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BUSINESS | LIFESTYLE | DESIGN

THE ECO, SCIENCE & IT ISSUE ISSUE 29

GAME DEVELOPMENT BUILDING A LOW-CARBON ECONOMY

ANGEL INVESTORS THE GREEN ROOF PROJECT NEUROMARKETING Money / Issue 29 - 1


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Money / Issue 29 - 3


WELCOME

CONTENTS Until two decades ago, if we wanted to communicate with someone, we would send them a letter by post. If we didn’t receive a reply in 10 days, we would send them a reminder. A decade ago, we would send an e-mail and if they didn’t reply within one day, we would follow it up. Nowadays, if we don’t receive a reply to our e-mail within 10 minutes, we follow it up with an SMS.

THE ECO, SCIENCE AND IT ISSUE

ISSUE 29 | MARCH 2015

34 IT’S ALL IN THE MIND

Creatives need to take a scientific approach to better understand consumers’ decisions, says George Larry Zammit.

Technology hasn’t just changed the world as we know it – it has also stepped on the gas pedal of life. Yet it has also boosted our potential while making us aware of our responsibilities towards the world.

36 BEAUTY AND THE BEST

Express undying love with Money’s rich selection of luxury gifts.

In this issue of Money, we focus on three elements that are constantly shaping the way we live and work: science, IT and the environment.

40 A YEAR OF CHANGE

The National Environment Policy 2012 clearly sets Malta’s low carbon policy: by 2020, Malta will be well on its way to implementing its long-term vision of transforming itself into a low-carbon, zero-waste society by 2050. However, what is low carbon and what is the way forward for Malta to decarbonise its economy, asks Alan Pulis. Caring for the environment shouldn’t be seen as a burden but rather, as an opportunity for further employment and business diversification. In this issue of Money, we meet Antoine Gatt, a landscape architect by profession and the project manager of the Lifemedgreenroof Project at the University of Malta. This project, which is part funded through LIFE+, is yielding some interesting results on the aesthetic, business and environmental potential of green roofs. Technology is also a prime disruptive force. In this issue of Money, we meet the local leaders in the sector and discuss their prospects for 2015. We also meet a group of game developers while start-up coach and entrepreneur Simon Azzopardi outlines the potential of angel investing. In this issue of Money, chartered marketer George Larry Zammit writes about the rise of neuromarketing and licensed stockbroker Alexander Mangion gives us a detailed market report about what the investment landscape will look like in the year ahead.

8 VIEW FROM THE TOP

Dropping oil prices, failing European economies, Japan’s quantitative easing experiment and global deflation: what will the investment landscape look like in the year ahead, asks Alexander Mangion.

The Lifemedgreenroof Project is yielding budding results, Antoine Gatt tells Jamie Iain Genovese.

12 THE GAME IS ON

Local game developers are making it to the next stage thanks to dedicated courses and initiatives such as the Gamedev Challenge. Money gets in the game with two developers.

16 LOW CARBON ON THE AGENDA What are Malta’s possibilities to decarbonise its economy, asks Alan Pulis.

We also travel to Marrakech, discuss the factors that fuel Denmark’s leadership in innovation, cooperation, research and development, and propose beautiful gifts you can pamper a loved one, or yourself, with. Read on and enjoy.

42 PUNCHING ABOVE ITS WEIGHT Shakespeare was wrong because there’s nothing rotten in the state of Denmark. And that is why it leads in innovation, cooperation, research and development.

52 THE MAGIC CARPET 20 SAVE THE WORLD

Money finds a greener shade of gadgets.

Editor Anthony P. Bernard anthony@moneymag.me Consulting Editor Stanley Borg stanley@moneymag.me Design Roderick Peresso Design Studio www.peresso.com / m. 99258825 Printing Print It Distribution Mailbox Direct Marketing Group

Hand delivered to businesses in Malta, all 5 Star Hotels including their business centres, executive lounges and rooms (where allowed), Maltese Embassies abroad (UK, Rome, Brussels, Moscow and Libya), some Government institutions and all ministries. For information regarding promotion and advertising call Tel: 00 356 2134 2155, 2131 4719 Email: hello@moneymag.me

24 COUNTRY OF ANGELS

What is a business angel and how do you become one asks Simon Azzopardi.

28 TECHNO BEAT

Marrakech doesn’t rock the kasbah. But La Mamounia does, says Mona Farrugia.

58 THE BLUESMAN’S BLOG

With the 2016 elections just round the corner, there’s a lot of jostling around. But in the meantime, the Presidential swagga’ is back, says the Bluesman.

Be an eco warrior at work with Money’s green office gadgets.

30 YOU NEED GREEN TO GO GREEN There is a cost to being eco-friendly, says Reuben Buttigieg. But at least, let’s reduce the bureaucratic burden.

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Money is published by BE Communications Ltd, No. 81, Howard Street, Sliema, Malta SLM 1754 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed in Money are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. 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. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome but cannot be returned without a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The editor is not responsible for material submitted for consideration.

4 - Money / Issue 29


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Money / Issue 29 - 5


A WAIT

WORTH WAITING FOR

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Psaila Street, Santa Venera

Money / Issue 29 - 7


Interview PROJECTS

The Lifemedgreenroof Project is yielding budding results, Antoine Gatt tells Jamie Iain Genovese.

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Photos by Jamie Iain Genovese.

VIEW FROM THE TOP


I

found myself, despite my better judgment, back within the confines of the Faculty of the Built Environment for the first time since graduation. I quickly moved, however, to the roof of the building. Not that I was picking locks and exploring rooftops for kicks. Rather, I was meeting the project manager of the Lifemedgreenroof Project, Antoine Gatt, a landscape architect by profession. While still in its early stages, the project has yielded some interesting findings and offers even more interesting prospects. I was shown the preparatory stage of the project, where the plants are being tested along with the growing media: this is because rooftops have a very specific and particular microclimate. "It's windy, exposed to lots of solar energy, and there's a lot of reflection," says Gatt. "This means that plants have to be adequately adapted to that sort of environment." In other words, the landscape and attributes of a green roof are unique. What I saw was a number of garden beds with a thriving variety of mostly native plant species, with the exception of lavender. Sure enough the odds are stacked against the plants: they were planted in June, while the ideal planting season would be now, in winter. Not to mention the severe January storms which should have posed a significant threat to the survival of the garden. And yet the plants suffered minimal losses and have still retained a population of around 220 specimens. Not only that, but there's even been a recent, organic arrival of insect life such as bees and butterflies laying eggs and leaving pupae, creating a new local micro-ecology. Glowing results, to be sure. The key to the success of the green roof is the choice of materials. The growing media used instead of soil has to have particular characteristics. You cannot use soil because it's heavy, compacts, and wastes water. Moreover, when it's windy, there's loss of soil. Therefore, what is used instead is a mixture of inorganic and very little organic material. I was shown a mixture of growing media consisting of lapillo and pumice, both volcanic materials. This is mixed with compost and peat substitutes: since peat is unsustainable, a substitute is preferred. Another mixture incorporates biochar, which is a material used as a soil amendment. This growing media rests on a fine filter that prevents the carriage of particles from growing media and water flow. This filter rests on a

drainage layer which takes care of excess storm water that isn't retained by the biochar, then a root barrier, a protection layer for the damp-proof membrane, and the damp-proof membrane of the roof itself. This affords a system that takes the water it needs and dispenses of the water it doesn't: all this without threatening the integrity of the rooftop, given that the roof can support the weight of the green roof as can be verified by an engineer. This is allowed by the growing media which is lighter than potted plants.

The feasibility is definitely welcome considering the economic angle. Initially the plants were watered three times a week with half a litre each. It was then found that the water retention of the biochar allowed for less water to be used: if plants get more water than they need, they turn turgid and this negatively impacts their health. This alleviates the management of water supply for the roof garden, which is arguably its most costly aspect of maintenance, especially for those without access to a well.

Money / Issue 29 - 9


PROJECTS

“THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT, BEYOND THAT OF THE MICRO-ECOLOGIES THAT COULD BE DEVELOPED AND PROVE BENEFICIAL IN THE MEDIUM-TO THE LONG-TERM, IS ALSO POSITIVE.” The environmental impact, beyond that of the micro-ecologies that could be developed and prove beneficial in the medium- to the long-term, is also positive. Beyond aesthetics, the green roof also provides a layer of insulation to the rooms below. The roof garden also positively impacts photovoltaic panels. PV panels perform at their best at the ideal temperature of 25-26ºC, which obviously is exceeded in summer. The roof garden can lower the air temperature of the roof itself and around the PV panel. While the roof garden wouldn't help to drop the temperature to the ideal one, it certainly brings it closer: therefore, PV panels can work more efficiently. That's the fact sheet, which gives room to talk about the project. Currently, the green roof exists as a sort of proving ground where data can be gathered until 2017, after which findings will be published. Research still needs to be conducted: in the Mediterranean, research is still in its infancy, but it could support a new market for green jobs. Currently the data being collected relates to storm water management, insulation, choice of plants and growing media, and the monitoring of coverage and growth of plants over periods of times, using photographs taken from a rig set up over the test beds.

This collection of data, along with the demonstration green roof to be set up separately to the existing one for public viewing, should help to encourage the installation of green roofs for factories, offices and even homes. That hope is also not what one would call far-fetched, as the green roofs are not subject to their boxes and can be designed or sectioned off as one would will, allowing a spatial and aesthetic flexibility to their presence. The ease of implementation married to the costeffective nature of the roof garden only makes it more apt for its introduction to urban spaces, which are so densely packed with traffic, construction and eyesores. Green spaces that can easily be constructed on any rooftop (considering structural

integrity) could only serve to mitigate, maybe alleviate, the psychological impact of the urban area, both visually and environmentally. While research is still being conducted, it's plain to see that green roofs could be the hottest growth period for the eco-economy, both for providers and subscribers. A significant step forward for Malta environmentally, aesthetically and financially.

MUSIC MEETS FASHION The world of music delivers the right ingredients for a sophisticated and effortless dress code. BOSS builds its latest collection around an aspirational archetype that mingles with the industry’s downtown cool. From half-lined coats to tumbled slim-fit jackets: the clothes find a balance between tailored and casual. The news is in the fits: the jackets offer unconstructed tailoring and therefore a casualness that is downtown ready. Details lend easiness to the new BOSS look, defined by boxy shapes on top and tapered, slightly cropped trousers below. Rich colour combinations – a flamingo pink shirt over sand-toned trousers, and Art Deco blue over coffee – also bring a new beat to the BOSS world. This spring 2015 menswear collection is now available at the BOSS Stores Malta in St Julian’s and Gate 1, Departures Lounge, Luqa Airport. For more information, call on +356 2202 1000. The St Julian’s store is open Monday to Saturday from 10am till 8pm while the Luqa Airport store is open daily. 10 - Money / Issue 29


GAMING

THE GAME IS ON

Local game developers are making it to the next stage thanks to dedicated courses and initiatives such as the Gamedev Challenge. Money gets in the game with two developers. Left: Stephen Robert Spiteri and Massimo Saliba. Photos by Jamie Ian Genovese. 12 - Money / Issue 29


The returns are lucrative. Franchises change hands for million-dollar deals. Game developer Eutechnyx, for instance, has recently sold its ownership of the Nascar game franchise to a US company for a multi-million dollar deal. And the games box office grosses the kind of money usually associated with huge budget films: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare grossed $700m, Grand Theft Auto IV $1.35bn and The Sims $740m.

