WINTER EDITION | 2018
MAGAZINE Naïm Abou-Jaoudé CEO of Candriam Investors Group
Pioneering The Path To Sustainable Investing GDPR / World Economic Forum / Sustainable Investing / CSR / Robotics / Green Shipping / US Tax Reform / Brexit / Fintech / Artificial Intelligence / Social Influencers / Clinigen / Green Money / Cryptocurrency
EDINBURGH An award winning investment destination
INVEST EDINBURGH – BEST FDI GLOBAL STRATEGY FINANCIAL TIMES, fDi MAGAZINE 2016/17
ENTREPRENEURIAL CITY OF THE YEAR GREAT BRITISH ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS 2016
46% OF WORKING AGE RESIDENTS HOLD DEGREES Source: Scottish Government, Scottish Household Survey
DIRECT FLIGHTS TO MORE THAN 120 DESTINATIONS BEST PLACE TO LIVE IN THE UK YOUGOV
LEADING EUROPEAN DESTINATION FOR TECHNOLOGY AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
2.3M EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE TICKETS SOLD (2015)
£7.7M ECONOMIC IMPACT FROM FILM
For further information please visit www.investinedinburgh.com
321 FILMS AND TV PROGRAMMES MADE IN THE EDINBURGH REGION
CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH
CONTINENTAL REACH SIX SERVICE CENTRES CONVENIENTLY LOCATED FIVE LINE MAINTENANCE FACILITIES MOBILE SERVICE UNITS AIR RESPONSE AIRCRAFT OVER A MILLION STOCKED PARTS IN EUROPE
Our European service network offers excellent coverage during AOG, scheduled and unscheduled maintenance events. In addition to conveniently located service stations, support aircraft and mobile service units deliver technicians and parts directly to you. Take advantage of expert assistance thatâ€™s always nearby.
Learn more at service.txtav.com.
SERVICE CENTRE LINE MAINTENANCE
Â©2016 Textron Aviation Inc. All rights reserved.
Cruise Dublin Irelandâ€™s Cruise Capital
Du Not blin... dest just a now ination, h CEL ome to
E ECL BRIT Y IP 2018 SE
Please visit our website: www.cruisedublin.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact 01 887 6000
Cruise Dublin Partners:
Welcome to the era of Tax Possible Now, for the first time, tax is in command of its own data. Able to unify data from multiple ERPs and transform it to manage the end-to-end lifecycle for all tax types, on a global scale. Processing data at unheard of speed and accuracy to perform ETR scenario planning, cash tax forecasting, provision close and true-ups, transfer pricing, compliance, indirect tax trend analysis and more. Powerful data management, giving tax greater visibility into financial and reputational risks in today's BEPS world of tax transparency. Working together with our clients and partners, we’ve created Vertex® Enterprise, a fundamentally new way to improve and control all aspects of tax process management — from the smallest operation to full-scale transformation. It’s the beginning of an exciting new era. An era where all things are Tax Possible.
taxpossible.com Income Tax · Value Added Tax · Indirect Tax · BEPS CbCR
SUCCESSFULLY ESTABLISHED OVER 200 FOREIGN COMPANIES IN THE US! MARKET ENTRY | MARKET EXPANSION | BUSINESS TURNAROUND | PROJECT SUPPORT
Since 1983 we have supported small and medium-sized businesses with their US operations, regardless of size, industry, or home country. Decades of practical experience and local knowledge, paired with our reliable back-office service, make it possible for our foreign clients to have a transparent, cost-effective and lasting professional presence in the US. By supplying all necessary resources in-house, we provide our clients with the foundation for long-term success and substantial growth.
Over 35 years
YOUR US SUBSIDIARY WHAT WE DO FOR YOU
WHAT YOU DO
AR / AP
SHARED OFFICE BUILDING
WHERE WE MIGHT SUPPORT
25,000+ ft² Warehouse Space
Ȉ Client Revenue USA US$ 80M+
GATC LP | 5126 S ROYAL ATLANTA DRIVE | TUCKER, GA | 30084 USA
Pioneers in SRI for 20 years
Invest with conviction and responsibility
Table of Contents
Latest Technological Gadgets 2018
DigiPlex Celebrates 10 Years of Industry Leadership
Innovation Drives a Joined-up Approach to Business Tourism
The Looming GDPR Deadline and what Business Need To Know
What GDPR forgets: The physical security
Why sustainable investing is in vogue
European Business Catches up with Naïm Abou-Jaoudé
Corporate social responsibility
Social Media - The New Power of Social Influencer’s
Bringing Balance to the World: The World Economic Forum 2018
Estonia and E-residency: What, How and Why?
Fintech and Banks: How Can the Banking Industry Respond to the Threat of Disruption?
The Rise of Green Shipping
Clinigen’s CEO Shaun Chilton Delivering On Time
Advanced Hair Clinics
CEO Spotlight Focus Håkan Nilsson, CEO – Zinnovate
International Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
The Flourishing FDI Scene In Finalnd
The New US Tax Reform And What It Mean’s For Business Stateside
Virtual Reality Coming To A Screen Near You
South Carolina’s next Big Thing
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Smartphones
Jason Oxenham CEO Rocket Languages
The Impact of Robotics
Britain and Brexit - The Effects So Far
Re-Shaping Globalization: World Economic Forum Seeks Change
Sir Nikolai Hamburg The New Sir Hotel Conquering the North of Germany
Publisher Nick Staunton
elcome to the first edion of 2018 - the biggest issue of the year coinciding with the World Economic Forum which is as we all know is taking place at Davos and will be tackling the major global issues with many heads of state arriving from all over the world and some of the most influen al people on the planet.This year Donald Trump has also been confirmed and is the first President from the United States to a end the event in 20 years. The major threats to civilization which is climate change , terrorism and the backlash to globaliza on will be addressed by the likes of Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi- the leader of the fastest growing ecomomy globally while Jus n Trudeau will look to call me on womenâ€™s equality. As always some very important regional agendaâ€™s will also be addressed from how tech is changing consumer experience in China to how fintech is saving Muslim businesswomen. It will also look to how tech can propel Africa to the forefront of healthcare to the crisis of Rohingya and whether there is an economic solu on the immigra on woes in Europe. Sustainability is also a key issue and it will address if South Asia can meet sustainability goals. And this leads us on to our front cover feature and leas focus. We had the chance to interview Ceo Of
Candriam Investors Group Naim Abou -Jaoude who talked to us about his views on the problems of financial inves ng and how they need to be addressed , what he has tried to implement himself as Ceo of a very large Asset Management Group and of course his vision for the future. Excep onal interview on hopefully what we can expect to see more of within the financial world of hard profits. Other interviews include Shaun Chilton , Ceo of Clingen who discusses how his company is changing the way drugs are delivered globally while Henning Gramann of GSR Services talks to us on Green Shipping. We cover many other topics from the latest In Bitcoin, the looming of GDPR to Ar ficial Intelligence and the new Corpora on Tax reduc on in the US and what it will mean for European Business. A read as always we hope you enjoy.
Editor Katie Winearls Deputy Editor Anthony Gill Associate Publisher Brad Adams Features Editor Patricia Cullen Head of Production Marija Hajster Head of Design Vladimir Mladenovski Subscriptions Manager Rebecca Hill Head of Business Development Paul Matthews Advertising Sales Brad Adams Tara Duckworth Advertising Sales Tara Duckworth, Mike Ray, Andy Ellis, Mark Holburn Contributing writers Patricia Cullen, Richard Fitzpatrick, Bala Murali Krishna, Shilpa Meen, Argee Laraya, Aimee Ni Mhaolcraibhe, Gordana Ristic, Jonathan Hooker, Jose Ignacio Latorre Head of Digital Stephen Scott Photographer Ben Fisher
Nick Staunton Publisher
NST Publishing Ltd, 19 Leamington Spa (studio 1) Leamington Spa,Cv324tf, UK The information contained has been contained from sources the proprietor believes to be wholly correct however no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication can be reproduced without consent of the publisher.
European Business Magazine gives the low down on some of the recent reshuffles amongst the highbrow in the business world Patrick Thomson
Nico Delvaux will take over in June as the CEO of the major lockmaker. He will take over from Johan Molin, who will be leaving the posi on a er 12 years. The company has over 47,000 employees around the world and oﬃces in more than 70 countries. Nico Delvaux
JP MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT Patrick Thomson has been put in charge of the European sec on of the company. Thomson was appointed following the decision by former CEO Mike O’Brien to move to New York. Thomson has been a part of the company since he joined in 1995 and most recently worked with interna onal ins tu onal clients.
CONGREX SWITZERLAND On December 18, Julia Bicher took over as the new CEO for the company. The appointment was made a er Alain Pi et le Congrex. Bicher has been a part of the conference management company for over 12 years and recently held the role of Director Opera ons. UBS
Mar n Blessing will be the next CEO of the Swiss Bank following the decision in December by Jürg Zeltner to step down. Blessing has previously served as the CEO of Commerzbank.
MARBRAL ADVISORY The change management organiza on welcomes two new CEOs to its ranks. Leonie McCrann will look a er the Bri sh Isles while Alexsis Wintour will oversee Europe. Wintour is also the company’s co-founder. 12 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
FENNER PLC The rubber products company will welcome a new CEO on May 1. Bre Simpson will take over from Mark Abrahams, who plans to re re from the posi on. Abrahams has been in the role since 2016.
CEO SHUFFLE Denis Delval
HECTOR RAIL GROUP John Smith takes the reigns as the CEO of Hector Rail Group. The company bought GB Railfrieght in 2016 where Smith served as managing director. Smith founded GB in 1999.
The President of France acknowledged the appointment of Denis Delval as the next CEO of LFB S.A. Delval has worked at ALK France and is a lecturer at ESSEC business school. He was also a chairman of the heathcare think tank, Lecrip.org.
Melinda Matthews Clarkson
The UK retailer has named David Butler as its new CEO. Butler was the managing director at Ecco’s European business un l 2016. He first entered the industry in 1999 with a senior store management role at BHS.
EUROSTAR As of March 12, Mike Cooper will take over the top posi on at Eurostar. Cooper has previous worked at the deputy CEO and MD for Arriva’s mainland Europe opera ons. He has also held roles at Easyjet and Portland Travel. Mike Cooper
The digital skills academy welcomes a former senior employee of IBM as its CEO. Melinda Matthews Clarkson has over 25 years in the tech industry. She has a background in Cloud, Saas, eCommerce and digital marketing. Clarkson previously held the posi on of vice president of commerce partnerships at IBM.
Theodor Weimer will now head up the stock exchange operator. He will take over following the resignaon of Carsten Kengeter. Weimer has worked at HypoVereinsbank, Goldman Sachs, and management consultancy McKinsey and Bain & Company. He has signed a threeyear contract that began on January of this year. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 13
Latest Technological Gadgets 2018
ever be concerned about losing your bags again, thanks to built-in GPS that lets you keep tabs on your luggage. It is also equipped with a built-in power
bank that is capable of recharging your phone up to six mes. The suitcase is managed through a smartphone app and secured by a digital lock. There is a unique slot where you can place
your laptop for easy access and safe transport. It even includes a scale that can weigh your bag to see if you have packed too much. There are a variety of sizes available, star ng at â‚Ź230.
BlackBerry KEYone (Bronze)
he Canadian cell phone company will be releasing a new colour of the BlackBerry KEYone (Bronze) in Asia, Europe and Middle East. This is a dual-SIM device that runs on Android 7.1 Nougat. It has a 5.5-inch Full-HD screen and 3:2 aspect ra o (1080x1620) and a density of 433ppi. The phone contains an octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC and 4GB of RAM. There is a single 12-megapixel rear camera with an aperture of f/2.0 as well as an 8-megapixel front camera with f/2.2 aperture and 84-degree wide-angle lens. The device also features a quick charge that can get from zero to 50 percent power in about 30 minutes. KEYone has 64 GB storage and an op on for a microSD card. It is expected to be released later this year.
Swift 7 Laptop
ntroduced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in early January, Acer boosts the Swi 7 is the world’s thinnest laptop at 8.98-mm thick. The computer comes equipped with Windows 10 and an Intel Core i7 processor. It also includes a long-running battery that is said to last all-day as well as 4G LTE capability. The device is expected to be released in Europe in April at a cost of €1,699.
Lenovo Mirage Daydream
he electronics company has developed a small camera that is capable of recording 3D videos and images. It is the result of a partnership between Google and Lenovo, which also gives users easily connec on to YouTube and Google Photos. The
device is also capable of live-streaming the videos and images to YouTube. Included in the device are two 13-megapixel fisheye lenses, 2.2inch touch screen, 16GB of space and an op onal microSD card. It can be used with a tripod and features very li le except a power bu on, shu er
and func on bu on. The camera has been said to last up to two hours. There is a companion smartphone app but the device is also equipped to be used independently. Mirage is only available in white and will be released commercially later this year with a price tag of €199. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 15
UK Business Warned They Could Be Forced Out of EU If No Brexit Deal
The powers that be in Brussels have put the cat amongst the pigeons by warning a whole host of industries who are opera ng businesses in the UK that they will have no right to work within the European Union if Britain leaves the EU with no deal in 2019. The EU sent memos at the end of last year telling businesses within various industries including airliners, seafarers and drug makers to be prepared and warning that their licenses to operate within the single market will essen ally cease a er Brexit. European Business Magazine was told that the memos said that the UK will eﬀec vely become a third country a er Brexit and that some industries will need to re-establish EU en es
to replace their UK licenses. This will mean that they can con nue to do business within the single market. Par cularly aﬀected are airliners and road operators whose licences within the UK will not be valid unless carriers are relocated to somewhere within the EU and owned by EU na onals. In addi on, chemical groups will have a harder me than most unless they secure approval for products from within the EU. The memo also states that some larger Bri sh businesses would be severely jeopardised by the UK government walking away from Ar cle 50 talks with no withdrawal agreement in place. Brexit Secretary Davis has reacted angrily to the warnings, accusing the EU of devo ng also significantly me to worst-situa on situa on con ngency planning and not posi oning enough emphasis on the poten al of a long run trade deal. In a leaked le er (despatched to Theresa May, possibly), Davis advised the primary minister to think about ge ng lawful ac on from Brussels for the harmful ac ons of its no-oﬀer organising.
“The EU has adopted a variety of measures that place agreements or contracts at danger of currently being terminated in the celebra on of a ‘no deal’ scenario and/or would have to have UK firms to relocate to another member condi on,” Davis wrote. “The fee experienced issued equivalent unilateral statements on enterprise regula on, civil jus ce and personal worldwide law, transporta on and the breeding, transporta on and security of stay animals.” Nevertheless, officers warned him that any lawful challenge towards the EU would be pricey, me-consuming, poli cally-dangerous and in all probability, unsuccessful. The EU has expressed shock around Davis’ anger in direc on of its con ngency scheduling. Ques oned about the le er early morning on Tuesday, an EU Commission spokesperson stated: “We are amazed that the Bri sh Isles is amazed that we are planning for a state of aﬀairs introduced by the Bri sh Isles government by itself.”
Apple Forced To Pay Huge Tax Bill to the UK 2018 started with a bang for Apple but not in the best sense. Apple has been forced to pay an extra £136m tax bill in the UK a er “an extensive audit” by HM Revenue & Customs. In the latest series of scandals, the payment was revealed in the accounts of Apple Europe, one of the group’s UK subsidiaries, which reported that “this payment of addi onal tax and interest reflects the company’s increased ac vity”. HMRC is thought to have argued that the subsidiary, which performs marke ng services for an Irish sister company, had not received a large enough commission on the sales it helped secure. The payment, which covered several years leading up to 2015, is the latest state claim against Apple. Ireland was ordered by the EU to claw back a tax penalty of €13bn from Apple considered as illegal state aid, and the company agreed to pay €318m to Italy in 2015 to settle a long-running tax inves ga on. There has been a widespread eﬀort by countries to extract more revenue from Apple, which has concentrated profits in its ultra-low tax Irish 16 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
subsidiaries. Apple paid just €344m of tax in its main European markets over the decade to 2015. The company disputed the figure, saying that it paid €301m of tax in Ireland in 2014. It disclosed this payment in response to the European Commission’s asseron that it paid a 0.005 per cent eﬀec ve corporate tax rate on its European profits in 2014. Its foreign tax rate was 6 per cent in 2015. Apple Europe provides sales support, marke ng, financial and administra ve services to other group companies. The company employs 791 people and made a pre-tax profit of € 320 in the 18 months to April 2017. The total tax charge was £192m.
Apple operates in its largest European countries through a retail subsidiary that manages its network of Apple stores and the marke ng subsidiary that provides support services for sales booked in Ireland in return for a commission. HMRC said: “We do not comment on the tax aﬀairs of individual companies. Mul na onal companies must pay all taxes due and we don’t se le for less. Last year alone, HMRC secured and protected over £8bn in addi onal tax revenue from the largest and most complex businesses.” Apple said: “We know the important role that tax payments play in society. Apple pays all that we owe according to tax laws and local customs in the countries where we operate. As a mul na onal business and the largest taxpayer in the world, Apple is regularly audited by tax authori es around the world. HMRC recently concluded a mul year audit of our UK accounts and the se lement we reached with HMRC is reflected in our recently filed accounts.”
Bitcoin Woes As Scrutiny Rises
Bitcoin and its fairy-tale story have been having a yo yo me of it lately. It went free fall for a few days (8 to 12th Jan) but recovered again from days of losses. The largest cryptocurrency is becoming under increasing scru ny from regulators around the world, with fears ranging from investor losses to the actual power systems driving it. Bitcoin was down as much as 23 percent for the week at one point, which meant it had the biggest decrease since January 2015, according to Bloomberg composite pricing, and is now 20% (at me of wri ng). This was a er the peak when in mid-December the introduc on of futures trading on regulated exchanges in Chicago.
Only this week, saw the South Korean jus ce minister’s reitera on of a proposal to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges. However, this was downplayed by a spokesman for the president but didn’t do much for the confidence of Bitcoin trading. Meanwhile, bitcoin mining -- the process needed to facilitate transac ons -- is set to become more expensive as China’s government cracks down on the industry, in part out of concerns about power use. In the U.S., scru ny is already on the rise and will con nue to do so amid concerns about the poten al use of cryptocurrencies for fraudulent purposes such as money laundering. Securi es and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo will be tes fying to the Senate Banking Commi ee on risks ed to bitcoin and its counterparts, and the commi ee intends to hold a hearing in early February, a source told EBM. In another note, the Chairman of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, did admit saying he regre ed saying Bitcoin was a huge fraud and believes in the technology behind it. He raised concerns about what the government will do when Bitcoin gets really big and proposed be er scru ny. Essen ally, asking for the government to have more control so banks can get in on the ac on - the very opposite of the concept of Bitcoin.
EU To Spend One Billion Euros On Supercomputing In Bid To Compete With USA And Asia The European Union it has been announced it will spend one billion euros ($1.2 billion) in its bid to start compe ng with China, the U.S. and Japan on supercompu ng the European Commission said Thursday. The aim is for Europe to acquire two “world-class supercomputers, capable of at least a hundred million billion calcula ons per second, and at least two mid-range systems, capable of tens of millions of billions of calcula ons per second, by 2020. The EuroHPC ini a ve was launched in March last year. The funding of the specifics was unveiled at the start of January 2018. These machines are stepping stones toward the ul mate goal of the eﬀort, which is to create a next-genera on “exascale” system -- capable of performing at least one billion mathematical calcula ons per second -- “based on EU technology” by 2022. The EU Commission said that the ini a ve was “crucial for the EU’s compe veness and independence in the data economy.” Some of the deal has included the EU providing a huge 486 million euros for the project by 2020. Other countries and members states will be stumping up essen ally the same
amount - at least the ones who sign up for the project. In addi on, private en es, such as companies, could also join the eﬀort and provide “in kind contribu ons” added the Commission. The 13 countries that have signed up so far include Belgium, Bulgaria, Croa a, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland. Conspicuous in their absence The U.K. has s ll not joined the project so far and some Bri sh computer scien sts worry that the U.K. will miss out on the poten al benefits of the project due to Brexit.
While not yet a signatory, Alistair Clifton (spokesman for the U.K.’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the department that administers the Bri sh government’s science budget) said the U.K. had been “taking an ac ve part in the development of it and are working on future plans of it.” He said that whether the U.K. would become a signatory in the future “is an open ques on”. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said in a statement: “Supercomputers are already at the core of major advancements and innova ons in many areas directly aﬀec ng the daily lives of European ci zens. They can help us to develop personalised medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more eﬃciently. Gabriel added: “A be er European supercompu ng infrastructure holds great poten al for job crea on and is a key factor for the digi sa on of industry and increasing the compe veness of the European economy.” Currently, the top two fastest supercomputers are in China, with the U.S. and Japan domina ng most of the rest of the top 10. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 17
DigiPlex Celebrates 10 Years of Industry Leadership Outstanding Contribution to Data Centre Industry Recognised by Uptime Institute
DigiPlex data center in Fetsund, Norway
igiPlex, the Nordic leader for innova ve and sustainable data centres has received an award in recogni on of the significant contribu ons it has made to the data centre industry in the past decade. The Up me Ins tute is an advisory organisa on which focuses on improving the performance, efficiency and reliability of data centres, encouraging best practice standards and commitment to con nual improvement and innova on. The ins tute regularly publishes guidance, thought leadership and intelligence
about the global data centre industry, and iden fies examples of leadership and best prac ce held against rigorous global standards. DigiPlex has been a member of the Up me Ins tute Site Network Group since it expanded its reach to the EMEA in 2007. A significant number DigiPlex’s engineers have studied the Up me Ins tute curriculum, earning designa ons as Accredited Tier Designer (ATD), Accredited Tier Specialist (ATS) and Accredited Opera ons Specialist (AOS). These cer fica ons provide assurance to customers that cri cal facili es are
designed, built, and operated by operators with skills at the highest global standard. DigiPlex’s data centre at Fet, has also met the ins tute’s high standards, with the cloudbased data centre in Norway developed with EVRY recently receiving two Tier III accredita ons for concurrent maintainability “Design” and “Constructed Facility”. The award, in recogni on of DigiPlex’s longstanding contribution, support, sharing innova on and consistent collabora on was handed out at the Up me EMEA Network Group mee ng in London.
