both at geographical and product levels. It was important to us to be able to continue to support our clients wherever possible. Diversification into new geographical markets allows us to do this but more importantly it allows us to spread our risk. Whilst previously our market was purely based on supporting international oil and gas companies operating offshore North Africa, we are now also present in the Eastern Mediterranean. The new contract we have just secured in Cyprus is a significant game change to our business. Our base in Larnaca, Cyprus supported by the new multi million contract we have just been awarded by Italian oil giant, Eni currently make the Eastern Mediterranean our main source of income and has reduced the Company’s reliability on North Africa. That being said, we still believe North Africa has a significant role to play and will eventually re-instate itself as the major revenue source for the Company. North Africa, in particular Libya, has a huge role

to play in this industry and we expect to see work emanating from this market increase significantly. Our focus has been to grow the company to allow us to continue to service the North African market and not to digress from it, whilst creating new opportunities and new business to continue to strengthen the company’s position.

Diversification into new geographical markets allows us to do this but more importantly it allows us to spread our risk Besides geographical diversification we are also exploring new markets in terms of new service offerings we can introduce. We have set up a maintenance division and have already successfully completed two rig paint jobs. We will also be looking to further strengthen our team and intend to appoint someone purely to focus on exploring growth opportunities. We believe we have a good product, an experienced and highly professional team and now the brand name and recognition on an international level. These facts are enablers for our growth plans. TEU


CONNECTING MALTA TO LIBYA COURIER GROUPAGE TRANSPORTATION

A total logistical solution for freight destined to and from Libya 4 & 5 G.Vassallo Street, Luqa LQA 1511, Malta T: +356 2144 2295, F: +356 2144 0418, e: info@welogistics.com, www.welogistics.com


EmErging BusinEss of thE month

EffortlEss sophistication By George Carol

Dean Gera is not a name that is immediately known across Malta… yet. It is, however, not new to those within local hairdressing and fashion circles. Dean, a hairdresser by profession, is making his mark in some of the most renowned hotels and shopping centres on the island. In between running his three salons, working on new concept ideas, letting off steam playing in the Marsa Squash League and overlooking works at his new home in Valletta, Dean found time to meet with The Economic Update to share his story, talk about his business expertise and share his plans to engineer a more productive salon business strategy.

Dean Gera’s team is young, professional and enthusiastic. As they effortlessly and efficiently work their way around the bright and airy workspaces of the salon at Corinthia St George’s Bay, you get the feeling that your appointment is going to be about so much more than just a haircut. The experience begins as soon as you walk in and are greeted by the staff, continues with the scintillating aromas of the top quality Schwarzkopf Professional products, is followed by the dream-inducing head massage, and ends with the elation felt as you look in the mirror to admire the end result, all within the context of the crisp, modern salon which Dean insists on being kept to impeccable standards. Top it off with a cappucino and a biscuit, or a lager as many of the male clients prefer. “The best thing about my line of work is that we get to make people happy, and I want the entire experience to be a memorable one for the client,” says Dean. 38 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

It comes as no surprise that he insists on such high standards. At the tender age of 1ineteen, after learning the ropes in his mother’s salon for five years, Dean was ready for a challenge and decided to move to England, undecided on whether to pursue a career in football or hairdressing. As luck would have it, top London hairdresser Trevor Sorbie decided to give him a shot and Dean began working at his Covent Garden salon. Dean still names Sorbie as his role model. “I like what he did for hairdressing, but more than that I appreciate that even with all his success he insists on giving a lot back, including his philanthropic work through his foundation for cancer patients, and more importantly he remains humble” states Dean. “Remaining grounded is, in my opinion, essential to being successful in any business. What I also appreciate about Trevor Sorbie, besides him being a genuinely nice guy, is that he is hard


EMErgINg BUsINEss Of THE MONTH

working and an exemplary role model to his staff.” Dean recalls one memory of Sorbie washing a client’s hair one busy morning when all the junior staff and apprentices had their hands full. “It is important not to forget the journey, especially once you start to reap the rewards of your success,” he adds. It was his experience at Trevor Sorbie, too, that made Dean so finicky about the appearance of his salons. After opening his latest salon in collaboration with The Make Up Store at The Point last June, Dean was adamant about creating a superior brand that people would recognize and appreciate. This prompted the revamping of his two salons at the Corinthia St George’s Bay and the Corinthia Palace, and with his carefully thought out black and white colour schemes partnered with his striking Schwarzkopf posters and memorable ‘DG’ logo, he has raised the bar in terms of the hairdressing experience in Malta. Dean’s attention to detail is extraordinary, admitting that he knows each client’s colour combination codes by heart, he insists on the towels being folded in a particular way, and even the products in the staff room, well out of his clients’ view, have strict places on the shelves and should always be in the correct order.