G

one are the days when video games were a badly pixellated affair which would ruin our eyesight and frustrate us with frequent glitches. Nowadays, games are massive productions with million-dollar budgets. They are slick franchises and part and parcel of blockbusters: Lord of the Rings, Batman and most blockbusters are translated into games.

Stars lend their names to games: the trailer to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare featured the voice and likeness of Hollywood big Kevin Spacey, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City starred Ray Liotta as the protagonist Tommy Vercetti, Kristen Bell voiced Lucy Stillman in three Assassin’s Creed games, and you can hear Samuel L. Jackson’s voice in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Lego Star Wars III and Iron Man II.

No wonder then that the games industry is constantly expanding, creating new jobs and seeking new talent. Education is, of course, key to the development of the industry. Even locally, we are seeing an increasing focus on game development studies. St Martin’s Institute of IT, for instance, offers game development as part of its curriculum. The institute also organises the annual Gamedev Challenge: for this challenge, several students from the institute, the Malta

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GAMING

College of Arts, Science and Technology, and the University of Malta team up to create a game from scratch. The students are guided by St Martin’s lecturers as well as industry veterans.

development of artistic creativity. Saliba was a member of the team that developed Cannon Frontier, a game that made it to the finals of last year’s Gamedev Challenge.

repetitive, badly developed or not just good enough. Copying or getting inspiration from a successful game doesn’t necessarily mean your game will be noticed.”

Six teams made it to the finals of the 2014 edition of the Gamedev challenge. All teams created high quality games and were judged by a panel of distinguished judges, which included Nilsen Filc from Puzzl Games, Nick Porsche from Dorado Games, Ingo Mesche and Neville Attard from AV Games, Jim Brown and Dawid Chemul from Codemasters, Tim Chapman from Exient and Jonathan Barbara from St Martin’s. The winning game was Guardian of the Order, developed by Josef Farrugia, Samuel Grech and Mauro Cordina.

Stephen Robert Spiteri, who is also reading for a degree in creative computing and is currently finalising his dissertation, was a member of the team K3 Games, who developed the game Fort Siege. The game was second runner up in the challenge.

“The gaming market has expanded and there is also room for independent developers,” says Spiteri.

Massimo Saliba is in his first year of reading for a degree in creative computing, which combines technical computer expertise with the

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“Game development is a combination of art forms,” says Spiteri. “However, you also need to know the market: you should be ambitious in creating something totally different, while keeping in mind what the market wants.” “Knowing the market is essential,” says Saliba. “For instance, the market right now is flooded with infinite runners. Some of them are very good. However, others are just

For Saliba, the Gamedev Challenge is an opportunity to work in a team, develop good time management as well as explore the different aspects of game development. “Members of the team have their own responsibilities, with each member focusing on different aspects such as artwork, programming and music.” The Gamedev Challenge rules are pretty simple: teams are given a theme – in last year’s edition, the theme was the Great Siege of 1565 – and


“YOU ALSO NEED TO KNOW THE MARKET: YOU SHOULD BE AMBITIOUS IN CREATING SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT, WHILE KEEPING IN MIND WHAT THE MARKET WANTS.”

then they have a free hand in developing their game. However, they are also assisted and given support by lecturers and game development specialists. For Saliba and Spiteri, marketing is essential in developing a game. Hundreds of games are released every day and you need to get your name noticed. People have to play it in order

for your game to make it to the charts and attract the attention of other potential gamers. Also, nowadays it is easier to develop games. Which means that more games are released and it’s difficult to attract gamers to play your game. What have Saliba and Spiteri learned from the Gamedev Challenge experience?

“The experience has given me more leadership skills,” says Spiteri. “In other challenges, I always took on artistic responsibilities. However, with this challenge, I worked on my leadership skills.” “The Gamedev Challenge taught me how to work in a team,” says Saliba. “It’s all good to have talent, but ultimately, developing a game is all about successful teamwork.”

BANKING INTERNATIONALLY Bank of Valletta is a major player in the provision of financial services to overseas customers. Backed with over two decades of experience in servicing international corporate clients, the Bank’s International Corporate Centre, which is now operating from new premises in Zachary Street, Valletta, tailors its offerings around the evolving needs of its international clients. The BOV International Corporate Centre is composed of dedicated relationship teams who tap into the expertise of specialists across various areas within the organisation to provide clients with tailor-made solutions. The centre focuses on the timely provision of key corporate banking services including trade finance, foreign currency exchange and internet banking. A solid reputation and an extensive correspondent banking network ensures that clients can effect payments across continents in an efficient manner.

The BOV International Corporate Centre team handles clients’ daily banking requirements in a seamless and efficient manner, providing financial advice and necessary support to clients and their representatives, whether operating locally or remotely from another country. The key to the success registered by the centre is the strong working relationship it has built with corporate service providers both locally and overseas. Designed to assist its customers to maximise their opportunities and broaden their horizons, the BOV International Corporate Centre is positioned to provide international clients with tomorrow’s banking solutions today. Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is a credit institution authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Money / Issue 29 - 15


ENVIORNInterview MENT

LOW CARBON ON THE AGENDA What are Malta’s possibilities to decarbonise its economy, asks Alan Pulis.

I

rrespective of all political circumstances energy issues have always been a priority and with climate issues and the need to diversify energy mixes high on the global agenda, Malta certainly cannot dismiss the effort that must be done locally to shift to a more sustainable “low carbon” pathway. The National Environment Policy 2012 spells it out clearly: “By 2020 Malta will be well on its way to implementing its long-term vision of transforming itself into a low-carbon, zero-waste society by 2050.” But what is low carbon, what are we doing about it and why is it the way forward for Malta? A low carbon economy relies only minimally on fossil fuel energy and hence releases the lowest possible amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere for a sustainable carbon footprint. The shift to low carbon safeguards both global climate and the environment as a whole. Human health is also at the heart of the matter: fossil fuel burning is not only responsible for greenhouse gas emissions but also results in the release of noxious pollutants such as sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides

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and particulates, that can exert more immediate deleterious impacts on human health. Decarbonisation is about the economy diversifying its energy mix such that energy demand can be met by tapping as many different sources as possible. For political reasons among others, the last 30 years have seen increased global recognition of the need to shift away from coal and oil in favour of cleaner alternatives. Latest figures from the International Energy Agency and British Petroleum however show that humanity is still locked in a high carbon world with the vast major of energy supplies deriving from coal and oil (Figures 1 and 2). The 2014 BP Statistical Review of World Energy gives global primary energy consumption from fossil fuel for 2013 at 87 per cent tallying with 10 years earlier, 2003. Have global energy policies aimed to reduce carbon emissions been a dismal failure after all? The Maltese economy is certainly no exception to the fossil fuel global culture; we stand out as a classic example of a high carbon society. Malta’s

Figure 1: Fuel shares of total primary energy supply (total primary energy supply is the sum of all energy sources worldwide like coal, oil, gas, nuclear and hydro. These resources are converted into gasoline, natural gas, electricity and other energy carriers) for 1973 and 2012. Peat and oil shale are included with coal and the other category includes geothermal, solar, wind. Note the dominance of coal, oil and natural gas (Source: 2014 Key World Energy Statistics, IEA).


Alan Pulis specialises in environmental management.

“ACCORDING TO EUROSTAT, MALTA’S RENEWABLE ENERGY SHARE IN GROSS FINAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION WAS ESTIMATED AT 3.8% FOR 2013, SURPASSING ONLY LUXEMBOURG THAT STOOD AT 3.6%.” record with renewables (arguably one of the best indicators of the extent of a shift from high to low carbon) says it all: according to Eurostat, Malta’s renewable energy share in gross final energy consumption was estimated at 3.8 per cent for 2013, surpassing only Luxembourg that stood at 3.6 per cent. Progress in this field has to be measured against a 10 per cent target to be achieved by 2020 without prejudice to any further EU obligations that Malta may eventually commit to once the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework eventually comes into place. In the background lies first of all the EU Energy Roadmap with the target to decarbonise the EU economy to the extent of achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions of between 80 and 95 per cent by 2050 compared to baseline year 1990. More recently however, there has also been the official endorsement by the European Council held in March 2015 of the need for Europe to build an Energy Union. This shall be based on a more coherent European Energy Policy designed to factor in both climate change considerations and the dire need for the EU to make itself comfortable with the thorny matter of energy security and how to reduce dependence on Russian hydrocarbon supplies. Jean Claude Juncker, while still a candidate for President of the European Commission, had already set the ball rolling for Europe to move in this direction through his Political Guidelines for the next European Commission of July 15, 2014.

Figure 2: Global energy consumption normalised to 100 per cent showing the importance of fossil fuel over the last 30 years (Source: British Petroleum).

Figure 3: The circular economic model (Source: EU Commission communication, “Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe”, July 2, 2014).