DigiPlex CEO, Gisle M. Eckhoff
“DigiPlex has always sought to operate as a leader and standard bearer for the datacentre industry, challenging ourselves constantly to innovate, improve our service and adhere to the most rigorous
standards set by our peers” says DigiPlex CEO, Gisle M. Eckhoﬀ. “Our record of 100% opera onal up- me, minimal power consumpon and incredibly low environmental impact are just some of the
ways in which we seek to embody the best of what data centre soluons can and should oﬀer. We are honoured to have our contribu on recognised by the Up me Ins tute, whose discerning criteria provide invaluable guidance to businesses seeking the very best services and solu ons.” “The Uptime Institute Network has been proud to count DigiPlex among its members since the opening of our EMEA chapter. As part of our rela onship, we have toured DigiPlex’s data centres and have been consistently impressed by their a en on to innova on and leadership. The Tier cer fica ons we recently issued to the cloud data centre DigiPlex developed with EVRY in Norway is just the most recent example of their commitment to best prac ce. The 10-year contribu on DigiPlex has made to the Up me Ins tute has been integral to our work in the region, and in encouraging a thriving, globally compe ve European Data Centre industry” says Phil Collerton, EMEA Director at Up me Ins tute.
DigiPlex data center in Stockholm, Sweden
DigiPlex designs, builds and operates data centres in the Nordic region. The company specialises in delivering tailored, secure and resilient environments with the highest possible availability. Both private and public organisa ons, including security-sensi ve customers such as government and financial ins tu ons, trust DigiPlex data centre solu ons. All DigiPlex data centres are powered exclusively by sustainable sources of electricity. Further reading: h p://www.digiplex.com Further informa on: Elisabeth Lennhede, Head of Communica ons, DigiPlex, T: +46 70 33 22 705 E: email@example.com
Innovation Drives a Joined-up Approach to Business Tourism
Edinburgh’s renowned culture of innovation, combined with a wide choice of venues and extensive business support are proving an irresistible combination for Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Events (MICE) organisers. Edinburgh recently leapt up in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) global rankings to 18th place among European conference destinations.
dinburgh is the number one ICCA conference des na on in the UK outside of London. The city a racted 76 major conferences and mee ngs in 2016 alone, genera ng an es mated £35m in economic benefit for the city. In fact, in 2016, Conven on Edinburgh confirmed 134 future major events, some booked as far ahead as 2025, which will bring close to 48,000 delegates to the city. That trend is reflected in a strong 2017 performance to date. In the first few months of the year, Edinburgh secured five major event
bid wins, equating to an addional 3,400 delegates coming to Scotland’s capital. In addi on to oﬀering conference organisers that elusive ‘wow’ factor when choosing a venue, Edinburgh also delivers unique opportuni es to co-create a legacy through its ac ve Ambassador network, organised through Conven on Edinburgh. As Edinburgh’s largest conference venue, the EICC is building on its most prolific year, having hosted a record number of events and delegates in 2016. Growth in internaonal associa ons has resulted in
the recent expansion of the EICC’s business development team. It’s one of the reasons why the biennial Pangborn Sensory Symposium, recently selected the EICC for its next event in July 2019. The conference, which will explore the eﬀects food and drink have on the senses, is likely to bring more than £2.4m into the city and a ract more than 1,000 sensory scien sts. The collec ve appeal of the EICC, working in partnership with Conven on Edinburgh, the organisa on tasked with promo ng Edinburgh as a conference des na on, beat
National Museum of Scotland
Iconic meeting venues include the Royal yacht Britannia
That value add message has been further reinforced this year with Conven on Edinburgh’s latest improvements to its Edinburgh Rewards scheme. Designed to give conference delegates a choice of more than 100 exclusive oﬀers across a diverse range of high-quality restaurants, bars, retailers and a rac ons in the city, the scheme has been enhanced further with the addi on of a mobile website highligh ng nearby oﬀers. Through a dedicated Rewards Passport, conference guests access a wide range of discounts, while businesses not necessarily associated with business tourism can access this influen al market and a ract a new customer base. Among the first beneficiaries of the enhanced Edinburgh Rewards package and versa le geoloca on services were the 3,000 delegates a ending the 2017 World Veterinary Poultry Associa on Congress and 1,500 delegates from the European Society for Immunodeficiencies.
Innovating for the future
oﬀ s ﬀ compe on from across the globe to secure the high-profile symposium. The recent launch of Make it Edinburgh, a cohesive marke ng strategy celebra ng Edinburgh’s global profile as the business tourism des na on of choice, aims to capitalise on the increasingly joined-up approach to promo ng Scotland’s capital. According to Conven on Edinburgh, the desire among event organisers to secure greater value for delegates and a legacy, is also seen as a key differen ator in a city’s ability to a ract large scale ICCA mee ngs.
the launch of the UK’s first MSc in Business Events Management, the result of a collabora on between Edinburgh Napier University and the EICC, is a signal of Edinburgh’s intent. It’s a partnership that makes perfect sense. Since opening in 1995, EICC has welcomed 1.3 million delegates from more than 120 countries. An £85m expansion in 2013 greatly expanded the Centre’s capacity and improved flexibility through its 1,600m 2 innovative moving floor system. On an annual basis, the EICC now caters for more than 200,000 conference delegates making it the ideal training ground and research laboratory for those studying event management. Students
Royal Botanics Gardens Edinburgh studying the new one-year MSc programme through Edinburgh Napier’s Business School are now able to combine classroom-based subjects, with the opportunity to develop skills through professional prac ce at the EICC. The programme, which aims to provide the mee ngs, conference, conven on and exhibi on industry with appropriately knowledgeable and qualified managers, is part of a wider long-term strategy to support future growth in business tourism. It’s typical of Edinburgh’s approach to technology and the visitor economy. The poten al impact of innova on on the wider tourism market lay at the heart of a hackathon-style event at CodeBase in early October. The Edinburgh Tourism Innova on Challenge saw entrepreneurially-minded data scien sts and analysts, designers and so ware engineers come together over three days and nights analysing a range of tourism-related data to develop new products, services and tools for visitors to the city. It’s all part of an increasingly holisc outlook towards business tourism, which as it grows is helping to fuel development demand across Edinburgh’s thriving hotel sector. Edinburgh is well placed to grow its business tourism oﬀer further, with key investments in Edinburgh’s infrastructure con nuing to improve transport links, including new capital funding announced as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal.
Find out more: www.eicc.co.uk www.conventionedinburgh.com www.iccaworld.org www.edinburghrewards.com www.makeitedinburgh.com
The Looming GDPR Deadline and what Business Need To Know
GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION Data is a very valuable currency in this new world. The general data protecon regula on strengthens the data protec on of the EU ci zens. GDPR is a new European privacy regula on, this regula on was adopted on 27 April, 2016. Which would come into place on the 25th of May 2018 to permanently change the way data is being collected, stored and used for customer data . it is to replace the DATA PROTECTION DIRECTIVE of 1995. It is a set of regula on for strengthening and harmonizing data protec on laws across Europe. According to the Dell and Dimension Research, it was observed that 80 percent of businesses knows few details or nothing about GDPR. Worst of it all is that, 97 percent of the companies have no plan in place for when the GDPR kicks oﬀ in 2018. GDPR aﬀects anyone 22 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
holding data on EU ci zens, including those companies that are not in Europe. The GDPR aims primarily to give control back to ci zens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for interna onal business by unifying the regula on within the EU.
WHY WAS GDPR CREATED? The EU wants to give people more control over how their personal data is used, bearing in mind that many companies like Facebook and Google swap access to people’s data for use of their services. the EU wants to give businesses a simpler, clearer legal environment in which to operate, making data protec on law iden cal throughout the single market (the EU es mates that this will save businesses a collec ve €2.3 billion a year).
WHAT DOES GDPR MEAN FOR BANKS. Organisations need to have an ‘interest’ in all data collected, which means that banks will have to have to demonstrate the jus fica on for all data collected on customers. Implementa on will also have global implica ons as it will not only relate to data of EU ci zens captured in the EU, by organisa ons based in the EU, but also their global opera ons and the related ‘data footprint’. Banks will have to consider how to integrate the data protec on requirements within exis ng system design and tes ng, with many banks already managing mul ple in-flight regulatory programs. Ensuring robust 1st and 2nd line of defence (Risk) processes related to breaches of data confiden ality and
repor ng these to regulators, even where breaches are made accidentally. Organisa ons will have to revisit their end-user controls and internal repor ng, again, taking in-flight programmes above into account.
UNDER THE GDPR, INDIVIDUAL HAVE RIGHTS According to the GDPR direc ves, personal data is any information related to the person such as name, a photo, an email, updates on social networking sites, bank details, medical informa on, loca on, or a computer IP address. There is no dis nc on between personal data about individuals in their private, public or work roles â€“ the person is the person. The right to data transferability Individuals have a right to transfer their data from one service provider to another. And it must happen in a commonly used and machine readable format.
The right to access
The right to object
This means that individuals have the right to request access to their personal data and to ask how their data is used by the company a er it has been gathered. The company must provide a copy of the personal data, free of charge and in electronic format if requested.
This includes the right of individuals to stop the processing of their data for direct marke ng. There are no exemp ons to this rule, and any processing must stop as soon as the request is received. In addi on, this right must be made clear to individuals at the very start of any communica on.
The right to be forgo en If consumers are no longer customers, or if they withdraw their consent from a company to use their personal data, then they have the right to have their data deleted. The right to be no fied If there has been a data breach which compromises an individualâ€™s personal data, the individual has a right to be informed within 72 hours of first having become aware of the breach. The right to restrict processing Individuals can request that their data is not used for processing. Their record can remain in place, but not be used.
The right to have informa on corrected This ensures that individuals can have their data updated if it is out of date or incomplete or incorrect.
IMPLICATIONS OF GDPR ON BUSINESSES For organiza ons and businesses who do not comply with the GDPR would face tough penal es like ge ng fined of up to 4 percent of annual global revenue or 20 million Euros. And it is a major fine that any organiza on doing business in Europe would want to avoid.
in the last 12 months. Perhaps more alarmingly, Experian’s Data Breach Industry Forecast 2017 predicts that healthcare organisa ons will be the most targeted sector next year, with new, sophis cated a acks emerging. With GDPR forthcoming, and the growing spectre of breaches and ransom ware, 2017 and 2018 are sure to bring security and privacy even more into the spotlight in the EU region. Healthcare organisa ons across the EU are urgently working to mi gate the risks of breaches and ransom ware, and ensure compliance with GDPR before the 2018 deadline. In security and privacy, ideas o en surpass available budget and resources, and prioritisation of safeguards and targe ng of limited budget and resources is key to ensure both compliance with GDPR by the 2018 deadline, and adequate mi ga on of risks of breaches and ransom ware.
THE TYPES OF PRIVACY DATA THE GDPR PROTECTS Poli cal opinions. Sexual orienta on. Biometric data. Racial or ethnic data. Health and gene c data. Basic iden ty informa on such as name, address and ID number.
All organizations and companies that work with personal data should appoint a data protec on oﬃcers or data controller who is in charge of GDPR compliance. Data protec on oﬃcers will be responsible for managing data security (including cyber-attacks) and other cri cal business connuity issues specific to the holding and processing of personal data. GDPR applies to all businesses and organiza ons established in the EU, regardless of whether the data processing takes place in the EU or not. Even non-EU established organiza ons will be subject to GDPR. If your business oﬀers goods and/ or 24 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
services to ci zens in the EU, then it’s subject to GDPR.
GDPR IN THE HEALTH SECTOR In the Ponemon 2016 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis, the total average cost across industries of a data breach is now $4 million USD, up 29 percent since 2013. The per capita cost of a breach across 16 industries studied is highest in healthcare at $355 USD per pa ent record. According to a recent Freedom of Informa on request, 28 NHS Trusts have undergone ransom ware a acks
THINGS ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE DOING TO PREPARE FOR GDPR Compliance with global data hygiene standards is part of that preparedness. Start a task force that includes marke ng, finance, sales, opera ons— any group within the organiza on that collects, analyses data collec on from customers. Hire or appoint a Data protec on oﬃcer. GDPR does not state whether the data protec on oﬃcer should be full me or part me, but a data protec on oﬃcer needs to be appointed. Most companies already have a plan in place, but they will need to review and update it to ensure that it aligns with GDPR requirements.
What GDPR forgets: The physical security
he EU’s GDPR legislature will have consequences for every company doing business in Europe, including American companies. The new direc ve promises sizeable fines to anyone that does not take personal data seriously. Meanwhile, the data center company DigiPlex urges companies to focus on another important aspect: physical security. The General Data Protec on Regula on’s (GDPR) purpose is to harmonize legisla on related to personal informa on across the EU’s member states. It does however also create radical challenges for American businesses holding informa on on EU customers. Come May 2018, when the legisla on enters into force, companies will have publicly disclosed how the data is used, in addi on to oﬀering transparency for individuals seeking access to their data. The GDPR includes a sanc on mechanism, and the fines for non-compliance can reach 4 percent of a company’s annual revenue.
Moving data to safety
Business will obviously change for everyone not taking personal informa on seriously. This will clearly raise awareness regarding how the data is secured, but it’s also vital not to forget where the informa on is located, says DigiPlex CEO, Gisle M. Eckhoﬀ.
While EU-based companies are in the process of adap ng to the GDPR, Gartner predicted only 50 percent of American firms will be ready for the strict regula on by the end of 2018. It’s primarily the largest companies and public enterprises that are furthest
American computer security company, McAfee, published a study of over 800 company leaders from different sectors. The report reveals that 50 percent of the respondents state that they would like to move their data to a more secure loca on. A mo va ng factor is the new EU legisla on. The report also reveals that 74 percent of the business leaders specified that they thought protecting the data correctly would a ract new customers. Data security is not just about protecting yourself against hacking and other digital threats. The overall security critically depends on where your data is stored. Companies who ac vely select a secure data centre to host their data will gain a compe ve advantage in the market as the management of personal informa on is in the spotlight, says Eckhoﬀ.
Physical security is forgotten
along in the process of adapta on. According to Eckhoﬀ, they are usually the ones that are the most concerned with data security and where it is stored. Fire and opera onal safety are two obvious challenges, but physical security also includes securing yourself against the . Several smaller businesses and organiza ons keep their data servers at their oﬃces, and the physical security in many of the smaller data centers is almost absent. If your data is stored in such a data center, where someone easily could break in and physically remove the hardware containing your informa on, then you are very vulnerable – both operaonally and in rela on to GDPR. At DigiPlex’s data centers, several layers of security ensure the safety of the data and the personal informa on that is stored there. Physical security is one of the most complicated and expensive features when building or upda ng a data center. That is why newly established data centers have to reach cri cal mass, allowing them to store enough data to compensate for the large security investment.
Adapting to GDPR One considera on to take, as we are ge ng closer to the implementa on europeanbusinessmagazine.com 25
date of GDPR, is where your data center should be located. Several US based companies are already relocating their centers to the EU in order to comply. Mul ple database providers are helping non-EU companies organize and segregate EU data from other personal informa on. The data center industry is well established in Europe, and some of the most cost and climate eﬃcient centers are located in the Nordic countries.
In the Nordics, the cool climate helps chill down vast amounts of hardware that otherwise would have been cooled down solely by electricity. Addi onally, the electricity that is required by data centers to run their opera ons is supplied through easy access to aﬀordable renewable energy. In recent years, we have seen poli cal turbulence in larger parts of the world, Europe included. The stabile poli cal environment in the Nordic countries is
Gisle M. Eckhoff
also a climate to consider, as the establishment of data centers is a long-term investment, says Eckhoﬀ.
About the Author Gisle M. Eckhoﬀ joined DigiPlex in August 2014 as Chief Executive Oﬃcer. He brings nearly thirty years’ experience in senior posi ons in the IT industry in the US, Sweden, UK and Denmark as well as at home in Norway. Gisle is the former Senior Vice President and Managing Director of CGI’s opera on in Norway, and has also held a number of senior management roles at both country and regional levels in CSC Computer Sciences Corporation. The experience and knowledge gained from heading up the Financial Services ver cal in the Nordic region, before becoming Vice President and Managing Director of CSC in both Norway and Sweden, is of great value when implemen ng DigiPlex’ growth strategy in the Nordic markets. Gisle holds a Degree in Business Administra on from the Norwegian School of Management.
Why sustainable investing is in vogue Sustainable investing, the practice of buying stock in companies that promote environmental, social and governance issues, is here to stay. Richard Fitzpatrick investigates some of the myths about ethical investing and why it’s come to colonise a quarter of the investment market
By Richard Fitzpatrick
here was a me when sustainable inves ng used to be a marginal pursuit. Indeed, it was scoﬀed at in certain quarters. In 1984, for example, when the first ethical fund was launched in the UK, traders nicknamed it “Brazil” – because you’d have to be nuts to invest in it. Those days are past. In the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance’s most recently published report, it revealed that globally $22.89 trillion of assets were being professionally managed under responsible investment strategies. There were par cularly strong spikes in Australia, China and Japan over the two years since the alliance’s previous study.
The roots of sustainable inves ng – the prac ce of inves ng in companies who adhere to good environmental, social and governance strategies – can be traced back to 1965 when church-based organisations in Sweden started ethical-based mutual funds. Over the last half-century, it has expanded to a ract investors from a broader church, with, for example, conscienously minded millennials. The flipside is “sin stocks”, as they’ve been dubbed, which include elements of tobacco, big oil, mining, pollutants, armament manufactures, pornography, and so on. They oﬀer so targets for sermons on the mount.
“The Archbishop of Canterbury was recently cri cal of payday lending from the pulpit,” says Ray McMahon, co-founder and chief operating oﬃcer, Dilosk. “He cri cised Wonga, saying that this short-term, high-interest-rate funding of people who are on the margins of society is exploita ve. He said they were eﬀec vely a legalised version of money sharks. “There would be a lot of cri cism of that kind of behaviour, but there would be a lot of other companies that would be excluded from being acceptable to a lot of chari es, and the charitable sector is a huge part of the market for fund managers. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 27
Ray McMahon, Chief Operating Officer, Dilosk 28 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
“They also want to avoid exposure to PEPs, poli cally exposed people. They don’t want to be involved in a business where some of the beneficial owners can be PEPs, with the poten al for higher risk of corrup on. Say Robert Mugabe has a big stake in a public company and he wants to raise bonds in the bond market. People don’t want to be helping that company. “A lot of investment professionals screen their investors, and they also screen the key people in corpora ons to make sure: 1) there are no sancons against them; you don’t want to be inves ng in a company where, for example, the chief execu ve or, say, a
Russian oil guy has sanc ons against them from any reputable government and 2) poli cally exposed people where down the road issues around corrup on could surface in a tribunal. Banks, financial ins tu ons have to do this screening.” At present, nearly 1,700 ins tu ons have signed the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment. They encompass a range of industries and have lo y aspira ons. In 2017, for instance, the Sustainability Accoun ng Standards Board published proposed metrics for 79 industries across 11 sectors. Airlines, for example, are measured against
items such as “total fuel consumed, percentage renewable”. “I find more and more larger mul na onals, they don’t just have shareholders,” says Eugene Kieran, Head of Investment Strategy, Appian Asset Management. “They have stakeholders as well in terms of employees, consumers. It’s almost a badge of honour for some companies to be displaying their sustainable creden als. They may well be doing sustainable investing for reputa onal reasons. I don’t think it’s irreversible at this point.” No big brand likes the stench of bad publicity. A nega ve story in the news can have a devasta ng eﬀect
on the bo om line. Volkswagen’s stock plummeted in 2015, for example – almost halving in value – a er analysts reported that it was discovered it had cheated emission tests. The watchdogs extend to government level. Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, which is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, maintains that owning stock in dubious companies legi mises them. It argues that inves ng in such stocks could be regarded as “complicity” in their ac ons. There is a counter-argument, however. In May 2017, when defending his advice to invest in a poten ally high-yielding stock like tobacco, Vikram Rai, an analyst with Ci group, posed a philosophical ques on. “Will an increase in cigare e shipments be beneficial on outstanding tobacco bonds? Yes, it will. But will inves ng in tobacco bonds somehow cause an increase in cigare e shipments and indirectly exhort people to smoke more? No, it will not.” The case of tobacco – which historically has been one of the best-performing stock sectors, par cularly because it prospers from lower valua ons and higher dividend yields, compared with certain socially responsible stocks – and the world’s most famous investor, Warren Buﬀet, is instruc ve. There is an element of trying to have his cake and eat it in his approach to tobacco. “Warren Buﬀet has taken exposure in old tobacco companies, but he wouldn’t buy shares in a start-up tobacco company, only if the tobacco company is already in existence,” says McMahon. “He might have sold those shares in the mean me, but he’s on the record as sta ng that he wouldn’t support a new tobacco company. It’s a nuanced view. Any sustainable investors wouldn’t touch tobacco companies so it’s interes ng that Buffet would. What he’s saying there is a li le bit of nonsense. Does it ma er if it’s a new one or an old one? You either support it, or you don’t.” Kiernan says there is a marked change in a tudes to sustainable inves ng in the space of a genera on. “If you went back 20 years, sustainable inves ng was purely a request from investors not to expose them to
Eugene Kiernan, Head of Investment Strategy, Appian Asset Management things like tobacco,” he says. It was a nega ve screening. “Then the pendulum shi ed more into them saying, ‘just excluding things isn’t enough; I would like you to engage with companies that are a bit more proac ve’ in terms, say, of having sustainable energy or forestry or these sorts of sectors within their por olio. As me has passed, it has become a posi ve, a shi from being nega ve to being more proacve. People are saying, ‘I would like to do something with a more posive impact.’ It’s a clear shi in how the sustainable inves ng process has gone.” McMahon is struck by the fact sustainable inves ng hasn’t been bigger for longer. “People have been conscien ous about things for centuries,” he says. “Maybe it’s a func on of more informa on. People have way more choice available now in the form of exchange-traded funds, and the volume and variety of investment opportuni es that people have today compared to 30 or 40 years ago is significant. “I guess what all of those choices gives you is the luxury of being able to make sound investments and on a sustainable basis. Before it would have been more diﬃcult. Before you didn’t have cheap, exchangetraded funds. You would have had to seek out asset managers that were adop ng a sustainable, common good approach. Corporate responsibility would have been much harder to find as an investment strategy. Now it’s very easy to do it. That’s a big change.” europeanbusinessmagazine.com 29
European Business Catches up with
- Our front cover focus and Ceo of Asset Management Group Candriam who discusses his thoughts of raising awareness and acceptance of sustainable investing and his vision for the future of the Financial Industry.
