Global Broker with a Local Touch ForexTime (FXTM) is an award-winning online forex broker committed to providing a superior trading experience for clients around the world • Trade currencies, metals, and CFDs • Extremely competitive trading terms • Attractive partnership programs
• Free & comprehensive forex education • Regular contests and promotions • Security, safety, and transparency
www.forextime.com/eu | firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +357 25 558777
ForexTime (FXTM) is an international online forex broker offering financial services in forex, spot metals and CFDs. ForexTime Limited is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) under license number 185/12. There is a high level of risk involved with trading leveraged products such as forex and CFDs. You should not risk more than you can afford to lose. It is possible that you may lose more than your initial investment. You should not trade unless you fully understand the true extent of your exposure to the risk of loss. When trading, you must always take into consideration your level of experience. It is the responsibility of the Client to ensure that the Client can accept the Services and/or enter into the Transactions in the country in which the Client is resident. If the risks involved seem unclear to you, please seek independent advice. 34 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus @2016 FXTM
ISSUE 70 JANUARY 15, 2017
T H E
B U S I N E S S
M A G A Z I N E
C Y P R U S
CONTENTS 6 | (',725,$/ 8 | %86,1(66%5,(),1* Economic & Business Highlights of the past month.
11 | _0<:$<
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0Z[OLÄUHUJPHS^VYSK^LZLLPU movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short an accurate picture of the real one? We asked this question and seven more of Dealing Room representatives in Cyprus to discover whether their workplace is, indeed, the exciting, high-octane extension of the global markets that Hollywood would have us believe
Sunil Kapoor’s management style.
12 | ),9(0,187(6:,7+ª Olga Rybalkina
14 | 7+(<6$,':+$7" Some of the more remarkable statements uttered by well-known Cypriots over the past month.
FEATURES 40 | ,1+,6(/(0(17 Interview with Savvas Liasis, Managing Partner of Elements Capital Partners Ltd
SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE 71 | Shipping Services in Cyprus Six leading firms present their services.
43 | $17,)5$8'&21)(5(1&( Photos from the “Re-enforcing the Anti-Fraud Infrastructure: Best Practice Initiatives” conference.
44 | 0,/726¶%,*$8675$/,$1 $'9(1785(3$57 From 2001-2006, Miltos Michaelas was General Manager of Laiki Bank Australia. Now he’s gone back again, this time as CEO of Bank of Sydney.
47 | $%5$1'1(:<28 4 Andrie A Penta on Personal Branding. B
92 48 | 7+&<3586%$1.,1*)2580
84 | ,1*22'&203$1<
Photos from the conference.
How Action Global Communications creates meaningful connections in the workplace.
50 | 7+528*+7+(3$*(62) *2/' Excerpts from our favourite interviews of last year.
68 | (032:(5,1**/2%$/ &,7,=(16+,3 Armand Arton on the growing power of the Cypriot passport. 4 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
87 |%86,1(66&/$66 Yangos Hadjiyannis
88| 7,0(2)) We Are Sailing.
91 | %22.6+(/) Six of the latest business titles.
98 92 | /81&+:,7+*2/' Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou 96 | :+$7¶621 GOLD’s guide to the best cultural events of the coming month.
98 | $'$<,17+(/,)( Marios Skandalis
Geophysic Universal Time watch Philippe Jordan, Chief Conductor and Music Director in Paris and Vienna
Open a whole new world
| EDITORIAL |
Deal or No Deal?
ISSUE 70 JANUARY 15, 2017 PRICE â‚Ź2.00
CITIZENSHIP 7KHJURZLQJ power of the Cyprus passport
From our favourite interviews
PLUS %XVLQHVV%ULHĂ€QJ :KDWÂˇV2Q7LPH2II Books & more
5 29 1 2 9 5 0 0 0 5 7 7
Savvas Liasis Miltos Michaelas 2OJD5\EDONLQD
Inside Cyprusâ€™ Dealing Rooms
PUBLISHED BY IMH ISSN 1986 - 3543
ur cover story this month may be about life in the Dealing Room but as I write this first editorial of 2017, efforts are being made in Geneva to reach a very different kind of deal, one whose influence will outstrip even the most lucrative trades being carried out by banks, Forex companies and individual traders around the world. By the time you read these words, we should have a better idea about whether this year could be the most important one in the 57-year existence of the Republic of Cyprus. Agreement on reunification is far from certain, despite the tremendous progress that President Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have made over the past 18 months, and agreement between the two leaders is still only the penultimate step to peace: it must still be ratified by the people of both communities in twin referendums. Recently, the results of such votes in places as diverse as the UK (where the majority voted to leave the EU), Italy (where the Prime Ministerâ€™s reforms were rejected) and Columbia (where the peace deal was not accepted by the people) have shown that the referendum process is one that must not only be taken very seriously but has to be well-prepared if the government is to achieve its objectives. At present, there are rejectionists on both sides of the Cyprus divide and their voice grows louder with every step forward. A lot has been said during the past three years about the maturity of the Cypriot people in the way they dealt with the financial crisis, austerity measures and the need for sacrifices. It is to be hoped that they are given a chance to show this maturity once again and asked to approve a settlement of the Cyprus Problem. In this first issue of the New Year, we look back at 2016 but not in the mediaâ€™s usual manner of reminding you of the biggest new stories. Instead, we have made a selection of some of the most interesting interviews in our last 12 issues and extracted a characteristic paragraph or two to remind you of the broad range of people that have figured on the pages of GOLD. Moreover, we start 2017 with several new interviews â€“ Savvas Liasis (page 40), Miltos Michaelas (page 44) and Armand Arton (page 68) all have things to say about their areas of expertise â€“ and of course our cover story features the people who spend their days (and nights) working on currency and trading deals. Is life in the Dealing John Vickers, Room really how itâ€™s portrayed in the movies? Check what our Chief Editor eight experts have to say, starting on page 16 to find out. As for this monthâ€™s real deal, we can only wait and hope. email@example.com 6 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
Daphne Roditou Tang MEDIA MANAGER
Antonis Antoniou EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
John Vickers JOURNALISTS
Artemis Constantinidou, Voula Loizou CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE
Andrie Penta ART DIRECTION
Stephanie Andreou, George Yiamiadakis PHOTOGRAPHY
Emma Louise Charalambous, Jo Michaelides, Christos Tsekouras MARKETING EXECUTIVE
Neofytos Constantinou SALES EXECUTIVE
Myria Neophytou PRINTERS
Cassoulides Masterprinters CONTACT 5 Aigaleo St., Strovolos 2057, Nicosia, Cyprus Mailing address: P.O.Box 21185, 1503, Nicosia, Cyprus Tel: +357 22505555, Fax: +357 22679820 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org subscriptions: email@example.com www.imhbusiness.com
LEGENDS LIVE FOREVER EL PRIMERO
I Chronomaster 1969
Tour Auto Edition
KLEOVOULOS ALEXANDROU IN THE NEWS
*Y\JPHS9L\UPĂ„JH[PVU;HSRZ in Geneva
As this issue of GOLD went to press, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were in Geneva, continuing their latest crucial round of talks to reunite the island, some 43 years after the 1974 Turkish invasion. On January 9, the two men discussed the property issue at the Palais des Nations, followed on January 10 with talks on governance, the EU and the economy. An international conference, focusing on security and guarantees, was scheduled to begin on January 12, with the participation of Greece, Turkey and the UK, the three Guarantor Powers under the 1960 constitution.
MICHAEL KYPRIANOU & CO. LLC
;OLSH^Ă„YTVM4PJOHLS2`WYPanou & Co. LLC has announced the start of its operations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with the establishment of Michael Kyprianou (Middle East) +4**;OL+\IHPVÉ‰JLWYVvides, inter alia, general company incorporation services, general administrative services, the opening of corporate and personal bank accounts and assistance in the issuance of residence permits.
The Leptos Group has announced [OLVÉ‰JPHSVWLUing of its new headquarters in the heart of Moscowâ€™s international Ă„UHUJPHSJLU[YL;OL4VZJV^VÉ‰JL is considered a dynamic asset and a crucial addition to the companyâ€™s operations worldwide. The Group has an outstanding portfolio of more than 325 prime projects in Cyprus (Paphos, Limassol, Nicosia), and Greece (Athens, Crete, Paros and Santorini).
CYPRUS SIGNS JUNCKER FUND AGREEMENT
yprus signed its first agreement with the European Fund for Strategic Investments, also known as the Juncker Fund, just before Christmas. The fund aims to encourage lending to small and medium-sized enterprises in Cyprus. The agreement, signed
8 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
The Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC), acting as the Resolution Authority, has appointed Kleovoulos Alexandrou as the new special administrator of Cyprus Popular Bank (Laiki Bank), which has been placed under resolution in March 2013. Alexandrou is the third special administrator to be appointed. The previous one, Chris Pavlou, did not accept a renewal of his contract. Alexandrou served under Pavlou in the Special (KTPUPZ[YH[VYGZVÉ‰JL
LARS KRAMER Hellenic Bank has announced the appointment of Lars Kramer as its new *OPLM-PUHUJPHS6É‰JLY*-6^P[OLÉˆLJ[ from 3 April 2017. Kramer joins the Bank from the ING Group, where he has been CFO of ING Wholesale Bank since 2012. He has spent the last two decades with 05.PUHU\TILYVMĂ„UHUJLYLSH[LKWVZPtions based in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Netherlands.
IOANNIS MATSIS Hellenic Bank has appointed Ioannis 4H[ZPZHZ.YV\W*OPLM,_LJ\[P]L6É‰JLY replacing Bert Pijls, who has resigned for personal and family reasons, following his wifeâ€™s illness. He will continue to ad]PZL[OL)HURVUZWLJPĂ„JZ[YH[LNPJPZsues. Matsis is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Bank and chairs the Risk Management Committee. He is a partner and co-founder of Point Nine Ltd.
by EIB President Werner Hoyer and RCB bank, provides for the provision of guarantees amounting to â‚Ź10 million for SMEs funding. Similar agreements will be signed with Bank of Cyprus (â‚Ź40 million) in early 2017 the Cooperative Central Bank at a later stage.
MARIOS IOANNOU Louis plc has announced the appointment of Marios Ioannou as Chief FinanJPHS6É‰JLY*-6^P[OPTTLKPH[LLÉˆLJ[ Ioannou, who joined the company in 1988, worked for several years in the Internal Audit Department and, since 2001, has been the CFO of the subsidiary, Louis Hotels plc. In a statement, Louis plc said that Ioannou will continue in this position in parallel with his new duties.
PIRAEUS BANK SELLS MAJORITY STAKE IN CYPRUS SUBSIDARY Greece’s largest lender, Piraeus Bank, completed the sale of a majority stake in its Cyprus subsidiary to Holding M. Sehnaoui SAL for €3.2 million, reducing its stake to 17.7%. The divestment is part of Piraeus Bank’s EU-approved restructuring plan and will boost its core equity tier-1 capital by about 15 basis points, the bank said. Holding M. Sehnaoui SAL was established in 2000 and is majority owned by Maurice Sehnaoui, who has been Chairman of USB Bank since 2011.
COOPS APPROVE MERGER An extraordinary General Meeting on December 30 approved the merger of the 18 cooperative credit institutions (CCIs) into a single legal entity, in a move the Cooperative Central Bank (CCB) described as “a natural development in the cooperative sector`s restructuring”. The Cooperative sector was nationalised in 2014 and its restructuring plan provides for a CCB listing on the Cyprus Stock Exchange by September 2018, thus enabling what it describes as “the return of the coop sector to a broader and domestic shareholder base.”
CIM COOPERATION WITH CAUCASUS UNIVERSITY
he Cyprus Institute of Marketing (CIM) has signed a cooperation agreement with the internationally renowned Caucasus University (Georgia), which includes lecturer and student exchanges, joint academic research and the co-organizing of conferences. Caucasus University was founded in 2004 on what
BANK OF CYPRUS COMPLETES ELA REPAYMENT
cdbbank was named the Best Corporate Bank in Cyprus for 2016 by the international ÄUHUJPHSHUKI\ZPULZZTHNHaPUL Capital Finance International. Commenting on the award, acting CEO George Spyrides ZHPK[OH[P[JVUZ[P[\[LZZPNUPÄJHU[ recognition of the bank’s JVU[PU\V\ZLɈVY[[VZ\WWVY[ local business and international clients through comprehensive banking solutions. “We will continue to contribute to the growth of entrepreneurship and the country’s economy,” he ZHPK;OLH^HYKPZHZPNUPÄJHU[ distinction for the Bank, which celebrates its 53rd anniversary this year.
Bank of Cyprus announced on January 5 that it had fully repaid €11.4 billion of ELA (emergency liquidity assistance) funding, most of which it inherited from Laiki Bank in 2013. Finance Minister Harris Georgiades congratulated the Bank on the successful repayment, KLZJYPIPUNP[HZ¸HZPNUPÄJHU[ KL]LSVWTLU[^OPJOYLHɉYTZ the strengthening of the bank and the restoration of JVUÄKLUJLPU[OLIHURPUN system of our country.” Bank of Cyprus shares start trading on the London Stock Exchange on January 19.
was the Caucasus School of Business, set up in 1998 in cooperation with the State University of Georgia, Atlanta, USA, during the ex- Soviet Union country’s transitional period. It is now one of the most famous higher education institutions in Georgia and the South Caucasus, comprising eight schools: the School of Business, the Law School, the School
INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR CDBBANK
of Media, Technology School, the Government School, the School of Social Sciences, the Tourism School and the School of Health.The CIM has adopted a strategy of expansion of international cooperation and this latest agreement follows other recent collaborations with universities in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain.
.V]LYUTLU[HUK<UPVUZ HNYLLVUW\ISPJZLJ[VY ZHSHY`PUJYLTLU[Z framework agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the country’s two largest trade unions (SEK and PEO) paves the way for salary increments to be restored in the public sector. They OH]LILLUMYVaLUZPUJL;OLHNYLLment will serve as a framework for the renewal of collective agreements in the broader public sector for the period 2015HUKZPNUPÄJHU[S`WYV]PKLZMVY[OL increase in the public sector wage bill not to exceed the growth rate of nominal GDP in 2017 and 2018.
THE NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED PERSONS, REGISTERED AT DISTRICT LABOUR OFFICES ACROSS THE ISLAND ON THE LAST DAY OF DECEMBER 2016. IT MARKED A DECREASE OF 2,698 OR 6.1% COMPARED TO THE DECEMBER 2015 FIGURE, A FALL WHICH WAS MAINLY OBSERVED IN THE CONSTRUCTION, MANUFACTURING, TRADE, PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND TRANSPORT SECTORS.
www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 9
OPTIONRALLY MOVES TO CYPRUS
9LHS,Z[H[LZHSLZ\W I` PU
7HĂ„SPHÂťZĂ…HNZOPWKL]LSVWTLU[65,^VUĂ„YZ[ WYPaLPU[OL,\YVWLHUYV\UKVM[OLWYLZ[Pgious International Property Awards. Two TVU[OZHNVP[WPJRLK\W[OLĂ„]LZ[HYH^HYK in the country round in the â€˜Best Residential High-rise Developmentâ€™ category. At 170 metres in height, ONE will be the tallest residential seafront tower in Europe. 7HĂ„SPHYLJLU[S`ZPNULK[OLJVUZ[Y\J[PVU contract, worth â‚Ź77M, with J&P and ACC, THYRPUNHZPNUPĂ„JHU[TPSLZ[VULMVY[OLJVTpany, Limassol and island as a whole.
Real estate sales rose by 43% in 2016, acJVYKPUN[VĂ„N\YLZYLSLHZLKI`[OL+LWHY[ment of Lands and Surveys (DLS). The number of sale contracts submitted to the DLS during the year was 7,013, compared to 4,952 in 2015. The data exclude sales to foreign buyers, to be released at a later stage. December contracts spiked by 121%, up to 1,134 in 2016 from 513 in 2015. The highest increase (59%) was seen in Limassol.subject to regulatory approval.
CIFA JOINS ICMA
he Cyprus Investment Funds Association (CIFA), a representative industry body of over 230 members based in Cyprus, has become an associate member of the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA), which will support the development of Cyprusâ€™ position as an emerging European funds jurisdiction. CIFAâ€™s affiliation with the ICMA follows its upgrade to full member status of the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), granted in June 2016. CIFA President Angelos Gregoriades said, â€œBolstered by CIFAâ€™s membership of ICMA, 2017 will be a landmark year in the development of the coiuntryâ€™s funds industry. Registered alternative investment funds, following the appointment of an authorised fund manager, will soon be able to encourage fund sponsors to re-domicile and upgrade their offshore structures to Cyprus, bringing a robustly-regulated, European passportable fund to market quicker than ever before. We look forward to collaborating with ICMA and its members in driving growth in the European asset management industry to channel more private finance to the real economy.â€?
A project by the FOSS Research Centre for Sustainable Energy of the University of Cyprus, entitled â€œPromotion of higher penetration of distributed PV through storage for allâ€? (Acronym: StoRES), has recently been approved for funding by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Interreg MED Programme. The three-year project, which has a budget of approximately â‚Ź2 million started in November 2016. StoRES MVYLZLLZ[OLKL]LSVWTLU[VMHUVW[PTHSWVSPJ`MVY[OLLÉˆLJ[P]LPU[LNYH[PVUVM photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage systems (ESS) via testing smart solu[PVUZPUĂ„]L4LKP[LYYHULHUPZSHUKZHUKY\YHSHYLHZ
10 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
yprus-regulated binary options broker OptionRally has laid off most of its employees in Israel who serve English-speaking customers, shrinking its presence in the country to almost zero, following the recent ban on bonuses, which makes positions less lucrative for Israelis. OptionRally, which used to employ some 300 employees offering 24/7 phone support in Israel, has now moved its operations to Cyprus where binary options regulation is somewhat more flexible and will cut service costs. OptionRally is a brand name of CySEC-authorized OptionRally Financial Services Ltd. The broker has a sister company, TCM Investments Ltd., which is regulated in Belize. In September, CySEC fined OptionRally â‚Ź138,000 for providing investors with misleading information on its website.
ORION ON AIRWAYS EXPECTS FIRST AIRCRAFT ;OLĂ„YZ[HPYJYHM[VM[OLUL^S` established Larnaca-based Cypriot airline Orion Airways is due to arrive in Cyprus in mid-January, with the goal of OH]PUNHĂ…LL[VMĂ„]L)VLPUN 737- 800 aircraft by the end of the year.
RY RYANAIR R YANAIR STARTS PAPHOS-TEL AVIV FLIGHTS IN MARCH 9`HUHPYSH\UJOLZHKHPS`Ă…PNO[ between Tel Aviv and Paphos in March, with a special introductory fare of â‚Ź30 for April and May. At the same time, the airline has decided to halt its 7HWOVZ([OLUZĂ…PNO[Z
ADVANCED +)067905;05. LAB FOR CYPRUS
he University of Cyprus will be opening an advanced 3D bioprinting laboratory in 2017. The lab is being initiated in partnership with IQJetArtisia and in collaboration with Russia-based NextGene Biosystem, Amur State Medical Academy, and IQDemy SA Holding. The bioprinting labâ€™s research will reportedly focus VUKL]LSVWPUNKPZLHZL[YLH[TLU[Z[OH[ILULĂ„[MYVT+ bioprinting or tissue engineering. All the parties involved in P[ZKL]LSVWTLU[HYLJVUĂ„KLU[[OH[[OLPYIPVWYPU[PUNSHI^PSSIL one of the most advanced in Europe. The 3D bioprinting lab is expected be located at the University of Cyprus, ^OPJOOV\ZLZLPNO[KPÉˆLYLU[MHJ\S[PLZ
Sunil Kapoor MY WAY
Director, FML Ship Management Limited
TRANSPARENCY AND HONESTY IN PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS HAVE PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN HIS BUSINESS SUCCESS. A TEAM PLAYER, HE HAS LEARNT MUCH OF WHAT HE KNOWS FROM THE ORDINARY PEOPLE WITH WHOM HE HAS INTERACTED OVER THE YEARS. AWAY FROM THE OFFICE, HE CAN BE FOUND ON THE GOLF COURSE OR ENJOYING A GLASS OF WINE WHILE WATCHING A GOOD GAME OF CRICKET.
am a team player. I encourage everyone to give their input at the initial decision- making stage, which creates commitment to the organisation and builds consensus among the staff. This increased ownership creates a sense of empowerment, allowing them to grow outside their current roles. Of course, my work doesnâ€™t stop at decision-making; I follow up on dayto-day activities to rigorously enforce implementation.â€?
have been fortunate to interact with a variety of people during my time on ships or working in different countries. For the last twenty years I have had only one boss and I have learnt a lot from him.â€?
y greatest personal achievement has been my role in setting up and building Fleetâ€™s branch office in Cyprus. During our initial years in Cyprus, we faced a very tough time but we are now a very professional and dynamic ship management organisation, providing all kind of services to this part of the world and being consistently recognised as an obvious choice for ship owners in Europe.â€?
ransparency and honesty in all my professional relationships have helped me most throughout the course of my career. This is a peopleâ€™s business, which is why I have a commitment to building long-term relationships. I also have the tenacity and ability to simplify complex issues and come up with workable solutions.â€?
do not believe in he biggest mistake that idols and managers make is to lose celebrities. touch with reality and stop I have, listening to the real problems that affect his/ instead, her staff and business. Many companies learnt a great deal from ordimay have great systems in place but they nary people, with whom Iâ€™ve often forget PCS â€“ Plain Common Sense.â€? had the pleasure of working with on board vessels. Sports here is a never a dull mopeople and their achievement in shipping. Every day ments â€“ or an underdog has its own challenge and doing well â€“ always excitement. For me, working in the office inspire pire me and enis not a job but a way of life. My personal courage urage me to Sunil Kapoor and professional life is harmoniously dovedo better.â€? is the Director of FML tailed.â€œ Ship Management Limited, based in Cyprus, and is also responsible here is something about Cyprus for the companyâ€™s London, where a walk by the sea, a hike in 8YVOI]ERH(YFEMSJĂ GIW the mountains or a game of golf at He joined Fleet Management in the weekends are enough to keep me relaxed. 1996 as a Superintendent and I love reading non-fiction and playing golf, or gradually rose to his current just sitting with a glass of wine and watching a position. He set up the Cyprus good game of cricket.â€? SJĂ GIMR1E]ERHMX
GYVVIRXP]STIVEXIWZIWWIPW in full technical management. www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 11
ow do you aspire to provide for the best trading conditions for your clients and what do you perceive these to be? At FXTM our core mission is to maximise the value our clients get from their most precious commodity – time. Providing the best trading conditions is a vital part of this and that means offering a fast client approval time, swift client fund processing, and an exceptional speed of execution. To achieve this, we are continually investing in the latest technology so that we can offer a fair and reliable service, which pushes the expected industry standards. In mid-2016, we launched our ‘Performance Statistics’ webpage which shows comprehensive data for order execution speed, slippage and requites, with the charts reflecting a consistently high level of performance, even under the most demanding market conditions. In line with our commitment to transparency, these statistics are updated monthly, having been checked by PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited. How have your services evolved over the years to respond to both technological innovations and clients’ needs? Keeping ahead of the curve, in terms of technological innovation, is key to FXTM’s ongoing success. The forex industry is rapidly developing, with traders seeking increasingly sophisticated products and services, greater mobility via mobile trading and the best trading conditions. By focusing on offering our clients cutting-edge products and services, tailored to their trading needs, we saw our global footprint expand significantly in 2016. Last year alone, we launched
12 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
FXTM Invest, the new FXTM Shares Account and developed the ForexTime App to improve the user experience and enable FXTM traders to fully manage their account. We were also one of the first brokers to introduce the highly-anticipated version of the MT5 trading platform with the option of hedging.
CEO, ForexTime Ltd (FXTM) What do you consider to be ForexTime’s greatest achievement so far? I am very proud of our company’s overall development and the growth we’ve achieved over the past three years. This success comes down to building the right teams of people at FXTM, who have a shared desire to continuously push the boundaries in everything we do; from technology to customer service and dealing, all the way through to human resources and the back office. These teams ensure the successful day-to-day operations of the company and, without such talented and
hardworking individuals, FXTM would not have achieved the level of growth we’ve seen in such a short period of time. Why is trader education a key commitment for FXTM and how does the company supporting this initiative? Recently we have seen many regulators re re-shape the industry to protect traders, esp especially new, inexperienced traders. This go goes along with our company values of res responsible trading and we are continuou ously developing our renowned educatio tional programme by providing engaging se seminars and workshops, easily-accessible w webinars and online training videos. Last year we held several highly popular seminars and workshops for beginner, intermediate and advanced traders in oover ten countries, which drew more th than 1,500 attendees. Additionally, our hig highly respected team of market analysts –w who are frequently cited by and featured in Forbes, BBC, CNBC, the Financial Ti Times and the Wall Street Journal, to na name a few – provide FXTM traders with the essential in-depth market analysis they need to keep up with the fast pace of the financial markets. What are ForexTime’s goals for 2017? 2016 was a very busy year for FXTM and this year we will look to build upon these developments as we continue to grow our global footprint. Through our continuous investment in technology, we are always looking to take our clients’ trading to the next level and we have several new and exciting product launches in the pipeline. We’ll also continue to invest in trader education and we look forward to expanding our educational programme by offering even more local seminars and online resources.
