iomplc 2015

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TH E BU SINE SS JOURNAL OF TH E ISLE OF MAN

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Exclusive Interviebew r of

Wirral Cham Commerce

Io - your gM ateway to the Nor the Powerhou rn se And much more...


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iomplc

THE INTENTION OF THE ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT SCHEME IS TO CREATE LASTING NEW JOBS IN ISLE OF MAN-BASED COMPANIES AND TO FUTURE-PROOF OUR ECONOMIC BASE.

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CONTENTS (Click on a page number or title to go directly to that page)

06 KPMG Crowdfunding: new legislation for a new economy 08 THIS WAY TO THE NORTHERN POWERHOUSE

Liverpool Waters: transforming the city’s historic docklands

12 ENTERPRISE ISLE How the Enterprise Development Scheme can boost the Island’s economy

14 PROFILE: ROGER W SMITH We talk to the master watchmaker about the advantages of locating his business in the Isle of Man

18 MICTA Providing a powerful voice for the Island’s ICT sector

22 VISION2020 We speak to Chris Corlett, Chief Executive of

the Department of Economic Development, for a progress report

26 MANX TELECOM We speak to new CEO Gary Lamb about the

company’s continued investment in the Island

28 PROFILE: DR HELMUT KESSLER The founder of Manx Precision Optics talks about why the Island makes the perfect home for both his company and his family

WELCOME IOMPLC is the only business journal dedicated to promoting the Isle of Man to inward investors. The IOMPLC concept was devised solely by MM&C and, as a Manx company which has been in business here for many years, it reflects the pride we feel in calling the Isle of Man our home. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback following the inaugural edition which was published in January 2015 and it has already become established as the ‘go to’ publication for showcasing the very best the Isle of Man has to offer in business. This edition will be updated in April 2016 and redistributed. MM&C has clients which reflect all sectors of the Island’s increasingly diverse economy, including three AIM listed businesses, and clients from the telecoms, eGaming and eBusiness, finance, and third sector. We have offices in Jersey and London, and with this background we believe that there is no agency better placed to help market businesses internationally or back into the UK. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to and supported this edition – we hope that it inspires you to discover even more about why the Isle of Man is such a great place to live and work. Craig Wolstencroft Founding Managing Director MM&C


32 DID YOU KNOW? 34 CROWDFUNDING IOMPLC talks to John Garland, Head of Corporate

Financial Services at the Department of Economic Development, who explains why 2016 could be very big year for the Island in this sector.

36 ABACUS The final piece in the private client jigsaw 38 WIRRAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE An exclusive interview with CEO Paula Basnett on their strong partnership with the Isle of Man

40 FROM START-UP TO STOCK MARKET How the Isle of Man can support your business at every turn

52 ISLE OF MAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE We speak to Chief Executive Jane Dellar about why

the Chamber is the Island’s biggest business network

54 CONTINENT 8 Connecting the Isle of Man to Global Markets 56 A BLESSING TO THE ISLAND Martin Humphreys, Principal, King William’s College gives us insight into the world famous school

58 ISLE OF MAN FACT FILE The Island at a glance 59 SURE Chief Operating Officer (IoM) Mike Phillips tells us

how advanced telecoms systems are revolutionising the office

42 INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR TECHNOLOGY Creating a new partnership in ICT skills development

60 SUPPORTING YOU ALL THE WAY A guide to just some of the business support schemes

45 RIVA FINANCIAL SYSTEMS The investment software specialists

62 STERLING TRUST Co-founder David Johnson explains how the Island’s

go from strength to strength

available from the government

46 PROFILE: JENNIFER HOUGHTON The co-founder of Island-based Annexio Limited tells

pragmatic approach to regulation has allowed the CSP to continuously grow over 20 years

us why she made the Island her home

50 SEARCH AND SELECT Finding quality people for quality posts

“MM&C works with clients in many different sectors, and on everything from advertising campaigns to rebrands – so there’s always plenty of creative scope for me as a designer. But producing in-house publications such as IOMPLC is always additionally rewarding because of the freedom it offers to experiment with new ideas and concepts.” Chris Gregory MM&C Chief Designer “Researching and writing articles for IOMPLC always involves discovering new success stories about Manx businesses, and it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to play a part in bringing these stories to a wider audience.” Richard Allen MM&C Senior Copywriter and Editor of IOMPLC 2015

APRIL 2016 UPDATE The digital version of this IOMPLC edition will be updated in April 2016, and a brand new 2017 edition produced in the autumn of 2016. To advertise contact MM&C Managing Director Craig Wolstencroft by emailing craig@mmc.co.im or by phoning +44 (0)1624 678001

Editorial contact: richard@mmc.co.im Advertising contact: craig@mmc.co.im

44 (0)1624 678001

www.mmc.co.im


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iomplc KPMG

CROWDFUNDING

NEW LEGISLATION FOR A NEW ECONOMY The popularity of crowdfunding as a way for small and medium sized enterprises to raise finance is increasing. The main drivers behind this growth have been disintermediation resulting from the financial crisis and technological innovation. Still, the global crowdfunding industry is in its nascent stages, and many jurisdictions have only recently implemented crowdfunding regimes. The Isle of Man currently has no formal regime for crowdfunding in place. With this in mind, Simon Nicholas, Director at KPMG, discusses the growth of crowdfunding globally and its position locally. Globally, traditional lenders are not lending as freely as they were prior to the financial crisis, leading some enterprises to explore alternative methods of securing finance. At the same time, because interest rates around the world are so low, consumers are looking at different ways to make returns on savings. By linking these enterprises with these consumers, the crowdfunding model takes advantage of this state of affairs and provides a solution for both. And it is a solution that is growing in popularity. In fact, in the UK alone, the alternative finance industry grew from £267 million in 2012 to £1.7 billion in 2014, and is expected to double again in 2015, with the fastest growing sector being equity raisers. On a global level, crowdfunding grew from $6.1 billion raised in 2013 to $16.2 billion raised in 2014. In 2015, the industry is expected to raise $34.4 billion. The popularity of the crowdfunding model is due to crowdfunding platforms having several distinct advantages over traditional lenders, which often result in benefits for enterprises and consumers. As Warren Mead, Head of Alternative Finance and Fintech at KPMG states in his article, ‘P2P Is A Game-Changer, But Banks Can Respond’, most crowdfunding platforms do not operate a branch network, use outdated IT systems, employ large numbers of people, and do not

face legacy conduct costs. They have, therefore, an estimated 425 basis point cost advantage over traditional banks. This means that more money can be passed back to borrowers through more competitive rates, and to investors in the form of returns. Additionally, crowdfunding platforms are required to hold far less capital because they do not have a credit or liquidity risk on their loans, as these are passed on to ‘the crowd’. The crowdfunding model thus significantly lowers the barriers of entry to those seeking to enter the investment or commercial loaning sectors, which, traditionally, have required huge amounts of capital to enter. Perhaps because of this, many of the platforms offering crowdfunding solutions have a more dynamic and entrepreneurial approach than traditional lenders. This, combined with a much smaller administrative framework and far fewer clients, enables crowdfunding platforms to offer a highly personalised, customer-orientated service. Mead references a survey conducted by Nesta, the innovation thinktank, which found that 86 percent of existing crowdfunding borrowers thought they would be ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to approach alternative finance platforms in the future, even if a traditional lender offered them similar terms. This is an interesting notion, and one which supports the view that customer service is playing an important role in the industry’s growth. For traditional lenders, which are already facing more regulation and increased competition both on the high street and online, the increasing popularity of crowdfunding may represent a significant threat. However, it is important to get the level of this threat in perspective. The amounts of money crowdfunding platforms are lending is still small compared to that of the banks. For example, Mead makes some interesting points about customer data and assessing credit risk. Traditional lenders have access to huge amounts of

Simon Nicholas

customer data that, used intelligently, could form the basis for new customerorientated services that simply would not be possible for their smaller competitors to implement. Moreover, by setting up new processes, with up-to-date IT and no branch estate, the banks may be able to decrease running costs considerably. Regarding credit risk, traditional lenders have much to learn from some crowdfunding platforms’ approach to credit scoring (which often involves changing algorithms daily, and using borrowers’ social media data as a point of departure). Already, some banks are making progress in this area, and have begun using application programme interface (API) technology so that they are able to incorporate data from other accounting systems into their credit scoring processes. Just how well the banks manage to protect their market share remains to be seen. However the future for crowdfunding may be more predictable. Whilst we are expecting huge growth in this area, the likelihood is that crowdfunding will follow the path of many other fast-paced sectors and the number of platforms will decrease as consolidation begins. The consolidation


MORE MONEY CAN BE PASSED BACK TO BORROWERS THROUGH MORE COMPETITIVE RATES, AND TO INVESTORS IN THE FORM OF RETURNS.