Hair is my absolute passion, I am so lucky that I have a job that allows me to be an ambassador for something I love When I ask him what his aim for his company is, Dean’s answer is clear. “We have created and marketed a brand, more than a hairdressing service, delivering high quality hair care using high quality products and positioning ourselves in multiple top establishments, all with easy access.” His aim is to expand the brand and maintain the quality of the service. “We aim to broaden the company and insist on intense and continuous training of all employees in both service and company philosophies, whilst remaining passionate about what we do,” he declares. With this he stresses how important it is to have reliable and hard-working employees. “This could never work as a one-man-show. My team is professional and dedicated, and all of them appreciate the seriousness with which I want the company to be run.” So what next for this ambitious entrepreneur who hasn’t even hit thirty? Well, his fourth salon is set to open in the capital city later this year. He tells me that it was his girlfriend’s long-time love of Valletta’s charm and beauty that made him jump on the Valletta bandwagon, and after buying a small property there he knew it was time to tap into the market in Europe’s culture capital. And after the success of the set-up at The Point, he will once again be teaming up with The Make Up Store. He is confident about the merge, adding that the combination allows a convenient and professional service. Getting ready for a party, a wedding or a good night out has now been made simpler and ever more wonderful. Before this launch, however, Dean Gera Hair Care and the Make Up Store will be adding a retail store to their floor space at The Point. Dean keeps his cards close to his chest and will not tell me what the concept for this new outlet will be, but he assures me that I will not have to wait long to find out. Dean believes firmly in reaping what he sows. He works a six day week, aiming to put in the necessary hard work now in preparation for his future. He is based at the San Gorg but dedicates a day to each of the Palace and Point salons to oversee their progress and cater for his clients in those vicinities. When he is not working, he

is in meetings pertaining either to business or to the progress of his new home. So how does he cope? “One thing I insist on is sports,” he says. “It is my relief at the end of a long, hard day, and I try to do some form of physical activity every day, if I can.” He also stresses the importance of surrounding himself with positive and supportive people. “I am thankful to my family and my girlfriend for their encouragement and their support, and to my parents for investing in my schooling and in me.” Positivity is key, according to Dean. “You have to believe to achieve. If you don’t have faith in your ideas, nobody else will.” Make no doubt about it, Dean has faith in all his projects, and by the looks of things, it is a faith that is justified. TEU

Editor’s Note Dean was born in 1985 into a family of hairdressers. His mother, aunt and uncle all old prestigious names among the Maltese locals. While Dean was still at school, he spent is Saturdays sweeping the floors and hanging up the towels at his Mother’s salon. Dean took up hairdressing professionally at the tender age of 16 and worked along side his mother for a solid 4 years. Working in London alongside top hairdresser had always been a dream of Dean’s. In 2006 Dean trained under Trevor Sorbie in his prestigious salon in Covent Garden. “Working at Trevor Sorbie was a dream come true, he gave me the confidence to bend the rules and develop my own style”. During his time at Trevor Sorbie, Dean regularly worked backstage at Trevor’s international shows and seminars where he worked alongside Angelo Seminara (creative director for Trevor Sorbie international).

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 39


TransporT & LogisTics

Delivering your Promise By Dion Buhagiar Said

SMS Logistics is part of the SMS GROUP which is more commonly referred to as just SMS. The culture at SMS is to ensure professional advice and personalized service to each and every customer. These aspects are guaranteed at all times to the extent that customers keep seeking the SMS effective way of doing business. For customers both large and small, our market leading services enhance both competitive and commercial advantage and with the ability to think globally and act locally customers can always benefit from an exceptional service. SMS always ensures flexibility to meet today’s business demands, and this is achieved by offering services for commercial and private customers through our full range of basic international transport solutions including transportation by air, ocean, and road or even a combination of either service where transit time is of essence yet cost being a crucial factor in the equation. Additionally SMS also offers integrated logistics project management services to ensure the complex requirements that encompass the transportation of heavy and over-dimensional equipment reach its destination according to plan. As a value added service SMS Logistics is also capable of offering domestic transport services across the Maltese Islands, using temperature controlled vehicles as well as standard vehicles catering for every type of cargo and of any size. Combined with this service, swift yet accurate customs brokerage services is also available for both inbound and outbound consignments. SMS Logistics is accredited by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) therefore enabling the company to operate with the appropriate licenses and complying with the necessary legal requirements to ensure cargo is transported safely, securely, 40 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

efficiently and economically under clearly defined rules whilst ensuring the safety of cargo and the environment. As an IATA accredited forwarder SMS Logistics is competent to handle any type of cargo whether it is Hazardous material, Valuables, Pharmaceuticals, or Live animals. In 1996 SMS was one of the first companies in Malta to be ISO certified within the freight forwarding realm and to further strengthen its position locally and internationally SMS also achieved the status of ‘Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)’. This certificate was granted to SMS by the Malta Customs authorities and having this quality seal means that SMS meets the specific and stringent requirements of customs authorities as laid down by the European Union. With a vision to maintain growth within its field SMS will continue to invest substantially in qualified human resources, and IT infrastructure, to enable reliable and a high level of service to its customers as customer satisfaction is of paramount importance for SMS. TEU


TransporT & LogisTics

Company’s investment to strengthen Fleet and deliver trust

Many are now familiar with the latest stunt from popular actor Jean Claude Van Damme when he performed his split on top of two Volvo Globetrotter Trucks. That stunt attracted over 70 million views on YouTube alone but more importantly, it reinstated the Volvo Truck brand as one of the most reliable industrial brands in Europe.