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14 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
QUOTES OF THE MONTH
They Said What? Some of the more remarkable statements uttered by well-known Cypriots over the past month.
DECEMBER 24: “ANNA ANDREOU, THE CYBC’S CORRESPONDENT IN TURKEY, HAS OBVIOUSLY NOT BEEN PROSECUTED BY THE ERDOGAN ADMINISTRATION WHICH HAS NONETHELESS JAILED THOUSANDS, INCLUDING JOURNALISTS, ON SUSPICION OF HAVING A DIFFERENT OPINION… SHE APPEARS NOT TO KNOW ABOUT THE CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE ERDOGAN ADMINISTRATION AGAINST TURKS, KURDS, ALEVIS AND OTHERS.” DECEMBER 27: “IT WAS NEVER MY INTENTION TO SAY, NOR WAS I IMPLYING, THAT ANNA ANDREOU IS A MOUTHPIECE OF THE TURKISH STATE OR OF ERDOGAN. I HONOUR THE PROFESSION OF JOURNALISM AND I WISH TO APOLOGISE TO ALL THOSE WHO MAY HAVE GLEANED THE WRONG IMPRESSION.” Costas Mavrides, MEP, provides a lesson in the art of backtracking.
14 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
“IF THE NEW STATE WISHES TO TAKE RECOURSE TO THE UNITED NATIONS OR THE EUROPEAN UNION, IT WILL REQUIRE THE CONSENT OF THE TURKISH CYPRIOT ‘CONSTITUENT STATE’, AND SUCH CONSENT WILL NOT BE FORTHCOMING. WE SHALL, THEN, BE HOSTAGES IN THE HANDS OF TURKEY.” Archbishop Chrysostomos II seems to think that this ‘fake news’ trend is fun, so he decided to try it out in his Christmas Day circular to all churches in Cyprus.
“OUR COUNTRY IS EUROPEAN CHAMPION WHEN IT COMES TO INCOME INEQUALITY, LOW WAGES AND STEPHANOS STEPHANOU INCREASING JOB INSECURITY. FROM ITS EUROPEAN AVERAGE RANKING, IN RECENT YEARS CYPRUS HAS FOUND ITSELF AMONG THE POOREST COUNTRIES IN THE EUROZONE”. AKEL spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, who conveniently forgets to mention that the ECB study he is citing is based on data from February-July 2014, just a year after his party succeeded in destroying the economy.
“I DO NOT INTEND TO ASK FOR A RECOUNT AND I HAVE NOT GIVEN INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUCH A CASE TO BE CONSIDERED. RIGHT NOW, I AM BUSY WITH PENDING ISSUES SO THAT EVERYTHING IS HANDED OVER TO THE TOWN’S NEW MAYOR IN GOOD SHAPE.” Outgoing Limassol Mayor Andreas Christou shows a magnanimous spirit after losing the election by a mere 10 votes. ANDREAS CHRISTOU
“ATHENS HAS ABANDONED CYPRUS”
ARCHBISHOP CHRYSOSTOMOS II
Solidarity leader Eleni Theocharous is complaining that Greece is happy to abolish the Treaty of Guarantee, even though she doesn’t actually want it to remain in force. They must be putting something in the water at the European parliament... ELENI THEOCHAROUS
“IF IT IS FOUND TO BE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH, THE FIRING RANGE WILL BE CLOSED DOWN.”
The residents of Kalo Horio, Larnaca might have felt more reassured if Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides had instead mentioned the harm caused by the nearby 5H[PVUHS.\HYK»ZÄYPUNYHUNL[V[OLPYOLHYing, their mental wellbeing and their homes, which are constantly being hit by shells.
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INSIDE CYPRUS’ DEALING ROOMS The market is weird. Every time one guy sells, another one buys, and they both think they’re smart By John Vickers & Voula Loizou Photos by Jo Michaelides & Emma Louise Charalambous
16 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
e are all familiar with those stock exchange scenes in old movies where people are screaming frantically into two and even three telephones as they buy and sell shares but that was then and this is now. As Charis Mountis, Global Head of Dealing at ForexTime Ltd (FXTM), told us, “The days when dealing rooms were overpopulated with businessmen shouting into their phones are long gone. During the last decade, advances in technology have enhanced the Dealing Room and have become an asset in automating the process of providing clients with maximum speed, almost flawless accuracy and added transparency while, at the same time, dealers continue to keep a sharp eye on market movements giving clients access to the most up-to-date market and pricing information.” Despite the drastic changes in trading methods, more recent movies have continued to present the Dealing Room as a place where adrenalin-high traders tend to get themselves into big trouble in their quest for big, easy money. But is the financial world we see in movies like Rogue Trader (1999), Boiler Room (2000), Margin Call (2011), Arbitrage (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and The Big Short (2015) an accurate picture of the real one? We asked the Dealing Room representatives of eight leading financial institutions and Forex firms this question and seven more in an effort to discover whether Dealing Rooms are, indeed, the exciting, high-octane extensions of the global markets that Hollywood would have us believe. The consensus is that, while things are exaggerated for the big screen, the reality can still be a thrilling ride, especially at times of intense market volatility. This is perhaps especially true of the Foreign Exchange (Forex) market which operates literally on a 24-hour basis, six days a week (no-one really wants to work 24/7) and, as the world’s largest financial market, is said to be trading around $1.5 trillion on each and every of those six days. Australasia, Europe and North America are the three main areas and, as one region’s markets close, another’s opens or has already opened and so it goes. On the following pages, you can step into eight of the Dealing Rooms in Cyprus and read the thoughts and standout memories of Panayiotis Mavromichalis (Ancoria Bank Ltd.), Despina Kyriakidou and Michalis Kyrou (Bank of Cyprus), Marios Hadjikyriakos (Eurobank Cyprus), Charis Mountis (ForexTime Ltd.), Yiannos Xenophontos (FxPro Financial Services Ltd), Persella Ioannides (MeritKapital Ltd), Charis Charilaou (TFI Markets Ltd.) and Walid Assaf (Windsor Brokers Ltd). www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 17
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18 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
Photos by Jo Michaelides
re Dealing Rooms as exciting and dramatic as they are depicted in movies? While Dealing Rooms are indeed exciding and sometimes dramatic places, what is usually depicted in old movies – i.e. a room full of mavericks buying and selling shares – is actually far from reality. Being a trader is, in fact, a highly skilled profession which requires lots of hard work and can often be very stressful. Nowadays, due to developments in financial engineering, technology and regulation, a trader’s job is more complex and more sophisticated than ever before. Bank of Cyprus has two Dealing Rooms. One is used by the bank’s Treasury team for managing the bank’s balance sheet. Its activities include hedging FX Risk and Interest Rate Risk, investing in Short Term and Long Term instruments, managing the Bank’s bond portfolio, keeping up to date with changing regulatory requirements and conforming to policies and directives. Safeguarding the liquidity position of the Bank is a top priority, in order to be able to honour current and future obligations as they fall due. The second Dealing Room accommodates the bank’s Global Markets team, who service the clients’ execution or investment needs (for example in foreign exchange, equities, bonds or mutual funds) as well as providing various risk management tools (forwards, options, swaps, etc.) to help clients manage their market exposure. Is there such a thing as an ‘ordinary day’ in the Dealing Room? Many days start out as ordinary but not all finish the same way. Markets trade around the clock and checking on the overnight market moves is usually the first thing traders do as soon as they walk into the office. The Bank’s research team also holds a conference call every morning to discuss the latest market developments and exchange ideas on how to proceed that day. From there on, anything can happen. Depending on how the markets behave, a day may be rather quiet for one trader but full of surprises for another, based on what kind of markets they follow. Unexpected news is something that usually shakes the markets, while there are always challenging client requests which most often than not make us think out of the box.
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Describe what happens when tension rises in the Dealing Room. There is a lot of action, exchanges of views, watching/listening to the streaming TV market news and continuously reading updates. It is important to always be calm and be able to react and take action promptly and efficiently. In such circumstances, we first try to assess the situation and the impact it may have on both the Bank’s and our clients’ positions. We try to remain informed by closely following the market and news updates, while we constantly remain in contact with our clients and advise them accordingly. Such an instance was in January 2015 when the Swiss National Bank removed the peg of the franc against the euro. We had clients with significant positions on the Swiss franc and, for that reason, we had to man the dealing room on a 24-hour basis for many days after the event, in order to cope with the situation until the market normalized. What was the most memorable day of your career in the Dealing Room? What happened? The most memorable day in our Dealing Room would be related to the unprecedented decisions that took place after 16 March 2013 and which affected the whole of Cyprus. The Bank’s Treasury worked hard during March 2013, even during the extraordinary Bank holiday period, as we had to keep covering the bank’s obligations, to honour pending payments to external counterparties to ensure the minimal possible impact on the outside world and to manage the Bank’s balance sheet as best as we could under the prevailing constraints. We also had to restore the confidence of our external financial counterparties in the Bank. For weeks and months, every day was another challenge but the Treasury managed to get through this period. It was a difficult time for everyone involved. How did dealers around the world react to the news of events such as 9/11 or the day of the collapse of Lehman Bros? How did their clients react? We believe that the period when Lehman Bros collapsed was the most chaotic in modern history, comparable with the 1929 20 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
:$< market crash. It sent shockwaves through all the world’s markets. The Dow Jones industrial average fell sharply, the FTSE 100 and all the major European Stock exchanges plunged, banks and investment funds were hit hard, confidence in Wall Street evaporated. The effects of the credit crunch in 2008 influenced the whole world and its markets. As dealers we have witnessed increased volatility, a lack of confidence in the banking system and the introduction of more rules and regulations. The perception that an institution is ‘Too Big to Fail’ is no longer valid… What happened more recently after the UK Brexit referendum result and when Donald Trump won the US presidential election? Sterling had one of its biggest drops in the era of free floating currencies, equities fell and gold jumped after the historic Brexit vote. Rumours started coming in early in the morning of 24 June that Brexit was a reality. The eurozone was also influenced as investors dumped bonds of the periphery countries and punished European bank shares as the future of the EU was questioned. Markets were again collapsing globally, as had happened with the Lehman Brothers event, and we had to manage our positions and follow market news closely. Being in the eurozone, we are influenced more by events in the UK. On the day of the US presidential election, the rising prospect of a Trump presidency jolted markets around the world, sending Dow futures and Asian Stock prices sharply lower as investors panicked over uncertainties on trade, immigration and geopolitical tensions that were stressed during Trump’s election campaign. However, this effect was shortlived and the markets rebounded quickly, perceiving Trump’s election as ‘market positive’. In general, all major events affect the markets globally and we are kept up to date constantly.
Is there a ‘rule book’ about when to buy or sell? You may have heard the traders’ socalled golden rules such as “Buy Low Sell High”, “Buy the rumour, sell the fact”, etc. In reality, however, each market participant has its own set of rules of engagement based on its goals and risk tolerance. Using mainly technical and partly fundamental analysis, a speculator tries to beat the market as this is a zero sum game. For a long- term investor, the aim is to diversify his holdings so as to reach his return objectives given his risk appetite. For corporations the scope is to analyse the market their business is exposed to e.g. foreign exchange, interest rates or commodity risks, and either partially or fully hedge so as mitigate risk and reduce the impact on profitability from their business activities. Likewise, the Bank of Cyprus Treasury invests the Bank’s excess liquidity in various short- term and long-term instruments after weighing the risk-return aspect of the investment. Moreover, we hedge interest and FX rates positions emanating from the Bank’s balance sheet. What is it about your job that keeps you motivated? Working with financial markets is both motivating and rewarding. Dealing Rooms bring people with a diverse set of skills together, in order to concentrate their knowledge and expertise in an environment which can be inspiring and exciting. Being a trader, however, is not a job everyone would enjoy. The responsibility for pricing and executing hundreds of transactions which can make or lose millions sounds scary to many people! On the other hand, we really do enjoy the excitement and the feeling of the adrenaline pumping when a multi-million dollar deal hits the trading floor. Furthermore, the market is constantly evolving, new financial products are being developed and the legal and regulatory regime is changing fast. As a result, the trader’s job is constantly changing and the learning curve is never flat. There’s always something new to learn in a Dealing Room and the constant challenge keeps our motivation levels high.
Raphael used single-point perspective to evoke the pantheon of Greek philosophers in his painting School of Athens.
Our auditors use advanced analytics to reveal underlying patterns and trends. A high-quality audit is both a science and an art. ey.com/theartofaudit #BetterQuestions
12 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
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Perspective transformed art. Can it do the same for business?
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22 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
Photos by Jo Michaelides
re Dealing Rooms as exciting and dramatic as they are depicted in movies? Well, as is often the case, there is a degree of exaggeration in movies. What you see in movies are the dealing room environments at major investment firms and hedge funds or trading floors at major stock exchanges in financial centres like New York, London and Tokyo. Actually, it is important to note that there is a distinction between a dealing room and a trading floor. Usually, we use the term ‘dealing room’ or ‘trading room’ when we are referring to a trading centre within an organisation like a bank or an investment firm, while the term ‘trading floor’ is used when referring to the trading centre of a major stock exchange like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Most often in movies we see the latter and, of course, the graphic and open outcry trading method is no longer used as it has been replaced with electronic trading. Is there such a thing as an ‘ordinary day’ in the Dealing Room? In the Dealing Room we constantly monitor market prices in the global financial markets and follow economic data releases and major news. So, every day has its unique moments and circumstances. Our mandate in the Dealing Room is to manage the Bank’s liquidity through prudent investments in high quality liquid assets and protect the Bank from risks arising from foreign exchange and interest rate exposures. So, depending on market conditions, a different course of action needs to be taken. On days with low market volatility, we have the opportunity to analyse the market and evaluate securities that could potentially meet our requirements and risk profile. On days with increased market volatility and/or on days that are heavy on important data releases and news, we closely monitor market prices, enter into the necessary trades/deals in order to hedge client transactions, and keep exposure to the absolute minimum. Of course, as one would expect, there are some routine processes that need to be followed in the Dealing Room, especially at the beginning and the end of the day. The Dealing Room team needs to ensure that market prices have been properly uploaded in the Bank’s systems, correspondent account balances and portfolio net asset value have been reviewed, and a project cash flow analysis has been performed.
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Ö Describe what happens when tension rises in the Dealing Room. It is true that Dealing Room environments are often intense and stressful. It has been proven time and time again that wrong decisions are taken under conditions of panic or distress. This is especially true when an institution or an individual trader/dealer is overexposed, overleveraged or, even worse, a combination of the two. Under such scenarios, an unexpected adverse market move can have a devastating impact on both the organisation and the trader, making decision-making much more difficult and stressful. Ancoria Bank, by its very nature and as duty to its stakeholders, has a low risk appetite. This is translated into a prudent risk limit framework which ensures effective diversification and protects the Bank from unjustified exposures. It also protects dealers, as any given exposure is not material enough to have a significant adverse impact on a total portfolio basis or at a Bank balance sheet level. Additionally, the limits that are in place automatically trigger actions/transactions in order to limit the effect of any adverse market move. These processes and procedures greatly reduce the stress factor. Nevertheless, as we have experienced many times in the past, markets can be unpredictable so there is a need to act fast and decisively in order to either protect the Bank or to take advantage of opportunities. Therefore, when we are recruiting team members for the dealing room, they must be individuals who are competent and can maintain sound judgement under stressful situations. But to answer your question, when tension rises we rely on experience and team effort. It is always good to consult with the team in order to assess the situation at hand. What was the most memorable day of your career in the Dealing Room? What happened? Well, I am not sure if I can single out a particular one. If we take it chronologically, at the early stages of my career, September 11 2001 was definitely a shocking day in the Dealing Room. Then December 31 2007, the day before Cyprus’ eurozone entry, was definitely another one as it was a day with a very positive momentum and prospects for the Cypriot economy. Unfortunately, the momentum did not last that long, even though many market participants in Cyprus refused to accept it at the time. Who can 24 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
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expected to be catastrophic. Even though the initial reaction was, indeed, very negative, the markets corrected significantly in the following days and they were able to weather out the result. In the case of the Trump victory, the miscalculation was much more obvious. Contrary to market expectations, equity markets have reacted overly positive with US indices reaching new all-time highs and the US dollar gaining strength.
)81'$0(17$/6 forget the Lehman Brothers collapse on September 15 of the following year, which marked the beginning of an unprecedented downturn? But most importantly, the most dramatic day of all – Saturday March 16 2013 – a day never to be forgotten by any one of us in Cyprus for the bail-in decision. How did dealers around the world react to the news of events such as 9/11 or the day of the collapse of Lehman Bros? How did their clients react? We can describe the aftershock of both events with one single word: panic! Actually, this would be an understatement. Following the 9/11 attacks, US stock markets remained closed from more than a week and when they reopened we had a single-day drop of 7%. We had a similar reaction during the Lehman Brothers collapse: liquidity was drained, investors and dealers could not fill their trades and banks and other financial institutions, mainly hedge funds, had severe liquidity shortfalls. On the day of the collapse, short-term interest rates skyrocketed and securities lending transactions froze; there was absolutely no liquidity in the money markets. On TV we could see live footage of devastated traders leaving Lehman Brothers with boxes of their personal belongings. Given that the Lehman Brothers collapse was the result and not the cause of the economic shock, the effects were far more lasting. What happened more recently after the UK Brexit referendum result and when Donald Trump won the US presidential election? This is an example of how markets are increasingly dependent on politics rather than on economic fundamentals. In both cases, political analysts and market participants got it completely wrong. The political analysts underestimated the voting power of people outside metropolitan areas, projecting the opposite result each time. At the same time, projections by market analysts regarding market reaction were way off. Market reaction to a possible Brexit result was
Is there a ‘rule book’ about when to buy or sell? There is definitely a predefined process to be followed, depending on the asset class. For example, when it comes to fixed income securities – bonds – screening takes place in order to limit down the investment alternatives based on the Bank’s liquidity management framework. This analysis is based primarily on fundamentals and takes into account factors like credit rating, region, industry, currency, maturity, debt ratios, liquidity, etc. When suitable investments are identified, trades are then simulated in order to analyse their impact on a portfolio basis. Once the decision has been taken to buy or sell a specific security, the actual timing is based on technical analysis, the fancy charts that you see on traders’ screens on TV with all the green and red colours. What is it about your job that keeps you motivated? The nature of our job keeps us on edge with global developments. The Bloomberg terminals and the readerships we have with analysts abroad, especially in London and Switzerland, serve as gateways to the world and enable us to be up to date with developments in the global financial markets and with world news. Being able to do that, despite the fact that we operate in a small country away from major metropolitan financial centres, is indeed amazing. I have to say, however, that what really keeps me motivated is Ancoria Bank. The fact that over the past two years we have been building everything from scratch, capitalizing on the collective experience of a really great team of professionals, represents the greatest motivation of all. We have great plans for the future, so this process is not expected to end anytime soon, and as we say here at Ancoria, there is magic in creating.
We understand shipping Cyprus is at the forefront of global shipping with a fully functional and innovative department of merchant shipping, an EU approved tonnage tax regime and a committed resident shipping industry. At KPMG Cyprus, our dedicated team of shipping professionals provide expert support to our clients by drawing on a depth of shipping knowledge and experience, offering tailored solutions to the challenges they face. Our highly qualiﬁed practitioners undergo continuous industry speciﬁc training so as to remain at the forefront of developments within the shipping industry and, together with our global network of shipping specialists, apply this expertise to the services we offer to the maritime sector, which include:
Audit and assurance related services
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For more information please contact: Sylvia A. Loizides Board Member, Head of Shipping T: 25 869 138, F: 25 363 842 E: email@example.com Alexandros S. Sofocleous Board Member T: 25 869 223, F: 25 363 842 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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26 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
Photos by Jo Michaelides
re Dealing Rooms as exciting and dramatic as they are depicted in movies? The Dealing Room is, indeed, a very dynamic environment that gives you the opportunity to witness and manage the effects of markets-driven price action. As with many professions, technology has changed the way we conduct business and in the process it has neutralized many of the dramatic elements. Trading through open-outcry (voice) has long been abandoned and we now rely completely on information systems and trading platforms. However, technology has supplemented the excitement of the profession by adding competition, speed and visibility.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the collapse of Lehman Brothers were fundamentally very different events but with similar market outcomes. The first dealt with the vulnerabilities of our society that translated into panic selling and caused the biggest one-day and one-week losses in US market history. The impact, however, was not as disastrous as originally feared (partly due to policy) and was reversed fully within the following weeks. The Lehman Brothers collapse was the outcome of structural and regulatory flaws and had a far more pervasive impact. It was an event that challenged the very fundamentals of the capital markets and the banking industry.
Is there such a thing as an ‘ordinary day’ in the Dealing Room? An ‘ordinary day’ in the Dealing Room is characterized by low volatility in the global markets. Such days are becoming increasingly scarce, given the interdependence of global economies, markets and asset classes. For this purpose, Dealing Room personnel has to remain fully informed and operate through a proactive business model.
What happened more recently after the UK Brexit referendum result and when Donald Trump won the US presidential election? The global markets have developed strengths and capacities that were unthinkable in the past. If we exclude the volatility of the first few days, the Brexit vote acted as a rebalancing event between Forex, Fixed Income and Equities. Similarly, the markets very quickly shrugged off the exemplified Trump risks and resumed their bullish trend in an even more accelerated manner.
Describe what happens when tension rises in the Dealing Room. We have the appropriate structures in place that promote professionalism, responsibility and accountability! What was the most memorable day of your career in the Dealing Room? What happened? I have had numerous memorable days in my Dealing Room career, which encompass significant Profit & Loss, the conclusion of landmark transactions, or simply for being right or wrong after a significant event. The most important time, however, has to be the period after the March 2013 events in Cyprus, due to the profound effect they had on the domestic banking industry. How did dealers around the world react to the news of events such as 9/11 or the day of the collapse of Lehman Bros? How did their clients react?
Is there a ‘rule book’ about when to buy or sell? A classic response would refer to trend patterns and fundamentals. In the current environment, however, we have to align our trading strategies with changes in policy. The political and regulatory frameworks are becoming particularly relevant to all markets and instruments. What is it about your job that keeps you motivated? Working in the Dealing Room has very few dull moments. It is a very dynamic environment where you can have few regrets and you can realize the impact of your actions in a near real time approach. It is an environment that stresses your cognitive and mental capacities.
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re Dealing Rooms as exciting and dramatic as they are depicted in movies? Working in the Dealing Room can at times get quite exciting but not really like in the movies, where everything is usually exaggerated for the sake of entertainment. In real life, the thrill and the challenge come from working with the markets because they’re being influenced by world events and multiple other factors.
taken extra measures to make sure our risk management policies protect our traders from such unexpected events. In this case, as soon as the SNB news hit, we switched trading on CHFbased instruments to “Close-only” mode, which allowed traders with open positions to close them, but not to open any new positions. This protected our clients from further exposure to the high market uncertainty created at the time and it was business as usual after a couple of days.
Is there such a thing as an ‘ordinary day’ in the Dealing Room? No day in the Dealing Room is ever really ‘ordinary’. It’s not Boiler Room with Ben Affleck but you certainly can’t call dealing a routine job!