What are Malta’s possibilities to decarbonise its economy and to what extent does the islands’ geophysical landscape lend itself to massive investment programmes designed to tap alternative energy sources? Now that the prospect of having the offshore Sikka l-Bajda wind farm has been discarded, the focus seems to have been more firmly set on the islands’ possibilities with solar power. The equation is however not only one of environmental wish-lists perhaps intended to promote Malta’s green credentials; the economics of solar power has to be assessed taking into account both feed-in tariffs and the extent to which these can be rendered attractive, and also the possibility for Malta to import green electricity through the interconnector cable with Sicily. A low carbon society prioritises on energy efficiency. Malta’s response to the recent EU Commission proposal for a 30 per cent target by 2030 on energy savings shall be particularly

interesting in view of the desired policies and measures to make the local construction industry more sensitive to this crucial necessity and, surely, increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Technically, the legal framework is already there in the form of Legal Notice 376 of 2012 as amended which transposes EU Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings into Maltese legislation. The waste management sector plays a crucial role in the shift to low carbon. Malta’s waste management plan finalised in January 2014 has also been adopted within this context and is consistent with the National Environmental Policy target for zero-waste by 2050. It must be emphasised that zero-waste is not about an economy that produces no waste at all but about achieving a state of development whereby all forms of waste can be treated as a resource that can be utilised consistent with a circular – rather than linear – economic growth pattern (Figure 3). The treatment of biodegradable waste in recycling plants such as Sant’ Antnin and the Malta North plant in Maghtab – the construction of which is currently underway – is a case in point. Biogas derived from organic waste such as food remains is burnt to produce green electricity that is fed into the grid. The green electricity derived from biogas not only serves to lower the islands’ dependence on fossil fuels but, left untreated, such waste would release greenhouse gases hence increasing Malta’s carbon footprint. In its communication earlier this year the EU Commission expressed itself on Europe’s way forward with the circular economy, pointing out that whereas there are still some market barriers to be overcome, “Waste prevention, eco-design, reuse and similar measures could bring net savings of €600bn, or eight per cent of annual turnover, for businesses in the EU, while reducing total annual greenhouse gas emissions by two to four per cent” (COM (2014) 398 final Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe, July 2, 2014.) The difficulties however seem to go beyond the market barriers themselves. They are also political. The decision by the Juncker Commission to remove the Circular Economy Package from the EU work programme for 2015 was met with dismay from most quarters and the Commission’s declaration that a stronger legislative package was actually required did not prevent EU

Money / Issue 29 - 17


ENVIORNMENT

environment ministers to express their support towards the package. However, the work programme heightens the relevance of energy and climate issues on the EU agenda, claiming that the EU is at the forefront of the global effort to combat global warming and committing the bloc towards adopting a Strategic Framework for an Energy Union as reasserted in the latest European Council. Low carbon is intrinsically linked to climate action. The shaping of Malta’s climate change policy has been an ongoing process at least since 2009 when the climate mitigation strategy received unanimous parliamentary approval. Taking the form of an action plan meant bringing about substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions within stipulated timeframes. This strategy lays the foundations that set the Maltese economy on course towards a more sustainable low carbon route. The main highlight of this strategy is the need for Malta to modernise its power generation facilities to improve their operational efficiency which, as explained by the strategy itself, also requires a shift to cleaner natural gas firing and which is less carbon dioxide intensive. Malta’s climate mitigation strategy is accompanied by a sister national climate adaptation strategy that was formulated in 2012 and which provides a comprehensive list of actions to counter the impacts of climate change happening now, not least with regards to the management of the islands’ precious water resources. The extent to which the future development of Malta’s climate adaptation strategy shall factor in complex issues such as loss and damage due to extreme weather within a local context remains to seen. Policy documents and strategies alone, released in an almost perfect vacuum, cannot be expected to yield the desired result especially if public opinion remains sceptical about the political will of governments to act. The ongoing process leading to the adoption of a unique legislative framework – the Climate Action Act – tailor-made to suit Malta’s circumstances is therefore a very significant step forward in the local dimension. The prospective Act is meant to heighten the level of commitment on climate action by providing a legal dimension binding government to ensure that climate mitigation (the proposed Act refers to the mitigation strategy more appropriately as a low carbon development strategy) and adaptation strategies are not only regularly updated but also properly implemented and within the required timeframes. The Climate Action Act shall therefore serve to provide a much needed momentum to the Maltese economy on course to low carbon, particularly now with the ongoing major overhaul at Enemalta when a specific deadline has been set – June 2016 – for the switch to natural gas firing. The massive Enemalta reform programme that is currently underway – including the dismantling of the old

18 - Money / Issue 29

Marsa power plant, the shift to natural gas firing through modern infrastructure at Delimara, and the undersea power interconnection with the European mainland – is not only essential in terms of both flexibility and security of energy supply, but also adds credibility to Malta’s intentions and political will to act on climate. Moreover, with the new 2030 EU Framework on Climate and Energy underway the long overdue infrastructural overhaul at Enemalta shall put Malta in a position to sustain more onerous obligations it may be expected to shoulder as an EU Member State. Malta can never fulfil its low carbon vision as stated in the National Environment Policy unless transport issues are addressed in view of the need to curtail vehicular emissions. The issue is not just a matter of cutting down on greenhouse gases but also a matter of protecting human health from potentially carcinogenic emissions. Transport sector reform is as urgent as having in place cleaner and more efficient power generation facilities. The 2009 climate mitigation strategy includes a list of at least 20 separate actions intended as transport abatement measures. Actions include the setting up of intelligent lights to resolve traffic bottlenecks, setting up of a traffic information centre, rescheduling of non-urgent road works, promulgation of teleworking initiatives to enable work from home, setting up of water taxis, electrical powered taxis together with more park-and-ride facilities, and also the equipping of heavy vehicles with telemetry devices to measure carbon dioxide emissions. There is also clear

mention of the possibility of staggering official working hours with school hours to alleviate congestion especially during rush hour, a singular measure that surely needs to be analysed in considerable detail and all options treated with an open mind. According to recent reports Malta has put forward a monorail system as one of its proposals to benefit from EU funding, a project estimated at €1.42 billion over eight years the practical feasibility of this uniquely significant project still requiring detailed assessment. The energy and transport sectors play a pivotal role in Malta’s pursuit of a low carbon economy. The need for more proper and timely implementation of action plans and strategies shall become more urgent given policy developments within the EU and at an international level where, perhaps above all, decarbonisation is being construed as a national and regional security issue as much as it is a purely climatic or environmental matter. On the other hand, as with the world economy in its totality, the low carbon shift of the Maltese economy was never meant to happen overnight. It also raises fundamental questions about how far we are ready to go to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle irrespective of any transition pains. However, what matters most in the current state of global post-recession economic flux are acumen and political will. It shall be up to Malta’s political leaders to rise to the occasion and embrace the challenge to decarbonise the economy with all the opportunities that arise.


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Interview ECO

SAVE THE WORLD

FIBRE POWER Made of post-consumer fibre paper, the Eco-Amp is a passive speaker that increases the sound volume and clarity of your phone without using any external power. The Eco-Amp comes with adhesive which allows you to stick it to your device without leaving any residue.

Money finds a greener shade of gadgets.

MAKE YOUR CASE Refleece uses recycled textiles and plastic bottles to make durable and tough cases for tablets. Colours range from classic grey to bright colours. Refleece also makes travel bags from recycled fabrics.

GARDEN OF EATING The AeroGarden is a self-contained indoor gardening appliance which allows you to grow herbs, vegetables, flowers and salad greens. The device uses aeroponics, a technology where plant roots dangle in the air and are drizzled with water and nutrients to stimulate a growing environment for plants.

20 - Money / Issue 29

LISTEN TO THIS

MY GENERATION

Woodbuds are hardwood headphones that pack a serious sound and plenty of eco credentials. They also come in recyclable packaging and five different colours to choose from.

The Solarpod is a rechargeable battery and output system that generates 400W from the energy it stores. Five hours of bright sun will translate into power for your television for four hours or a fridge for five hours.


PEDAL POWER Architect Andy Martin set out to create a bike made of bent wood and using a complex steam-bending process. The result is the Thornet Bike. The bike’s skeleton is made of beech wood, whose light colour contrasts beautifully with its black wheels and chain. The Thornet Bike is a fixed-gear bicycle which means that it must always be pedalled and doesn’t have brakes. The Thornet Bike looks great and is kind to the environment. The only issue is the cost: the limited edition bike is priced at more than €60,000.

A KEY TO WOOD French company Oree aims to build technology that is useful, elegant and lasting. This is achieved by using quality materials and uncompromising craftsmanship. One of the company’s bestsellers is a wooden keyboard: an ode to tools with a soul.

CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE The Ampl SmartBackpack comes with a builtin battery which can charge anything from a smartphone to a laptop.

SOLAR SOUND The Rukus Xtreme by Eton is a Bluetooth device that has five speakers and a built-in battery that can be charged by solar power or a normal outlet. The Rukus Extreme is also water-resistant and can also be linked to another unit. The build quality is rugged enough to withstand the challenges of the great outdoors.

PUT THE KETTLE ON A lot of energy is wasted during mundane tasks, like overfilling our kettle and needlessly boiling water we will not use. The Breville Hot Cup is a smart kettle that boils only enough water for a single cup. And it does so in just a few seconds. Save the earth over a cuppa.

Money / Issue 29 - 21


Super Store

Opening this December in Sliema Over 300m2 of shop floor with over 2000 products in the heart of Sliema 60, Tower Road

60,Tower Road

so you can ask them pretty much anything. Whether you want to know about healthy snacks or vitamins for your family, how to recover from a heavy night or expert advice on weight management, ask our wise old owls, we’re sure they’ll help you make that jump into the good life. Triq San Gorg, St Julians. Tel: 2138 4816 Old Railway Track, Attard. Tel: 2143 2901 5B Merchant Street, Valletta. Tel: 2122 7400 Hompesch Road, Fgura. Tel: 2166 3762

22 - Money / Issue 29


INTERInterview VIEW

FOR THE LOVE OF BRANDS Technology and the internet have given us global reach, says Chris Knights, BRND WGN Head of Digital. When was BRND WGN set up and with what aims? BRND WGN is a fully integrated brand powerhouse that has been making waves since 2006. We connect our clients with their customers through inventive, interactive and innovative engagement. We achieve this through a passion for all things creative, our 'Wagoneer' team spirit and our fierce commitment to execution. And all for the love of brands.

What are the advantages of having Malta as the base for your business? Working on a sun-drenched island surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea is a dream for any creative. Technology and the internet have given us global reach, so now we work for companies around the globe from the comfort of our inspiring home in Naxxar.

BRND WGN's growth from brand strategy to design, coupled with the explosion of the digital revolution, led us to invest in our own digital team in 2011. Its mission is: to build the right solutions fit for purpose; to extend the company's ethos to technology; and of course to marry our creativity with the digital age.

Have you expanded your operations outside Malta? Last year we signed a strategic partnership with one of the UK's leading marketing agencies, Volume Limited. This relationship has been a leverage for both teams. Now, thanks to this partnership, we've had the opportunity to showcase our work to a wider audience and collaborate on a number of new and innovative international projects.

What products and services do you offer? As a company, we specialise in branding, design and digital services. So whether you're looking to name your product, launch an app, create a mobile-friendly business generating website, or have us pitch your story to journalists, we've got you covered. Our digital team offers tailor-made solutions focused on user experience that helps generate more business. We handle anything from standard websites through to full-blown e-commerce solutions that support your business. In the past, we've worked with brands like CHOGM, Calamatta Cuschieri, P. Cutajar, Simonds Farsons Cisk, Air Malta and many more. What investments have you carried out in recent years? Since we're continuously growing in number, we relocated from our office in San Ġwann to a more spacious working space in the heart of Naxxar. BRND WGN now boasts a team of 33 Wagoneers and has added three new departments since 2013: social media, PR and media. We've also developed WBWGN, our new in-house web platform, promising rapid deployment at reduced costs, mobile first and always updated. Thanks to such investments, what business growth have you enjoyed in recent years? Since we are now a larger team, we are in a position to provide higher quality service to our clients, while simultaneously building new and exciting business relationships.

Are there enough specialised human resources in Malta? We are constantly on the lookout for world-class employees. And we know that they exist in Malta. We try as much as possible to provide our people with an awesome work space, great perks and constantly challenging projects, keeping our Wagoneers motivated and clients happy.

