Issuu on Google+

NEWSPAPER POST | October 2013

From Strength to Strength Office Group Limited Managing Director Anthony Micallef discusses Konica Minolta business segments

FOCUS ON POLITICAL LEADERS Increasing Productive Capacity Finance Minister Prof Edward Scicluna talks about the measures to address public finances and reduce expenditure accounts p.08

CASE STUDY

Talking Point

Energy Saving technologies and Tax Incentives

A Widening Domestic and International Dimension

A special study on Voltage optimisation systems which can guarantee businesses save money on energy costs p.10

APS Bank Chairman Prof E. P. Delia, talks about how APS Bank is maximising its potential within the context of Catholic Social Teaching. p.14

Corporate Interview Getting Things Done Anthony P Tabone, new CEO of SmartCity discusses recent restructuring regarding the exciting new developments of the Xag침jra project p.20


CONTENTS

NEWSPAPER POST | October 2013

FEATURE STORIES From Strength to Strength Office Group Limited Managing Director Anthony Micallef discusses Konica Minolta business segments

FOCUS ON POLITICAL LEADERS Increasing Productive Capacity Finance Minister Prof Edward Scicluna talks about the measures to address public finances and reduce expenditure accounts p.08

CASE STUDY

TALKING POINT

Energy Saving technologies and Tax Incentives

A Widening Domestic and International Dimension

A special study on Voltage optimisation systems which can guarantee businesses save money on energy costs p.10

APS Bank Chairman Prof E. P. Delia, talks about how APS Bank is maximising its potential within the context of Catholic Social Teaching. p.14

CORPORATE INTERVIEW Getting Things Done Anthony P Tabone, new CEO of SmartCity discusses recent restructuring regarding the exciting new developments of the Xagħjra project p.20

06 Cover Story: From Strength to Strength

The Economic Update talks with Office Group Limited Director Anthony Micallef

Publisher John Formosa

08 Focus on Political Leaders: Increasing Productive Capacity

Editor Martin Vella

Finance Minister Prof Edward Scicluna discusses the measures to address public finances, cut the debt, and reduce expenditure accounts

Journalist Lorna Diep Sales & Publication Manager Margaret Brincat

10 Case Study: Energy saving technologies and tax incentives combine to create an Excellent Investment climate

Graphic Designer Berthrand Pisani

A special feature by EMSc (UK) Ltd on Voltage optimisation systems which can guarantee businesses save money on energy costs.

Cover photography Pippa Zammit Cutajar

14 Exclusive Interview: A Widening Domestic and International Dimension

Printing PRINT IT

We meet with Prof E. P. Delia, APS Bank Chairman, in an exclusive interview.

06

Quote of the month: “You can analyze the past but you have to design the future”, Edward de Bono For magazine and website advertising enquiries please contact: margaret@networkpublications.com.mt or call on (+356) 9940 6743 For editorial enquiries please contact:

20 Asylum: Supporting Reality A special interview with the Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Office Dr Robert K Visser, who emphasises the importance of relocation, touching on the integration of human beings

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: Rachel Balzan Demajo; David Borg; Roberto Bruno; Valhmor Borg; Anna Maria Cardona Schranz; George Carol; Brian Dalton; Duncan Dimech; Chris Demicoli; Lorna Diep; Kurt Mahoney; Richard Geres; Richard Mifsud; Special Thanks: APS Bank; Bawag Bank; Banif Bank; BOV; BPC; European Asylum Support Office; Exor Group; HSBC; JP Advertising Ltd; KPMG; MSV Life; Ogilvy PR; Emirates Airlines; Office Group Ltd; OHSA; SmartCity; Solar Solution; Thomas Smith. 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

24 Cybercrime: Of Hold-up and Pen Drives A fantastic article on technological criminals by Digital Forensic Consultant with Mahoney & Co – Business Advisory Services

08

14

28 Business: SmartCity Malta Supports Middle East Business Council We cover the launch event, which was held on 10th October at SmartCity Malta, a natural location for the multimillion Middle Eastern project. 32 Your unique event at Valletta Waterfront We find out why the Valletta Waterfront is an award-winning destination.

20

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 Is attitude talent? Of course it is and we just have a hard time quantifying it, so we essentially hope we get the right attitude when we add people to our organisations. What’s the biggest problem here is when someone overrules sifting through resumes preferring to poach employees rather than engaging the perfect employee. You know it when you hear it; thieving conveys negative attitude.

24

Attitude is a talent and it can be taught. This makes me reflect back on what is referred to as morale and discipline. More often than not, attitude is acquired depending on how the two are addressed. Am I right? Back in 2007 when he wrote The Future of Management Gary Hamel asserted that the elements of performance that now make the greatest difference for employers are passion, creativity and initiative. These three characteristics now clearly trump the diligence, intelligence and obedience that were prized by managers for many decades. Yes… and add to that list attitude and you are probably going to get a more complete picture of why some employees standout despite not having not had the right pedigree on paper. Before you start nodding your head, ask yourself this…what do I mean by attitude? Unfortunately you will probably find yourself starting from a place defined by diligence and obedience as fundamental pillars. So, start again.

32

Seth Godin was right when he said that, “An organisation filled with honest, motivated, connected, eager, learning, experimenting, ethical and driven people will always defeat the one that merely has talent. Every time.” Many times we need to offer the employee the opportunity to develop the attitude we are looking for. “…when MIT researchers spent an entire year following 2,600 employees, observing their social ties, even using mathematical formulas to analyze the size and scope of their address books and buddy lists, they found that the more socially connected the IBM employees were, the better they performed. They could even quantify the difference: On average, every e-mail contact was worth an added $948 in revenue.” Excerpted from ‘The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work’. A conversation with an employee whose attitude is not what you would like it to be, can be a moment of truth for you as well. As the employer or manager you need to be prepared to hear from the employee what it is they see in your environment that has them holding back. So the learning available can be on both sides of the conversation. Enjoy the read.

Martin Vella

34 34 Young Entrepreneurship: Sharing Ownership We meet up with the rising entrepreneur Benjamin Tabone Grech, who talks about identifying avenues in which the business could change to expand. 40 Technology: EU Supports New Technology which can chill a drink in 45 seconds: An Economic Update exclusive on RapidCool, an innovative project supported by European Union research funding, which aims at reducing the energy requirements for cooling drinks at the point of sale 46 Education: Global College Malta unique new after-Graduation awards Programme Golbal College’s after-graduation scholarship schemes forstudents in the September 2013 intake

46

52 IT: Business Investing More in IT Outsourcing We follow the latest outsourcing statistics and trends with Smart Technologies Ltd


COver Story

OFFICE GROUP LTD is Gold Partner to IDC IT Managers Forum 2013 International IT Forum brings to Malta discussion of the effective use of emerging ICT technologies. The economic update talks with office group limited Managing director anthony micallef. By Martin Vella

The turbulent economic climate across the world and the political instability in the CEE region is reshaping ICT user requirements, while forcing changes in ICT spending patterns. The economic growth aided by increased public spending, government’s plans to build an information society, and availability of better communications infrastructure is driving the use of IT among organisations. Office Group Ltd, in partnership with IDC, brought to Malta the IT Managers Forum 2013, held on The Westin Dragonara Resort on 30th September2013. The event discussed how the effective use of emerging technologies like cloud, mobility, virtualizsation, analytics, and social media can drive organisations to success in the current market conditions. The main focus is to demonstrate that ICT technologies can be part of the remedy for dealing with the fallout of the crisis. Many solutions, from information management and IT outsourcing through

business intelligence, virtualisation, and green IT to VoIP, unified communication, and IT consolidation, can be applied to improve efficiency, lower costs, and keep profitability high. Those, along the strong commitment to after-sales service, are some of Office Group’s expertise as a supplier of IT and office equipment, as well as business consultancy in workflow management optimisation. Office Group Ltd has been Konica Minolta’s local distributor/partner for over 30 years. Proud to have a vast client base both in Malta and North Africa, the company covers most large organisations, government departments and corporations. OGL specialises in document management systems and services, enabling clients to improve document workflow and efficiency. By integrating and applying industryleading expertise and innovative technology, OGL helps companies meet today’s complex document workflow demands, providing customised, scalable

Mr. Shintaro Inoue (Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH) and Mr. Anthony Micallef (OGL)

04 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

solutions that streamline every phase of the document lifecycle - from input to output, as well as distribution, storage and retrieval.

OGL also specialises in supplying equipment and technical service infrastructure to the Production Printing market. The Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS series leads the industry in digital production print performance — with revolutionary colour image quality, ultrahigh-speed output, pro-quality inline finishing options to meet any job specs, and purpose-built reliability to stay competitive and keep pace with rising client workloads. From OGL’s new business centre, Konica Minolta Business Solutions GmbH provides full support to the local market and to the CAMEA area (Central Asia, Middle East and Africa), covering 40 countries through their Representative Office in Malta.


COver Story

Whatever the needs at the workplace, the picture is more or less the same everywhere: Whether your office is large or small, whether it’s corporate or departmental – document creation, reproduction, distribution and sharing are based on solutions. Divisions like logistics, marketing, personnel, finance and others have two main requirements with their office equipment: 1 - Devices must be affordable and offer an excellent cost/performance ratio. You rightfully expect your equipment to be available at all times - which should be ensured with perfect technical service and support, reliable but virtually unnoticeable. 2 - Any new equipment to be considered must be perfectly simple and straightforward to integrate into the existing network setup. At the same time, administrators want an easy setup and maintenance of all devices and intelligent software support. From small offices to big enterprises, Office Group Ltd clients easily find the individual solution that perfectly fits their most specific and diverse business requirements. As the present local distributor for Konica Minolta for over 30 years, its unparalleled suite of products ranges from entry-level devices to cutting edge high-performance print systems in colour or black and white.

Partners, speakers and delegates during the IDC IT Managers Forum held in Malta, September 30, 2013

Proud to have a vast production print client base both locally and in North Africa, covering most large organisations, government departments and corporations, OGL is renowned for reliable and efficient after sales service, backed by qualified technicians who are trained overseas.

management costs, enhance your productivity, improve your business and increase your profits.

Highly efficient and perfectly compatible multifunctionals to help you lower your print and document management costs, enhance your productivity, improve your business and increase your profits.

All Konica Minolta products comply with local and global environmental laws and regulations, backed up by the many certificates which the company has applied for and been awarded: Blue Angel, Energy Star, ISO 14001, and ROHS.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions is a leader in advanced document management technologies. For the sixth consecutive year, it has been recognized as the top brand for customer loyalty in the Office Copier Market, being named 2013 “Document Imaging Solutions Line of the Year”.

Oftec Business Centre in Birkirkara, Malta

The philosophy of constant innovation has produced the present generation of technologically superior devices and technologically superior devices and systems. This exclusively designed choice of highly efficient and perfectly compatible multifunctionals will help you lower your print and document

Highly efficient and perfectly compatible multifunctionals to help you lower your print and document management costs, enhance your productivity, improve your business and increase your profits.

TEU

More information on the IDC IT Managers Forum 2013 and its programme can be found on: http://idc-cema.com/itforum13mt Office Group Ltd, Oftec Business Centre 1/2, Notabile Road, Birkirkara BKR1876 Tel: (356) 2149 3483 - (356) 2149 5596 Fax: (356) 2148 4320 - (356) 2149 1795 www.oglmalta.com - info@oglmalta.com All rights reserved | Copyrighted

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 05


business opportunities

ALTERNATIVE FUNDING FOR SMEs By David Borg

I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine, a few years ago. He reminisced about his first steps towards becoming an entrepreneur and recounted the number of visits he made, as a young man, to various banks trying to get them to extend facilities to help finance his fledgling property business. The visits were numerous and with each appointment he would measure how many minutes it took before he was politely ushered out of the door. Today, he is the CEO and major shareholder of a multi-million property development company with projects in all the major cities across the globe. What changed the course of his career catapulting him from obscurity to the jet-set lifestyle that he enjoys today was quite simply, access to funds and a sound, scalable business idea. In our profession we come across aspiring entrepreneurs who have excellent business propositions but who lack the funds to kick start their enterprise or to take their existing business to the next level. Unfortunately, Malta lags behind when it comes to venture or angel investment and raising finance from the banks without having collateral is nigh on impossible. Alternative fund providers have devised ideas to bypass the banks and give SMEs access to capital. Crowd-funding is one such option, recently legally recognised in the United States and other developed nations. Crowd-funding enables start-up companies to access funding from private investors through an intermediary, normally an internet-based service provider, such as Kickstart.com. The start-up would initially establish the level of funding it requires to launch or to produce a product and the intermediary would market the project and raise the required capital through its portal. Once the target value is raised, the intermediary releases the funds in favour of the startup business. Should this target not be reached, funds are returned back to the original investors. A successful placement can compensate investors either ‘in06 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

kind’ by providing them with products, a system known as ‘reward crowd-funding’, or may even offer equity in the company through shares, stocks and bonds issued by the company and technically referred to as ‘securities crowd-funding’. In the latter case the benefits of opting for a crowd-funding project as opposed to an Initial Public Offering are clear and range from being cost-effective, time efficient and less bureaucratic. Another viable platform could be a licensed Retail Fund which is established specifically to invest in start-ups and businesses who find it difficult to raise the necessary capital. The fund could also include local government as a founding shareholder with additional investors coming from a mix of individuals and corporates. A democratically appointed Board of Directors, representative of the various investor groups, would be guided on investment decisions by a panel of multi-disciplinary experts. The role of this ‘Investment Committee’ would be to evaluate proposals put to the Fund and assess not only the business model/ idea presented but also its scalability and, more important of all, the ‘investability’ of the entrepreneur/s presenting it. The returns for the fund would vary, depending on how well the fund is managed and prevailing market conditions. The benefits of using such a platform are various. First and foremost, retail funds are generally open to novice investors, therefore tightly regulated by the MFSA ensuring an enhanced level of investor protection. This

together with the quality of the Investment Committee gives great comfort to investors wishing to invest their hard earned money. As opposed to a crowd-funding initiative, a retail fund is not tied to any one particular venture but rather to a multiplicity of businesses. Therefore the risk in a retail fund is spread over all the investments made by the fund and the loss made from one failed business may be compensated through the success of another. Over these past years we have seen a variety of alternative funding sources for SME’s however Malta still lags behind in this area. As the Maltese jurisdiction continues in its development as a stable environment for investment funds, it may be the right time to develop such a crowd funded investment platform to invest in local entrepreneurs and help them launch their businesses locally and also quite possibly overseas. The government could take a lead role in promoting such a fund through an agency such as Malta Enterprise, effectively putting such a system in place to replace the existing grant schemes to SMEs, which offer no return on investment to the government. In such a manner the government could make available sums of money for start-up SME’s with a possibility of receiving a fair reward.

TEU

Editor’s Note David Borg is one of the Founding Partners of the Capstone Group. David is the group’s tax partner and is responsible for business development. He has worked in the private sector where he has held senior positions with a number of foreign owned companies operating out of Malta. Over the years, he has gained extensive experience in varied industry sectors particularly within the oil and gas, international tourism and real estate and has advised various companies on business development, tax structures and corporate governance issues. David holds various directorships with a number of companies including Momentum Pensions Malta Limited, a licensed Pension Scheme Administration company regulated in Malta and the Isle of Man. The company provides QROPS, QNUPS and personal pension plan solutions. David is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK), the Malta Institute of Taxation and the Malta Institute of Accountants. He is also a member of the executive committee of Integra – an international grouping of independent tax advisors and accounting firms. He holds a Chartered Accountant’s warrant issued by the Malta Accountancy Board.


BOV JEREMIE Financing Package Bank of Valletta has acquired additional funds to support the local business. The BOV JEREMIE Financing Package offers tailor-made solutions for SMEs including Micro-Enterprises. Talk to us today and benefit from advantageous terms. Your success is our goal.

BOV SME BUSINESS BANKING 2131 2020 I bov.com

JEREMIE refers to the Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiative. Terms and conditions apply.

Issued by Bank of Valletta p.l.c. 58, Zachary Street, Valletta VLT 1130 - Malta

Operational Programme I – Cohesion Policy 2007- 2013 Investing in Competitiveness for a Better Quality of Life “The financing provided hereunder benefits from support from an operational programme co-financed by the European Union Structural Funds pursuant to the “Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises” initiative (JEREMIE)” European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Investing in your future

Additional Funds


Increasing Productive Capacity Politcs

By Martin Vella

(Left to Right) Maltese Minister for Finance Prof. Edward Scicluna, Romanian Minister Delegate for Budget Mr. Liviu Voinea, Irish Minister for Finance Mr. Michael Noonan, Italian Minister for Finance and Economy Mr. Fabrizio Saccomanni.