How did dealers around the world react to the news of events such as 9/11 or the day of the collapse of Lehman Bros? How did their clients react? After major events like 9/11 or the Lehman Brothers collapse or, indeed, the more recent SNB fiasco, the markets are highly volatile, which affects both clients and dealers. They tend to switch to safer instruments like gold and the Japanese yen, or hedge their funds – an option that is now available on both MetaTrader4 and MetaTrader5 platforms at FXTM. We pride ourselves on having high-quality trading conditions and an environment that is built to last through even the most shocking events. Our order execution has won an award for its fast speed, requote rates are competitively low and reduced slippage is a company standard by now. Staying true to our principles of transparency, these performance statistics are published on our website and have been checked by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Describe what happens when the tension rises in the Dealing Room. Tension feeds itself because, as soon as a major event happens that we all know will shake up the markets in one way or another, none of us can know exactly what will happen next or how exactly the markets will be affected – and this builds even more tension. But, since we are so familiar with it, we use the anxiety and adrenaline that kicks in and we keep it under control by focusing on the charts and the numbers. We stick to our strategies for situations like this, try and predict the next move, protect ourselves and limit our traders’ exposure to the risks. So in a strange way, tension is a dealer’s best friend! What was the most memorable day of your career in the Dealing Room? What happened? It was when the Swiss National Bank took a decision at the beginning of 2015 that no-one in the world had expected. It was January 15 and the SNB announced that they would unpeg the Swiss franc (CHF) from the euro (EUR), breaking its threeyear exchange rate floor which was set at 1.20. Basically, this drove the CHF sharply higher while the EUR depreciated, the Swiss stock market collapsed, and a lot of investors were not sure how to handle the high levels of volatility that came as a consequence. Luckily, at FXTM we have always
What happened more recently after the UK Brexit referendum result and when Donald Trump won the US presidential election? These two events were clearly the biggest market-shakers of 2016. After the UK voted ‘Leave’, global sentiment felt a lot of pressure because the pound (GBP) dropped significantly – to lows we haven’t seen in over 30 years – and traders lost a lot of faith in the currency, turning to safe havens like the yen. All currency pairs with GBP were monitored very carefully in the Dealing Room. Then Donald Trump won the US election in November, which a lot
of people didn’t expect, sending the global markets once again into very high levels of volatility. His promise to increase US interest rates, for example, made emerging market stocks plummet and while everyone expected gold prices to increase and the USD to weaken, they didn’t. Providing regular market updates is something that FXTM offers in order to help predict market movements as accurately as possible, so that traders can have a bigger sense of control. So I also want to mention here that FXTM’s Market Research Team did a tremendous job of reporting on Brexit and Trump. I would encourage all traders to read our FXTM Daily Market Analysis page and stay in touch with world news to see how the instruments they are trading will be affected. Is there a ‘rule book’ on when to buy or sell? No, there is definitely no rule book – that would be too easy! The most important thing to have is a solid trading strategy, which is why FXTM offers a very wide range of educational tools to our traders. As an example, FXTM’s Head of Education recently wrote a comprehensive e-book about “50 Successful Traders’ Habits” that is available for free to all our clients. This would be an ideal starting point for someone who wants guidelines on how to trade because important topics – such as staying up-to-date with the movements of currencies, identifying possible risks and taking trading conditions into consideration – are all covered. FXTM also offers regular offline seminars and workshops, as well as online webinars and videos, which are designed to expand traders’ knowledge. What is it about your job that keeps you motivated? World events and news always keep the ‘action’ on the markets moving – which basically guarantees that you can almost never have a boring day at work. Also, this is an extremely competitive and fast-paced industry, where you always need to follow what’s happening and which always leaves room for learning something new. I love that challenge! www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 29
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Photos by Jo Michaelides
re Dealing Rooms as exciting and dramatic as they are depicted in movies? That depends on daily events. Things can get exciting or dramatic but experience helps people keep a cool head and avoid overreacting. Movies usually focus on unusual circumstances, such the collapse of Lehman brothers and the US sub-prime crisis, but most of the time real life is more normal! Is there such a thing as an ‘ordinary day’ in the Dealing Room? A dealer’s job is to be well-informed on upcoming news and developments and have a plan on how to react to different outcomes in order to maximize potential profit. Once you get acquainted with the pressure to perform on a daily basis, then most of the days are ‘ordinary’. Describe what happens when tension rises in the Dealing Room. In the Dealing Room you are “as good as your next deal” so the pressure is inherent in a dealer’s job, especially since money can be made or lost within seconds. Establishing a good working environment and creating a healthy team spirit is very important. Tension can rise in some cases but through experience you learn that it is very important to avoid tension as a mistake can be very costly. What was the most memorable day of your career in the Dealing Room? What happened? There have been many memorable days – the 9/11 attacks, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the nationalisation of Northern Rock, the days during the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Greek crisis, the Swiss franc crash – but I think the most memorable of all was September 11, 2001. I remember the shock I felt as I watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center and the realization that the world was going to change for years to come. It is surprising that the foreign exchange market kept working normally during the day, despite the fact that trading stopped on almost all other global financial instruments.
How did dealers around the world react to the news of events such as 9/11 or the day of the collapse of Lehman Bros? How did their clients react? In both cases the first reaction was panic selling and a lot of volatility. The markets sold risk in the form of shares and other risky instruments and bought safe haven instruments such as the Swiss franc and gold. The markets lost billions in value but there were opportunities for profit as well. What happened more recently after the UK Brexit referendum result and when Donald Trump won the US presidential election? In both those events the outcome was unexpected but traders were prepared so, in spite of the volatility that followed the Brexit vote and Trump’s election, market moves were orderly. Is there a ‘rule book’ about when to buy or sell? There is a lot of literature on successful trading and investment and also many trading styles and theories but there is no rule of thumb that guarantees a profit. My advice is to always apply a rationale for any trading or investment decision and try to avoid going against the trend. What is it about your job that keeps you motivated? What makes this job very interesting is that you have to be up to date and to constantly analyze and anticipate market news and developments. But the importance of dealers in modern societies is perhaps the biggest motivating factor. Despite the usual complaints from politicians about capitalism and speculators, dealers and traders around the world are setting the fair value of almost all products available in everyday life. From the currency we use to buy or sell products to the actual value of any end product, the price is influenced by daily trading in currencies, commodities, stocks and interest rate products. www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 31
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32 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
Photos by Emma Louise Charalambous
re Dealing Rooms as exciting and dramatic as they are depicted in movies? Having experienced the trading floor of Morgan Stanley in New York, I can confirm that Dealing Rooms are a very exciting workplace. Thereâ€™s a certain vibe attached to that setting that is very enticing, as it is a fast-paced environment geared to very driven and competitive people. The Dealing Rooms depicted in movies are, of course, coloured with aesthetics which include beautiful stars amongst other extras but, aside from that, the activities are similar and beyond, especially in terms of industry intellect and sophistication. Is there such a thing as an â€˜ordinary dayâ€™ in the Dealing Room? Ordinary or quiet days tend to be the most banal and most disliked by traders. All units, from back to middle office and front, thrive on active days that keep the adrenalin elevated and the mind alert. Of course, there are â€˜ordinary daysâ€™ which consist of major capital marketsâ€™ banking holidays or traders
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staying on the sidelines due to major upcoming news such as OPEC supply decisions on oil, monetary policy undertakings by global central banks or other major financial developments. Describe what happens when tension rises in the Dealing Room. The best traders are the calmest traders as important decisions are best taken rationally and in the absence of noise caused by panic. The culture of each Dealing Room differs and there are, of course, times where tension is heightened and, in effect, vocalized but generally, traders are encouraged to maintain a calm demeanour! What was the most memorable day of your career in the Dealing Room? What happened? As mentioned, the most pleasurable and, in effect, memorable days are the most active ones when orders from clients are numerous and market volatility is such that deals are closed. Active days are testament to the work inputted into building relationships with counterparties, setting up the necessary platforms to facilitate all aspects of trading amongst other challenging efforts. However, some days are outliers to the norm, which include September 11, 2001. At the time, I was a junior analyst on the equity derivatives desk of Morgan Stanley in NYC and I experienced the day on the ground. I recall the first attack on the World Trade Center being taken lightly, as the world was unsure of the devastation’s culprit. We were thus asked to continue our work on the desk. Following the second attack, the firm asked all staff to safely make their way home. As I made my way to the Upper West Side, the streets were populated by other nervous pedestrians but very few – if any – cars. It was a very extraordinary and sad day for the City. Subsequently, the NYSE and the Nasdaq were closed for almost a week and upon opening, airline and insurance companies sold off considerably. However, other stocks, such as 34 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
75$'(56$6 ,03257$17 '(&,6,216$5(%(677$.(1 5$7,21$//< defence and weaponry contractors, benefitted substantially in preparation for the US government’s long war on terror. How did other dealers around the world react to the news of events such as 9/11 or the day of the collapse of Lehman Bros? How did their clients react? The events of the sub-prime crisis were unprecedented and markets plummeted over an extended period of time. Many stock exchanges – such as those of Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Jakarta – triggered alerts that halted trading for a number of days. However, a number of industry players outsmarted the rest and benefitted considerably from the crisis. The majority of those had predicted the inability of sub-prime lenders to make good on their loans upon the tightening of the Fed’s monetary policy and the respective downward pressure that this would have on real estate prices. They had thus taken a directional bet by shorting banks that had considerable sub-prime loan exposure or other similar trades via CDSs and other investment vehicles. However, as it is very difficult for hedge fund and other investment managers to perfectly time the markets, certain hedge funds, such as Scion Capital LLC, had to deal with withdrawals from angry investors before the respective strategy kicked in. What happened more recently after the UK Brexit referendum result and when Donald Trump won the US presidential election? The reaction of the markets and, particularly, of the pound sterling to the UK Brexit vote, was negative and although sterling remained considerably weaker, the markets in general stabilized very quickly. Similarly, Trump’s victory caused an immediate market selloff, which very quickly evaporated and turned into a bullish momentum for the
equity markets. The bond markets, however, especially on the longer end of the curve, took a beating. This was on the back of the future inflation, which the Trump administration’s policies are expected to give rise to. These include $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, lower personal and corporate taxes and the deregulation of certain sectors of the economy. As such, the longer end of the yield curve has steepened so that bondholders’ income is better insulated from that future inflation. Emerging markets’ bonds took a particular hit as they typically sell off before those of developed markets. However, Latin American and especially Mexican bonds sold off considerably due to Trump’s related political rhetoric during his presidential campaign. His proposed unfriendly trade policies, if employed, could impact FDI flows into the already vulnerable emerging market economies. Is there a ‘rule book’ about when to buy or sell? Warren Buffet said, “Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful.” The gist of this quote is that attractive valuations should be identified in the absence of noise caused by investors’ sentiment and which tends to camouflage an opportunistic investment landscape. Of course, a proper analysis should always be undertaken when considering global macroeconomic and company-specific fundamentals in order to construct a well-diversified securities portfolio. What is it about your job that keeps you motivated? Finance can be a very lucrative industry and the general perception is that this is the predominant reason for industry players’ participation in it. Contrastingly, year-on-year revenues reflect performance scores and individuals with a competitive spirit are captured in an ongoing dynamic race with a continuous strive to outperform. To quote Walt Disney, “The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.”
| COVER STORY |
36 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
Photos by Jo Michaelides
re Dealing Rooms as exciting and dramatic as they are depicted in movies? I wouldn’t really use the word ‘dramatic’ to describe a Dealing Room. However, I do think that they can be even more exciting than those that have been depicted in movies. In the movie ‘The Matrix Reloaded’, a character (The Architect) inhabits a room filled with screens in order to monitor what’s happening inside the Matrix. This bears an acute resemblance to a Dealing Room, as we are also surrounded by a plethora of screens, on which we continuously www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 37
| COVER STORY |
Ö monitor the markets. As one can imagine, during major economic announcements, or indeed globally significant events as with this year’s Brexit and the US election, things can quickly become frantic. Increases in market volatility, high numbers of participating traders and the large volumes being traded all combine to make things quite exciting. Is there such a thing as an ‘ordinary day’ in the Dealing Room? The word ‘ordinary’ doesn’t even appear in a dealer’s vocabulary! In a Dealing Room, due to a host of ever-changing variables and the overall unpredictability of the industry we inhabit, no day is exactly the same. As such, ‘ordinary’ has no place in the world of a dealer, as each day is different and comes with its own unique challenges. Describe what happens when tension rises in the Dealing Room. Even in otherwise tense moments, our advanced, fully automated systems and the intuitive, innovative and world-class technology behind them, ensure we are able to overcome even the most challenging days. This enables us to handle intense situations without buckling under the inherent pressures a Dealing Room can encounter. What was the most memorable day of your career in the dealing room? What happened? It was January 15, 2015, also known now as ‘Francogeddon’. This was the day when the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly unpegged the Swiss franc from the euro. As there had been no previous indication that such a move was coming, the event took all brokers and traders by surprise, sending the markets into complete turmoil. This was definitely one of those days where the excitement surpassed anything that has ever been depicted in a film. This was a major market event that affected everyone involved in the industry, with some brokers dropping their promises of Negative Balance Protection to clients and others even having to declare insolvency after experiencing insurmountable losses. In comparison, 38 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
UK Brexit referendum result and when Donald Trump won the US presidential election? Again, these were two major worldwide events that had a massive influence on the financial markets. At FxPro, due to our top-tier liquidity providers and leading, world-class systems and infrastructure, we were able to provide clients with continuous pricing throughout both events. Despite the surge in market volatility on both occasions, our spreads didn’t experience significant increases and our clients maintained the ability to trade in any way they wanted. All in all, despite the significant effects of both events on the financial markets, I believe we handled each occasion very well, maintaining our professionalism at all times.
,1$'($/(5¶6 92&$%8/$5< we at FxPro honoured our commitments to our clients and upheld our Negative Balance Protection policy, rectifying all accounts that had been negatively affected by the move. The fact that the move was so sudden and had such an overwhelming impact on everyone in the industry worldwide, combined with the professional nature in which we handled the event, has to make it my most memorable day. How did dealers around the world react to the news of events such as 9/11 or the day of the collapse of Lehman Bros? How did their clients react? FxPro was founded in 2006, and I joined the company in 2010, which makes it difficult for me to give personal insights on how dealers and clients reacted to those two specific events. However, both events had major impacts on the global markets. Fears over market chaos and the potential for a disastrous loss in value in the wake of 9/11 saw the longest shutdown for both the NYSE and the Nasdaq since 1933. Additionally, numerous brokers and other financial firms that had offices in the World Trade Center were unable to function following the event. The Lehman Bros collapse led to them filling the largest bankruptcy claim in history and also contributed to the loss of almost $10 trillion in market capitalisation from global equity markets. Events like these, whether unpredictable like 9/11 and the SNB unpegging, or slightly more foreseeable as with the Lehman Bros collapse, have enormous global effects on the financial markets and both traders and dealers struggle to handle any fallout as best they can. What happened more recently after the
Is there a “rule book” on when to buy or sell? A “rule book” about when to buy or sell would imply that the financial markets are predictable. This, however, isn’t the case. Uncertainty is a staple of trading the financial markets as important factors such as volatility and liquidity can be influenced by numerous outside sources. As such, it is impossible to create a “rule book” about when to buy or sell any instrument. Instead, I would recommend that any trader, no matter the asset they plan to trade, should employ sound risk management, and make use of both technical and fundamental analysis to help them make the most informed trades possible. What is it about your job that keeps you motivated? Everything about it – whether it’s the simple day-to-day tasks or responding effectively to major market events – keeps me motivated and driven to produce work at the highest level. I particularly enjoy the fact that every day in a Dealing Room is different, there are always new challenges to overcome and I revel in it. Finally, at FxPro specifically, we have built a diverse and skilled team, not only in dealing but company-wide, and having the opportunity to work alongside these talented individuals is simply a pleasure.
margin of error. In this business, re Dealing Rooms as exciting and the numbers speak for themselves, dramatic as they are numbers that could possibly impact depicted in movies? us and our clients, so priority should always be given to the proper Working in a Trading or Dealing Room is definitely monitoring of risk exposure and how a challenge. I wouldn’t say exactly like to keep everything running smoothly on a daily basis. in the movies as there is a tendency for slight exaggeration. However, the Describe what happens when action is definitely always there and tension rises in the Dealing Room. this is due to several aspects related to This is when the real challenge arises. this specific industry. First of all, the Forex market is a continuous five-day, It is actually during these times when someone can judge whether 24-hour market that never sleeps; it begins with the opening in New York, a Trading Room is being handled by professionals, is well structured, then Sydney and Tokyo, followed prompt to respond and can adjust by London and the circle starts according to each circumstance. The again. Second, any economic, social, word ‘panic’ is not allowed in the political, legal or financial event that department. occurs on a global scale may actually Team spirit is also key to success; it is impact the financial markets, creating of utmost importance for dealers to either higher or lower volatility, and have a high level of communication contribute to a significant decline or among one another in order to take increase of market liquidity. Third, PULLOUT QUOTES: appropriate action to handle such important news announcements may During major economic announcements orthe globally significant cases as effectively as possible when cause unpredictable market moves and events, things can quickly become frantic change the entire day or night scenario they arise. dramatically fromdoesn’t one second the in a dealer’s The word ‘ordinary’ eventoappear How did dealers around the world next. The entire team must, therefore, vocabulary! react to the news of events such as be on alert and responsive at any 9/11 or the day of the collapse of point in time in order to ensure the smooth continuation and execution of Lehman Bros? How did their clients react? operations. From the investors’ point of view, each Is there such a thing as an ‘ordinary trader has his/her own risk appetite that determines consequent trading day’ in the Dealing Room? activities. Some decided to continue As our CEO says, “every day is like a trading as whilst others decided to pull new year in the trading room”! From back and simply monitor the market the start until the end of a trading for a while until it calmed down. session, it is very likely to experience From the brokers’ point of view, different scenarios within a relatively several companies found themselves short timeframe. Something will not having adequate measures in always come up that will require place, resulting to overexposure immediate action with the least
of risk that eventually led to the shutdown of operations. Here at Windsor Brokers, I can confidently say that so far we have managed to overcome all suchmajor events with success thanks to our fine-tuned risk management policies and high capital reserves. Our Capital adequacy ratio is at 59% - seven times the minimum requirement by law. Is there a ‘rule book’ about when to buy or sell? If such a rule existed, the entire financial market would not be able to function properly. This is because every market needs both buyers and sellers in order to exist. Supply and demand is basically what sets the price level of each financial instrument. Of course, each investor has his/her own trading style and preference. Moreover, combinations vary, so therefore the idea of a ‘rule book’ cannot really be applied. What is it about your job that keeps you motivated? . It takes drive, determination and passion to master this profession with confidence. It is also a lot more about winning or losing as both can teach you a lot. It is about strategy, discipline, psychology and finding the right timing to match with the according action. I would say that this specific profession is more like an art that continuously offers you the opportunity to further develop skills and expand your knowledge of various subjects. One thing is certain: if you like challenges, then you will never feel bored inside a Trading Room.
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| INVESTMENT |
IN HIS ELEMENT
SAVVAS LIASIS, MANAGING PARTNER OF ELEMENTS CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD AND CHAIRMAN OF ALPEN INVEST, MOVED FROM LONDON TO NICOSIA 10 YEARS AGO. NOW, AS PEOPLE SPECULATE ABOUT HOW THE UK’S DECISION TO LEAVE THE EU MAY LEAD BRITISHBASED COMPANIES TO RELOCATE TO MEMBER STATES SUCH AS CYPRUS, HIS CYPRUSBASED FIRM IS SEEKING REGULATION UNDER THE UK’S FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY. DESPITE THE UNPLEASANT WORKING CONDITIONS THAT MADE HIM GLAD TO HAVE LEFT, “IT’S ALL ABOUT LONDON” HE TELLS GOLD. BY JOHN VICKERS PHOTO BY JO MICHAELIDES
40 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
avvas Liasis was still studying for his MSc in Investment Management at City University of London (now Cass Business School) when he and three friends decided to set up Easybroker International Ltd. To their surprise and amazement, this “little four-man company”, as he describes it, grew and grew until it was employing 55 people and was the largest independent broker in England and one of the largest independent institutional electronic equity brokerages in Europe with a client
base of 400 institutional clients in over 30 countries. “We found ourselves doing volumes of €2 billion a month,” he recalls, “and so we decided we’d better get serious about it! We brought in a proper Chairman and CFO and made changes to the Board and eventually we were ready to list on the London Stock Exchange when we received a very attractive offer from a competitor in Sweden.” By this time, Liasis and his wife had had their first child and had already agreed that they would rather raise their family in Cyprus so he decided to cash out and see what happened. At first, things were not as straightforward as he had anticipated. “It was a double culture shock,” he says. “I moved from England to Cyprus and, at the same time, I switched from a schedule comprising daily back-to-back meetings with 50 or so employees to nothing at all. There was just silence! And to top it off, nothing was happening here. I couldn’t get my head around it for the first year! I gradually started getting used to the different lifestyle and enjoying it a little bit more but it wasn’t long before I felt the urge to get active again.”
Even when the events of 2013 struck Cyprus, there was never a moment when he regretted coming back. “I had been very happy to make the move,” he says. “In London you get up for work and it’s dark, you go home and it’s dark. Seven years of that just eats away at you. Here, it may have felt like a whole different mentality in some ways but I enjoyed the change to a more human lifestyle.” Elements Capital Partners was originally started when Liasis and his partners were invited by Raudline Etienne, CIO of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, to find some potential investments in Southeast Europe. “They were considering an investment of around $200 million through us and while we were working on it, the crisis hit and we realised that there was going to be a lot of distressed value around here. In the end, New York wasn’t really interested in that kind of investment but we received a lot of reaction from some of the hedge funds that we were working with, including York Capital and Baupost, and we started managing a few transactions for them.” That arrangement started with what Savvas Liasis describes as “a really small with a deal of around €30 million” (yes, it’s another world) and, he explains, “things began to snowball from there. We bought a fund in Slovenia which had around €110 million under management and from there on we started growing our own private equity funds.” The next obvious question is why a Cyprus-based boutique investment firm specializing in distressed assets and private equity opportunities has not taken advantage of the problems that many local companies have suffered since 2013. It is not for want of trying, says Liasis, and he draws a comparison with Slovenia.