could come in many forms – the most obvious being the smaller operators merging or acquiring one another not only to gain scale but to consolidate technology and to save costs in order to fund expensive marketing campaigns and global expansion. Equally though, we would expect some to be acquired by the very entities they threaten, the banks. Many banks have begun to form ‘alternative finance’ divisions, as the banks recognise that the world of finance and their business model is changing. Significant investments have been seen by the banks into ‘Fintech’ companies as they embrace new technology and changes in customer behaviour - investing in those that threaten the traditional model such as peer to peer, crowd funding, investment platforms, payment service providers and other up and coming internet and mobile based financial services ventures. Many of these types of high growth companies already call the Isle of Man their home, leaving the island well placed for financial services revolution. Although a lot of crowdfunding is done either by way of donation or contribution in return for a non-monetary return, in terms of the Isle of Man’s future in crowdfunding, it is the industry’s highend services – lending crowdfunding and equity crowdfunding – that are the most salient. Interestingly, this is where the rest of the market is headed with recent news about demand for a £1,000 minimum investment into companies through crowdfunding. On the one hand, from a private sector point of view, these models offer the most obvious financial incentives for any platforms considering mediating crowdfunding deals. On the other hand, the public sector will be concerned with the regulation aspect of such activity. Historically, crowdfunding platforms have not been cross-border, and it strikes us (and the local industry) that this will be the next wave of opportunity in this space. The Isle of Man’s legislative independence, combined with its reputation as a provider of high quality financial services, means

that it has the potential to position itself as a global cross-border crowdfunding hub. Internationally, as the popularity of crowdfunding has grown, regulators have or are recognising the need to provide a suitable regulatory structure for loan and equity crowdfunding: the United States, Australia, Malaysia and Saskatchewan in Canada have concentrated their attention on regulating equity crowdfunding, with the SEC in the US having just recently introduced new crowdfunding rules, which will provide a wider market for platforms; New Zealand has established a regime for loan crowdfunding; and the UK and France have implemented regimes for both equity and loan crowdfunding. Locally, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) issued a consultation on crowdfunding between April and June 2015, with a second consultation taking place between September and November 2015. The overall response to these consultations was positive with a few highlights to note. Most respondents agree that equity crowdfunding, which currently falls within Class 2 (investment business) regulated activity, should be moved to a new class of regulatory activity. A new class of regulated activity would better enable the emergence of crowdfunding as a dynamic and clearly-defined new business sector. Respondents also generally agree that this new class of regulated activity should include loan crowdfunding, which is not currently subject to oversight by the FSC (although some aspects of it may be covered by the Money Lenders Act 1991 and be subject to oversight by the Office of Fair Trading). The key will be to ensure that the area is not overregulated so that the industry remains as competitive and attractive as possible. Though the creation of a new regulatory scheme marks a critical step in the Isle of Man’s approach to crowdfunding, some of the details concerning just what would count as an appropriate regulatory scheme have yet to be determined. That

said with the Isle of Man’s proposed framework being relatively closely aligned to the widely accepted UK regime, the Isle of Man expects to be seen as having a strong appropriate regulation without an onerous burden on new entrants. Although some questions still need to be answered regarding the establishment of a new regulatory scheme, the Isle of Man Government has already recognised the need to remain open to the possibility of future modifications as the Island gains experience in the sector and is engaging actively with industry. Such a pragmatic approach is the best way of ensuring that the regulatory scheme eventually settled on will be in tune with the needs of both companies and consumers. Commercially supportive regulation would also help the Island attract more sophisticated market players. Consumers are attracted to crowdfunding, not only because it offers an alternative to saving or lending at low interest rates, but because, perhaps for the first time, they are able to invest in the latest technology and ideas in a meaningful way with relatively small sums of money. For many, the companies consumers choose to donate to, lend to or invest in via a crowdfunding model are chosen because of the vision they offer, rather than for the possibility of financial reward alone. It is thus an industry of hope, and that is exciting, for consumers, businesses and governments alike. Crowdfunding is here to stay. In the next five to ten years we will start to see the market’s winners and losers emerge, both globally and closer to home. By creating a hospitable regulatory environment, the Isle of Man has the ability to become a significant player in the emerging crossborder crowdfunding industry.

www.kpmg.co.im


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iomplc LIVERPOOL WATERS

THIS WAY TO THE NORTHERN POWERHOUSE The Isle of Man has always had strong links with Merseyside and the north west of England. For centuries there has been a strong cultural and economic bond which continues today with co-operation between the Manx government and business community, and their counterparts across the Irish Sea.



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iomplc LIVERPOOL WATERS

Entrepreneurs in Merseyside and the north west have for many years understood the opportunities which the Isle of Man offers as an international business centre - but those opportunities are about to increase at an exponential rate. Just across the water, work is beginning on Liverpool Waters (the UK’s second biggest redevelopment project after the London 2012 Olympics); the Wirral Waters project in Birkenhead; and the UK Government is pushing on with its ‘Northern Powerhouse’ initiative to revitalise regions across the north of England. Liverpool Waters is a massive £5.5billion project which will transform the city’s historic docklands for generations to come. The golden age of Liverpool’s docks and waterfront may have seemed to be consigned to history - but this 30 year scheme promises to restore the area to its former glory by creating a worldclass waterfront site with 9,000 apartments, a cruise liner terminal, plus state of the art business premises with hundreds of offices, bars, and entertainment facilities. It will also create around 20,000 new jobs. The power behind the Liverpool Waters scheme is The Peel Group (founded by Isle of Man resident John Whittaker who is the Group’s Chairman) which has an impeccable

track record for delivering successful redevelopment projects, most notably MediaCity in Salford. The Liverpool Waters centrepiece is to be the 55-storey ‘Shanghai Tower’ which will be the UK’s tallest building outside of London and dwarf the iconic Royal Liver/Liver Bird building. Then there’s the Wirral Waters project which is redeveloping docklands in Birkenhead. A key part of this is an International Trade Centre which will become a new business start-up hub for overseas inward investors and is considered to be the first of its kind in the UK, and one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. This has the potential to become a magnet for investors from BRIC nations looking for a route into Europe - and in turn opens up potential opportunities for the Isle of Man too. A few miles north of Liverpool, work has already started at Seaforth which will become the first docks in the north of England capable of handling a new generation of massive container ships that will be able to navigate the widened Panama Canal from this year. Another great boost for international trade in the region. With such significant developments just a short sea crossing or flight across the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man is ideally placed to deliver

For more information visit: www.liverpoolwaters.co.uk

all of the advantages which it can offer as one of the world’s leading international business centres. The Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and not part of the UK or EU, but it does benefit from having a unique Customs and Excise Union with the UK. This means all rates of duty, VAT, forms, processes are familiar and proven, giving simplified access to the UK and the rest of Europe but in a low tax environment. Establishing a European headquarters in the Isle of Man can significantly reduce operational costs and taxes - there is no capital gains tax, inheritance tax or wealth tax in the Isle of Man, and for individuals the base rate of income tax is 10% and the peak rate is 20% capped at £125,000 per person. As a long-established international business centre, the Island has developed a network of distribution, corporate, banking, legal and accounting services experienced in multinational business. All of this means that the Island can be a cost-effective alternative to establishment within the EU. Add to this mix the Isle of Man’s already strong links with the north west, the City and the UK, and rapidly growing ties with China and the Far East, and you can see why a small Island in the Irish Sea really can be a gateway to the UK, Europe, and beyond.


THE LIVERPOOL WATERS CENTREPIECE IS TO BE THE 55-STOREY ‘SHANGHAI TOWER’ WHICH WILL BE THE UK’S TALLEST BUILDING OUTSIDE OF LONDON AND DWARF THE ICONIC ROYAL LIVER/LIVER BIRD BUILDING.

TO WATCH A SHORT VIDEO ABOUT LIVERPOOL WATERS CLICK HERE


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iomplc EDS

ENTERPRISE ISLE

DEVELOPMENT SCHEME AIMS TO BOOST ECONOMIC GROWTH In October 2015 Tynwald approved proposals for the £50million Enterprise Development Scheme (EDS) which will provide grant, loan and equity investment to new start-ups, existing expanding businesses and businesses wishing to relocate to the Isle of Man. The plans were announced in July 2015 and are the centrepiece of a new ‘Enterprise Isle’ package of initiatives to boost the economy, increase inward investment and grow the working population. EDS represents the latest example of Isle of Man Government’s proactive and progressive approach to business development, and its commitment to extend the Island’s 30+ years of continued economic growth. The EDS proposals are designed to play a vital role in helping Government to achieve the targets set out in its Vision2020 strategy (turn to page 22 for the latest news about Vision2020).


THE INTENTION OF THE ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT SCHEME IS TO CREATE LASTING NEW JOBS IN ISLE OF MAN-BASED COMPANIES AND TO FUTURE-PROOF OUR ECONOMIC BASE. MINISTER FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LAURENCE SKELLY MHK.

The fund, which will eventually be self-sustaining, will provide grant, loan and equity investment to new Isle of Man business start-ups; existing businesses on the Island wanting to expand; and businesses wishing to relocate to the Island. There are three core support types in the new EDS initiative: • Fledgling: For start-ups on-Island (typically with 1-10 employees) – this element will be managed by the Department of Economic Development and is proposed to eventually replace the current Small Business Start-Up Scheme. • Accelerator: For Small to Medium Enterprises (typically with 5-20+ employees) entering the next growth phase – this element will be managed by a professional third party fund manager. • Relocator: For relocating medium to large firms to the Island - this element will be managed by a professional third party fund manager. Announcing the proposals for the Enterprise Development Scheme, Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK added: “This plan is designed to accelerate the work we are already doing. It will provide a legacy for jobs creation and opportunity for all. It will help secure the quality of life we treasure so highly and will ensure that the Isle of Man will live up to its credentials as a place ‘Where You Can.’ We remain committed to our three core aims – growing the economy, balancing the budget and protecting the vulnerable. Our plan for growth provides a stable platform on which we can create further investment in our Island and jobs for our people. It takes us towards long term financial security and sustainable public services. It reaffirms our commitment to supporting the most vulnerable in our society. And it clearly states that the Isle of Man is open for business.”