Was it following the 2008 crisis that you thought changes were needed to be adapted to the idea of inves ng to create a sustainable future as opposed to looking for just short-term profit or had it occurred to you before 2008 that when inves ng that sustainable inves ng should be taken into the decision-making process? Was there any par cular “light bulb” moment or was the process more gradual? In actual fact, it was over a decade prior to the financial crises that we first started thinking about sustainable inves ng. On the 1st April 1996, we launched our first ever SRI fund or ethical fund as they were known back then. Pioneers in SRI, we’ve not just watched but helped shape the development of sustainable and responsible inves ng over two decades. We’d even been ac vely engaged in ethical, sustainable and responsible inves ng for 10 years before becoming a founding signatory of the UN Principles of Responsible Inves ng. Nevertheless, the financial crises did prove somewhat of a lightbulb moment and showed the world that irresponsible innova on can lead to damaging outcomes for both investors and the world at large. The rising awareness and interest in sustainable inves ng – that promises to be even more pronounced among the millennial genera on – is beginning to catch the a en on of the mainstream financial media. 30 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
What do you feel is a true meaning of sustainable inves ng? What defines the term for you? Sustainability typically has two broad defini ons: more literally, it refers to the ability to maintain a certain rate or level, while more recently it is increasingly used in reference to resources, lifestyle, the environment and society as a whole. Sustainability means many things to many people. When it comes to sustainable inves ng – whether it’s SRI, ESG, low carbon inves ng, impac ng inves ng or conserva on finance – (while the industry tends to overcomplicate it) the basic philosophy is quite simple:
“Inves ng for be er returns and a be er tomorrow” My vision is that the future of financial services and, in par cular, of asset management should be one of convic on and responsibility. As a company, we are the stewards of over €110 bn of our clients’ wealth. I am commi ed to building an organisa on that is innova ve and convic on-driven, yet diversified and focused on the long-term – ensuring a pla orm for growth built on solid founda ons. That implies that we need to lead and go beyond convenonal investment wisdom through considering the driving ingredients
of sustainable growth when making investment decisions. By integra ng material environmental, social and governance issues that drive longterm risks and value crea on, we take better-informed investment decisions that, at the same me, fosters global societal progress. I’m also commi ed to being a responsible and engaged actor in the financial services industry by alloca ng our capital in a way that achieves a return on investment, but also maximises posi ve impacts on society. How do you go about achieving this as a company? Responsibility is part of Candriam’s DNA since incep on and our development has always been based on this long-term responsible approach. As far as our investment philosophy is concerned, achieving this means con nually sharpening our investment processes through research and development, engineering tailored investment solu ons for individuals and ins tu ons the world over, empowering our clients and our people to make be er decisions; and alloca ng our capital in a way that maximises sustainable returns and posi ve impacts on society. It also means applying the same robust level of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scru ny and analysis to our own company as we apply to those we hold in our investment por olios. At the highest company scale, it means that we incorporate responsibility into Candriam’s governance and ac ons towards all our counterparts: clients, shareholder, employees, providers, the society. Whether it’s producing annual sustainability reports which document our wide-ranging eﬀorts and progress in areas of Corporate Sustainability, providing educa onal pla orms on the topic of SRI such as the Candriam Academy, inves ng our own capital in sustainable finance projects via our Ins tute for Sustainable Development or recrui ng the people who will help us shape Candriam tomorrow, we must also lead by example.
What are the key issues facing your industry when it comes to corporate social responsible issues? The financial industry is again making huge profits but there are various issues forms of corrup on and greed. How do you feel financial ins tu ons should be addressing this from the grassroots up? We must be careful making broad generalisa ons – as generalisa ons to hide areas of excellence as well as areas of inferiority. The financial crises evoked public indigna on about failing corporate responsibility and provided a wake-up call to the financial services industry. Worldwide, present and projected environmental damage, social injusce, have highlighted the real financial risk of not integra ng material sustainability (non-financial) factors in tradi onal investment management and the pricing of assets. The ac vi es of Banks and other Financial Services ins tu ons have been under scru ny, not only by the local and interna onal regulators but also by a broader public including clients, employees and investors. Outside pressures to follow industry codes of sustainable conduct (GRI, UN Principles for Responsible Investment), growing demand for ESG products and services (notably from ins tu onal investors) and new or future regula on on disclosures of
sustainability performance are changing the financial sector landscape. The sector is expected to take a broader view on sustainable development and assess and manage financial risks and opportuni es in a more sustainable way, to support na onal and interna onal development goals and to facilitate the transi on to a green and low carbon economy. Sustainability dynamics do have a direct impact on the long-term success of businesses and socie es. Hence investors, managers and trustees can and must consider the eﬀect of climate change, fossil fuel use, water and air pollu on, supply chain management, viola ons of human and labour rights and corrup on when they commit their capital. While there are clear leaders that will thrive under such circumstances, when looking at the industry average, it probably s ll has some way to go. In terms of how financial ins tu ons should be addressing this, there are probably 5 main areas of focus: • Ethical Conduct, Bribery and Corrup on: Regulatory and civil claims s ll exist (there is s ll a reputa onal risk to solve). There is the need to have internal code of conducts as part of “business as usual” that incorporates societal expecta ons • Indirect Environmental impacts: The industry should focus on corporate lenders and insurance
• Corporate Responsibility Data Quality: A new repor ng area is needed: the data currently being reported externally is not as robust as other financial informaon reported. • Refocus the global financial industry on the long-term outcomes of its ac vi es by being a responsible steward. How do you feel financial ins tu ons are responding to global industry changes such as the global repor ng ini a ves and UN Principles for Responsible Investment and has this made a greater impact on how you do business as a company?
assets: appropriate management of environmental risks in lending and insurance por olios should reduce poten al future losses/liabili es. • Climate Change and Transi on to a Zero-Carbon Economy: Financing controversial projects: Even though we have seen a withdrawal of several ins tu ons from environmental controversial projects, the industry s ll massively finances controversial projects. • Sustainable Development Goals signed by over 190 countries: The UN Principles for Responsible Investment stated that the private sector and investors, in par cular, are indispensable in achieving the UN SDGs before 2030. The UNCTAD says that the SDGs will require between a $5-7 trillion of addi onal investments per annum. The financial sector must innovate and create new financial products and instruments to finance the SDGs. • Transparency: The industry s ll faces a lack of appropriate transparency about products, charges, terms and condi ons. The risk is the loss of trust by customers (or other stakeholders), leading to a loss of market share. 32 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
At the sector level, those kinds of ini a ves have indeed led to more awareness and more disclosure of ESG issues but also to more integraon of ESG issues in financial industry business. SRI assets under management have grown at a fast pace, in Europe and Worldwide – see Table 1 (source: GSIA). More recently, we have seen more and more statements from major financial groups to stop financing some controversial ac vi es like coal or tobacco – Candriam has been ac ve on these fronts. Lastly, the PRI ini a ve promotes ESG integra on and best prac ces in terms of stewardship – the number of UNPRI signatories increased sharply the last years/signature and transparency report are more and more recognised as a standard in the investment management industry.
Banks and financial ins tu ons are obviously looking for greatest returns from investments. Do you also think there is a changing a tude to also achieving greater posi ve social returns? Over the past decades, a lot of wealth has been created thanks to free-market economics and technological innova on. E.g. Free trade has contributed to li ing millions of people out of poverty in the developing world. Nevertheless, this period has also led to an increasing disparity between the richest 10% and the poorest 10% of society. Societal expecta ons on the financial industry have clearly changed and we are all aware we should all take a broader view on the pricing of externali es in order to contribute to sustainable development. To this end, we need to integrate into our analysis how countries and companies are deple ng natural resources, addressing climate change, pursuing inclusive growth through investment in a healthy and educated labour force, building respectful and well-func oning social ins tuons and networks that guarantee a fair society, crea ng a compe ve economic environment in which all stakeholders can thrive, and finally, in an increasingly globalised and connected world, respecting the well-being of all people. Ul mately, in the globalised world’s quest for eﬃciency and profit maximisa on, we have reached a point where the social costs associated with such a strategy have likely become too high.
Table 1: Growth SRI Assets by Region 2014-2016
Growth over period
Compound Annual Growth Rate
Asia ex Japan
Note: Asset values are expressed in billions. Asia ex Japan 2014 assets are represented in US dollars based on the exchange rates at year-end 2013. All other 2014 assets, as well as all 2016 assets, are converted to US dollars based on exchange rates at year-end 2015.
With the greater awareness of climate change - fundamentally large projects are normally given money by financial ins tu ons. Do you feel lending or inves ng huge amounts of money in the supply chain that is possibly going to be doing long-term damage to the planet needs to be addressed and how should it be addressed? We should all take a more holis c view on the pricing of externali es
in order to contribute to sustainable development. In a highly connected world, the impact of nega ve outcomes has immediate reputa onal and regulatory consequences. Corpora ons, investors and public policy should consider associated constraints and externali es when they are opera ng in or engaging with society or other stakeholders. Sustainability dynamics do have a direct impact on the long-term success of businesses and socie es. Hence investors, managers and
UN PRINCIPLES OF RESPONSIBLE INVESTING 100
Assets under management (US$ trillion)
Number of Signatories Number of Asset Owners
Total Assets under management Asset Ownersâ€™s Assets under management
trustees can and must consider the eďŹ€ect of climate change, fossil fuel use, water and air pollu on, supply chain management, violations of human and labour rights and corrupon when they commit their capital. Do you feel the industry has come along way since the 2008 crisis? Do you see genuine changes in the a tudes people to sustainable inves ng and if so is there a specific experience you have had on this that you would like to share with our readers? In April 2016 we conducted a study among financial advisers in Europe. We were posi vely surprised to see that not only 72% believed that alloca ons to sustainable investments would grow over the next 5 years, but also that 61% believed that ESG provides added value and reassurance. To us, this represented a real pping point, coming on our 20th anniversary since the launch of our first sustainable investment fund. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 33
It is time for the international investment community to write a new chapter in its history: one that takes a holis c view on the interplay between long-term development and the opportuni es and risks that stem from sustainability, and one, too, that fully appreciates the socio-economic value of sustainability in investment decisions. 34 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
What industries are you involved in and when inves ng sustainably, which industries do you feel will have the biggest impact on the future? Does your company for example also invest in research and academic programmes? We consider all industries when making sustainable investment decisions.
We evaluate the long-term sustainable risk and opportuni es to which companies and industries are exposed and only invest in those that best manage those sustainability challenges. Undeniably, certain companies and sectors will be heavily impacted by climate change and the transi on to a zero-carbon economy. The energy and u lity sector
need to consider the shi to a circular economy, labour and human rights abuse in its supply chain, the impact of pollu on on poverty, etc. We are very aware of the role it must play in promo ng SRI to the largest audience, especially to future generaons. We have developed collaboraons with several universi es and business schools in France, Belgium and the US and have launched a web pla orm called SRI Academy aimed at educating financial advisors. The launch of the Candriam Sustainable Ins tute will encompass all our ini a ves on that front while crea ng new internal and external research capabili es.
will need to transform their way of doing business to a ain a fossil free world, but also the transporta on sector faces an uphill ba le against changing regulatory ins tu ons that more and more imposes stringent climate-related regula ons. However, social issues prevalent in society become more important. The consumer and IT sector, for example,
In layman’s terms, you’re an investment firm and essen ally are responsible for people’s money. They give their money to you invest and gain maximum returns. Do you advise clients of your approach to socially responsible inves ng as opposed to pure short-term profit? How does this work and what is the general reac on? We don’t subscribe to the view that maximising returns and having a sustainable and responsible approach to inves ng are mutually exclusive.
This view is becoming increasingly outdated as both evidence and research on the topic have improved and the variety of available approaches has broadened. There are two interes ng meta-studies from Morgan Stanley and the University of Oxford together with Arabesque Partners that provide interesting reading on this point. A Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) strategy that systema cally integrates environmental, social and governance criteria leads to be er insights and makes for better-informed investment decisions from a risk-return perspec ve. Nevertheless, we recognise that not all investors believe what we believe and that there are some areas where a sustainable and responsible investment approach is either diﬃcult to execute to the level we would feel comfortable with or in some cases at odds with the nature of the strategy. As informa on, repor ng and understanding of sustainable and responsible investment improves, I am confident that some of the past myths rela ng to performance will be dispelled. Furthermore, I am hopeful that over the next decade, a truly sustainable and responsible approach will become ‘de rigeur’ for investors. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 35
Corporate social responsibility
orporate social responsibility has been around for a while and was the buzzword amongst many a boardroom circa 15 years ago. Many conferences were set up on how to be more socially responsible. Companies knew it was a good thing and it was the right thing to do, but implementing it and measuring its success was diﬃcult. 2018 and we now know that cost brings us many benefits, such as be er posi on within the market, increased sales, opera onal costs savings, steady growth, market reputa on and many more. European Business Magazine looks into the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR )
What is corporate social responsibility? Before, companies were accountable only to their shareholders, but today they need to consider interests of all stakeholders. One way to accomplish that goal is to adopt corporate social responsibility. It “refers to transparent business prac ces that are based on ethical values, compliance with legal requirements, and respect for people, communi es, and the environment”. This means that companies need to fulfil the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic expecta ons of the society at a given point in me. Although such ini a ves are mainly voluntary, many companies today are socially responsible, because this brings them numerous benefits. Those who are socially responsible have a much be er reputa on and from what is becoming very clear, increased sales, faster growth, be er shareholder price, etc. Are you among socially responsible companies? If not, it is me for you to become one. 36 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
What you need to do to be socially responsible Corporate social responsibility is o en linked to ecological sustainability, but it does not end there. It includes much more. Companies are also involved in the resolu on of other social problems, such as poverty, inequali es, etc. Companies are also achieving be er CSR results through partnering with others. Given the latest data about climate change and the public’s level of interest in doing be er things for the environment, it is no wonder why the pressure of the society on companies is so large. Global warming has already started to melt the Greenland and Antarc c ice sheets, which has increased the global sea level by 35 cen metres in the last century, double that of the previous century. Also, surface temperature has constantly risen by 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969, while the amount of carbon dioxide that is absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is rising by 2 billion tons per year. Although latest NASA research  s ll gives us hope, this is an alarming situa on for all of us. If we do not act right now, who knows what will happen to our planet and us. Companies have already realised that ecological sustainability is one of the most cri cal issues today. Many of them invest in their opera onal processes to ensure less pollu on. One example is Toyota which is completely dedicated to its contribu on to the goal of the Paris Agreement to keep a global temperature rise below 2˚C. However, some are just strong on words, but in prac ce, they do the opposite. For example, Amazon promotes itself as a socially responsible company while there has been
enough evidence to suggest otherwise as it overpacks its products. However, companies also need to contribute to other issues such as poverty, social inequali es, labour and human rights, and others. In doing so, a good example to others is given, while at the same me, companies
will be seen as good employers. Most mul na onals have ini a ves in this direc on. For example, Starbucks oﬀers many youth opportunies, has a supplier diversity program, and greener stores; while BMW has developed the Schools Environmental Educa on Development Project
with the goal to raise awareness of environmental and social issues. S ll, although 90 percent of execu ves are aware of the importance of the integra on of sustainability into the business, only 25 percent of them really implement such ini a ves in their businesses.
Does it pay to be socially responsible? Corporate social responsibility is not cheap and comes with a price. However, inves ng in new operaonal an -pollu on solu ons are the necessity today. No ma er how much it will cost you, it will surely pay oﬀ. Maybe not at once, but in the longterm. Socially responsible conduct is always rewarded by society. Among the top 10 companies with the best CSR reputa on are Microso , Google, Disney, BMW, and Apple. When you analyse them, it pays to be among them, being socially responsible. It pays oﬀ! Companies that are socially responsible everywhere are recognised to care about the whole of society, not just for their own, and not just for financial gain. Behaviour is also
ethical, which is why it is commendable. As many execu ves claim, corporate social responsibility has brought them numerous benefits. They have a better reputation and happier employees and customers, while their profitability has increased as well as the price of their shares. At a me when we are all concerned about our future due to global warming and pollu on, it is important that all of us contribute to sustainability. Companies are the largest polluters, so they have the greatest responsibility for environmental protec on. Also, customers, investors, and other stakeholders, with their behaviour, influence companies to adopt corporate social responsibility. According to research, 75 percent of professional investors first examine the posi on of a company toward environmental, social and governance issues and a er that, they make the investment decisions. Similarly, customers are choosing the products of socially responsible companies, while avoiding socially irresponsible companies. Thus, if you accept this way of opera on, you can count on loyal customers and investors willing to help you grow your business. However, if you act socially irresponsible, you will quickly disappear from the market.
Obligatory non-financial reporting from 2018 Recently adopted Direc ve 2014/95/ EU that amends Direc ve 2013/34/ EU with the rules on disclosure of non-financial and diversity informaon by large companies from 2018 will be a turning point for social responsibility. Although some argue that this regula on undermines the basic business principle – profit - it actually contributes to companies’ better competitiveness. Socially responsible companies will be set apart from those who are not acting in this way since going forward, all companies need to report all their social responsibility ac ons. Now we will clearly see who is truly socially responsible. Will you be among them? europeanbusinessmagazine.com 37
Social Media -The New Power of Social Influencer’s
owadays, if you want your brand and business to be successful, you must find a way to get into people’s hearts, and not just any way, but a subtle one: adver sing has also changed, and the old tricks that used to work are not so eﬃcient anymore. This is the age of connec ons and conversa ons, and social media has overtaken all of it, including business. Can you imagine that in the USA alone, various brands are men oned 3.3 billion mes every day? People talk about everything and anything from fashion to industrial machinery, and companies realise that they can find a way to benefit from this by crea ng a conversa on around their products and services. And that’s where the term “influencer’s marke ng” comes along. As brands and businesses have started to realise the power of influencer’s marke ng, use of the term has risen by as much as 400% in Google Trends search. When you look at it more closely, it all comes from the basics: before buying a product or a service, we need assurance that our decision is a good one. That’s what influencers do — their role is to assure us that we will buy a truly valuable, high-quality service, an amazing experience and…well, be happy a erwards. It’s all about emo ons and the ability to
create the best ones for the consumers, and the most eﬃcient stage to do that now is social media. Let’s start with the right ques ons: Why? and How? Why are brands using social media now? How are they benefi ng from this? As with most genius things, the answers here are simple as well: social media is witnessing an incredible growth at a very high speed, and businesses should be savvy enough to take advantage of that. Not because it’s trendy to be on social media, but because the target audience is hanging around on popular social networks. No secret that branding strategies have also changed, and now most brands are trying to get connected with their audiences on as many dis nct levels as possible. This guarantees the higher level of engagement as well as the feeling of belonging. It’s a whole new experience for the customer
— to see what and how their brands and ambassadors are doing. This allows them to experience the feeling of being in the same bubble as their favourite brands. And that’s how two worlds collide. The only diﬀerence is that most of the me brands do that so subtly and almost invisibly that many consumers don’t understand what is really going on here. Facts also speak for themselves: according to an infographic that was published by Ambassador, 71% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they have a posi ve experience with it on social media. What does it mean? Basically, by giving your business a social media touch, you will reach be er overall results and get a real- me performance analysis, but also will connect with your customers be er, and serve them on a higher level. This also means that social media — if used
correctly — will make your online marke ng easier, and who would not want that? Social media, branding strategies and fashion are inseparable now. Brands use a variety of ways to reach their customers, and this guarantees that you don’t just reach out to one type of crowd, but rather connect to a versa le customer base. In the fashion industry, a popular commerce strategy is influencer’s marke ng, as brands now understand that to get out there and be a part of a social media can be amazingly valuable. It began with the rise of ad blockers and has been the most eﬀec ve form of adver sing in 2017. Experts say that this type of marke ng will connue to be a focus of smart marketers in 2018 as well, and major brands — now, that they’ve seen what influencers can really bring them — will be shi ing a massive piece of their
budgets from mainstream marke ng over to influencers. As there are so many influencers around the globe right now, the main keywords are quality and produc on value, and that’s what will dominate in the fashion industry when it comes to influencers during the next year, due to the consumers’ expecta ons for the higher produc on value. The processes of influencers have come a long way since the beginning, and now it’s not enough to just pay someone to post certain pictures anymore. Brand ambassadors are the next aspira on. Let’s talk about social media platforms. There are many different choices when it comes to influencer’s marke ng, and choosing the right one can really help brands to reach large and non-specific audiences. But the first step is to understand that diﬀerent pla orms can bring diﬀerent advantages to the brands, depending on their aims. Facebook, being the largest social media site, is also the most obvious one for the influencer’s marke ng. What’s more, Facebook is also the most liked platform by influencers themselves: in 2016, more than 32% of influencers favoured Facebook compared to Instagram’s 24%. The good thing here is that through posts liking and sharing, a new level of visibility is created, and it o en goes beyond the original influencer’s audience.