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| INVESTMENT |
“First of all, Slovenia’s government took a conscious decision to clean the banks by creating a bad asset management company (a ‘bad bank’). That makes it so easy way to transact: you go to the bad bank, you know their valuations (which are realistic), they know your targets and you know theirs, you transact. Here it’s a completely different story.” He raises one hand and lowers the other to illustrate that “the banks’ valuations are up here and reality is down here.” He explains his view that, “The banks themselves have got things wrong. They need to impose an additional haircut onto some of those assets and then people like us will come closer to transacting with them.” So, the banks may not be doing things properly but what does Liasis have to say about the economy? Here he is much more positive and forthcoming. “Things have changed considerably,” he says. “I have a lot of time for the Finance Minister for the work that he’s done, and the Minister of Transport has done a lot of good things too, from Cyprus Airways to Limassol Port. These were tough projects to handle. This Government has done a great deal whenever Parliament has allowed it to. I think things could have been a lot better if we had a bad bank as well but Cyprus is a small, flexible economy and it shouldn’t take much to get it going again, as long as we get the principles right.” Asked to elaborate on these principles, he explains that, “Everyone seems to base our economic future on the real estate market. Developers have contributed a lot to the economy but they’ve also contributed a lot to the problems of the economy. It’s time to move away from that. There are areas we need to focus on that nobody is looking at yet – technology, for example, could be a huge asset in this country. We can’t keep basing everything on real estate for the next 10 or 15 years. I don’t think tourism is going to be that hot this year – we were lucky in 2016 because Egypt and Turkey were
42 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
CYPRUS IS A SMALL, FLEXIBLE ECONOMY AND IT SHOULDN’T TAKE MUCH TO GET IT GOING AGAIN shut – and I think the hoteliers should be careful not to expand too quickly because I don’t think the next two years are going to be the same.” That said, Elements Capital Partners is actually looking at a number of hotels. “We own 30% of the tourism GDP in Slovenia now,” Liasis reveals, “and we turned that around really well over the last year. If we do get involved in Cyprus, it will either be in tourism or banking.” He notes that the company made a bid for Piraeus Bank (Cyprus) last summer (“We lost out to Mr Sehnaoui”) and, together with Atlas Merchant Capital, is the only bidder for National Bank of Greece (Cyprus), and so, all being well, it will shortly have its first portfolio as an investor here. Having studied, lived and worked in London for a good number of years, what was Savvas Liasis’ reaction to the Brexit vote? “My first reaction was to think that we’d be selling a lot of land to British people who would want to have a European passport!” he says, laughing. “But that whole Brexit ‘scare story’ of firms closing down and moving to Frankfurt just isn’t
happening, partly because nobody knows what the deal is yet,” he adds, noting that Theresa May “seems to be making it absolutely clear on the one hand that there’s no turning back but on the other hand she’s saying it’s business as usual. People are sitting on the fence, waiting to see what kind of a deal it’s going to be.” But while there is talk of UK-based companies possibly relocating to Cyprus, Elements Capital Partners is now seeking FCA regulation in the UK. “It’s all about London,” says the Managing Partner. “That’s where you’ll have a conversation with someone from another hedge fund or you’ll go to look for a fund. London is where you can meet people, find deals and execute them. You won’t get that so much in Frankfurt and you definitely don’t get it in Nicosia!” The mention of the word ‘funds’ makes me ask Savvas Liasis what he makes of the fledgling investment funds industry in Cyprus. While he appreciates the efforts being made by the Cyprus Investment Funds Association (CIFA) and its President, Angelos Gregoriades, he is not convinced that the country has what it takes to attract fund managers. “We hear a lot about funds in Malta but they’re just registrations,” he says. “The managers aren’t there. Luxembourg has a similar thing and if Cyprus is simply looking to register Special Purpose Entities/Vehicles that are going to hold cash for tax benefits, that’s fine but the managers are still going to be in the UK and elsewhere. I see a big push from CIFA and I see a lot of accountants and lawyers at all their events but no fund managers. It’s a tough thing to bring here and if anyone can do it, it’s Angelos Gregoriades but the big players need to be in London or New York. CIPA is also doing a very good job with what it has but growth private equity isn’t going to enter Cyprus until the distressed credit buyers have finished. Then they will, and then venture capital. There’s a cycle that needs to be followed and it sometimes looks as if we in Cyprus are trying to skip a few steps. As always!”
| CONFERENCE |
),1$1&,$/ ,QYHVWLJDWLRQ &RRUGLQDWLRQ
he “Re-enforcing the Anti-Fraud Infrastructure: Best Practice Initiatives” conference, which took place on December 8, 2016 at European University Cyprus, was the final part of a series of training sessions under the “Financial Investigation Coordination in Cyprus” (FICC) project, funded by the Hercule III programme of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). The overall aim of the project is to improve coordination among stakeholders in combating fraud, through the creation of a common knowledge base and the development of a culture of cooperation and communication. Participants exchanged their anti-fraud prevention knowledge and experience in order to further strengthen the fraud prevention ecosystem in Cyprus. 2UJDQL]HUV
David Clarke, Mia Campbell, Fraud Advisory Panel, UK
The panelists of the Conference
Chryso Angeli, Cyprus Police and Ares Neophytou Izidocs Ltd
The Chairman of the Conference, Alexander Apostolides, European University of Cyprus
Odysseas Michaelides, Auditor-General, Cyprus
Mike Christodoulou, Cyprus College, George Pericleous and Pavlos Eleftheriou, Tax Department
Alexis Kythreotis, European University Cyprus
Thanos Alifantis, SAS Aglaia Karagiorgi and Katerina Demetriadou Paphiti, 0U[LYUHS(\KP[6MÄJL
Christos Christodoulou and Stella Avraam, Cyprus Police
David Marcus Nossen, European (U[P-YH\K6MÄJL (OLAF)
George Georgiou, Tax Department
Anna Zavou Christoforou, Commissioner of Internal Audit of the Republic of Cyprus, Alexander Apostolides, European University of Cyprus and Elpida Kallia, SAS
Gregoris Gregoriades, Greek Financial & Economic Crime Unit
Anna Zavou Christoforou, Commissioner of Internal Audit of the Republic of Cyprus, Odysseas Ph. Michaelides, Auditor General of the Republic of Stavri Ttofa, Cyprus , Athina Farmaka Treasury of the Pampori, Cyprus Police Republic of www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 43 Cyprus
| XXX |
44 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
IN OCTOBER 2016, MILTOS MICHAELAS LEFT THE BANK OF CYPRUS’ REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT UNIT TO JOIN BANK OF SYDNEY AS CEO. THIS IS HIS SECOND SPELL IN AUSTRALIA, FOLLOWING FIVE YEARS IN 2001-2006 AS GENERAL MANAGER OF LAIKI BANK AUSTRALIA, WHERE HE EXPANDED DEPOSITS AND LOANS 12-FOLD OVER A THREE-YEAR PERIOD. NOT A BAD RECORD FOR SOMEONE WHO STUDIED COMPUTER SCIENCE FOR HIS FIRST DEGREE! HE SPOKE EXCLUSIVELY TO GOLD DURING A RECENT VISIT TO CYPRUS TO FINISH PACKING AT THE FAMILY HOME. BY JOHN VICKERS | PHOTO BY JO MICHAELIDES
in Nicosia but I left to spend two years at Petrolina Holdings, helping it list on the Stock Exchange and then the bank approached me and asked me to go back and be responsible for its Australian operations. I felt very honoured to be offered such a position and I gladly accepted it. I actually had several extended family members in Adelaide, which made the decision a bit easier but, to be honest, I was so flattered to be asked back to the bank I had left and to be given responsibility for solving a problem they had, I am sure I would have gone anyway. ou’ve spent almost 25 years in banking. What drew you to the sector in the first place? Miltos Michaelas: I was drawn to finance out of necessity as much as interest but I had always liked the idea of being involved in services and I’ve always seen banking as a service. I actually graduated with a degree in Computer Science but, at that time, things were changing so fast in technology outside Cyprus and I was concerned that I would be completely left behind and forced to be retraining continuously so, even though it was totally outside my area of expertise – I’d never done Economics or Accounting before – I decided to return to the UK to do a Master’s in Finance. As soon as I graduated, I was given a job with Laiki (Cyprus Popular) Bank. Gold: You were recently appointed CEO of Bank of Sydney, which marks a return to the country where you spent five years with Laiki Bank Australia. Tell us about your first stint there. M.M.: I did well at Laiki Bank and ended up heading the Corporate Banking division
Gold: How were those five years? M.M.: Excellent! At first, the culture there was an eye-opener for me. I couldn’t get used to the idea that people would ever resign from a bank as a career move – nobody did that in Cyprus back then! I’m pleased to say that I managed to keep most of the staff and we turned things round very quickly, breaking even within a year. For a small bank in a big country, there will always be a lot of challenges but we did very well, thanks initially to the support of our target market, which was the Greek and Cypriot communities – a really beautiful diaspora. As I told you, I like banking because I see it as a service, and we later expanded that service beyond the Greek and Cypriot expatriates. Gold: When you came back to Cyprus, did you feel that things were being done differently from what you had grown accustomed to in Australia? M.M.: Yes. I came back to the old mentality of people wanting and expecting to get a job for life – admittedly, that was not a purely Cypriot phenomenon at the time
– but things had changed in Australia, where they create systems that allow businesses to prosper. And in reality the sky’s the limit. I had customers whom I helped develop their community business into a national one and, 15 years on, their brand is everywhere and they may have sold it for hundreds of millions of dollars. A big country allows you to succeed in this way and the national market encourages you to try and compete with the big players. Things aren’t the same in a small country like Cyprus. Gold: You were always involved in international banking from that point. Was that your own choice? Why? M.M.: I returned to Cyprus at a rather strange time in the bank’s history and, for a few months I wasn’t sure where things were leading but I had come to believe that life was all about resolving problems and so, when I saw that the bank had an International Banking department which was trailing the market, I opened
www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 45
my mouth and made a few hard-hitting remarks and they gave me the department to put things right! That department was all about servicing international clients who wanted to use Cyprus as their base and I did that for seven years. Success in that particular market had to do with compliance, efficiency and speed and my background in computers suddenly became more relevant as digitisation was coming in and I did a lot of work in that area. When the financial crisis hit and the bank needed someone to run its subsidiaries abroad, I had already been servicing clients in Russia and Ukraine and I had run a bank abroad, so it was a natural move to take over the subsidiaries and I was eventually given those of Bank of Cyprus too. I was an active Board member for most of the banks – you have to run them before you can see them – and we sold them, so that only Bank of Cyprus UK remains. Then I was asked to set up the bank’s Real Estate Management Unit. Gold: Now you’re back in Australia. Was it difficult to turn down the opportunity? M.M.: I was first offered a job there in April 2013 but my wife talked to me about the whole reputational issue and how it might appear that I was running away from something! She was right. In our industry, reputation is everything and that applies to individuals as well as companies. So I turned the offer down back then, preferring to stay and help the bank in Cyprus and I have to say that, looking back, I believe I did my best work in those three years. But I kept getting offers from Australia and each time the financial aspect was more attractive. I believe that timing is of the essence and so, this time, I decided that I was ready for a new challenge. Being in charge of Bank of Cyprus’ Real Estate Management Unit meant that I wasn’t really a banker anymore but an asset specialist. I wanted to get back into ‘proper banking’ and growing banks, preparing myself for the next 10 years of my career. Gold: Even in today’s connected, globalised world, Sydney is still a long way from home! M.M.: Yes, but this time it’s different. My
46 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
It began by focusing on ethnic groups – Greeks, Lebanese, etc. – and the effort is to solidify its position in that market and tap into the national market to obtain the required growth. It’s mainly based in Sydney, but it has branches in Melbourne and Adelaide too. It’s fairly innovative so the challenge is to feed into that capacity through further digitisation. Australia is a very modern market that has embraced the Internet and digitisation but there is still some catching up to be done. Bank of Sydney is a profitable bank with growth aspirations and good shareholder support. two kids are in the UK – one is already working and the other has a job waiting for her as soon as she graduates – so it’s easier to take a decision like this. Also, over the past three years, I’ve had an insight into Bank of Sydney’s culture and I like what I see. There was an attractive remuneration package, of course, but they were also talking about family and I was impressed and honoured by their attitude in the discussions we had. After three months in the job, I think it was definitely the best decision I could have taken. Gold: Has the Australian banking system suffered from the problems affecting many US and European banks? M.M.: No. Australia has been a very stable place and it did relatively well, with the property market picking up very fast after the crisis. The one thing that worries me is the fact that people have got used to being crisis-free for 25 years so they think it will never come. Our experience in Cyprus has shown that nowhere is immune to a financial crisis so I think I am probably a bit more pessimistic than I might have been in the past. Whenever I see that there has been a huge property boom, I am subconsciously preparing myself for a coolingdown period! Gold: What’s the status of Bank of Sydney in the Australian sector? M.M.: It’s a small bank. Australia has four big ones and a lot of challenger banks and it’s one of those. Its capital has been growing steadily, which shows commitment.
Gold: Do you think you’ll be back here soon or is Bank of Sydney a long-term venture for you? M.M.: I love Australia. It’s a second home and a beautiful country to live in. Similarly I love the UK, where my wife and I as well as our children studied but, in reality, we all consider Cyprus as our home, especially after living close to the Phinikoudes Promenade in Larnaca and then seeing our children grow up in the same place. In the end, these are things that make a place feel like home. So I know we would all like to find ourselves back here one day. I have made a commitment and I hope that, five years from now, I will be in charge of a healthier bank that is maybe twice its present size, with a very happy team. Gold: I’m sure you’ll be keeping a close eye on Cyprus. If you come back in five years’ time, do you think you’ll be returning to a reunited country? M.M.: The question of reunification is one that my generation has been asking for the last 42 years. It looks as if there is finally a good chance of a solution and it is something I wish for. We need to take the difficult decisions and not pass on the responsibility to our kids. It would be unfair to place such a huge problem on the shoulders of future generations. I think that a reunited Cyprus will prosper. I mentioned the importance of timing earlier and if ever there was a good chance to resolve this issue, I think now is the time. I hope everything goes well while I’m away, which will make it even better to come back.
| PERSONAL BRANDING |
NEW YOU I
By Andrie Penta
first came across the term ‘Personal Branding’ in 2010, wants to connect with or follow people who seem to dislike Info: Andrie when I took a “train the trainer” course in London. what they do. We are all fascinated by people who enjoy what Penta is a At the time, people weren’t using it as much as ‘image they do, do it well and lead by example. Business & Soft Skills making’ but when I returned to Cyprus and set up my Trainer. second company, I thought Personal Branding 4. BE PROMPT was a better term to describe what we were actually It is annoying (and, in my view, unprofessional) offering. when people don’t respond to messages, e-mails Although, the idea was very new to the Cypriot and phone calls. Remember that everyone has an market, I soon realized how many people needed influence. Not everyone can be your paying cushelp with adopting a more professional image, comtomer but they might have an influence on your municating more effectively, marketing themselves paying customer. Bearing that in mind, make sure and their services better and reaching a bigger audithat you always respond to people, express an opinence. So I began writing about it, speaking about it ion, ask questions and follow them up. and educating as many people as possible about the value of investing in their own Personal Brand. 5. PROVE YOURSELF A brand is anything that separates one thing from Don’t expect to be believable, loved and followed another – a symbol, a design, a name, a sound, from Day 1. In order to become an influencer, you reputation and much more. Branding in business is need to invest time in escalating your brand to a common but today it is becoming just as important higher level, prove that you have certain knowledge on a personal level. Your personal brand is how you and skills and then act as a valuable source of inforappear to the world and it should be clear that a mation in your field of expertise. strong brand is preferable to one that is unpolished and uninteresting. Once people know who you are and begin to 6. GET OUTSIDE THAT BOX identify you with a specific area of skill, you’ll be well on your way to I used to think that only the experts did things right and theirs was becoming the expert in your industry. the only way to get things done. I now know that I was wrong. If you are ready to invest some time in building your Personal Marketing, branding and entrepreneurship are both a science and an Brand, here are seven tips to start with: art. There are many ways to reach your goals and it is totally OK to differentiate yourself. While it is important to know the traditional 1. BUILD AN AUTHENTIC BRAND ways in which things are done, that does not mean that you cannot In an effort to build and promote an impeccable personal brand, experiment. many people fall into the trap of building a “fake” brand, which is exhausting to maintain in the long run. Personal Branding is not 7. ONLINE GURU about becoming someone else. It is about identifying and cultivating These days, it’s not who you know but who knows you. Social your strengths and promoting them effectively. Media is a great tool for sharing what you know, exchanging ideas, helping others, gaining knowledge and becoming a strong brand 2. LOVE YOUR BRAND online. However, it has little to do with what we say about ourselves It is extremely difficult to convince other people of something that and everything to do with what other people say about us. you don’t believe in yourself. Your brand should be a reflection of who you are, so you need to understand and embrace your true self. Whether you aspire to get that promotion, secure a new job, expand Is what you believe in clear in your head? Do you know what your your business or become an entrepreneur, creating a compelling and consistent brand will help you meet your goals. Once you are clear values are? Are you familiar with your strengths and weaknesses? about these basic principles and start taking baby steps every day towards cultivating your personal brand, the right opportunities will 3. PURSUE YOUR PASSION start coming your way. Branding starts with pursuing and doing what you love. Nobody
Personal Branding is not about becoming someone else
www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 47
4TH CYPRUS BANKING FORUM
he 4th Cyprus Banking Forum, which was held on 1 December 2016 at the Hilton Park Hotel in Nicosia, examined the new position that many banks in Europe will now be forced to adopt as a result of increasing non-performing loans, current and new regulations, new banking models, and more. The Forum addressed questions pertaining to the future of the European banking model, return on equity and its progression, and the survival of European banks overall.
(L-R): Anders Jensen & Chris[VZ7HU[LSP*VUÃ„YTH[PVUJVT
(L-R): Panikos Demetriades, Kyriakos Kyriakou, Haris Theocharides, Aamir Janjua, Andreas Michael & Bernadette Hadjijiovanni, NCR Corporation
(L-R)Andreas Costouris, Association of Cyprus Banks & Robert Priester, European Banking Federation
Marios Charalambides, PwC Cyprus & Christina Pierides, Association of Cyprus Banks (L-R): Georgia 2SH[ZPH 0Ã„NLUPH Tsaouni, RCB Bank Andreas Tryfonos & Galatia Savva Cooperative Central Bank
(L-R)Robert Priester, European Banking Federation, Michalis Kammas, Association of Cyprus Banks & Andreas Theodorides, USB Bank
Christiana Papakyriakou & Michalis Aristidou, Eurobank Cyprus (L-R): Brian Polk, PwC UK & Stelios Constantinou, PwC Cyprus
(L-R): Kyriakos Koukkides, Sarah Rahal & Georgia Apostolou, USB Bank Plc
(L-R): Demetra Mouski & Jenny Solomonidou, Hellenic Bank Public Company Ltd
Georgios Georgiou, Alpha Bank Cyprus Ltd & Elli Photiou, Cooperative Central Bank
Panel of Speakers (L-R): Jan Schildbach, Deutsche )HUR9LZLHYJO.PRHZ Hardouvellis, University of Piraeus, Stelios Constantinou, PwC Cyprus, Aamir Janjua, NCR Corporation UK, Robert Priester, European Banking Federation
(L-R): Daphne Roditou Tang, IMH, Stavroulla Pissaridou & Nearxos Nearxou, Bank Of Cyprus
(L-R)Andreas Theodorides, USB Bank & Vincenzo Guzzo, International Monetary Fund
Georgia Themistocleous, Ministry of Finance & Marios Paraskeva, RCB Bank
39(UKLYZ1LUZLU*VUÃ„YTH[PVUJVT Paris Aristidou, USB Bank Plc & Maria Nikiforou, Cooperative Central Bank
Irena Georgiadou & Bert Pijls, Hellenic Bank
20 | LOOKING BACK |
16 THROUGH THE PAGES OF GOLD
Since its inception almost six years ago, GOLD has been a platform for in-depth interviews with people who have something to say, from academics to politicians, from bankers to businessmen. As another year begins, we revisit some of our favourite encounters of 2016 and present telling extracts from the conversations. By John Vickers
50 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
GOLD GOLD GOLD 5T
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ACCOUNTANCY ICPAC at 55 Kyriakos Iordanou on the challenges
Business in Cyprus
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Investing in the Future with the MIC Cyprus
Andrea Antoniou Michalis Papadopoulos Anastasia Papadopoulou
Art, Dance, Music, Opera, & More
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COMPLIANCE What it means, why itâ€™s needed Elias Neocleous
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EXCHANGE RATE FICTIONS Devaluation shocks are on the way
Christian Jacob Andrew Pyne Frixos Savvides
Art, Theatre, Music, Opera, Film & More
REFORM MOVEMENT British High Commissioner Ric Todd on reform in the EU & Cyprus
Andrey Dashin A George Hadjipieris Ge Loizos Heracleous L Evy Poumpouras Thomas Tandetzki
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INTERVIEWS & OPINIONS
DEVELOPMENTS & PROSPECTS FACTS & FIGURES
JOHN HOURICAN AND BERT PIJLS
The dynamic duo of the Cyprus banking sector
We can change the world, says Stefano Ceccarelli
Cleopatra Kitti Sievert Larsson Arfat Qayyum
.LVÉˆ)HYULZ James Castellano on the profession
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Naguib Sawiris â€œIâ€™m an investor with a heartâ€?
Interview with CBC Governor Chrystalla Georghadji
Elena Donets William Janssen Martin Manuzi
)\ZPULZZ)YPLĂ„UN >OH[ÂťZ6U)VVRZ Opinion & More
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CRISIS OR OPPORTUNITY FOR CYPRUS?
The impact of the UKâ€™s decision to leave the EU on key sectors of the islandâ€™s economy
ISSUE 5 TH
CFA presidents Christos Michael & George Savvides
Borys Humeniuk George Mountis Richard Spencer
Business BYPLĂ„UN WOH[ÂťZ6U BVVRZ Opinion & More
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Celebrating International Investment in Cyprus
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| LOOKING BACK |
RIC TODD British High Commissioner to Cyprus On what Cypriot reunification will mean for the country and the broader region
here are good reasons to be hopeful and optimistic that a solution to the Cyprus Problem can be found. Everyone has been struck by the way the two leaders have worked together, built confidence and started to tackle the really difficult issues. There is very strong support for finding a solution from the international community, expressed by visiting ministers, including our Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who has been here twice in a few months. A settlement of the Cyprus question will be very good for all Cypriots. It will open up a whole set of economic opportunities and it will enable Cyprus to achieve its potential. Everyone who looks at the Green Line in Nicosia feels a powerful sense of the waste of that potential, of the missed opportunities and of how much more could be done by a united Cyprus. Such a united Cyprus will be able to play an even stronger role in the neighbourhood; it will be a source of stability in the region; an example of how a conflict can be brought to an end by peaceful means; and a great asset for the European Union and the West in dealing with a region fraught with major difficulties. A solution will enable Cyprus to change its relationship with its large and important neighbour – Turkey – as well as with other countries in the region. And of course, in purely human terms, it will be a great advantage for the Cypriots to be able to live in a united island and make the most of all the opportunities that will be created here.”
52 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
KYRIAKOS IORDANOU General Manager Institute Of 0UZ[P[\[LVM*LY[PÄLK7\ISPJ(Jcountants of Cyprus On how a solution to the Cyprus Problem may affect the Institute and the accounting profession
e carefully follow the political developments and try to be proactive, to the extent that we can. Firstly, let me state that I don’t believe that any reasonable person wouldn’t support a proper solution. We are fully aware of the benefits and potential it will bring to the economy, opening up possibly new, unchartered horizons! But being accountants, we are usually more down-to-earth and try to be as prudent as possible, in order to better plan the project and achieve the optimum result. The Council of our Institute has included this possibility in its short list of strategic goals and we have started making our notes. Our work is confined to technocratic, regulatory, legal and economic matters, such as the evolution of the Companies Law, tax legislation, the adoption of the
EU accounting and audit Directives, AML legislation, and competition between the constituent states, as well as matters of international substance, such as the continuation of the double tax treaties that the Republic of Cyprus has signed with third countries. Issues that may jeopardise Cyprus’ reputation as an international business centre or its compliance profile need to be properly taken care of. In addition, we are thinking about the future of the accountancy and audit profession, since the way we operate is not the same as how Turkish Cypriot accountants work in the occupied areas (i.e. concerning the use of accounting and auditing standards, the adoption of the EU Directives, qualifications for auditors, etc.).We believe that if these issues are discussed and cleared in advance by the political leaders, the consolidation of the economy will be greatly facilitated. Currently, we have Turkish Cypriot accountants registered either as ICPAC members or students and we would like to embrace all Turkish Cypriot professional accountants and work together with them, thus boosting prospects for the profession and the economy. That said, I have to note that, as one of the key players in the economy and a competent authority for three professions, the Institute has not yet received any official call from the Government, either to share our views or participate in any working group.”
ANDREY A NDREY DASHIN Founder of ForexTime (FXTM) On his dedication to philanthropy
started the Alpari Charitable Fund in Russia more than 10 years ago with a clear mindset of the necessity to give back to the community and especially to those in need. Irrespective of recent trends in philanthropy amongst wealthy businessmen, I established Andrey & Julia Dashin’s Foundation in Cyprus to continue with that same mindset. If you have ever looked in the eyes of kids who haven’t been as lucky in life as you have, when they receive new toys or just about any present that they’ve never had before, at that moment there is no place for doubt in your heart and mind that you’re doing the right thing and must continue your course of action. I can’t stress this enough: the seeds you plant now will thrive and evolve into something that really matters years ahead.”
with Cyprus, I would say it is that Singapore implements very effectively and, as a nation, is extremely efficient. There are proper personnel evaluations in the public sector, for instance, unlike here where 99% are rated as “excellent”. It is true that there is not as much diversity in the political debate as you find in some other countries but in the end, comparing Cyprus with Singapore, it comes down to the question of how much political debate you are willing to give up in return for safety, security and wealth. Singapore has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world ($US56,000), with quality offerings in every sector. Its national GDP at $US307 billion is 13 times that of Cyprus, while it is Chair in Strategy and Organisation a tiny country, its land mass at 719 at Warwick Business School km2 being 1/13th that of Cyprus. In Cyprus we have greater freedom and On the lessons that Cyprus could learn democracy but, despite what hapfrom Singapore pened three years ago, we still have (MARCH 2016) the old mindset of wanting a cosy job in the government or in a bank for think we can learn a lot from Singapore which, in the 1960s, the rest of our lives. We need to work on being competitive as a nation and, had no natural resources or reserves but followed a national strategy of in order to do that, we have to make gradually upgrading the economy, initially it easier for people to create things. Government needs to get out of the through manufacturing, then becoming way of business and commerce and a transportation node and building an exist only as a safeguard of security, excellent port and airport before focusing safety, legislation and against possible on financial services. Now it has one of the biggest stock exchanges in Asia. It then abuse of power. Other than that, govturned to industries such as biotechnology ernments have no place in business. and medicine and, more recently, focused They should leave it to the private on education. If there is a major difference sector.”
PROF. LOIZOS HERACLEOUS
www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 53
| LOOKING BACK |
EVY POUMPOURAS Former member of the US SeJYL[:LY]PJLHUKVM7YLZPKLU[ Barack Obama’s protection detail On being scared of doing such a dangerous job
was never scared. I think that when you take that job, you make peace with it. You understand that you’re willing to die for the people you’re protecting and possibly others too. However, on September 11, 2001, I came the closest I have ever been to feeling scared. The US Secret Service offices in New York were at 7 World Trade Center and when the buildings were hit, everybody evacuated but my colleagues and I stayed to help people. When the first tower came down, I remember thinking that I was really going to die. I was trapped and alone and I don’t think I was scared; more than anything else I was sad at the idea that I was going to die alone. That was the only time I had such a moment and it happened early in my career so after that nothing else could really make me afraid. It was if I got into the mood of, ‘I’m going to get shot at? No problem!’ I’d already got the worst out of the way.”