The vast majority of whatever we Maltese consume, and also whatever our industry produces and exports requires reliable, efficient and accessible modes of transport and delivery. As Malta’s leading transport and logistics company, Express Trailers has always recognized the importance of continuous investment in its fleet of trucks and trailers in order to sustain its growing business demands. This year, Express Trailers is proud to announce the addition of four brand new Volvo Globetrotter Trucks that have just been added to Express Trailers growing fleet which now accounts to 32 international vehicles, 150 trailers and 80 local vehicles. “Our fleet, together with our workforce, are our company’s most important asset. Our trailers mirror our hard-earned reputation which has made Express Trailers a natural leader in the transport and logistics sector in Malta and our drivers share in this pride and carry it with them everywhere they go,” stated Franco Azzopardi, Chairman and CEO of Express Group. “Reliability delivers trust and this is why this recent addition of four new trucks is a very important milestone for us because 42 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

it cements once again our commitment to strengthen our reliability and the already important service we deliver to all our customers. This is what led us to invest in the acquisition of these four new trucks that has brought the total fleet to 80,” added Mr Azzopardi. The four new trucks, together with the rest of the fleet, are all monitored via a computerized GPRS system from Head Office so that the customer always knows where the trailers are and also that the required temperatures are being maintained in the case of temperature controlled transport. These four trucks are also equipped with ADR Equipment for the transportation of hazardous cargo, are more fuel efficient and offer added safety features namely due to the new steering technology offered by Volvo Dynamic Steering. This technology is purposely designed both to increase safety and to improve the driver’s working environment making the truck act on the basis of precise collated information relating to the driving environment and in a way that reduces the risk of accidents and enables the driver to steer without any unnecessary physical exertion. TEU


When it comes to Thrust*, we’re second in the world

When it comes to TRUST, we’re second to none We at Express Trailers were trusted to deliver securely important equipment for the famous 1989 Malta summit between Presidents Bush and Gorbachev, which summit ended the Cold War. We were trusted with the delivery of the ultra-high-security carriage of the Euro coins and notes to Malta in 2007. Express Trailers keeps delivering every time we are chosen as the trusted logistics partners by global brands for the precise shifting of their production plants, or as transport specialists during the intricate relocation of embassies or carrying of special cargo. The legacy of delivering trust renews itself everyday, every time our tracked fleet of trailers carry cargo to, through and from Malta, be it delicate pharmaceuticals, priceless cars, high-end fashion wear or temperature-controlled foodstuffs. Whatever it is, whatever the weight, wherever it is located and wherever it is destined, we can transport, we can provide managed warehousing, we can be trusted. We will deliver! Express Trailers - Reliability and Trust for over 50 years

Delivering Trust * Our EVS race truck went down as the second fastest in the world when it clocked a best Quarter Mile of 10.95 secs.


HEALTH & FITNESS

EffEct of ExErcisE on typE ii diabEtEs By Richard Geres

A large number of studies have shown that habitual physical activity reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and mortality from all causes. Physical activity affects the metabolism of glucose and other intermediate substrates in normal subjects and in subjects with diabetes mellitus. In type 2 diabetes mellitus, regular aerobic physical activity is an effective tool for both prevention and treatment and needs to be fully implemented. Intervention trials have demonstrated that in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance diet plus exercise programmes reduce the risk of developing diabetes by over 60%. In subjects with overt type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise produce greater weight loss and allow greater reductions of hypoglycemic medications than diet alone.

Nevertheless, despite the evidence about the benefits of exercise, many diabetologists do not spend time and efforts convincing type 2 diabetic subjects to practice physical activity regularly. This may be due to the poor adherence of older adults to comply with their recommendations. Survey studies have shown that adults with diabetes are less likely than adults in general to engage in regular physical activity and that only 23% of older adults with type2 diabetes reported more than 60 minutes of weekly physical activity. In type II diabetic patients that do exercise regularly, reductions of BMI, HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin), coronary risk and treatment costs occurred. Data of literature showing that modest increments of physical fitness in diabetic subjects reduce by two-fold the risk of overall mortality, urge the implementation of physical activity programmes in the cure of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Long-term effects of regular exercise are particularly advantageous for type 2 diabetic patients. Regular aerobic exercise reduces visceral fat mass and body weight without decreasing lean body mass, ameliorates insulin sensitivity, glucose and blood pressure control, lipid profile and reduces the cardiovascular risk. For these reasons, regular aerobic physical activity should be considered an essential component of the cure of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Both aerobic and resistance training are recommended to control blood glucose in people with diabetes. However, only a few studies have attempted to compare the benefits from the two forms of exercise. A study by Bweir et al published in 2009 directly compared the effects of 10 weeks of resistance training or treadmill workouts on blood sugar levels before and after exercise and also HbA1c. Both intervention groups met three times per week for 10 weeks under supervision of an exercise therapist. In both groups, exercise intensity progressively increased over the course of the study. Special care was taken to ensure that total energy expenditure, perceived exertion and heart rate were equivalent between treatments. Results: Pre- and post-exercise blood glucose levels as well as HbA1c values were improved in both groups. However, the resistance training group clearly had greater benefit in achieving glycaemic control. After the 10-week resistance programme, 80% of the subjects had post-exercise blood glucose levels within the normal range, Editor’s Note Richard Geres is an internationally certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist specialising in weight-management and functional fitness. Over the last 18years he has helped thousands of individuals achieve slimmer, fitter and healthier bodies through lifestyle modifications and personalised exercise programmes. He can be contacted for seminars and individual consultations through his website on www.richardgeres.com.