“WE’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOWCASE OUR WORK TO A WIDER AUDIENCE AND COLLABORATE ON A NUMBER OF NEW AND INNOVATIVE INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS.”

How do you invest in your human resources? We are fiercely committed to maintaining our position within the cutting-edge global creative industry, so our team regularly participates in international conferences, training courses and networking events. Our partnership with Volume Limited has also kept the whole team on its toes, learning new approaches and working on bigger international clients. What are your plans for 2015? This year we plan to challenge the service we offer to our clients. We want them to be part of the creative process as much as possible and to love it as much as we do. In terms of digital, I'm already seeing a huge shift from us proposing digital campaigns to clients demanding it. This is a direct reflection of the reduced costs and greater reach the likes of Facebook and Google now offer us. Finally, our top priority is to always keep working hard in order to retain our lead in the local creative industry.

Money / Issue 29 - 23


TECHNOmarket LOGY

COUNTRY OF ANGELS What is a business angel and how do you become one asks Simon Azzopardi.

H

ighly ambitious start-up companies with a global perspective are naturally interesting. Irrespective of background, we all feel and understand what they are trying to achieve. Hopes, dreams, aspirations, innovations, and a lot of sweat seem to come together in order to build an aspiring and game-changing product. Start-ups need great people to make them work but also money in varying amounts. Some need a few tens of thousands of euros while others may need seven figures. Where do startups go for such investments? A business angel is typically a successful entrepreneur who is willing to invest his or her own money into a new venture due to a belief in a product's potential and a team's ability to execute. A business angel is typically not a one-time investor but plays an active role in both existing and future investments. Therefore, an angel investor is typically an individual with a certain volume of liquid assets and an appetite for high risk. So should people who have, say €100,000 that they would like to invest, consider becoming an angel investor? Let's be clear though: angel investing is very risky. Typically, 50% of the start-ups you invest in will shut down in under two years, 30% will survive, delivering little to no returns, and 20% will thrive, covering the returns for your entire portfolio. Now, keeping this into consideration, it's clear that the number of investments or deals you make need to be sufficient to cover or spread the risks. With a typical investment of between €20,000 and €50,000, in isolation a €100,000 budget is difficult to justify in order to make a decent return. So what is that number when angel investing starts making sense? The truth is, there isn't. You could argue that mathematically, you need in excess of a certain amount of euros per annum of ready-to-invest cash for it to be worthwhile. However, there are other factors that may influence an angel investor. What motivates an angel investor varies from making substantial

24 - Money / Issue 29

returns to social or status reasons. Maybe it's simply to remain active in an industry that the individual understands. What is clear is that angel investing is not necessarily only about return on investment. So if someone is interested in angel investments, how would they go about meeting start-ups? First, let us look at how entrepreneurs in the start-up world operate. Start-ups, particularly early stage entities, tend to form communities. Start-ups tend to be active within start-up events, such as Start-Up Weekend, as well as other meetups. They do this because they want to be around likeminded individuals. They understand that by being around energetic individuals with varying experiences, they would learn from each other, benefitting tremendously.

Angel investors, similar to entrepreneurs, also have a propensity to form groups or communities, albeit with a different scope. Such groups or communities give angel investors the opportunity to discuss different opportunities as well as compare different start-up models. They may also want to group investments between them in order to distribute risk or simply reduce the overheads of managing their investments. Therefore, my advice to individuals or entities interested in similar investments would be to participate or register interest at a start-up event. This will first and foremost give you an idea as to what start-ups are about as well as a taste of the start-up culture in Malta. Moreover,


Simon Azzopardi is a start-up coach and entrepreneur with a focus on marketing and growth strategies.

such events are ideal to start meeting or getting closer to start-ups. Why should you invest in start-ups in Malta? Well, first of all because Malta is ideal for start-ups. It's a great place to live with access to quality talent and a lower burn rate of capital. Most importantly, there are decent young entrepreneurs. To give a few examples, there is currently a group of first year University students who have, between them, already published several mobile apps, with a few cofounding software and design companies seeing very early success. There are teams of startups looking to challenge recruitment processes, education, supply chain management and customer support experiences at a global level. There are start-ups based here that are looking to blend industries such as i-gaming with e-commerce or gamification of classroom education.

“WHAT MOTIVATES AN ANGEL INVESTOR VARIES FROM MAKING SUBSTANTIAL RETURNS TO SOCIAL OR STATUS REASONS.� True, Malta is still very new to this game. However both the quality and momentum at which the space is developing should certainly attract interest from angels and corporate investments. Lastly, what about culture? Anything that needs to change here? You can make excellent returns through angel investing. However for long-term presence in the start-up world, a good angel investor needs to be a good person. Angel investing is not a business model where you make money at someone else's expense. Start-ups create wealth, and not in a zero sum game. The beauty of it is that no one has to lose for you to win. If you mistreat the founders you invest in, the company will do worse. Moreover your referrals and deal flow will dry up. This doing good and giving back without keeping score is an important mindset for angel investors. To encourage this momentum, a community of likeminded active individuals needs to be formed.

Money / Issue 29 - 25


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INTERInterview VIEW

SUSTAINABLE WASTE MANAGEMENT

WasteServ’s ultimate aim is encourage people to make waste management an integral lifestyle practice, says Tonio Montebello, Chief Executive Officer, WasteServ Malta Limited. When was WasteServ Malta Limited set up and with what aims? WasteServ Malta Limited started operating in January 2003. It is a private owned company that is Government funded and is committed towards establishing and maintaining an innovative waste management infrastructure which also protects the environment and society. What products and services do you offer? While focusing predominantly on the management of municipal waste and recycling methods, WasteServ’s overall mission is: “To organise, supervise and control the provision of major waste management facilities and related services throughout the Maltese Islands. WasteServ also develops sites and facilities in accordance to local and international legislation, in order to ensure sustainable waste management.” How important is it to educate society about the benefits of waste management? Through its ongoing communication programme, WasteServ aims to promote waste minimisation and recycling while encouraging stakeholders to take pride in being committed to implementing sustainable waste management methods. WasteServ is committed to educate on the benefits to be gained from proper waste management practices. Through various education campaigns, we are constantly informing the public, especially children, about facilities and practices available and encourage them to use these facilities. WasteServ’s ultimate aim is encourage the local population to make waste management an integral lifestyle practice. What role does WasteServ play in this educational effort? WasteServ is the main promoter of waste management education in Malta. The company focuses its education on the waste hierarchy as outlined in the Waste Framework Directive, which clearly sets the basic definitions of waste management, namely of waste, recycling and recovery. This directive stipulates that waste should be managed without endangering human health and the environment, and in particular without risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, without causing a nuisance through noise or odours, and without adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest. This directive has set out a five-step hierarchy of waste management procedures which must be applied by member states when developing their national waste policies. These are: waste prevention;

WasteServ’s educational commitment knows no limits. Our educational initiatives are widespread and include participation in the Zerowaste Pro programme which focuses on the three main pillars of zerowaste philosophy: prevention, reuse and recycling and promoting best practices and tools.

What is the role of waste management in Malta’s bid to reuse, reduce and recycle? WasteServ has identified the following strategic objectives: to reduce the amount of municipal waste produced across the islands; to promote and adapt people’s behaviour to understand the value of waste as a natural and viable resource, by reusing, recycling and composting the maximum practicable amount of household waste; and to maximise opportunities for reuse of unwanted items and waste by working closely with community and other groups

Other initiatives include training on green waste management solutions, the production of educational tools about recycling for teachers and students, and the participation in fairs, such as European Week for Waste Reduction, workshops, conferences and competitions. A number of site visits and open days are organised, the most recent of which was held on January 25 and attracted over 500 people at the Sant’ Antnin Waste Treatment Plant.

How important is it to educate society about the benefits of waste management? In order to persuade people to change their attitude and intended behaviour, it is vital that they are educated on the benefits to be gained from proper waste management practices. The public has to be informed about all facilities and practices available and encouraged to use them. Waste management needs to become an integral lifestyle practice.

WasteServ also regularly publishes educational media articles online and offline and participates on local TV and radio programmes. WasteServ also regularly hosts schoolchildren to its facilities, where its officials help to disseminate information about waste separation in general as well as the processes adopted at the Sant’ Antnin Waste Treatment Plant.

How do you invest in your human resources? Over the past year, WasteSev’s management has made serious headway in projects which have directly resulted and will continue resulting in an increase in investment in its most valuable resource: its human capital.

preparing for re-use; recycling; recovery (including energy recovery); and safe disposal, as a last resort.

What are your plans for 2015? This year promises to be extremely challenging for WasteServ with a number of interesting and exciting projects in store. One of the first projects to be launched this year is the opening of the sixth civic amenity site at Ta’ Qali, next to the Pitkali Markets Centre – this site will have a composter which can accept up to 2.5 tonnes of biodegradable waste. Other projects involving huge infrastructural investments include the development of The Malta North Mechanical and Biological Waste treatment plant project, located behind the former Maghtab dump site which is set to cost €60m, co-financed by the EU Cohesion Fund. At the Gozo waste transfer station at Tal-Kus near Xewkija, hazardous and non-hazardous waste will be sorted and stored before it is transferred to Malta and the continuous rehabilitation of the landfills. Another initiative in which WasteServ is involved is the introduction of the third bag in households through a pilot project – this will facilitate the process through which organic waste is transformed into compost while producing energy.

WasteServ has put in place a human resources team which is equipped to handle day-to-day concerns and all matters relating to its staff and also invested in initiatives such as the launch of the WasteServ Malta Training Academy. This academy will give all employees the opportunity to develop themselves both on a personal and professional level. A companywide job-evaluation exercise is also underway to better understand the importance and relevance of each position, thus feeding into another exercise through which we are creating a skills matrix to better identify the right person for the job. As the company grows, so do the opportunities to help create a dynamic environment within WasteServ through which employees can advance in their careers, be it through internal vacancies as well as lateral transfers. A collective agreement, spanning over four years, has recently been signed through which increases in salary and allowances have been guaranteed for all its constituents. The collective agreement also creates a platform from which the human resources function can implement the company’s vision, one which has human resources paddling in the forefront, influencing directly the company’s business strategy.

Money / Issue 29 - 27


Interview OFFICE

TECHNO BEAT Be an eco warrior at work with Money’s green office gadgets.

GOOD MORNING The Rok espresso coffee maker uses no electricity to make the perfect morning espresso. This gadget uses a piston mechanism to produce the ultimate eco-espresso. Perfect for those early morning or late nights at the office.

28 - Money / Issue 29

IN A POD The Airea pod system provides alternative office solutions ranging from freestanding phone booths to quiet rooms and conference rooms. The pods can be moved and reused and are made of 68 per cent recycled material.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION The Basketbin has a small, dishwasher-safe cup clipped inside where you can put the unwanted remains of your lunch. That leaves the body of the bin free and you can safely recycle your paper.


HOLDING ON This staple-less stapler means you’ll never run out of supplies and you will reduce the amount of staples in the waste.