WHY? Minister for Economic Development Laurence Skelly MHK said: “The intention of the Enterprise Development Fund is to create lasting new jobs in Isle of Man-based companies and to future-proof our economic base. “This [EDS] is a key element of delivering ‘Enterprise Isle’, which was highlighted in Government’s Vision2020 strategy. The level of jobs growth and the evolution in our economy demonstrated in Vision2020 is happening as predicted and nearly 400 additional new jobs were created in the Isle of Man last year. But if we are to maintain the level of public services we expect then it is imperative that we increase the growth in our economy by increasing the numbers in our working population. I would also like to acknowledge the support and co-operation that the private sector has provided to us in developing and delivering Vision2020, in particular the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce. May I encourage everyone and particularly local businesses to review and respond to the consultation, either directly or through their relevant industry body.”

HOW? Here’s a summary of Government plans to deliver on its Enterprise Isle initiative to support business growth. Creating the right environment to help businesses flourish by: • Introducing new banking and insurance regimes, in consultation with industry, which will better meet business needs. • Introducing new regulations on crowdfunding to enable new and innovative ways of securing funding for entrepreneurs. • Introducing new anti-money laundering guidance, allowing digital verification of identity for the first time, giving companies the ability to accept new clients in hours not weeks. • Ensuring there is more space for businesses to flourish by accelerating plans for development sites, including a development framework for a new Technology Park and a masterplan for the Ronaldsway area near Isle of Man Airport. Increasing tax incentives to help businesses grow: • Extending the zero percent tax holiday to new commercial construction projects, and developments and property improvements that create local jobs. • Introduction of incentive schemes which encourage individuals to support Manx businesses through loans or through equity investments in time for next year’s budget. Making Government more responsive to business needs by introducing: • Changes to the Work Permit system. From October 2015 Isle of Man Work Permits will be available for a period of five years instead of requiring annual review, has been the case in recent years. The Department of Economic Development will also have more flexibility to grant or to remove exemptions for work permits, including the power to exempt if it considers the employment of a person to be in the national interest. The Department will also make it easier for the spouses or civil partners of permit holders or people exempt from Work Permits to work here. • A digital strategy which will make it easier to deal with Government, and launching the following services: – The Companies Registry will support online company filings by the end of the financial year – Online work permit applications will be available by December 2015. – Online services for our aircraft and ship registries will be launched in March 2016, ensuring that they remain world class.


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iomplc PROFILE

ROGER W SMITH WATCHMAKER There aren’t many businesses in the Isle of Man, or anywhere else for that matter, which can claim to have starred in a movie which had a New York premiere. But then, Roger W Smith Watches is no ordinary company.



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iomplc PROFILE

The owner and founder of the business (aka ‘The Watchmaker’s Apprentice’ which is the title of a documentary about his work and that of his mentor Dr George Daniels) is a true craftsman and continuing centuries old traditions, not only of fine English watchmaking, but also of excellence in the British and Manx manufacturing sectors. In a world where so many products are mass produced with built-in obsolescence, Roger W Smith timepieces are, in many ways, an example of traditions and values from a bygone age. But such artistry is still appreciated today, perhaps even more so because the skills required to create such exquisite, beautiful, and unique timepieces are now so rare. Such is the demand that customers are prepared to wait years if necessary in order to own their own Roger W Smith watch. Like owning an Aston Martin, Savile Row suit, or a fine bottle of Château Lafite-Rothschild 1945, it’s worth waiting for. The business is based in the scenic village of Ballaugh in the north of Island. A section of the public road used for the famous motorcycle racing Mountain Course passes through the village, but apart from when TT or Manx Grand Prix racers are flying through on a few weeks of the year, it’s a quiet and contemplative setting which is perfect for such painstaking and detailed work. Roger moved to the Isle of Man in 1989 to work with the late Dr George Daniels, the world renowned horologist. Dr Daniels, a long-time Isle of Man resident, invented the co-axial escapement which eliminated the need for oil in a watch’s escapement, therefore making it more accurate. Roger became the master watchmaker’s apprentice, and over many years learned his craft until he was sufficiently skilled to set up in business on his own in 2001. Roger says: “The Isle of Man has a lot to offer on many different levels, business wise and personally. It is important that communication lines here with government agencies are short and direct, and they are supportive regarding enterprise development on the Island. The environment here, with its natural beauty and solitude, is wonderful for living in and also very secure with an extremely low crime rate.” When he decided to set up his own business, he felt that the Isle of Man was the perfect choice. “London was an option, but the extra costs were, and are, prohibitive –

CUSTOMERS REALLY APPRECIATE THE ISLE OF MAN’S UNIQUE CHARM AND HISTORY, AND THIS PERFECTLY COMPLEMENTS THE QUALITIES OF THE WATCHES ROGER AND HIS TEAM CREATE.


and the Island offered a much better work/life balance for me and my family. In the initial stages of the business a lot of R&D work was required, and the environment here provided the ideal location – plus there was exceptional support from Government. Living and working here is perfect from a business and family life point of view. There are no worries about commuting, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy. It’s a beautiful place to live and work.” The company now has eight employees, with the majority recruited locally. But, in addition to a skilled and dedicated workforce, the Isle of Man has also contributed another important quality to the business. “More than anything,” Roger adds, “the Island gives us an identification. Watchmaking is so synonymous with Switzerland and its snowy mountains and Alpine scenery – and the Isle of Man’s own landscape and heritage gives us a unique identity too. Most of our customers will visit our studio and take time to explore the Island.” Customers really appreciate the Isle of Man’s unique charm and history, and this perfectly complements the qualities of the watches Roger and his team create. As a company, Roger W Smith Watches has always been keen to promote the Isle of Man too – but they are not only flying the Manx flag on the international stage. The company created a unique watch for the GREAT Britain Campaign which showcases the best of what the UK has to offer to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK. Roger W Smith Watches is a fine example of how the Isle of Man’s unique business environment can provide the perfect stage from which to achieve global success. For more information go to www.rwsmithwatches.com


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iomplc ICT

MICTA: PROVIDING A POWERFUL VOICE FOR ISLAND’S ICT SECTOR

eBusiness is a very rapidly growing sector of the Isle of Man’s economy. Ten years ago it represented just 4% of the Island’s GDP, now it is fast approaching 25% and growing and diversifying from its original eGaming base to include Digital Currency and the Blockchain, as well as games production, Biotech, Fintech and many things in between. Around 1,500 people are employed in eBusiness roles (not including employment in ICT roles in financial companies such as banking and insurance). The Government’s Vision2020 strategy predicts the creation of 200+ new jobs in this sector per annum over the next few years with continued sector growth of around 20% each year. It’s a sector vital to the Island’s continued economic prosperity – which is why it needs an organisation that can provide a

powerful collective voice in the form of MICTA, the Manx ICT Association. MICTA’s membership is drawn from a broad crosssection of ICT businesses on the Island and they work to help the sector continue to grow by representing, supporting and promoting its interests. MICTA has developed a strategy that is integrated into the Department of Economic Development’s Vision2020 initiative which has some very ambitious plans for ICT in terms of growth, increasing the number of jobs, and developing education. MICTA supports many educational and training initiatives and has been a prominent advocate for the foundation of the Isle of Man’s International Centre for Technology (ICT).


MICTA also supports skills development initiatives such as its popular Code Club which helps people of all ages to learn coding skills, share their knowledge and experience, and teach others. Such has been the success of the Code Club that it has signed up over 300 members in just over 18 months and has refurbished a bus to use as a mobile technology learning space. In August 2015, the Code Club has also acquired the use of some 2,000 sq ft of factory space which it is planning to turn into a ‘makerspace’ for its technology related construction projects such as robotics, drones, satellites and 3D printing. To be part of the MIT founded ‘FabLab’ network, this facility – which is a couple of minutes’ walk away from the airport – is hoped to be open in the Spring of 2016. Owen Cutajar, founder of the Code Club, and leader of its team of volunteers, is also part of MICTA as the Island’s ‘ICT Champion’ He supports the work of ICT teachers in high schools across the Island as part of a project supported by MICTA and the Department of Education and Children. He has a wealth of industry experience which helps teachers and students understand the real life needs, challenges, and opportunities within the sector. MICTA also supports Castle Rushen High School’s IT Career Academy which promotes the sector as a career choice for students by arranging mentors and internships. The Careers Academy is funded by the Department of Economic Development. MICTA Chief Executive Officer, Kurt Roosen, works very closely with DED, and sits on the Chamber of Commerce ICT Committee, the Public/Private ICT Skills Committee, the Board of the Castle Rushen Skills Academy, the Board of Isle of Man Post and, at a UK level, is Chair of the BCS Advisory Council and a Member of the BCS Trustee Board. To find out more go to www.micta.im

MICTA’s work includes: • Providing a website which acts as an information hub for the industry, including forums, tender notices, and links to Employed.IM to assist in the management of vacancies and other positions within the industry. • Organising industry talks and seminars at a minimum of six per year plus one major conference event based on the island each year (including working closely with the BCS (The Chartered Institute for IT) to coordinate events where appropriate). • Working with Isle of Man Department of Education and Children to help shape the future of ICT education from primary right through to higher education – and the co-ordination of sector support for and participation in ICT educational initiatives. • The promotion of ICT in schools, including a version of the ICT Schools Champion programme run by the BCS in the UK. • Encouraging incubation through professional companies and facilities to create an ICT Innovation Cluster. • Public relations exercises, conference participation and promotions to encourage new business and innovation to the island and to promote existing services and products. • Promotion of local competitions and aptitude rewards, including the promotion of an Isle of Man version of the UK Cybersecurity Challenge. • Providing an ICT related online forum for like-minded members to discuss industry related issues.