44 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

while only 20% of the aerobic group reached this goal. Additionally the resistance training group had significantly greater reductions in HbA1c compared with the aerobic group. Although aerobic training did result in statistically significant reduction in HbA1c, none of the subjects in the aerobic group reached the target HbA1c < 7.0% while 40% of the resistance exercise group achieved this goal. Indeed, resistance training reduced the value of HbA1c by an average of 18% compared with an 8% reduction in the aerobic group. Conclusion: Ten weeks of resistance training resulted in significantly better improvements in glycaemic control compared to isocaloric and equally difficult aerobic exercise. TEU


100% British Engineered. 100% Guaranteed Results.

100% British Engineered. 100% Guaranteed Results.


COMPANy LAUNCH

Equiom cElEbratEs thE launch of its malta officE Equiom is fast becoming the stand out business in the fiduciary services sector with offices in some of the world’s premier International Finance Centres - including the Isle of Man, Jersey and Malta. We provide a range of innovative and effective fiduciary solutions that have widespread appeal to both corporations as well as high net worth individuals.

Equiom is an independent, management owned company allowing us to think strategically and act quickly. We are a thriving business with plans to continue to extend our jurisdictional reach and product range, in order to provide increased planning opportunities for existing and potential clients.

Equiom’s Sheila Dean with PM Joseph Muscat

Left to right, Dr Charles Mangion - Non Executive Director - Equiom (Malta) Ltd, Mr Larry Kearns - Chairman - Equiom, Mrs Sheila Dean - Group Managing Director - Equiom, Mr Aidan Davin - Group Client Services Director - Equiom

Equiom, the leading international trust and corporate services provider with offices in Malta, Jersey and headquartered in the Isle of Man recently celebrated the launch of their Maltese operation. The champagne reception, which was held at the Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar, Malta, was attended by 80 guests from across the finance sector including the Maltese Prime Minister, Hon. Dr Joseph Muscat.

AwArds: women in Business – North West & Isle of Man International Business Woman of the Year 2011: Sheila Dean Citywealth Leaders List 2012 – Leading Trustee: Sheila Dean Private Client Practitioner: Top 50 Most Influential: Sheila Dean 2013

Equiom Group Managing Director Sheila Dean commented on the launch: “I am delighted to officially celebrate the launch of our Malta office and can’t quite believe that it has been 12 months since Equiom Malta was established. With its very strong maritime focus as an internationally recognised flag state, together with excellent shipyard facilities, bunkering and berthing, we had long considered Malta for structuring opportunities for further expansion of our yachting and aviation division.

Private Client Practitioner: Top 25 Most Admired Companies 2013

We have built a comprehensive service offering covering the trust, fiduciary, yachting, aviation and e-Gaming sectors, which is seamlessly delivered by our very capable Equiom Malta team. In addition we have also been fortunate to work with very experienced and professional advisers in Malta, the Malta Financial Services Authority as well as Finance Malta.”

Citywealth Leaders List 2014 – Leading Trustee: Sheila Dean

Equiom’s Maltese operation has continued to go from strength to strength with the intention of offering the widest possible range of services to clients, including acting as trustees and nominee shareholders in addition to administering private foundations, to support and develop both existing and new relationships. The Group head office in the Isle of Man provides support drawing on Equiom’s heritage, experience, and technical expertise.

Citywealth Leaders List 2013 – Leading Trustee: Sheila Dean Citywealth IFC Power women – Top 100 Citywealth Magic Circle awards 2013 – Runner up: Sheila Dean – Woman of the Year Private Client Practitioner: Top 25 Trust Companies 2013 Citywealth International Financial Centre Awards 2014 – Editor’s Choice: Sheila Dean Private Client Practitioner: Top 25 Most Admired UK Companies 2014 Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited is licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission Equiom (Jersey) Limited is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission Equiom (Malta) Limited is authorised to act as a trustee and fiduciary services provider by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

TEU

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 47


Business Culture

A Culture of InfInIte PossIbIlItIes By Rene Magri

Culture loosely defined is: ‘a shared set of principles governing the actions of individuals in a society, community, club, or organisation’. This definition, crude and somewhat simplistic, is to a large extent what most people conjure in their head; this, safe from those that consider culture to be just the remit of festivities, religion and such efforts.