Another social media pla orm for influencer’s marke ng is Instagram. This image-based site is living its golden age, and influencer’s marke ng industry on Instagram is now worth more than $1 billion. Interes ngly, Instagram’s users tend to deliver more posi ve reac ons to branded content than on any other social media pla orm. Numbers are truly impressive here, and more than 70% of the most popular hashtags are branded on Instagram. What is more, Instagram is oﬃcially recognised as a top social media pla orm for targe ng consumers with disposable income, and especially millennials. One more choice for influencer’s marke ng through social media is Twi er, and although this pla orm somehow gets less a en on than the first two, it can be a good op on, as more than 49% of Twi er users ac vely rely on influencers for various product or service recommenda ons. More than 40% of users follow brands directly there, and Twi er is oﬃcially the most cost-eﬀec ve influencer’s marke ng op on. When it comes to fashion and influencers, the most influencer-led social campaigns happen on Instagram, and all the biggest companies are here as well: from Chloe to Ralph Lauren, from Balmain to Marc Jacobs and Moschino, you name it. From April 2016 to June 2017, more than 5000 influencer accounts were monitored europeanbusinessmagazine.com 39
by various brands. However, it looks likely that the full poten al of influencing has not been revealed yet, as brands s ll focus on the bigger audiences, and forget to analyse the possibili es within their influencer partners. More than 70% of brands work with influencers, but 90% of them fail to feature influencers on their own account, missing the opportunity to incorporate influencers more ac vely on their content strategy. Brands with smaller budgets use influencers via Instagram as well and usually choose the ones that have 5000 to 25000 followers. The most important thing here — whether it’s a big or a small company — is to have a wise and clear strategy with the desirable purpose. While mega-influencers can have millions of followers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the brand’s message will
be presented properly. That’s why brands like to partner with smaller influencers, whose image reinforces specific brand values. A great example is the Forever 21 brand, which uses small and micro-influencers widely, and gets amazing results. 90% of the company’s Instagram posts feature influencers that have thousands of followers — not millions — but they each average more than 90 thousand interac ons. Basically, such strategy can ensure authen city, as this is becoming the key focus for the brands. Social media has become such a big part of our lives that some mes we can’t even remember how everything used to be before it. Let us ask you one ques on: Do you recall what the fashion industry looked like before all of it? Now it’s all about compe veness
and the urgent need to keep up with the rest of the industry or else your company can be le behind. Social media made sure that connec ons are now easier, and brands get to communicate with their customers on a personal level — globally. All the oldest and biggest fashion brands realised that too — think Burberry and Louis Vui on — and now are trying to be even more accessible to the general public via social media platforms, which was not imaginable a few decades ago. The key point for fashion brands is that because of the massive consumerism if customers can’t buy the desired piece immediately, they just tend to forget about it. That’s how it works, and fashion companies must find ways to get closer to customers. Social media pla orms and influencer’s marke ng is an eﬀec ve way to do this. As we’ve men oned earlier, such marke ng strategy can generate be er results and reach more audience. Customers, on the other hand, get to experience what it’s like to parcipate in the private world of luxury fashion brands. And that’s where Instagram — the pla orm that generates the highest B2C engagement via influencer’s marke ng — comes along. And the rest…well, we think you know. Just scroll through your Instagram’s feed and you’ll see what we mean.
Bringing Balance to the World: The World Economic Forum 2018 “Europe has never had a single or unified voice in a world affairs: a common foreign policy. It has often appeared to be rudderless and unable to make quick decisions when faced with economic crises, presenting instead an image of division and hopelessness“, stated Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum. And he was right. The world changed, and so did the problems and challenges that we are facing every new day. The global environment is seen as unpredictable and difficult to navigate, massive disintegration in the institutional framework takes place, geo-economic competition rises, bringing new factors such as regionalism in the arena. And let’s not forget the disruptive innovations, artificial intelligence and technological change — all these factors certainly changed the way we are experiencing our every day world, not to mention the globe’s state. Klaus knew that in order to solve problems, new ways must be found, alongside co-operation and understanding. That is the main purpose of the World Economic Forum, which will be held for the 48th time in the start of the 2018. European Business Magazine Reports on the latest coming from Davos.
e may sound skep cal, but something needed to be done in order to bring balance. And so, the first World Economic Forum commi ed to improve the state of the world in 1971. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and held in Davos, it took over a really tough, but honorable mission to gather poli cal, business and other society leaders to shape global, regional and industry agendas and problems. To demonstrate entrepreneurship and new ideas that would actually work and be eﬀec ve is a complex task, especially when the highest standards must be maintained. However, World Economic Forum and its holders find a way to do that just fine — bringing balance to diﬀerent kinds of organizaons around the globe,— both public and private sectors, as well as interna onal and academic ins tu ons is what they are working on. Briefly introducing World Economic Forum, its founder is Klaus Schwab, and at the beginning it was called the European Management Forum. As a non-profit organiza on, it gathered business leaders for an annual mee ng each January. At first EMF
focused on the good US management prac ces and wanted to find ways to adjust them to European firms in order to compete with them. But the overall vision of the founder was deeper: poli cal events influenced the process, and from 1973 the Forum expanded its focus from management to economic and social issues. The year later, poli cal leaders were invited to join the Forum for the first me. It is important to note that this Forum was the first non-governmental ins tu on ever that ini ated a partnership with China’s economic development commissions, spurring economic reform policies in China. In 1987, the Forum changed its name to “World Economic Forum“ and established a pla orm for dialogue between countries. In 2015 it was formally recognized as an interna onal organizaon. Oﬃcially, the next long-term aim of the Forum is to become a pla orm where public and private coopera on could take place. Defining Forum’s strategy is quite easy, as it is simple and eﬀec ve: bringing together the most relevant leaders from all sectors of global society, and iden fy the best ways to
address the world’s most significant challenges. For more than 50 years and a er thousands of projects and collabora ons, not to men on historic shi s and globaliza on, Forum found its way to work and be eﬃcient via 3 key areas of impact. The first one is to build awareness and co-opera on: striving for posi ve change around the globe, Forum creates impact by gathering leaders from business, government, internaonal organiza ons, academia, civil society and youth work. This goal is pursued through diﬀerent areas, such as climate ac on accelera on, social entrepreneurship scaling, water gap closing, etc. The second area of impact is to shape the mindsets and agendas, and this basically means that Forum seeks to influence government priori es, business strategies and public opinion through its flagship reports, policy frameworks and strategies. Last but not least key role of the Forum is to drive collecve ac on. No secret that Forum’s projects and collabora ons aﬀected millions of people, and we are talking about lives saving through childhood vaccina on to improving the producvity of small scale farms.
The place, where World Economic Forum is held — Davos in Switzerland — is some mes referred to as the “Magic Mee ng Place“, because world’s business and poli cal leaders somehow open up and relax there. Yes, relax. Maybe the certain après-ski atmosphere and mountain’s weather have something to do with it, as all the distrac ons tend to disappear and more eﬀec ve solu ons to problems take their place. Between many important people, such persons like former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Israel’s President Sh. Peres, French Premier Raymond Barre, South Africa’s F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela par cipated in the Forum throughout the years. Once the oﬃcial part of the Forum closes un l the next year, the work con nues on more than 50 yearround projects that are aimed at suppor ng the United Na ons Sustainable Development Goals. This way a new fund by the Norwegian government has been launched with a longterm goal to raise $400 million and protect 5 million hectares in countries working to reduce deforesta on. Also, the team to building a coali on to protect the world’s oceans and marine resources has been formatted, a public-private coali on to build responsible, inclusive and sustainable ba ery supply chain has been mobilized, a plan to increase the global reuse and recycling rates has been endorsed, expanded partnership in order to provide clean water to 3.5
million people began. And these are just a few ini a ves to men on. If you haven’t already marked your calendars for this year’s World Economic Forum, it will take place on January 23 to 26, and will join more than three thousand leaders from all around the world — governments, interna onal organizations, business, civil society, media, foremost experts and the young genera on from all over the world — for the same purpose: to collaborate in order to shape the global, regional and industry agendas, with a commitment to improve the state of the world, as it faces various poli cal, economical and social challenges. It is announced the this year’s Forum will explore the root causes of the manifold political, economic and social fractures facing global society, as well as will try to find pragma c solu ons for them. The most important inten on of the upcoming Forum is to create a shared future in
a fractured world. Sta ng that the global context has changed dramatically, the Forum aims to rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narra ve to improve the state of world, no ng, that the fractures that have emerged in the men oned spheres must not foster intolerance, indecision and inac on. Expert groups will be working in this Forum, covering impac ul geopoli cal sessions, which will be aired live to millions of ci zens worldwide. Between honorable guests we will see the General Secretary of Interna onal Trade Union Confederation Sharan Burrow, General Director of the European Organiza on for Nuclear Research Fabiola Giano , Managing Director of the Interna onal Monetary Fund Chris ne Lagarde, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Chairman and President of IBM Ginni Rome y, and many others. World Economic Forum went a long way from the first mee ng. Started with only 500 par cipants, the next year it will gather more than three thousand people that will come from 100 diﬀerent countries. It is great to see that the tradi ons are important here: the Open Forum format brings leaders, business, civil society and academia to discuss global challenges and is open to everyone. Founders of the Forum believe that by coming together at the start of the year, it is truly possible to shape the future for the be er. World Economic Forum is an unparalleled global eﬀort in co-design, co-crea on and collabora on. It’s deep and broad, and meaningful. Each year is a new opportunity to achieve be er results, and WEF is honestly working on this one. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 43
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Smartphones
r ficial intelligence would be the ul mate version of Google. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing. We’re nowhere near doing that now. However, we can get incrementally closer to that, and that is basically what we work on”, said Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, in the early 2000s. A lot has changed since then, in fact it is changing by the week and the biggest impact of AI is within smartphones. Rasa Butrim reports. Over 17 years later a er Larry Page said the above, opportuni es and perspec ves when it comes to Ar ficial Intelligence (AI) are now almost unlimited. AI is everywhere now, encountering us in every step we take: computers, cars, phones, smart houses, you name it. Endless studies show that people now use smartphones more than their computers. And so, disrup ve innova ons
shi ed the en re user experience in this field as well. Last year showed some impressive numbers of sold smartphones to end users worldwide: can you imagine that 1.5 billion smartphones were purchased? And what’s even more, in 2016 smartphones were acquired 5.6 mes more o en than computers. Roughly, by the year 2021, more than 60 percent of people all over the world will own a smartphone. As smartphones can now oﬃcially be called the most used device worldwide, it’s no wonder that they have also became a convenient pla orm for AI. Technically, it means that a smartphone’s processor has a certain sec on with one exact func on, which is to understand exactly what you want and give it to you. Just like L. Page wished 17 years ago. To put it diﬀerently, in the near future, smartphones will become even more smart and intelligent, not only assuring
various unique opportuni es for its users, but also the ability to take certain ac ons for him. What does it mean for consumers? Ar ficial Intelligence will bring much more change to smartphone’s industry than we might imagine. From now on, AI will let your phone know more about you, while automa cally providing various services and opportuni es on its own. Such devices will process data right there, in the phone itself and, accordingly to your habits and desires, will take certain ac ons. Experts claim that smartphones with AI will be able to read and recognise our emo ons and even foresee how they can change. That is, if one day you’ll be feeling bad about something, your smartphone will automa cally pick a more fun playlist on your way to work in order to make you feel be er, and a er sensing that you are red, it will tell you to go get a coﬀee. Trying to quietly talk to someone in an extremely loud environment will become easier as well: smartphones with AI will let your friend hear you clearly, as it will simply exclude you from the noise while also suppressing it.
Also, smartphones with AI will be able to understand the photo that you’ve just taken and decide what should be done with it. Now, soon a er taking a photo, we tend to completely forget about it. Well, AI will analyse what is photographed and take ac on, as well as find a free day in your calendar, buy you a cket, find out when the newest movie that you are interested in will be available to watch and tell you when to leave the house if you don’t want to get late. Basically, AI in smartphones will change the way that we are communica ng with each other via many diﬀerent programs and apps. In other words, smartphones with AI will completely adjust to your life. Something like having a fullme personal assistant, who knows everything about your habits, interests and even the overall feeling. Ar ficial Intelligence via your smartphone will make a big impact on health care as well, and the process seems rather simple: healthcare apps will scan your body, analyse the gathered informaon and make conclusions. Business people will benefit from AI as well: smartphones will be able to organise conference calls, various tasks and important mee ngs for you,
as well as record anything you need and even write it down later. The best part here is that your smartphone will be able to iden fy such things that are most important to you and…well, deliver them. AI in smartphones is already a strong mo va on for consumers to want more, and as prices are falling and features strongly improving, we can witness an amazing growth of technological usage, par cularly among millennials. People are especially interested in using such AI services as voice, smart trip assistants and entertainment advisers. Moreover, for most consumers voice assistants remain the most important thing when it comes to Ar ficial Intelligence, and we strongly doubt that anything can change in this sec on, as long as such digital assistants will be able to find answers sooner and solve occurred problems quicker than a web search or a person. The main goal of AI is to ensure a significantly better experience for consumers in every step they take, and top-leaders of innova ons, such as Huawei’s head of Consumer So ware and director of AI Engineering Felix Zhang, expect that AI will
fundamentally change the smartphone and transform user and business experience across tradi onal industries by the year of 2020. With AI’s help, smartphones as we now know them will be fundamentally changed to the intelligent phones with strongly improved eﬃciencies and services, as well as various features. Ar ficial Intelligence can be described in many ways, but when it comes to smartphones, it’s an a empt to understand human intelligence and human cogni on. For now, smartphones and AI are just ge ng familiar with one another, and this also means that we get to witness this unique process from its very beginning. Soon, our connec ons with smartphones will be ghter than ever, as they will become even more personalised and intellectual. The main goal of integra ng AI to smartphones is to make consumers feel as comfortable as possible, whether its health, business, hobbies or li le things of everyday life. The sky is truly the only limit when it comes to AI, and we are more than sure that upcoming year will bring us even more news, innova ons and improvements when it comes to integra ng AI to smartphones. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 45
The Impact of Robotics
he consul ng firm, McKinsey, forecasts that globally, up to 800 million people could lose their jobs by 2030 due to robots taking over the workplace. This means that these people have to learn new skills and knowledge to remain employable. In Japan, it is es mated that almost half of the
workforce needs to reskill themselves to be employable. Developed countries like most of Europe would be heavily impacted by automa on because they invest a lot in emerging technologies compared to developing na ons such as India, where the forecast is that only 9% of jobs will be replaced by robots.
Global Impact According to the chief economist of Bank of England, Andy Haldane, 15 million jobs in the UK are threatened to be automated. Consul ng giant, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) believe that as much as 30% of UK jobs could be threatened as early as 2030.
Technology continues to transform the world of work. Many researchers believe Robots are the next frontier to disrupt the world of work. There are troubling forecasts that mass unemployment is on the horizon because robots are seen to take over many occupations, especially those that involve menial and repetitive tasks.Argee Layara reports for European Business Magazine.
A study by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) showed that the industries that are likely to get automated in the next decade include finance and accounting, media, marke ng, adver sing and transport and distribu on. RSA argues that Britain needs to invest more in robots or else it will fall behind to countries like France, Germany, and Spain where investment in robots is rapidly rising. Benedict Dellot, who wrote the report for RSA, said, “Ar ficial intelligence and robo cs could solve some of the gaps and problems in the labour market with low-paid, dull, dirty, dangerous jobs that nobody wants to fill. The technology has the poten al to
fundamentally improve produc vity levels in the UK.” Even government work is not safe. Research conducted by Deloi e and the University of Oxford forecasted that as many as 850,000 public sector jobs could be lost through automaon by 2030. Asda, one of the largest grocery chains in the UK, now uses a fully automated distribu on warehouse in west London, while PwC is now using technology to automate white-collar tasks. Linklaters, a law firm, uses ar ficial intelligence to do research tasks. These tasks were previously done by junior staﬀ. Both Bill Gates and Elon Musk are worried about this trend on robots. Gates believe that robots should be taxed because of the jobs they will be taking over from humans. Gates said, “Certainly there will be taxes that relate to automa on. Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed, and you get income tax, social security tax, all of those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you would think that we would tax the robot at a similar level.” Musk, on the other hand, has a more doomsday feel to automa on which he believes will trigger mass unemployment. Musk said, “This is going to be a massive social challenge. Moreover, I think ul mately we will have to have some universal basic income. I do not think we are going to have a choice.”
Industries and jobs outlook The chief economist at PwC, John Hawksworth, believes that the jobs at risk are the manual and rou ne jobs because they can be programmed for robots to do. In contrast, he noted that those jobs that required more human interac on like being a doctor or a teacher would be less threatened by automa on. The Mckinsey study also noted that lower-wage jobs that were specialised such as gardening and plumbing are less threatened by automa on. Jason Hong, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, notes that occupa ons relying on empathy and crea vity such as writers, caretakers and psychologists will have li le to fear in the rise of the machines. Hong said, “Ar ficial intelligence is now taking over even white collar jobs, but those that require lots of human touch and communica on will not be easily automated.” Lee Rainie, director of Internet and technology research at the Pew Research Center said, “Anything that involves dealing directly with the public and taking care of them, either their needs or other places are likely to survive the robot onslaught.”
Positives from automation McKinsey notes that there is a silver lining to this trend. Automa on will force workers to upgrade themselves, europeanbusinessmagazine.com 47
Michael Chui, a partner at McKinsey Global Ins tute, said, â€œWe find there are many sources of future labour demand that could employ people, even as automa on is adopted: for example, caring for others in ageing socie es, developing and deploying technology, raising energy eďŹƒciency and mee ng climate challenges, producing goods and services for the expanding consuming class in developing countries, not to men on the infrastructure and buildings needed as they urbanise.â€? For developed countries like those in Europe, university educa on will be in high demand as jobs that require lower educa on will now be taken over by robots.
Final Thoughts and so they become more produc ve. This could drive economic growth, and overall pay could improve as a result of this. This could trigger more job crea on as more aggregate demand is created from the increase in disposable income. McKinsey es mates that 365 million jobs can be created in the next decade.
Also, the rise of automa on and technological improvements will boost industries such as financial services, healthcare, and educa on which will have new jobs and this can lessen the impact of job losses in manual and rou ne work. There is also job growth with STEM-related work as a result of automa on.
The industrial revolution brought machines that can do a lot of manual work and this boosted industries, created many jobs, and also created economic wealth. It is the rise of the machines once again, but this me, with more cogni ve power. What is le for humans once they reach our mental capabili es? Only me can tell.
World Economic Forum Seeks Change
wo simple words “globalizaon“ and “controversial“ that once upon a me had nothing in common, now are used next to each other quite frequent. This fact is not a new one, and today globaliza on is seen as a controversial and complex issue. Obviously, the World is deeply concerned about globaliza on and its eﬀects, as well as the fact that this term has now become a dirty one. That’s why globaliza on is one of the things that will be discussed in the World Economic Forum at the end of this month. It is declared that “one of the most significant tasks facing the World Economic Forum will be to reassert the benefits of globaliza on“. As such threats like climate change, secession and workplace automaon will likely be domina ng, this year’s program will focus on crea ng a shared future in a fractured world. This includes The best place to start in order to truly understand the complexity of globaliza on and how the percep on of it changed so much is a basic ground. Do you know what the term “globaliza on“ really means? Globaliza on is a process of increased integra on and co-opera on of diﬀerent na onal
economies. It involves national economies becoming increasingly inter-related and integrated. It brings benefits, as well as nega ve costs. Most of the benefits that globalizaon provides are now usually seen as natural ones — think free trade, free movement, increased economies of scale, greater compe on from foreign firms and increased investments. It is responsible for greater choice of various goods in our countries, bigger export markets for domes c manufacturers, lower prices for consumers, possibili es of producing goods to diﬀerent parts of the world, and enabling investments by multinaonal companies that play big roles in improving the economies of developing countries. At this point, everything seems more than great when it comes to globaliza on, right? But that’s not the whole story, and the term itself did not become such controversial without a legi mate reason — or maybe a few. Basically, every benefit comes with some kind of disadvantage
within it. Firstly, free trade can actually harm developing countries, as various industries in developing countries need protec on from free trade to be able to develop, and such developing countries are o en harmed by tariﬀ protec ons. What is more, globaliza on actually increased the use of non-renewable resources, and it is also contributed to increased polluon, as well as global warming. While it is also responsible for enabling workers to move more freely, many countries find it diﬃcult to hold onto their best-skilled workers, as they are a racted to go someplace else. It is also accountable for various tax compe ons and tax avoidance cases. Globaliza on is the main reason why the world now somehow seems like a smaller place today. It sure helped many ci zens in such countries like China and India to get out of poverty, but situa on is quite diﬀerent when it comes to the West — here, the richest one percent now owns more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth. When you think about it, the world has actually become more fragile now, and instability in various sectors — as well as crisis all around — resulted in countries turning away from globaliza on. The challenges that we are facing today are bigger and more complex than ever. Uncertainty presents itself in all corners of the world. In 2015, the World Economic Forum hoped to create a new global context. When you sum up everything that’s going on in the world right now, this year’s the main goal is to at least start a meaningful discussion that could lead to progress when it comes to globalizaon. That is a good place to start, and we are excited to see the upcoming results. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 49
Estonia and E-residency: What, How and Why?
f you’ve never associated the descrip on “the most digital society in the world” with Estonia, you should, as Estonia is the first country that oﬀered e-residency to people all around the world, providing state-proven digital iden es that enable access to services like online banking, educa on and healthcare. Now everyone is eligible to apply and become an “e-Estonian”. Europeans even joke about it, saying that “if you’re concerned about Brexit, maybe you should consider becoming an e-resident of Estonia”. E-residency is doing wonders when it comes to startups in Europe, as well as helping Estonia’s economy and making huge money through it. How you may ask? We are about to tell you all about it. Let’s start with the most important ques on: what is e-residency? Basically, it’s a government-issued digital iden ty that empowers entrepreneurs around the world to set up and run a loca on-independent business.