TEN YEARS AGO eBUSINESS REPRESENTED JUST 4% OF THE ISLAND’S GDP, NOW IT IS FAST APPROACHING 25% AND GROWING AND DIVERSIFYING


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iomplc ICT

ALL ABOARD THE CODE CLUB BUS

The Code Club Bus – on board are (left hand side, front to back) Kevin Paige (Manx Telecom); David and Allison Dorricott (AFD Software); and Steve O’Hara (Sure). Right hand side (front to back) are Julie McNicholl (Manx Lottery Trust); Rennee Caley (Isle of Man Steam Packet Company); Malcom Kelly (Chairman of the Manx Lottery Trust); Chris Hall (MICTA Board Member); and Aidan Baglow (Manx Gas).

The Code Club Bus provides state of the art technology in a relaxed and informal atmosphere - it’s the perfect place to develop coding skills or work on the latest Minecraft project or just talk tech with fellow coders. The Bus facilities include six touchscreen PCs, two HD LCD screens, two projectors, Amazon Fire TV, a 3D colour printer and scanner, drones, Sonos sound system connected to Spotify, and data connectivity kindly supplied by Manx Telecom, Sure, and Bluewave. MICTA Chief Executive Officer, Kurt Roosen, commented: “Today we live in a world that has been affected by rapid advances in technology. The way we work, communicate, shop and think has changed dramatically. In order to cope with these rapid changes and to make sense of the world around us, we need

to not only develop our understanding of how technology works, but also develop skills and capabilities, that will help us to adapt to living in this new era. Learning to code helps us to make sense of how things work, explore ideas and make things, for both work and play. What’s more it helps us to unleash our creativity and work collaboratively with wonderful people both near us and all over the world. The vehicle was kindly donated by Manx Gas and extensively refurbished thanks to support from the Big Lottery Fund and AFD Software. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company generously ferried the bus to and from its refurbishment in England.”

For more information about Code Club visit www.codeclub.im

IT HELPS US TO UNLEASH OUR CREATIVITY AND WORK COLLABORATIVELY WITH WONDERFUL PEOPLE BOTH NEAR US AND ALL OVER THE WORLD.


Sure. The island’s fastest growing supplier of business telecoms. From 1st September you can have your fixed lines provided by Sure. From the smallest business to the largest enterprise, you can now enjoy the convenience of one provider, one relationship, one bill - and access to Sure’s state of the art business solutions portfolio including Mitel and Red Box products.

Sure is a Platinum Partner for Mitel and Red Box

For further information, please contact one of our account directors at business@sure.com who will be delighted to help you. You can also call the team on (01624) 692222.

international.sure.com


22

iomplc VISION2020

VISION2020

A foundation for continued economic growth Vision2020 is the Isle of Man Government’s strategy for continued economic growth. In a rapidly changing world it demonstrates a forward-thinking and innovative approach which is centred on continued diversification of the economy. Nearly two years since it was launched, IOMPLC talks to Chris Corlett, Department of Economic Development Chief Executive, for a progress report.

IOMPLC: EXPLAIN THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ‘ENTERPRISE ISLE’ TO VISION2020.

expect then it is imperative that we increase the growth in our economy by increasing the numbers in our working population.

CC. Enterprise Isle is a key part of delivering Vision2020 and further economic growth for the Island through driving jobs creation. There are four main pillars to this:

IOMPLC: We then asked Chris to provide an update on specific developments across different sectors of the economy.

• Creating the right environment for business to flourish • Making Government more responsive to the needs of business • Increasing tax Incentives for businesses to help them grow • Investing in our future The main part of our plan is the launch of a £50million Enterprise Development Scheme to provide grant, loan and equity investment to new Isle of Man start-ups, existing expanding Isle of Man businesses and businesses wishing to relocate to the Island. Additional measures we have taken are to update the work permit system to provide greater degree of certainty to local employers and prospective skilled workers who want to move here to take up employment. Other initiatives in development are a Masterplan for the Ronaldsway area, delivery of the Central Douglas Masterplan including regeneration of Douglas Quayside, and tax incentives to encourage businesses to grow. The intention is to create lasting new jobs in Isle of Man-based companies and to future-proof our economic base. If we are to maintain the level of public services we

FINANCIAL SERVICES CC. We have been reinforcing and re-engaging with the UK regions and will be hosting 50 events during 2015 which are intended to highlight the ways in which businesses and local development agencies in these areas can partner with the Isle of Man for mutual benefit.

EBUSINESS AND GROWING THE ‘TECH ISLE’ CC. eBusiness is a fantastic success story. The sector now represents around 25% of our economy (twice what it was five years ago) with 100 new jobs created in 2014/15 and a further 100 forecast for the year ahead. The Isle of Man has also been leading the way in the development of the digital currency industry with new legislation and over 20 companies established here already. We have recognised that skills development is key to future success in eBusiness and spearheaded negotiations to develop a major IT training centre in Douglas, which is now progressing at the The Nunnery.


Chris Corlett, Department of Economic Development Chief Executive.

THE ISLE OF MAN IS WELL PLACED TO REMAIN A SUCCESSFUL, RESPONSIBLE AND DIVERSE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CENTRE

HI-TECH MANUFACTURING CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE CC. Our cluster of precision engineering firms have been performing well with several existing firms outgrowing their current premises and looking to expand. We also have a record number of inward investment and existing company expansion plans currently in the manufacturing enquiry pipeline. Local skills development is a key to future success and we have ensured an ongoing supply of homegrown engineers though the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) and William Kennish Engineering Facility – both of which will support the future skills needs of this sector. All 12 of the first cohort of graduating students from the AMTC have been offered jobs and the numbers of students on the course is trebling in September 2015 which is in line with long-term industry requirements.

CREATING AN OFFSHORE RENEWABLE ENERGY HUB CC. In the autumn of 2014 we announced our preferred developers for offshore wind and tidal projects in Isle of Man waters, and we are now looking at the opportunities for potential hydrocarbon exploration. We estimate that the renewable energy projects could bring in at least £5m per year to Government and create up to 50 jobs onshore.

DIVERSE TOURISM OFFERING CREATING A FIRST CLASS DESTINATION CC. Our visitor economy is performing well with leisure visitors up 13% in 2014 on the previous year, and visitor spend increasing to £108million. We have a new hotel due for completion later this year and the Douglas Quayside development has attracted strong interest from parties seeking to offer quality hotel accommodation. This confidence is encouraging new key air routes from Easyjet and Flybe.

RETAIL AND PRODUCE EXPANSION WITH DISTINCTIVE FOOD AND DRINK CC. ‘Food Matters’ – the food business development strategy for the Isle of Man – has been produced to grow the contribution of the food sector to the Isle of Man’s economy. Our produce – particularly, seafood, beer and cheese – is award-winning and regularly exported around the world.


24

iomplc VISION2020

NEW INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR A LEADING BUSINESS CENTRE CC. We continue to be at the forefront of adopting international standards. The Isle of Man signed an historic agreement in October 2014 placing it amongst the first group of countries in the world to move to a new global standard for tax information exchange. The agreement committed its 51 signatories to share information automatically in accordance with the Common Reporting Standard developed by the OECD and endorsed by the G20 group of major economies.

NEW BUSINESS CREATION FOR AN ‘ENTERPRISE ISLAND’

MOVING ON TO THE YEAR AHEAD

CC. We want to create an innovative, dynamic environment for entrepreneurs and business. One way in which we plan to do this is to offer innovative new regulations around crowdfunding (see page 34). In addition, our new strategy to attract HNWIs launched six months ago and has already attracted one investor with 12 more in the pipeline from across the world.

CC. Overall, the economy has been performing relatively strongly and we expect growth to be running at between 3% and 4% this year, in line with expectations but still impressive given the continuing slow growth rates in other Western economies. We saw unemployment fall by a quarter during 2014, net jobs creation of 200 and the make-up of our economy evolving more quickly than we thought. For example, eBusiness now represents 25% of the economy with that figure very likely to rise during the next 12 months given the strong jobs growth in this sector. I believe that despite the challenges that inevitably lie ahead, which every economy is facing at the moment, the Isle of Man is well placed to remain a successful, responsible and diverse international business centre. It will hopefully also become the preferred destination for those seeking to be successful in their businesses and for those wanting to experience our wonderful quality of life, whether as a new resident or a visitor.

WE CONTINUE TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF ADOPTING INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS.


VISION2020 A summary

Here is a quick guide to Isle of Man Government’s Vision2020 strategy: • Vision2020 includes eight strategies in key areas of the economy. Taken together, Government is forecasting growth of 3% to 4% each year in real terms to 2020, which is substantially higher than the forecasts for almost all developed economies. • The delivery of this growth will require ever-greater commitment and engagement by Government with the private sector – and Vision2020 is a high-profile affirmation of this commitment. • A key aim is to maintain and enhance the Isle of Man’s status as international business centre of excellence – and to ensure that the Island can compete with the best in all sectors. • The Island must always be a transparent international business partner – countries, companies and individuals guard their brands, so Government wants businesses to see the Isle of Man as a partner they can feel proud of.