Culture is, of its essence, very soft. Not easy to define, and surely, not easy to communicate. The fundamentals, to any organisation – especially one predicated on competing fully with much bigger and better-budgeted rivals, is to make sure that each and every team member – new and old – has ingrained in his/her being the fundamentals of what makes them unique. Values on PaPer Define your culture. This sounds like squaring a circle to some, but it is of the essence that organisations document their valuesystems to themselves; they need to create an organisational memory; a way to reference back to ‘the book’ – not just for branding purposes, but for conduct, for new hires, and for growth. That which is defined is understood. Hire Passionate PeoPle The team at Bit8, without going through the merits of each and every employee – as that would take the space available multiple times over, is very passionate; each and every member of the team knows, understands and subscribes to the culture and the direction of where the company is going. Team members - irrespective of their seniority or role - are communicated with and given the space they require to develop their passion for their role. Passions are ingrained; but also learned. When you have the space to work, the tools, the perspective and the impact, you develop passion for the role. This is what we do at Bit8. Culture for growtH We are growing at breakneck speed. Developers work on tasks that millions of indirect customers use. This happens on a daily basis. Malta does have a cultural gap in this sense: the perspective we afford to developers in terms of scale and impact of their work is second to none; we are – through our superior platform, and our clients – reaching millions of users, globally. Cultures don’t always scale well. We are constantly vigilant on this to make sure that with scale, our values do not dilute.

sPaCe ownersHiP is HealtHy With ownership comes responsibility. We give each and every employee the responsibility, the space, the freedom to take risks, to learn, to hack, to implement and to be! Employees are given perks based on merit. We make sure to cultivate a culture of fairness, where employees’ successes are celebrated and recognized. In tandem with this, we afford all of our employees a gym and sports membership to incentivize a healthy lifestyle.

Team members - irrespective of their seniority or role - are communicated with and given the space they require to develop their passion for their role Challenges abound, and this mentality in our organisation helps us to go head-on at full speed. We cultivate entrepreneurs from within: intrapreneurs are given space and the remit to make a difference. New recruits will find themselves having fun, challenged daily, and growing their abilities constantly, while contributing to the team, the company and our clients from the get-go! transParent for all to see Strategies are communicated to all. Everyone partakes in meetings – regularly – on the next steps forward for the company: where are we going in terms of Markets, Clients, Products, etc, and in these settings everyone has the opportunity – irrespective of role – to voice ideas, concerns, clarifications. The building housing us is made of glass. We are honest, clear and focused through and through. Since inception in 2010, we have acquired a significant amount of the top casinos in the world; our technology is used globally – reaching millions of customers – and we have the best gaming platform in the world, using patent-pending AI-powered technology. TEU

www.bit8.com

all tHis is tHanks to our emPloyees. Join us! 48 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


BUsINEss MANAgEMENT

FranklinCovey transForming lives, teams and organisations Over 80 FranklinCovey partners, executives and clients attended the European marketing launch of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Signature 4.0 in Amsterdam, Holland, earlier this month.

The three-day event enabled top executives at FranklinCovey, including Vice-President Sue Dathe-Douglass, responsible for Global Leadership, Sales and Effectiveness, Vice-President Scott Miller, responsible for Marketing, and practice leader Catherine Nelson to go through the various aspects of the latest iteration of the 7 Habits. According to Sean Covey, Executive Vice President, Global Solutions and Partnerships, the latest 7 Habits programme has involved the most extensive product development effort that FranklinCovey Co. has ever attempted. “It began by gathering feedback from clients and partners around the world. Part of the research effort involved searching for companies in various countries that had transformed themselves using the 7 Habits,” he said.

This new programme is based on best practices from leading organisations around the world that have made the 7 Habits the foundation of their high performance cultures. Similar events to the launch in Amsterdam were held in Salt Lake City and Mauritius. Two other launches are being held next month in Jakarta and Dubai. The first open 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Signature 4.0 programme is being held in Malta from 28-30 May, 2014. TEU

The company then went on to discover specific practices and methodologies those companies used in their implementation of the 7 Habits. Prototype development and beta testing in various locations globally followed until the final solution was established. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Signature 4.0 is now an essential foundation for a great culture; be it within an organisation, a team of people working together or a single individual and the family. The focus has now turned to living the 7 Habits through several tools, including a smartphone app that can be downloaded to iPhones and Android devices, and handy cards. The seven-week (7 x 7-day) contract has been revised to help people live and practice the 7 Habits in a prescriptive and easy way. Participants are given an elegant manual, redesigned on recycled paper and the training content includes 34 new videos that are more streamlined, inspiring, skill-based and global than ever. Commenting on the new 7 Habits, Malcolm J Naudi, Managing Director of FranklinCovey Malta Ltd said: “We are extremely excited about 7 Habits 4.0. I can honestly say this has been a great leap forward. While preserving the soul and keeping the timeless practices that Dr Stephen R. Covey captured so brilliantly in his book, we now have added timely practices and a general updating of the components to live in the second decade of the millennium.” New content has also been developed in the form of a companion programme, Leader Implementation: Coaching Your Team to Higher Performance. This is designed for leaders and managers at all levels of the organisation in a process that teaches and equips leaders on how to coach their teams to higher performance and how to sustain and institutionalise the 7 Habits within their teams.