The Economic Update spoke with Finance Minister Prof Edward Scicluna about the measures to address public finances, cut the debt, redressing expenditure accounts, presenting a factual direct style of governance and increasing productive capacity. TEU: Can you tell us exactly how the government is going to reign in the debt deficit – its policy –and the objectives? ES: As you know, we are starting from a position of weakness, because we are in an Excessive Deficit Procedure. So, the first priority is to close this chapter, and then from there, work towards redressing the balance in the budget. This is what we would work on in the medium term. We have legislated on this Golden Rule, which in the future will also be embedded into the Constitution. Over a specific period of time, the surpluses and difference will balance out, and Malta will be not be in a deficit, so that it will never add to the debt. That is the only way. In fact, the Government’s intention is that it will have surpluses in order to begin reducing the debt burden. It’s a heavy burden on the people and the economy – so we are very clear about it. Just a few days ago in fact, we submitted our Draft Budgetary Plan which all EU 28 countries had to submit to show how we are addressing this issue and how we are fashioning the budget 08 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

within the economic circumstances which the country is passing through. I hear some countries didn’t make it on time (by midnight of 15th). Furthermore, because of our excessive deficit situation, we also had to submit another set of documents fifteen days before that, to show what measures we are undertaking in order to conform. The first document is called the European Partnership Programme, while the other document (Report for Effective Action) outlines the measures we are undertaking to reduce the deficit. TEU: And did you get any feedback? ES: We have passed the first step, with Eurostat ticking the criteria. They have given the green light, as we have conformed to what we were required to submit. The Commission will be looking into these documents deeper, and we expect to get a reaction from them soon, and a reaction for the budget draft, which we expect to receive by the end of November. These documents are no secret. They have been made public and show, backed-up by statistics, that we are on track; that what

we expected as revenue is coming in, and what we estimate as expenditure - even with unexpected happenings - is adhered to in that we do not spend more than what was estimated. TEU: So from your submissions you anticipate a positive outcome? ES: The positive outcome we envisage is that we reach the end of the year under the deficit of 3%. We have our own expenditure accounts and we will make sure, with a lot of effort on the expenditure side if necessary, that we will meet this target. Indeed we have already addressed 300 lines items of entities and programs where we thought we could make some savings without hurting the services, and we did so, redistributing the resources to other, needier areas. TEU: The budget proposals and what you have detailed have had a positive response. ES: Yes, we’re adopting a different style in how we’re approaching the budget. I am currently in the process of regularly meeting


Politics

all the officials preparing the budget. From the three documents submitted to the Commission on the 1st and 15th October, they now have experience of my intervention in the style of how things should be presented, and they know that I prefer a direct style – factual. We don’t want to always brag that we are the best within the data we present. Let whoever wants to judge us, judge. You will see that the budget we will present will have a different style. The data will be factual and presented in a document, which we never had before. Before, we had accounts – estimates – and economic surveys of the past. Malta never had a Budget Document. It had a budget speech: an endless budget speech, which tried to combine the budget document with the speech. But it created a mess of confusion – a three-hour marathon which tired everybody. So, now, the speech itself will be short and to the point, like every other minister in a European country, and anyone who wants the details of the budget, can look to the budget document itself.

and because we are part of the Euro zone, it is the European Central Bank which can do something about inflation through its monitoring policy and interest rates, and so on. However, having said that, my remit is to monitor both the inflation and the effective exchange rate. Because the latter shows whether we are losing or gaining competitiveness. Regarding inflation, although it is a monitory policy remit, what the government can do is ensure that there is more competition. Where there is no competition – where there are restrictive practices – by importers or instances where someone tries to monopolise or form a cartel, this will increase prices. Am I satisfied? No. I feel the competition authority can do more to ensure more competition in our economy.

TEU: Are you satisfied with your government’s performance and management of inflation and exchange rates so far, since you have taken over?

TEU: How has the transition from an MEP been for you?

ES: Actually, these are not exactly within the remit of the Minister. My remit is more on the fiscal side. That is not to say I’m not concerned with inflation and the exchange rate. However, it’s the Central Bank’s remit,

Malta never had a budget document. It had a budget speech: an endless budget speech, which tried to combine the budget document with the speech. But it created a mess of confusion

ES: It’s been interesting. When I was last in Brussels, I was going past the European Parliament building and I was struck by a strange feeling, as if I never left. Luckily, I met with President of the Socialist Group Hannes Swoboda, who jokingly said, ”We’ve given back three of our members

– the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Finance Minister – to this government, as a gift” - because he wanted us there. He could sacrifice them in order to have a successful Socialist Government in Malta. The advantage is that the issues in the European Parliament are the same issues as in the Council. For example, my report on statistics is currently being negotiated between the Parliament and the Council. Those issues are Malta’s issues because we are in the same family – the European family. TEU: What are your priorities for 2014? ES: As I have said – stability. It has become an important resource for Malta. Before we used to say that we don’t have minerals, haven’t found oil, and so on. In the past we also used to say we have a strategic location, but that wasn’t enough. Now we can say we have a strategic location with a strategic resource – which is stability. The U.S. is recognising this by setting up an institute to be situated in Malta, the Chinese are discovering it and want to operate from Malta through a distribution centre, and the Libyans are also recognising how important stability is, and want to set up an Education and Health institution; things they could have done there, but the situation for them is too unstable. So our stability is to our advantage, and can help our economy grow. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Editor’s Note Prof Edwrad Scicluna has successfully held posts as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Malta; Chairman of the Malta Council of Economic and Social Development (MCESD), Chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), Electoral Commissioner, Central Bank Director, MIB Ltd director, Chairman of Political Discussion Programmes organised by the Malta Broadcasting Authority (MBA), Chairman of the HSBC’s Malta Funds Sicav plc and Structured Funds Sicav plc, Chairman of CWG plc, director at San Antonio Hotel and Spa, and board member of the National Euro Change-over Committee (NECC). He graduated from the University of Oxford with a Diploma achieving a distinction in politics and economics; from the Universityof Malta with a First Class Honours BA degree in Economics, and the University of Toronto with a Masters and Doctorate in Economics. He carried out consultancy work for the EU Commission, UNESCO, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and for the governments of Albania, Croatia, Libya and Turkey; served on the Council of Europe Development Bank Auditing Committee. He acts as economic advisor to the IMF delegation and the followingRating Agencies – FitchIbca, Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s. Two years ago he was appointed as a Euro expert by the EU Commission. Professor Scicluna is Minister for Finance in the Labour Government of Joseph Muscat and a Member of the Maltese House of Representatives. October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 09


Case Study: Energy Saving Technologies

Energy saving technologies and tax incentives combine to create an excellent investment climate By Paul North Voltage optimisation systems can guarantee businesses save money on energy costs, help reduce CO2 emissions as well as protect sites and electrical equipment against dangerous power spikes. These benefits are already impressive but combined with the government’s offer of tax credits on all capital investments – 15% tax credit to hotels on all investments, and up to 40% tax credit, up to a maximum of €25,000, for companies employing fewer than 30 people – make this the ideal time to invest in energy saving technology.

European electricity supply is harmonised at 230v but as electricity companies are able to provide voltage at +10% / -6% there is considerable variation in the voltage supplied. Modern electrical appliances are designed to operate efficiently on 220v. The wasted energy that arises from the discrepancy between supply and specific site requirements is still charged to the consumer and often manifests itself in electrical equipment as unwanted heat and vibration. The wasted energy that arises from the discrepancy between supply and specific site requirements is still charged to the consumer

By addressing the imbalance between supply and requirements voltage optimisation systems can provide average savings of 12% to 15%, and the associated reductions in carbon emissions. The most efficient systems, such as the market leading Powerstar and Powerstar MAX, are able to deliver savings of up to 26% of total electricity consumption. This can help businesses cut costs at the same time as boosting their green credentials; both desirable outcomes with the continuous rise in energy prices and the increasing importance assigned to reductions in carbon emissions by governments and the general public. With Powerstar and Powerstar MAX savings are 100% guaranteed and businesses will see an automatic reduction in their energy consumption as soon as the most appropriate system is installed and operational. In addition, business owners and site operators will be able to enact strategies for further energy reductions thanks to the inbuilt intelligent real-time energy consumption monitoring capability.

Paul North with Powerstar Max 2 Feb 2013

10 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

Fixed systems, such as Powerstar, reduce the incoming voltage by a pre-determined amount to match the optimum voltage profile for a specific site. This is profiling is suitable for any site that has a constant, but higher than needed power supply.


Case Study: Energy Saving Technologies

The second type of solution, as delivered by Powerstar MAX, is ideal for offering a constant power supply by systematically managing the peaks and troughs of unstable voltage provision. In a country that has an inherently unstable voltage supply, like Malta, this intelligent electronic-variable optimisation system can offer businesses a reliable, constant and secure power supply. This is especially vital for businesses that operate through the night, such as hotels and hospitals that need a guaranteed power supply. Businesses with critical loads, secure data and essential operations are all vulnerable to variable power provision and would all benefit from a secure supply as offered through the installation of Powerstar MAX.

delivering a constant supply the life of appliances can be extended and maintenance costs minimised. By reducing vibration and overheating electrical equipment such as air conditioning units, will always be operating at their optimum level.

Powerstar Voltage Optimisation Unit-Swire

With Powerstar and Powerstar MAX savings are 100% guaranteed and businesses will see an automatic reduction in their energy consumption as soon as the most appropriate system is installed

of over 50 years. Both Powerstar systems are designed and manufactured in the UK by Yorkshire-based EMSc Ltd, which was awarded UK Trade & Investment Exporter of the Year in March 2013.

The multi-award winning Powerstar enjoys a well-earned reputation thanks to its proven 100% reliability across thousands of installations during the last decade. Powerstar and Powerstar MAX come with 10 years’ warranty, including parts and labour, and have a life expectancy

Not only does a constant voltage significantly reduce energy costs, and carbon emissions, but it also protects against transients and power spikes, which can cause instant equipment failure. Even smaller variations in voltage can have a detrimental effect on electrical devices over time and so by

Powerstar unit being manufactured in the UK workshop

Easy and inexpensive to install Powerstar solutions can be incorporated into a new build at the design stage or retrofitted into an existing site within hours by a small team of engineers. This site specific engineered solution has a payback period of typically three to five years. Powerstar is the only voltage optimisation system that has a patent on its design, which ensures unrivalled efficiency. The benefits of installing a voltage optimisation system such as Powerstar or Powerstar MAX are manifold. It helps to reduce energy costs in two ways; by optimising the voltage supply into the site and ensuring electrical equipment can operate at its optimum level. This also helps to extend the life span of electrical appliances and reduce maintenance and replacement costs. And by ensuring a constant power supply it provides reliability and security for businesses with critical loads, secure data and essential operations. These benefits are already being enjoyed by thousands of businesses and organisations around the world. In Malta it has already been installed in a number of government departments, in addition to restaurants, retail stores and industrial buildings. Further afield it has been installed into a wide range of sites internationally from government departments to supermarkets and large blue chip clients, to small and medium sized businesses across a range of industries. Iconic buildings such as the Houses of Parliament and the Palace of Westminster in London are among the landmark sites in which Powerstar is now operational. TEU

To find out how your business can benefit from guaranteed energy savings, a reduced carbon footprint, and favourable tax breaks arrange a free no obligation consultation - Contact Powerstar and Powerstar MAX and CD Power Solutions Co. Ltd, the official distributor for Powerstar in Malta, or visit www.powerstar.com

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 11


BANKING

BOV announces €115.8 million in profit for FY 2013 The Bank of Valletta Group announced pretax profit for the financial year ended on 30 September 2013 (FY 2013) of €115.8 million. This represents a 5% increase over the €110.7 million reported for the equivalent financial period ended 30 September 2012. The highlights of the results are summarised in the table below: Announcing the results at a press conference, Bank of Valletta Chairman John Cassar White attributed them primarily to: • continued growth in the Bank’s balance sheet, • the increase in commission income, • the control of overheads and • the positive price movements in the Bank’s investment book Highlights • This year the Bank repaid its two Long Term Refinancing Operation loans totalling €170 million. Thus, now the entire Bank’s funding is composed of customer deposits and long-term senior and subordinated debt. • Net Commission and Trading Income increased by 12% to €69.7 million. This was mainly due to increased trade-related fee income and growth in Bancassurance business. Growth was also experienced in wealth management, stockbroking, fund management and fund services business. • Interest margin of €131 million represents a decrease of 11% on the previous year. This was attributed mainly to lower returns from the Bank’s Treasury assets. In addition the Bank retained a cautious risk

appetite, consciously sacrificing returns to maintain the quality of the portfolio. • Operating expenses increased marginally by 1.7%, totalling €88.6 million. This increase was largely due to the Bank’s increased contribution to the Deposit Guarantee Scheme, as a result of the growth in deposits and higher contribution rates. • The Bank reported an impairment charge of €25.6 million. This comprises both specific and collective impairment charges and reflects the Bank’s catious towards provisioning.. • Fair Value gains amounted to €17.4 million. Most of the markdowns on investment values experienced by the Bank between 2008 and 2011 have now been recouped. • The BOV Group registered an increase of 95% in its share of profit from MSV Life and Middlesea Insurance. The Group’s share of profit amounted to €12.4 million. • Deposits registered steady growth exceeding the €6 billion mark – an increase of more than 7% over September 2012, while the Loan Book is marginally below last year. Since the financial crisis in 2008, the world has gone through unprecedented turmoil, shaking entire industries and instilling uncertainty across all markets. This economic uncertainty is likely to linger over the coming months although the economic outlook for the next two years has started to turn optimistic. Major central banks are increasingly turning to ‘forward guidance’ in their effort to keep short term interest rates low to defend the fragile economic recovery. Most of them are stating that they will not raise rates until economic figures, and especially employment, point to a strong recovery. This means that benchmarkrates are expected to remain stable during the coming financial year, especially as inflationary pressures remain subdued. Furthermore, the long running eurozone sovereign crisis continues to create uncertainty, and the austerity measures being adopted by EU member states will take time to have the desired effect. Unemployment, particularly amongst the younger generation in Europe, needs to be addressed. Despite all this, the Maltese economy has remained

12 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

resilient throughout these years of crisis. The country continued to register economic growth driven mainly by the export-oriented sectors such as tourism and services. Domestic demand and particularly import intensive investment was subdued. The European Commission is projecting economic growth for Malta to increase in 2013-14 and outperform the euro area average. Traditional sectors, such as construction and wholesale and retail, are expected to continue to experience stress. Malta, with its open economy, needs to ensure that it remains price competitive. The European Economic Advisory Group in its report for 2013 confirmed that Malta, together with Germany and Austria, has seen better economic growth as a result of the condition of the private sector financing and the high level of international competitiveness. Household debt has been increasing over the last few years, but remains below the euroarea average. The European Commission has however warned the Maltese Government that its debt needs to be reined in to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances, especially in the context of an ageing population that will make pension and healthcare reforms increasingly necessary. Bank of Valletta remains wholly committed to supporting its customers and the Maltese economy in a responsible manner. This constant support and commitment has been clearly recognised and acknowledged by a growing customer base. We have to continue to manage both sides of our balance sheet actively and prudently, maintain high liquidity and strong capital ratios, while being conscious of our obligations to all stakeholders – shareholders, employees, depositors and the wider community. This delicate balance has to be managed at all times and we need to project a message of resilience, strength, vision and growth. TEU

Mr John Cassar White Chairman BOVGroup


BANKING INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

A Widening Domestic and International Ethical Dimension By Martin Vella APS Bank Chairman, E. P. Delia, has been at the helm for twelve years. He set about re-organising the institution as an instrument for social and economic change. How far has this change impacted on APS’s widening domestic and international dimension? We sit down with the Chairman to find out why and how APS Bank has identified an efficient route through which it can maximise its potential, in the context of Catholic Social Teaching. Background APS Bank is well-known for its ethical banking tradition and exemplary corporate social responsibility practices besides supporting Maltese culture, art and various charitable causes. APS Bank was initially established as a Savings institution in 1910, with the specific task of acting in line with Catholic Social Teaching. It was transferred to the Archdiocese of Malta in 1948 and granted a commercial banking licence in 1990. The Diocese of Gozo is today one of its four shareholders. TEU: How does APS Bank’s values impact the work you do and how critical are those values to the culture of APS Bank’s Group? EPD: Catholic Social Teaching lays down the general principles on which personal and, in our case, company’s behaviour have to be structured. The main tenets focus on the individuality of the human being that deserves all respect in the context of a social dimension. Since all human beings are brought up within a ‘group’ – starting with the family, village/town society, the nation, and humanity at large – one can never omit from one’s considerations man’s social nature. In practice, this means that one has to strive to bring together enterprise, economic efficiency, fairness in carrying out transactions, and income and wealth redistribution over a time span. As a guideline, one can combine the principle of subsidiarity with that of solidarity in order to 14 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

enable every individual to find self-fulfilment while contributing to the common good. Such a process implies collaboration with others in the generation of goods and services and in their distribution. By doing so, output will grow, its exchange will reflect fair dealings, and shortfalls in personal command of resources for own consumption will be addressed. The challenge lies in translating such concepts into everyday realities. One has to start by imparting these basic values in the personnel that are expected to implement them while devising financial products, marketing them, and following the products’ ‘life history’. Modern Maltese society has been

emphasising the freedom of the individual, an ideal supported by the relative economic independence of many who grew at a time when the global economy experienced two decades of fairly high rates of growth. Such conditions tend to generate a society made up of individuals who vie for the ‘here and now’ and for ‘the self ’ rather than for collaboration or solidarity. So, one has to keep on harping on such values with the aim of creating awareness of the benefits that follow from such a set of relationships. The Bank has to face the challenge of training its staff in such a philosophy, even though they are representative of the ‘average’ Maltese in

Corporate Brief APS Bank is a Maltese bank established since 1910, with majority shareholding held by the Archdiocese of Malta and Gozo. The bank offers a complete range of personal banking services including savings accounts, home loans and personal loans; as well as providing comprehensive banking services for corporate customers. Wealth management services are offered through APS Funds Sicav p.l.c. a specialist subsidiary company. The bank was incorporated into a private limited liability company in 1970 and granted a commercial banking licence in 1990. Since then, operations have vastly expanded and today the Bank employs over 200 staff working at a modern head office block located in Swatar, Birkirkara and eight branches and agencies across Malta and Gozo. APS Bank is well known for its ethical banking tradition and exemplary corporate social responsibility practices supporting Maltese culture, art and various charitable causes. The Bank operates two subsidiary companies, namely APS Consult Ltd. and APS Funds Sicav p.l.c. APS Consult Ltd.- Offers various advisory services and business operations consultancy.