FEEL THE ENERGY The Allure Energy Eversense 2.2 allows you to control the temperature of a room remotely using your smartphone and a dedicated app. You can warm up your office as you’re driving to work. And if you leave the air conditioning on by mistake, you can switch it off from home.

TEMPERATURE CONTROL The Nest Learning Thermostat helps you reduce your utility bills by adjusting the temperature when you are not around. The thermostat has a motion sensor that knows when you’ve left for your lunch break or home and will adjust the temperature.

REMEMBER Hu2 prints various wall decals to place around light switches and power sockets. The idea is that they help you remember to turn them off when you don’t need light.

HIT THE PRINT BUTTON The Canon i-Sensys LBP7660Cdn packs outstanding performance, colour quality and energy efficiency. Compact enough to sit on the desktop, it gives you the convenience of a close-by printer that delivers professional prints quickly. Energy Star compliant, this printer delivers superior energy efficiency and has built-in automatic double-sided printing.

Money / Issue 29 - 29


market FINANCE

YOU NEED GREEN TO GO GREEN There is a cost to being eco-friendly, says Reuben Buttigieg. But at least, let's reduce the bureaucratic burden.

I

t has become a sort of a trend to talk about green measures and green management for businesses. Green lobbyist press for more legislation for this and it seems that society does expect businesses to be more eco-friendly. However, many fail to understand that there is a cost to being eco-friendly. One may argue that given the public perception, companies taking eco-friendly measures will, apart from doing their bit for the environment, also gain some marketing mileage which will result in an increase in revenue. This, in turn,

30 - Money / Issue 29

should cover the investment made to go green. So should being green be considered as part of a business's advertising budget? Certainly not since you will need to communicate what you are doing so that customers know how innovative you are. Therefore, marketing your green credentials is an additional investment that you have to make. In this context, as a finance person I would argue that we need a cost benefit analysis to see what new revenue we will need in order to first break even and then have a return on our investment.

Secondly I would also want to know whether this return will actually be higher than the opportunity cost I would enjoy were I to invest the same money and resources in something else. If the answers to the above are considered as not feasible from a financial perspective, then the other option a business has to become green is to distribute the cost of investment in the retail price of its products or services. However, the effects of this will depend on the price sensitivity of your market. Generally, the Maltese consumer is very price sensitive - however, it may be observed


Reuben Buttigieg is Managing Director of Erremme Business Advisors, Founding President of the Malta Institute of Management Accountants and President of the Malta Institute of Management.

“IF WE WISH TO GO FOR MORE COMPLEX AND COSTLY SOLUTIONS, THEN WE NEED TO ASSIST BUSINESSES FOR IT TO BE FEASIBLE.�

that in certain parts of the island price changes are even more critical than in other areas. The same considerations are to be done between, for instance, the financial services sector and the health services sector. With this in mind a business needs to evaluate the effects of increasing prices and the possible loss of customers. In spite of the above there could be circumstances where there is the third noncostly option that helps businesses in being eco-friendly. This option would also give an eco-friendly image which could be integrated in a business's marketing strategy. A business can, for instance, start a waste separation initiative. This is fairly simple to do and doesn't cost anything. It is such simple solutions that will make things more cost-effective. On the other hand if we wish to go for more complex and costly solutions, then we need to assist businesses for it to be feasible. Regrettably this has not been the case and in many circumstances - even where assistance was available - the bureaucratic procedures of the funding programme rendered the whole thing unfeasible. The authorities will argue that these are public funds and we need to ensure that they are properly used. I'm sure we all agree on this but this can

be achieved without hindering the funding process and by assisting small and micro businesses. Recently I was involved in the reimbursement of projects by Malta Enterprise to two different entities. Malta Enterprise has basically made it impossible for these to get their reimbursement. This is both at application stage as well as reimbursement stage. Everyone in Malta knows that Arms Limited issues its bills late and in an unpredictable manner. Both these projects included a part refund of these bills but according to Malta Enterprise you need to pay these bills in the same period that they are accrued. So for instance, if you have a project that ends in December 2014, all the bills related to that period need to be paid by the end of December. Coincidentally, to date these bills still haven't been received. What should a business do? The only way is to give up to your project as Malta Enterprise will not budge. This is the exact way how authorities are discouraging businesses from using European funds. In this scenario, being green in Malta becomes very difficult. Perhaps NGOs should work towards promoting simple solutions that businesses and persons can generally apply.

Money / Issue 29 - 31


32 - Money / Issue 29


Interview PROMO

AVANTECH SCANSTATION

A DOCUMENT SCANNING REVOLUTION A

s a primary form of communication, documents have been around for thousands of years providing an essential form of recording of events. But, the production, distribution, sorting and storage of those documents have in the past cost incalculable hours to achieve... hours that most of us consider unavoidable. What if you could turn this around? What if your document distributed itself, sending e-mails to inform sender and recipient? Imagine if your document could actually store itself intelligently for easy retrieval later, and even help you in your real job as it did so. Science fiction? No – this is reality, and a growing number of international companies are already taking advantage of this technology. By making the scanning process an intelligent one, your documents can come alive and save you countless hours. Here’s how. What is the Avantech ScanStation? The ScanStation is a walk-up scanning terminal. Like a bank ATM, you walk up to it, authenticate, scan and walk away. Using a touch-screen interface, the system isolates users from decisions like scanner choice and settings, where to save the scanned document, and whether the scan is of acceptable quality. Different job buttons can be configured to represent different document types or different actions required. How did the concept evolve? We recognised the need for a ScanStation-type product as our document management client base grew. As these clients introduced procedures to scan their day-to-day documents, we quickly realised that users found scanning to be timeconsuming – we needed to streamline the process and have it add value for users. Users complained of too many scanner settings, made mistakes when indexing scans or choosing where to save to. ScanStation automatically recognises documents, automatically indexes and saves correctly every time. It also gives users immediate feedback on invalid documents – for example, invalid ID cards or unrecognised barcodes – thereby adding value to the process, and all the while the system is centrally auditing each and every scan, which helps where compliance is involved. What are the primary advantages of using the Avantech ScanStation? The advantages can be summarised as: · Touch-screen intuitive interface guarantees quickest method of scanning possible

· Centrally customisable job buttons to recognise your documents · Natively recognises QR Codes, barcodes, any ICAO-standard ID card, any ICAO-standard passport, bank cheques · Maintains security audit of scans · User authentication by PIN number, swipe/ proximity card via Microsoft Active Directory · Scans can be sent to email, a shared folder, Sharepoint and many document management systems · Sharing of up to four scanners simultaneously (eg high-speed A4 model, A3 flatbed, etc) So what is different from any other available system/model? In an environment where many users require a scanning function, sharing a normal USBconnected scanner doesn’t work in practice – the unfortunate user whose PC is connected to the scanner will be either constantly interrupted for scanning by others or will be lumped with doing the days’ scanning at the end of the day. Using a photocopier scanner is deemed by many as the solution to this, but photocopiers are not able to achieve high compression on scan files, resulting in massive scan file sizes – not a good idea. Copiers are also not all capable of OCR without expensive add-ons, and none will automatically recognise documents. Are there any local companies already using ScanStation? Yes, the biggest of which is currently Bank of Valletta with 75 units.

Is this just feasible for large companies only? Who should look into this? ScanStation can be used by any size of company large and small - our smallest installation is a single unit. Basically, anyone who needs to digitise their documents and share a scanner between two or more people can benefit greatly in time and efficiency. Quick, effective and efficient document scanning is a prerequisite for a successful document management strategy. What is the investment required to have one ScanStation? A single ScanStation starts from a once-only fee of €2,500 + VAT. This will get you the touch-screen device and software mounted on a stand. You will then need to choose a scanner, which start from around €400. I’m interested in having one for our office... What’s the next step? The next step is definitely a meeting with us. Together we will determine how the ScanStation product can benefit your business, and what advantages it will bring. We will help you to visualise and fine-tune any document management strategy you may have, or help you build one if you haven’t yet. You will see a demo ScanStation in action and you can then make some informed decisions. Head over to our mini-site on the Avantech website at www.avantech.com.mt/services/therefore/ where there is more information, photographs, videos, client testimonials and more. Tel 2148 8800, info@avantech.com.mt

Money / Issue 29 - 33


MARKETING

IT’S ALL IN THE MIND Creatives need to take a scientific approach to better understand consumers' decisions, says George Larry Zammit.

A

merican marketing pioneer John Wanmaker once said that half the money he spends on advertising is wasted. Ironically he continued that the main problem was that he didn't know on which half. This is the common adage for senior managers, marketers, and creatives who constantly try to identify the most effective and efficient way to communicate to potential consumers. For many who have not worked in the industry, marketing can be fun but not as glorious as it might seem. For instance only 30 per cent of new products remain on the market after two years while Bloomberg had estimated that 80 per cent of new businesses fail within their first 18 months. Therefore marketers are increasingly under pressure to make the right choices. While investing in advertising is an essential component of the marketing mix, doubts sneak in whether the planned communication will capture the attention of consumers and most importantly trigger action.

34 - Money / Issue 29

UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMER EMOTIONS

Early philosophers like Descartes believed that human beings were motivated by logic and all decisions made were based on rationality. Then along came Freud and argued that emotions can override behaviour. While consumers make it a point that their purchase decisions are triggered through rational thinking, the truth is that 90 per cent of purchase decisions come from the unconscious mind. Research has confirmed time and again that emotion is a critical driver of our decision making process. Emotion guides what we pay attention to from our environment and whether we are motivated to approach or avoid it. Understanding consumer behaviour has become a necessary skill for marketers. Knowing what triggers consumer emotions has become an indispensable advantage. That advantage can be achieved through a scientific approach better known as neuromarketing.

NEUROMARKETING

Neuromarketing is an area of research started by Professor Ale Smidts. Neuromarketing is defined as the use of identification techniques of cerebral mechanisms to understand the consumer's behaviour in order to improve marketing strategies. Smidt actually won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for his work related to neuromarketing. Neuromarketing is a scientific approach to research to understand why consumers behave and react when interacting with the brand and making a purchase decision. Neuromarketing has become a new form of market research using neuroscience tools to measure the emotional impact of communication across all media, and translate the findings into actionable marketing recommendations. Neuromarketing is simply the study of how the human brain responds to marketing stimuli. This helps marketers understand the underlying reasons as to why consumers make the decisions they do. It facilitates an understanding of the subconscious reasoning and behaviour of customers.