54 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
THOMAS TANDETZKI .SVIHS*VTT\UPJH[PVUZ0UK\Z[Y`3LHKLY7^* On how the EU’s digital agenda will affect the traditional telecommunications company (telco) business model
he EU’s “Digital Agenda” is built on seven pillars, two of which are the Digital Single Market and Fast/Ultra-Fast Internet access. I believe these two pillars will impact telcos strongly. First, the Digital Single Market means roaming charges for retail customers will end by 15 June 2017, and on wholesale charges a decision is expected soon. Especially in countries with a big influx of business travellers and tourists, telcos will suffer due to losing revenues from the inability to charge roaming fees. Another aspect of this pillar is net neutrality. This means that a telco would have to provide customers access to their network on an equal basis, without the ability to charge them higher rates for faster content delivery (priority traffic). This makes it more difficult for telcos to differentiate their products from their competitors. A telco wants its network to be more than just a “dumb pipe.” Forcing the telcos to offer fast Internet access is clearly important for the economy, especially in rural areas, but it can mean that companies have to make investments with negative returns. Do we see that also in other industries? I don’t think so. As a result, telcos will need to look for new or non-traditional revenue and earnings streams, such as expanding into other verticals (i.e., Industry 4.0, Smart Home, Smart Cities, etc.). This will require a telco to transform its business model to take advantage of these new opportunities. I wouldn’t refer to it as a “downfall” of the old-style of operation, but rather a transformation. The world is changing, virtually every industry is changing and the telco industry is no different.”
7HY[ULYPU*VSVJHZZPKLZ Hadjipieris LLC & Successful Songwriter
Ambassador of the United States to Cyprus
On whether he intends to encourage his daughters to follow in his footsteps in either areas of his own twin careers
lthough they are both musical, I encourage them to be themselves, to do what they want and to discover their talents. The elder one is good at many different subjects and she hasnâ€™t yet decided what she would like to do. The younger one is a very talented pianist and Iâ€™ll be very happy if she pursues a career in music because I know that she will end up doing something that will be good for her and for society. I know from my own experience that at the age of 17-18 we are all forced to take a very big decision about our future. We donâ€™t really know what it means at the time but eventually, if weâ€™re lucky, we find ourselves somewhere doing a job. The most important piece of advice I can give my daughters is that they devote themselves to whatever it is that theyâ€™re doing, do the best they possibly can and make their presence there as valuable as possible. If they like what theyâ€™re doing, theyâ€™ll be happy and so will Iâ€?
On the global feeling of insecurity about terrorism
think we all share a sense of insecurity about the world. Weâ€™ve had our own attacks on a much smaller scale in California and in Texas. I think sometimes thereâ€™s a disconnect between our sense of fear and what is likely to happen â€“ we always say that itâ€™s more dangerous to drive a car or to cross the street â€“ but I donâ€™t want to underestimate what fear does to people. Governments are trying to find the right balance between protecting people, their rights and their privacy with the obligation to ensure the safety of their people and itâ€™s a constant challenge to figure out what that balance is. I think that, more than anything, sharing information is probably the key element to combating some of the threats that are being posed against us and I see European governments trying to figure out how to share information among themselves better.
Weâ€™ll try to figure out how Europe and the US can share information while respecting how we see things and human rights issues. Weâ€™re doing our best to combat the threat from ISIL and weâ€™re doing a lot. There are 66 countries working to counter ISIL and we can see, especially in places like Iraq, that the threat is being diminished. ISIL has lost a lot of ground and is being pushed back and a lot of its financing has been cut off. It still poses a significant threat but weâ€™re hoping that, by attacking in many different ways, weâ€™re controlling and then, hopefully, diminishing it to a point where it doesnâ€™t really pose the threat that it is right now. Cyprus is a secure country but this is a difficult neighbourhood and thereâ€™s always a possibility of it spilling over so I think everyone has to be vigilant here too. Itâ€™s hard to know what the targets are of people who want to cause damage to our countries and societies and I think thereâ€™s more potential concern in Europe where weâ€™ve already seen attacks in the major capitals but you never know. The message is that we should always be vigilant and always take heed and make sure we have the best capabilities. Weâ€™ve been working with the government to enhance some of the capabilities here too. I was very impressed with how Cypriot authorities addressed the recent hijacking and I think it should be reassuring to people that Cyprus might be a small country but there are very capable people here.â€?
www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 55
| LOOKING BACK |
CEO, Bank of Cyprus
On dealing with trade unions
On the recent performance of the Cyprus economy
t has been a difficult couple of years but I have to say that, on a policy level, the Government has behaved impeccably in terms of the scrutiny itâ€™s come under by the international agencies. Itâ€™s carried out a reasonable amount of reform â€“ although I would like to have seen more, including Labour Law reformâ€“ and I think that now Cyprus is out of the economic adjustment programme, the Government needs to continue working on that reform and creating the conditions for recovery. There are good signs in the economy and thereâ€™s sufficient evidence in multiple components of the data to suggest that the economy is indeed starting to recover. Construction is up for the first time in 28 quarters, new car registrations â€“ always a good sign of consumer confidence â€“ are up, there is demand for new lending, tourist arrivals are very significantly up on previous years, thereâ€™s investment happening in the hotel sector, the education sector and others. There are enough signs that this recovery is not just in one place but across the board. It is also true, of course, that many consumers are not yet feeling it in their wage packets, and it may be a while before that happens, but unemployment is falling so weâ€™re seeing enough evidence to suggest that what was a fragile recovery is now starting to gain momentum.â€?
56 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
Former CEO, Hellenic Bank
n previous markets in the past, Iâ€™ve had exceptionally cooperative and constructive relationships with employee representation, be they unions or workersâ€™ councils. However, it is clear that, in Cyprus, the lines between management prerogative and employee representation have become blurred. I believe that many of the issues we face here are not so much to do with employee representation but more about power and influence and who actually runs these institutions. I will always be constructive and I will always listen to reason but, when it comes down to who runs the bank, which people I hire, which decisions we take and what our strategy is, I am very polite but exceptionally firm. This is the prerogative of the shareholders who ultimately run the bank, since they are the ones who have invested, and I am in charge of the bank. I believe we should be fair to our employees and recognise their interests but our conversations should be about their benefits, how we can train them and give them life and career skills, not about who we should hire or not. I think itâ€™s time to take the Labour Code â€“ which contains principles that were good when they were drawn up â€“modernise it and put it into a legal framework. At the moment, there is none.â€?
SIMON WALKER R Director-General, Institute of Directors On the role of women in business
n the UK, about 65% of the participants in the sharing economy are women, and for large numbers of women who may have left work to raise children, it does provide a real opportunity for economic activity that is very fulfilling and, as well as that, it helps consumers.The number of women on FTSE 100 Boards has gone up to around 25%. Could it be better? Yes it could. What needs to be focused on much more is how executive talent is nurtured in order to deliver company bosses and here there is a problem. If you look at accountancy firms or law firms in Britain, they are meticulous in taking the same number of male and female graduates but what happens when it gets to partner level? What happens 20 years later? Quite often itâ€™s the same old story that you have only 10%-15% women. One reason, of course, relates to having children and taking time out to look after them but there may be other problems about behavior and whether an â€˜alpha maleâ€™ approach to business is considered desirable in some sectors. Ultimately we want the best people to be running businesses, whoever they are, male or female.â€?
GREGORY DELLAS Chairman, ACAMS Cyprus Chapter On why Cyprus should excel in transparency
he bigger organisations want to associate themselves with a place that is transparent, where things work well, one that has a good name and reputation. Cyprus has a lot of advantages, including good tax laws that attract a lot of businesses to the island. As an EU member state we follow the EU directives which are already quite strict and, as mentioned before, in some areas our laws are even stricter still. So we have a very robust regulatory framework here and the way our professionals deal with issues of transparency and compliance these days is making us even better. No-one is under the illusion that money-laundering can be totally eradicated. As long as there is crime in the world, fraudsters will always be looking for ways to get their money through the system. Our job is to keep abreast of whatâ€™s happening and preventing it. This is where CAMS certification comes in and ensures that those working in this area are properly trained and knowledgeable.â€?
SIEVERT LARSSON Founder, Ancoria Bank On the secret of his business success and on retirement
verything Iâ€™ve done has involved a lot of hard work. Transparency and integrity are aspects of business that have always been present in Sweden so I had them from the start. Also, in terms of management style, I have always tried to convince people of something rather than simply instruct them to do it. Managers and owners have to delegate, let people grow and take their own initiatives. This is the Swedish way and it seems to be successful. Also, despite our later success, we have always worked on a small scale. Itâ€™s important to choose a business with the potential for expansion and then, of course, you need a bit of luck. A lot of start-ups believe that once they have a product or a design, the job is done. They need to know that 50% of the effort has to be put into selling the idea. Marketing is so important. Yes, Iâ€™ve heard the word â€˜retirementâ€™ but when you have your own projects, you canâ€™t retire unless you are not involved. On the other hand, there is so much regulation and specialisation in a bank that I am no longer qualified to play an active role in it â€“ well, I might make a good receptionist! â€“ so by default I am semi-retired already and, therefore, I donâ€™t need to think about it!â€?
MARIOS DEMETRIADES Minister of Transport, Communications & Works On the Cyprus shipping industry
n the sense that it does not depend on the local economy, the local industry may not have been affected by the crisis but foreign companies still want to be based in a country which has a stable fiscal and political environment. So 2013 was a major test that showed that the fiscal system did not change, despite the crisis, and we can see that itâ€™s only now that we have established a stable fiscal environment that we are at last managing to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). However, itâ€™s not only about stability. Competition is increasing all the time. We see new flags arriving on the scene, other countries are copying our system and even big countries like China are trying to enter the shipping industry. So we need to implement change and not only to shipping. This applies to every area related to foreign business where we are facing competition from all over the world. Even if there are lots of positives in the present situation, we still have a lot to do. The industry is divided into the flag and the cluster and although some people believe we should focus more on one aspect or the other, we actually need both and for a number of reasons. We need the flag, even though it doesnâ€™t bring in a lot of income, as a matter of prestige. If a country has a large flag, it has a say in international shipping, so itâ€™s definitely an advantage and it can be used to attract foreign
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companies to the country as part of the maritime cluster. Let me give you some numbers: since 2013, gross tonnage has risen from 22.2 million and now it’s almost 23 million so there has been a small increase. Over the years, gross tonnage has continued to rise but it hasn’t kept up with the rate of increase in the broader industry. This is partly to do with the Turkish embargo on Cyprus-flagged ships, which certainly puts us at a disadvantage, especially in the current market. So we are still the 10th largest fleet in the world but we’re slipping.”
THOMAS KAZAKOS Director-General, Cyprus Shipping Chamber On Cyprus’ importance on the global shipping scene
hipping currently provides 7% of Cyprus’ GDP, which is one of the highest percentages in Europe and impressive on a global scale. From here, the Chamber’s members collectively control a fleet in excess of 2,500 ships of various flags. Cyprus has the 10th largest fleet in the world and the third largest in the European Union in terms of the number of ships registered under the Cyprus flag, while for ship management, Li-
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massol is by far the biggest centre in Europe and perhaps second or third in the world. Shipping is a great ambassador for Cyprus because it is an industry that never sleeps and, yes, you are right: the size of a country doesn’t really matter when it comes to international recognition and, in shipping, Cyprus is considered one of the big players. However, we may be in the Top 10 but we aspire to be first in terms of quality and, then, in numbers. This is what we have been
working on very closely with the maritime administration; in fact we spent 10 years on improving safety standards for Cyprus-flagged ships, moving from the black list to the grey list to the top of the white list, where we have remained ever since. We then worked very hard for another 10 years to secure the viability of our industry, especially on the most important issue of taxation, and we succeeded with that too. The challenge now is to continually improve and enhance it.”
ANDREA SOLOMONIDES Business Director, Cubik-S On the future of digital marketing
t is only a matter of time before Cyprus and Europe in general catch up with the rest of the world in this area. The next big thing is ad content. Since 2012 we have been tracking the trends of where people access the Internet from and mobile has now surpassed online laptop use. Businesses should therefore invest in an app or a very good website optimised for mobile because that’s how consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet. So that is where the advertising needs to be. The role of social media marketing is becoming increasingly significant for businesses nowadays and we spend a lot of time educating clients about how to use it, how to disseminate content and how to advertise on it. It’s all about education, and for us ing the it is the future. We are just helping market get there faster.”
JAMES CASTELLANO Chairman
*,6HUK7YLZPKLU[)HRLY;PSS`0U[LYUH[PVUHS On what the audit profession should be doing to stay relevant
(MAY 2016) Geoff Barnes: “I think we’ve done a pretty poor job of explaining to the community what it is that we do. We should not be in a position where audit is viewed as a commodity but, unfortunately, it is. Many governments around the world are looking at our brief as auditors – reporting on the truth and fairness of a set of accounts – and questioning if it fulfils its role for all stakeholders. In the UK, for instance, they’re looking at widening the law to require us to look for fraud. So for me, the relevance of what we do is a major issue, and that includes how young people see us. We’re trying to secure the best people for what we do and they are
looking for relevance as well. Do they want to become auditors? What’s the point of doing it? Should they go straight into consulting? So for me, redefining our role in the global environment is the challenge.” James Castellano: “I think these things go in cycles. Audit was being described as a commodity in the late ‘90s and then all of a sudden it became important again. It’s now shifted back a little way. I learnt business by working in companies as an auditor and I don’t think there’s any better way to learn how a business operates and generates revenue and what its risks are if it wishes to continue to be successful. The more we talk about that to the young kids entering the profession, the more excited they’ll be about choosing the audit side of the practice.”
CHRYSTALLA GEORGHADJI Governor, Central Bank of Cyprus On the importance of professional services to the economy
he professional services sector is very important to the Cyprus economy, contributing about 9% of GDP. The success of the sector is attributable to a
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series of policy choices and decisions, which have allowed for a stable tax incentive regime and, more generally, a relatively business-friendly economic and administrative environment. This environment offers certain advantages, including a robust and transparent legal system based on Anglo-Saxon law. The relatively low corporate tax rate as well as a number of other benefits related to an efficient tax system (corporate income tax exemption for capital gains and dividends, and no withholding tax on interest payments and dividends) should also be noted. One can also add the country’s telecommunications infrastructure and the availability of highly-skilled and educated personnel. Across euro area countries, Cyprus has been the one improving the most in terms of doing business. According to the World Bank Report on Doing Business 2016, which compares business regulation for domestic firms in 189 economies, between 2014 and 2015, Cyprus’s ranking moved up from 60th to 47th place. This improvement partly reflects a number of policy changes adopted in the context of the EU/IMF economic adjustment programme. However, more needs to be done in terms of achieving a friendlier business environment, including simplifying set-up and operation procedures as well as reducing red tape. Looking ahead, a number of policy initiatives are under way, including the review of the existing tax/legal framework for businesses and of the public procurement processes, the establishment of a fast-track mechanism for strategic investments, the development of strategies for attracting foreign direct investment from non-EU countries – mainly in the banking and financial services, energy, tourism and real estate sectors – as well as schemes providing for the creation of business clusters and the setting up of a Science & Technology Park.”
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COSTAS CHRISTOFOROU OU U *,6*74 On the publication of the ‘Panama Papers’
e should have expressed ed our gratitude to the ICIJ (the consortium of journalists that investigated and revealed the data on the offshore structures) for the enormous task they had undertaken to reveal potential tax evasion schemes, which, after all, promote inequality in taxing the wealth generated by the world workforce. However, in trying to accomplish this, we think that they should have investigated all the facts in greater depth before revealing them. In this respect, we should have pointed out the erroneous inclusion of Cyprus in the list of ‘tax haven’ jurisdictions used in the graphics illustrating their investigation and stressed the inaccuracy of such information, as Cyprus is not a tax haven and cannot be considered as an offshore jurisdiction. We should also have pointed out to them that Cyprus has been a credible member of the European Union since 2004 and a full eurozone member since 2008, and it has an outstanding reputation for conducting professional services and investment activities. We could have added that, through its EU membership, Cyprus has sealed its acceptability and accessibility in Europe. EU directives are transposed and EU regulations are implemented promptly into national law and the European Commission monitors such enforcement to ensure compliance and harmonized functioning of the single market.”
NAGUIB N AGUIB SAWIRIS Lead investor in Ayia Napa Marina, and the 577th richest person in the world (Forbes) On his 2015 proposal to buy a Greek island and to settle refugees fleeing the war in Syria
eople were dying in the ocean and I made a very serious offer. I’m a very serious person and when I say I’m going to do something, I always mean it. Unfortunately I didn’t get the response I was hoping for. I met the Prime Minister and offered to buy one of 22 islands – I showed him the list of the available ones whose owners I had spoken to and who were willing to sell. I asked him for three things: to tell me which one he preferred from a security point of view, to give his approval to take the refugees there and to provide assistance with the police and customs aspects of the operation. In the end, I received no help. My only motive was humanitarian. I was seeing people dying in the sea every day on TV. I could have changed the channel and ignored it but, to me, that is not a human response. We should all be asking ourselves what we can do to help. That’s what I did. Being in a position of having made money, I want to give something back. It’s a simple as that. And if Cyprus wants to do something about it and it gives me a piece of land, I am willing to build a place to house some of these unfortunate people.”
GEORGE SAVVIDES S -VYTLY7YLZPKLU[*-( On how Cyprus compares with other jurisdictions in the provision of Administrative Services
On the problems of the Administrative Services sector
e can proudly claim that our country currently presents one of the most attractive proposals to businessmen, investors and their professional advisors for setting up and running a business, transferring operations, relocating people, obtaining permanent residency and citizenship and much more. Furthermore, the quality of service offered in Cyprus can be found in hardly any other international business centre, mainly due to the highly educated and experienced professionals and the client-oriented approach that characterises the Cypriots. Yet, whereas we have a story – and, indeed, a very attractive one – we are missing a plan, which will define how, where and when we tell it, what we expect to make out of it in terms of targets and how to measure its success. Taking a look at what competing jurisdictions are doing proves the importance of promoting and creating a brand for a country. For example, Luxembourg has appointed a Secretary of State to be in charge of national branding, while the Isle of Man has created the position of Business Development Manager - High Net Worth Individuals, to promote the island’s incentives for affluent persons. Similarly, Jersey Finance, the promotional agency for Jersey’s financial services industry, has increased its targeted promotional activities in Asia. What we can offer, the quality of services we can provide and all the other advantages we have as a country will at best be appreciated to only a minor extent if they are not promoted and communicated effectively and appropriately. Why do competing jurisdictions, which do not even come close to Cyprus on most issues, receive a resounding vote of confidence and a mere mention of their name is enough to dispel any suspicions or negative references?
f you take the quality providers on the island – who probably represent one third of the market – I would say that we compare very favourably with the more advanced jurisdictions. In certain areas we provide an even better level of service. In terms of skilled labour and value for money, Cyprus is at the top of the list but we face difficulties in convincing the outside world about this because of the reputational aspect. Since we lack the reputation, we are not able to market or price our services correctly. The services offered in Jersey right now are the same as those we offer in Cyprus but in Jersey they charge three times as much as we do. We cannot offer them at that price from Cyprus because we are still rebuilding our reputation after what happened in 2013. Another example: our banks are still very competitive compared to other institutions abroad so if we can improve the island’s reputation, the banking system will gain. I’m disappointed that Barclays is leaving the island. It was perceived by many as a vote of confidence in the economy. And frankly, the Central Bank of Cyprus is not living up to the expectations of the industry. It’s a bureaucratic organisation that lacks vision and leadership. And as long as the appointments to the Board are from the political parties, it’s obvious that the political agenda will be driving the decisions of an independent organisation. This is no longer acceptable. We need better leadership and a clear vision.”
BORYS HUMENIUK Ambassador of Ukraine to Cyprus On his hopes of a normalisation of Ukraine-Russia relations
he normalisation of Ukraine-Russia relations is impossible without the restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, without the de-occupation of the temporary occupied territories of my country and without the withdrawal of Russian military forces from Ukraine. So, when Russia starts to conduct its foreign policy – in general but particularly towards its neighbours (Ukraine, the Baltic states, etc.) – strictly in line with international law, we will be ready to normalise our relations with Moscow and transform them into a vitally important factor of stability and safety in the region. The ball is in the Kremlin’s court. In this context, I would like to note the position of the Government of Cyprus on the issue, which stands firmly for the respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine. In particular, the Republic of Cyprus was among that vast majority of countries which voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution on the ‘Territorial Integrity of Ukraine’ on 27 March 2014.”
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PROFESSOR DOMINIC SHELLARD Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University, UK On how football has affected foreign student registration
â€œW NATASA PILIDES S +PYLJ[VY.LULYHS*`WY\Z0U]LZ[TLU[7YVTV[PVU(NLUJ`*07( On CIPAâ€™s priorities
e are so lucky because we have been the official university partners of Leicester City for the last four years. Last November, when they got to 40 points, we thought weâ€™d better renew our sponsorship! Winning the Premier League title was the most incredible thing Iâ€™d ever witnessed in my life. This team which, at the end of the previous season, had been battling against relegation, was transformed by Claudio Ranieri, whose appointment was described as â€˜disgracefulâ€™ by the local press and fans. They soon changed their minds! Since then, applications to DMU by overseas students have shot up by 58%. Whenever I travel overseas now, I have to explain where Leicester is and everybody wants free match tickets! Now weâ€™re in the Champions League; itâ€™s absolutely extraordinary.â€?
n terms of CIPAâ€™s promotional work, the easy part is to improve on everything that is already working. We have a lot to offer in the shipping sector, for example, and we need to build on that by identifying the companies that may be interested, approaching them and trying to build the maritime cluster even further. The same applies to tourism, for which a strategic plan is in the process of being drawn up, and other traditional areas such as real estate and professional services are also being developed. The new sectors are the more challenging ones, such as the film industry. Itâ€™s long overdue but a lot of work has been done in examining the legislative changes that can be put into an incentive package. Tax breaks are often cited as the key but there are already lots of things available, which people donâ€™t know about, such as the countryâ€™s Intellectual Property regime, notional interest deduction or personal tax benefits, which film companies can take advantage of. But itâ€™s not all about taxes. There is a great deal of logistics involved and a huge amount of coordination required. Fortunately, Cyprus does not have to start from scratch when it comes to welcoming the global film industry. We can look at what other countries do and then try to do it better. And that applies to other areas such as such as renewable energy, education, medical tourism and so on.â€?
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CONNY LENNEBERG Regional Leader, Middle East and Eastern Europe, World Vision International On remaining optimistic in a worsening world
have nightmares about it. We are at a moment in history that we will later look back on and see as a clear turning point. Where itâ€™s going, Iâ€™m not sure. On the positive side, Iâ€™ve seen how the Millennium Development Goals, which finished last year, made enormous progress in bringing us together as an international community, with NGOs, governments and the UN working together to address the worst forms of poverty around the world. We now have the Sustainable Development Goals, so that makes me optimistic. At the same time, the
conflicts, the breakdown and nd the political fragmentation that weâ€™re seeing in both the developed and the less developed world are extremely worrying. Obviously, in this region weâ€™re in the middle of some of the worst conflicts and right now itâ€™s hard to see where we can place any hope for a solution. The IsraeliPalestinian conflict, for example, is nowhere close to being settled; Afghanistan/Pakistan is on a knife edge: will it move towards peace or fall back into conflict? There are a lot of things to be worried about in many parts of the world. Our focus is on children and our role is to support communities and enable them to have the skills and the insights to focus on what their children need. I think that whatever we do for people â€“ a child that is given an opportunity to be literate or a family thatâ€™s helped to survive â€“ is not something you can take away. And eventually, all conflicts do end and so our role as humanitarians is to help people survive with dignity so that when a conflict ends they can rebuild their lives, and hopefully weâ€™ll be there alongside them to help them do that. I feel that, as Christians, this is something we are called to do and I do feel optimistic that, in the end, human beings are good. While we descend into incredible conflicts at various times, ultimately itâ€™s our essential goodness which pulls us back from them. If you take the long view, thatâ€™s the history of our world.â€?