BANKING INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH their attitudes to life and their ‘neighbours’. Besides, it has to devise financial products that take account of the needs of both those who trust us with their savings and those who approach us to utilise such funds. There are highly competitive markets for funds given the complex composition of the ‘financial sector’ in the Maltese Islands, which is now being influenced by the expanding services sector in the leisure and gaming areas. We are part of the euro zone, and we have to anticipate the evolution of this currency regime. Therefore, the Bank has to implement its basic philosophy in a wider geographical context. This fits perfectly with its basic vision, but it requires solid preparation to achieve this long-term objective. “Such conditions tend to generate a society made up of individuals who vie for the ‘here and now’ and for ‘the self’ rather than for collaboration or solidarity”

In addition, the Bank embarked on campaigns to educate others in areas that it deemed that they were being neglected. Our annual seminars, and related publications, had this objective. We always aim to complement the work carried out by others, so that society will benefit from a wider array of activities. We follow this rule in our support for the many initiatives that proliferate on the Islands in the social and cultural fields. And we aimed to be proactive attempting to bring together the various players in particular sectors. The trait to ‘do it alone’ is much more widespread than many would like to believe, even in the area of voluntary work. And this would explain why the formation of co-ops in Malta, for example, is usually instigated or ‘dictated’ by government and by fiscal packages rather than by conviction, a fact which goes against the very nature of the cooperative ideal. At times we hear that there is a shortage of funds to translate ideas into productive outlets. This could be true in the odd case, but the main ‘shortage’ lies in the willingness of entrepreneurs to collaborate with one another in order to restructure economic sectors, particularly through the application of scarce capital resources. The tendency to create projects to absorb a given amount of capital inflows, say from the EU’s fund allocations, may have given rise to such behaviour. Needless to say, this philosophy does not match our perception of things. However, one has to be optimistic and keep on trying. In the financial sector, we promoted, through APS Funds Sicav, the philosophy of ethical or sustainable investment funds. One must educate the public on various issues involved in this area of investor

behaviour, particularly in a society that tends to judge investment options primarily, if not only, in terms of their rates of return. The compatibility of responsible investment decisions with reasonable rates of return may be an unknown for many. The Bank’s recent two publications, Microcredit as a Tool of Ethical Financing for Sustainable Development and Introducing Ethical Investment in a Dynamic Society were meant to contribute to the debate on these subjects. And we set up the first local ethical investment fund earlier this year. Finally, we adopt the collaborative spirit throughout our support of culture and national heritage. This cooperation has given very positive results in relation to Malta’s musical history and to the encouragement of present talent in musical composition and the arts. While one has to revive our rich, at times forgotten, past in various areas, one has to provide opportunities for today’s talent in the arts. But on one condition: strive to aim for the highest level. The art and photography exhibitions, and their related publications, are inspired by this principle. TEU: What about the Bank’s structure and its associates? EPD: The Bank’s share capital now stands at €57.6million, while our branch network in the coming months will be enhanced by an office in Zejtun and a move to new premises in Attard. We have a staff complement of 240 and we aim to use whatever staff turnover there will be to fit in such movements within the changing personnel needs of the institution. The requirements of skills for the coming decade need not be the same as they were five years ago. “APS Bank operates on the model of the limited liability set up, has to compete continuously to raise new funds and channel them in selected areas at rates of interest that make sense in the local context”

The Bank’s performance has been very encouraging, especially when one considers the events of the past five years in the financial sectors the world over. So we look ahead very positively. But, at the same time, we cannot ignore that big changes lie ahead in the financial environment, not just globally but more so in the euro zone. These have to be anticipated so that one can focus on the declared objectives in sight. So far the Bank’s international collaboration with similarly-minded institutions has led to its membership of FEBEA, the European

Facts • APS Bank made a record pre-tax profit of €9.9 million last year, up from €8.4 million in the previous year. • Total assets rose to €910.2 million, up from €814.3 million in 2011, with both customers’ deposits and loans registering increases. • Total deposits reached €743.1 million, representing a net gain of €55.5 million, while lending expanded by an additional 38.3 million, reaching €520.9 million.

Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banking Institutions. This participation complements the Bank’s membership, through the Malta Bankers Association, of the European Banking Federation. FEBEA is one of several international organisations of financial and other non-profit institutions engaged in the lending sector that come together to assess practical ways in which various sub-groups in society can be assisted. APS Bank operates on the model of the limited liability set up, has to compete continuously to raise new funds and channel them in selected areas at rates of interest that make sense in the local context. These European contacts enable the Bank to widen its horizon of participation by supporting, within its limits, the formation of financial institutions in other countries and to be in a position to adapt to the local context the emerging thinking on social enterprises. Translating economic and financial ideas into particular social-political contexts was never an easy task. It is even more so at this time of evolution for the role of the euro, the single market and the fiscal autonomy of member states in the EU. APS Bank has also been collaborating with other Catholic Church institutions, particularly in Germany, with regard to the administration of selected service provisions for the elderly and the young. And APS Consult had linked up with educational and service providers for the Agricultural sector; these followed the outcome of the series of seminars on the sectors of agriculture and fisheries organised by the Bank in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN and the EU Commission. But such activities are ongoing. One takes stock of both the response from the respective markets and the ongoing adaptation of policies by the authorities responsible for them. Then decide on the way ahead. What is important from the Bank’s perspective is the fact that it contributed to the development of a sector not only in terms of financial products and the manner in which October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 15


BANKING INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

The 2012 Annual Report and Financial Statements were presented during the APS Bank Annual General Meeting on Friday 26 April 2013. Mr Emanuel P. Delia, the Bank’s Chairman answering questions from The Editor of The Economic Update.

these were introduced and implemented, but also in terms of aiming to identify sectoral reengineering needs and allocate resources to enable their attainment while collaborating with other players active in the respective sectors. TEU And what about the local situation? What is the Bank’s strategy here? EPD: Within an overall performance guideline - spread risks to safeguard the funds entrusted to us; generate what we consider to be a fair return on the assets employed; implement a dividend policy that enables the gradual building up of reserves - we have developed the Bank’s participation in the economy via selective sector involvement. Thus, we entered the mortgage market in order to support couples to purchase their home, thereby assisting the process of asset distribution in society. But this was not done independently of the buyers’ resources. We refuse to finance unless certain terms are met; we hold that we will be giving a real service to those who we consider should not commit themselves to certain deals. Particularly, if they are basing their commitments on, say, cheap finance. Under a variable-rate regime, such a situation cannot be expected to remain unchanged over the life-time of a long-term loan for house purchase. And, at all times the charges are stated clearly, without equivocations, to our clients. And, this line of thinking was applied to the other sectors of the economy as we approached them. One hears, at times, of the need for venture capital to help company 16 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

start-ups. This echoes similar statements made by the EU Commission. Indeed, the support being given by various governments to ‘social enterprises’ reflects this need and that of enabling disadvantaged groups to reshape, positively, their economic future. But if one wants to be credible, and not simply voicing empty rhetoric, then one has to understand the mechanism which had propelled the ‘economic development’ of many countries, the Maltese Islands included, in the past three decades. A subsidy-driven society will find it hard to compete on a stand-alone basis; it will continue harping for some form of handouts. The Bank intends to play its part in the formation of an outlook on production and distribution that is consonant with the idea that wealth creation has to be real, sustainable, and keeping the future well in sight. We are confident that as an institution, and “Under a variable-rate regime, such a situation cannot be expected to remain unchanged over the life-time of a longterm loan for house purchase.”

as one of several financial units operating locally, we will contribute to the formation of the ‘correct’ behaviour. Such behaviour recognises the need to generate new resources in the economy, and maintain a balance between the present consumption of such resources and the creation, via saving, of future capital assets using suitable technologies that complement the emerging demographic realities in the Maltese Islands.

Many seem to ignore that the profitable production of goods and services in a locality is conditioned by the widening of global markets and, in our case, by the emergent positions in the euro area. But cultural attitudes usually get adapted to changed realities, even though sometimes more slowly than desirable. The Bank’s contribution to this process of change and adaptation fits perfectly into the Bank’s social objectives. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Editor’s Note E.P. Delia held posts in academia, public sector institutions and private sector organisations. Before becoming Chairman of APS Bank, he was a Director of the Central Bank of Malta and Chairman of Mid Med Bank. He has published extensively on macroeconomic issues, demographics and economic sector development in the Maltese Islands. Recent publications include Papers on Malta’s Political Economy (2006), Catholic Social Teaching, Economic Thought and Four Hundred Thousand Maltese (2010) and, as editor, Microcredit as a Tool of Ethical Financing for Sustainable Development (2011) and Introducing Ethical Investment in a Dynamic Society (2012).


Employment Aid Programme For Gozo

Over €1.9 MILLION FOR SALARY SUBSIDIES INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS Benefit from basic wage subsidies for a period of 52 weeks* For more information contact ETC Gozo Branch on 22201957 or visit our website www.etc.gov.mt

It pays to employ! *Terms and Conditions apply Operational Programme II – Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality of Life Aid Scheme part-financed by the European Union European Social Fund (ESF) Co-financing: EU Funds, National Funds, and Private Funds Investing in your future


IT

Cloud Computing Cloud Computing has captured the most attention from the business community during this decade; however the perception that Cloud Computing is a concept of this century is wrong. What is Cloud Computing? As defined by Google, Cloud Computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. Is Cloud Computing same as Software as a Service? Software as a Service is a licencing model used to distribute a particular

18 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

By Duncan Dimech

software package. This model allows business to gain access to a particular software package for the amount of employees that require such access and for the duration necessary to perform a task/s. The access duration in Software as a Service is typically measured in months. Software as a Service relies on Cloud Computing to deliver the application to people irrespective of their location. So how Cloud Computing started? The concept actually sees a root in the late 1950s when it was too expensive for people to purchase their own computer or for Universities to obtain computers

powerful enough in a reasonable budget. A concept of using a machine with just a keyboard and a monitor to send and receive data to and from a remote server was conceived. After computing the result by the remote serve, the result is then returned and displayed on the user’s machine. The server would accommodate all of the requests by allocating a small period of time to every request. Such way of fulfilling such requests was termed Time Sharing. In the 1960s, a number of businesses took this model and started service bureaus. After a decline of interest in Time Sharing, the Time Continued on page 51


Asylum

Supporting Reality By Martin Vella

Dr Robert K. Visser, Executive Director of EASO, and Prefect Angela Pria, Head of the Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration within the Ministry of Interior of Italy signing the operational plan with Italy, 4 June 2013

TEU: What is the European Asylum Support Office, and how is the agency playing a key role in the concrete development of the Common European Asylum System, especially with regards to the illegal immigration problem besetting Malta? RV: The European Asylum Support Office is a regulatory agency of the EU. There are more European agencies, like Europol and Frontex; the two of them are very well known. This agency started in February 2011, so it is two and a half years old now. What EASO will be doing, and is already doing, is playing a central role in the implementation and further development of the Common European Asylum System. Europe has started, some twelve years ago, with harmonising the rules on asylum. First, by setting minimum standards; and this summer the European Parliament and the Council have voted on what we call the asylum package. This is a setof EU laws that go a step further, and now go to harmonisation of the asylum legal framework in Europe. Our role is, as an agency, to support that process, by adopting a bottom up approach; including operational and practical support, which in the end, is one of the reasons why 20 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

What could be done better in an asylum crisis? The Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Office Dr Robert K Visser asserts that, while he understands the specificities of the asylum situation in Malta, it is important to be very precise about what relocation is and, although it is a tangible way of expressing solidarity, one should not define it as the only and ultimate solution for everything because it is not. He argues that migration is much too complicated to think that it is just a magic box where you can find solutions. Dr Visser insists that it is about the future of human beings, so, it is also about integration. In this interview, he explains that this problem is about forming part of a society, be it in one country or the other, but keeping in mind that integration, being part of society, is eventually the goal.

we have the common laws. A law is not a piece of paper – a law has to change or influence the reality. And it is that reality that we are supporting; we support the member states, and we support the other European institutions in this process. “A law is not a piece of paper – a law has to change or influence the reality. And it is that reality that we are supporting”

TEU: Let’s go to the support that you are referring to. How would you rate the level of success of that support when you take into consideration recent developments that there has been, including the new government’s declarations on push-back policies. How do you rate your level of support in that respect? RV: The goal of the agency is to support the implementation and further development about a common European asylum system. It’s not about having an opinion, on the political direction people want to take. Of course I have my personal opinion. But in this position, that is not part of my job. My job is to stimulate member states to work within that common EU legal framework and to support them in doing so. I would say that in the two and a half years now that

we have been operational, we have reached quite tangible results. Just to mention a few, we have provided emergency and special support to Greece, Luxembourg, Italy, and Sweden and trained more than 2,500 asylum officials from the Member States. There are a number of ways by which we try to stimulate that convergence of standards, of human rights, of quality of the processes, whereby, asylum applicants with similar situations are treated in a similar manner and obtain a similar outcome, be it in Finland, Malta or Spain. . That is basically what a common system is. That is not always the case yet, but certainly with the new EU legal package, we have made important steps forward. How are we supporting this process, practically? In a number of ways, of which I will name three, because those three are, in my view, the essential points, which you need if you want to harmonise an area as big as twenty eight countries and five hundred million people – a huge area. One is by training. If those who make the final decisions on an asylum requests have been trained according to the same framework, at the same technical and practical level, then that probably is a very big contribution towards the same outcome. Similar situation, similar outcome: that is in fact what we want.


Asylum

The second main subject is the assessment of the situation in countries where people come from, that is, countries of origin – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia – you name it. That sounds like a very logical thing to do, because that is how the situation in those countries is. In reality, it’s not always the case, strange as it may sound. We have invested a lot in setting up an assessment system for countries of origin, because if the assessment is similar and the training of the people is similar, then these two together will probably produce a situation of convergence and harmonisation in practice. “if the assessment is similar and the training of the people is similar, then these two together will probably produce a situation of convergence in harmonisation in practice”

There is another area that I want to mention. We invest substantially in what we call an early warning and preparedness system. We have no crystal ball, let that be clear. But we can, with good trend analysis, make steps forward in identifying changing realities and trying to prepare ourselves for them. We do that by asking the member states to regularly provide us with their latest trends, and at the same time, to provide us the information on the exact asylum and reception capacity that they have. By taking these “pictures” of the latest trends, changes, situation and the capacity of the member states, we can analyse it and say “OK, we can cope,” or “we cannot cope,” and “we should resort to certain measures.” Here, it might seem strange, as this is totally new and it didn’t exist; every member state has the picture of its own situation, but, even though we have an open system with open borders, we did not have a picture of what happens next door. And that direct influence might be clear. So those three areas: country of origin assessment, training, and early warning, are main areas which we support. And I think we are being successful – in the last year and a half, for example, we have trained in total two thousand five hundred caseworkers from all over Europe. That’s, in one and a half years, already quite a substantial number. TEU: Let’s turn to the relationship between the EASO and the Maltese authorities. A significant influx of asylum seekers has brought Malta close to its capacity limits. Don’t you think that the present situation cannot be sustained any longer, and what

is EASO doing in this regard to work cojointly with the Maltese authorities, as well as working in close co-operation with Frontex, UNHCR and EU Task Force? RV: The relationship between EASO and the Maltese authorities has always been excellent. As to the capacity of Malta, we should be clear what sort of capacity we are referring to. From an administrative point of view, if I look at the situation in Malta, for the last number of years, Malta is, capacity wise, able to deal with the numbers as they are presented; meeting the asylum process, dealing with requests, and deciding within a reasonable time on the requests is done as it should be done, in line with the EU asylum rules The problem for Malta is to absorb a significant number of beneficiaries of international protection, mainly due to its size. EASO can help with building administrative capacity to deal with asylum requests but is limited in what it can do to help with absorption capacity, except to coordinate relocation when MS decide to engage in it. TEU: At ground level, it’s creating a lot of dissent, and the local population is not happy. Local people feel threatened, in such situations where they have foreign people running in the streets, around each turn and every corner – it’s intolerable. There were cases reported of rape and death, and it is increasing. The population is alarmed by the situation, and has even said ‘”we will be taking action ourselves, and will be stopping these people from taking over our country.” It is not just the Maltese looking at is this way; it is the same in Sicily and Italy. Perhaps an element of Xenophobia, however, others pity tragic human loss at sea too. It’s a common problem that is shared, and we might have a lot of problems in the future whereby asylum seekers and illegal immigrants will be facing opposite the local population, and there would be violence, for instance… RV: We should distinguish between the two elements. As I stated earlier, for Malta it is not so much a question of the capacity of the authorities to process the claims, but much more of the absorption capacity of Malta as a country. Furthermore, as you rightly said, it is a situation that is more general in member states - how to deal with people who knock on your door and ask for help. On one hand, we have a very good humanitarian tradition in Europe, which we should be proud of,

and on the other, sometimes people feel uneasy. That is primarily, of course, a political question. That is not something a technical agency like EASO will be able to deal with. We are there to follow up on the law, on the official decisions taken by governments, including the Maltese government. This is the framework; this is how we deal with the European Union, with the situation as it is. I could bounce it back to the political level; if you consider it a problem, then maybe you should, on the level you are responsible for – the legislation level – do something. Having said that, of course I recognise that the situation is there and, as much as we can, on a practical and operational level, we try also by stimulating the quality in the member states to support where we can. But in the end, is it a public and political question. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Editor’s Note Dr Robert K. Visser is the Executive Director of EASO. Dr. Visser has more than twenty years of p ro fo u n d professional experience in asylum and immigration matters both at national and international level. He has held high-level senior management positions within the Dutch government. As Director-General for Legislation, International Affairs and Immigration (2003-2011), Dr. Visser was responsible for policymaking in the field of immigration for several executive agencies, including the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, the Central agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, and the Repatriation and Departure Service. Before that, he has held the post of Deputy Secretary-general (1998-2003) and Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister (1986-2003), Assistant to the Council of Ministers (19831986), and he served as a Diplomat at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Madrid (1981-1983). Dr Robert K. Visser, born in 1954, is a Dutch national. He holds a PhD in law from Leiden University and a Masters degree in both law as well as History from the University of Groningen.