APPLICATION AND BENEFITS

Consumer buying decisions are made in split seconds in the subconscious and emotional part


George Larry Zammit is a chartered marketer who invigorates businesses through his consultancy Tiki-Taka Marketing (www.tiki-taka.com.mt)

of research methods to carry out neuromarketing. A common method is electroencephalography (EEG). This technique is used to record electrical activity in the brain by attaching electrodes to the scalp. This approach is used to monitor brain activity when the subject is requested to carry out a task. For instance, the consumer might be asked to consume the brand and the brain activity can be recorded to measure how positive the brand encounter was. Another method is magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which detects changes in blood flow in the brain. Once again by carrying out a pre-set exercise, the subject may have a brand encounter and the blood flow activity recorded can define a scientific outcome to the consumer's experience with the brand. of the brain. What we like, don't like, fear, or love is stored in our brain and it is these stimuli which drive the impulse to make the actual purchase decision. While neuromarketing research has not been around for very long, big and established brands have quickly embraced the methodology in their quest to establish a competitive advantage through the understanding of consumer needs. Science doesn't lie. It is an interpretation of the facts, but results that can clearly explain why consumers behave. Realistically most opinions related to marketing are quite subjective. Like what is the best colour to use on the package? Where best to place the logo on the artwork? Do people really consume your brand even though they respond positively that they are aware of it? How positive was the consumer's stimuli when actually consuming the brand? Many questions like these can be answered through neuroscience. Neuroscience does not brainwash consumers: rather, it uses scientific techniques to analyse and answer the several riddles of consumer behaviour.

RESEARCH METHODS

While neuroscience is still in its infancy, there are already a considerable amount

Eye-tracking is another neuromarketing technique which measures eye positioning and eye movement. For instance, this technique can be used to identify where is the most looked at place on your website home page. The technique is also quite commonly used by big retailing brands to improve their visual merchandising. The same goes for FMCG brands that dictate supermarkets on which shelf they want their products to be placed. Facial emotion coding and reaction time is also another technique to measure consumer behaviour. While consumers might hesitate in offering negative feedback about a brand, such research techniques record factual behaviour which does not lie. One last neuromarketing technique is voice analysis. Through research in studying the tone and fluidity of one's voice, researches can detect patterns which can provide insight into the consumer's real motivations. In a nutshell, common metrics for neuromarketing research are the respondents’ attention level, their emotional engagements, and their memory storage. All or either metric can provide marketers with valuable insights on the consumer experience and ultimately affinity towards the brand.

CONCERNS

While neuromarketing is regulated through international recognition networks, there are still some ethical concerns, especially with regards as to whether this science includes an element of attention manipulation. Does this mean that neuromarketing is used to brainwash consumers? Certainly not. But it is a practice that is intended to make a product more appealing. While such concerns are up for discussion, one thing is for sure: thanks to neuromarketing, gone are the days of shooting from the hip. Marketers can remove subjectivity and ambiguity from the equation and sharpen their aim as to what the consumer really wants.

“NEUROSCIENCE DOES NOT BRAINWASH CONSUMERS: RATHER, IT USES SCIENTIFIC TECHNIQUES TO ANALYSE AND ANSWER THE SEVERAL RIDDLES OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR.” Money / Issue 29 - 35


Interview GIFTS

TECHNOLOGY AND POWER

BEAUTY & THE BEST

The Breitling Chronospace Military is a perfect example of the watch brand's instruments for professionals. The Chronospace Military electronic multifunction pilot's chronograph combines a black steel case with an extremely rugged military-type fabric strap. This model's exceptional performance is powered by a SuperQuartz chronograph caliber 10 times more accurate than ordinary quartz.

Express undying love with Money's rich selection of luxury gifts.

HEADS UP This retro Hedon helmet features a tough composite-fibre shell, calfskin trim, copper details and Hed Armor cushioning.

SHOOT TO THRILL

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

The brass edition of La Sardina Beluga camera has a 35mm wide-angle lens and a powerful Fritz the Blitz flash.

The Swarovski Optik CL Companion Africa binoculars are available in eight or 10 times magnification and feature a lightweight, watertight, dustproof and impact-resistant design. Perfect for an African adventure.

36 - Money / Issue 29


KEEP IT SAFE Launer calfskin wallets have a vibrant lizardskin interior and space for eight credit cards.

COSY CASHMERE Designed to capture the easy fit of a cardigan with the added substance of a jacket, this suede-trimmed beaverlined cashmere jacket by Loro Piana has style, substance and lovely detailing.

CARRY ME Berluti's Un Jour briefcase has been crafted in Italy using supple Venezia leather. A timeless design which will impress time and again.

IN YOUR SOCKS These shooting socks by English designer Emma Willis are handknitted from ribbed cashmere.

TWO STEPS FORWARD Thom Browne's herringbone tweed derby boots are impeccably crafted in Northamptonshire. Finished with supple leather linings and sturdy Goodyear-welted soles, these boots are designed exclusively for Mr Porter.

Money / Issue 29 - 37


N EW B L U “QUALITY MEANS DOING IT RIGHT WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING” – HENRY FORD WE’VE BEEN QUIET FOR THE LAST FIVE MONTHS WHILE WORKING ON VARIOUS RENOVATIONS AT RADISSON BLU RESORT, ST JULIAN’S. WE ARE COMMITTED TO DELIVERING A QUALITY EXPERIENCE NO MATTER YOUR REASON FOR VISITING! DISCOVER THE NEW BLU FOR YOURSELF AFTER 30TH MARCH 2014

NEW YOU

Radisson Blu Resort, St Julians

www.radissonblu.com/stjuliansresort-malta 38 - Money / Issue 29

info.stjulians@radissonblu.com +356 2137 4894


Interview PROMO

EFFICIENT POWER PERFORMANCE New Schneider Electric Smart-UPS Online are the first single-phase range with unity power factor capability.

S

chneider Electric, a leader in energy management and critical power supplies, has announced its new 5-10kVA APC by Schneider Electric Smart-UPS Online UPS range. The 6-10kVA units are the company's first single-phase UPS range to feature unity power factor capability, while the 5kVA UPS have 0.9 power factor. "With the rising cost of energy and concerns over efficiency, IT and facility professionals are keen to minimise waste by ensuring a better fit between infrastructure and load requirements," said Bill Manning, VP Business Power Solutions, Schneider Electric. "Our unity power factor UPS helps reduce waste as well as complexity when specifying power protection. Unity power factor provides more real power for the active power factor corrected switched mode power supplies typically found in most IT servers and network equipment." The new Smart-UPS Online offers efficient power quality and performance in a compact footprint. Its flexible design allows the units to be configured for rack-mounted or freestanding applications, making the new UPS easy to install, operate and service in almost any environment. The range is complete with an embedded network management card enabling further accessories and communication options to be conveniently added. Ideal for a range of applications, from network and server rooms to branch offices and secure power uses, the new APC Smart-UPS Online uses double conversion, online topology. This high availability design, in which the inverter

continuously provides regulated power output, means the UPS can be used to protect equipment that is not resilient to the slightest break in voltage or variations in frequency (for instance, devices with linear power supplies which are ubiquitous in the process and control industries). However, since most computer and networking equipment can easily ride through small voltage breaks (>20ms), Smart-UPS Online can also be operated in a high efficiency operating green mode. In a steady state, double conversion operations are bypassed to enable up to 97% UPS efficiency*. Not only does this reduce power use and cost, but also the cooling required as units create fewer heat losses. Lower heat also leads to longer life of key components such as batteries. A graphical LCD with multicolour backlight provides a real-time, at-a-glance display of UPS status. The LCD also provides diagnostic and log information that may be helpful to identify power issues before they result in any downtime. To enhance efficient operations and energy monitoring, the units also feature a built-in energy meter. The new Smart-UPS Online range also features intelligent battery management with predictive battery replacement that continually adjusts to enhance battery life, enables users to check the health of each battery (including those in external packs) and provides the most advanced warning that a battery needs to be replaced. In the event of a failure, a user interface enables the specific battery to be easily located and recommends if the user should replace other batteries at the same time. Batteries are hot-swappable and can be replaced with no interruption to operations. The new range has been designed with a fast recharge time, providing high uptime in installations where chronic power problems

may result in multiple successive power outages within a short period of time. Additionally, the UPS can operate with or without a charged battery to guarantee load restart once utility power is restored. For confidence and peace of mind, the new Smart-UPS Online UPS are complete with a three-year warranty. For more information, visit www.schneider-electric.com and www.apc.com or contact Newtech Limited, official distributor in Malta for APC on 2552 3000 or sales@newtechmalta.com.

Money / Issue 29 - 39


MARKET market REPORT

A YEAR OF CHANGE Dropping oil prices, failing European economies, Japan's quantitative easing experiment and global deflation: what will the investment landscape look like in the year ahead, asks Alexander Mangion.

L

ast year was one of validation for the big equity market returns of 2013. We got that and more as robust growth in global corporate profits generated healthy returns for equities (in local currency terms) in most regions and across credit markets. Strong returns from government bonds were the main surprise as long-term yields across developed markets declined from already low levels. However, it feels like 2014 was a year of reprieve from our inevitable low-return future. Bond yields are likely unsustainably low, credit spreads are unlikely to narrow further, and equity market valuations, at least in the US, are stretched. The bar for generating returns is rising each year. 2015 looks to be a year when active investment choices will matter, especially given divergent central bank policies and differential growth rates across the globe. In particular, it should be a year that suits the use of actively managed, globally diversified, multi-asset strategies. In this lowreturn world, a wide source of opportunities and a nimble process will be crucial when navigating the investment landscape in the year ahead. Let's look at what I think are trends or waves that will each have a major impact in its own right but that when taken together will amount to a big change for the global economy. The main news of 2015 is the oil prices. These have fallen by more than half since June 2014. According to Goldman Sachs Group Inc, oil prices need to drop even further and stay there for the first half of 2015.

40 - Money / Issue 29

With OPEC resisting a production cut to stem the price slide, output reductions will come from US shale drillers, who are pumping at the fastest pace in three decades. Goldman Sachs also confirmed this. Excess storage and tanker capacity suggests the market can run a surplus longer than it has in the past, so oil at around $40 for six months will be needed to slow US producers, they said. Saudi Arabia keeps saying that it will not cut on production. Will pressure from other OPEC countries change this decision? That's the question all traders out there are asking themselves. Europe can be heading for a crisis at least as severe as the Grexit scare was in 2012 and for the resulting run-up in interest rates and a sovereign debt scare in the peripheral countries. After all these years of struggle, the structural flaws in the EMU's design remain, and now major economies like Italy and France are headed for trouble. In the very near future we will finally know the answer to the question "Is the euro a currency or an experiment?" The changes required to answer that question will be wrenching and horrifically expensive. There are no good answers, only difficult choices about who pays how much and to whom. The European Central Bank has for long been asking governments to implement the necessary restructuring. EU countries keep registering high deficits and most dangerously very high debts. A much-needed help to EU countries is the fall in oil prices. Euro-zone growth and disposable income is supported by a fall in the price of oil. As a net importer of energy, the fall in the oil price acts as a tax cut. Of course it will also push down inflation, but for the right reason.


Licensed stockbroker Alexander Mangion is Managing Director at MPM Capital Investments since 2009. The company is authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) to provide financial services in Malta and holds a Category 2 licence. Mr Mangion holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) degree in Banking & Finance (University of Malta) and a Master of Finance & Investments (University of Nottingham.)