E-residents can start a company online from any place in the world, access banking and online payment service providers (think PayPal), and be the full owners of the company, as no local directors are needed. E-residency is amazing because it lets you sign and authen cate documents wherever you are, as well as encrypt and send them securely, and easily declare taxes online. As independent jobs and businesses are increasing, e-residency has that covered as well: it ensures the ability to operate your company while travelling and no re-establishment of the company will be needed even if you move abroad. The best part is that e-residency is simple. Successful applicants get a digital ID card with a computer-readable chip that is combined with authen cated PIN codes, which allows them to access several Estonia’s e-services and conduct business online. However, e-residency is not a
way to get ci zenship and not a case of a legal residency. It’s not a travel document, nor an ID. E-residency is a form of suprana onal digital identy that is issued — for the first me ever — by a country. Estonia says that the e-residency ini a ve makes the Bal c country region one of the most advanced e-socie es in the world, as this amazing digital infrastructure provides higher-level collabora on between the government and the ICT industry. Right a er e-residency was launched, more than 13500 people showed interest in becoming e-residents, and more than 1000 of them were Finns. The main reason was to either establish a new company or bring the one that already exists to Estonia. E-residency is par cularly useful for businessmen, as they can use it for comple ng and managing such actions like tax declarations and everything that is related to opera ng a business. It’s so a rac ve to
various businesses because it saves me and costs, while also making life easier. As you’ve probably already understood, e-residency is especially a rac ve and useful for Finns, who have or want to establish their businesses in Estonia, as it also speeds up interac ons with other business partners and oﬃcials. Maybe history has something to do with this fact as well, as Finns were always curious to know how Estonian e-services worked and always showed interest in it. This fact resulted in almost a doubled number of Finnish companies in Estonia over the first year of e-residency. Now, three years a er e-residency’s incep on, most common applicants besides Finnish are Russians, Ukrainians and Americans. Then the UK, Germany, Italy, India and France. As Estonia has a great entrepreneurial environment and tax system, e-residency is seen more as a goal of expanding the country’s economic space, and not so much as an impulse
to open a new company. Taxa on is simple and transparent there, and some taxes that exist in Finland don’t exist in Estonia — think municipal, church, dividend, land or car tax. Such moderate tax levels in Estonia can also be proud of assuring significantly lower general price levels, which adds up to be almost half the Finnish level, which results in a rela vely higher purchasing power for people overall. Basically, with the same amount of money, three more mes work can be done in Estonia compared to Finland. And once various advantages of establishing businesses are added, the only ques on that you can have is: Is there a be er place to do business than Estonia? Since e-residency was launched three years ago, almost 30000 virtual residents from 143 countries have created close to three thousand companies and paid 2.8 million euros in labour taxes. According to cost-benefit analysis, e-residents brought back to Estonia 14.4 million euros in net financial proceeds and indirect socio-economic net benefits. It is expected that by 2025 this number will rise to 1.84 billion euros. This means a return of as much as 100 euros for every one euro that was invested in the program from the very beginning.
Clients and investors are more comfortable to work with an Estonian company, rather than the ones that are based in, for example, India. E-residency guarantees the ability to run various businesses remotely from other countries, maybe even adding more credibility to the en re process. The country that brought you Skype, the world’s first digitally signed interna onal agreement and an intricate na onal ID system that allows ci zens to elect poli cians — as well as file taxes online — in a significantly faster way, also oﬀered world’s first e-residency. Much like Switzerland is associated with banking, Estonia is now synonymous with e-commerce and e-documenta on. Estonia took a move into e-residency and looked at it through the government’s start-up side, making it an appealing system for many people and businesses. It’s a unique perspec ve provided by one country to all that might be interested: deciding to digitally open borders to anybody in the world was a brave move. But look at it now — e-residency in Estonia is becoming more and more popular. It generates amazing amounts of money to the government. And just like that, one of the most important governmental experiments of the 21st century can be named as the most successful one as well. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 51
ast year was always going to be turbulent following Brexit, the American elec ons and demone sa on in India in 2016. And, as we enter 2018, more uncertaines abound, with climate change on everyoneâ€™s agenda as companies inves gate new ways to make their business models more sustainable. However, with all problems come solu ons, and bitcoin and blockchain are stepping in just in me for the tenth birthday celebra ons. With the help of new technology, individuals and corpora ons can see the impact of their choices on the environment, driving them to cut their carbon footprint. Bitcoin, an open-source
virtual currency, was propelled into the public eye in 2008, as a way to trade without banks, at a me when they were failing. The blockchain is the shared database technology that underlies bitcoin, and it is set to disrupt numerous industries and play a major role in tackling climate change going into 2018. Climate change is essen ally a global problem, and one of the main diďŹƒcul es in confron ng it is circumnaviga ng the myriad of diďŹ€erent languages and regula ons between countries. Blockchain, a secure distributed ledger technology, can overcome these hurdles by cu ng out the middlemen and bureaucracy.
Self-governing, tamper-free, online databases that nobody owns, yet everybody trusts, can promote sustainability by building confidence and reducing the risk of corrup on. Blockchains can help track merchandise from the manufacturer to the shop floor, making supply chains more transparent. This will help prevent waste, inefficiency, hacking, fraud and unethical prac ces, helping consumers make more informed, environmentally friendly decisions on how and where they want to buy. The Paris climate agreement codified the pressure to decrease emissions, and blockchain can enhance governance and sustainability, suppor ng
collec ve ac on to challenge environmental issues. Since 2012, Britain has halved carbon emissions in the electricity sector making the power system the 4th cleanest in Europe and the 7th cleanest in the world, but more can be done, and innova ve and cu ng-edge technologies can assist. In today’s world, you would be hard-pressed to find a successful interna onal company that isn’t following various sustainability ini aves. Thanks to increasing pressure from watchdogs, customers, staﬀ and shareholders, more and more businesses are required to oﬀer evidence of a reduced carbon footprint. The primary goal is to connect experts in the climate field, who recognise what needs to be done, with blockchain developers, who can come up with fresh ways to apply the technology. Financial service firms seem to be leading the way in blockchain
applicability; they currently have the most commercial use cases in the marketplace, but more non-finance use cases will come into their own in 2018. Already applied to banking and payments, this same technology can resolve environmental problems aﬀec ng the planet such as refining carbon emissions trading, simplifying clean energy trading, be er-quality tracking and recording of greenhouse gas emissions reduc on and avoidance of double coun ng. Last year saw several blockchain-based soluons from banks go live but another applica on of the technology is to ensure that seafood, wood and other products sold as environmentally friendly, really are. For most, blockchain technology is s ll fairly new, especially outside of its bitcoin roots. Will this year be the year that blockchain lives up to its full poten al? Like any emerging technology, research, funding, and applicaon will take me. Nonetheless, the speed at which it is disrup ng diﬀerent industries is credible and its reputa on and usage are growing month on month. Green cryptocurrencies will increase in 2018, enabling us to track and verify transac ons and interac ons without a centralised power, and by 2021 approximately 25% of the large global companies will be pilo ng or using blockchain-based automa on in transac onal procurement. The blockchain technology that underpins cryptographic currencies can support sustainability, alongside tech trends that will con nue to drive change. Signs are poin ng to 2018 as a year that could see the beginnings of a
revolu on in green finance and while discussions about the technology are s ll focused on poten al, it is making headlines. Whether posi oned within the music industry, travel, the financial sector or the housing market, business managers worldwide are advised to prepare for a major shakedown. But can the blockchain, alongside incen ves such as carbon credits, create a ‘carbon currency’ and really stop climate change and protect the environment? The technology can work in tandem with companies advoca ng sustainable development, allowing for transparent, cer fiable and principled transac ons, changing the way the world creates and interacts with supply chains, energy grids and other social records. Sustainable prac ces are not typically the cheapest op on, so many firms may cost and source goods and services without much environmental considera on. This technology could change all that. The need to fight climate change is unyielding, and we should employ any means we can, whether it’s blockchain, radical new ways of producing energy or using new technology, to make posi ve changes towards tackling emissions. It may be a while before the blockchain revolution really takes hold in the environmental sector, but the technology is evolving, and change is definitely afoot. As the technologies are becoming more mainstream, with governments warming up to them and regulators stepping in, carbon currencies will become a prac cal reality, demonstra ng that a modern-day problem requires a modern-day solu on. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 53
Fintech and Banks:
How Can the Banking Industry Respond to the Threat of Disruption? Financial Crisis is es mated to cost the six largest US banks ~$70 billion per year. Ci group alone employs 30,000 within its compliance division. Aside from complying with the regulatory oversight, restric ons on lending have both increased interest rates and reduced banks’ ability to oﬀer the service. This has allowed startups who, because they are not de facto banks (and thus under less scru ny), step in and oﬀer compe ng services.
Banks Can Play the Fintech Game Too Fintech, shortened from financial technology, is assumed to be a modern movement, yet the use of technology to assist financial services is by no means a new phenomenon. Financial services is an industry that introduced credit cards in the 1950s, internet banking in the 1990s and since the turn of the millennium, contactless payment technology. Yet, fintech’s place in the public conscience has really taken oﬀ in the past three years: The takeoﬀ of this term has come from startups—actors not within the inner circle of financial services, taking a more prominent role within the ecosystem. Three core trends have led to this movement emerging: • Technology: Financial services traditionally was an industry that required fixed assets (for 54 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
example, branches) to scale, acting as a barrier to entry to newcomers. Technological advancements now allow upstarts to run complex operations virtually. For example, neobanks operate purely on technological infrastructure. UK-based Monzo has amassed 240,000 ac ve customers without any kind of live customer-facing func on. • Customers: In the aftermath of the Financial Crisis of 2008 and various scandals, customers are demanding more from their services. Technology is empowering consumers to scrutinize their providers more heavily and upstarts are harnessing it to provide cleaner and more eﬀec ve customer service, free from the shackles of legacy technology. • Regulation: Increased regulatory scru ny on banks since the
The narra ve that the fintech landscape suggests is that startups are using technology to disrupt incumbent banks. Yet, there is no reason to suggest that banks are facing their own Kodak or Blockbuster Videomoment. They still remain widely used, profitable, and cashrich businesses. What this ar cle will address, though, is how they can respond be er to the “fintech vs banks” movement as, in my opinion, their response so far has not been op mal.
Fintech 2.0 So far, fintech startups have not looked at the widespread disrupon of all financial services. McKinsey analysis of a sample of startup data shows that 62% of startups are tackling the retail banking segment, with only 11% focused on large corporate banking oﬀerings. Payments is the most popular area to usurp and lending is the most lucra ve area of banking by revenue being targeted:
The response by banks right now to fintech disrup on is cri cal due to the current stage of the nascent industry’s development. Fintech startups are focused on unbundling banks, oﬀering one type of product/ service within a bank’s oﬀering and concentra ng on doing it very well. Innova on thus far has been largely driven on the front-end within these specialized oﬀerings, mainly through improving customer-facing facets of financial services. Some examples of how this is being done are: • Be er service: A tradi onal bank largely ties a customer in by servicing them with a range of services that make them s cky through increased switching costs. Without this luxury, specialized fintech companies follow a mantra of earning trust through be er customer service and referral-based client acquisi on. • Be er branding: With employees from non-traditional banking backgrounds adding an unbiased perspec ve to the service, the fintech industry is refreshing the branding of the legacy services that it is trying to upend. Modern marke ng tools like gamification are making mundane ac vi es like budge ng appear exci ng and compelling to consumers.
other, such as clearing (NSCC), payment (ACH), and messaging (SWIFT) systems. Widespread movements to disrupt these norms have not emerged, although the poten al of new technological applications such as blockchain technology within these areas is enormous. A significant event did occur here in 2017, when ClearBank became the first new clearing bank to open in the UK in for 250 years. This will give it license to build and oﬀer new, modern rails solu ons to stakeholders of the financial services world. Behind the be er customer service and beau ful apps, the back-end of a fintech startup largely follows the same processes of a bank. When you make a payment through Venmo, get a loan through SoFi, or invest in Betterment, you are not going through a “new” financial system. These firms rent and u lize the same legacy infrastructure that banks use. They work wonders to make the system appear be er to consumers, papering over
cracks and paradigms, some mes with audacious claims like Transferwise’s peer-to-peer FX model— an almost impossible feat to really achieve in the mismatched world of cross-border payments. Startups’ front-end driven business model presents two existen al threats to its fintech ecosystem: 1. Their costs to use the rails will always be higher than the incumbents, as they are ren ng the service. 2. Their lights can be turned oﬀ at a whim as they are a conduit middleman in the service. For that, un l fintech can move to fintech 2.0 and create its own rails, it will have a huge strategic risk and banks will have me to respond. To ascend within the financial services industry, fintech startups will need to forge a new technologically-led backend for the industry. Finding harmony
• Cheaper prices: Having a leaner virtual opera on, more flexibility through not being regulated as a deposit-gathering ins tu on, and cash from venture capital allows fintech startups to a ract customers with compe ve pricing. Bringing in new customers will allow a fintech firm to validate its product, receive feedback, and buy me in lieu of the second paradigm: improving the back-end of financial services. The back-end of finance, the “rails” of the industry, consists of the established infrastructure that banks use to interact and transact with each europeanbusinessmagazine.com 55
between their tech-led front-end and process-led back-end, designed in a diﬀerent genera on, will ul mately result in sustained margin compression and high opera onal risks. Crea ng new banking back-end processes will be diﬃcult due to format adop on consensus topics that will arise (think Blu-ray and HD-DVD) and involvement that regulators will play. But reaching this and having a seat at the table will at least allow startups to operate on a level playing field and mi gate the existen al threats that hang over them. Un l that point, they will remain on the fringe, merely papering over the cracks of a creaking financial services system. In light of the current situa on of fintech businesses, I will now switch the a en on to banks and how they can respond to fintech technology in a be er way. Their responses so far have erred more towards Kodak than Koninklijke Philips, which sold its music business in the 1990s in an cipa on of the MP3 revolu on. 56 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
1. Fight or Flight
Figure 2 below shows a framework by MIT Sloan that categorizes responses to disrup ve innova on, two factors aﬀect the incumbent’s response, mo va on, and ability: Based on current ac ons, banks sit in the top le quadrant. They have displayed low motivation despite their high ability to respond to fintech. They have the wealth and staﬀ numbers to tackle the disruptive poten al of fintech startups, but their responses have been either dismissive or lazy. Regarding the former, not a week goes by without a financial services chief scoﬃng at Bitcoin or robo inves ng. In terms of being lazy, banks have mostly engaged with fintech through passive accelerators or direct equity inves ng which, in its purity, is a form of outsourced innova on. In my view, if a bank really wants to respond to the fintech movement construc vely, they need to increase their mo va on and either fight or flight.
By fight, I am referring to ripping up the norms of the industry and trying something completely diﬀerent. The rails of banking are old and confusing; manual and ins tu onalized processes that were built up in the pre-internet age have formed around them and become the status quo. These have increased the prices and bureaucracy that consumers face. Even in 2017, only 7% of credit products in banks can be handled digitally from end to end. One advantage that banks hold over fintech startups is that they know the keys to these rails through historical knowledge of their processes. Improving them will provide banks with eﬃciency gains that can be passed through to consumers through be er pricing. A be er service will also win transac on rents from fintech startups, who will use the service. Considering that upstarts are following a mentality of “unbundling”
the bank, it’s reasonable to suggest that they would be content to rent a newer form of infrastructure, so long as it’s malleable and fast and provides good value. With their vast financial resources and technological prowess, this is achievable for banks. Although it’s a risky move, firstly for the cost and secondly for the “prisoner’s dilemma” aspect of going against peers and trying something diﬀerent, banks could reach a point where they can compete on a price and customer experience basis with startups. If they do not par cipate in this change, someone else will and the industry will eventually move to new rails.
Flight Before they went full-service and became conglomerates with investment, commercial and retail banks were good at what they did. Sound
credit prac ces grew from branch managers gran ng mortgages to local customers that they knew and saw at regular occurrences. A contrarian response to fintech, but one that is worth considera on, is that banks acknowledge the inevitability of the unbundling of financial services and retreat back to their roots—using their infrastructure to be “enablers” of financial services, such as custodians for deposits, and also applying their scale to revert to the form of human interac on in financial services, which is being shunned by fintech. One example of this focus is Metro Bank, a new UK bank that opened in 2010 with a simple portfolio of services and the first new bank in 100 years to oﬀer branch infrastructure. At the me of wri ng, it had already IPOed and had opened 41 branches. Retrea ng from the empire-building mantra of conglomerate banking is
a hard pill to swallow. If the unbundling of financial services does succeed, conglomerates will represent a bloated stakeholder in the system. Spinning oﬀ consumer banks and the return of investment bankers back to the bou que model will allow each the me to focus on what they do best and survive through specializa on.
2. Stop the Theatre: Don’t Invest in Fintech Startups I referred earlier to the outsourced innova on aspect of financial services’ current response to fintech; 63% of them have set up accelerators or startup venture funds. US banks alone have invested a staggering $3.6 billion in 56 diﬀerent fintech startups. Conversely, only 7% of banks have done the hardest job of se ng up their own fintech R&D oﬀshoot to create proprietary solu ons:
Some could call inves ng in the enemy a Machiavellian touch of genius, but it could also be called desperate. For all the wealth and resources that banks have, to be relying on fledgling startups to drive the innovation of their industry strikes me as misguided. Likewise, accelerators are easy to set up, but as data shows, have varying degrees of success. Despite the PR karma and confirmation bias of “being involved” through running a fintech accelerator, opera ng it with an internally-lead syllabus could skew the insight the startups receive, compared to an independent program. The end-game of banks inves ng in startups is also confusing. If it comes out well, there will be a one-oﬀ financial windfall, but presumably one would also infer that the disrup on 58 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
faced by the bank has now scaled. Acquiring the invested companies also results in integra on diﬃcul es and the zero-sum game of cannibalizing exis ng oﬀerings via the startups’ own. The incen ve to be involved and keep a finger on the pulse also runs the gambit of aliena ng other investors and distrac ng the founders’ unfe ered direc on. To me, this is all kicking the can down the road, and banks need to do some heavy li ing themselves by innova ng internally. They should stop depriving internal resources of this capital and start upshot fintech ventures, labs completely separate from their main opera on. This could be in the form of spun oﬀ independent groups, capitalized with equity and with no internal transfer pricing or involvement from the parent, staﬀed either with capable internal staﬀ or
external hires who receive founding stock for their involvement and commitment. As the only shareholder, the banks will have control through the board, which can correctly steer the company through independent directors and the “founding” team’s mo va on.
3. Change the Cost Culture of Cross-Subsidization A focal moment in banking is the yearly budge ng process, in terms of defining revenue targets and, equally, costs that will be apportioned to divisions. Everything from rent to the flowers in recepon needs to be shared out. While egalitarian cost accoun ng methods bring transparency to this process, con nually rising costs place
more pressure on short-term goals of reaching yearly targets at the expense of long-term planning. Cost increases arrive all the me—Brexit alone is es mated to increase bank costs by 4%. Cross-subsidization is evident in products too, whereby some products have a higher return on investment than others for strategic reasons. There is a reason why student bank accounts come with large overdra s and free concert ckets—it’s because banks want to a ract new customers who, ten years down the line, will be purchasing houses with lucra ve long-term mortgages. Banks operate in vertical silos wherein each team performs specific func ons and, if a deal requires mul ple services, mul ple teams are involved. Because each team has its own cost structures and profit targets, they each require their “piece of the pie” in deals. A 2017 leak received by the Guardian of a Banco Santander report demonstrates this for the process of money transfer, where three of its teams combined to earn €585 million in annual revenue from the service. When compared to the transparent and cheaper fees from Transferwise, it shows a stark contrast: For large banking opera ons, you would expect economies of scale to kick in and synergies to coexist between teams, I would argue that this is not the case. The nuanced nature of banking means that uniform rollouts of bank-wide programs, such as the use of specific so ware, or even graduate training programs that take a “one size fits all” approach, may not be suitable for teams in their specific needs. Likewise, the siloed nature of budgets and targets means that synergies that sound good on paper o en don’t transpire within day-to-day opera ons. Resolving this issue is complex but cri cal towards empowering bank teams to think with a long-term mentality, a luxury provided to fintech startups via their venture financing.
Because banking teams have oneyear budgets with high-cost hurdles, they are o en figh ng fires to reach the targets and any longer-term planning is a secondary concern. To rec fy this, banks must look at their budgeting and cost-sharing process and take a more ruthless approach over an egalitarian one. True core func ons, such as treasury, must remain shared by all teams, but other central func ons should be opt-in/out as to whether specific revenue-genera ng teams cover a share of their costs. Instead of pro-rata sharing of costs based on a share of no onal traded or headcount, costs should also be allocated taking into account the eﬀort and complexity required for certain ac vi es. Zerobased budge ng would also prevent cost-creep and wastage from the age-old process of superfluous spending in the final months of the year to ensure that budgets aren’t reduced. Longer term budge ng would also reward teams for sustained growth and innova on should be encouraged though allowing teams to allocate their own funding to R&D fintech ini a ves.