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 21


IT

Businesses Investing More in IT Outsourcing by Chris Demicoli In 2012, the percentage of the IT budget designated for outsourcing services in the US was up 23% according to an annual outsourcing study IT Outsourcing Statistics 2013/2013. In 2009, the increase had been by 6.1%, in 2010 by 7.1%, by 7% in 2011 and by a staggering 8.6% in 2012. Referring to the increase in outsourcing activity that is being witnessed in the market, Chris Demicoli, Business Development Manager at Smart Technologies explained how this fact is also owed to different factors such as; use of IT in business in general, cost of having in-house professionals with knowledge and skills to cater 22 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

for the different aspects of the business and increase in the take up of cloud technology which in itself drives companies to outsource the management of its cloud infrastructure. “Current data shows how IT organizations have started to embrace cloud-based applications as well as expand outsourcing of IT operations. Other factors are also supporting decisions to outsource IT functions, including the ever-present desire to reduce costs. This is what spurred Smart Technologies to move in this direction and make IT Outsourcing one of our core operations,” added Mr Demicoli.

Smart Technologies’ Outsourcing services include End User Services to help businesses manage their systems and devices run at maximum efficiency, Computing Services including the management of servers, Laptops, and PCs, Network Outsourcing Services for the setting up affordable and reliable networks and outsourcing of Security Services, helping businesses improve their IT security structures. Lately, STL’s outsourcing services have also started to include a Mobility Solutions service, providing clients with a mobile infrastructure that is secure, stable and cost-efficient and that can be adapted to your changing business needs. “Adaptability is what defines us from our competitors. We achnowledge that different businesses have different requirements and targets. We offer the flexibility of adapting their outsourcing requirements to deliver a tailored package so no matter the size of the business, we can deliver,” concluded Mr Demicoli. TEU

For inquiries on STL’s IT Outsourcing capabilities, contact Smart Technologies Ltd on 21 443 327 or via email info@stl.com.mt


IT

ICT Career Exposure Initiative 2013-2014 The aim of the Career Exposure Initiative is to give students real-world knowledge of how the ICT sector works. MITA would like to invite all ICT or ICTusing companies to form part of this exciting programme and host a number of students within their companies for one week. The ICT Career Exposure Initiative targets students aged between 14 and 15, and aims to offer them an experience of what it would be like to be part of the vibrant ICT industry. Following Exposure to cover scholastic

last year’s success, the Career Initiative has been extended several weeks throughout the year. Thus, offering more

flexibility to employers as they can host students during any week they choose. Students enrolled on the programme will observe and complete short ICTrelated assignments. Students will also be able to understand and appreciate more the way ICT and ICT-related industries work, observe how technology is applied and make the connection between their studies and their future socio-economic independence. This placement will enable students to identify the type of skills that are required by the industry and they will be able to work on developing these skills. Meanwhile, the participating companies will be able to offer first-hand assistance

in the preparation of the students that represent tomorrow’s workforce. Help us in providing them with the knowledge and skills for a Brighter Future! If you’d like to partner in the ICT Career Exposure Initiative, simply send an email to digitaloutreach.mita@gov.mt specifying the number of students that your company is willing to take (minimum of two). MITA will then be in touch to explain the details, associated roles and responsibilities. All interested companies must apply by not later than 22nd November 2013. This initiative is run by The Ministry for Education and Employment, Directorate for Educational Services, Student Services Department. TEU

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 23


Cybercrime

Of Hold-ups and Pen Drives By Kurt Mahoney

Today’s businesses are increasingly more concerned about white collar crime rather than age- old hold-ups and smash n’ grabs. The few laptops and petty cash a burglar could steal in 30 minutes is nothing compared to what one could make by copying sensitive data onto a USB stick and auctioning it off to the highest bidder. The criminal industry, like any other, has also had a technological upgrade, enabling it to deal harder blows with surgical precision. The same, only different Traditional crimes such as IP theft, financial fraud and corporate espionage have now become cyber-enabled crimes with perpetrators employing technology to assist them in their exploits. Together with ‘new’ types of cybercrime such as malware, botnets and denial-of-service attacks, the cost to business to mitigate any incidents could be staggering. Fortunately, the IT security industry is constantly releasing patches for vulnerable software, bolstering anti- virus programmes and designing new intrusion detection mechanisms – but how far does this go to prevent cyber-enabled crimes? More importantly, how does one detect and deal with the Insider Threat? Inside man Although external threats are a lot more common, their constant barking is nothing compared to the bite of a one-off internal threat. In the 2013 US State of Cybercrime Survey, CIOs and CTOs claimed that current and former employees posed the biggest threat to their organisations’ cyber security, even though only half of the organisations interviewed admitted to having a formalised plan for responding to an internal security incident. Bring- yourown-device-to-work (BYOD) schemes as well as the common practice of working from home severely increases the security risk with sensitive data being exposed to environments with varying security standards. In such scenarios, cyberenabled crimes are as easy to commit as pinching your next door’s flowerpot, not to mention possible non-compliance with the Data Protection Act. 24 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

If you suspect it, pre-empt it Security controls can only go so far, and as business economics necessitate the need for certain work practices, one may only hope to mitigate an intentional internal incident. Triaging is a technique whereby the most common places of evidence on a computer system are forensically extracted for examination. This generally quick procedure provides great intelligence when one does not want to go the whole nine yards and open up an internal investigation on a gut feeling. Incident response services on the other hand are there to identify and isolate all the electronic devices that may contain precious evidence for indepth examination. Evidence capture and preservation is key: one cannot just plug a pen drive into a suspect machine and drag out suspicious files. Such methods attain fewer results whilst seriously contaminating the evidence, and more often than not would render the entire suspect machine inadmissible in a court of law. Forensic techniques and industry-standard equipment must be engaged at all times in order to ensure that any evidence gathered would be court worthy if a civil or criminal case is forthcoming. Hard drives must be removed from the suspect machine and cloned via specialised hardware in order to prevent leaving any trace on the drive. Multiple devices, such as computers, mobile phones, GPS systems and CCTV systems may all be examined and their evidence amalgamated to provide a clearer picture of exactly what happened, where, how and when...sometimes even why. Damage limitation System downtime is the last thing one would want after suffering an unexpected financial loss. Removing all the hard drives from every machine in the building would be ridiculous in the majority of cases, but attaching a pen drive and dragging out suspicious files is definitely not an option. Every case is different, and a plan of action needs to be drawn up beforehand in order to reach a compromise between

minimal system downtime and adequate evidence acquisition whilst maintaining a high standard of methods that may be defensible in court. For example, one may want to launch a full-blown assault on the suspect’s machine, but take selective live images of data stored on the servers or backup drives. An airtight investigation would greatly increase the chances of a business owner to recuperate all losses through civil litigation. In figures A report by BAE Systems Detica for the UK Cabinet Office in 2011 claimed that the UK loses some £27 billion every year to cybercrime - £21bn of which is borne by businesses. IP theft and corporate espionage came out on top, followed by fiscal fraud and extortion. During the same year, the BBC reported the worldwide cost of cybercrime to be in the region of £600 billion. Although somewhat astonishing, these figures are considered conservative, as most cases in the private sector often go unreported and any perceived losses are written-off. Passiveness will only encourage more criminal activity: one must aim to be pro-active, but nevertheless always be prepared to be reactive in a timely and efficient manner. TEU

Editor’s Note Kurt Mahoney is a Digital Forensic Consultant with Mahoney & Co Business Advisory Services. He holds a BSc in ICT from the University of Malta and recently read for an MSc in Forensic Computing from Cranfield University at MoD Shrivenham (Defence Academy of the United Kingdom). Mahoney & Co is an independent member of Morison International and the First Forensic Forum (F3).


rock this way your holiday season From festive luncheons to glam receptions, Hard Rock Cafe is the event venue that will rock your world this holiday season. Contact the group sales department today to book your holiday event! Because it’s never too early to jingle bell rock.

malta

/

bay street complex, st julians / / valletta waterfront

23722257 / 3 / 21233346

join hardrockrewards.com


TRAVEL

Start and end your trip at Malta International Airport in luxury, style and comfort. By Richard Mifsud

Today VIP airport lounges aren’t just for first-class travellers. Given the increased accessibility of bespoke airport lounges, travellers today can escape the airport rush and find their own space to relax and enjoy peace and quiet with comfortable seating and complimentary refreshments at a very affordable charge. Like many international airports around the world, Malta International Airport offers travellers that opportunity to start and end their journey in luxury, style and comfort at its La Valette Club. At a marginal cost, the La Valette Club can help each and every traveller enhance their lounge experience with a range of exclusive services. Club membership is a great way to access a multitude of facilities that will definitely be enjoyed by yourself and those who are travelling with you, whether on business or pleasure, and help make your journey a pleasant and stressfree experience.

and priority in the security lane where no queuing will be required. For those premium travellers seeking a superior level of comfort, membership in the High Altitude category within the La Valette Club is highly recommended. Apart from all the services offered at Club level, High Altitude members are guaranteed preferential parking adjacent to the terminal building and also at the parking located at SkyParks Business Centre, access to an exclusive lounge, complimentary porterage on arrival, complimentary luggage wrap service, discounts and a free upgrade on car hire, together with complimentary chauffeur service. Meet and Greet service

La Valette Club lounge and services

The comfort level at the La Valette Club does not stop here. For that added luxury, members as well as non-members can avail themselves of the Meet and Greet service offered by the La Valette Club. Travellers and their guests will be met at the terminal and taken care of until their luggage is cleared or the time of departure.

For business and frequent travellers membership at the La Valette Club is a must. Membership grants you access to the lounge with all it’s luxury services, ranging from complimentary refreshments, free wi-fi, use of the computer terminals, free parking facilities, various service discounts

So next time you want to make an impression with your business delegation, let the La Valette Club sort out the protocol and provide your delegation the ultimate red carpet treatment such customers are used to. Arrange for your guests to be met by Club representatives as they disembark

26 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

from the aircraft and escorted in style in a chauffeur driven car to the exclusive arrivals lounge, where they can relax while their luggage is handled by the Club’s VIP service staff. You can also choose to greet your delegation at the lounge and welcome them in typical Maltese hospitality. You can go as far as holding your introductory meeting in the private settings of the lounge and get straight to business. Once you close the deal, your business delegation can also be accompanied on their return journey home. Have your guests greeted by Club personnel at the departures area, ushered through the check-in and escorted through the security priority lane to the La Valette lounge, where they can chill out. Prior to boarding, the Club’s VIP staff will escort the delegation to the respective gate and chauffeur them to the aircraft. What better way is there to treat a high level business delegation with high expectations which knows no bounds? So when you are hosting a business delegation or are a frequent traveller simply looking for stress-free travel arrangements, look no further than the La Valette Club at Malta International Airport. Membership or use of Club services is extremely cost effective and good value for money. TEU


You’re welcome La Valette Club Join us at the La Valette Club. We are here to ensure that you start and end your trip in luxury, style and comfort.

Malta International Airport plc. Luqa LQA 4000, Malta Tel: (+356) 2369 6292 / 6016 Freephone: 8007 6666 Email: info@lavaletteclub.com

www.lavaletteclub.com


IT

The keynote speaker Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna addressing the delegates

Middle East Business Council launched at SmartCity Malta by Lora Deip The Middle East Business Council (MEBC), established within the structures of the Malta Chamber, and consisting of Malta Chamber members who have a common interest in promoting business relations in the Middle East, was recently launche dat SmartCity Malta. Malta Chamber President David G. Curmi said that while the name of the newly-established body allows the MEBC to target the middleEastern region, it is the declared goal of the Business Council to focus on 28 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

the Gulf Cooperation Countries. Mr Curmi praised the hard work that has been done so far by Chairman Tonio Casapinta. Peter Frendo, Deputy Chairman of the ME Business Council said that with a number of features in the press and the establishment of a website, the objective of creating a well-established entity, was already underway. The MEBC also intends to help Maltese business seeking to do business in the region and to forge links with stakeholders and potential investors from the region. One way of achieving this would be by establishing links with local stakeholders to facilitate a holistic and concerted effort when it comes to trade and investment links with the Gulf countries. The keynote speaker was Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Banna who purposely came from Dubai to address the event. A former deputy director of the Dubai Chamber and the current CEO and major shareholder of Dubarch Architectural Engineering Interior Design Consultancy, Dr Al

Banna gave a detailed insight into the business world in the Gulf in general and Dubai in particular. The event was also addressed by SmartCity Malta CEO Anthony Tabone and Malta Enterprise Investment Promotion Manager Clive Brockdorff, who spoke about the status of the SmartCity Malta project and the support available to Maltese companies seeking to do business in the Middle East, respectively. Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, the Hon Dr Christian Cardona also addressed the event, underpinning the importance the Government gives to the region. From the outset, the Government has had a strong focus on building ties in the Gulf and the establishment of this entity was therefore welcome news. The event was attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Dr George Vella, Minister for Education, the Hon Evarist Bartolo as well as by Ambassadors from the Embassies in Malta of various Middle Eastern countries. TEU


IT

Palumbo Shipyard sign agreement with MAN Diesel & Turbo Italia In line with Palumbo Shipyard’s efforts to enhance business growth and provide world class diesel engine service and facilities to the Superyachts industry, a joint collaboration service agreement was officially signed with MAN Diesel & Turbo Italia. The initiative was mooted by Sig. Antonio Palumbo, Chairman of Palumbo Shipyard, who said, “Entering into this agreement with MAN Diesel & Turbo Italia, ensures and strengthens Palumbo’s leading position in the market place and delivers the most efficient and environmentally friendly diesel engine solutions to our ship and superyacht owners. This success reflects the hard work of all yard workers and management

Sig Antonio Palumbo with Marco Colombo, Managing Director MAN Diesel & Turbo Italia Shipyard, who together with MAN Diesel & Turbo, are consolidating their business units with one of the technological leaders in their sector, thus forwarding technological development in the relevant shipbuilding business segments.

at Palumbo. As we constantly strive for improvement in all sectors to position the shipyard in Malta at the centre of the World Refitting Network, we are also striving to concert our efforts toward enhancing the maritime commercial sector, as well as that of the super yacht industry.”

Footnote

MAN Diesel & Turbo is the world market leader for large diesel engines for use in ships and power stations, and is one of the three leading suppliers of turbo machines. The company employs around 15,000 staff at more than 100 international sites. This agreement embodies the innovative spirit which continues to characterise Palumbo

Palumbo Group is a leader company in the mega yacht refitting and repairing in the heart of the Mediterranean. Its hallmarks are innovation and concern for the environment, coupled with unrivalled value for money. To date, the Group counts a refit, conversion and superyacht construction facility in the commercial port of Naples, a commercial shipyard in Messina (Sicily) and two yards: a commercial refit yard and a superyacht repairs and refit facility, in Malta. Palumbo Malta SuperYachts shipyard is a dedicated super yacht facility since 2002, and includes in an area of more than 45,000 square meters, a 160 meters long graving dock, a covered 140 meters dock, more than 400 meters of quay, for a long side afloat repairs which is serviced with shore services, workshops, storage facilities and office for the administration and crew.