“IN THIS LOWRETURN WORLD, A WIDE SOURCE OF OPPORTUNITIES AND A NIMBLE PROCESS WILL BE CRUCIAL.�

Japan will continue its experiment with the most radical quantitative easing attempted by a major country in the history of the world. This experiment is getting dangerous. The Bank of Japan is effectively exporting the island nation's deflation to its trade competitors like Germany, China and South Korea and inviting a currency war that could shake the world. The Chinese economy continues to deliver convincing GDP growth in the seven to 7.5% range, at the same time that policymakers are looking to execute a structural reform agenda and to manage excesses in some sectors of the economy. This balancing act has held together over the past 12 months, and we believe that further GDP slowing in 2015 will take the growth rate to about 7%. In the wake of an extended period of rising housing prices and of debt expansion, the risks for China are now elevated as the trend in housing prices turns down. However,

with scope for constructive contributions from monetary and exchange rate policy, together with reasonable although volatile export growth, we believe the Chinese economy should be able to negotiate these headwinds. Australia and New Zealand delivered impressive economic outcomes through the years of northern hemisphere disarray since 2008, but are now facing their own challenges as relevant commodity prices turn decisively down. 2015 will also see a continuation of the global deflationary environment and a slowing of the velocity of money until we have some type of resolution concerning sovereign debt. Central banks will continue to try to solve the crises with monetary policy. However, monetary policy alone will simply not be enough. Governments need to carry out the required restructuring. And the sooner they do that, the better.

Money / Issue 29 - 41


COUNTRY Interview PROFILE

PUNCHING ABOVE ITS WEIGHT Shakespeare was wrong because there’s nothing rotten in the state of Denmark. And that is why it leads in innovation, cooperation, research and development.

A

s Marcellus in Shakespeare’s Hamlet laments, something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Actually, rotten might be too strong a word. Let’s just say that there is something fishy. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Denmark is ranked fifth in the world in exports of fish and fish products.

Here is the fishy conundrum. On one hand, this sovereign state constantly tops the World Happiness Report, which is based on statistics compiled by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. But on the other, Denmark churns out the bleakest, darkest dramas. As Kim Bodnia, who plays detective Martin Rohde in the highly successful television drama The Bridge recently said in an interview with The Guardian, “Darkness, misery, evil – we do them best.” And indeed they do. In recent years, DR, Denmark’s national broadcasting corporation, has changed television drama as we know it. The Killing, starring Sofie Grabol, was broadcast by the BBC and spawned

42 - Money / Issue 29

an American version. So did The Bridge and Borgen. And now, Denmark has produced The Legacy, which is already generating rave reviews. So successful has Danish drama been in recent years that homegrown stars – even those with the most tongue-challenging of names – have become household names. There’s another thing which we don’t understand. How can a country with less than six million inhabitants lead the rankings not only in happiness, but also in research, trade, education and innovation? Denmark, recently ranked as the number one country for doing business by Forbes, has a history of punching above its weight. It’s a history which is closely linked with the country’s national pride: when in September 2000, the Danes rejected the euro as the national currency and decided to keep the Krone, it was mostly because they feared that they would lose their political independence and national sovereignty. The same national pride and its side-effect, euroscepticism,

had also inspired the Danes to reject the Maastricht Treaty in 1993. And yet, despite its nationalism, Denmark is a liberal society that is willing to experiment. Let’s take its film industry as an example. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Danish directors often used handheld cameras to dynamic effect in a conscious effort to counter Hollywood’s high-tech, big budget cinema, with which Denmark couldn’t compete. The seeds of that experimentation are being reaped today, with Danish television and cinema winning plaudits and international recognition. This willingness to be bold is reflected in Denmark’s modern market economy which boasts a high-tech agricultural sector, a world-leading pharmaceutical industry, and leadership in maritime shipping and renewable energy. The country strongly supports trade liberalisation and its fiscal position remains among the strongest in the EU, with public debt at about 46 per cent of GDP. Denmark’s highly developed economy is translated into a high standard of living and an equitable distribution of income. Its government welfare measures are also extensive, fuelled by


“DENMARK IS A LIBERAL SOCIETY THAT IS WILLING TO EXPERIMENT.”

Denmark’s unemployment rate currently stands at

6%

70 from 443 Denmark is made up of a peninsula and an archipelago of 443 islands, of which around 70 are inhabited.

Denmark has a GDP per capita of €30,909.

Queen Margrethe II is the first female monarch of Denmark since Queen Margrethe I, who ruled from 1375 to 1412. Having been on the Danish throne for 42 years, Queen Margrethe II is the longest-reigning of the three Scandinavian monarchs.

Green exports account for more than 10 per cent of total Danish exports.

its infamous 25 per cent sales tax and 60 per cent income tax. True, prima facie, this might seem excessive taxation: however, in return, Danes enjoy some of the best unemployment benefits in the world, free higher education and government investment in various semi-private initiatives. Yet Denmark doesn’t sit on the proverbial laurels. It continues to be bold and innovative. In fact, Denmark is among the top countries for investment in research and development. The Research and Innovation Indicators 2014 report, published by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science,

shows that public investment in research and development accounts for 1.6 per cent of the GDP, ranking Denmark fourth out of all OECD countries. Private investment in research and development accounts for 2.03 per cent of Danish GDP, which ranks Denmark seventh highest out of comparable investments in other OECD countries. The report also shows how Danish research also performs well in terms of producing scientific publications and international cooperation. Cooperation is a key word in Denmark’s success. In fact, Denmark has just signed an agreement

90%

of Danes are Protestant.

Denmark ranks in 11th place in the Forbes innovation classification.

According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world.

According to the Cycling Embassy of Denmark, 17 per cent of adult males and 36 per cent of adult females use a bicycle to get to and from work or educational institution.

on innovative cooperation with South Korea, another country which for the past years has been experiencing extensive economic growth. The cooperation agreement aims to create and sustain advanced technology SMEs rooted in university research environment. This means that both countries’ largest companies and small and medium-sized enterprises will benefit from research and education investment. And that is key to Denmark’s success. Because for a small country of less than six million inhabitants, Denmark surely appreciates strength in unity.

Money / Issue 29 - 43


Fine and

dandy

PHOTOGRAPHY

Nicky Scicluna

STYLING

Luke Engerer

HAIR

MODEL

at 1866, The New Age Hair Shop

at Models M

Oriana Cristauro

Kim


// Ben Sherman shirt at IQ, €55.00 // Scotch & Soda blazer at IQ, €169.95 //


// Esprit blazer, €159.99 // Hilfiger Denim shirt, €89.90 // Tom Tailor chinos, €49.95 // Gauda Sliema shoes, €99 //


// BHS polo, €12.00 // Ben Sherman jacket at IQ, €139.00 // Hilfiger Denim shorts, €119.00 // Ecco bag, €184.90 //


// Hilfiger Denim polo, €64.90 // Celio blazer, €89.99 // Scotch & Soda trousers at IQ, €89.95 //


// Esprit top, €35.99 // Armani Jeans trousers, €150.00 // Ben Sherman coat at IQ, €192.50 // Armani Jeans shoes, €151.25 //


// Armani Jeans shirt, €130.00 // BHS trousers, €27.50 // Gauda Sliema shoes, €199 //


Interview TRAVEL

THE MAGIC

CARPET Marrakech doesn't rock the kasbah. But La Mamounia does, says Mona Farrugia.

“M

y name is Said Taxi," he says, pointing at the boat-like 1970s Mercedes decked out in pale green paintwork and splashes of beige mud. Then he turns his index finger on himself and pokes his chest. "And I will be your taxi driver." The clue, of course, had been there all along in his surname, real or otherwise. Said Taxi is almost seven feet tall, built like a stack of logs and not exactly the kind of guy you would want to argue with. I have been in Marrakech for three days and have done nothing but argue with stall vendors, in between being chased by beggars and shouted at by young boys whose business model is exchanging the wrong directions for a handful of dirham. Touts seem to be everywhere. The worst thing is that they look normal. So I stop to ask for directions in the Medina, where tourists inevitably get lost. And that is when they become touts, following me around until I give them some money just to leave me alone. Even the receptionist at the Angsana Riad Angsana belongs to the world-famous Banyan Tree Group - has some kind of deal going with

52 - Money / Issue 29

the boys outside who want to carry my luggage for the best part of three metres for no less than the equivalent of â‚Ź20. So I end up having an argument with the receptionist as well, because he conveniently vanishes while I'm being hassled. I don't go on holiday to have arguments. Like everybody else, I go to relax. Yet the web is packed with stories of people running away from things in Marrakech: people, animals, their prebooked accommodation. Before my holiday has even started, I need another one. As it turns out, Said is my saviour. If he over-charges me on trips, at least he actually sticks to the price he over-quotes, rather than change it halfway through. And only big Mercs can go long distance: the tattered Fiat Unos (yes, they are taxis) can only stick to the city centre, which means that if you want to get out you will unceremoniously be dumped somewhere outside the city walls and you will have to find another car. Sigh. Marrakech is probably the worst tourist trap in the world: considering that it is a huge city of more than a million inhabitants, that really is saying something. If you walk by a snake-charmer in the square and your eyes happen to rest for more

than a second on his flute, you've had it: you will be surrounded by menacing eyes demanding your money or your head. The restaurants have terrible service and serve fake traditional food. After a day and night lost and chased in the Medina you will be so stressed that when you meet Said Taxi and he says he will whisk you off, you almost want to kiss his stubbly face and hug the plastic leather seats of his Merc. So off I go to the Berber market, which really is a market for Berbers. They haggle over everything: sheep, goats, chickens, donkeys, showers built out of bamboo, weird nylon house-coats emblazoned with lurid flowers, and second-hand shoes. All you need for life is on sale here. You can also get a bad tooth pulled out at one of the many Berber huts. Should you break your arm, there are doctors with dubious credentials, sitting on the muddy ground, ready to rub lotions, creams and potions into it, set it in a cast and, according to Said, two weeks later you're good to go. Said offers to take me to Richard Branson's kasbah. Is this private or public, I ask him. It's private - even if since then, it has been turned into a hotel - but that doesn't faze Said. When I


Food and travel writer Mona Farrugia runs Angelica in Valletta. www.angelicamalta.com

“EVEN THE MOST BASIC ROOM IS FASCINATING AND BEAUTIFUL.”

say that breaking into houses is not really my cup of mint tea, Said understands and proposes that I stop for lunch.

shape of luggage, complete with handles, and in the boot of the Merc they go. Later, at the airport, I will be ripped off for being overweight.

"Here," he says as he brakes outside a horrible makeshift restaurant bedecked with multicoloured plastic chairs and terrible-looking food, not to mention an army of American tourists aged 80 plus wearing new trainers and white socks. But these restaurants feed the taxi drivers for free. So once I've figured out what the recommendations mean, I buy Said lunch then escape quietly to another restaurant where they have been bubbling tagines since early morning.