• It must also be an incubator for innovation – speed has value and so the Island can use its small size to good effect • As a skilled technology centre the Island’s ability to use technology (and particularly ICT) will be critical to its continued success. • Secure and safe – Government is determined to maintain the Island’s high standards of safety and security within a free and democratic society, for both individuals and businesses, so that these aspects of Island life remain vital part of the Island’s appeal. • Quality of life – a unique and beautiful place to live and work to allow individuals to reach their full potential.

To find out more, go to www.whereyoucan.com/vision2020 where you can read and download the full report.

Jigsaw advert_Layout 1 28/09/2015 11:29 Page 2

- THE PRIVATE CLIENT’S FINAL PIECE

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26

iomplc MANX TELECOM

MANX TELECOM

INVESTING IN THE ISLAND’S FUTURE Manx Telecom keeps more than 4,000 businesses running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It can trace its history back over 125 years, and in the past three decades has provided much of the technology behind the Island’s continued economic growth. Gary Lamb was appointed Manx Telecom CEO in the summer of 2015 having joined the company as Finance Director in 2011, and played a vital role in the company’s flotation on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2014. In this exclusive interview with IOMPLC, he explains why businesses on the Island can be confident that they will always have access to world class hosting, IT and telecoms solutions.

IOMPLC: Why do you think Manx Telecom has been successful over the years?

IOMPLC: What difference has it made – and what difference will it make – now that Manx Telecom is a public company?

GL: I’d say it’s because of our track record of bringing the best technology – often well before other jurisdictions and through our significant investment in the Island’s telecommunications infrastructure over many years – and backing that up with high levels of service provided by the 300 highly trained and dedicated staff we have on-Island. Manx Telecom is hugely respected for the work we do in the local community, for our standards of customer service, and the quality products and services we provide to consumers and businesses. Manx Telecom is a long running Isle of Man success story, and I want to build on this and continue the success which the company has enjoyed for so many years.

GL: We have had different owners over the years and thrived under all of them, but I would like to think that we have now entered a period in which we have more control over our destiny. If I had to single out just two things that becoming a plc have changed, it would be the level of scrutiny we are under, and the degree of transparency we need to provide. We also need to set out our strategy and deliver on our promises to shareholders so there’s no hiding place – and that’s got to be a good thing. There are other advantages, such as access to capital for expansion and investment if we need it, plus being a quoted company gives us an extra degree of credibility when it comes to dealing with business partners.


ABOUT MANX TELECOM • Manx Telecom has the largest pool of skills and experience in telecoms, IT and related industries in the Isle of Man. • With 300 staff on-Island, Manx Telecom is able to offer world class support for customers at a variety of service levels – including 24 hours a day, seven days a week, contact and support. • It is the only provider which owns and operates two Tier 3 data centres onIsland. The data centre and disaster recovery facility at Douglas North, together with the company’s Greenhill Data Centre, provide the highest level of resilience, security and expandable hosting capacity in the Isle of Man.

THE ISLE OF MAN IS PERFECTLY POSITIONED TO DO GLOBAL BUSINESS, AND WE PROVIDE MUCH OF THE TECHNOLOGY...WHICH MAKES THAT HAPPEN GARY LAMB, CEO, MANX TELECOM

• Over the last 10 years the company has invested some £110million in the Island’s telecommunications infrastructure. • It has an impressive track record of pioneering new technology, including launching the Isle of Man’s first 4G mobile broadband service in 2014 which now covers 99% of the Island’s population and geographic area. • Manx Telecom’s 4G network earned the company the Riva Financial Systems Award for Excellence in the Use of Technology at the 2015 Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. • 100% of the Island’s telephone lines can already obtain ADSL2+ fixed line broadband.

Gary Lamb

IOMPLC: How important is Manx Telecom to the Isle of Man? GL: Our importance to the economy is significant and on a different scale to most companies in the Isle of Man. The success of Manx Telecom and the Island are inextricably linked, and we recognise the role and responsibility we have in attracting businesses to the Island. The Isle of Man is perfectly positioned to do global business, and we provide much of the technology – the cables, fibres, mobile network and data centres – which make that happen. Manx Telecom is an essential part of the ecosystem which enables the Isle of Man to grow and flourish. Over the past 10 years we have invested £110 million in the Island’s telecommunications infrastructure – and every pound we invest in our business is also a pound invested in the Island and its future. We will continue to invest in this future to ensure that businesses here continue to have access to the best technology delivered with the highest possible service quality.

• Thanks to Manx Telecom’s continued investment, VDSL superfast broadband is available to 89% of all premises on the Island, and VDSL Plus (which offers speeds up to 80 Mbps download and up to 10Mbps upload) is now available to 60% with these figures planned to increase in 2016.

For more information visit www.manxtelecom.com


28

iomplc PROFILE

DR HELMUT KESSLER MANX PRECISION OPTICS


Dr Helmut Kessler has spent his career working in the high-precision technical optics sector, so perhaps it’s no surprise that he devotes much of his free time to an appreciation of engineering excellence found in classic motor cars. He grew-up in Hanover, Germany, and moved to the Isle of Man in the mid-1990s. For him and his family, the Isle of Man provides the ideal environment to find that perfect work/life balance so many of us are striving to achieve.


30

iomplc PROFILE

the most politically stable and business friendly jurisdictions, and you can understand why they wouldn’t want to live or work anywhere else in the world. “As a family, we have everything we need here,” says Dr Kessler. “There’s lots of things to do here for every age group, lots of Manx National Heritage sites and vintage trains and trams. The schools are good too, and it’s easy to get on and off the Island by air or by sea.”

In many other countries, spending hours on gridlocked motorways can make driving a chore rather than a pleasure. There are no such problems here in the Isle of Man. Commuting by car is easy no matter where you live on the Island and, when he’s not at work, Dr Kessler can be often be found behind the wheel of his beloved 1972 T-Type Bentley and driving purely for pleasure. He’s also Treasurer of the Isle of Man Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club and takes part in classic car shows and parades. Dr Kessler is married and has a 10-year-old son who enjoys taking part in the many sports and outdoor activities available here. On one small Island the Kesslers have found public spirited neighbours who still value community involvement, excellent schools, a stunning landscape, and a safe and secure place to live which is evidenced by decades of exceptionally low crime rates. Combine this with one of

After originally moving to the Isle of Man to join CVI Technical Optics, he worked for the company for almost 20 years. During this time optics made by the company in the Isle of Man were used in instruments on board NASA’s Phoenix Lander to analyse rocks on Mars. He is now Managing Director of Manx Precision Optics (MPO), a family business he founded in 2013. MPO manufactures specialist optics for the aerospace, medical, research and industrial laser sectors for use in laser technology. For example, MPO products are vital components in industrial lasers used for high-precision metal cutting, marking and welding – but they can also be found in instruments used for eye surgery, and very high powered lasers used in proton therapy. The market for their products is truly global, with a majority of customers outside of the IoM/UK. Manx Precision Optics are also actively involved in scientific research looking at ways of pushing the technical boundaries in their specialist field. An example is MPO working in collaboration with the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg to jointly research the capabilities of 3D printing in the field of optics. MPO also manufacture optics used in high power ‘Petawatt’ laser systems which are being used for scientific research into nuclear fusion and are operated by a number of European Governments (eg, the French Megajoule project, and UK’s STFC Vulcan Laser). Some of these experiments involve using multiple laser beams with each containing the equivalent power of the UK national electricity grid and focusing it on an area just a fraction of a millimetre in diameter. All optics manufactured by MPO have to be made to very tight tolerances with some flatness requirements in the order of a few billionths of a metre. MPO design and build many of the tools used in manufacturing processes. This means they have a great deal of control over the whole production process which improves efficiency and quality control.


YOU CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THEY WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE OR WORK ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.

“I have found that the Isle of Man provides a very business friendly environment, and there are grants and other support to help businesses start-up here or relocate. Of course, the tax regime also helps when a company is established. There’s also the very low crime rate and a stable Government framework which are both huge advantages for businesses planning for the medium and long term.” Dr Kessler says that he finds operating costs are a little higher than in the UK, but this is more than offset by the Island’s many advantages. Glass and other raw materials are imported, but the manufacturing process for all MPO products is carried out here on the Island, and Dr Kessler says that there are no problems with shipping products around the world. “As the products we produce are comparatively small, there’s no problem shipping to customers around the world. We use DHL and find that for major towns and cities in the UK and Europe deliveries generally arrive the next day.” Politically, the Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and not part of the United Kingdom. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State, but the Isle of Man has its own Parliament and can make its own laws. However, the Isle of Man is a member of the UK Customs area which means that when a company on the Island ships products to the EU – or imports goods or raw materials – it’s effectively the same as shipping to or from anywhere in the UK. That’s a big advantage for manufacturing businesses,

says Dr Kessler. “This makes shipping to EU countries much more straightforward than if, for example, we were based in the Channel Islands which are not in the UK Customs area. Being located outside the UK Customs area would mean a lot more paperwork, so each export and import to and from the EU would take up more time and resources.” Just like the purring engine in a T-Type Bentley, Dr Kessler and his family have found that the Isle of Man is finely tuned to provide the perfect work/life balance.