Editor’s Note Franklin Covey Co. (NYSE: FC) is a global provider of training and consulting services in the areas of leadership, productivity, strategy execution, customer loyalty, trust, sales performance, government, education and individual effectiveness. Over its history, Franklin Covey has worked with 90 per cent of the Fortune 100, more than 75 per cent of the Fortune 500, and thousands of small and mid-sized businesses, as well as numerous government entities and educational institutions. Franklin Covey has more than 40 direct and licensee offices providing professional services in over 140 countries. For more information, visit www.franklincovey.com.mt.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 49


CORPORATE BANKING

Fimbank oRganises inteRnational netwoRk meeting The FIMBank Group recently held an International Network Meeting at its head office in Malta. The focus of the meeting, which brought together the heads of all of FIMBank’s international offices, including its factoring joint ventures, was on corporate strategy and opportunities for growth for the Group.

The executives who participated in the various sessions included representatives from FIMBank’s office in London and London Forfaiting’s offices worldwide, as well as the CEOs heading the various operations offering factoring and other trade finance products, including India Factoring, FactorRus, BrasilFactors, MENAFactors and Med Factors. These were joined by FIMBank’s board of directors and members of the Bank’s executive management.

this event was to “establish effective ways to optimize crossfertilisation, the sharing of ideas and exploring of avenues for improving efficiencies and profitability. Moreover, it was great to have our cosmopolitan team getting together to develop a better understanding in view of for the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead, as well as for the implementation of practical synergies”.

Commenting on the Network Meeting, FIMBank President Margrith Lütschg-Emmenegger stated that the idea behind

For more information about the FIMBank Group please visit www.fimbank.com

RevolutionaRy savings plan by Calamatta CusChieRi lets Clients make instant Changes online By Chris Peregin

Calamatta Cuschieri’s new “Momentum” savings plan puts people in full control of their savings, offering maximum flexibility with deposits from as little as €50 per month.

TEU

Unlike other savings schemes, the CC Momentum™ account also lets you change, pause or exit the plan at any time without incurring any charges. Savers can monitor their account, change strategy or modify the sum they put away each month, depending on their financial situation through traditional methods or via Calamatta Cuschieri’s award-winning online platform: CC WebTrader™. The CC Momentum™ account is simple and easy to use online, as is synonymous with Calamatta Cuschieri products and services. “CC Momentum™ is a revolutionary savings plan with no restrictions. It is ideal for people who want to start saving for retirement or towards a specific goal, such as the education of their children, buying a house or opening a business,” said Alan Cuschieri, Director of Operations and Strategic Business Development, adding that savings plans compound interest in a tax efficient way. “Saving from an early age is more important than ever due to the uncertainty on pensions and constantly rising costs. Choosing a savings plan that

50 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

delivers results but does not tie you down has become equally important. With the launch of CC Momentum™, we wanted to ensure that we provide our clients with the flexibility and control needed in today’s world. Saving just €50 a month today can make a big difference later on.” Calamatta Cuschieri has also decided to donate €1 for every account opened, in line with its pledge to invest in the country’s future. The donation by Calamatta Cuschieri, which will not be taken from the sav-ings accounts, will go to the CC Cancer Foundation. The CC Cancer Foundation was set up with the collaboration of former Eurovision participant and medical doctor, Gianluca Bezzina, who is also the face of Calamatta Cuschieri’s Momentum Account campaign. Calamatta Cuschieri has launched a new savings section on its website www.cc.com.mt/savings-plan that provides useful information and tools that regard saving such as savings calculators, goal planners, budget sheets saving tips and more. TEU

For more information on CC Momentum™ visit the Calamatta Cuschieri website or contact Calamatta Cuschieri on 25 688 688.


DATA & PErsONAl sECUrITy

Invest now or Pay Later The Value of PriVacy By Dr Melanie Borg, Senior Legal Counsel, Vodafone Malta

In today’s age, privacy is viewed as an absolute priority. In the age of big data and digital devices this issue has become a top priority. What can we do and what should we do to protect ourselves and our companies in today’s environment?

Privacy is a personal issue, a social issue, a legal issue and a business issue. Improper handling of personal data undoubtedly leads of a range of implications, including legal, financial and reputational issues. For organisations like Vodafone, whose main activity involves the processing of customer or employee personal data, personal data is considered as being the crux of its reputation, in Vodafone’s case a global reputation. This reputation is precisely the key business asset which organisations need to adequately protect and safeguard. It is therefore of utmost importance that organisations take all the necessary steps to ensure that this key business asset is adequately treated, protected and safeguarded just like any other key business assets of the organisation. The principle here is invest now or pay later. The implications can be relatively nasty. It simply isn’t possible to eliminate privacy risk completely. Nor is it possible to prevent this completely. However it is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure that these risks are minimised. Why? Simply because the organisation that has collected its customer’s personal data has an obligation towards those very same customers to make sure that it is adequately protecting that personal data throughout its lifecycle, from collection to use to disclosure to destruction. Effective management of personal data is of utmost importance. It therefore pays to invest in all three of the following safeguards:1. AdministrAtive sAfeguArds: These safeguards include measures such as company policies and procedures to ensure the proper management of privacy and security of customer and employee personal data. Moreover organisations that process customer data should invest in having a privacy officer who can manage, implement and enforce a privacy programme within the organisation as well as monitor and review developments. 2. technicAl sAfeguArds: Organisations must implement those technological safeguards to adequately protect personal data. These measures may include encryption of data. Thus, in the event that an unauthorised individual still manages to gain access to the personal data held by an organisation, it would be virtually impossible for the said user to read and understand the information. 3. PhysicAl sAfeguArds: Investing in and implementing physical measures for electronic and non-electronic records is key. Drawers or cabinets where records containing personal information should be locked. Physical access to these drawers or cabinets should be limited on a need to know basis. Access to electronic records should also be restricted to a limited number of employees, again on a need to know basis.