4. Align Compensation to Important Emerging Skill Areas In 2007, almost 40% of MBA graduates from top US schools were entering the finance industry. These numbers have now shrunk to below 30% and the tech industry is poised to usurp it as the most popular sectoral choice. Various banking scandals have contributed to banks losing their veneer and, despite s ll being a very well-paid industry, some of the larger technology companies now pay higher to graduates: Stock op ons are regularly oﬀered within banking compensa on, but it can be argued that stock op ons in the tech industry oﬀer greater potenal upside. For example, Facebook has a price-earnings ra o of 38.24, three mes higher than that of Goldman Sachs. Targeted wage increases and a more compelling bonus plan could quickly rec fy this. In addi on, decentralized teams and longer-term budgeting may help to stem the qualita ve reasons for talented staﬀ leaving for the intellectual challenge of a tech company.
Away from headline figures of graduates and star traders, banks also need to look at how the importance of certain staﬀ roles has shi ed inside the current environment. As mentioned, technology has always played a key role in banking and banks have very competent resources in this regard. Yet, in a tech company, coding and development skills are lauded and staﬀ with these roles play pivotal parts in the business design. Banks, on the other hand, o en see technology as a horizontal opera on, there to support all teams agnos cally. These teams also tend to not have physical proximity with revenue genera ng func ons, seen from the popularity of hubs in oﬀshore loca ons such as Budapest or Bangalore. To foster innova on be er, revenue genera ng teams should integrate cri cal support func ons into their front-office operation. Core banking is essen ally a commodity service; what separates the wheat from the chaﬀ is the strength of
qualita ve aspects (deal-making ability, reputa on, and connec ons) and technology (speed of execu on, so ware employed, and se lement reliability). Rewarding those who assist the la er with more variable compensa on ed to team performance will incen vize those employees to devise innova ve changes and also increase the a rac on of remaining in banking.
The Future of Banking? The movement of unbundling the bank, which follows the ethos of using division of labor to specialize in doing certain tasks well, is a lesson for the future for incumbent banks. Full-service banks are siloed machines that func on within performing set tasks within divided units. Over the years, these have added up to be both rigid and expensive to the end user, which has inspired the fintech revolu on to innovate around crea ng solutions to needs. PWC illustrates
the mentality change needed by banks well through the following infographic: In my opinion, in the future, there will be two types of large banks: One will be simple but eﬀec ve tradi onal banking units that provide consumers and business with vanilla services for spending and borrowing/lending. The second will come in the form of a holding company that controls investments in a number of independent firms oﬀering the unbundled variants of banking that fintech is espousing. As a holding company, these investments within each en ty will be as going concerns, with no terminal pressure to exit. This kind of libera on will allow each unit under the umbrella to operate freely within their own cost, technological, and cultural constraints. For the owners of the holding company, they will retain the exposure to a “banking conglomerate” but in a far diﬀerent manifesta on and coexistence of fintech and banks to what we see in current mes.
Put Success in Your Corner Strategically located in the northeast corner of South Carolina, the NESA Region puts your business in the ideal position to succeed. With competitively priced land and building options, advantageous infrastructure, unrivaled proximity to both inland and deep-water ports, and a cost-effective workforce, your business has endless possibility on its side.
Explore the resources that await in the gem of the Southeast â€” visit NESAsc.org or call 843-661-4669.
Some of the companies that proudly call the NESA Region home
The Rise of Green Shipping
There is a huge growing global problem with waste generation. One of the leading industries being a large culprit is the ship recycling business where the industry tries to dismantle and salvage any reusable materials. With many governments trying to bring in more and more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, the whole industry has had a new lease of life as a result of governments putting this high on the agenda with climate change, etc. We talk to Henning Gramann of GSR Services who has recently been awarded CEO of the year Green Shipping 2017 by European Business Magazine readers. He tells us more about the industry.
1 How long have you been in the Ship Recycling Business and how long have you been running GSR services? I started in the mari me industry in 2000 as a specialist in mari me waste management with a small research institute in Bremen. Three years later, I went to sea as Environmental Oﬃcer before joining Germanischer Lloyd (GL) in 2005. There I had the great opportunity to work at IMO (International Maritime Organizaon) where the Hong Conven on was under development and to start the ship recycling department early in 2006. Since then, I´ve been working in this field for twelve years. In 2011, I decided to leave the safe job at GL and start my own company GSR Services to have the freedom to take my very own decisions and get ac ve where I believe my knowledge can be used most eﬀec vely. 2 Over the last 10 years, you must have seen substanal changes in the industry - which changes are most no ceable? Having visited all ship recycling desna ons since 2007 (China, Turkey, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan), I see the biggest changes amongst ship recyclers in Alang/India. Not all have started with improving towards the Hong Kong Convention requirements, which was finalised in 2009, but the 20 finished projects we were involved in has changed the face of these yards tremendously. There are more than twenty projects underway and I´m proud that with GSR Services we have and are playing a vital role in these developments. What is most visible is the infrastructure in the ship recycling yards but that is by far not all that has changed. Even more important, is the change in the mind-sets to take care of safe, environmental protec on and generally to implement proper engineering and planning for each individual ship recycling project instead of simply cu ng it in bits and pieces and hoping that all will work out fine. The awareness about risks and understanding how to mi gate
Henning Gramann them including proper training for all involved in ship recycling is what has changed the condi ons most. These projects would not have been possible with GL as its´ focus lies with ship owners and shipyards. However, ship recyclers also belong to the shipping industry, which remains widely unrecognised. 3 What is the typical lifespan of a ship and when it is at the end of its cycle how do you manage the waste? Where does all the steel go? Is it recycled or sold oﬀ? Some years back, ships were designed for a lifespan of 20 to 25 years, some even more. However, due to the economic crisis, changing market condi ons, the new Panama Canal, low oil prices, new requirements for e.g. ballast water, air emissions and various other factors, we see younger and younger ships in recycling yards, some are less than 10 years old when being broken up. The various wastes and hazardous materials are to be investigated properly according to guidelines developed by IMO, where I was heavily involved as well. There are two categories, hazardous materials in structure and equipment of ships, which is called “Inventory of Hazardous Materials – IHM” which requires a lot of exper se and appropriate laboratories to prepare, and wastes
including oils and fuels which can be found on board any ship. This IHM is key for planning safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships and soon it will be required by EU states for all exis ng ships above 500 Gross Tonnes when being registered in EU or visi ng an EU-port. This IHM is to be provided to ship recyclers so that they are aware of what they receive within the ship. All wastes and hazardous materials are removed, segregated and stored by specifically trained workers of the facility for later delivery to designated disposal companies. We also have planned the categories and dimensions of required waste storage rooms. The steel itself is not a waste, it is recycled like more than 90% of the ship itself. That´s why I speak about ship recycling, as it is a truly green industry when carried out properly, and not ship breaking or alike. 4 The employment within the ship recycling industry is notoriously dangerous - have there been new laws to help combat this? There are various interna onal and na onal laws with the aim to prevent any harm. Due to the huge number of diﬀerent requirements, it is diﬃcult to find a way through this legal jungle. Most appropriate for this interna onal market would be a ship recycling specific regula on like the Hong europeanbusinessmagazine.com 63
Kong Conven on, but due to lack of ra fica ons by countries is has s ll not entered into force. Even though some recycling countries have taken over elements of Hong Kong Convenon, the interpreta on and enforcement by administra ons some mes are a bit weak. Here the market fundamental supply and demand kicks in. The ship recycling capacity has already diversified in “green” and “grey recycling” in which the green facili es struggle to get paid for higher standards. So far, most owners demand top dollar and with this accept low standards and unnecessary risks for workers and environment. It is their lack of responsibility which allows bad pracces to remain and risks of injuries and fatalities remain high especially in the “grey recycling industry”. Considering that ship owners don´t need to pay for ge ng their ships recycled but earn currently 420 USD to 450 USD per ton of the ships weight which o en weigh well beyond 10,000 tons, the acceptance of approximately 5% lower price for their assets would ensure fully green recycling including IHMs and independent supervision in India.
5 Where are the main biggest regions globally for the Ship Recycling Business? The Indian Sub-Con nent is home to the three largest ship recycling des na ons - Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Then China and Turkey follow. It is important for me to highlight that “green” and “grey” ship recycling yards may find that they are direct neighbours. Therefore, judging the quality of ship recycling country wise or on hand of the recycling method applied is not appropriate. This is yearlong and con nuing prac ce by some NGOs and by this, they create doubts amongst recyclers on the Indian Sub-Con nent and basically hamper the further spreading of good prac ces. 6 Have there been any recent areas where you see the industry changing? For example, do you think the European Commission will also announce whether it will con nue to allow EU-flagged ships to be recycled in Asia or not?
Basically, any ship which leaves EU waters to get recycled in Asia is breaching exis ng interna onal legisla on like the Basel Conven on (transboundary movement of hazardous wastes which applies to end of life ships as well). The requirements can hardly be fulfilled as this Convenon has been developed without having ships in mind. Therefore, the EU has never allowed recycling of ships outside of EU, they were simply not asked or made aware of inten ons. As the Hong Kong Conven on might take few more years un l it enters into force interna onally, the EU Commission has enforced their own legisla on in 2013 which soon will become eﬀec ve. The only good thing is that cer fied IHMs will be required from the end of 2020 onwards for all EU-registered and all EU-visi ng ships and responsibility for this lies with the owners. That will help the recyclers as today most recycling ships are delivered without IHMs even though they are quite cheap. Non-EU facili es have to undergo a complicated applica on and approval scheme to get on the “EU-List of approved facili es”. The requirements
to be fulfilled are not only equal to Hong Kong Conven on as the Commission has added a few things and some of them seem to act as pull-out op ons for not accep ng beaching as required by NGOs. This judgement is based on lack of understanding of what really counts to make ship recycling safe and sound and this ba le will probably con nue for many more years. With regards to end of life ships, I doubt that we will see any eﬀect under EU-legisla on. Due to legal boundaries, it can only apply to EU-registered end of life ships. An eﬀect can only be achieved when being technically fair and applying economically reasonable and sound requirements. If the EU fails to accept the compliant beaching facili es due to public pressure, owners would have to face much lower prices for their ships in final des na ons like China and Turkey. As today, not even marginal costs are accepted due to top dollar approach, and it is obvious that ships will leave EU jurisdiction by flagging out which is fast, easy and cheap. Then the EU will have achieved nothing except having another legisla on which is circumvented like Basel Conven on. 7 What are other regula ons being brought through on a global basis to make the industry greener? As said before, the most important and interna onally relevant regulaon is the Hong Kong Conven on. It is most important that it gets ra fied so that it can enter into force soon. Other regimes have been in place for many years, but for end of life ships, they have not changed anything. That will con nue un l the only ship recycling specific legisla on can be enforced. This is also requested and supported by the shipping industry - me that governments follow up on this. Other standards exist as well, like the ISO 30000 series. It is a very good one, as it requires full compliance with Hong Kong Conven on and control about others involved like
waste disposers in the hinterland. However, poor cer fiers, of which some also come from Europe, have granted too many certificates to incompliant yards and the standard has become meaningless. Since very recently, we see this star ng with Hong Kong Conven on cer ficates as well and shipowners should seek expert guidance when looking for green recyclers. 8 How, in your eyes, do you see the industry changing to become greener? Looking at the German market is par cularly interes ng in this regard. We have many so-called “KG ships” which are financed by numerous private investors and operated by ship management companies. The decision makers, in this case, are fund managers from state-run banks like HSH and NordLB. For bankrupt ships, decisions are taken by insolvency administrators. Both don´t look for green recycling but for the return of investments with a good interest rate or minimising the losses. On the other side, some yards have invested heavily for their compliance with Hong Kong Conven on and many more are in the process of doing
so. We have and are working with more than 40 ship recyclers in the Indian subcon nent and have helped create a huge green capacity which as of today is underu lised. That is really sad to see and as the majority of owners is s ll going for top dollar including top brands from Europe. Only very slowly owners start choosing green recyclers for their ships and this is what will further trigger the change. When demand grows, supply will follow and today we see a li le be erment and extended considera on of recycling within the corporate social responsibility policies of shipowners. 9 What changes would you make? Well, we´re already offering all related services from supply chain management via IHMs for new and exis ng ships to recycling preparaons and on-site supervision plus the building of green capacity within economically acceptable limits. We´re focusing on quality on which we never compromise, but as CEO, I would, of course, like to scale this up when demand rises. Un l then, we keep educa ng the industry and promo ng what we believe are fair and sound solu ons. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 65
Clinigen’s CEO Shaun Chilton Delivering On Time
e talk to Shaun Chilton CEO of Clinigen who recently not only won Best New CEO in the Pharma Industry but his company Clinigen was voted most Innova ve New Company of The Year 2017, within the Pharma Industry .Shaun has played a pivotal role in the development of Clinigen, joining the company in January 2012 as Chief Opera ng Oﬃcer, when it was a privately owned company with a turnover of £82m. He was a key part of the execu ve team that took Clinigen through IPO in September 2012 and, as deputy CEO in 2015 and then CEO from
November 2016.He has been a fundamental part of the leadership of the impressive strategic growth of the company from £135m market capitalisa on in 2012 to its current posion as one of the largest companies on the Alterna ve Investment Market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange. Prior to joining Clinigen, Shaun held senior global strategic, commercial and opera onal roles at Pfizer, Sanofi, Wolters Kluwer Health and the KnowledgePoint360 Group (now part of UDG Healthcare).Clinigen’s mission is to improve the lives of people around the world by delivering the right medicine to the right pa ent at the right me.
You became CEO of Clinigen in 2016 - how has your me been so far, have you implemented much change as CEO? I have loved every minute of being CEO. Having been part of the team pre y much from the beginning, to be leading it is a real privilege. I’ve refined the strategy slightly but we developed the original business plan to address what we see as long-term unmet needs in providing more eﬀec ve access to medicines. As we’ve grown consistently and strongly over the last 4-5 years, in taking over as CEO, I’ve been working to join the dots in a be er way and con nuing to build
out our global distribu on pla orm. In 2017, I also oversaw the largest M&A healthcare deal of the year in the UK with the successful acquision of Quantum Pharma, in addi on to acquiring the largest supplier of unlicensed medicines in Japan, IMMC both important steps along our journey to becoming the global leader in ethical access to medicines. Clinigen has a unique business model , which says it dedicates itself to delivering the right medicine to the right pa ent at the right me ,to improve the quality of people’s lives around the world. Can you explain to our readers how this mission is so diﬀerent from other pharma companies? We are unique in our ability to provide access to medicines whether that medicine is supplied as part of a clinical trial, through a licensed, commercial route or in those situaons of very high unmet need as an unlicensed supply where the trea ng physician has exhausted all licensed op ons. Our ability to deliver a highly ethical, rapid and consistent solu on is an important solu on for an increasing global problem. What would you say is the most diﬃcult challenge in achieving your mission? As we con nue to grow and get larger as a business, making sure we con nue to focus on the customers and consistently innovate so that we always look for be er ways to solve their problems is our ongoing challenge. Do you have a specific long term strategy to achieve long terms goals? It’s all about the people to me. The people in Clinigen are an amazing group of professionals so if I can give them a purpose (our mission statement speaks for itself in that regard!!) and give them a long and sa sfying career at Clinigen then we will con nue to create something very special.
The globe has a got a global ageing popula on and populaon growth problem along with a huge rise in chronic diseases. What would you say has been the biggest factor for the demand for the need of services that Clinigen provides? There are a number of factors influencing the demand for Clinigen’s services. The need for both earlier and more global access to medicines is a key driver, along with the other macro factors of an ageing popula on and a focus of the pharma industry and healthcare professionals on more eﬀec ve medicines for chronic, diﬃcult to treat diseases. For me, the issue of ethical access to medicines and dealing with the threats of counterfeit medicines entering the global supply chain along with the rise of regional drug shortages is what drives us at Clinigen.
Who are the biggest beneficiaries of what Clinigen provides? While we don’t deal with pa ents directly as a business, everything we do is geared towards benefi ng them. Our proposi on is to make sure that their trea ng physician or pharmacist is equipped to access the best medicines for them. How do you see the next 5 years with running the Clinigen- where do you see where your biggest challenges lie? We will con nue to grow – the unmet or certainly underserved needs we seek to address will remain and we have a very clear and focused business strategy.The biggest challenge is keeping the people I have and adding the right people at the right me! europeanbusinessmagazine.com 67
is hair was the first to go, followed shortly by his confidence. By his mid-30s, Diego had been enjoying his career as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia, but the future looked bleak. “The face is what ini ally is projected to others and baldness made me look much older,” said Diego, the Deputy Head of Mission & Consul of the Uruguay Embassy, in Riyadh. “I looked in the mirror and could not find the image of myself that I liked. So, I had to do something to restore not only that, but also my self-confidence.” Diego started from scratch, searching online to find a specialist and a clinic before choosing Advanced Hair Clinics – the largest and most advanced Hair Restora on Clinic situated in 7 diﬀerent loca ons across Greece & Cyprus – and op ng to give Hair Transplant a try.
Destination: Greece & Cyprus For those working in the Healthcare Sector, the wave of pa ents traveling 68 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
beyond boarder’s for obtaining higher quality and more aﬀordable medical treatment services is no novelty. This widely spread phenomenon, commonly termed as “Medical Tourism”, may have always existed but has sprung up rapidly over the past decade due to economic, social, technological and poli cal reasons, forcing healthcare providers to evolve and adapt to this ever-changing environment. Despite one of the worst monetary crises to rock the European Union, one in which a floundering na on accepted a financial bailout and, thus, averted bankruptcy, Greece is joining the legion of countries tapping into the growing global Medical Tourism market. During such mes, various special es have shown great interest in a rac ng foreign pa ents to Greece, with Hair Restora on claiming one of the top spots on Pa ents Beyond Borders list. S ll, this is not just a local phenomenon, but rather a global one, according to Interna onal Society of Hair Restora on Surgery (ISHRS).
Advanced Hair Clinics as a center of attraction for overseas patients Dr. Anastasios Vekris, MD, founder and Scien fic Director of Plas c Surgery & Hair Transplanta on of the specialized Hair Restora on Clinic, admits Interna onal pa ents, like Diego, are a racted by first-class services provided at aﬀordable and a rac ve prices, compared to similar procedures in Europe and the United States. “Almost 1 out of 2 pa ents are foreigners,” said Dr. Vekris. “Most of them come from the Middle East, central and northern Europe, mainly the United Kingdom and Italy, but we also perform on people coming from as far as the United States, Canada and Panama.” Dr. Vekris claims word-of-mouth references make a clinic successful. That’s when quality service and the experience of the physician and team take over. “I would not advise anyone to choose a clinic solely in regard to the price of
the services,” said Dr. Vekris. “There are mul ple dissa sfying results and complaints from clients who selected low-budget countries for their procedure.” Moreover, he said, many of Advanced Hair Clinics’ patients combine Advanced FUE, the most eﬀec ve Hair Restoration technique, with pleasure. Owing to Advanced FUE’s minimally invasive nature and its superiority in terms of safety, our pa ents have a range of things to do during their recovery period, such as experience daily life in the country, enjoy an unforge able tour by visiting historical places and monuments, escape to top-rated and must-see des na ons and discover local culinary gems. “We have launched an All-inclusive package called The VIP Session that comes in a compe ve price and provides premium services from the moment the pa ent arrives at the airport un l he/she flies back home. That way, our Interna onal pa ents receive the highest quality of Medical Travel experience without having to worry about airport transfers and accommoda on.”
The Pioneers in FUE Hair Transplants Advanced Hair Clinics, member of CDM Medical Group, specializes in
nothing but the most technologically sophisticated and scientifically advanced treatments for hair loss and thinning hair. Dr. Vekris and his interna onally renowned team of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are proud to solely perform the Advanced FUE technique, the very latest form of follicular unit
transfer. It is a highly technical, minimally invasive and scar-free procedure with excep onal, natural-looking results. Addi onally, this new method allows performing the hair transplanta on procedure from the beginning to the end with no need to shaving down (Unshaven FUE), making it the ideal
choice for both men and women who wish to return to work shortly a er without anyone no cing they have undergone the treatment.
Advantages of FUE • No incisions - No s tches - No scars • Unshaven FUE – No need for shaving • Minimum down me • 100% natural-looking result • Over 98% growth of new hair • FUT-Strip Scar Restora on • Post-Burn Alopecia Restora on • Eyebrow, beard and body hair restora on • Allows hair extrac on from diﬀerent body areas (e.g. chest, back or beard)
Results of FUE As Diego said, thanks to surgeon’s indisputable experience and local anesthesia, Hair Restora on was not painful. 70 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
“I had some discomfort during the first night and the first two days a er the procedure, but nothing else,” he said. “A er one week, the head looked normal again.” Diego remembers arriving in Greece four weeks before the procedure, spending that me between Mykonos and Santorini islands and then ten days in Athens. “People cannot believe it when they see me,” he said. “Even my family had no words in the beginning. I can comb my hair again, bring it to one side or the other according to my wishes and it seems as I’ve never been bald. The density achieved is perfect. But, the most important thing for me is that I got back my self-confidence.”