To find out more about Manx Precision Optics go to www.mpo.im


32

iomplc DID YOU KNOW?

DID

ISLE OF MAN

KNOW?

• The Isle of Man has a modern regulatory system aligned to international standards in tax compliance and transparency, and in safeguarding and supervising the financial system. • The Isle of Man has worked with the OECD, the global body with responsibility for tax transparency, to develop regulatory frameworks and has pioneered new mechanisms for information sharing, such as the model Tax Information Exchange Agreement. • The Isle of Man was one of the first non-EU countries to automatically share bank account information with European Union member states. • The Island has signed an intergovernmental agreement with the United States of America to implement its FATCA legislation. Under this agreement the Isle of Man will automatically share certain tax information with the USA. • The Isle of Man was the first Crown Dependency to announce its intention to meet this standard of information exchange, and the first to sign a similar agreement with the UK.

TRAVEL LINKS

• In November 2013 the Isle of Man was one of just a few jurisdictions rated “compliant” by the OECD for its Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax. An update two years later confirmed the Isle of Man remains in the top group, ranked as one of only 21 jurisdictions, out of 81, to be ‘compliant’ with the standard. • In October 2014 the Island was among the first group of countries to commit to share information automatically in accordance with the Common Reporting Standard developed by the OECD and endorsed by the G20 group of major economies. • In November 2014 the Isle of Man became the first British Crown Dependency to join the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, a multilateral agreement providing for tax co-operation between its signatories.

Isle of Man Airport: www.iom-airport.com

easyJet: www.easyjet.com

Aer Lingus Regional: www.aerlingus.com

Mezeron: www.mezeron.com

Flybe: www.flybe.com

British Airways: www.britishairways.com

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company: www.steam-packet.com

Citywing: www.citywing.com

Public transport: www.gov.im/publictransport


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34

iomplc ALTERNATIVE FINANCE

CROWDFUNDING: LEADING FROM THE FRONT

Plans are well under way for the Isle of Man to become the first international business centre with a strong regulatory framework for both investment based and loan based crowdfunding. These regulations are under consultation at the time of writing, but could be in place early in 2016. IOMPLC talks to John Garland, Head of Corporate Financial Services at the Department of Economic Development (pictured), who explains why 2016 could be very big year for the Island in this sector.

IOMPLC: What’s the ‘big picture’ with the Isle of Man and crowdfunding? JG: The Vision2020 strategy (see page 22) sets out Government’s plans to grow and diversify the economy - and within this strategy we need to encourage investment in startups on-Island in all sectors of the economy. Along with plans for an Enterprise Development Scheme which were approved by Tynwald in October 2015, (see page 12) the proposals for crowdfunding regulations represent one of the most significant initiatives within the Government’s ‘Where You Can’ strategy to encourage start-ups. We see crowdfunding filling a gap in the market both in the peer-to-peer and equity/investment sector. We also see it working in tandem with the Enterprise Development Scheme, and complementing rather than replacing the role already played by existing sources of funding for new businesses. IOMPLC: Why is crowdfunding so important to the Isle of Man? JG: Firstly, we want crowdfunding platforms to come here and create jobs - not just for the businesses behind those platforms but also for all the ancillary service providers such as data hosting, law firms etc. Secondly, we want to support the platforms in building relationships with the international and multinational investors which could provide vital funding

for businesses here on the Island. But the Isle of Man can also play a role working in partnership with other jurisdictions and helping them to source international funding for start-ups and SMEs in their own countries. After all, here on the Island we have more than 30 years’ experience in international finance, and a strong track record in building robust but practical regulatory frameworks - so, in many ways, entering the crowdfunding sector is a natural progression. IOMPLC: What is the latest news on plans to develop crowdfunding regulations? In the second quarter of 2015 the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority (FSA) carried out a first consultation on a potential new regulated activity encompassing both equity and loan crowdfunding. The FSA carried out a second consultation in Q3 2015. This included a brief summary of the responses to the first consultation, details of the planned regulated activity and an indication of the nature of specific new rules anticipated for crowdfunding activity. This second consultation aims to obtain views to support the FSA’s work on the next steps towards establishing a specific class of regulated activity encompassing both investment based and loan based crowdfunding. The most important thing is to make sure that retail clients are protected, but at the same


WE’RE CONFIDENT THAT THE ISLE OF MAN CAN BECOME THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CENTRE WITH A STRONG REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR BOTH INVESTMENT-BASED AND LOAN-BASED CROWDFUNDING John Garland

time still have access to crowdfunding. We also need to create a framework which frees-up the sector for the more sophisticated, institutional, ‘business angel’ type investors who have a lot of experience in this area, know exactly what they’re investing in, and have significant sums to invest. IOMPLC: So, 2016 could be a very big year? JG: Subject to the crowdfunding regulations and Enterprise Development Scheme proposals being ratified by Tynwald, both of these major building blocks in the Isle of Man’s economic growth strategy could be in place early in the New Year. We’re confident that the Isle of Man can become the first international business centre with a strong regulatory framework for both investment based and loan based crowdfunding - so, yes, 2016 could be a very big year.

For more details about the crowdfunding consultation click here

BUSINESS ANGELS The Department of Economic Development sponsored the 2015 UK Business Angels Association award for the Best Equity Crowdfunded-Angel Investment which was won by Lightpoint Medical. This sponsorship is just one example of how the Department of Economic Development is working closely with the crowdfunding industry both on Island and in the UK. For example, in October 2015 the Isle of Man Funds Association (IOMFA) held a crowdfunding seminar at the offices of Thomas Miller Investment in London. The speakers were John Spellman (Director of Financial Services at the Department of Economic Development), James Sore (CFO at Syndicate Room) and David Blair (Partner at Osborne Clarke). Once crowdfunding regulations are in place, look out for the Department of Economic Development at events and expos on and off-Island during 2016. Keep checking www.whereyoucan.im for all the latest news and blogs.


36

iomplc ABACUS

THE FINAL PIECE IN THE PRIVATE CLIENT JIGSAW The Isle of Man continues to be recognised as an international finance centre of excellence, evidenced recently at the Professional Advisor International Fund and Product Awards 2015 where it won ‘Best International Finance Centre’, fending off strong competitors like Jersey, Guernsey and Luxembourg. Successfully encouraging diversification of its economy over the years, the Island is home to a number of high performing sectors, one of the biggest being Financial Services. This is thanks to a proactive government, a robust regulatory framework and the ability to recognise that engaging with stakeholders and forming positive relationships with professional service providers, such as Abacus, helps for a successful business environment in which all can flourish. Abacus is one of the Island’s longest established and reputable service providers currently celebrating 40 years of delivering value through the provision of corporate, trust, funds and tax solutions and whose success is largely due to their underlying principles of integrity, independence and insight.

However, some of this success should be attributed to being located in a jurisdiction whose financial services industry provides all the pieces to the Private Client jigsaw…well almost! Now there is no ‘typical’ private client - each has bespoke needs and requirements - however it could be an ultra-high net worth individual with a family business involved in UK property development that owns a private jet and is looking to purchase a yacht…So what does the Isle of Man have to offer? And where do we fit in? Firstly, the Isle of Man is a perfect jurisdiction for the establishment and operation of property holding structures. With the right advice and structuring it can provide a tax effective solution, offering efficient and cost-effective arrangements

for all types of property acquisition through various vehicle types. At Abacus, we establish and administer property holding structures and provide a range of support services to ensure that structures are correct and run efficiently. Secondly, the Island is a renowned aviation jurisdiction - its aircraft register has been voted best in the world by leading aviation lawyers from around the globe and is renowned for its high customer service ethos and focus on safety and service. It offers a neutral nationality registration prefix, a secure mortgage register and a professional infrastructure. We can assist owners and their representatives in understanding the diverse requirements associated with owning an aircraft and provide


tax efficient ownership structures that facilitate aircraft operation on a private and commercial basis. Thirdly, is the Island’s maritime industry, home to one of the fastest growing ship registers in Europe. It is a popular register for yachts, with a significant number currently waving the Isle of Man Ensign, due to its high quality and fast response customer service with a low cost scale of charges. We assist owners with the complexities of yacht ownership – with significant experience in a wide range of international ownership structures and administration services, we work with clients to ensure that custody and management of their prized vessel stays on an even keel. The Isle of Man is also ideal for private clients and their investment, fund management and administration requirements. Its well-established fund sector is supported by a range of professional service providers including investment managers, fund administrators, legal firms, custodians and fiduciaries, offering a compelling IOM plc magazine 2015:Layout 1

and cost-effective alternative for the domicile of investment funds. As an established fund services provider, we offer a fully crossborder administration solution to fund managers and intermediaries establishing and operating fund structures for clients internationally and provide customised market leading technology, an efficient and effective cost base together with a client service ethos designed to add speed, quality and flexibility to the fund administration service. Then there is the residence and citizenship opportunities…Aimed at high net worth Individuals and their families looking to gain alternative residence and citizenship through a qualifying investment into the Isle of Man, the UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa provides successful applicants who meet the eligibility and due diligence requirements the opportunity to obtain British citizenship. We can advise and assist on choosing an appropriate residence and citizenship programme (in the Isle of Man or Malta) and provide 14/10/2015

14:34

guidance through the application process to ensure preparation and submission of an application is correct and processed in an expedient manner. So now the picture is near complete, what is Abacus’ part in the puzzle? Simply, we are the final piece…we utilise the Island’s capability and apply our knowledge and experience to develop and provide solutions that keep pace with change and ever more sophisticated tax planning, to ultimately assist private clients in the effective structuring and management of their wealth. We are the piece that holds it all together and make the Private Client jigsaw complete!