JOHN BRUTON -VYTLY0YPZO;HVPZLHJO7YPTL Minister) On the Brexit vote in the UK
y reaction was shock. I could see that the debate about the European Union in the UK, over many years, had been neither well- informed nor sympathetic but I assumed â€“ wrongly â€“ that UK voters would recognise that tearing up 40 or more years of joint work between the UK and its fellow EU members would not be in the interest of the British people. I think they have voted in a fashion that is against their interests and against the interests of Europe as a whole but we have to accept and work with that decision now. I have difficulty envisaging the political
conditions in which a second referendum would be possible. Legally, of course, it is entirely possible but even if the UK were to change its mind â€“ say in four yearsâ€™ time â€“ and decide it wanted to stay in the EU after all, could one really rely on that remaining its position? I think the EU will, in the short run, be weaker without the UK but we just have to get on with things now. I do not believe in â€˜greater European integrationâ€™ as an end in itself. It is only justified to the extent that it helps people of different nationalities to live in harmony and prosperity. The break-up of the UK is possible but unlikely. A lot depends on what terms the UK seeks for its new relationship with the EU as a non-member. If Scotland did detach itself from the UK, this would involve significant financial losses for Scotland. Independence usually comes at a price, and the question is, are the Scots willing to pay the price? Certainly Irish independence in the early 1920s came at a significant economic cost for the first thirty years or so but, after that, it carried very significant and substantial economic benefits which we would have not had been able to attain had we remained in the UK. So it all depends on a tradeoff between the short and the long term.â€?
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NICOLAS THEOCHARIDES ARID *OHPYTHU7YVTV[PVU*VTTP[[LL *07( On the perception of Cyprus as an investment destination
think that successive upgrades by the leading Rating Agencies have been very important in changing the international investment communityâ€™s perception of Cyprus today because they are a clear indication that the island is now an attractive investment destination. Donâ€™t forget that investors want to see signs of sustainable growth because they know that, since the economy will continue to improve, investments can be made with less money today than they will two to three years down the road. Savvy investors are now looking at Cyprus and letâ€™s not forget that there have already been others who made their investments one or two years ago. International investor confidence is now stronger than ever and itâ€™s rising continuously. The interest in the last government bond issue, which was oversubscribed several times, is a clear indication of this. There is now considerable investor interest from abroad but I would like to stress that this is not enough. Itâ€™s up to the Cypriots
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to offer international investors opportunities to obtain a rate of return that corresponds to their perceived level of risk. People on the Cypriot side need to be realistic about what it takes to make a deal and, in my view, even one year ago, they were not. Deals have been going through and there is still interest but, with a more realistic approach, it could have been greater.â€?
GEORGE SPYRIDES Acting CEO, cdbbank On his aspirations for cdbbank
s in all successful organisations, our focus is on the preservation and efficient allocation of our re-
sources, both capital and human. In this respect we shall continue our prudent and supportive policy of ensuring that our clients are and remain healthy. Being a small institution gives us the flexibility to quickly offer innovative products and services that add value to our domestic and international clients alike. In this regard, our aim is to enhance our response time to clients through further automation, the introduction of state-ofthe-art IT systems and the streamlining of our processes. For example, we have recently introduced â€“ and we are continuing to enhance â€“ a new e-banking system that addresses, in a very user-friendly manner, not only the needs of individuals but also the requirements of our corporate clients with respect to effecting electronic transactions and enquiries specific to their own organisational structure and needs. You mentioned online banking earlier but itâ€™s not as easy for corporates as it is for individuals who can simply enter a username and password. Our new system is flexible and goes some way to making things easier for our corporate customers. In the long term, we want to continue being a one-stop shop that caters for all the funded and non-funded needs of our clientsâ€™ businesses by addressing their particular specialised needs with a high level of professionalism. We have no plans for any kind of major expansion. Our intention has always been to grow with our clients.â€?
Author of La Bible de la Négociation (The Bible of Negotiation) On learning to be an effective negotiator
veryone can be, and has already been, an effective negotiator. We unconsciously negotiated what we wanted from our parents from the day we
IRENA GEORGIADOU Chairwoman, Hellenic Bank On the current burden of regulation and compliance
veryone in the banking sector in Europe is complaining about this regulation hysteria of the ECB, so why shouldn’t I! Seriously, I understand that the intention is not to allow another banking crisis to be detrimental to the financial stability of Europe. The less important side effect is that the cost of regulatory compliance has multiplied for European Banks but the more important one is that the new regulatory requirements are a barrier to growth. We have gone almost overnight from insufficient regulation and legislation (more concerned about “not spoiling the party” than managing the risk) to a situation which
were born. We lose some of those in-bred skills as we mature into adults but, like riding a bike, we haven’t lost those skills definitively. With a bit of training, we can get them back. Character has a role to play in which techniques work best for you but character in itself does not determine whether you are an effective negotiator or not. Attitude does play a role in successful negotiations, but attitude can be changed if enlightened. There is no empirical evidence that one culture negotiates better than another, nor that one culture uses one technique more than another. There are cultural differences to negotiation but these differences are subtle. My personal experience, having negotiated across all continents, is that individual human character influences the choice of negotiation technique used rather than background culture. Even if you don’t like using a particular technique yourself, it is important to recognise when your counterparty is using that technique and know the antidote. My book is a comprehensive list of techniques and there is something for everyone. Indeed, there is even a section on how to negotiate with people of different character profiles.”
sometimes fails to strike the right balance between excessive regulation and enabling growth. Of course this regulation ‘hysteria’ is understandable because the supervisory shortcomings of the past – and I am talking about Europe here – have necessitated unprecedented levels of public and depositor support in order to restore stability to the banking system. But, as an unintended consequence, we are now
struggling to strike the best possible balance between managing risk and enabling growth. We are nevertheless determined to address it and, so far, we have been successful. And to revert to your first question – to do that, we need to change! Do I expect regulation to change? I wish I knew the answer! In fact, one of our ‘complaints is the lack of visibility in the regulatory environment.”
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GREG VON HOLDT Managing Director, Coast2Coast, On his decision to invest in the Cypriot pharmaceutical company Remedica
MICHAEL IZZA CEO,Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) On the threat of cybercrime
e may be creating a brave new world thanks to technology but the incidence of cyber attacks by governments, organised crime, hackers and, the most dangerous of all, disgruntled employees, is going through the roof. Any one of them has the ability to paralyse the way a system works. ICAEW has invested a great deal of time and considerable resources to ensure that its members are aware of such threats. It’s difficult to eliminate it completely; if someone is determined enough they’ll find a way through and anyone who thinks it can’t happen to them is just not seeing things properly. For corporates, the latest thing is ‘ransomware’. I know of at least two businesses in London who have told me it’s happened to them. What’s more, there is now an additional reason for companies to choose their employees carefully and then to keep them happy. If you have a disgruntled employee with administrator privileges on your computer systems, nothing is off limits. Most files these days are stored in digital format and you can get quite a lot of them on a simple memory stick so if someone decides to steal them, leak them, sell them or whatever, it’s hard to find a 100% way of preventing such a thing. And I think that the security problem is going to become even greater so we all have to be vigilant.”
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wo years ago, we decided to expand our business outside South Africa. We felt that we had exhausted many of the opportunities there and so we carried out a global search for jurisdictions that we wanted to put our money into. Remedica came up as a company that was selling its products into the territories that we liked, with a strong footprint in the Middle East and Africa and, in fact, over 100 countries worldwide. We liked the geographical diversification that the customer base offered and we were just fortunate that we had a real meeting of minds with the Pattichis family. They wanted to bring a new shareholder on board, someone who could take the business into a bigger group and leverage what they had done. The manufacturing capabilities here are outstanding and it’s a world-class facility that gives us the ability to sell new products into European territories, thanks to its EU accreditation. That was exciting. Then the pharma component really ticks all the boxes of why we originally invested in pharma. It’s a high-margin business, really defensive and, from the perspective of being a list-
ed company, we feel that it offers a really safe form of investment. We see a great opportunity to grow in those 100 countries where Remedica is active and supplement to that with a range of products from our other businesses – we’ve got Farmalider, another pharmaceutical business in Spain, and we want to cross-pollinate the companies with all the potential opportunities – selling each other’s products, going into new territories with them, etc. There are also opportunities for manufacturing since a lot of what we do in Farmalider, for example, is outsourced but we can bring that manufacturing to Remedica, which has excess capacity. It is rare to find a business like this in a territory that can serve as a launchpad for the countries that we want to serve. Geographically it is very well suited to service Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and also part of Europe. It obviously has EU certifications which are difficult to obtain so we have the benefit of owing a European standard facility. Many customers want to have that European manufacturing quality and we like the fact that we were able to get that from Remedica in Cyprus.”
NICHOLAS HADJIYIANNIS CEO, Cooperative Central Bank On the Coopâ€™s return to its roots
SYMEON SYMEOU U /LHKVM0)<7PYHL\Z)HUR*`WY\Z3[K On 2016
he cycle of the economic crisis, which started in 2008, has still not been completed and major political developments have been added to the mix, maintaining high uncertainty levels, and no-one can predict when and how it will unfold. We are still sailing in unchartered waters and no-one is sure of the effects, let alone how to handle them. 2016 may not have as many events as the previous years but it certainly stands out in terms of the importance of two significant events: the first being the Brexit vote in the UK and the second the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America. The first shakes the very foundations of the European Union, while the second introduces new uncertainty to the world markets, and not only. For the first time, America will be ruled by successful business people, those who are the donors to the politicians. Concerning Cyprus, 2016 has been more â€œfriendlyâ€? as our small country has successfully completed its economic restructuring programme and the economy has returned to solid growth. Let me also mention that events that occurred in previous years are still having profound consequences on our neighbourhood. The intervention of Russia in the Syrian conflict, together with the refugee crisis, will continue to have an impact on the years to come, raising the importance of Cyprus as a safe European destination. This is reflected in the success of the Cyprus Governmentâ€™s Citizenship through Investment programme.â€?
e still believe that we are different because we rely on our heritage and on the good things that the Coop has done for society. We have got rid of all the bad lending practices and bad governance that existed before and we work with our customers for our customers. Our loan restructurings are based on the idea that we have to work with people who are, after all, our members. So yes, we are making a concerted effort to carry out alternative, more responsible banking and this has allowed us to reduce our 90 days-past-due loans by more than â‚Ź1 billion. We reduced mortgage interest rates by 2% as a reward and incentive to those who had maintained their payments as an indication of the bankâ€™s â€˜humaneâ€™ dealings. Where there is a grey area, our strategy is to give any benefit to the clientâ€™s interest. Being a purely retail bank has its benefits.For one thing, it means being able to have a huge customer base and I am pleased to say that we have maintained our market share and our personal loans have been less risky compared to the business loans. But I agree that we need to become more competitive in the new environment, which means that we have to diversify in terms of income. Retail banking is what we know best but things in the banking sector are such that you either adapt or you die! At present, the coops are 99% state-owned but, over the coming years, they will be returned to the private sector. We must not forget that we have always been a cooperative and what that means. We envision operating on a similar basis to other cooperative banks in Europe, such as the Dutch Rabobank and I hope that ordinary people will take the opportunity to have a say in how their bank is run. This will enable us to progress as a retail banking operation and, once again, differentiate ourselves within the banking sector.â€?
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| PASSPORTS |
THE NEW YEAR HAS COME WITH GOOD NEWS FOR CYPRUS, AS THE CYPRIOT PASSPORT APPEARS TO BE AMONG THE STRONGEST IN THE WORLD. ACCORDING TO THE LATEST PASSPORT INDEX, (UPDATED ON JANUARY 4), IT HAS ACHIEVED A PASSPORT POWER RANK OF 13, AN INDIVIDUAL POWER RANK OF 37 AND AN IMPRESSIVE VISA-FREE SCORE OF 144. ARMAND ARTON, CHAIRMAN OF ARTON CAPITAL, THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL ADVISORY FIRM SPECIALISING IN RESIDENCE PROGRAMMES AND CITIZENSHIP, SPOKE TO GOLD ABOUT THE REASONS BEHIND CYPRUSâ€™ RECENT ACHIEVEMENT, ANALYSING HOW FOREIGN INVESTORS CAN OBTAIN CYPRIOT CITIZENSHIP AND EXPLAINING WHY NOT ALL EU PASSPORTS ARE EQUALLY ATTRACTIVE. BY ARTEMIS CONSTANTINIDOU
68 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
ccording to the updated Passport Index, Cyprus has achieved a Passport Power Rank of 13 and an Individual Power Rank of 37 globally. Which are the main factors that have led to this? Armand Arton: Passport Power Rank is based on the total Visa-Free Score (VFS) accumulated by each country’s passport. This includes visa-free and visa on arrival provisions set in place by countries. All countries’ VSF are then indexed from the highest to the lowest number, thus the Passport Power Rank indicates each country’s position within the Passport Index. As no two passports are alike, the Individual Passport Power Rank shows the unique position of a passport within the Passport Index. The individual Passport Power Rank is tabulated by a three-tier method. Firstly, countries are sorted by their VFS. Secondly, two identical VFS are sorted by the visa-free portion of the score and thirdly, the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index (UNDP HDI) is used as a differentiator. This is more concerned with a country’s reputation abroad and its level of economic development. Gold: In your opinion, can anything be done to make a Cyprus passport even more desirable? A.A.: The desirability of a passport will be a function of the freedom of mobil-
ity it guarantees, the level of security the country has and its political and economic stability. The most efficient way for a country to climb up the Passport Index ranking is to secure visa-free agreements with those countries with which it currently doesn’t have one. For example, negotiating a visa-free or visa on arrival policy with the likes of the US, China, India, Cuba, Russia, and a handful of African countries, would propel the Cypriot passport ranking to new heights. For example, as of January 2017, Kazakhstan has opened its borders to citizens of Cyprus, thus adding one point to its visa-free score. Given the positive signs that the Cypriot economy has been demonstrating and the political predictability it has compared to the rest of Europe, it is certain that the Cypriot passport will climb up the ranking.
CYPRUS’ PROGRAMME IS ALREADY VERY ATTRACTIVE AS IT IS APPEALS ONLY TO VERY HIGH NET WORTH INDIVIDUALS
Gold: Since Cyprus is an EU member state, why is the country’s passport valued less highly than those of countries like Germany, Sweden, Finland and France? A.A.: EU membership does not necessarily mean that all member states have homogeneous mobility agreements with third countries. There are a number of European countries that still don’t have visa-free travel to the US or Canada, for example. Cyprus has a visa-free score of 144, where Germany’s is 157, followed by Sweden and Singapore with 156. The German passport (the strongest overall) can be compared to that of Cyprus, through the ‘compare’ feature on the passportindex.org website.
a variety of advantages to applicants, especially as it enables them to obtain citizenship of an EU member state. Its major advantage is the speed of approval and the ease of the process. We have found, however, that although people are initially attracted by the above, they generally like Cyprus and establish much more than just a residence on the island. The fact that Cyprus is an international business centre and a low tax jurisdiction, one of the safest countries in the world, characterised by mild weather, warm and welcoming people, low stress and a beautiful environment adds considerably to the popularity of Cypriot citizenship. No official data is published about the countries of origin of applicants. Our information shows that about 50% of applicants originate from Russia and the ex-Soviet Union countries, about 20% from China, about 20% from the MENA region and the Gulf, and the rest from other countries.
Gold: What are the main benefits of Cypriot citizenship to a foreigner? Do you have data on where most of those applying for Cypriot citizenship through Investment originally come from? A.A.: The Citizenship-by-Investment (CIP) Programme of Cyprus offers
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| PASSPORTS |
Gold: What are the current investment options/criteria available to those looking to obtain a Cypriot passport? A.A.: The investment criteria were revised and simplified in September 2016. An applicant must buy a housing unit at a price of €500,000 (excl. VAT or transfer fees) and make an investment of €2 million in one or a combination of the following: company shares or bonds, financial products, property or property development. The mix can include a maximum of €500,000 special government bonds. If the applicant wishes to invest in housing units only, the investment amount is reduced to €1.5 million. Bank deposits are no longer accepted and the emphasis is on what the Government calls ‘real investments’ mainly in property. A major change from the previous programme is the requirement that citizenship be preceded by residency. Investors need now to visit Cyprus several times before they obtain their passport. This is necessitated by the need to select and finalise their investment, the requirement to give their biometric data so that they secure their residency permit and the requirement to be present for the issuance of their passport after 6 months of residency elapses. Gold: Is there more that the Government could be doing in order to make its citizenship/permanent residence schemes even more attractive? A.A.: Cyprus’ Programme is already very attractive as it is appeals only to very High Net Worth Individuals. Therefore, it can be said that Cyprus already attracts the very best, especially bearing in mind that a rigorous Due Diligence process is applied and applicants need to pass a number of filters, even if that is not particularly evident at first glance. In redesigning the Programme, the Government drew from global experience of such programmes and incorporated many suggestions which led to the Programme’s increased competitiveness. One major issue had to do with the minimum investment threshold to be adopted. A
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lower investment threshold would lead to a higher number of applicants whereas a high threshold results in attracting only the upper slice of international investors. As the Minister of Interior has said, Cyprus is honoured when such people select Cyprus as the country where they and their descendents will take root. What is also evident is that these people also feel honoured by Cyprus when the country accepts them as its citizens and they show their appreciation through further investment on the island which takes place once citizenship is granted. Gold: How has the industry of citizenship/residency evolved over the years? How do you respond to claims that passports are ‘being sold’? A.A.: The concept of granting residency and/or citizenship in return for a significant contribution by a foreign individual is very old, going as far back as the Roman Empire. In more recent times, countries such as the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, etc. have attracted large numbers of people from India, Pakistan, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey and elsewhere, especially since World War II, when the rebuilding of Europe required the mass importation of labour. These people moved to their host countries to produce economic benefits in exchange for better wages and living conditions as residents at first and later, after some years of residency, as citizens. The relationship between economic benefit and the granting of residency/citizenship became, therefore, established and widespread. In modern times the economic needs of host countries have changed from attracting human capital to attracting investment capital. Therefore, we see that countries such as the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, Austria and the Caribbean islands have introduced programmes of residency/citizenship-by-investment programmes. Countries such as Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, etc., are newcomers to the industry, which is expanding rapidly. It is true that the increasing interest in
THE ECONOMIC NEEDS OF HOST COUNTRIES HAVE CHANGED FROM ATTRACTING HUMAN CAPITAL TO ATTRACTING INVESTMENT CAPITAL these programmes has led some to voice their concerns about the ‘immorality’ of ‘selling passports’ and about whether the granting of passports in this manner poses security risks. Although there have been a limited number of instances in which citizenship of certain Caribbean islands was granted to persons of ill repute, this has been the exception rather than the rule. Where the specified due diligence process is enforced, no problems arise especially since the process is much stricter than the normal one applied in all countries in issuing passports to other types of applicants. What is of the utmost importance to all concerned states and stakeholders is that applicants should be thoroughly filtered and stringent criteria continue to be applied. Also, the host countries should receive tangible economic benefits from such investors, thereby boosting economic development, local employment and income.
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The Cyprus Tonnage Tax system $OHDȵHWWKDWVXPPDULVHVWKHELOO LQWURGXFLQJDQHZWRQQDJHWD[V\VWHPLQ &\SUXVIRUVKLSSLQJDFWLYLWLHVHHFWLYH $SULO
Your trusted advisors in shipping Helping you navigate through turbulent times 'HORLWWHLVRQHRIWKHOHDGLQJDGYLVRU\SURIHVVLRQDOVHUYLFHVČ´UPV in shipping both in Cyprus and worldwide. Our global client service WHDPVFDQRÎ?HUDEURDGUDQJHRIDXGLWWD[FRQVXOWLQJDQG Č´QDQFLDODGYLVRU\VHUYLFHVWRVKLSSLQJRUJDQLVDWLRQVRSHUDWLQJ anywhere in the world. )RUPRUHLQIRUPDWLRQSOHDVHFRQWDFW Costas Georghadjis, Shipping Services Leader tel.: +357 25868686, email: email@example.com
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HORWATH DSP LIMITED
ORWATH DSP LIMITED IS A MEMBER OF CROWE HORWATH INTERNATIONAL, ONE OF THE TOP GLOBAL ACCOUNTING NETWORKS. THE CROWE HORWATH NETWORK CONSISTS OF MORE THAN INDEPENDENT ACCOUNTING AND ADVISORY SERVICES FIRMS IN OVER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD. ESTABLISHED IN , HORWATH DSP LIMITED IS AN ACCOUNTANCY FIRM WITH OFFICES IN NICOSIA AND LIMASSOL, OFFERING AUDIT, TAX, RISK AND ADVISORY SOLUTIONS TO A DIVERSE CLIENTELE IN THE LOCAL MARKET AND ABROAD.
THE TEAM With 6 partners, 90 professionals and over 2,500 clients, Horwath DSP is one of the leading accountancy firms in Cyprus with offices in Nicosia and Limassol. The firm employs some of the most highly-trained, educated and experienced individuals in the Cyprus market, who are able to provide the highest level of client service. All key members of the team are either qualified ACA or ACCA who fully appreciate the need of adding value to the service offered to the client as well as the importance of delivering on time.
THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY IN CYPRUS Shipping is one of the largest industries in Cyprus, contributing approximately 7% to the islandâ€™s GDP. Due to its beneficial tonnage tax system (TTS), which is the best fully approved TTS in the EU, Cyprus has become
74 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
amongst the first ship management centres and has the third largest fleet in the EU. The financial turbulence of recent years, along with the significant fluctuation in charter rates, has driven shipping finance to more sophisticated structures and sources of finance, from traditional bank financing, with the latter still playing a major role in driving the shipping industry. Other financing arrangements such as mezzanine structures and private equity are becoming increasingly common. Cyprusâ€™ TTS and extensive double tax treaty network can be used in structures delivering maximum tax efficiency. Troubled ship owning and ship management companies considering financial and corporate restructurings can benefit extensively by including Cyprus companies and/or registering vessels under the Cyprus flag. We have recently been involved in major and innovative refinancing projects of shipping groups and therefore have all
the necessary up-to-date knowledge and experience to advice and assist clients with their financial restructurings.
SHIPPING SERVICES With a dedicated team of professionals, Horwath DSP Limited provides a comprehensive range of services to the shipping industry. Being a member of Crowe Horwath International, Horwath DSP is connected with offices in the worldâ€™s major shipping centres such as Hamburg and Singapore, and can therefore assist clients worldwide. Horwath DSP offers a range of services to the shipping industry as summarised below: â€¢ Advice on the Cyprus Tonnage Tax System â€¢ Compliance with the requirements of the Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping â€¢ Compliance and advice on Cyprus shipping VAT issues â€¢ Advice on mergers and acquisitions â€¢ Advice on structuring of shipping groups â€¢ Administration, accounting and audit â€¢ Setting up and administration of Cyprus and other jurisdiction shipping companies â€¢ Assistance with registration of vessels under the Cyprus, or other jurisdiction flag
Address: Nicolaou Pentadromos Center, 6MÃ„JL3PTHZZVS*`WY\Z Postal Address: 76)V_ 3PTHZZVS*`WY\Z Tel: Fax: e-mail:,TPSPVZ('JYV^LOVY^H[OJVTJ` Website: ^^^JYV^LOVY^H[OJVTJ`
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Horwath DSP Limited Member Crowe Horwath International 8 Stassinos Avenue, 1st Floor, Photiades Business Center, 1060 Nicosia, Cyprus, P.O.Box 22545, 1522 Nicosia, Cyprus. Main +357 22755656, Fax +357 22452055, www.crowehorwath.com.cy
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INTERSHIP NAVIGATION SETTING THE RIGHT COURSE
INCE ITS FOUNDING IN , CYPRUSBASED INTERSHIP NAVIGATION HAS GROWN FROM A SMALL OPERATION SET UP BY THE HARTMANN GROUP OF GERMANY INTO A MAJOR INTERNATIONAL SHIPOWNER AND MANAGER ENJOYING A ‘BLUE-CHIP’ REPUTATION IN ITS OWN RIGHT.
The company currently has 84 ships under ownership or full management, the majority belonging to the Hartmann Group. Of these, 18 are tankers and the rest dry, mostly bulk carriers ranging from 5,700dwt all the way up to 180,000dwt capesizes, plus around 20 general cargo vessels. In addition, Intership partly manages a fleet of more than 100 ships on a crew management basis.