TEU

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 29


NEWSMAKERS IT

FinanceMalta Education Clinic brings Corporate Governance into the financial services spotlight. FinanceMalta, the public-private partnership set up to promote Malta’s financial services sector, held an Education Clinic for FinanceMalta members and the financial services industry and related stakeholders to review the contribution good corporate governance makes both to the jurisdiction and the growth of Malta’s International Financial Centre. International speakers included Mr Brendon Norman-Ross, a UK Barrister and Director of Compliance at Active Group, Guernsey as well as Mr Anthony Farrell, a Co-Founder of Directors Chambers Limited. The local and international practitioners and members making up the audience heard about best practice from the two main expert speakers sourced exclusively for this event. Mr. Norman-Ross, a Barrister, worked in London with a variety of international clients, as project director, working on international brands such as Ford, Honda, Toyota, Kodak, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Faberge, Compaq, Unilever, Toshiba, Motorola, Titleist, and The Guardian. Mr. Norman-Ross discussed the importance of high standards in Corporate Governance, international commonality of principles, practical examples of good and bad corporate governance as well as giving a thorough overview of the responsibilities of executive and non-Executive Directors particularly in relation to the expected standards of Directors in light of the 2007 crash and the Weavering precedent. Mr. J. Anthony Farrell was the second speaker and is a co-Founder of Directors Chamber and his experience includes management of portfolios for private clients, professional clients, pension funds, and offshore trusts. He has advised on emerging markets, natural resources, and small company investments. He has trust planning experience in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, and British Virgin Islands. He is currently a

THOMAS SMITH AWARDED BRONZE AWARD 2012 Thomas Smith Group was recently presented a Bronze Award by Lufthansa Cargo Director for Italy, Malta, UK and Ireland, Thomas Egenolf, and Regional Manager North East Italy & Malta, Antonio J. Dinis Queiros. Lufthansa Cargo AG is a cargo airline part of the Lufthansa Group, operating worldwide air freight and logistics services on behalf of Lufthansa, of which it is a wholly owned subsidiary. Founded in 1994, Lufthansa Cargo now ranks among the world’s leading cargo carriers. Mr. Bernard Muscat, Cargo Assistant General Manager, and Mr. Ramon Azzopardi, Logistics Manager, accepted the award on behalf of Thomas Smith’s Freight Forwarding division. This is the fourth consecutive award, yet the fifth award overall that Thomas Smith achieved over the past 8 years. Thomas Smith was nominated by Lufthansa Cargo in recognition to the strong support provided to the airfreight and logistics services organisation during the year 2012, as well as the growth in volume registered. An award ceremony organised by Lufthansa Cargo Forum (LCF) was held at Ta Cenc, Gozo. Thomas Smith Group forms part of the LCF, which is made up of the top 5 selling agents in Malta. A link to this article may also be found on our website: http://www.tcsmith.com/3103-104/shipping/corporate

Teatruunplugged16 TEATRU MANOEL 6-7-8 December 2013 Held since 1998, Teatru Unplugged is in its 16th edition. Surely an event that is on the calendars of theatre goers year after year. This year’s edition features a captivating lineup with Gianluca Bezzina, Rachel Fabri, The Crowns, Stalko, Chris Grech, Raquela and Red Electrick. Co-founded by Nirvana Azzopardi and Jonathan Shaw, this year’s edition of Teatru Unplugged will be hosted by Josef Bonello and will be held 6th, 7th and 8th December at Teatru Manoel. ‘’The show must go on and through Teatru Unplugged we will keep Nirvana’s memory alive’ stated, Jonathan Shaw. Teatru Unplugged 16 would not been possible without the invaluable support of our main sponsor GO. Special thanks also go to our supporting sponsors The Point, Baileys, Johnnie Walker, BRND WGN and Camilleri Paris Mode. Early booking is recommended from www.teatrumanoel.com.mt or T: 21246389. For more information contact Jonathan Shaw, Co-founder and Organiser, on mobile +356 9986 8600 or Marthese Azzopardi, Event Co-ordinator on mobile: +356 7986 8801 or email: marthese.azzopardi@gmail.com

30 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

FinanceMalta recently held the latest in their series of Education Clinics with a full clinic devoted to the subject of Corporate Governance and its role in financial markets. The panel seen from left: Anthony Farrell, Directors Chamber, Claire Gauci and Brendon Norman-Ross, Active Services, and FinanceMalta Head of Business development, Bruno L’ecuyer. director for a UCITS management company of Malta and CAM (BVI) Inc. of the British Virgin Islands and provides consultancy services to international companies, trusts, and professional and private clients. During a panel moderated by Bruno L’ecuyer, FinanceMalta’s Head of Business development, and in which Ms. Claire Gauci Director of Compliance at Active Services in Malta took part, the speakers addressed remuneration policy and what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate compensation. The panel also addressed as to how quality Corporate Governance has a role in mediating risks while improving the level of confidence in a market. Whilst risk is essential for a well-functioning economy, it is now clear that excessive risk-taking, particularly in the banking sector, was a principal cause of the global financial crisis. Following the discussion delegates were given an opportunity to exchange views in an informal networking environment. For further information visit www.financemalta.org

MIM and KPMG Sponsorship for the Advanced Diploma in International Taxation The Malta Institute of Management (“MIM”) and KPMG have extended their collaboration agreement with regards to the organisation, delivery and sponsorship of the Advanced Diploma in International Taxation (“ADIT”) accredited by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (UK). The ADIT aims to meet the needs of professionals who wish to further their studies and expertise in international taxation. Being the seventh consecutive session, the ADIT programme has established itself as the appropriate qualification to obtain for local taxation experts. This has mainly been the result of a high demand for ADIT qualified international taxation professionals by the local financial services industry especially as Malta is becoming an increasingly important international hub for international taxation management. The collaboration agreement between MIM and KPMG strengthens the quality of the delivery of the course programme by offering the participants tuition and access to amongst the best local and international experts on the subject. Indeed, KPMG will again be sponsoring the ADIT tuition process. The ADIT programme includes three papers and participation in a conference addressing local and international taxation topics. The programme will be held in the evening and can be studied on a modular basis. Business, accounts and law university students, accountants, lawyers, graduates and practitioners in finance and business administration are amongst those eligible for ADIT. MIM and KMPG have also extended a student sponsorship scheme which aims to support successful students for free participation in ADIT. This programme is also eligible for partial EU funding thus making the ADIT qualification even more accessible and attractive. For more information, terms and conditions about the sponsorship scheme, funding opportunities and the programme contact MIM on 21456819 or mtierney@maltamanagement.com


Arts

Michelangelo’s David By Lorna Diep

Fierce and intense - the glaring statue of David instigates the crowd in Piazza della Signoria to contemplate art and what it means to be an artist. Standing at 17 ft tall, towering over a throng of tourists, the statue of David is a remarkable sight to behold; even those who know little of its history can admire the expressive facial detail and anatomically precise build of muscle and bone set in marble. Just standing beneath David’s feet sparks off a feeling of awe over the creator’s skill, and the atmosphere it arouses – one can imagine the crushing weight of David’s gaze, sandwiched between the Philistine and Israeli army. While the story of David and Goliath is well known, and many recognize its relation to Florence’s predicament, a peek into the life of Michelangelo can draw out a deeper level of comprehension of art and those who create it. One such glimpse is the relationship between Michelangelo and his father: “When I told my father that I wish to be an artist, he flew into a rage, ‘artists are laborers, no better than shoemakers.” This seemingly insignificant piece of knowledge adds an additional layer of depth to the youthful David’s expression of defiance and growing intellect. Visitors who know of Michelangelo’s history can see, aside from a symbolic representative of Florence, around the statue like an invisible veil, a question that transcends time; is something worth fighting for? And how much is one prepared to sacrifice? For Michelangelo, pursuing art at thirteen years old, despite

disapproval, was a risk – as was accepting the challenge of sculpting David from a block of marble twice abandoned and claimed as ‘flawed’ by previous sculptors. These feelings are captured perfectly in the tense and confrontational stance of his creation. Even today – especially today – artists face the same situation and questions. Art is still considered by many a difficult occupation and, unless established, would generate little income. Indeed, with ever increasing institutional fees, to pursue it is a challenge. There are many of such relatable circumstances, and this is what makes the statue of David such a multidimensional creation. Was it intentional that Michelangelo spun such a complicated web of his beliefs and messages into one sculpture? It is not unlikely. During the entire sculpting period, David was known to be hidden behind scaffolding – even his sculptor could not see the whole shape at once; yet, his eyes were crafted to follow the viewer from different angles. There is no doubt of Michelangelo’s ingenious and careful nature. To look upon David is an experience; but it’s those who understand the past and mindset of the creator who can truly come to appreciate what magnitude of emotions and messages each piece of art is made to convey, and understand the importance and legacy of the artists who created it. TEU

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 31


EVENTS

Your unique event at Valletta Waterfront

The Valletta Waterfront is an awardwinning destination. Eighteenth century warehouses, with their iconic coloured doors, stretch along the water’s edge against a backdrop of historic fortifications. Located within walking distance from central Valletta, the Valletta Waterfront offers the perfect backdrop for a wide variety of events, with flexible indoor and outdoor options.

store oil for street lamps, it was later incorporated into the island’s first power station. Once inside, there is an impressive arched ceiling and the golden limestone glistens with the cast of soft lighting. An adjoining outdoor courtyard is convenient for use as a breakout area or as a stand-alone venue. This venue can comfortably accommodate up to 500 people.

The variety of locations allows for diverse types of events – from intimate receptions to gala dinners, press conferences to art exhibitions, weddings and more.

Old Power House: The original structure was built during the construction of Floriana’s fortifications in the 1700s. This building has taken many turns throughout history, before being transformed and operated as Malta’s first electricity production plant. It offers a fascinating layering of spaces and reflects the multiplicity of activities forming part of Malta’s Grand Harbour over the centuries. The rustic structure, with its high ceilings, displays an interesting contrast between the old and the new.

Magazino Hall: Renowned for its versatility, Magazino Hall proudly displays its historical features from a glorious past. Built in 1727 to

The Sagrestia Vault: Located directly on the Valletta Waterfront is a hidden treasure unknown to most – the Sagrestia Vault. Annexed to the 17thcentury vault is a small but beautifullydetailed chapel dedicated to the Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt. In 32 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

combination with the Sagrestia Vault, the chapel can be utilised as a receiving area. It truly is a little gem on the Valletta Waterfront. The Promenade: An expansive 275-metre strolling promenade, a favourite site for promotional launches and cultural events, offers the perfect staging for corporate and private events. A host of catering and retail services complement this option. Under the Stars: The possibilities are endless – this open-air venue is an artistic blank canvas with the Grand Harbour as a backdrop on one side, and the Valletta Waterfront buildings on the other. Whether it is for a wedding or a concert, the location is breath-taking. This venue lends itself to the typical Mediterranean al fresco lifestyle. Under the Marquee: Located on the Valletta Waterfront quays, the marquee offers protective cover for up to 1,430 persons in a uniquely magical location. Parking for coaches, minibuses and private cars is readily available for all venues. TEU

For further details or to view any of the venues contact Anna Maria Cardona Schranz on 2567 3114 or amcardonaschranz@vallettacruiseport.com


EVENT

BAWAG Malta Bank Limited celebrates its 10th year of operations in Malta BAWAG Malta Bank Limited celebrated its 10th year of operations in Malta. To commemorate this occasion, the Bank hosted a reception at Palazzo Parisio. During this event, the Bank’s Board of Directors together with Mr Andreas Arndt Chief Financial Officer of BAWAG PSK Group, welcomed a number of distinguished public profiles, guests from the Maltese business community and other stakeholders of the Bank. During his welcome speech, the Bank’s Chairman Dr Christian Farrugia emphasized that Malta’s stable regulatory and high-level financial services environment have proved that BAWAG’s decision to set up office in Malta ten years ago was an optimal one. The Managing Director

of BAWAG Malta Dr Otto Karasek, who has been present in Malta since its initial setting up, stated that although the Bank is not involved in the local retail banking market, it has supported the local economy by participating in the financing of large local projects, initially in real estate, but more recently in infrastructure and energy sectors. Dr Karasek thanked the Bank’s staff members for their dedication and support in ensuring the successful development of the Bank in Malta over these last ten years.

The Bank, which is a 100% subsidiary of BAWAG PSK, one the leading Austrian banking groups, was set up in Malta in July 2003 and is the gateway for the Group to access the Mediterranean and North African markets. It specializes in traditional corporate banking in the upper market and in project finance. With its strong capital base, it is also a partner for international syndications and structured finance transactions. The Bank currently has eight employees and is located in Sliema. TEU

The guests present were enthralled by the performance of a number of classical Austrian recitals by renowned Abkhazian pianist Sofia Narmania. The Bank also presented a donation in aid of Puttinu Cares.

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 33


entrepreneurship

Sharing Ownership By Martin Vella

He has spent time as an architecture assistant with famed Aukett +Heese and had the opportunity of working on several large scale projects, such as with the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Berlin. We meet up with the articulate, suave and affable Benjamin Tabone Grech, who talks about identifying avenues in which the business could change to expand and how to implement changes within the group. 34 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


entrepreneurship

TEU: For you personally, did you know that you had what some refer to as an entrepreneurial gene and that desire to create and grow your own business? BTG: It has never been something I have discussed publicly but I have always had a certain drive inside myself, which I could never put into words. All I can remember is that whenever I faced a challenge, I gave it all I had and aspired to be the best at it. A good example would be during my final year at school; it is an old a tradition for the final year boys to take part in a 50 mile walk, from the south coast of the UK up to the school in Godalming. I put together a small group of friends and we trained for months so that we could try and break the time record; the walk was not a race but I turned it into one. The first 30 miles passed easily but the last few were painful, I could barely walk the last 2 miles and not to give up - I pretty much finished on all fours. We did not break the record but I was still proud to have finished within 12 hours. All this was for a tie (which I still wear today) and nothing can explain the emotions I felt the next day walking into the school chapel sporting my new tie. Looking back at what came natural to me I can understand how one would say that I have the certain qualities of an entrepreneur, but I am grateful for the experiences I have had from a young age. I believe that a enjoying what you do is part of the recipe of being great at what you do and to be really great at what you do requires a combination of being surrounded by the right people professionally and personally a little luck, and having the passion and ambition to continually learn. “I believe that a enjoying what you do is part of the recipe of being great at what you do”

TEU: As the COO with ENGEL & VOLKERS SARA GRECH, how challenging is it to maintain an entrepreneurial culture? BTG: People remain the same until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change. Change is imperative, believing in change is where it all begins, so for a team to develop and set new standards they must share a vision; this is what I fulfill within our corporate environment. Sharing

ownership of a vision is what warrants the entrepreneur in each member of our E & V SG family to prosper. This is the culture that we create in our family business. Ever since I can remember growth played an important role, I look forward and never back. We are faced with challenges each day, and the more challenges I face, the more I learn, the more I perform. I am intensely focused and committed to take on risky leaps with positive confidence. I encourage our teams to aspire to the highest business standards giving them enough space to be who they are, providing them with the best tools and the right direction for who they wish to be. We passionately work together towards the future of the company to ensure that the next generation or two from now are able to continue with ease and maintain a sense of ownership and belonging to the company we have so enthusiastically created. “Change is imperative, believing in change is where it all begins, so for a team to develop and set new standards they must a share a vision”

TEU: Why was the timing and opportunity right for you to join ENGEL & VOLKERS SARA GRECH? BTG: The timing was just right; I had completed two and half years of work experience as an architect in London and Berlin and I wanted to return to our beautiful islands after fourteen years of being away. Having always taken an interest in real estate and always wanting to work with people I decided to support the family business. Upon my return, we started to think about how to expand our network internationally and what platform we could use to do this. We looked for values in businesses that we ourselves supported and Engel & Völkers was simply it. A global real estate company with a network of highly motivated but above all lovely people, who specialised in the sale and rental of premium residential and commercial real estate and yachts. With its license system, Engel & Völkers is the only German-based firm to rank amongst the top 100 franchise companies in the world. We now form part of this network with around 520 residential property shops, 44 commercial offices and 4 yachting shops. Locally we now offer a

service and platform no competitor can match and I am excited to see what the future brings.” TEU: What are you seeing in your crystal ball as far as the next two to three years? BTG: I am a dreamer, I always have been. I would like us to continuously achieve more market share, by offering unprecedented services, and see our islands offer a lifestyle and 24/7 bespoke services, which is unmatched by any other European island. In terms of my architecture I would like to use this is a more theoretical sense of urbanism and spatiality by hopefully adding my enthusiasm to the subject and being a part of defining a real way of how value properties on our islands. TEU

All rights reserved | Copyrighted

Benjamin Tabone Grech’s Overview Current • COO at ENGEL & VÖLKERS SARA GRECH Past • Architectural Assistant at Aukett + Heese • Architectural Assistant at Latis Group • Architectural Assistant at Bencini & Associates Education • University of Nottingham, UK • Charterhouse School, UK • Edge Grove School, UK • St Edwards Collage, Malta

Editor’s Note Born in Malta 1987, schooled at St Edwards College, at the age of 11 attending Edge Grove School in Hertfordshire for one year. Attended Charterhouse School for 5 years achievement, Head of House, Head of Combined Cadet Force (CCF), Head of 6th Form Club, Commodore of the Sailing Club, Head of the Debating Scoiety, Secretary of the Pupil Council, 2nd XI Hockey Captain. Graduated with an MEng Hons. in Architecture and Environmental Design from the University of Nottingham, UK. He captained the 1st Sailing team, President of the Kitesurfing Club and representative of his peers in the Student Staff Feedback Board. Professional experience in London with Latis Group and in Berlin with Aukett + Heese.