If you would like to find out more information on Abacus’ full range of services, please contact our team of professionals by telephone on +44 1624 689600 or via email at enquiries@abacusiom.com. www.abacusiom.com

Page 1

KING WILLIAM’S COLLEGE Providing an independent education for children from the age of four. One of the best International Baccalaureate Schools in the British Isles.

An Island education for a global future Call 01624 820110 for a prospectus email: admissions@kwc.im web: www.kwc.im


38

iomplc WIRRAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

WIRRAL AND IOM: A WINNING TEAM

The Isle of Man has a long history of cultural and economic ties with Wirral, Liverpool City Region and the north west of England in general.

Paula Basnett

Today, Wirral Chamber of Commerce is one of the Island’s greatest advocates, and in this exclusive interview with IOMPLC, CEO Paula Basnett explains why there is such a strong partnership between the Chamber and the Island’s public and private sector. IOMPLC: How has the partnership between Wirral Chamber and the Isle of Man evolved? PB: We have been working with the Isle of Man for around 18 months. In April 2014 there was a joint trade visit to the Island with representatives from across Liverpool City Region. It was a two day trade mission managed by Ron Berry [Managing Director of 3fm] and Brendon Kenny, a consultant with Wirral Chamber. There was a delegation representing around 25 companies from Wirral and Liverpool who visited the Island and met representatives from around 60 Manx businesses. It was a very

successful trip and this led to a second a visit by Wirral Council Leader Cllr Phil Davies, and Wirral Chamber of Commerce Chair, Asif Hamid, who both met John Shimmin MHK [then Minister for the Department of Economic Development] and Chris Corlett, the Department’s Chief Executive. Similar visits have been arranged to Wirral for our Isle of Man partners. The Isle of Man is so close – less than an hour from Wirral via Liverpool John Lennon Airport – that it makes sense on many levels for us to work together. IOMPLC: How can the Wirral/ IOM partnership work in practical terms? PB: In essence, Wirral has the land and the labour force, and the Isle of Man has the business incentives. For example, while the Isle of Man has some world class manufacturing businesses, there are obvious practical and economic limitations with manufacturing on an Island when it comes to heavy engineering or mass production. However, locating production or assembly plants in Wirral, and locating the company’s HQ and backoffice in the Isle of Man, creates a great synergy. Of course, the Island has tax incentives, but it’s about much more than that. It offers a wealth of expertise in IT and professional services, and businesses which have experience in working with international investors who could

also potentially invest in Wirral. Working together, combining the advantages and strengths of both regions, we can use this synergy to create opportunities for inward investment in Wirral and the Isle of Man.

IOMPLC: There has been a significant development at Wirral Metropolitan College recently. Tell us about that. PB: As Vice Chair of Governors at the College I was delighted to see the opening of the £8million Wirral Waters Campus in September this year which is an excellent 45,000 sq ft facility for students in construction and the built environment. The campus also houses the College’s Employer Services Team which works with hundreds of employers in all sectors.

IOMPLC: Wirral College Campus is also significant because it’s the first major new building in the Wirral Waters scheme and will hopefully pump prime the next phase of the development. So we’re seeing the beginnings of a very exciting era for the Liverpool City Region, and the north west, which can also create opportunities for inward investment in the Isle of Man too. PB: Yes, it’s a very, very exciting time. There’s lots of optimism from businesses in Wirral and they’re looking forward to the next phase of development


3fm Managing Director Ron Berry is presented with the International Partner Award by Wirral Chamber CEO Paula Basnett at this year’s Wirral Business Awards.

at Wirral Waters and Liverpool Waters. Very soon there will be an announcement about a £10million supplier park at Wirral Waters for automotive component businesses. Wirral Chamber of Commerce Chair, Asif Hamid [CEO of The Contact Company] has just completed a 65,000 sq ft office development

which will become a high end call centre creating 1,000 jobs. Then there’s the Northern Powerhouse initiative which Wirral Chamber and our members support. The plan for an International Centre of Technology in the Isle of Man is a fantastic concept, and we’re very keen for Wirral Chamber to be a part of a similar project in

Wirral too. Liverpool City Region has had many challenges over the last eight or nine years – but these initiatives and many others have produced a real buzz in the area, and also enthusiasm about the opportunities which can be created for Wirral and the Isle of Man. www.wirralchamber.co.uk

WE’RE SEEING THE BEGINNINGS OF A VERY EXCITING ERA FOR THE LIVERPOOL CITY REGION, AND THE NORTH WEST, WHICH CAN ALSO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR INWARD INVESTMENT IN THE ISLE OF MAN TOO.


40

iomplc BUSINESS SUPPORT

FROM START-UP TO STOCK MARKET... How the Isle of Man can support your business at every turn

A flying start

Supporting you all the way

Security & stability

If you have a great business idea, the Isle of Man can help you to make it happen. For entrepreneurs, the Isle of Man really is the place ‘Where You Can’ achieve your goals. Here you will find a clear and simple tax regime with no Capital Gains Tax, Withholding Taxes or Wealth Taxes. And with 30 years of continuous economic growth, you will know that your start-up is in the right place to flourish. The Isle of Man offers a robust and respected regulatory framework, but this is allied to a pragmatic and practical approach which encourages innovation rather than strangling it with red tape. Government, regulators, professional organisations and the private sector all work together towards a common goal of creating jobs, encouraging innovation in all sectors, growing the economy, and helping to sustain the quality of life which everyone here enjoys – welcome to doing business the Manx way!

A range of Isle of Man Government schemes are available including the Financial Assistance Scheme to support the growth of existing businesses through investment in new technology, plant and machinery, productivity improvements and efficiency saving; and the Business Support Scheme for established business to develop their business skills and management competencies. You will also find a complete range of professional service providers onIsland – and the advantage of being able to meet them face to face rather than them just being a voice at the end of the phone or a name on an email. Setting up a company here or relocating means being able to develop a high degree of trust and confidence with everyone you do business with. Just like every TT racer needs a good pit crew, your business will find plenty of supporters helping you achieve your goals.

In some other jurisdictions, political stability is measured in months or years – here in the Isle of Man it’s a centuries old tradition as Tynwald, the Island’s Parliament, is the world’s oldest continuous parliament. The Isle of Man is at the forefront of best practice in international regulation and has been praised by global bodies including the OECD, G20 and IMF for commitment to financial and supervisory standards. The Isle of Man has been the pioneer in introducing pragmatic regulation and consumer protection priding itself in being responsive to international needs. Combine all this with an exceptionally low crime rate, Aa1 rating from Moody’s (reconfirmed in September 2015), and excellent political and business links with the UK, Europe and beyond and it adds up to an exceptionally stable and secure environment to live and to work.


Excellent infrastructure

Access all areas

Endless possibilities

You will find a truly world class telecoms and hosting infrastructure including 4G superfast mobile broadband networks, 100% broadband coverage and rapidly expanding availability of VDSL+ fixed line broadband; five sophisticated data centres; and excellent off-Island connectivity. There’s also power infrastructure which has benefited from hundreds of millions of pounds worth of public and private sector investment in recent years.

The Island enjoys excellent transport links to major transport hubs in the UK and Ireland with 30 flights to London per week and 30 to Manchester, making the Isle of Man an ideal gateway from which to travel to Europe and the rest of the world. While the Isle of Man enjoys a high degree of independence as a UK Crown Dependency, it’s also a member of the UK Customs area which means that when a company on the Island ships products to the EU – or imports goods or raw materials – it’s effectively the same as shipping to or from anywhere in the UK. That makes importing and exporting much easier.

Whether it’s expanding off-Island, flotation on the Stock Market, or any other long term outcome you envision for your business, the Isle of Man can help you make it a reality.


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iomplc ICT

INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR TECHNOLOGY CREATING A NEW PARTNERSHIP IN IT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT


The global demand for IT skills is increasing rapidly, and the Isle of Man is facing the same challenges as all other modern economies in bridging the skills gap. Many initiatives are already under way on the Island to provide all sectors of the economy with the next generation of IT professionals. One of the most exciting projects is the International Centre for Technology (ICT) which will be based at The Nunnery in Douglas. The building once housed the Isle of Man’s International Business School, but it is steeped in history dating back to the 12th century. It’s currently being refurbished to make it a suitable environment to nurture the minds of the next generation of ICT experts. The history and heritage of the site will be respected and protected in the redevelopment - and this commitment to blending ancient and modern reflects the ICT’s own ethos to complement rather than replace the current provision of academic IT courses and vocational training. Philip Vermeulen, owner of Business Doctor Limited, is – with his colleagues – the main drivers behind the ICT project. His vision is for it to become an incubator for talent, and a centre of excellence where students can ‘earn and learn’, with local businesses providing an opportunity for them to work one or two days per week as part of a training course so that they can gain ‘real world’ experience. Once established, the ICT will become an environment which is attractive for new businesses to set-up at The Nunnery due to the concentration of individuals with world class IT skills, and because of the Isle of Man’s already well-established advantages as an international business centre. Talks are ongoing with all the agencies involved in providing education and training on the Island, and with a growing list of potential private sector backers from both on and off-Island.