Advanced Hair Clinics Global Accreditation Advanced Hair Clinics has been awarded twice (2016-2017) the “Interna onal Hair Clinic Award” by
the nonprofit organiza on Internaonal Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) for its eﬀorts in a rac ng internaonal pa ents to Greece and for its excellence in Hair Transplanta on. Further, Advanced Hair Clinics and CDM Medical Group have been selected to receive 4 Healthcare Business Awards for their contribuon and prac ces enacted in the sector of Greek Healthcare and Medical Tourism. Advanced Hair Clinics | h p://www.advancedhairclinics.gr Greece Athens: +30 210 6980451 Kifissia: +30 210 6232220 Glyfada: +30 210 8980444 Thessaloniki: +30 2310 224240 Patras: +30 2610 226562 Rhodes: +30 22410 32700 Cyprus Limassol: +357 25251040
CEO SPOTLIGHT FOCUS
Håkan Nilsson, CEO - Zinnovate
e turn our a en on to Håkan Nilsson, modern-day innovator of the freight industry. He is currently CEO of Zinnovate Interna onal – a Swedish Informaon technology company which is fast gaining a reputa on as one of the leading IT consultancies in the global freight industry. Håkan Nilsson was born in Jämshög, Sweden and a er comple ng the conventional but highly regarded Scandinavian educa on system he earned a Bachelor of Science in System Analysis from Växjö University as well as a cer ficate in E-business and Marke ng – Strategic Issues, which he earned from the School of Economics and Commercial Law at Gothenburg University in 2001. During his
early life, Nilsson also completed a year of military service in Hässleholm 1979-1980. Throughout his career, he has worked in manufacturing and finance industries with an IT focus and senior management roles. Nilsson has earned a well-deserved reputa on for having a clear vision with old-school quali es of delivering excellence while adding value mixed with a modern and innova ve approach to systems solu ons and processes. He has described himself as an “emo onal creature” and said he would rather not take on too much so that he and his company can deliver what is needed and this it seems is one of the keys to his success. “We are almost religious about reputa on, and I would rather walk away from a great opportunity
that I know we cannot deliver than fail and have that failure spill over into everything else.” Håkan started his current career at an air freight company called ScanFlight in 1990 as the IT Manager. It was a posi on he held for about a year before moving on to Director IT at Wilson Group in 1992 and an industry that he tes fies to finding “extremely exci ng.” “It provides an opportunity to work bridging over distances in space, me and parcularly bridging over diﬀerences in culture. It is a truly global industry,” he told European CEO magazine in November 2017. “The global freight industry is a very conservative industry; yet under a heavy reshaping through digi sa on. That provides ample opportunity for europeanbusinessmagazine.com 71
people that can combine visionary thinking with in-depth know-how of the industry.” He con nued his work in the freight business when he joined TNT Freight Management and was instrumental in the sale of TNT Freight Management to Geodis. Following his me at TNT, Håkan joined Geodis and built up his reputa on there and it was here that he “introduced and led the global deployment of industry-changing global freight forwarding system and processes”. While there, he was key in helping the company become established as one of the leading global operator’s through a series of mergers and acquisi ons. It was during his me as the company’s CIO that the first of quite a few awards were presented to him and it was here he was awarded the “CIO of the Year in Sweden 2008”. A very accomplished award with extremely talented compe on. In addi on to this, it was during his me at Geodis Wilson that the company was awarded the New Process Innova on Award at the 2012 Global Freight Awards in London. They were one of seven finalists for the award. The project itself cost about €20 million which involved mainly combining sales, opera ons and IT processes together in a single iPad app. It was projected to improve global produc vity by 25 per cent based on the produc vity engine CargoWise. Nilsson said he hoped the project would inspire others in the industry to be more crea ve in their approach and technique for overcoming the industry challenges. “Of course, we’re delighted to receive this award, and also delighted that the industry is recognising the importance of process innova on as a key driver of the industry,” I hope awards like this will help to drive the market forward into an era of greater produc vity driven by innova on. In a follow-up interview, he also added that - “Innova on is not just something that you do internally, your total innova on score is a combinaon of how well you tap into the brain power of your own people but also other stakeholders in your landscape”. 72 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
While at Geodis his contemporaries had huge respect for him and his vision including the MD of Geodis Wilson: “Håkan has done an exceponal job leading our companies to become a recognised leader in our industry”. “Håkan has a clear view of where he wants to go, a rather pragma c approach and fantas c communicaon skills that help him put forward his ideas and ini a ves,” director of IT projects at Geodis Wilson in France, Henri Parisse, said. Håkan le Geodis in 2013 and it was here he began his current career with Zinnovate. “I started Zinnovate on the premise that we admit to everything. We dare to admit that we have some unique
skills, and we will do our utmost to leverage those unique skills to deliver value – but we will also admit that we have some weaknesses. We recognise those too and will be brutally honest about them, teaming up with others that are be er in those areas. It’s not the size of the team that ma ers it is the depth of knowledge and passion for the customer business that makes all the diﬀerence in the world,” Nilsson said. Zinnovate is a hugely interes ng and unique company opera ng as global IT consultants in the freight industry and currently brings in about one million Euros per employee. Since its incep on, Zinnovate has expanded to Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the United
States. The Swedish-based firm stands out from their contemporaries due to its unique customer-orientated IT service and oﬀerings, which essen ally help deliver the very latest in technology and informa on processes to global freight companies. Håkan himself and Zinnovate have not been shy of the limelight recently and its reputa on has been awarded as one of the Best Management Consultancy in Global Logis cs Industry at the Business Worldwide Global Corporate Excellence Awards 2017. Most recently, Nilsson was awarded the Best CEO in IT Management Logis cs Industry at the 2017 European CEO Awards. It seems many of those who have worked with him have called him a visionary.
“Håkan is the most innova ve and customer service driven CIO I’ve met in my business life,” Philippe Gilbert, Director Region Europe West of DB Schenker, was quoted as saying. As for the future, Nilsson said his goals for Zinnovate are to con nue to grow their reputa on as the top IT management consul ng firm in the logis cs industry and to establish Zinnovate as the leader in its field. “We do this with a razor-sharp focus on the global logis cs industry. Focus, we believe, is a prerequisite for successful execu on,” he said. “We also strive to take a holis c approach to address both the hard and so elements of change. In our experience, the la er is o en me neglected and the cost, therefore, is dire.
“We aim to induce change to the market rather than reac ng to market changes. We believe that our uniquely designed partner based value oﬀering and combining deep industry knowledge with innovative IT solutions indeed is a catalyst for change,” he added. When he is not working, Håkan connues to pursue his interest in sports and is a former professional football player. Hakan has been married to his wife, Maria, since 1990. The couple has two sons and currently live in Täby. According to his Facebook page, Soulfood—Di Soulband i Stockholm is one of his favourite bands. A quiet life outside work but one thing we do know, we will be hearing a lot more of him in the future. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 73
International Travel Photographer of the Year
he winners of the 2017 Interna onal Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY) were revelaed in December, and the contest - now in its 15th year - had another fantas c and wonderfully diverse set of photographs and photographic travel stories celebra ng the humanity, landscape, environment and wildlife of this planet. More than 20,000 images were submi ed by photographers in 129 countries, and entrants from 24 countries received awards - and it was a clean-sweep for the USA in Young Travel Photographer of the Year, with American youngsters taking the top honours in all three categories.
The photojournalist Alain Schroeder becomes the first-ever Belgian overall winner of TPOTY. Alain was awarded the tle of Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 for his atmospheric por olios of Kush wrestling in India and the complex rituals associated with death in Toraja, Indonesia. The interna onal panel of judges felt that his images exhibited sensi vity, tenderness and even humour while depic ng stories with an edge. We show on the following some pages some of the images that were chosen from some of the winners categories
InternaŕŚžonal Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
BĂşĂ°ir, Iceland. A church and a lone cross stand as the mist from the ocean rolls over the Icelandic hills. Photogrpaher Ankit Kumar, India
Iceland. Two birds fly over the desolate Icelandic landscape, fading into the mist. Photogrpaher Ankit Kumar, India
InternaŕŚžonal Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
Internaঞonal Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
Jökulsárlón, Iceland. An Icelandic glacier spills into a lake, breaking up into small icebergs. The scale of the glacier is awe-inspiring, when seen from a helicopter. Photogrpaher Ankit Kumar, India
Patan Mahal, Rajasthan, India. There are many palaces and forts in India that are now outstanding heritage hotels. Photogrpaher Axel Boberg, Sweden 78 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
InternaŕŚžonal Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
InternaŕŚžonal Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
Bundi, Rajasthan, India. Boys race into the the wonderfully abstract pa erns in the Dhabhai Kund, one of the finest surviving step wells in India. Photogrpaher Axel Boberg, Sweden
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. A young girl plays in Thirumalai Nayak Palace in Madurai. Photogrpaher Axel Boberg, Sweden
InternaŕŚžonal Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
InternaŕŚžonal Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2017
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. One of the guides in the mighty Mehrangahr Fort. Photogrpaher Axel Boberg, Sweden
The Flourishing FDI Scene In Finalnd Foreign direct investments are made globally every year, and Finland is no excep on as it also receives direct investment annually. The direct investments coming to Finland bring significant benefits to the na onal economy. The investments s mulate economic growth, create export earnings and jobs, bring more capital for product development, and strengthens the business networks. In Europe, Finland is the eleventh highest beneficiary for foreign direct investment. For the fi h consecu ve 82 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
year, Finland con nues to be the most a rac ve loca on for foreign direct investment bea ng her neighbouring countries. Finland held 41 percent of FDI projects started in the Nordics last year. The Helsinki region in Finland is ranked as the ninth highest foreign direct investment zone in Europe. Star ng from 2013 down to 2016, the value of foreign direct investment in Finland was EUR 74.2 billion, which is EUR 1.6 billion less than the previous year. At the end of 2015,
Finland had more outward foreign investment than inward foreign direct investment. Examined by country, Finlandâ€™s foreign direct investment is directed especially to Sweden (34 percent of the investment stock) and Netherlands (15 percent of the investment stock). Investments are mostly directed to E.U. area, whose combined share of the investment stock was 81 percent at the end of 2015. Foreign direct investment in Finland increased to EUR 74,154 million in 2015. Foreign direct in Finland Averaged ÂŁ42360.86 million from 1994 un l 2015, reaching its highest of EUR 75,753 million in 2014 and its lowest ever recorded of EUR 5,356 million in 1994. Foreign direct investment, net ou lows (percent of GDP) in Finland was -0.68 percent as of 2014. Its highest value over the past 44 years was 22.52 percent in 2000, while its lowest value was -2.69 percent in 2013. The latest value for Foreign direct investment, net (Balance of Payment, current U.S. $) in
Finland was $16,973,540,000 as of 2014. Over the past 39 years, the value for this indicator has fluctuated between $14,772,770,000 in 2000 and $16,973,540,000 in 2014. Outward Foreign Direct Investment generated returns of EUR 6.7 billion in total for Finland in 2015, which is EUR 1.5 billion less than in 2014. Dividends from these investments amounted to EUR 9.5 billion and interests to EUR 0.4 billion. Because of decreased income and a smaller investment stock, returns gained by Finland rela ve to the value of Foreign Direct Investment remained nearly on level with the previous year.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN FINLAND THE YEAR 2014 Foreign direct investment increased slightly compared to the previous year. In this year, 229 foreign direct investment companies were created in Finland compared to 213 companies which came in 2013. 2014 was a challenging year for Finland though, due to the fragile economic situa on globally and in Europe as well as the uncertainty created by the crisis in Ukraine and the sanc ons against Russia. The major source of foreign direct investment in this year came from five diﬀerent countries – the United Kingdom, the United States and Sweden featuring in the top five foreign direct investors in Finland for the first me. France and Norway were the remaining two foreign direct investors.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN FINLAND IN THE YEAR 2016 In 2016, Finland secured 133 projects which represented an increase in the 27 percent compared to the year 2015. 700 jobs were created during the year meaning Finland ranked as the third of all Nordics. Chinese investors were the strongest this year by star ng up 17 foreign direct investment projects were 9 of these
projects were in Finland. 94 foreign direct investments were started in Europe this year 2016.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN 2015 In 2015, five countries topped the list of foreign direct investors in Finland. Sweden had the highest percentage by inves ng 50 percent, the Netherlands had 18 percent, Denmark 6 percent, Germany 5 percent and Luxembourg with 1 percent, had the least among the five countries. These countries invested mainly in three sectors, finance and insurance came tops with 47 percent, Services had 31 percent while the chemical industry had the least with 12 percent.
SECTORS FOR FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN FINLAND • Informaࢼon Communicaࢼon and Technology. The availability of competent labour is one of the most important factors influencing investment decisions. The ongoing structural change in the ICT sector has increased the supply of competent labour in Finland, and this pool of skilled workers has a racted the a en on of interna onal companies and resulted in major investments. In the future, investments in the ICT sector are expected to focus par cularly on automo ve electronics and so ware, smart traﬃc, health and wellbeing technology, game industry, wireless technology, industrial internet, cybersecurity and data centres.
• Environmental Technology. Finland’s strong industrial base, know-how and excellent availability of wood raw material provide a good platform for bio-economy investments. However, Finland also faces challenges regarding the price level of wood raw material, logis cs costs and distance from the big markets. Globally, the development is slowed down by the low price of oil and undeveloped technology. • Retail Trade. • Healthcare and Wellbeing.
WHY FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTORS INVEST IN FINLAND • A mul lingual popula on. • Exper se in green technology, manufacturing, health and the ICT industry. • One of the least corrupt countries in the world. • Poli cal stability. • One of the most competitive economies in the world. • A strategic geographic loca on between Scandinavia, Russia and the Northern European expanding markets. • An extremely industrialised economy, based mainly on the free market and that showed a per capita return similar to the United Kingdom, France and Germany. • Finland as a country, also has some weak points too. Here are some pointed out; • High taxa on rates. • A limited domes c market. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 83
The New US Tax Reform And What It Meanâ€™s For Business Stateside 84 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
reducing gaps that are used by various firms to shield profits overseas. The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell says that “it is an opportunity now to make America more compe ve, to keep jobs from being shipped oﬀshore and to provide substan al relief to the middle class“. However, some of the new rules, such as a perk for exporters, may violate interna onal rules and conven ons. Senate approved a tax reform in the beginning of last year’s December, and it is seen as a point which will change US tax laws system enormously, being the biggest and most significant taxes change since 1980. However, the story actually just began, and the bigger reform’s impact for the interna onal changes will be noted only a er at least a year. Although some controversies towards the reform have been seen, and Trump’s policy was one of them, it found the way to the top. As many people s ll wonder how this happened, the Council of Economic Advisers explained that factors like the proposed individual tax rate reduc on and repatria on tax, could have boosted the economic growth expecta ons from the plan. Experts, on the other hand, say that reality could have been a bit diﬀerent, and changes in the immigra on rates, the Federal Reserve’s rate reac on and long-term demographic trends actually had serious impact on some people’s votes and caused them to take ac on towards valida ng the reform.
t is no secret that US tax reform causes global tension when it comes to interna onal trade’s policy. As the year 2017 ended with Senate’s approval for major tax cuts, resul ng a victory for D. Trump’s posi on, experts say that this move might be a beginning of an internaonal tax war for the US. The new reform stands for cu ng the corporate rate and overhauling the treatment of interna onal firms. Republican leaders think that such tax cuts would actually encourage US companies to invest more and boost economic growth. In general, this tax reform is expected to be the key point making the US a more a racve place to do business, while also
WHAT IS THE TAX REFORM PACKAGE? 1. At the heart of the US plan is a reduc on in the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. It also changes how businesses account for certain kinds of expenses. Under this proposal, the United States will stop asking American companies based abroad to stop paying tax. A change that brings the US into line with tax regimes in other countries 2. Top individual income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 38.5 percent and slashes the rates for most lower income tax brackets too. 3. Doubling in the exemp on of the US version of inheritance tax and
increasing access to a child tax credit. 4. There’s also a tax cut for businesses structured as “pass through” en es, which means their income “passes through” to their owners and is taxed at personal income tax rates. The top tax rate on income earned from these companies is due to fall from 39.6 percent to 15 percent. 5. The United States is imposing a new minimum tax of about 10% on global intangible income — such as patents — and toughening rules related to payments to foreign subsidiaries.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS TAX REFORM FOR THE UNITED STATES? As the Senate approved the reform in a 51 - 49 vote majority, Trump actually expects it to bring many posi ve changes before the end of the year. Tax reform is seen as the one that will cut down the corporate rate to 20 percent from the current federal rate of 35 percent, and will boost US GDP by 3 to 5 percents a year over the long-term. By reducing the corporate rate, companies will have more money to spend on investments like equipment and wages, boos ng the economy. It is also projected that some growth will come from companies bringing opera ons back from overseas. Reform is expected to encourage companies from abroad to invest and start up in the United States. It was es mated that an average United States worker would receive a wage increase of $4000 a year from the tax plan. If Trump’s plan becomes law, the average family in America would see their eﬀec ve or overall tax rate reduced by about 2 percent. Also, Trump’s plan to allow manufacturing companies to immediately expense their capital investments could lead to a substan al increase in corporate spending.
HOW TRUMP PROPOSES HIS TAX PLAN LOOKS 1. Trump proposes to lower income taxes and reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three europeanbusinessmagazine.com 85
— 12, 25 and 33 percent. Taxpayers earning up to $37,500 and married filers earning up to $75,000 would pay 12 percent. Single filers making $37,500 to $112,000 and married filers earning $75,000 to $225,000 would pay 25 percent. 2. He also wants a larger standard deduc on — $30,000 for married filers, up from the current $12,600, and $15,000 for single filers, more than double the current $6,300. But Trump would also eliminate the current $4,050 personal deduc on that filers may take for themselves, their spouse and each dependent. 3. Reduction of the individual income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 38.5 percent and reduces the rate for lower income bracket too.
SIDE EFFECTS OF THIS TAX REFORM If Trump’s proposed cuts are enacted, the federal deficit would rise from the current es mated 3.2 percent of GDP to 3.5 percent in the ini al years of the Trump administra on. That would represent a $100 billion revenue reduc on to the US Treasury. It’s important to note that federal tax revenues were 17.5 percent of GDP in 2016. Under the Trump’s proposal, they would change to around 17 percent, and that’s a bit higher than in 2004-2007, the period following George W. Bush’s reduc on in marginal tax rates. A er the Reagan tax cuts of 1981-1985, federal revenues were 17.8 percent of GDP.
WOULD THE TAX REFORM HELP AMERICANS? The tax reform would reduce taxes on average for most Americans. But by far the biggest beneficiaries of the tax cuts by over the next decade would be the top 1 percent and the top 0.1 percent of American households. And by 2027 taxes would rise for the lowest income groups. The bill also repeals the Obama administra on requirement that all Americans obtain health insurance, which is likely to mean that around 13 million fewer Americans, most of them less well-oﬀ, have health coverage by 2027. 86 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
The tax cut for “pass through” companies is also likely to benefit wealthy individuals most of all. One major user of these structures is Donald Trump himself.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR BUSINESSES IN EUROPE AND US? US tax reform actually caused serious concerns and trade tensions in Europe, and cri cs assume that soon a er the valida on of the reform, the law will open a new ba leground for compe on with Europe’s highest-taxing governments. European finance ministers are worried that reform will break global rules and unfairly disadvantage European business, leading to double taxa on. Legi mate doubts, whether it is fair for US to tax profits that have already been taxed in Europe, emerged. The “excise tax“ of as much as 20 percent on payments applied to the foreign companies, unless they are connected to the US economy, is what major European countries are especially worried about, as a serious impact on all non-US companies that are established abroad would be seen. This point basically suggests that mul na onal companies that are producing in the US will be spared the double taxa on, unlike all the others. European finance ministers see this as something that can break WTO rules, as this condi on addi onally charges foreign goods and services. What is more, tax reform may cause illegal export subsidy under WTO
rules: when US companies earn income outside of the US via licensing fees, those fees would be taxed at a reduced corporate rate of 12.5 percent. Addi onally, concerns about reform’s impact on American companies emerged as well, as the reform could actually aﬀect American companies when it comes to impor ng goods from their own foreign factories. This means that such companies that are located outside of the US could s ll be taxed by US authori es. The new tax regime is already bringing confusion and disorders, as the Swiss bank Credit Suisse revealed that it would have to cut $2.3 billion from fourth-quarter profit because of it. Although Trump emphasizes that this reform means more jobs and investments in the US, the new rate — down from 21 to 35 percent — takes US from the top of the global tax spectrum to the lower end, and this fact completely changes the current situa on. Countries like Australia, France, Germany and Japan will be under the strong pressure now, as they all have the eﬀec ve corporate tax rates of at least 30 percent. German economists are worried that because of the new law’s a rac ve investment rules, the new tax reform will cause jobs and investments migra on from Europe to US. Others think that this reform could actually backfire in the short term, massively increasing the US trade’s deficit. So many opinions, so many discussions — all that we can say is that as the tension remains, we might see the results of reform’s impact in the nearest future.