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 35


Travel

Experience Emirates superior Business Class

Emirates Business Class on Boeing 777

Every passenger, whether travelling on business or for leisure, is unique. Emirates Business Class adapts to every passenger’s needs at every step of the way, from the initial booking to the final destination, Emirates ensures that the journey is as enjoyable as the destination as the airline continues to design products with the traveller in mind at every step of the way. Emirates Business Class is all about luxury in the sky. Passengers receive personalised service by Emirates multi-lingual cabin crew onboard the aircraft. Savour gourmet cuisine and enjoy up to 1,500 channels of on-demand entertainment on ice inflight system – the largest selection of programming in the sky. The options on ice are endless. Ice system provides the chance to relax, to catch up on programmes, movies missed and the some of the latest releases and to adjust for the trip ahead – whether business or pleasure.

Onboard lounge area on the Emirates flagship A380

Travellers can arrive at their destination feeling refreshed to enjoy the rest of the day and be ready to attend to their next business meetings. Emirates also offers a pleasurable on the ground experience to its passengers before they fly. Business Class travellers are offered complimentary Chauffeur-drive service from Malta and Gozo, as well as on arrival at most of Emirates destinations. This leaves travellers free to excitedly anticipate their holiday or business trip. At the Malta Airport, the La Valette Lounge is a perfect place to relax preboarding with complimentary food and drink on hand for those who would have missed meals whilst last minute packing. Around the Emirates network travellers can benefit from 35 Emirates dedicated lounges in international airports across six continents, including Emirates Terminal 3 in Dubai. These lounges can easily serve as

extensions of their offices with full business centre facilities. On selected routes from Dubai onwards, premium passengers on Emirates’ exclusive A380 can enjoy onboard lounge areas on the upper deck, where they can network and talk business over a drink at 40,000 feet. All Emirates’ A380s are fitted with WiFi, allowing full connectivity with the ground. Emirates currently connects passengers to 135 destinations in 76 countries across six continents. The airline operates four scheduled flights weekly from Malta to Dubai via Larnaka, Cyprus, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays on a Boeing 777-200. While on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, Emirates operates direct flights from Dubai to Malta and return flights fly via Tripoli. TEU

For more information call Emirates Sales Office Tel: 25577255, visit www.emirates.com/mt or contact the local travel agent.

The new digital enhanced screens on Emirates Business Class on Boeing 777 aircraft for its winning inflight entertainment ice system

36 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


SPORTS

Rugby’s new president Brian Dalton says Malta has everything to fight for against Croatia on Saturday November 9 at Hibs Ground.

into continuing the sterling development work undertaken by Martin Galea over the last few years. “I’m very happy Martin has remained part of our core Council, as our new Treasurer, he is the main link to what Malta Rugby has become, along with the work of our Technical Director Damian Neill, between them they put Malta Rugby on the national sports map, my job is to continue to build on that success.” And what a success. Earlier this year, Malta were ranked at an all-time high of 39th in the world, although two very difficult games saw the team slip a few places in the world rankings. He remains “just a bit disappointed” about this, although it was Mr. Dalton who signed the historic agreement between Malta Rugby and the Government guaranteeing a home at Marsa for Malta’s club rugby union teams for the next 25 years together with an allocation of land which may be developed in the future into a national rugby union stadium. “It would be nice if we could play Croatia in our own national rugby stadium on November 9, that’s one of the things I will be looking into in my term as President, we need to have a permanent home for our national team and coaching set-up if we want to achieve our vision of entering the world’s top 30 rugby nations,” says Mr. Dalton.

Brian Dalton, the new president of Malta Rugby Union takes over the reins with an important FIRA European Nations Cup Division 2A match against Croatia looming on the horizon on November 9 at Hibs Ground. The new face of Malta Rugby will be doing more than presenting the trophies, giving speeches, shaking hands and kissing babies with the crucial match against Croatia only 6 weeks away. Mr. Dalton was voted into his new role earlier this month at the MRFU’s AGM having served as Martin Galea’s Vice President and he says it’s “the icing on the cake” of his rugby career, having been a player and Club President before being handed Malta’s top rugby job. He confides that he would still rather be out on the pitch, but is eager to put his passion for the game

38 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

Malta’s successful national rugby players have been taking Maltese sport to a new level over the last few years, however, the Malta camp are yet to start their season and must play the crucial match against Croatia on November 9 with only a few warm-up games by Malta A and this puts the home team in a position where National Coach Damian Neill and his coaching team will have to pull out all the stops to prepare the Malta squad in camps. “This will be Malta’s first outing this season in Division 2A, and we have great belief in our ability to contest the Croatia game, although we also know that Croatia will be a handful for the Maltese. This is ‘THE BIG GAME’ in our calendar this year, but we will have our fans behind us, and I hope that our new ticket structure will bring hundreds of new fans to see their first game. It’s a family outing watching rugby, and a lot of fun for Mum and the kids, both my sons will be there!”

Dalton is currently working on bringing a more secure financial sub-structure to MRFU, and he is working closely with his predecessor Martin Galea to ensure that international rugby competition and funding of the national team is sustainable, while increasing the education pathways and opportunities for local coaches and players across the Union. “We have just launched our first phase of education initiatives this year, all of them IRB accredited, and these include IRB Rugby Ready, the IRB Foundation Module, as well as the IRB Level 1, it’s a return to basics and we want to make sure that every player and coach is on the same page so that we have a structure in Malta that is patterned on the national team, we want to develop the skills in our local players that give them an understanding when they enter the national framework. This takes time and money, and while we are grateful to all our sponsors and donors, we will be re-doubling our efforts to find funding for the sport. That is my number one priority,” says Dalton. “When I walk out onto the pitch on November 9 to shake the opposition’s hands, I want to know that we have everything in place that will give Malta every possible chance, with the strongest selection of players on home soil this year. A strong performance by Malta against Croatia is a strong performance for the Maltese community, for all the people in the stands wearing the shirts, for all those tuned into Melita to watch the game live, for all those following the results online and on social media, we’ve got a huge following, but the more Maltese in the Hibs stadium on Saturday November 9, the more our Malta team will feel they have something to fight for,” concludes the MRFU’s new president. Malta Rugby is supported by Cisk Lager, Mediterranean Bank, GasanMamo who are helping to develop the next generation of Malta Rugby players, Bortex Fine Tailoring, Intercontinental Malta, Sundreams Travel, LH&A, PWC, Melita, Untangled Media and Ogilvy & Mather. TEU

Malta’s European Nations Cup Qualifier match against Croatia will take place at the Hibernians Football Stadium on Saturday November 9, kickoff at 2.00pm. For further information visit www. maltarugby.com or book online with www.ticketline.com.mt or call 9920 7677.


Arts & Culture

Valletta International Baroque Festival 2014 “So encouraged have we been by the response to the 2013 (first) edition of the Valletta International Baroque Festival that we have put together an even more ambitious programme for 2014” declared Artistic Director Kenneth Zammit Tabona whose brainchild the festival is. “A baroque festival programme that incorporates no less than three major religious works; The Monteverdi Vespers, Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Mass in B Minor, is one which is at par and possibly outdoes programmes of other festivals throughout the year” added Zammit Tabona. Working in a unique city like Valletta and one that is soon to be European Capital of Culture, is what inspires and spurs the baroque festival team to greater efforts. Although the festival is organised and largely based at Teatru Manoel, the cooperation and support given to the festival last year by the various historical churches in 2013 has encouraged the organisers to further vary the venues to include the Ta Giezu church,

a prototype for St John’s, and the newly restored exquisite Santa Caterina d’Italia. Another festival highlight is the performance of Rameau’s opera Hippolyte et Aricie. 2014 marks the 250th anniversary of the death of Jean Philippe Rameau. Hippolyte will be a joint production by Teatru Manoel and Centre de Chateau de Versailles. Based on Racine’s Phedre the production will be performed by live singers and life-size puppets and will be given three performances; one on Saturday evening, another on Sunday afternoon and a third on Monday morning for school children. The festival will run for just over two weeks and will as last year culminate in a Baroque Festival Ball at Teatru Manoel. There are several performers and performances worth diarising, famous counter tenor Max Emmanuel Cencic in a programme entitled Bach meets Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. Bach’s entire Brandenburg Concertos will be performed by Concerto Köln while the Malta

Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Michael Laus will perform the concertos for two pianos with the participation of Marco Sollini and Salvatore Barbatano. Music from the Habsburg Court including compositions by a couple of Holy Roman Emperors and more ‘enchanted airs’ from the superlatively elegant age of Louis XV by Rameau and many other performances are all now available on the festival website www.vallettabaroquefestival.com.mt. TEU

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 39


TECHNOLOGY

EU SUPPORTS NEW TECHNOLOGY WHICH

can chill a drink in 45 seconds

Over the long hot summer many of us reached for a cold drink. But what is the financial and environmental cost of our demand for cool drinks? Across Europe, combined commercial refrigerators and freezers are estimated to consume 85TWh of electricity per annum, equivalent to the energy required to power over 20 million households.

RapidCool, an innovative project supported by European Union research funding, aims at reducing the energy requirements for cooling drinks at the point of sale, saving retailers money and ultimately helping the environment. The outcome is a low-energy, low-cost rapid cooling technology that enables pre-packed beverages to be stored at ambient temperature and then rapidly chilled on demand.

Commission has pledged to invest even more EU funding in projects that can really make a difference in people’s lives.” Kelvin Hall, founder of Enviro-Cool (UK) Limited said: “The development grant from the EU has enabled us to develop RapidCool as a replacement to the existing expensive, energy-hungry use equipment, such as multi deck open refrigerators and beverage merchandisers. We’re proud to be contributing to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions by developing a game-changing green technology and look forward to continuing to develop the product for both commercial and domestic use. We have received considerable interest from Asia and North America and now want to make European manufacturers and distribution channels aware of this new technology.”

This device cools down drink cans and bottles from room temperature to 4°C in as little as 45 seconds. It solves the problem of continuously running heavily stocked chillers in order to supply ‘cooled’ drinks during opening hours. Results show energy savings of over 80% compared with some standard open front drinks chillers and a 54% saving compared with glass door coolers (figures based on cooling 200 x 500ml cans per day). The potential saving on electricity costs equates to €832 per fridge per year compared with open front drinks chillers and €219 versus glass door coolers (electricity price at 0.20 euro/kWh). The RapidCool concept was devised by British company Enviro-Cool (UK) Limited, which received a €903,000 grant from the EU to help progress the concept to commercial production. Michael Jennings, European Commission spokesman for research, innovation and science said: “This is a product that will save businesses money, do something for the environment and create jobs. The 40 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

The partners involved Enviro-Cool - UK Dymtec - Spain Regent - The Netherlands Custom Vending Machines - Slovenia UK Intelligent Systems Research Institute Why did the EU choose to invest in this company? Because the project objective was to develop technology that could save large amounts of energy. Pre-packed beverages do not need to be constantly chilled, if they could be stored at ambient temperature and rapidly cooled at the point of sale or consumption this would lower energy use and reduce carbon emissions How much was the grant? The grant was for €903,000. How much did the product cost to develop? Enviro-Cool has invested over £1,000,000 in this project, the grant was used to develop the commercial application of the technology, the semi-commercial / domestic application development has been fully paid for by Enviro-Cool How long did it take to develop this technology? Enviro-Cool funded the early proof of concept research in October 2007 How many jobs have been created so far thanks to this technology? The technology has only just been developed, we need to establish manufacturing and distribution on a global scale. When this phase is completed many new jobs will be created. The technology/product How does the technology work?

The project partners have entered formal agreements with two global, multi-billion euro companies in the fields of beverage distribution and the production of white goods. These products could potentially be used in the home, the workplace, bars, restaurants and hotels to cool a variety of drinks from 150ml canned drinks to 750ml bottles.

To cool the beverage in the fastest way possible without having the outer layers of liquid freeze before the inner liquid is cooled, which would cause unacceptable “slushing”, the liquid needs to be efficiently mixed; the key to the Rapidcool technology, now patented V-Tex technology, is the way the drink is agitated without causing it to fizz when opened. The team found that by rotating the beverage at a certain speed to create a Rankine vortex, the carbonated liquid


TECHNOLOGY

could be mixed without disruption to the bubbles of carbon dioxide. Tests showed that cooling rates could be improved by collapsing the vortex and then recreating it; this was achieved by a stop start rotational sequence. The energy efficiency comes from the use of a layer of ice to cool the water, once the ice has formed it uses very little energy to maintain it, the compressor only comes on once every few hours or so. Although designed to work as a standalone unit, the cooling chamber can also be integrated into existing self-serve chillers. Are there other technologies with similar results? There is no other technology than can cool a can of drink as quickly as the V-Tex technology. V-Tex is the registered trade mark that has been filed following the RapidCool project What is the cooling liquid, and what temperature is it? The cooling liquid is water at a temperature a little above freezing point Who holds the patent? Enviro-Cool owns all the patents associated with this technology Is the taste of the beverage affected in any way? No the taste of the beverage is not affected. Is the carbonation of the beverage affected in any way? / Surely all of that vibration and swirling will make the beverage flat(er)? No the carbonation is not affected. The beverage is rotated at a certain speed to create a Rankine vortex, so that the liquid could be mixed without disruption to the bubbles of carbon dioxide. How much of an energy saving is there? The unit has an 80% energy saving compared with some standard open front drinks chillers and a 54% saving compared to glass door coolers (figures based on cooling 200 x 500ml cans per day). Is it recyclable? It will be built to the highest standards of recyclability What is the life expectancy of this cooler? 5-7 years Consumer applications Can it be used for domestic use?

Yes. The V-Tex Domestic has been developed for home use and is the only small self-refrigerated home appliance, designed to rapidly cool beverages. V-Tex Domestic will cool both cans and bottles of all shapes and sizes, from a 150ml can to a wine bottle. Unlike other products and solutions for cooling beverages V-Tex Compact cools drinks dramatically faster and requires no setting up as it’s a selfrefrigerated solution. There is no need to add ice and no having to dispose of the melted waste ice once the user has finished cooling their drinks. When can we expect this product to be available to buy? In approximately 18 months’ time. Is ‘could potentially replace most, if not all, open-cabinet style drinks fridge’ accurate? Why? Yes this is accurate, but to produce a single machine that can offer a wide variety of different beverages will need further development, but this is easily within the capabilities of the Rapidcool engineering and design team. When this product is developed the energy savings will be more than they are currently Please list the most likely / successful retail locations for this technology

Who will be distributing the product in our market? The project partners have entered formal agreements with two global, multi-billion Euro companies in the fields of beverage distribution and the production of white goods. To begin with they will be distributing the product; however, their names remain confidential for the time being. Further development Consumer trials will begin in the Netherlands at the end of October What type of device will be used in the commercial trials? The large commercial product that you will be able to see in the movie we filmed in a supermarket What is the scale of the commercial trials – which supermarkets will they be in? The scale will be very small to start with, just one supermarket in the Netherlands What is the anticipated time to market for a commercial product? If the trials are successful we hope by the summer of 2014 TEU

Research carried out by Rapidcool: http://www.v-textechnology.com/#/technical-information/4574831385

Supermarkets, petrol stations, stores for the cost savings through reduced energy use. But also bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels for the smaller unit simply for the convenience When do you expect to be in domestic production? Enviro-Cool is talking to some manufacturers to set up small scale production of this unit so the company can conduct some market consumer trials, then it may need to make modifications to the unit before setting up large scale production. The company is 18 months away from having this product readily available. Will you be targeting the large commercial beverage manufacturers rather than retailers in the first phase? Yes, the project partners have already entered into formal agreements with two global, multi-billion Euro companies in the fields of beverage distribution and the production of white goods. October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 41


HEALTH & SAFETY

European Week for Health and Safety at Work The European Week for Safety and Health at Work is the biggest awareness-raising event of its kind, dedicated to improving the safety and health of Europe’s workplaces. The Week took place between the 21st and 25th October and was coordinated by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and implemented by its partners in the EU’s 28 Member States and beyond The European Week focused on broadcasting the key messages of the current Healthy Workplaces Campaign ‘Working together for risk prevention’. It provided a crucial focus for campaign activities and sees numerous events organised across Europe, highlighting the benefits of applying good leadership with worker participation. To commemorate the European Week for Health and Safety at Work, the Occupational Health and Safety Authority in Malta organised a seminar with the theme “Saħħa u sigurtà fissettur tal-kostruzzjoni” (Health and Safety in the Construction Sector). Keynote speakers from the Authority, the Federation of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (FOBC) and the Malta Developers Association (MDA) delivered presentations on the importance of health and safety at the place of work, and the implementation of safety measures at construction sites.

The seminar was well attended by over 100 participants and various points of general interest and opinions on how to safe guard workers in the construction sector were identified during a discussion which followed the seminar. Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA, emphasised that ‘the most effective results in managing and improving the safety and health of an organisation are found when workers and their representatives are actively engaged with management - leadership alone is not enough. Enterprises with high worker participation combined with high management commitment are 10 times more likely to have a documented occupational safety and health (OSH) policy in place. The benefits of such an approach are enormous and include reduced business costs and increased productivity, fewer accidents and improved prevention and control of workplace risks.’

A dedicated campaign website, www. healthy-workplaces.eu, provides numerous practical tools that can help organisations improve OSH management and worker participation in the workplace. A number of preventive solutions intended for the construction, healthcare, and hotel, restaurant and catering sectors include checklists that can be used by managers and employees in these industries. Also, employers and workers can refer to actions from EUOSHA’s case studies and implement them within their organisations. The case studies, which provide excellent examples of effective occupational health and safety management, are taken from a diverse range of industries and sectors, and are stored in an online and easily searchable database. The OSH campaign toolkit section provides ideas and examples of how one can convey the campaign messages in the most effective manner. TEU

1. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) contributes to making Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work. The Agency researches, develops, and distributes reliable, balanced, and impartial safety and health information and organises pan-European awareness raising campaigns. Set up by the European Union in 1996 and based in Bilbao, Spain, the Agency brings together representatives from the European Commission, Member State governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations, as well as leading experts in each of the EU Member States and beyond.