Said Taxi turns out to be the best thing in Marrakech, second only to the fabulous experience at La Mamounia, to which I escape after I've had enough of the old city. In fact, as soon as I switch accommodation from the old city to La Mamounia, the taxi drivers automatically assume I'm ridiculously rich and start adding an average €10 on every trip. Which is why I spend the rest of my holiday at the mythical hotel.

Said stops at a carpet shop somewhere on the road to Essaouira. It looks like sheer hell. The ones in the Medina look much prettier. However, the carpets here cost one third of the price of the ones in Marrakech and are exactly the same. "Good prices, no?" Said suggests. They are. I don't care that he is making a commission because he deserves it. The owner packs my carpets in the

If I had known how absolutely outstanding La Mamounia is, I would never have split my accommodation in two. There is no point in staying in the Medina regardless of how much the guides try to convince you of this. Stay at La Mamounia. Nowhere else. The reception is stunning and check-in is done in private booths decked in leather and velvet.

Then into the leather-clad lift you go, up to your room. Even the most basic room is fascinating and beautiful. The dressing room is in dark woods and orange leather. La Mamounia has probably the most expensive restaurants in Marrakech, but they are amazingly good. There is a Moroccan, a French and an Italian, simply called Le Marocain, Le Francais and L'Italien. They serve exactly what they say on the tin but in an outstanding way. They are not, as one would expect, for those on a budget, but if you just want to experience La Mamounia for the sake of having visited, spend €15 on some tea served in the hotel gardens. The spa is a massive underground hammam which, as you can imagine, is clad in marble and beautiful enough to book a treatment at just to look at its architecture. In a nutshell, don't go to Marrakech: go to La Mamounia. Then venture out for a few minutes a day just to see what you're not missing.

Money / Issue 29 - 53


PROPERTY

Beautifully LIVING Money’s choice of luxury properties.

For more information contact

CLIVE TONG at Remax 60, Vjal l-Indipendenza, Mosta or call on 9901 3451. PORTOMASO Fully furnished double fronted 133sqm apartment, overlooking the marina. Accommodation consists of entrance hall, open plan kitchen/living/dining leading onto a goodsized terrace, guest toilet, three double bedrooms, main with en-suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, and laundry room. Car space included in the price. €749,000

KAPPARA Detached villa with pool on 475sqm. Recently modernised. Features a welcoming central hallway with open plan and kitchen/dining/living with wood burning fireplace and a/c that opens onto a terrace beside the pool. Further ground floor rooms include split level formal sitting/dining that opens onto a large side terrace and to the pool plus a good sized study/office and guest w/c. Upstairs are four double bedrooms (two with balconies), main bedroom with en-suite, walk-in wardrobe and large terrace overlooking pool. Completing this level is a large bathroom and stairway leading up to washroom and roof with full airspace and distant bastion views. Road level 4/5-car garage with workshop and w/c and a carport for 2/3 cars. €750,000

ZEJTUN Double fronted, beautifully converted house of character. Property consists of beautiful modern kitchen/dining combined, living room, leading to back garden and pool area with toilet and shower, a study room which was and can easily be turned into bedroom, having an en-suite bathroom. Downstairs rooms surround a lovely courtyard. Accommodation upstairs includes main bedroom with en-suite shower, spare bedroom, terrace overlooking the pool and garden area. Solar panels and water heater, intelligent lighting and multi-room audio included. €399,000

GUDJA Converted 12-room farmhouse in a rural area, enjoying country views all round, with easy access. This lovely farmhouse has a large interconnected garage. Property is very well maintained. Next door to the property are two tumoli of agricultural land which can be acquired from a different owner. €580,000

54 - Money / Issue 29

OUTSKIRTS OF QORMI Luxuriously finished, large three-bedroom apartment. Finished to high specifications and being sold completely furnished. Property is served with a lift, measures circa 155sqm with a large open plan kitchen/ dining/living, three bedrooms, main with en-suite and walk-in wardrobe, main bathroom (still not installed), study area, and back balcony with country views. Included is a solar water heater and kitchen appliances under guarantee.

€159,000


ST JULIAN’S Three bedroom apartment in a brand new block, located in a quiet, prime location. The property has a spacious and bright living/dining area, two en-suite showers, bathroom, balcony, pool and terrace. Finished to high specifications, including gres flooring, gypsum plastering, and double glazed aluminium apertures. The facade of the block will be finished in cladding. Most of the units have valley views, stretching to distant sea views. Sold freehold and lock-up garages are optional and accessible by lift. €370,000

SLIEMA Fully furnished seafront apartment with fantastic sea views overlooking one of the nicest promenades in Malta. Property has a 12-metre frontage, a large open plan kitchen/living/dining room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

€485,000

IBRAGG Fully furnished block of apartments consisting of two apartments and a penthouse to be sold as a whole block. First and second floor are identical apartments consisting of open plan kitchen/living/dining, three bedrooms, main with en-suite. Penthouse consists of an open plan kitchen/living/dining, three bedrooms, main with en-suite, front and back terraces. Sold complete with own air space. Great rental investment.

€900,000

Money / Issue 29 - 55


Interview GOLF

A WINNING TEAM

The winning team. From left: RMGC Captain Ron Feenan (presenting prizes), Mia Allsopp, Stefan Borg Manduca, Bernard Bugeja and Andy Borg.

The Royal Malta Golf Club holds the Holland & Barrett Trophy.

Above: Holland & Barrett new store in Sliema.

A

ndy Borg, Bernard Bugeja, Stefan Borg Manduca and Mia Allsopp won the sixth edition of the Holland & Barrett Trophy, which this year was a four-person scramble. The winning team's net score was of 56. Runners-up were Francis Busuttil, Mark Magro, Johann Camilleri and Catherine Milet with a net score of 57. A very pleasant morning of golf was followed by drinks and snacks at the Putters Inn courtesy of the Royal Malta Golf Club's esteemed sponsor,

56 - Money / Issue 29

Holland & Barrett, who have just opened a new 300sqm flagship store in Sliema. The new Holland & Barrett store in Sliema offers over 2,000 products related to health. These include supplements, foods, sports and nutrition, beauty and health related gadgets. Holland & Barrett shops are situated in Valletta, St Julian's, Attard, Fgura and now Sliema. For more information visit www. hollandandbarrettmalta.com.


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The Bluesman is a Maltese sound engineer working in New York.

Interview NEW YORK

THE BLUESMAN’S BLOG With the 2016 elections just round the corner, there's a lot of jostling around. But in the meantime, the Presidential swagga' is back, says The Bluesman.

P

aris. What can be said that hasn't already been said? Atrocious, criminal, barbaric. What is not being said enough is that the underlying cause is a maniacal belief in a set of books written 1,500 years ago and whose oftencontradictory words were spread by marauding swordsmen. And if that sounds familiar it's because it has been done before, unfortunately, and the cure has been and will be secularisation. Until then international law enforcement needs to track and weed out all potential threats. Commentators (with the exception of Bill Maher) tend to hold back for fear of offending. Ironic, as we champion freedom of speech and the right to say offensive stuff. Meanwhile back at the Apple, Mayor de Blasio has found himself to be the target of petty spiteful attacks by the leader of one of the Police Fraternal Associations. The reason for this public lack of respect was that after the Grand Jury failed (didn't have the fortitude or were misled) to issue an indictment in the police chokehold murder, the Mayor, who is married to an African American and obviously has children of mixed race, stated that he himself has had talks with his son about staying safe in any encounters with cops. This was nothing that should have taken anybody by surprise. Many black personalities made similar statements in interviews. This infuriated Patrick Lynch, the leader of the largest police union here who denounced de Blasio for throwing all cops

58 - Money / Issue 29

under the bus and encouraged officers at events where the Mayor was present to symbolically turn their backs on him. To make matters worse, on December 20, two officers sitting in a cruiser were shot and killed in Brooklyn by a nut job who made his way up from Georgia, via Maryland where he shot his girlfriend before heading our way. He then killed himself in a nearby subway station. The rift between the NYPD and the Mayor widened and, despite Commissioner Bratton's call for cooler heads, the back-turning persists and the whole police force has been instructed to back off performing a lot of their duties and refusing to make arrests or issue summonses "unless absolutely necessary." Surprisingly, all it's proven so far is that the City is getting along just fine with this much lighter touch and de Blasio was right in wanting to scale back the Giuliani and Bloomberg heavy handed policing tactics. As expected, with the Republican Party taking over their newly won seats, and the 2016 elections just round the corner, a lot of jostling is taking place. First, though, Boehner had to defend what he thought was his automatic assumption as Speaker. His relief at fending off that Tea Party instigated effort manifested itself in an awkward display of affection towards outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I'm not sure where he was aiming to land his kiss but it landed closer to her ear than he probably intended. It went viral and lit up all the Twitterers. Despite his stoicism and poker face, he is quite emotional at times and will cry when moved. Some fresh faces, as well as the usual suspects with presidential aspirations in the GOP have manoeuvred themselves to where they are now considering entering the race for their party's nomination. Chief among them is Jeb Bush who most feel would have the best shot if it came down to a contest against Hilary Clinton. On the

other hand, he's not considered fully notched to the Right by mainstream Republicans who still hanker for Mitt Romney. Interestingly, the twiceunsuccessful Romney has also decided to give it another go. Reminds me of a Bonnie Raitt song: Three Time Loser. The list of contenders is too long to get into here but watch this space as the squabbles continue. So the year shuddered to a start with a new Congress already making one threat of shutting the Government down, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise trying to politically survive the news that he had spoken to a White Supremacist group in 2002, Michael Grimm resigning his newly won seat because of criminal charges he has admitted to (charges his constituents were aware of when they re-elected him) and thereby putting a Republican seat in jeopardy and Tea Party darling and climate change denier Louie Gohmert poised to provide even more fodder for comedians. In 2009 he thanked Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi for driving suburbans so their "carbon dioxide emissions can warm things up and help grow more plants". Meanwhile back at the ranch the President, newly invigorated as he contemplates his rising approval ratings, has made clear what he wants to get done in these final two years and what regressive bills he'll veto. Although it had been showing signs of recovering, the economy hadn't yet made a full turn round the corner coming as it did too late to aid beleaguered Democrats in the midterms but now, along with the good numbers, the rising employment figures, and not having to worry about re-election, the Presidential swagga' is back. Bereft of ammunition for the usual blame Obama tactics, his opposition has cheekily made weak snatches at the credit for the good news but in the words of a good ole Southern saying, that dog don't hunt. It's certainly going to be an interesting run-up to the election and quite possibly even nastier than usual.


60 - Money / Issue 29

Profile for BE.COMMUNICATIONS

MONEY FEB/MAR 2015 ISSUE 29  

A contemporary outlook on business, lifestyle and design. Money brings together Malta’s top business and finance experts and the media exper...

MONEY FEB/MAR 2015 ISSUE 29  

A contemporary outlook on business, lifestyle and design. Money brings together Malta’s top business and finance experts and the media exper...