Although an organisation might collect, generate and process other types of data, that by its nature is not classified as being personal data, such as operational data, information about the organisation’s products and services and intellectual property – this data is nevertheless a key part of the information assets of an organisation. Hence this information must be adequately protected and secured to ensure and maintain its confidentiality. Vodafone takes the privacy of its customers very seriously and has a zero tolerance policy approach towards privacy. It has implemented administrative, technical and physical privacy and security safeguards in place to ensure that its customers’ personal data is adequately safeguarded. Apart from ensuring legal compliance, Vodafone also ensures compliance with Group policies on privacy of information. Being proactive vis-à-vis reactive does pay in the long run. It is a fact that investing in the necessary technological, administrative and physical privacy and security safeguards can be a costly and resource draining exercise. However, when weighing these costs against all the implications that a data breach brings with it, such as reputational damage, juridical and financial implications, cutting costs on minimising privacy risks cannot and should not be an option. Seven Steps to Protect your Privacy Online: 1. Use unique passwords. Change them regularly and keep them secure. 2. Use antivirus and firewall software and update regularly. 3. Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks when not in use. 4. Be wary of file sharing. Utilise options made available to you to restrict access. 5. Be cautious of what information you provide through public devices. 6. Tread with caution when providing personal information online and when posting photos on social networking sites. 7. Remember - You are responsible to keep your personal data private.

If you have any queries on the issue contact Vodafone’s Privacy Officer on: data-protection.mt@vodafone.com TEU

Editor’s Note Dr Melanie Borg is currently a Senior Legal Counsel to and Privacy Officer of Vodafone Malta Limited. Before joining Vodafone in November 2009 as a Legal Counsel, Dr. Borg practiced for six years as an advocate at the Law Courts in Malta, specialising mainly in civil and commercial litigation as well as family law. She read law at the University of Malta and obtained her LLD in 2003.

March 2014 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 51


IT corporate events

The economisT evenT Hazlis & Rivas

The Economist Business Roundtable with the Government of Malta Invigorating Investment and Growth, March 6th – 7th 2014, Hilton Conference Centre, Malta Louis Grech,

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs of Malta “All those who are involved in the shaping and implementation Growth, investment, economic stability and employment are fields to focus of economic and financial strategies need to adopt a more upon, according to the Maltese Deputy Prime Minister, noting in parallel that holistic approach that integrates the specific realities of preserving insecurity does not help productivity. member states and its citizens” was stressed by Louis Grech, Mr Grech also stressed that fiscal discipline and structural reforms are a Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs of Malta during priority, but without development nothing can be accomplished. his official opening speech at the Economist Business Roundtable with the As far as Malta is concerned, the Deputy Prime Minister mentioned that Government of Malta, which is taking place in St Julians, Malta. its economy continues to perform better than the Eurozone average. It has Moreover, Mr Grech stated that a balance between austerity and growth reduced inflation, has created new jobs and has diversified the activities of needs to be struck, between an open economy capable of stimulating its economy, according to Mr Louis Grech. In closing, the Deputy Prime growth and investment and one which is able to provide the necessary Minister pointed as priorities –among others- the elimination of bureaucracy and high investment in education and innovation. social safety net to its citizens.

Martin schuLz,

President of the European Parliament

More and better investment opportunities for growth are needed, according to the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, who sent a message to the speakers and delegates of the Economist’s Business Roundtable with the Government of Malta. Furthermore, Mr Schulz stated that migration is a major challenge for Europe. However, reduction

of youth unemployment was highlighted as Europe’s highest priority by the European Parliament’s president. Mr Schulz expressed his optimism on Europe’s future provided that it changed its direction and within this context he considers the upcoming European elections as the first step towards European Union’s process of change.

the rt hon Lord MandeLson, Labour Party, UK, Former European Commissioner The overall situation is better, but sustainable recovery still remains uncertain, according to Rt Hon Lord Mandelson of UK’s Labour Party. Lord Mandelson delivered a keynote address within the context of The Economist’s Business Roundtable with the Government of Malta, which is taking place in Malta.

Moreover, Lord Mandelson noted that Europe is certainly recovering from the crisis, but this recovery is fragile, highlighting among others the political consequences of the crisis. He furthermore considers 2014 a turning point. Lord Mandelson also mentioned that Eurozone’s borrowing costs have been drastically reduced, owing gratitude to Enrico Letta and Mario Monti (present at the conference) for taking the necessary steps in Italy.