42 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


At the International Safety Training College, we know Fire and Safety. It’s what we do. Fire Drills

Health and Safety Risk Assessment

Fire Action Plans

Site Surveys (fire, safety, health)

Fire Safety Risk Assessment

Construction Site supervision (psds/pscs)

Fire Training (Fire Warden)

First Aid Training

Fire Training (Basic Fire Awareness)

Health & Safety training courses

International Safety Training College, Hal Far Road, Hal Far BBG3000, Malta. Tel. +356 21658281/2 Mob. +356 9998 5211 Email: info@istcollege.com.mt Visit our website at www.istcollege.com.mt to learn more about us. We are also on Facebook: International Safety Training College Malta.


Arts & Culture

Landmark 5-star Phoenicia Hotel is sponsoring Teatru Manoel and the 2014 International Baroque Festival, seen from left: Charles Azzopardi, General Manager Phoenicia, Kenneth Zammit Tabona, Deputy Chairman and Ray Attard CEO, Teatru Manoel, Roberto Bruno, Sales & Marketing Manager, Phoenicia.

Phoenicia Hotel Malta has long seen the value in supporting culture and the arts as part of its role in the community, and with a 70 year heritage the luxury 5-star hotel has developed a number of partnerships and relationships with national arts and culture institutions. Phoenicia’s latest support for Maltese art and culture comes in an expanded sponsorship for Teatru Manoel and the 2014 International Baroque Festival, demonstrating the significance that arts and culture carry in our everyday lives. Phoenicia has chosen to focus its sponsorship policy at a local level. The hotel’s sponsoring programmes vary from partnerships with large cultural institutions to events, and from cultural investments to supporting young talent programmes. Among others, Phoenicia’s key partnerships include: Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (Malta Jazz Festival, The Malta Arts Festival and Ghanafest), Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, Valletta Baroque Festival and Teatru Manoel again this year, amongst others. Phoenicia promote events happening in Valletta not only locally but through active efforts and packages in core tourism feeder markets. Phoenicia is a supporter of Maltese cultural life, believing that Malta should be presenting itself internationally to a more culturally-oriented client. Phoenicia is one of the principal sponsors of Teatru Manoel, Malta’s national theatre. The sponsorship was extended in 2012 to include support for the Baroque Festival, and the latest sponsorship agreement covers both the national theatre programme for 2013/2014 and next January’s Valletta International Baroque Festival. Phoenicia recognises that quality in the arts needs to be supported and nurtured, and the hotel 44 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

Phoenicia Hotel Malta extends sponsorship of Teatru Manoel and the 2014 International Baroque Festival

has a policy of promoting Maltese culture and the arts to its guests. Ray Attard, CEO at Manoel Theatre said, “We have long believed that bringing more supporters to our programmes will help to ensure the viability of both Teatru Manoel as an institution as well as the performances which grace this venerable hall. My hope is that forward-thinking entities will see that our culture and arts in Malta are unique, and that every effort has to be made to underwrite the cultural sector. Phoenicia are one of those true pioneers who have seen the value of this sector and the fit with their brand. We look forward to continuing to develop this important relationship between us.” Phoenicia General Manager Charles Azzopardi said, “Essentially, this type of support for Maltese art and culture allows Phoenicia’s brand to extend its identity and connect to our markets through Malta’s culture and art interests. We value excellence, pursued with integrity and creativity, and achieved through collaboration - in a sense that is what we are doing on an operational level in the hospitality field and which is mirrored by our support for the arts.” Mr. Azzopardi went on to say. “Culture has always been key to our customers and employees. Phoenicia’s aim is to make Malta’s art and culture accessible to a broad audience. That is why Phoenicia sponsors multiple art and cultural projects focusing on three cultural domains: visual art, music and performance. As Phoenicia’s home, our sponsorships across Valletta have included exhibitions with Fondazzjoni Partimonju Malti and Heritage Malta, amongst others, and we are delighted to support other word-class events in Malta, such as the

International Choir Festival or The Malta Arts Festival, and the Teatru Manoel programme. By promoting these abroad we promote Valletta’s cultural heritage to a much wider audience. At Phoenicia we make a connection between all the different sorts of arts, and luxury, which is a kind of art, an applied art; taking pleasure from life. Teatru Manoel and the international quality of the Baroque Festival are the kind of event that Phoenicia are proud to support. With the Baroque Festival taking place in the lean period for local tourism we believe that this is exactly the kind of cultural activity that the trade in general should also support.” Built in 1939, The Hotel Phoenicia was Malta’s first five-star hotel, giving it a wealth of history and a unique charm standing proudly on the doorstep to Valletta. The Phoenicia is a cultural icon in its own right and houses the single largest private collection of Edward CaruanaDingli paintings in the world, which is on permanent display at the hotel. The recently refurbished interior harbours an imposing Art Deco influence sustaining 128 bedrooms and 8 suites, affording some truly majestic panoramic views from most rooms and terraces. The stunning 7.5 acre garden allows guests to stroll through a rambling exotic haven of lush plants, flowers and trees on the way to the hotel’s magnificent pool housed adjacent to the Valletta bastions. Visitors and guests can wine and dine in a splendid choice of settings, whether it’s haute cuisine at the Phoenix restaurant, an indulgent afternoon tea in The Palm Court Lounge, a cooling cocktail at in the comfortable Club Bar, or a healthy and delicious dinner at the Pegasus. For further information see www.facebook.com/ phoeniciahotel or www.phoeniciamalta.com TEU


EDUCATION

Global College Malta launches unique new €14,000 After-Graduation Awards Programme for students in the September 2013 intake. Global College Malta (GCM) have been showcasing their new after-graduation scholarships worth €14,000 this year to celebrate the outstanding innovation, creativity and impact of this new Malta tertiary education facility and its vitally different approach to Malta’s higher education sector in delivering world-class teaching, courses, student opportunities and engagement. The new AfterGraduation Award is an award in cash to students who are successful in their studies at GCM. The awards aim to recognise and reward students that demonstrate genuine commitment and performance, consistent delivery, and meaningful engagement with tutors and faculty members both inside Global College Malta and beyond, with the potential to develop their talent and knowledge-base further in a career role. The best student from each degree course, who did not receive the Merit & Motivation Scholarship, will be eligible for the new After-Graduation Award. Located at SmartCity, Global College Malta offers a sophisticated state-of the art learning environment and gives students the opportunity to study alongside and share cross-cultural insights with people from diverse countries. In this environment students will be trained to become leaders and managers in a variety of business and IT sectors, for both global and local markets. Global College Malta is the first European College offering university degrees according to British standards at SmartCity. After-Graduation Awards may be shared by exceptional students at Global College Malta. GCM Rector Professor Brian Smart said, “At Global College Malta we are committed to providing high-quality education through dedicated international higher education professionals, all we do is to the highest 46 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

equivalent British education standards. We were delighted to introduce GCM’s After-Graduation Awards which will recognise and celebrate the very best of our students. They are, after all, what makes this tertiary education facility so distinctive in combination with our SmartCity location, innovative programmes and imported top-notch staff. The After-Graduation Award is unique as it gives a chance to students, who did not achieve good grades during their studies prior to entering GCM and were thus not eligible for a Merit & Motivation Scholarship. “ Professor Smart continued, “With the job market for recent graduates looking quite promising in Malta, many young people are considering the next study step in their career path to get ahead at the right level in the “real world”. It’s not a bad idea; getting an advanced degree such as our Msc in Cloud Computing is an excellent way to concentrate on a specific area in your field, and will certainly make an individual more marketable to employers.” All GCM’s programmes are developed with a practice-based learning model, where real-world experience is drawn upon and where students are encouraged to develop business solutions using the techniques and skills acquired both inside and outside the classroom. To achieve this end, a variety of education methods are employed such as lectures, group discussions, case study workshops, individual investigative projects and a variety of audio and visual methods. The Global College Malta After-Graduation Award goes to highly accomplished students at the college who also excel academically during their studies at GCM. Scholarships, grants and awards are an alternative way of funding private tertiary education. To get a scholarship at Global College Malta, students need to meet certain criteria,

which can be based on things such as: area of study, academic merit, community service or involvement, ethnicity, financial hardship, the industry or trade. For those already working, the one-year MBA is specifically aimed at employees and managers wishing to further enhance their careers in people management. Its beauty is that it focuses on improving participants as managers, rather than simply teaching them about management. Scholarships can apply at different education levels, such as Undergraduate or Masters degree. All students at Global College Malta, except those who received a Merit & Motivation Scholarship, can compete for this new After-Graduation Award, which will refund up to 80% of one year’s fees. One student will be selected for this award from the graduating class from each degree course; thus the student will be competing with only about 20 other students, depending on the number of students within each degree course. Professor Smart said, “We are delighted that every level of our current programme structure is providing the new After-Graduation Award, with €4000 available for the Foundation Course in Management with English, a further €4000 for the BA in Management, and an additional €6000 for the MBA. I am also very pleased to say that when there are several students with very similar average score, the amount will be split between them. We see this as a humane approach, to decrease the stress for those competing eligible students who might miss the award by half a point or so.” TEU

In an altered tertiary landscape in Malta, Global College Malta is set to be a preferred choice by local students seeking employability on graduation. For more information visit www.gcmalta.com, while GCM’s offices can be contacted by email at enquiries@gcmalta.com or by phone on 21801252.


Health & Safety

ARE WE TRULY MANAGING HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK? By Valhmor Micallef NSO statistics for 2012 indicate 3,000 people were injured in the course of their duty, and 6 persons lost their lives(1).

combined with an abject refusal to comply with the national requirements, policies, direction or instruction.

Proper communication of hazards and an effective internal safety culture would improve standards at work, and thus reduce the potential for accidents. Supplemental to this, a culture of ‘no blame’ would also encourage the reporting of ‘near misses’, which in turn would ensure that any event is investigated to prevent recurrence.

On this note, national legislation already provides employers with the manner with which health and safety is to be managed, among which are-

It is common for public response to blame accidents on a lack of enforcement; but in reality a lack of awareness and understanding is most potentially the initial contributor to unsafe working practices,

• A Prevention Policy; • Suitable and sufficient Risk Assessments (fire, health, safety); • Ensuring information, instruction, training and supervision, at all times; • Ensuring the presence of suitably trained persons to control and manage emergency situations; • Reporting and Investigation procedures.

Implementing Health & Safety management systems is not necessarily costly; however it could be costly if the starting point for sourcing professional external assistance is based solely on price. If you are seeking to elect advisory service providers, they should come armed with documented experience, expertise, and a proven track record. It should also be noted that any professional external assistance should clearly indicate what legal requirements, standards or guidance documents are underpinning the end report / recommendations. TEU

( 1 )http://ohsa.org.mt/Home/Usefulinformation/ Statistics.aspx Valhmor Micallef is the Health & Safety Manager at INTERNATIONAL SAFETY TRAINING COLLEGE

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 47


www.solarsolutions.com.mt

Experience -

With over 7.7MWp (35,000 photovoltaic modules) to be installed by the end of 2013 Solar Solutions remains the largest RES Company with the largest proven portfolio in Malta. Solar Solutions carries the largest testimonial portfolio of satisfied clients who described their buying experience and relative savings. Solar Solutions offers consultancy for a complete turnkey project right from the very start. We can assist in all relative grant & connection applications including financing the project.

Quality Brands – SOLAR SOLUTIONS only deals with large photovoltaic and Inverter manufacturers who do not only depend on the sales of Photovoltaic for revenue. Kyocera, Hyundai Heavy Industries and SMA are big organisations that inspire confidence in such investments. The financial and brand stability is a testimony to the organization’s promise of a 25 year guarantee on the photovoltaic solar modules.

Quality Materials – The experience gained gave us the know how to

use the right quality materials, fittings and switchgear. Choosing cheaper material can make your PV system cheaper but not as safe and long lasting making it costlier in the long run.

Quality Human Resources – A company is just as

good as its employees. All employees are regularly trained on their job and all abide by Solar Solutions ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 certifications. Right from the very start Solar Solutions offers consultation followed by system design, eventually implementation and finally customer care.

* Subject to EU formal grant approval

Affordability - Solar Solutions

offers the best value for money solar photovoltaic turnkey packages without compromising quality. This means that when one compares like with like, Solar Solutions always achieves the best priced solar photovoltaic solution.


t n a r G 0 0 5 2 et â‚Ź

*

G

Hurry ! Grants clos e on 31/12 /2

Call us on

013

21 424 750


BANKING

Banif launches Biz Flex Term Deposit Limited offer

Banif Bank has introduced the Biz Flex Account, a limited term deposit offer aimed at the Bank’s corporate and business customers. The Biz Flex Term Deposit Account is available in 3, 6 and 12-month terms and allows full and partial withdrawals during the term, for added flexibility. Customers who avail themselves from the withdrawals prior to maturity can still earn interest on both the amount withdrawn and on the remaining amount kept in the Biz Flex Account. The Biz Flex Account can be opened with a minimum balance of €100,000 at an advantageous rate of 2.625% gross p.a. on a 12-month term deposit denominated in euro. “What really differentiates this product from others is that it addresses the needs of companies and business people who might have extra funds for a limited time period” said Dirk Spiteri Lucas, Head of Product and Strategy Unit, Banif Bank (Malta) plc. “Clients need not worry about losing a good business opportunity since they have the peace of mind of using their funds if they need to, no questions asked! This flexibility coupled with the rates associated with term deposits makes this product unique in the market.” Terms and conditions apply. For more information clients may contact Banif ’s Corporate and Business Banking Unit on 2260 1000. Customers are also welcome to visit our business offices at Level 1, 125-126, Main Street, St. Julian’s or Level 1, 189, Naxxar Road, San Gwann. TEU

50 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


IT

Internet Censorship and Control By Duncan Dimech Censorship in itself is a control to suppress what is being published, accessed, or viewed by the public. This practice can be carried out by Governments and/or organisations to protect particular interests or to protect people from harming themselves. Some people opt for self-censorship in protect themselves from moral, religious, or business reasons, or to conform to societal norms, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences. Self-censorship is never on the debate list because it is the person expressing himself/ herself to not be associated with a particular topic/s. Employees also have understood that employers opt to block or censor certain sites for specific business reasons such increasing production by reducing time wastage from people spending time on social networks and/or to reduce the risk of divulging information to third parties that may cause serious issues to the employers such as the detail of a new product that may incidentally be discussed on social networks. What people cannot stand is Internet censorship from Governments as in most cases this is considered as a way to suppress people’s opinion and freedom of speech and expression. This hatred to Government Continued from page 51

Sharing concept was revived in the 1990s as Cloud Computing and gained more popularity during the last decade due to more technologies that made the technology more robust, more accessible and more cost effective. Is Cloud Computing for my business? Cloud Computing can allow employees to access material from any place around the globe without the need of being on premises, collaborate in real time to deliver better work and can allow company data to be stored in place where if a company laptop is stolen, the data cannot be accessed. The computing power can be fine-tuned to what is actually required so that the business does not pay more than actually being used. A business can start using Cloud Computing to simply store files and then scale up to embrace more complex functionalities and business models. What goes on the cloud based architecture is a business decision that needs to be planned

Internet censorship may be related to the fact that the Internet is one of the few projects that was conceived as a military project from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) which the military has lost control on and now may be the military wants control back as information is a weapon much stronger than any nuclear arsenal ever conceived and when fired it has no collateral damage making information the perfect weapon for the modern warfare.

From day one of their existence Bing and Yahoo have exerted control over the Internet in very subtle ways. Their search algorithms have never been made public, never been looked into by some audit firm and they are protected by secrecy much more than a nuclear site, however these engines produce properly and thoroughly may be with the support of an expert. What is the main concern on Cloud Computing? Selecting the right service provider and trusting them with your data is not just a question of checking a list of features. The service provider should provide a track record to demonstrate the reliability of their systems and how they can mitigate with certain issues such as server downtime. 100% uptime can be provided only if the service provider has architecture with multiple redundant servers and connectivity and there is price that has to be paid for such uptime.

a list of results to specific keywords thus controlling us other beings on the Internet to read content that they think is best for us. Is this a form of control that may also be considered as censorship? These companies do not agree that they are censoring any content unless specifically instructed by the Government, such as Google in China. Google has shown through Google China, that Internet censorship is possible and that the technology required is available today. What baffles many is the fact that we achieved Internet censorship at a technology level but have not invested any resources to reduce the amount of spam that hogs our mail box on a daily basis. Yes, there exist junk filters and rules and many other technologies to try to identify an email from spam mail at the receiving end. Control mechanisms to protect the innocent and the weak should be implemented and everyone agrees to it as it is a way to educate people of what is allowed within a particular segment of the society; however the control mechanisms should not harm the process of creativity and freedom of speech as this may end in oppression of ideas that will help us to enjoy life rather than just living our existence. A point to also consider is the location of the data centre of the service provider. We are in the European Union and ideally we should not for service providers that will host our data in a European Union country. This is not some patriotic duty and/or obligation toward the European Union but simply a security measure as other countries have a different set of rules which may include that the service provider has to submit your data to their respective government for whatever reason. For this reason, if you are opting for a US service provider, ensure that the service provider has an EU Safe Harbour Certification to protect your data from any prying eyes. TEU

Editor’s Note Mr. Duncan Dimech, the Managing Director of EXOR Group Ltd, earned his Masters Degree with the University of Liverpool, home of 9 noble prize winners, and specialised in Information Security. Over the past 15 years, Mr. Dimech has been involved on a number of projects for local and international business entities and is leading a number of IT research projects funded by the European Union. Mr. Dimech is a Member of the British Computer Society and a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta.