Virtual Reality Coming To A Screen Near You
ear the end of 2016, we looked at technology trends for 2017 and included a few words about augmented and virtual reality. Sure enough, these two technologies (together referred to as mixed reality) dominated in 2017. We saw virtual reality equipment and experiences refined to some degree, as well as made more available to consumer markets. We also saw Apple and Google introduce new so ware that allowed developers to create easy, phone-based augmented reality apps. In many respects, mixed reality brought about the most interes ng and buzzworthy tech developments of 2017. That said, this is technology that appears to have vast remaining potenal to evolve. So, this me around, we’ll look at a few ways it could do just that in 2018. One of the things that have held back certain types of virtual reality games is the concept of physical mo on. Moving with a joys ck can be jarring, and in some cases, can ruin the illusion established by a headset. In 2018, we’re likely to start seeing some par al soluons to these issues. One early example appears to be 3dRudder, which isn’t new, but which has shown oﬀ a brandnew update to its foot-manoeuvred VR controller line-up at CES 2018. It’s not
a complete solu on, but it does allow you to use your legs to move, which is at least somewhat more realis c than using a joys ck. This and other systems like it could open the door for a variety of new (or improved) VR experiences. AR glasses are coming, and they may be big when they do. Some people are already imagining a futuris c vision of society in which we’re all wearing AR glasses most of the me, eﬀecvely making tech a part of our every moment (even more than it already is). That day may well come, but in the mean me, we’re likely to start seeing AR glasses that simply pair with our smartphones to make exis ng AR apps that much more realis c. Apple is the company most will be watching. It’s an open secret that the company has filed patents rela ng to AR glasses, and it’s possible the glasses could be the company’s big autumn release – something they have almost every year. One of the more though ul pieces on the near future of virtual reality ar culated a cycle that we now seem to be in the middle of: investment in more expensive VR will lead to higher grosses in sales, which in turn will mean more profits, which will lead to be er investments in new games and ideas. As stated, 2017 brought significant improvement in mixed reality,
which should bring about a renewed surge in investment. This probably means that we’ll simply see a gradual, general increase in the quality of equipment, so ware, games, and other experiences throughout 2018. The same ar cle that discussed potenal investment trends had a lot to say about poten al casino integra on with VR as well, and this certainly seems like an eventuality. Casino pla orms do enormous business with a variety of games that can easily be enhanced via fresh environments or any li le feature that makes things more realis c. In 2018, we’re likely to see some of these pla orms partnering with VR (or AR) developers to put out new games. An interes ng piece on poten al tech trends for 2018 quoted an expert in tech and market research predicting a landslide of AR apps. This, out of everything on this list, seems like the most undeniable predic on for the year ahead. With AR already having come to many, if not most modern smartphones, developers are s ll just ge ng started with exploring what’s eﬀec vely a new app medium. Already, AR por ons of app stores are growing rapidly, and that growth should only accelerate in the months to come. By the end of 2018, there could be thousands of augmented reality apps for people to try.
South Carolina’s next Big Thing
nown as one of the most business friendly states in the U.S., companies have flocked to South Carolina over the past several years. Once arriving in the state, they have seen their companies flourish as S.C.’s prime location centrally located on the U.S. Eastern coast offers a logistical advantage that few other states can match. But as more and more companies have sought to locate in the state, the demand for real estate has gone up as well, driving up costs and limiting the amount of space available within and near the state’s major cities. Recognizing this, the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA), a regional non-profit economic development organization in the northeastern corner of S.C., has set their region up to be the next big boom area of the state by working with its county partners to develop and complete due diligence on multiple industrial sites and identifying several available buildings throughout their nine county region. With available land at affordable prices, direct access to the Port of Charleston via rail and 4-lane highways, two major interstates, a highly skilled and available workforce, and the region’s newest logistical asset, Inland Port Dillon, NESA can offer companies seeking to join South Carolina’s strong business climate a better solution at a fraction of the cost they can find anywhere else.
LOGISTICAL ADVANTAGES Having quick and easy access to domestic and global markets is a must for international businesses. The NESA region offers the best of both worlds. Located on the eastern coast of S.C., the NESA region is exactly halfway between New York City and Miami on Interstate 95. The region is also the eastern origin of Interstate 20 allowing access as far west as Texas. These two major interstates give the NESA region access to over two-thirds of the U.S. population within a two-day drive. Additionally, a robust network of 4-lane divided highways make moving people and freight to/from interstates very easy. With Inland Port Dillon, the NESA region offers companies a resource that is unmatched anywhere else in the county. Shippers to the inland port will enjoy the convenience of scheduling shipping to and from the inland port in the same manner that they schedule shipping to and from major seaports. Additionally, the inland port, and in turn the NESA region, has direct access to the deep water port of Charleston via Class A CSX rail and is strategically located at a railroad “T” with mainline access north/south and west and will be able to service markets in the Northeastern and Midwestern sections of the country.
The region is also home to two commercial airports, the Florence Regional Airport and Myrtle Beach International Airport, and are a short drive from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charleston International Airport, and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Last, but certainly not least, the NESA region offers over 350 miles of rail and is home to one of only two CSX rail yards in South Carolina. The CSX facility in Florence is the headquarters for three states and is the largest rail yard in the state. Numerous cargo handling services are available via the Florence rail yard, making it possible for companies to receive increased frequency in their service.
AVAILABLE LAND AT AFFORDABLE PRICES Where in the world can one find available and affordable land literally next door to a port? At a very competitive average industrial land price of $17,000 per acre, the NESA region can. Seeking property with interstate frontage or easy access to interstates? The NESA region has multiple industrial sites and buildings available on major interstates and with quick and easy access via their four-lane highway system.
SKILLED AND AVAILABLE WORKFORCE If an experienced, well-trained, skilled and available workforce are what your seeking, look no farther than the NESA region. Employers use this region’s productive workforce to churn out all-terrain vehicles, pharmaceuticals, food additives, frozen meals, steel, packaging products, and much more. The region is home to companies that engage in world-wide distribution, refurbish airplanes, and are on the cutting edge of their highly specialized fields. With a population of nearly 2.2 million and an available workforce of nearly 1 million within 60 miles of the region’s geographical center, the region has a very robust labor pool to draw from.
WORKFORCE TRAINING The region offers a variety of workforce training resources to companies. One such resource is the state’s premiere workforce training program, ReadySC. Working
together with the South Carolina Technical College System, ReadySC develops, implements, and manages custom workforce training programs to support smooth, rapid start-up operations. ReadySC works with companies to screen, recruit, and train employees to meet their demands and ensures that companies have a ready-towork workforce the day business opens. The training is done at no cost to companies that commit to creating at least 10 new jobs. Another unique resource is the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT). It is the first facility of its kind in the United States and is located on the campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College. SiMT is an advanced manufacturing center that provides the support needed by area and future industries, advancing the region’s ability to provide a highly trained workforce. SiMT exists to partner with businesses to provide training and manufacturing technology solutions. The facility contains an Advanced Manufacturing Center, 3-D/Virtual reality Center, 3-D printing lab, and National Robotics Center. SiMT offers open-enrollment, onsite, and customized training. Francis Marion University’s Industrial Engineering program, a first of its kind in the NESA region, will meet the engineering needs of many existing companies within the region. The university also offers undergraduate and graduate programs in business. FMU has a long history of producing outstanding graduates who become leaders within their companies and communities. Also in the region is Coastal Carolina University, recent winner of the national baseball championship, a four-year university with several graduate programs as well. CCU attracts students from all over the world and many of those students stay here upon graduation, adding diversity and international flavor to the region’s workforce. In addition to these great workforce training resources, the NESA region has an extensive public and private school system and is home to the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics (GSSM). GSSM is the only high school in the state that offers a residential experience focused on the mastery of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. It is recognized as one of the nation’s top 24 elite public high schools. The region is also home to seven colleges and universities that prepare graduates for careers in a variety of fields.
European Business Magazine talks to JASON OXENHAM CEO Rocket Languages
When did the idea of Rocket Languages come about and what was the primary objective of Rocket Languages when you first started? The idea for Rocket Languages came about in 2004 when a friend, Mark Ling, and I became frustrated at the lack of resources for learning Spanish and French.
European Business Magazine takes a short flight to Christchurch (New Zealand) where we interview CEO Jason Oxenham who has been steadily building his award winning online language business with his partner Mark Ling over the last 13 years. Jason who had been living in London for five years previous to that , had travelled all across Europe with his wife and on returning home to his native New Zealand , didn’t want to lose the mere basic language skill set he picked in Europe .However ,while looking online he found the online market place was severely lacking and so he went about setting up his own global online language business. We pick up the story from there.
We were already established internet entrepreneurs in the EdTech space and noticed a gap in the market for online language learning. We decided to fill it with our year-long creation of Rocket French and Rocket Spanish. Both of these were an immediate hit and paved the way for the creation of an additional 30 online language learning courses.
important that in-country language and cultural trends are kept up to date in the courses.
Rocket Languages is based in New Zealand - Does the time difference and geographic distance from Europe pose a major issue?
What is the biggest selling language and where is the biggest market for Rocket Languages?
Rocket Languages users have no issue with the time difference or location as all courses are available 24/7 online and on the Rocket Languages mobile apps. Since everything is cloud-based there are no performance issues for users either. Rocket Languages often uses language experts based in Europe as remote employees. This is because it’s 90 europeanbusinessmagazine.com
For example, one of the remote workers lives in a small village in Northern Italy. Working for Rocket allows her to use her degree in linguistics to further her career, without leaving her hometown. It’s a win-win all round.
The largest market for Rocket Languages is North America, making up 70% of sales. Europe is the second largest market with 20% of sales, and the remaining 10% spread around virtually every other country in the world. Rocket Spanish and Rocket French are our two biggest sellers. The reason for this being America’s Southern states and cities’ large Spanish-speaking
population, with as many Spanish speakers as English speakers. As for French, well, it is THE romantic language that everyone aspires to learn! Rocket Languages is an online award winning language course and indeed was just voted best online language course 2017 by European Business Readers. Was there a specific business model you had in mind when you first started or has it evolved organically? Rocket Languages’ business model is centred on aspiring to provide the best online language learning courses in the world while not losing sight of the key economic drivers. In reality this means that we spend a lot of time improving how well the courses work by utilizing the latest trends in browser and app technology. The courses have certainly evolved a lot since the original MP3 files and PDF downloads;, now
Rocket features true voice recognition, integrated motivational systems, progress tracking and more. Rocket also incorporates the methods that polyglots use to successfully master many languages. For example, spaced repetition is a key to remembering what you have already covered, and Rocket uses algorithms to automatically re-display phrases that the learner may need practice with. This model has proven to be very successful as Rocket generates a lot of interest through word of mouth from satisfied, successful users. How do you market the course online? The main economic drivers for Rocket are word of mouth and organic search marketing. While word of mouth marketing can be difficult to measure, we have an in-built referral system that we use to quantify this metric. Rocket provides a lot of free language learning resources that not only cover the languages’ vocabulary but also articles on the best methods to learn a specific language. These articles have proven to be extremely popular in the search engines. So much so that we are consistently ranked in the top 15,000 sites in the United States with regards to search engine traffic. What market share does Rocket Languages have of the online language learning marketplace?
Our market share is difficult to determine, however we do know that our courses stack up well against the major players in the market as these users have commented: I’ve used every language-learning product on the market, and Rocket is by far the biggest bang for my buck. The amount you can learn and internalize in a given amount of time is really quite astounding. You can spend years with some programs and never get up to the intermediate level. Rocket respects my time and delivers the language knowledge I need efficiently and effectively. Ryan Bilkie - USA I love it! Makes learning a language fun and enjoyable. I was very hesitant to go with the program. But found it to be better than Rosetta stone and others out there. Not only are you able to learn new language, but you are able to practice them in different ways. Each section has games, quizzes, spelling tests, speaking tests and more than enable you to learn the language. And you can
do it at your own pace. Plus since you can get an online version it can be done from anywhere you can get internet! Cindy Noll - USA As the CEO what are your day to day operations like- what do you concentrate on most? Day to day my focus is on our overarching philosophy of becoming the best online language learning company in the world. In reality this means making sure the team are focused on the tasks and projects that will make a positive difference to the learner experience. Personally, this means that I spend a lot of my time researching the latest trends in digital learning and linguistics, as well as actually using our courses so that I am fully aware of the effect of the improvements that we make. What’s next for Rocket languages? There are a lot of exciting developments in the EdTech scene. One that I am sure will have a long lasting effect is the use of augmented reality and virtual reality in online learning. While it’s early days yet, once mass adoption of these technologies happens we want to be well-placed to take advantage of it. In the meantime we will continue to improve on the learning experience for our users and take advantage of advances in technology to achieve our goal of being the best online language learning system in the world! europeanbusinessmagazine.com 91
Britain and Brexit - The Effects So Far
ritain’s economy in the first year since the Brexit vote has been a tale of two halves. A strong performance towards the end of 2016 has been followed by weakness in 2017. There have been unprecedented political problems (along with ongoing arguments with Brussels on the divorce figures with the EU) and the Government s ll needs to establish whether they want a so or hard Brexit and whether they want to remain in the single market but stay in the customs union. We give you the very eﬀects of Brexit on Britain’s economy so far. Households accelerated spending before Christmas last year, saving less and borrowing more, but as prices of goods and services have risen faster than wages and incomes, consumers increasingly struggled in 2017 to cope with the ght squeeze on their
finances. As a result, spending growth has slowed to a crawl. Although business surveys have generally been strong this year and there have been high-profile announcements of investments by overseas companies in the UK, the hard data from the manufacturing, construc on and services industries have been weak. In the first quarter, the large services sector that the UK enjoys and the produc on industry both barely grew, with output rising only 0.1 per cent. Conversely, this was at the same me when ac vity in the Eurozone, Britain’s largest trading partner, accelerated, helping to push Britain from the top of the Group of Seven league table of economic growth rates to the bo om. But the slowdown is as likely to be more of a blip than a trend. UK growth edged up a li le in the second
quarter, and the hung parliament outcome of the general elec on and the start of Brexit nego a ons between Britain and the EU have not definively changed the economic outlook. Although many economists have become more pessimis c since the start of the year, most of the apparent gloom reflects the UK’s weak growth in the first quarter rather than a new appraisal of future prospects. Some economists, such as Sam Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics, see the outlook as troubled, with “households’ real disposable income shaping up to be broadly flat this year”. Others, including Jonathan Loynes of Capital Economics, see the slowdown at the start of the year as “a temporary blip”. The uncertainty unleashed by the UK vote to leave the EU on 23 June last year increases the need for a clear guide to Brexit
and the unfolding economic data. The growth rate has improved to 0.3 per cent in the second quarter but remains “tepid” in the language of the Interna onal Monetary Fund, and considerably slower than the average 0.5 per cent that the UK has achieved since 2010. Britain tends to publish its growth figures first among the G7 countries, so comparisons with others are not yet available, but the squeeze on incomes looks likely to keep the UK towards the bo om end of the table. It is s ll too early to say that Brexit has damaged the performance of the economy because the slowdown might reverse once the squeeze on incomes passes. However, the second consecu ve disappoin ng quarter will increase concerns that the outlook has dimmed.
Income Expenditure The propor on of income saved by households hit a 53-year low in the first quarter, highligh ng that consumer spending has been propped up by people saving less and borrowing more to maintain their levels of consump on. Incomes in the first quarter were ar ficially depressed by unusually high tax payments, reflec ng how companies made large dividend payments one year earlier ahead of a more stringent tax regime. The decline also reflects an error that the Oﬃce for Na onal Sta s cs has iden fied that understated incomes in its data, which is due to be rec fied soon. These are important considera ons that make the savings ra o more sustainable than it appears at first sight, but ONS correc ons will not change the overall finding that consumers maintained spending by saving less a er the Brexit vote. This trend cannot con nue.
of earnings adjusted for the rise in prices. This provides unwelcome news for Britain because the decline in sterling’s value since the UK voted to leave the EU has already led to higher prices but not increased wages. A er adjus ng for infla on, earnings growth has fallen from 1.5 per cent in the three months before the EU referendum to nega ve in recent months. The latest data show real wages falling at an annual rate of 0.5 per cent. The cause of the decline in living standards is more closely linked to a rise in infla on rather than a fall in average wage growth, but both have played a part. And with social security benefits for non-pensioners frozen, real income growth is also likely to have fallen.
Jobs Every indicator of the number of people in the labour market has been posi ve since the EU referendum. The unemployment and underemployment rates are down, while par cipa on in the labour market, the employment rate and vacancies are all up. With such a clear and posi ve picture, the best data are simply the headline unemployment rate, which has fallen from 4.9 per cent to 4.5 per cent in the past year, to reach its lowest level since 1975.
With labour market quan es so strong, the puzzle is why employees are not able to translate high demand for their skills into increased wages and growth in living standards. The disconnect might suggest there is a hidden weakness in the jobs market, but it is well buried because the data are comprehensive and strong. Other records are also being broken in the labour market. The employment rate is at its highest since current records began in 1971, indica ng that those who want work can find it.
Value of the pound The Brexit vote marked a sudden shi in the fortunes of sterling. The value of the pound had been falling against the euro before the referendum but plunged to more than 10 per cent below its level at the start of 2016 against both the US dollar and the euro by the day a er the EU vote. It has not recovered. Against the US dollar, sterling is 11 per cent down on the start of 2016 and 18 per cent down against the euro. In recent months, the gap between the world’s two most important currencies diverged as the euro gained against a weakening dollar. Sterling has also gained, but not as much. As for the future, we are in unprecedented waters and as the saying goes, your guess is as good as ours.
Living Standards Comprehensive data on living standards will not be published for roughly two years, so the best available indicator of prosperity following the referendum is the rate of growth europeanbusinessmagazine.com 93
SIR NIKOLAI HAMBURG
THE NEW SIR HOTEL CONQUERING THE NORTH OF GERMANY
here is a new and innovative hotel ready to show the people the fantastic and culturally rich city that is Hamburg. Right in the heart of the city, the SiR Hotels opened SiR Nikolai, located at the historic Nikolaifleet canal. As all other 4 SiRs, this hotel aims to be much more than a “where to stay” option, as it is involved with city’s history, culture and personality. It aims to be an experience of Hamburg through its architecture, interior design, restaurant & bar and library. The first SiR Hotel was founded in 2013 in Amsterdam by Liran Wizman. Within four years, the SiRs are already five, between two in Amsterdam, SiR Albert and SiR Adam, one in Berlin, SiR Savigny, one in Ibiza, SiR Joan and the most recent SiR Nikolai in Hamburg. This a chain of boutique hotels which allows the visitors the true experience of each city and is managed by EHPC, the award-winning management company European Hotels Private Collection. SiR Nikolai stands on a seven-storey building with 94 rooms and the best facilities for the guests: from The Studio, a lounge to check-in, The Patio, a glassroofed courtyard that invites people to the IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar and then to the open kitchen of the restaurant and the 360-bar with two balconies that float over the canal. Besides all this, it also has a 300sqm spa, which includes a gym, an indoor pool, a sauna and various others treatment rooms for the guest to relax and enjoy. All the spaces of the hotel were thought out and designed by the Dutch design studio FG Stijl that collaborated with Circle Culture, a platform that features international artwork, activism and culture projects. The project is also associated with GCH Hotel Group, one of the top hotel management companies in Europa. With more than 120 Hotels in Germany, Austria and Belgium, the group manages over 15 500 rooms and over three million guests annually.
SiR Nikolai offers wide, open and highly sophisticated spaces, from the corridor to the common areas and all the way to the each one of the 94 rooms. This luxurious hotel features high-end contract furniture pieces such as the Malay Armchair from BRABBU Contract, the Sika Armchair from BRABBU, the Collins from Essential Home or the extraordinary Turner Floor from Delightfull. The Malay Armchair was brought to life through the different ethnicities of the world. It is a graceful green velvet armchair with a mystical soul that will fulfil any room with energy from nature. It is a strong piece that speaks in the amazing suite where is placed. The timeless furniture pieces embrace the spirit of the hotel and add personality, filling each room with a different feeling of modernity and culture. It is the entire combination of concepts and high-quality handmade design products, placed in such an historical city, that make of SiR Nikolai the incredible monument and hospitality design project that it is. SiR Nikolai, as are the other SiRs, is a celebration of life and what exists to make it better. The professionalism and greatness of the minds behind the creation are notable and admirable. The design team perceives itself as passionate about the art: “Designed for people - perhaps an obvious sentiment, but one that is often forgotten in an era when design saturates day-to-day life. For FG stijl Interior Design, designing for people was a seedling idea from which sprung countless three-dimensional experiences, and now, more than a decade on, it is the expression of our interior design company’s DNA”. Both philosophies of the team and the concept of the hotel are in consonance to provide the best and trustworthy experience of each individual place and city to each one of the guests. The experience provided by SiR Nikolai’s design is absolutely incredible and the proof is its nominations for the Interior Design of the Year: International project award within the CID Awards 2017 by DesignMENA and the AHEAD Europe Awards by Sleeper Magazine for URBAN HOTEL-CONVERSION.
Pays de la Loire: The French experimental region to develop the Factory of the Future!
The Pays de la Loire region has seen significant development in both the number of foreign companies se ng up in situ and direct investment in local companies from abroad. This region is even the test and pioneer region of the advanced manufacturing. Inspired by the successes of the French Tech dynamics, the region launched ÂŤ The French FAB Âť to promote the French industry leadership. The local authori es have invested to create a favorable eco-system for the installa on of new companies on its territory where innova on and improvements to industrial processes are at the heart of the ba le for compe veness. The Pays de la Loire region is the French leader in the following sectors: Shipbuilding, Aeronau cs, Special Vehicles, Composite Materials, IoT, Virtual Reality, Electronics, â€Ś . Those sectors and strategic markets also represent a windfall for any digital companies willing to par cipate in the moderniza on and automa on of our industrial tools. And hos ng events like 24h Le Mans & the Grand Depart of the 2018 Tour de France keeps the region in the public eye. The Western France Agency is at the disposal of any companies wishing to find business opportuni es and implementa on solu ons on the French market.
For more informa on, please contact the Invest in Western France Agency: n.chibou @agence-paysdelaloire.fr www.invest-western-france.com
ievment Ach 20 16 try us
Solution 201 6 rgy ne
Innovative SAF ET RIT Y MANA GE
YSTEM S T E M CE R T I
T IO CA N
NT S LIT
AL S NT
ICAT T IF
ORMATIO IN F N
S T E M CE R T I F SY IC IO AT
entre 2015 aC at
Secure 100% Uptime
Best Enterpris eD
t Innova Mos tiv eE
2017 Data Centre
agement So an lu M
nvironmen lE tF a ic
Thinking A ure w ut
ding Big Da an ta t s
eam- Colo+ Cl sT on
ove & Beyo Ab n e r
entre Opera ti aC t a
Data C en t
The Nordic leader for innovative, secure and sustainable data centers
ISO CertiďŹ ed