The focus should shift on the competitiveness of the European industry, Lord Mandelson proposed during his keynote speech. He also characterised Malta as an oasis of calm, stability and financial power in the European Union.

Banking Union is definitely a priority for Europe according to Lord Mandelson, considering ECB’s closer supervision over the European banks a turning point towards the consolidation of the European banking system.

Mario Monti,

President of Bocconi University and Former Prime Minister of Italy

Three bridges need to be built in the European Union: One to link north and south, another one to connect Britain and the rest of Europe and a third between the European Union and its citizens, Fmr Prime Minister of Italy and President of Bocconi University Mario Monti said in his keynote speech delivered at today at the Economist’s Business Roundtable with the Government of Malta. Among others, Professor Monti stressed that –with the exception of MaltaItaly is the only south European country that has emerged from the crisis

Joseph Muscat,

without receiving aid from the European mechanisms. He also estimated that during the last years the economies of the south European countries have made huge progress, describing as successful the culture of the social market economy combined with fiscal discipline and structural reforms. In parallel, in view of Britain’s referendum on its European future, Italy’s Fmr Prime Minister expressed the opinion that Britain should not be defensive, but offensive and to ask from the rest of Europe to take seriously the single market, the open competition and the necessary reforms.

Prime Minister of Malta

The Maltese Prime Minister during his welcome speech at the Official Gala Dinner of The Economist’s Business Roundtable with the Government of Malta set the agenda of the next day’s discussions, making reference to challenges such as single market’s development, migration and energy efficiency. www.hazliseconomist.com | Facebook: The Economist Events for Greece, Cyprus and Malta | Tweeter: @Economist_SEUR | Platinum sponsor: HSBC | Gold sponsor: FinanceMalta Silver sponsors: FIMBank, Palmali Holding | Bronze sponsor: GO | Sponsor: On Telecoms | Contributors: Malta Stock Exchange, Malta Enterprise, Maltco Lotteries | International broadcast partner: CNN International | Media partners: PBS, Times of Malta, Malta Independent, Malta Today, The Malta Business Weekly, InBusiness Malta, ONE, iNews, Naftemporiki, European Voice | Logistics supplier: DHL | Official supporting organisation: CountryProfiler

52 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


“Entrepreneurs have the power to build a more economically just and politically stable world.”

Sponsored by

Such inspiration came from Kofi Annan, former SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, when he talked with Ernst & Young Global Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2014 will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel, on Friday 16th May 2014 and will bring together some of Malta’s top business people all competing for The Economic Update’s most prestigious nominee awards. The event, which will be sponsored by MSV Life and organised by Circle Events and The Economic Update, will start off with a lavish black tie Gala Event, culminating with the much awaited Best Awards ceremony. The awards categories this year have been increased substantially and will be attributed as follows: • • • • • • • • •

International Trade Media Award Property Entrepreneur of the Year Retail and Leisure Entrepreneur of the Year Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Digital/IT Entrepreneur of the Year Family Business of the Year Most Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Start-Up Company of the Year Best Entrepreneur Ideas

• • • • • • • •

Best Banking Award Corporate Financier of the Year Emerging Entrepreneur iGaming Entrepreneurial Award Young Entrepreneur of the Year Top Female Entrepreneur Top Male Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award or Award for Excellence

The final votes for the award will be the result of a judging panel formed by a professional qaulified VIPs, who will be interviewing the nominees during the gala dinner. Last Year’s winners were: James Abela and Matthew Sammut (NIU) were awarded the honour of ‘Best Innovation Award’. The title for ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’ was won by Mark J Galea (Quad Consultancy). The title for ‘Top Female Entrepreneur’ was won by Sandra Zammit (TotallyFresh Ltd) while Ivan Bartolo (6PM Holdings) won the ‘Top Male Entrepreneur’ The highest accolade of Top Entrepreneur Award for 2013 was won by Ivan Bartolo. The event is being organised by Circle Events, together with The Economic Update and MSV Life. For nominations, sponsor package and bookings please contact: Margaret Brincat on 9940 6743 - margaretbrincat@gmail.com; Martin Vella on 9995 2660; Nicholas Formosa on 9943 8839; Viktoriya Kyurcheva on 9928 4933

November 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 13


IT Advisory Services An effective, well-managed IT system is one of the most valuable business advantages an organisation can secure. The right technology, implemented properly, appropriately managed and monitored, can lead to significant gains in growth and efficiency. It is essential to get sound business advice to help ensure technology risks are managed. IT is challenging to get right and expensive to get wrong, not only in terms of cost, but also in lost efficiency and potential regulatory infringements. We provide support and guidance to help clients with the technology issues within their business. We focus on the business impact of technology rather than systems implementation, and we are not tied to any hardware or software suppliers. As a result, our advice is independent and geared to the specific needs of each client. Contact Us Eric Muscat Partner, IT Advisory Services T: +356 2563 1013 ericmuscat@kpmg.com.mt

www.kpmg.com.mt

© 2014 KPMG, a Maltese civil partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


The Economic Update March 2014