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 51


Insurance

Thomas Smith Insurance Brokers Ltd eyes growth Thomas Smith Insurance Brokers have appointed Alberto Bisazza to the position of General Manager. With a long and distinguished career in insurance, Mr. Bisazza brings a wealth of experience. Commenting on his appointment, Mr Bisazza said, “It is certainly a great honour to take on the role of General Manager within such an established service group of companies on the island. Following the most recent branch opening of Thomas Smith Insurance Brokers in Mosta, the Brokerage side of Thomas Smith Group aims to grow further, and I am happy to be part of this exciting growth. “ In close to two decades of insurance experience, Bisazza’s sterling career has included top management positions within the broking industry. Mr Bisazza is currently the Vice Chairman of the Association of Insurance Brokers and also represents the insurance industry as Governor on the Board of Governors of FinanceMalta. Mr Bisazza is married and has three children. TEU

52 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com


HR

LEARN TO LIVE, LOVE TO TEMP by Rachel Balzan Demajo

Tempsinmalta is a boutique temporary staffing agency, a first of a kind for Malta. Where traditionally, recruitment agencies in Malta specialize in permanent recruitment, our vision is for temporary staffing, be it for the short, medium or long term. We specialize in providing our clients with candidates across all types of skills and experience levels, from administrative to back office, to specialized roles. By converting HR costs from fixed to variable, companies are better able to control their overheads, when dealing with fluctuating sales and busy periods. Our focus is on developing lasting relationships with our clients by providing them with temporary staff who are reliable and a level of service that is incomparable. We aim to become a company that genuinely cares more about the quality of staff we provide than the quantity. Our goal is to provide clients temporary staff that will complement their own workforce with efficiency and enthusiasm. Therefore we create innovative ways to attract and maintain a team of high caliber individuals. Our aim is to develop relationships with both our temporary staff and our client companies that will enable each the opportunity to succeed. Tempsinmalta invests much time and effort in recruiting, utilizing sophisticated channels to reach out to potential staff. We use an extensive referral network of past and present associates, clients, and friends. Our website attracts an international, mainly

European as well as local, audience of candidates. Listings on numerous websites, reach candidates whose background and experience are needed to satisfy our client’s specific temporary needs. We take a unique approach to servicing our clients; for one thing, we actually meet and get to know them! We need to learn about each client’s company— what business they are in, what their environment and internal structure are like, who their executives are, what the overall personality of the office is and who our main contacts are. With this valuable information, we are able to provide temporary staff based on knowledge and insight, not guesswork. We base our searches not only on required skill sets and work experience but also on individual personality and attitude. Above all else we are honest and flexible, and we’ll work with our clients to find the best temporary staffing solution possible. We won’t send someone to a client who is less than qualified just so the assignment can start the very next day. Rather, we are upfront with our client and together come up with the best solution for the particular assignment. In some cases that means sending someone as an alternate until we wait for the best candidate to become available, and in others it means delaying a project until a favourite temporary candidates schedule is free. We are not about sending somebody for a quick fix; we are about finding just the right candidate for each assignment. We ask our clients to be patient and trust our decisions in return

for valuable candidates who will shine! We work with our clients; we strategize, we make suggestions and are able to evaluate their temporary staffing needs. We not only act as an extension of a client’s human resources department by helping provide interim staff but we also add value by assisting clients in making the right financial choices so that their business can succeed. At Tempsinmalta we encourage people to temp at all levels and from all walks of life. Temping gives you a source of income so that you may pursue your present dreams, such as furthering your education, or your hobbies, travelling, a career change, parenthood or just the freedom to gain knowledge of different industries and environments. TEU

Editor’s Note Rachel Balzan Demajo is Group Marketing Director at M. Demajo Group, and also Senior Partner of Tempsinmalta.com. Rachel has extensive experience at managerial level across a number of industries, with specific expertise on marketing and communications. An affiliated member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, she is a B.Comm graduate, as well as a Henley MBA graduate, with ongoing CPE in her area of expertise. A regular contributor in a variety of business publications, Rachel brings topical subjects in the field of Communications to the heart of business decisions. Contact us at info@tempsinmalta.com for an appointment to hire, or upload your CV on our website www.tempsinmalta.com to be approved as one of our candidates. tempsinmalta is a joint venture between the M. Demajo Group and Quad Consultancy

October 2013 | THE ECONOMIC UPDATE

| 53


Health & Fitness

The best time when to eat Carbohydrates Every time I hear someone telling me “I don’t eat carbs” my alarm bell go off, especially when this person come for weight-loss advice, since he or she is sporting an extra 10-20 kg around the waistline. Clearly, there is a problem here: either they are lying, or they are unknowingly consuming carbohydrates from carb-containing food sources or something else is seriously wrong in their diet. It always amazes me that people do not associate eating chocolates and biscuits as “food”. So they may not eat potatoes with their dinner (“ I don’t eat carbs”), but they will eat chocolates and biscuits throughout the day, which are LOADED with sugar and processed wheat - the worst kind carbohydrates to consume. Carbohydrates do not have to be your enemy. If used wisely, they can be part of a fat-burning diet and they can also help you to achieve top performance in the gym, since carbohydrates are the most important fuel source for exercising. Try exercising when you are carbohydrate depleted – no energy to run, no strength to lift weights and a foggy brain. Your brain runs purely on carbohydrates and lack of it will decrease your ability to stay focused and concentrate. The right time to eat carbohydrates Here’s the good news: You can consume some of your favourite carbohydrates, and avoid any fat storage when you consume them at the right times. But there is one condition for this to work: You have to exercise, and by exercising I mean as intensively as you can (no window-shopping type walking please!) Glycogen storage and fat spillover Our body has an ability to store carbohydrates in limited amounts. When ingesting carbohydrates, a 54 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

70kg man can store around 400g of carbohydrates in the form glycogen in muscle cells, as an immediate fuel for physical activity. An additional 100g of carbohydrate can be stored in the liver as glycogen. During exercise, our body’s primary source of fuel is this glycogen, and as the workout proceeds, glycogen levels start to drop. Therefore to stay fully energised for our workouts, it would make sense to keep the glycogen stores as topped up as possible. If you are not exercising regularly, glycogen stores are less likely to be utilised. Therefore carbohydrates eaten that are not required for glycogen resynthesis are likely to be converted to fat and stored as bodyfat, as the body has no other use for them. This phenomenon is referred to as “Fat spillover” With this knowledge in mind, there are three optimal times during the day when to eat carbohydrates whilst avoiding fat spillover from consuming to many carbs.

Post workout The best time to consume your favourite carbs, including sugary snacks is right after your workout. When you use the right type of exercise, such as weightlifting, circuit training, high intensity interval training and endurance type sports, your muscles act like a sponge that’s been rung dry, so your body will literally “soak up” all your favourite carbs and replenish your glycogen stores. Depending on exercise intensity and duration, you can consume between 70-100g of carbohydrates within an hour of exercising. Timing your carb intake the right way is one of the easiest ways to eat your carbohydrates with a clear conscience, while skyrocketing your fat-burning hormones and rebooting your dead metabolism. However exercise plays a big role in this mechanism, so make sure you find the time for it TEU

Mornings A good time of day to eat carbohydrates is first thing in the morning when your metabolic rate is higher, your glycogen stores have been reduced during the night and insulin sensitivity is peaking “naturally”. This means there’s more room in your energy tank to let the carbs in without any fat storage. 2 to 4 hours before you exercise This will ensure the carbs you consume have topped up your glycogen stores and can be burned off during and after the workout to avoid fat-spillover and prevent muscle loss. It will also provide you with increased energy levels throughout your workout. Better performance equals more fat and calories burned during and after the workout.

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.


NEWSMAKERS

CPE-Accredited Training in Collective Investment Schemes CSB and ifs Malta are teaming up to offer another important professional development opportunity. The aim of the training course is to introduce attendees to the main concepts and practical aspects of collective investment schemes. This 10-hour training programme will take place at the Sonata Conference Hall, Golden Tulip Vivaldi Hotel in St. Julians between 17.00 hrs and 19.30 hrs on the 9, 10, 15 & 17 October. The sessions will analyse the provisions contained in the Maltese legal framework underpinning the various types of collective investment schemes (“CIS”) licences and the most recent legal developments brought about by the transposition of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive into Maltese Law. Amongst the various topics, the agenda includes the following: “an analysis of the various collective investment scheme licences”; “the vehicles available to promoters wishing to licence a CIS; AIFMD and the Maltese regulatory scenario post AIFMD transposition”. This is an excellent professional training opportunity for practitioners such as accountants, financial services officers, bankers, lawyers, corporate services officers, among others who require practical information and need to develop further insight about collective investment schemes and on the most recent legal developments in the field. The training sessions will be delivered by Dr Kurt Hyzler who obtained a Masters of Law degree in Banking and Finance Law from the University of London in 2007 and has since been practicing within the financial services industry in Malta. As a further incentive, CSB Group and ifs Malta have communicated that they have made arrangements for accountants registered for this programme to claim structured CPE hours.

‘Best-in-market’ offers on home and car loans from HSBC Malta - Home loan interest rates starting from 1.99% HSBC Malta launched two new ‘best-in-market’ fixed interest rate home loan offers and an equally attractive deal on car loans. These offers are set to close on 31 December 2013. The HSBC home loan offers are: 1.99% fixed until 31 December 2014, and 2.7% fixed until 30 June 2015. Both offers apply on new loans and amounts up to €1,000,000 although requests for amounts above €1,000,000 will be considered on a case by case basis. The car loan offer provides a fixed interest rate of 4.99% for the entire duration of the loan, which may be for 2, 3, 5 or 7 years - although the latter term is only available for loan amounts of €10,000 or more. No early repayment fees will be incurred for early or additional repayment and further discounts on processing fees are available for HSBC Premier and HSBC Advance customers. “These new time-limited deals offer HSBC customers the most competitive home loan interest rates currently on the market as well as the peace of mind that only a fixed rate can give,” said HSBC Malta’s Paul Steel, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management. More information about HSBC Malta’s special offers is available on www.hsbc.com.mt, by calling Customer Service on 2380 2380, or by visiting any HSBC branch in Malta and Gozo.

For further information about the training content and registration details send your queries to info@csbgroup.com or info@ifsmalta.org

MEP Roberta Metsola appointed European People’s Party (EPP) rapporteur on anti-discrimination and the fight against homophobia. Maltese Member of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola has been appointed the European People’s Party (EPP) rapporteur on antidiscrimination and the fight against homophobia. MEP Metsola said that she is committed to use her platform in the European Parliament to tackle all forms of discrimination, adding that homophobia and violence are still common place across Europe and more has to be done to eradicate it once and for all. As the EPP rapporteur on the European Parliament’s report on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, MEP Metsola is meeting with civil society in Malta and with European NGOs in order to listen to their views on what they would like to see in the Roadmap. MEP Metsola said that it is troubling that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has stated that one in four people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex (LGBTI) have been threatened or physically attacked in the past five years. The same report quotes a Maltese national saying that he considered ‘being bullied at school’ as the worst form of homophobic abuse he has ever been subjected to. “It is time for a new chapter in this area. In Malta we have some way to go but we are moving forward. We have enacted hate crime legislation and last June PN MP Claudette Buttigieg presented a private members bill to amend Malta’s Constitution through the inclusion of protection from discrimination of persons of different sexual orientation.” said MEP Metsola. “This is one area where we should put partisan differences aside and come together to make clear that homophobic prejudice, bullying and discrimination are simply unacceptable. The Malta Gay Rights Movement has spoken of its hope that Maltese politicians speak out against prejudice and make clear public commitments to LGBT equality. Here is mine. I will not turn my back on LGBT persons.” said MEP Metsola. Concluding MEP Metsola said that “we must do more to tackle bullying, abuse and discrimination. We must take full advantage of this moment and come up with a roadmap that works and that takes everyone’s opinion into consideration.”

56 |

www.maltaeconomicupdate.com

HSBC Malta’s latest offers on loans are provided ‘best-in-market’ fixed interest rates.

FITCH re-affirms BOV ratings Fitch has reaffirmed Bank of Valletta’s long-term rating at investment grade BBB+ with a stable forward outlook. The Bank’s Support Rating Floor (SRF) has been revised to BBB- following the recent one notch downgrade of Malta’s sovereign rating. The SRF does not assess the credit quality of the Bank but communicates Fitch’s view on the ability of the sovereign to support the Bank if this becomes necessary. All other ratings remained unaffected. BOV Chairman John Cassar White expressed his satisfaction on the affirmation of the Bank’s long-term rating by the international agency Fitch. “The Bank’s core business remains robust with a strong balance sheet and capital position” said Mr. Cassar White. “This will ensure that BOV continues to reinforce its commitment to support the Maltese economy.” About Bank of Valletta Bank of Valletta is the leading financial services provider in Malta, delivering the full range of financial services including retail and investment banking, private banking, fund management, bancassurance and stockbroking. Domestic operations include a nation-wide network of branches, investment and business centres, while all retail banking is also delivered via internet, phone and mobile channels. BOV also issues bank cards under the Visa, MasterCard and American Express brand names. BOV offers the most comprehensive suite of products aimed at the business sector, financing the pillars of Malta’s economy. It also hosts a dedicated support office to provide tailored banking services to SMEs and sole traders.


2.7%

Powered by FIMBank

6fixedmonth term deposit

2.6% 2.0% 3 month instant access

fixed term deposit

savings account

Open your online savings account and start earning 2.0% p.a. on your daily savings, with a minimum deposit of â‚Ź50. Alternatively consider tieing your funds for a fixed term and benefit from a high interest rate of 2.6% p.a. for a 3 month fixed term or 2.7% p.a. for a 6 month fixed term starting with a minimum deposit of â‚Ź1,000. Fixed term deposits with longer tenors are also available. All interest rates are quoted on a gross per annum basis.

2132 2102

helpdesk@easisave.com

www.easisave.com

FIMBank p.l.c. is a licensed credit institution in Malta with company registration C17003, is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority and listed on the Malta Stock Exchange. The Bank is a participant of the Depositor Compensation Scheme in Malta. Terms and conditions apply.


Shaping the Future of Financial Services in Malta KPMG’s Biennial Financial Services Conference Hilton Hotel, Conference Centre, St. Julian’s Tuesday 26th November 2013 Inauguration of the Conference Plenary session I Giles Williams Prof. Josef Bonnici Prof. Joseph V. Bannister

Minister for Finance, Prof. Edward Scicluna Delivering in 2020: Learning from the past, succeeding in the future Partner, Head of EMA Regulatory Centre of Excellence, KPMG in the UK Governor, Central Bank of Malta Chairman, Malta Financial Services Authority

Breakout session I Option A M&A in FS: a disruptive force or a tool to shape the future?

Mark Flenner Partner, Advisory Services, KPMG in the UK

David Pace Director, Advisory Services, KPMG in Malta

Option B IFRS: the future is fair

Noel Mizzi Partner, Audit Services, KPMG in Malta

David Caruana Partner, Advisory Services, KPMG in Malta

Darren Govus Director, Audit Services, KPMG in Malta

Option C AML and Beyond: where are we heading?

Brian Dilley Partner, Global Head of AML, KPMG in the UK

Dr. Manfred Galdes Director, Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit

Juanita Bencini Partner, Advisory Services, KPMG in Malta

Option D The CRD IV reality

Giuseppe Niolu Partner, Advisory Services, KPMG in Italy

Karol Gabarretta Director, Banking Supervision Unit, MFSA

Juanita Bencini Partner, Advisory Services, KPMG in Malta

Option E Investment Management: a lot done, much more to do

Neale Jehan Executive Director, Audit Services, KPMG in the Channel Islands

Mike Duignan Director, Securities and Markets Supervision Unit, MFSA

Sarah Camilleri Senior Manager, Funds Advisory Services, KPMG in Malta

Option F Insurance 2020: what now?

Brian Morrissey Partner, Actuarial Services, KPMG in Ireland

Alfred Parnis Deputy Director, Insurance and Pensions Supervision Unit, MFSA

Hilary Galea-Lauri Partner and Head of Audit Services, KPMG in Malta

Breakout session II

Plenary session II The Prime Minister The Leader of the Opposition Juanita Bencini

Diane Bugeja Manager, Advisory Services, KPMG in Malta

Malta as the financial services centre of the future Joseph Muscat Dr. Simon Busuttil Partner, Advisory Services, KPMG in Malta The event has been accredited CPE hours by the Malta Institute of Accountants. The full brochure and application form are available for download from our web-site www.kpmg.com.mt

For further information please contact: Kathy Rivera T: + 356 2563 1053 E: conferences@kpmg.com.mt www.kpmg.com.mt

© 2013 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.

DELIVERING IN


The Economic Update Oct 2013