76 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
The company stands at the forefront of technical and commercial innovation, having ordered a significant number of newbuilds in recent years. These include prototypes for several series of ships that have proved highly popular, both with charterers and other owners who have since ordered the same. As well as designing its own ships, Intership has been able to partner leading suppliers and technical bodies in in-
troducing new equipment and systems that improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact. One such innovative project will see the conversion of two pneumatic cement carriers to LNG propulsion. Intership has always strived to maintain close relations with its clients, charterers and industrial partners. Not only meeting customers’ expectations, but consistently exceeding them has been the target. Today, Intership enjoys long-term relations with its partners, which have grown beyond the transport of cargo from A to B. Intership offers tailormade solutions, such as stockpile/ inventory management and other logistical tasks. In some cases, relations have grown beyond shipping, to the extent that Intership today manages a power plant in Jamaica for one of its shipping customers. Intership also continues to develop newbuildings, always in close liaison with its industrial partners, so that new ships meet the customers’ needs. Intership coordinates its global operations with a network of technical support offices in Houston, New Orleans, Montreal and Brisbane as well as commercial and manning offices in Germany, Poland and the Philippines and, has more recently opened an office in Greece, operating under a separate DOC. A key characteristic of Intership is the importance it places on the training and welfare of seafarers. In 1994, Intership Navigation established its own training centre in Manila, Philippines
and in the same year saw the first batch of company cadets graduating after their shipboard familiarisation training. Intership Navigation Training School, (ISNTC) has been certified by Germanischer Lloyd for compliance with ISO 9001. ISNTC conducts courses in compliance with IMO requirements, particularly the codes of STCW, ISM and MLC. The training school is recognized by the Philippine authorities as a professional training institution and has obtained several Flagstate approvals for their courses. ISNTC operates sophisticated bridge and engine simulators and maintains an extensive range of deck and engine equipment for hands-on training, which includes a full scale mooring station and the only real shipâ€™s crane available in the Philippines. A fully operational engine room allows for real-time training for engineers and engine ratings.
Having moved several offices over the years to accommodate an ever- growing number of personnel, Intership settled into new purpose built offices in 2013. The 5,700m2 headquarters are located in Limassol, Cyprus and feature open-plan office space which is fully automated and equipped with latest technology. The offices boast a large cafeteria (serving subsidized lunch), as well as a lounge area with TVs, a well-equipped gym and a â€˜games roomâ€™ to promote physical and mental well-being. A Day Care Centre was constructed adjacent to the building exclusively for employeesâ€™ children. It comes as no surprised that Intership maintains a remarkably high staff retention rate of 96%. For Intership, human capital is considered as its main asset. Intership Navigation was the first shipping company on the island to be certified for compliance with the â€œInvestors in Peopleâ€? shore staff
development programme and received the Bronze accreditation in 2015. Intership offers a flexible work-hour scheme; on-the-job coaching for new employees; training for existing employees, as well as career planning tools for its 150 employees. With all this in its favour, CEO Dieter Rohdenburg justly believes the company is well positioned to face the challenges of the future.
Address: Hartmann House, 4PS[VUVZ:[YLL[ 3PTHZZVS*`WY\Z Postal Address: Hartmann House, 76)V_3PTHZZVS*`WY\Z Tel: Fax: e-mail:THPS'PU[LYZOPWJ`WY\ZJVT Website:^^^PU[LYZOPWJ`WY\ZJVT
Cyprus shipping: A sea of opportunities Cyprus plays a prominent role as a leading shipping and ship management centre and aims to strengthen further its position in the world economy by maintaining and enhancing its sound maritime infrastructure, favourable tax regime and competitive ship registration and annual tonnage tax rates. Why Cyprus? Cyprus offers a unique experience to investors and trading partners. The strong pro-business attitude of the public and the private sector, the multi-lingual and highly skilled human capital, the state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure and the favourable tax system have made the island one of the most SURJUHVVLYHDQGHIÄ&#x;FLHQWEXVLQHVVORFDWLRQVLQ(XURSH The tax rates, as well as the simplicity of the tax system, are very important in the shipping industry. In both aspects, Cyprus scores highly. In a nutshell, Cyprus offers complete tax exemption RQDOOSURÄ&#x;WVDQGGLYLGHQGVDULVLQJIURPVKLSSLQJ operations. Instead of corporate income tax, tonnage tax is paid on the tonnage of each vessel at the Department of Merchant Shipping. The exemption is given under three pillars: x Shipowners x Charterers x Shipmanagers It is quite common for groups to have companies in the system under more than one pillar. This proves very WD[HIÄ&#x;FLHQWIRUH[DPSOHIRUJURXSVZLWKDQLQWHUQDO shipmanagement arm and/or groups that partly own DQGSDUWO\FKDUWHULQWKHLUÄ HHW 7KHFXUUHQWV\VWHPLVIXOO\DSSURYHGE\WKH(8DQG totally aligned with the Community guidelines on State Aid to maritime transport â€“ Commission communication & XVXDOO\UHIHUUHGWRDV(8*XLGHOLQHRQ Shipping.
This is not all though. The tonnage tax system is complimented by an equally friendly general low tax system. This is very important in the shipping world as it is possible that a group may have non shipping activities, which are subject to normal corporate income WD[VXFKDVLQWUDJURXSÄ&#x;QDQFLQJLQFRPHIURPRWKHU investments (e.g. real estate) etc; it is quite common for surplus cash that is not needed for reinvestment in the industry to be placed in non shipping related investments. In summary Cyprus provides the following: x Stable environment, consistent government policy, VXSSRUWLYHWD[RIÄ&#x;FH x Tonnage Tax (TT) system provides for TT on net tonnage of the vessels and full exemption from FRUSRUDWHLQFRPHWD[&,7 RQDFWXDOSURÄ&#x;WV x Totally exempt companies are regulated completely by the Department of Merchant Shipping rather than the Tax Authorities x Applies to owners, charterers and shipmanagers of PL[HGÄ HHWV(8(($DQGQRQ(8(($
x *UDQWVWRWDOWD[H[HPSWLRQRISURÄ&#x;WVWD[DQGFDSLWDO gains and distribution tax at all levels x Allows mixed activities (shipping subject to TT and other subject to CIT) within a company/group x Supports an open registry x Allows split shipmanagement activities (crewing or technical) x Non TT qualifying income is only taxed at 12,5% CIT ZLWKRWKHUEHQHÄ&#x;WV x Low or zero taxation of expatriates
Contact us: Yiangos Kaponides Partner In charge of Transportation & Logistics Tel: +357 25 555 200 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleo Papadopoulou Partner Tax Advisory Tel:+357 25 555 230 email@example.com
PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd Nicosia PwC Central, 43 Demostheni Severi Avenue, CY-1080 Nicosia P O Box 21612, CY-1591 Nicosia, Cyprus T:+357-22555 000, F:+357-22555 001
Limassol City House, 6 Karaiskakis Street, CY-3032 Limassol P O Box 53034, CY-3300 Limassol, Cyprus Tel. +357 - 25 555 000, Fax +357 - 25 555 001
www.pwc.com.cy Comparison with zero tax jurisdictions Countries like Belize, Bahamas, Liberia, Panama, Marshal Islands etc have no taxes and this is why they DUHRIWHQUHIHUUHGWRDVĹ WD[KDYHQVĹ‚(YHQWKRXJKWKHVH countries are extensively used for registration of vessels Ä DJVRIFRQYHQLHQFH WKHWUHQGZRUOGZLGHLVWRPRYH DZD\IURPWD[KDYHQVLQWR2(&'FRPSOLDQWDQGRU(8 jurisdictions. The trend emerges from several anti avoidance LQLWLDWLYHVLQFOXGLQJ%(36%DVH(URVLRQDQG3URÄ&#x;W Shifting), anti avoidance legislation of developed FRXQWULHVVXFKDV&)&OHJLVODWLRQ2(&'SUHVVXUH for transparency and exchange of information, CRS (Common Reporting Standard), as well as the safety of WKHÄ DJ Cyprus is not a tax haven, but a reputable jurisdiction with a stable tonnage tax system that has been DSSURYHGE\WKH(8'RXEOHWD[WUHDWLHVUHGXFHRUDYRLG withholding taxes and freight taxes. Moving to Cyprus Taking advantage of the Cyprus tonnage tax regime does not necessarily mean transferring all the vessels to &\SUXVFRPSDQLHVDQGUHÄ DJJLQJWKHP6RPHJURXSV have done this, but it can be a major restructuring and a time consuming one to implement if the vessels are mortgaged.
:HKDYHKHOSHGFRPSDQLHVPRYLQJSDUWRIWKHLUÄ HHW to Cyprus, or changing their legal structure without moving the vessels. We have also worked with clients FKDQJLQJWKHLURSHUDWLRQDOVWUXFWXUHLQRUGHUWREHQHÄ&#x;W from the Cyprus tonnage tax system, without changing the legal structure, or the ownership of the vessels, or WKHLUÄ DJ As far as moving to Cyprus per se is concerned, there are four main categories of issues: x 3ODQQLQJVWUXFWXULQJDQGÄ&#x;QDQFLQJRSWLRQVYHKLFOH options, level of operations etc) x Company formation and business registration (formation of the entity, opening bank account, registrations with tax authorities etc) x 2IÄ&#x;FHSUHPLVHVDQGLQIUDVWUXFWXUHÄ&#x;QGVHWXSHWF
x People (recruit, remuneration package, contracts, registration with authorities, housing etc) PwC Cyprus Shipping & Ports team PwC Cyprus Shipping & Ports team has grown over the years in step with the industry, supporting our clients through the turbulence of supply and GHPDQGLPEDODQFHVDQGÄ&#x;QDQFLDOFULVHVDVZHOODV industry restructurings, regulatory transformations, WHFKQRORJLFDODGYDQFHVDQGFKDQJHVLQÄ&#x;QDQFLDO reporting and corporate governance requirements. Our experience and network of dedicated shipping industry practitioners enables us to provide our clients with quality professional services uniquely tailored to the needs of leading shipping and port organisations, whether family owned or publicly listed, large or small. We have developed our Shipping and Ports expertise through working with leading shipping and port companies operating in various countries over the world. We have a long-standing and proven track record in auditing and consulting within the contexts of international shipping, ports, logistics and supply chain management.
How we can help? We deliver customised services from our industry specialists in the following areas: x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Audit and assurance Listings/IPOs &RQVXOWLQJWRDFKLHYHFRVWHIÄ&#x;FLHQFLHVDQGEXVLQHVVSURFHVVUHHQJLQHHULQJ 'HDOVVXSSRUWFRUSRUDWHÄ&#x;QDQFHYDOXDWLRQVPHUJHUV DFTXLVLWLRQV
Registration of shipping companies (shipowning, chartering or shipmanagement) 5HJLVWUDWLRQRIKROGLQJDQGRUÄ&#x;QDQFHFRPSDQLHV Ship registrations, deletions, transfers and mortgages Maintenance and full compliance services of Cyprus registered companies 2SHUDWLRQVDQGTXDOLW\PDQDJHPHQWIRUREWDLQLQJ,62FHUWLÄ&#x;FDWLRQ Human resource advisory including full repatriation service for expatriates Payroll services and accounting outsourcing Provident fund services
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SPECIAL promotional feature
OTOTHEO GROUP WAS ONE OF THE FIRST AND IS NOW CONSIDERED THE LEADING SUPPLIER OF HIGH-QUALITY SOPHISTICATED ON-BOARD ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT IN CYPRUS. WITH ITS HEADQUARTERS STRATEGICALLY LOCATED IN LIMASSOL AND WITH OFFICES IN ATHENS, SINGAPORE AND DUBAI, THE GROUP CONTINUES TO GROW WITH NEW LOCATIONS AND NEW SERVICES BEING OFFERED WORLDWIDE. AS AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE CYPRUS SHIPPING COMMUNITY, TOTOTHEO IS A MEMBER OF SEVERAL LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS. SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCES IS A BASIC PRINCIPLE OF THE COMPANY, WHICH ALLOWS US TO GROW, TO DYNAMICALLY RESPOND TO THE MARKET NEEDS AND EVEN FORESEE AND AFFECT TRENDS AND CHANGES. Established in 1978 in Limassol, the Group specializes in innovative, efficient and functional solutions in the fields of satellite and radio communications, automation, navigation systems, ship repairs and spare parts supply. Every day we support our customers with the supply and installation of high quality on-board electronic equipment, maintenance and integration, engineer duties, security and surveillance for the equipment in use, online tracking solutions and management tool, consultancy services. Our fast and reliable service, through a world-wide network of qualified partners and branches along the international shipping routes, enables us to serve merchant fleets, the offshore industry, the fishing industry and government organisations.
MARITIME SOLUTIONS A leader in providing mobile and fixed satellite and conventional communications services, we also specialize in navigation systems and technical services around the globe, representing leading manufacturers. Hundreds of vessels rely on our unrivalled end-to-end systems and service availability for global coverage and operational 82 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
communications, navigation and safety solutions.
LAND SOLUTIONS Tototheo Group provides a broad portfolio of global voice, broadband data, M2M and value-added services. From oil and gas engineers carrying out remote diagnostics on an oil wellhead, through to journalists reporting live with breaking news, our services offer a compelling proposition for businesses requiring 'must-have' remote, fixed and mobile connectivity.
GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS Our comprehensive portfolio of services delivers seamless voice, data and video communications across the globe – for use on land, at sea and in the air.
ENGINEERING SERVICES As a prime contractor, Tototheo Engineering Services, combines close cooperation with the most capable and technically advanced workshops and shipyards all over the world, with its dedicated, highly qualified and experienced Technical Management team. It is a Purely Technical
Company that offers services and technical support, dry-dock repairs and spare parts supply.
VALUE ADDED SERVICES is our in-house developed Tracking System and is an end-point solution for the management and fleet operation of vessels. It simplifies the handling of asset information and reports in order to support ship management companies with an easier decision-making process and asset tracking. Constant development allows Tr@ckLite to keep up with and even stay ahead of the most demanding requirements. is a bandwidth management and optimisation solution, especially designed and developed to reduce the costs of both business and crew communications. Multiple benefits such as an all-in-one solution for easy & intuitive communication, access through secure user profiles, a user-friendly interface, effective & proactive cost control through monitoring, alerts and reports, Solid State Hard drive, easy installation and low cost maintenance, integration with other systems and being a fully customisable-in house development make S@tLite a high value added product. • Innovation •Efficiency •Integrity With over 35 years of successful operations, Tototheo Group is the reliable partner you need to support you on all levels of Satellite Communications as well as Ship Repairs. Our experience and global network of owned offices and partners will ensure that you always receive timely service and deliveries of any desired brand.
Address: 89, Omonia Avenue, P.O. Box 51449, 3048 Limassol, Cyprus Tel: (+357) 25570868 Fax: (+357) 25267033 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tototheo.com
IN GOOD COMPANY
WITH THE ‘ACTION’ +2:$&7,21*/2%$/&20081,&$7,216&5($7(6 0($1,1*)8/&211(&7,216,17+(:25.3/$&( By Voula Loizou | Photos by Emma Louise Charalambous
84 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
ack in 1971, the very first dedicated PR and Communications company in Cyprus began operations with Tony Christodoulou and his wife Mickey working tirelessly out of a spare bedroom ǐ typewriters and a phone in one corner, stacks of papers in the other ǐ at a time when ‘Public Relations’ was an altogether alien concept for the country. Fast forward
to the present day, and Action Global Communications is now recognized as a pioneering integrated PR and Communications consultancy firm and one of the largest independent regional networks of its kind, stretching across over 40 markets – from North Africa and Eastern Europe to the Middle East, Russia and beyond – with over 380 members of staff in total and 45 employees constantly on their toes in the Cyprus headquarters. We spoke to Dimitris Ioannides, General Manager of Action Global Communications, about what it means to be a part of the Action team and what factors he attributes to the company’s success as it embraces new technologies while consistently delivering insightful communications solutions to a range of high profile local and international clients. “As an advanced PR and Communications company that takes pride in making
meaningful connections, we always strive to stay ahead of current trends, adapting to the ever-changing and evolving needs of an exceptionally fast-paced industry. Most importantly, creativity is always at the very core of everything we do,” says Ioannides. “We naturally encourage originality in the office and don’t adhere to the criteria or rules of a strict corporate environment. Even our walls here at the Action headquarters are bright red!” he chuckles. “Bright and bold, our workplace reflects who we are. In the same way that we recognize that each client is unique, offering them tailor-made communication solutions to fit their specific needs, we also understand the importance of our staff wanting and needing to feel like individuals. We help cultivate their unique talents while acknowledging their different merits.”
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IN GOOD COMPANY
To this end, great emphasis is placed on employee satisfaction and an open and honest environment where mutual respect is taken seriously. “Every year, we send out questionnaires to all our employees and encourage them to express themselves regarding the working environment, how it can be improved, how they have found their training or any obstacles they have faced along the way. Their feedback is taken into consideration and used to make improvements/ adjustments for the year ahead,” Ioannides explains. With personal growth encouraged every step of the way, employees also have the power to progress within the Action global network, to travel and expand their horizons as PR professionals, and build on their career with time spent in one of the company’s offices abroad. “There are no limits,” affirms Ioannides. Action also believes in nurturing a great sense of belonging. “Aside from numerous advantages including health care/ insurance, rewards and bonuses, we place great emphasis on bonding as a team with fun days out, parties, work barbeques, brainstorming events and more,” he enthuses. Members of staff, in turn, like to think of themselves as being part of the ‘Action family.’ Ioannides points out that staff can always knock on anyone’s door for guidance or help: “The more we support each other, the more we can effectively support our clients,” he says. Work at Action isn’t just about getting through responsibilities and managing multiple deadlines. “Although we take our work exceptionally seriously, there is always room for laughter in a workspace characterized by positivity, even through the most challenging times,” notes the General Manager. “And the best endorsers of Action are our committed and talented employees, who have helped us retain clients for decades; their enthusiasm and passion is vital to our success.” Beyond their passion for, and dedication to, PR and Communications, Action employees never shy away from taking a risk and are encouraged to adapt to changing circumstances. “Being innovative and forward-thinking is part of our ethos and we always try to turn any challenge into an opportunity,” Io-
86 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
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annides explains. The creation of the My Cyprus Insider online travel guide (mycyprusinsider.com) exemplifies this: a portal created by a team of inhouse writers and designers following the closure of Cyprus Airways at the start of 2015. “Over and above our expertise in PR and Communications, we had spent more than 40 years publishing the Sunjet and Apollo Executive Review in-flight magazines and our publications team naturally possessed a wealth of inside knowledge about the island. In an attempt to promote Cyprus in the most positive way possible, especially following the financial crisis, we created something beneficial to our country with wholly unique content, now entrusted and loved by locals and travellers from all corners of the globe.” The creation of Action Digital in mid2015 further added great additional value to the company’s services, helping clients carve their own niche in today’s digital world by utilizing the latest online marketing approaches, not just in Cyprus, but on a global scale. The General Manager points out that everyone in the network shares their views and offers support to one another, helping clients endorse their brand abroad and even set up in another
country. In such instances, the Action PR team in Cyprus rely on their colleagues abroad for market intelligence, collaborations, on-the-ground insights, media relations and more. “Here at Action, we’re connecting with people the world over every minute of the day, ensuring that our clients stay at the very top of their respective industries,” says Ioannides. “And our staff are the driving force behind it all. Communications that build truly rewarding relationships must start in the workplace, that’s what being part of Action is all about!”
How often do you travel, whether for business or pleasure? Once or twice per month.
What is the most exciting destination you have visited for work? And for pleasure? Fo work, the most exciting destination I have For ttravelled to is Hong Kong. Itâ€™s an extremely JV JVZTVWVSP[HUWSHJL^P[OPUÃ…\LUJLZMYVTTHU` KPMM KPMMLYLU[[YHKP[PVUZHUK[OLYLZ\S[PZV\[Z[HUKPUN 0[VMMLYZHNYLH[I\ZPULZZLU]PYVUTLU[ZLJ\YP[`HUK V\[Z[HUKPUNOV[LSZYLZ[H\YHU[Z-VYWSLHZ\YL[OL most exceptional destination I have visited is Rio KL1HULPYV;OLSHUKZJHWLHUK[YVWPJHSUH[\YL JV\WSLK^P[O[OLMYPLUKSPULZZHUKOHWWPULZZ YY Y VMP[ZWLVWSLPZ\UWHYHSSLSLK4VYLV]LY P[IVHZ[Z\UPX\LUPNO[SPML catering to even the most L_X\PZP[L[HZ[L
Tell us about your best corporate travel experience. The most important thing with corporate [YH]LSPZ[VHYYP]LH[`V\YKLZ[PUH[PVUVU[PTL HUKILHZYLSH_LKHZWVZZPISL@V\JHUUV[ HMMVYK[VTPZZVYILSH[LMVYTLL[PUNZZPUJL [OPZ^PSSKLMLH[[OLW\YWVZLVM`V\Y[YPW;OL ILZ[HPYSPULPZ[OLVUL[OH[^PSSOHUKSL`V\HZ H\UPX\LHUKZWLJPHSJ\Z[VTLY^OLU ZVTL[OPUN\UMVYLZLLHISLOHWWLUZ LNHKLSH`HUK[OLILZ[OV[LS^PSSIL[OL VUL[OH[^PSSZ\WWVY[`V\PUJHZL`V\OH]L ` HU\YNLU[I\ZPULZZULLK K (e.g. a Skype call at 3am!). m!).
Yangos Hadjiyannis The Deputy Dir Director-General of the Cyprus Institute of Marketing (The Cyprus Business iness School) loves places in both South and North America, chooses the Maldives for relaxation and Hong Kong for excitement, but ultimately tells us that thereâ€™s no place ace like home. What is your favourite international destination and why?
Wh is your What favourite airline, fa and why? 0^V\SKZH`,TPYH[LZZPUJLP[Â»Z L_[YLTLS`YLSPHISLHUKVMMLYZ[VW X\HSP[`ZLY]PJLZ 0SVZ[T`S\NNHNLVUJLVUT` 0S T`` T` ` ^H`[V4HSH`ZPHHUK[OL`^LYL ^H` HU UK[OL` OL L` L ` ^L ^ YL V\[Z[HUKPUNPU[OLPYHWWYVHJO[V V\[Z[H Z[HU UKPUNPU[OLPYHWWYYV YVH YVH VHJO J [V JO KLHSPUN^P[O[OPZPZZ\L KLH LHSPUN^P[O [OPZPZZ\L Z\L
If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go? 4HSKP]LZ)LPUNL_[YLTLS` I\Z`H[^VYR0^V\SKZLLR [OLSLHZ[Z[YLZZM\SHUK demanding destination and 0^V\SKZPTWS`YLZ[VU[OL ILHJOHUKYLSH_PU a nice resort.
What is the most impressive hotel you have ever stayed at and why? Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, 3VUKVU^OPJOPZVMJV\YZL ,\YVWLÂ»Z[HSSLZ[I\PSKPUN ;OL]PL^PZZPTWS`Z[\UUPUNHUK having a room with a 360-degree ]PL^VM3VUKVUPZZPTWS`V\[ VM[OPZ^VYSK
:HU-YHUJPZJV0[Â»ZHWSHJLVMJYLH[P]ity and innovation. I have many local MYPLUKZHUKL]LY`[PTL`V\NV`V\ KPZJV]LYHUL^WHY[VM[OLJP[`HUK[OL )H`4HU`[YLUKZJVTLV\[ VM:HU-YHUJPZJVÂ¶I\ZPULZZMHZOPVU MVVKL[JÂ¶ZV`V\JHU really â€˜read the streetsâ€™ in San Francisco.
How d does Cyprus co compare om to this location? locat lo *`WY\ZPZVMJV\YZLH[PU` *`WY\ZPZVMJV\YZ *`W place compared to San Sa Francisco and many things here happen 5-10 `LHYZHM[LY[OL`KV[OLYL/H]PUN `LHYZHM[LY[OL`KV[O ZHPK[OH[0SV]L*`WY\ ZHPK[OH[0SV]L*`WY\ZHUK^V\SK anywhere else not want to live anyw H[[OPZZ[HNLPUT`SPML H[[OPZZ[HNLPUT
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88 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
SAILING OFFERS ADVENTURE, TESTS PERSONAL LIMITS AND CREATES LIFELONG MEMORIES. DR. GEORGE MOUNTIS, MANAGING PARTNER OF DELFI PARTNERS & CO, TELLS GOLD HOW HIS LOVE FOR THE SEA HAS TAUGHT HIM LESSONS THAT HAVE PROVEN VALUABLE BOTH AT WORK AND IN LIFE. DESPITE HIS PASSION FOR SAILING, HOWEVER, IT STILL COMES SECOND TO HIS RESPONSIBILITIES AS A FAMILY MAN AND THOSE PERTAINING TO HIS WORK IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR. By Voula Loizou
henever he gets a chance to take time off from Delfi Partners & Co, George Mountis loves connecting with nature and, especially, with the sea. “Sailing or cruising is about having an adventure but having a morning tea in the cockpit and watching the
sunrise when everyone is still fast asleep is a once-ina-lifetime experience,” he says. Mountis is a fan of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) sailing programme and a qualified Day Skipper. It didn’t take long to obtain his qualification because, he
says, the requirements are very reasonable and the theoretical part is a breeze for any true sailing enthusiast. So what’s the big attraction? “Days very rarely turn out how you expect them to, but they always turn into some kind of a story,” he explains. “I love being on the water. I also love to travel. I think yachting and sailing combine these perfectly.” Living in Cyprus obviously has its benefits, too: “There are plenty of waters to sail on and we have the perfect weather and facilities to enjoy the sun and the
THE OPEN SEA DOES NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN HIGH-LEVEL PROFESSIONALS OR NOVICES
sea,” he says, before adding that sailing the Greek islands is also “a unique experience”. Mountis does not own his own boat but he still participates in sailing races, which he sees as an opportunity to test his limits and, as he puts it, “to create lifelong memories.” He describes himself as a keen racer: “Sailing races are a big challenge and an endurance test at the same time. The open sea does not distinguish between high-level professionals or novices. Both need to be ready to face the same challenges.” As a hobby, he says that sailing is not as expensive as it often perceived. Renting a good sailing boat and sailing around the Greek islands, for example, can be a very www.goldnews.com.cy | GOLD | 89
OFF AT THE END OF THE DAY, I’M NOT A SAILOR. WORKING IN BANKING IS WHO I AM
cost-effective family holiday, while sailing with friends can get lead a few people to go...well, overboard. “It’s almost a guarantee that anyone you take out sailing will end the day proclaiming, ‘I’m buying a boat!’ I have so many friends that I always have a full boat when going out. It makes me happy to share life onboard.” Much as he enjoys it, George Mountis does not see sailing as anything more than just a hobby. There are times when he just wants to stay at home with the family and relax. “I still love sailboats,” he says, “and the most important thing is to learn from my experiences and not repeat the same mistakes; but at the end of the day, I’m not a sailor. Working in banking is who I am.” He says that sailing has nonetheless taught him a lot. “Living on a boat forces you to be a minimalist. It makes you aware of your footprint on the earth, and how much you really need to consume. I try
to make sure that I absolutely need something before it makes its way onto the boat. Sometimes, I may even be a little bit too restrictive.” He uses these life lessons in his working life too. He was once asked to deliver a speech on Strategy & Corporate Finance and it happened to be when he had just com-
90 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
pleted part of the circuit around the British Isles. “It was a great achievement for me and a wonderful sailing and travel experience,” he recalls. “Unfortunately, at one point our vessel got caught in bad weather around Cape Wrath (Scotland), as an anticyclone was bringing stiff winds. With this experience
still fresh in my mind, I could not avoid making the comparison with the tough times that the financial markets were going through. We may not be able to control the weather but by showing up as a team and adapting our strategy accordingly, we can definitely control the track of our vessel – even where ‘vessel’ equals ‘company’ and the ‘rough sea’ is the market.” Although sailing is his passion outside work, George Mountis considers himself first and foremost a family man with lots of responsibilities. But sailing is also what he calls “an activity for personal development, especially for my children. I would love to have my family with me onboard one day. I am sure that living on the water for a while will give added depth to the journey and encourage the kids to work as a team and also transform their character and personality.”
BOOKS of the month 1
The story of the founders of behavioural economics
Nine organising principles for navigating and surviving WRPRUURZ·V world
Essential for those applying, auditing, interpreting and regulating IFRS
New edition of the bestseller Non-Obvious featuring 15 new trends
If you WKLQN\RX·UH not affected by PR and advertising, think again
THE UNDOING PROJECT: A FRIENDSHIP THAT CHANGED THE WORLD By Michael Lewis (Allen Lane, 2016) R.R.P. £25.00 (£17.00 FROM AMAZON.CO.UK)
WHIPLASH: HOW TO SURVIVE OUR FASTER FUTURE By Joi Ito and Jeff Howe (Grand Central Publishing, 2016) R.R.P. £22.79 (£20.52 FROM AMAZON.CO.UK)
From the author of The Big Short , this is the story of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who created the field of behavioural economics, revolutionising everything from Big Data to medicine, from how we are governed to how we spend. They showed that humans are deeply flawed but, almost inevitably, their own relationship became fraught with rivalry and jealousy. Great reading.
The tools of our modern existence are getting faster, cheaper, and smaller and billions of strangers around the world are suddenly just one click, tweet or post away from one another. Ito and Howe set out nine organising principles for navigating and surviving tomorrow’s world, with case studies and leading-edge research and philosophies from the MIT Media Lab and beyond.
For the past 7 years, Bhargava’s insights into future trends have been International Financial Re- utilized by dozens of the porting Standards (IFRS) biggest brands and orare complex but this 3-vol- ganizations in the world. Subtitled How to think ume work is the essential tool for anyone applying, different, curate ideas and predict the future, auditing, interpreting, this new edition of the regulating, studying and bestseller Non-Obvious teaching international features 15 new trends financial reporting. It is in the areas of Culture the only globally focused & Consumer Behaviour, work on IFRS and is not Marketing & Social constrained by any individual country’s legislation Media, Media & Eduor financial reporting reg- cation, Technology & Design, Economics & ulations, thus ensuring a Entrepreneurship. consistency of approach.
INTERNATIONAL GAAP 2017 GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRACTICE UNDER INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL REPORTING STANDARDS By Ernst & Young LLP (John Wiley & Sons, 2016) R.R.P. £150 (£150 FROM AMAZON.CO.UK)
NON-OBVIOUS 2017 By Dr Rohit Bhargava (Ideapress Publishing,
2016) R.R.P. £14.61 (£14.51 FROM AMAZON.CO.UK)
THE PERSUADERS: THE HIDDEN INDUSTRY THAT WANTS TO CHANGE YOUR MIND By James Garvey (Icon Books Ltd, 2016) R.R.P. £8.99 (£8.99 FROM AMAZON.CO.UK)
How did we end up with a world where beliefs are mass-produced by lobbyists and PR firms? Could Google or Facebook swing elections? Is it too late, or can we learn to listen to reason again? Garvey asks us to question how we think. If you believe you’re not affected by PR and advertising, you should read this book.
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Lunc Lunch with DESPINA PANAYIOTOU THEODOSIOU
AS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE TOTOTHEO GROUP, PRESIDENT OF WISTA CYPRUS, AND MOTHER OF A YOUNG SON, YOU MIGHT THINK THAT DESPINA PANAYIOTOU THEODOSIOU ALREADY HAS ENOUGH TO KEEP HER BUSY BUT SHE’S NOT THE SORT TO TURN DOWN AN INTERESTING OPPORTUNITY WHEN IT COMES HER WAY. SO SHE IS ALSO STUDYING AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY AND RECENTLY BECAME SECRETARY OF WISTA INTERNATIONAL. AND IN HER SPARE TIME, SHE’S BUILDING THE FAMILY ART COLLECTION…
By John Vickers
D 92 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
espina Panayiotou Theodosiou laughs when she recalls how many people teased her last year when she told them that she had been ‘working non-stop’ for the Annual General Meeting of WISTA International. So why was everyone doubting her? “It’s not my fault if it was held on board a ship sailing from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas!,” she says. “I'm now the Secretary of the Association so I had to attend!” Panayiotou Theodosiou takes such gentle teasing in her stride. In truth, she is one of the busiest women I know, constantly on the move, not only for the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) but
EPSILON arina, Limassol M Limassol €13.80 SALAD T E L IL €18.00 F K DUC ICKEN RASS CH €3.75 LEMONG WATER G €5.25 IN L K R A SP ITE WINE H W F €7.50 O S L GLAS G BAL TE MELTIN €2.90 CHOCOLA O €3.20 S S E R ESP E E F F O C FILTER €54.40 L TOTA
al h maritime services company also ffor the of which she and her husband are joint Managing Directors. “We're in the process of expanding the company and sponsoring some global events, so obviously someone has to be there to speak at conferences, etc.” Again, she flashes a smile and admits, “But I'm not complaining! I rather like it!” We are sitting — appropriately, I suggest — near a window at the Epsilon restaurant, overlooking the yachts at Limassol Marina. After my guest has chosen the salad with smoked duck fillet and I have made my selection of lemongrass chicken,
I ask Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou how she came to be involved in WISTA. It’s quite a long story and she takes me back to her student days: “I studied Economics and although I did an internship at a shipping company, I had decided long before that I didn't want to go into the shipping industry. Why? Because I already knew what it was like!” she says, adding that her father had been a ship's captain and then worked in the industry for more than 30 years. “He loved what he did but it was hard work and required very long hours,” she tells me. “So I knew what it was like, and I decided to try finance.” She lasted just three months in a bank. “I quickly realised that it wasn't for me,” she recalls. “I felt like a little bird in a cage!” Not long afterwards, she agreed to replace someone in her husband's company for a month. “I had no intention of staying any longer,” she says. “I didn’t want to be working full-time with my husband. It's now been 11 years!” This revelation brings forth another joyful burst of laughter, followed by the clarification that they actually work on different floors and have separate responsibilities so, although it was “a bit difficult” at first, the arrangement now works fine. Not only that, Despina has grown to love her work and even did an executive MBA in shipping. It was while working with the Tototheo Group that she was asked by a friend in the UK if she was a member of WISTA. There was no Cyprus branch at the time but she came into contact with WISTA UK and was quickly persuaded to
establish one here. She now considers that the WISTA experience was, in part, what turned her into the confident, outgoing woman that everyone sees today. She still remembers the first conference she attended in Stockholm: “I was 29 at the time and I'd been working in the industry for a few years but suddenly finding myself in a room with 200 powerful, confident ladies made me realise that I had to make it work! Until then, I had always been very shy but I learned to open up.” Shipping has always been a male-dominated industry but Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou says that she never saw herself as a woman alone in a ‘man's world’, although she knows that many members of WISTA Cyprus have felt that way to some degree. “I think it may be a generational thing,” she says. “It was
way.” Although she still travels a great deal for work, she has had to adjust somewhat since becoming a mother. “I now make a point of spending as much time as I can with my son,” she explains, “so where I would once have gone straight from one country to the next, I will now come home – even for half a day – and then travel to
those boring work trips to the Bahamas, she admits that she doesn’t want to do that: “I love my family but I think I would be miserable if I had to stay at home all the time!” she says, adding, “I love my work too and I believe that I would be bored if I had a regular routine.” Despina is the first to acknowledge that she’s “one of those people who can't stay still” and seems to like filling her every waking moment with something that requires an extra effort. She is on the Board of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, she’s involved with the Cyprus Maritime Academy, she recently became Secretary of WISTA International and, believe it or not, she is still studying. “I know that I don't actually need to do this,” she prefaces her next revelation, “but I decided to study for a postgraduate diploma in Financial Strategy at the Said Business School of the University of Oxford. It means going there every few months, taking exams and I have to deliver a thesis by the end of February. It's not easy but I love it. In fact, I'm thinking of doing one more
I LOVE MY FAMILY BUT I THINK I WOULD BE MISERABLE IF I HAD TO STAY AT HOME ALL THE TIME! harder for those before me and similarly, younger shipping executives than me are more outgoing than I was, so things are progressing in a positive
another place to be with him.” When I teasingly suggest that she could give up the travel altogether for a few years and send someone else on
Master's degree and then I'll be done.” Being human, she confesses that she occasionally complains about being tired but adds, “I wouldn't have it
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| LUNCH WITH GOLD |
any other way.” The company that she jointly manages with her husband Socrates is a provider of maritime services – mainly satellite communications – and, she says, the smaller players in the industry are gradually being squeezed out so they had to decide whether to expand, continue as they were or even try to sell the company. They decided to grow their operations and, to this end, they have been recruiting new people and opening regional offices. “We've opened a company in Dubai and another in Singapore and I’m pleased to say that things are moving in the direction we want them to,” she tells me. “We've almost doubled the number of employees in the last 18 months and we're still growing.” Why would she open other companies or offices when, in today’s online, interconnected world, she could theoretically be working out of Limassol and doing business anywhere at all? For a very good reason, she explains. “Going global means that you have to be aware of the differences in how people do business around the world. Even within Europe we find major differences. We opened the Dubai company because it requires a completely different mentality to build a business there and you need local people who understand it and have the right connections. It's the same in Singapore, so we are aiming to have our own presence in certain areas that we're interested in. You are right that the world may be well connected through technology but, in the end, personal relationships matter in business and especially in shipping, which is becoming very modern but remains very traditional.” I suggest that what she says sounds paradoxical to an outsider. “Yes, it does. I know,” she replies. “What I mean is that the mindset is traditional, the way people think is traditional and personal relationships are important. On the other hand, the shipping companies have been forced to modernise in other ways. For example, even 10 years ago, people working on board ships knew that they may not have a chance to talk to their family and friends for months on end. The
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companies never thought of giving their crew members Internet access. Now it has become such an important part of our lives that they need to provide such access in order to retain their staff. Everyone needs to be connected and to know what's happening with their friends and family. They may not have exactly what they have onshore but nowadays they can have something very close to it and this is part of what we do with our communication services.” We decide to share one of Epsilon’s most popular desserts – a chocolate melting ball – and coffee and
They are the USA and Cyprus. Why did she and her Board decide to open up membership of a women’s association to men? Do they have to be feminists? “We are not a feminist organisation,” she tells me,” but a networking organisation. We had so many men attending events that were not exclusively for our members and when some expressed an interest in joining, we thought, why not?” The men are not allowed to be on the Board (“That would be a bit strange,” she admits) and they must show that they support
GOING GLOBAL MEANS THAT YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF THE DIFFERENCES IN HOW PEOPLE DO BUSINESS AROUND THE WORLD while waiting for it to arrive, my dining companion tells me about her latest hobby: building an art collection. “I buy mostly international artists and I especially like photographs,” she says, noting that she has always enjoyed taking her own photos. Her current favourite is Hungarian artist Flora Borsi, who takes and then manipulates her pictures, creating strange but beautiful works. She also has a sculpture by Lorenzo Quinn but admits that at the moment she is experimenting, trying to see what she really likes. I suggest that she might like to visit Tate Modern if she’s in London before May, as it is currently hosting and exhibition entitled “The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography From The Sir Elton John Collection” and she promises to make a note of it. For all her studying, travelling and art collecting, WISTA continues to be her real passion, which is why she was happy to become Secretary of the International Association. She is also proud of the fact that only two countries of the 40 that have a branch of WISTA allow men to join.
women in the industry but, if they want membership, they can have it. The Cyprus branch is now WISTA’s 4th biggest in the world now, after the USA, Greece and Netherlands and ahead of the UK. This may surprise some people but, says the local President, it actually reflects the size and importance of the shipping sector, not of the country. “We’re still growing,” she says, as we leave after the delicious dessert, “so everything is going well. I will send you some links to see those photos and sculptures,” she promises as we say our goodbyes. A couple of days later, they arrive in my inbox, together with a thank-you note. Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou may be a busy company manager, mature student, Association president and mother but she is also one of those rare people who are not only delightful company but find time to keep their word and show that they are reliable and efficient in everything they do. And I bet she gets to see that Tate Modern show too.
EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2017
aphos begins its year year-long long term as European Capitall of Culture 2017 with an opening ceremonyy and concert and an exhibition, followed by two later concerts.
IN THE LAND OF APHRODITE AND PYGMALION he Cyprus Symphony Orchestra on a musical journey featuring Aphrodite, Adonis, Arodaphnousa, Pygmalion and Galatea, in works by Bateson, Desmarest, Cassanea de Mondonville, Ramenti, von Suppe, Loewe and conductor Alkis Baltas. Saint Paulâ€™s High School, Paphos Sunday, January 29, 8.30pm
OPENING CEREMONY ONY N KENNEDY even Choirs plus muSQUARE, PAPHOS, sicians and dancers SATURDAY, from all over Cyprus JANUARY 28,
MUSIC BRIDGES IN TIME AND SPACE oncert by Alkistis stis Protopsalti and d Doros Demosthenous us Kennedy Square, Paaphos, Saturday, January uary 28, 8.30pm
DEPARTING MYTHOLOGIES orks by the so-called Second Generation of Cypriot artists, including Stass Paraskos, Costas En Plo Gallery, Economou, Andreas Kato Paphos Charalambides, Until Tuesday, February 28 George Kotsonis, Christos Christou, Christos Foukaras, Andy Hadjiadamou and Kypros Perdios.
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260+1 YEARS OF MOZART he Flautissimo Limassol Flute Choir, renowned harpist Angela Madjarova and Cypriot soprano Chryso Makariou celebrate 261 years since the birth of Mozart. Famagusta Gate, Nicosia Friday, January 27, 8.30pm Pattichion Theatre, Limassol Saturday, January 28, 8.30pm Roman Catholic Church, Larnaca Sunday, January 29, 8.30pm
Archishop Makarios III Lyceum, Paphos Wednesday, February 8, 8.30pm
MUSICORBA ianists Ricardo Vieira (Portugal) and Tomohiro Hatta (Japan) present classical music for four hands and works from their own countries.
OPERA ROMÃ‰O ET JULIETTE iana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo star in this acclaimed Live in HD performance of Gounodâ€™s adaptation of Shakespeareâ€™s play from the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Rialto
Theatre,, Limassol & K-Cineplex p Cinema,, Nicosia,, Larnaca,, Paphos p Saturday, y, .ERYEV] .ERYEV] ] ÄƒÄƒTQ
RIALTO THEATRE, LIMASSOL SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 8.30PM
SWAN LAKE hen it premiered at Sadlerâ€™s Wells in 1995, Matthew Bourneâ€™s triumphant re-interpretation of Swan Lake took the dance world by storm. This iconic award-winning production, which replaced the traditional female corps de ballet with a menacing male ensemble, was filmed in 3D at Sadlerâ€™s Wells, London in 2011. The stellar cast includes Richard Winsor, Dominic North and Nina Goldman.
GREEK MUSIC PANTELIS THALASSINOS he popular Greek singer returns to Cyprus with an 8-piece band.
LAVRENTIS MACHAIRITSAS & YIANNIS ZOUGANELIS cclaimed Greek singer-songwriter Machairitsas teams up with composer, musician and actor Zouganelis. Red Music Stage, Nicosia Tuesday, February 14, 9.30pm
PATTICHION THEATRE, LIMASSOL THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 8.30PM
THE THREEPENNY OPERA darkly comic new take on Brecht and Weill’s raucous musical, broadcast live from the stage of the National Theatre, London, starring Rory KinRIALTO near, Rosalie Craigg and THEATRE, TH Haydn Gwynne. LIMASSOL LIM
MILTOS OS PAS P PASCHALIDIS CHAL ALIDIS he Greek singer accompanied by Mirela Pahou (piano, accordion, voice) performs tracks from his new album plus favourites. Downtown Live, Nicosia Friday, January 27, 10.30pm Ravens, Limassol Saturday, y January J y 28, 10pm p
DIONY DIONYSIS NYSIS SAVVOPOU S SAVVOPOULOS LOS ifty years after his 1966 debut album “Fortigo”, the veteran singer-songwriter revives it in his first performance of the new year.
CYPRUS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
YIANNIS KOTSIRAS wo shows in Limassol by the Greek singer, featuring songs from his new album plus older material.
he orchestra and soloists perform three series of concerts over the next month.
BON ANNÉE – BON APPETIT orks by Lumbye, Johann Strauss and Hoiby, plus Greek operetta works featuring Maria Vlachopoulou (mezzo-soprano), Katerina Andreou (soprano) and Andreas Zenios (baritone). Rialto Theatre, Limassol Wednesday, January 18, 8.30pm Pallas Theatre, Nicosia Strovolos Municipal Theatre, Nicosia Friday, January 20, 8.30pm
PATTICHION THEATRE, LIMASSOL SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 8.30PM
CYPRUS &C THEATRE TH ORGANISATION ORG RGA NEW E THEATRE, NICOSIA NI TUESDAY, TU JJANUARY 31, JAN 8.30PM 8
RIALTO THEATRE, LIMASSOL TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7 & WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 8.30PM
CHAMBER MUSIC irginie Bove (flute), Anna Wrobel (violin), n), Krzysztof Wrobel (viola), Jakub 3XŠIRjûIO(cello) ŠIRjûIO (cello) and Katerina Kitsou (harp) perform works by Debussy, Francaix, Bax and Roussel. Pallas Theatre, Nicosia Saturday, February 18, 5pm
CHINESE NEW N YEAR eaturing soloist Zhang Zhao (erhu) in works by Gluck, von Weber, Schmitt. Kreisler, Strauss, Yuankai and Naizhong. Strovolos Municipal Theatre, Nicosia Wednesday, February 8, 8.30pm Rialto Theatre, Limassol Thursday, February 9, 8.30pm
ilms of the silent era, set to original music by contemporary composers and performed live. PEOPLE ON SUNDAY (CURT AND ROBERT SIODMAK,1930) Composer & Live Performance: Minas I. Alexiadis The Shoe Factory, Nicosia Wednesday, January 25, 8.30pm MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (DZIGA VERTOV, 1929) Composer: Alexandros Mouzas. Live Performance: Kostas Tzekos (clarinet), Kostas Panagiotidis (violin), Alexandros Botinis (cello), Christos Sakellaridis (piano) The Shoe Factory, Nicosia Friday, January 27, 8.30pm “IT” (CLARENCE G. BADGER, 1927) Composer: Panagiotis Theodossiou. Live Performance: Alexandros Makris (piano), Efstathios Kiossoglou (clarinet), Yiorgos Arnis (double-bass), Vasileios Panagiotog poulos (drums) The Shoe Factory, Nicosia Sunday, Januaryy 29, 8.30pm p
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A DAY IN THE LIFE
M y normal weekday starts at 6.30am when my wife Nicola, our 7-year-old son Michalis and I wake up and basically we rush! After a quick breakfast, I take Michalis to school and head to work for around 8am. After going through my e-mails and being updated on the day’s agenda, I begin a long series of meetings that may continue until the early afternoon. Lunch is usually just a snack at the office and the earliest I’m likely to leave work is 6 o’clock, so that I can spend at least an hour exercising and then have some time with my son. At school I was very keen on technology and I decided to study computer science but just before I was due to start, I was involved in a car accident and while I was recovering in hospital I had second thoughts about
The Director of Group Compliance at Bank of Cyprus on his need for professional challenges and spiritual guidance, his love of Greek music and dance, and why his work-life balance is inevitably going to be skewed in favour of his professional obligations.
my studies m ǐǐI had a few friends fe who were w qqualified computer co programmers p and uneman ployedǐ and p concluded co that I should th aim for a ai profession p that was in th demand. So d I decided to become a chartered accountant and, although I probably didn’t realise it at the time, it’s a qualification that opens many doors and the subject helps broaden the mind. When I qualified and joined Ernst & Young (now EY), I was soon attracted to fraud examination, anti-corruption and forensic accounting. So I obtained the Certified Fraud Examiner qualification and focused on financial crime issues. I have never regretted my choice of profession and I will keep smiling for as long as I have challenges to deal with. I wouldn’t be happy to simply sit behind a desk, even if I was being paid well to do so, which is precisely why I
switched from accounting to banking. In 2000 I joined Bank of Cyprus, where I was CFO of General Insurance of Cyprus for 10 years before moving into overseas banking operations. I was then given the biggest challenge of my career so far: managing the Bank’s Greek operations after March 2013. It was difficult but I enjoyed it. In the evening we have a light family dinner before Michalis goes to bed. I like reading and I always have a book open. Right now it’s Spiritual Words by the Elder Paisios of Mount Athos. I believe that, to be complete, we need emotional intelligence and spirituality and certain charismatic spiritual leaders of the Orthodox Church can guide and give us answers. In the same vein I’ve also read the well-known Philokalia of the Niptic Fathers. I like Greek music, and especially the classic songs of Vassilis Tsitsanis and Manolis Angelopoulos and singers such as Marinella and Yiannis Parios. As a lover of Greek music I also like dancing a lot and if I’m out with friends and a zeimbekiko comes on, I’ll be the first to get up and dance. Luckily,
Nicola likes it too! I have a wine cellar at home and I enjoy opening a bottle and One of my favourite Greek drinking songwriters with friends. I can recommend a good Argentinian Malbec and an Italian Amarone! I We all need can’t claim spiritual to have guidance good worklife balance and, frankly, there is never going to be one. As a proI always enjoy fessional in an Argentinian Malbec an important post, plus other responsibilities such as those I have with ICPAC and Transparency International, work is always going to take up most of my time. But I also know that I need to take good care to make the most of the time that I get to spend with my family and friends. I’m trying my best!
I BELIEVE THAT, TO BE COMPLETE,
WE NEED EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND SPIRITUALITY 98 | GOLD | The Business Magazine of Cyprus
Tax Facts & Figures 2017 - Cyprus The tax system in Cyprus January 2017
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