Vermeulen believes that it will be in the best interests of the Isle of Man if all agencies involved in IT education unite to establish a shared dream and vision for IT education on the Island. Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education is delivering IT qualifications on behalf of Chester University and obtaining excellent results. He says it would be optimal if The Nunnery acts as the IT campus with Isle of Man College and Chester University as the academic partners. He believes they are better placed at delivering

BECAUSE THE ISLE OF MAN IS A SMALL ISLAND, AND A SMALL COMMUNITY, IT’S EASIER FOR US TO ORGANISE OURSELVES AS A COLLECTIVE, TO BE UNITED, AND TO WORK TOWARDS A COMMON GOAL.

quality tertiary qualifications. The private sector would contribute by complementing the academic tuition by providing real world work experience during the term of study. The aim is to make Isle of Man students more employable once they graduate. ICT Investments has been established to invest in new start-up IT companies. The first investment was made into PlayFusion, a pioneering digital games development and

publishing company founded by the multi award winning creators of the UK’s largest independent games developer and publisher. PlayFusion has a veteran team of game developers and technologists presently based at the Cambridge Technology Park and the Derby Technology Park but will continue to relocate its operations team to The Nunnery with the leadership and decision making already operating from The Nunnery since July this year. PlayFusion says that while it is still in ‘stealth mode’ it has been able to establish www.playfusion. com and has developed a new and innovative technology platform enabling an entirely holistic transmedia ‘brand to life’ experience for game developers, toy manufacturers, and other IP owners and creators. They are focused on transforming the nascent digital toys and games ‘toys to life’ space. Their ambition to own a significant stake of this fast growing multi-billion dollar market. Professor Ronald Barr, Chief Executive of the Department of Education and Children, is driving the establishment of the University College Isle of Man, a concept which is supported by the University of Chester and by Isle of Man Government. He is excited by the prospect of forming a true public/private partnership with ICT. In addition, he wants to see IT education in the Isle of Man competing with UK university provision, and in doing so offer exciting additional opportunities for local students. He says that the goal is to make the University College Isle of Man an attractive option for local students who are considering studies at other UK universities. Professor Barr says: “We have some exceptional young talent on the Island and we now need to provide them with new educational opportunities to help grow our economy.” Vermeulen and his fellow business partners share the view that further and higher education for IT professionals is not keeping


44

iomplc ICT

pace with the exponential rate of progress in technology. Academic study still has its place, he says, but the way in which we develop IT skills needs to evolve rapidly to meet the needs of the real world. He cites the example of the gaming industry which requires individuals who have artistic flair and imagination, in addition to technical skills. Any education and training programme which pigeonholes students as either ‘technical’ or ‘creative’ will not meet the needs of the cutting-edge eGaming, Gaming and eBusiness firms which the Island wants to attract. The ICT aims to work with the Island’s private and public sector to create a new concept in IT education and

training which is much more fluid and versatile, and in doing so make the Isle of Man a hothouse for the next generation who will come up with the next big ideas that change the world in which we live, just as Facebook, Google and Apple have shaped the last decade. It’s a bold concept, but Vermeulen says the Isle of Man has unique qualities which make it the ideal place to turn it into reality. “Because the Isle of Man is a small island, and a small community, it’s easier for us to organise ourselves as a collective, to be united, and to work towards a common goal.” David Butterworth, CEO of Skanco and business partner of ICT, is

Mark Gerhard, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of PlayFusion, explains the factors behind why the company chose the Isle of Man for its base and their involvement with ICT Investments. Mark, who is also Vice Chairman of TIGA which is the trade association for the UK games industry, said: “For years we’ve been trying to promote the technology skills agenda in the UK. We have made meaningful progress with both academia and the UK Government by securing R&D tax credits as well as other tax credits to provide parity with other European countries in order to promote further investment in this key export sector

excited by the prospect of taking students into a new ‘learn and earn’ model. He says that as an IT business, Skanco is constantly looking for talented young IT professionals. The programme will enable his business to cultivate young talent and also contribute to the development of talent for the Isle of Man. The ICT looks set to become another example of how the Isle of Man can punch above its weight against rival jurisdictions. To find out more about the ICT project, contact Werner Alberts: +44 (0) 7624 334707 and werner.alberts@businessdoctor.im

which generates twice the annual revenue of the entire film and TV sector in the UK. But progress is ultimately glacial in what has been a rather tough journey spanning almost a decade. When we first met Philip Vermeulen and Werner Alberts we were immediately struck with ICT Investments’ infectious vision and insight. Their agility and straight dealing proved both refreshing and compelling so that very same day we all concluded that we wanted to be part of helping grow their vision into a world class opportunity, and put the Isle of Man on the map as the home for technology and innovation.”


GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEMS Island based Riva Financial Systems is a thriving niche software company whose flagship Riva Transfer Agent (‘Riva TA’) product continues to make a big impression on the global asset servicing industry. Purposefully designed to support the entire investor record-keeping process lifecycle, Riva TA is a highly functional and configurable investor dealing and account registration software solution that is capable of supporting multiple investment products across multiple administration centres, all on a single platform. Suitable for both third party administrator and in-house asset manager, Riva TA offers a complete end-to-end solution to administer the holdings of a huge range of collective investment schemes, closed-ended Investment schemes and specialised alternative asset funds, and supports a diverse and sophisticated global distribution landscape. Built using best of class technology, Riva TA’s highly scalable modern architecture comprises a range of features designed to make investor and distributor servicing

operations more efficient, flexible, cost effective and as innovative as possible, making it the perfect solution to meet the changing demands of an increasingly global marketplace. Offering users access to an unrivalled range of core functionality alongside an integrated range of robust financial management tools, Riva TA is the next generation of investor record keeping solutions. To fully complete its value proposition, Riva Financial Systems maintains a team of highly skilled business analysts, software quality engineers and developers recruited from within the financial services industry to ensure that design, implementation and support issues are always addressed in the appropriate business context by individuals with the required expertise. This rare combination

of business knowledge and technical skill sets Riva apart in the industry. Valuing the island’s enterprising heritage and values, and a vision which looks beyond its shores to the world at large, Riva Financial Systems is headquartered in the Isle of Man, with offices and employees based around the world. In 2015, the Riva TA product was used to administer over US $300 billion of assets across 15 global locations covering the UK, Asia, Middle East, Europe and the United States. Should you wish to learn more about Riva TA’s potential within your organisation, please visit our website www.rivafs.com or alternatively please call us at +44 (1624) 850 140 or email learnmore@rivafs.com


46

iomplc PROFILE


JENNIFER HOUGHTON CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND CO-FOUNDER OF ANNEXIO LIMITED

She calls Stockholm her home city, but Jennifer’s life and work has taken her from Sweden to Germany, California, and Luxembourg. With this international background and being multilingual (she speaks English, French, German and Swedish) Jennifer could have chosen to live and work almost anywhere in the world, but decided to settle here in the Isle of Man which she describes as ‘a jewel in the Irish Sea’.


48

iomplc PROFILE

She co-founded Annexio Limited, which has its HQ right in the heart of Douglas. The company was incorporated in 2010 and granted an Isle of Man gaming licence in 2011. Annexio’s cosmopolitan culture extends beyond the Chief Executive’s own international background. The company now has 25 staff in total including employees from the Isle of Man, Ireland, Poland, Turkey, Kenya, Russia, France, South Africa and Romania. With Annexio’s markets extending across 192 countries, this mix of cultures and nationalities provides the depth and breadth of experience required as the business continues to expand rapidly. The company is one of the fastest growing eGaming businesses and has recently launched its World Lottery Club website which allows customers to play some of the world’s biggest lottery draws rather than just being restricted to playing the national lottery draw in their own country. The Isle of Man is one of the most dynamic and reputable jurisdictions in the eGaming industry. With financial advantages, supportive Government and regulators, world-class infrastructure, bandwidth and reliable power supply coupled with excellent data hosting facilities, the Island was a natural choice for Annexio. In particular, says Jennifer, the approachability of regulators and the support received from the outset are big pluses. Concerns over news reports about electrical power outages in other jurisdictions, and the Isle of Man’s exemplary record for power resilience, were also important factors in Annexio’s decision to locate here.

Jennifer pictured on her wedding day with husband Jay, and enjoying some of her many fundraising activities

I ENJOY THE LIFESTYLE AND THE WORK/ LIFE BALANCE. THERE ARE SO MANY FACETS TO LIFE HERE, AND IT IS HOW ALL OF THOSE FACETS COME TOGETHER WHICH MAKE THE ISLE OF MAN SO SPECIAL

However, for Jennifer the Island also has many less obvious advantages from a CEO’s point of view. “Living and working here it’s possible to pack a lot into every working day,” she says, “Not least because commuting to and from work or travelling to meetings is much less time consuming.” Even with a busy professional life, which includes being a committee member of the Island’s branch of the Institute of Directors, she still finds time for charity work and is a trustee of the Diana Princess of Wales Care at Home Trust which funds nursing staff to provide respite care and end-of-life palliative care for Island residents with cancer or other life-limiting illnesses. Jennifer also enjoys the Island’s vibrant sports community and is a keen runner who has completed marathons in London and Manchester, and many half-marathons including the Great North Run in 2015. “I enjoy the lifestyle and the work/life balance. There are so many facets to life here, and it is how all of those facets come together which make the Isle of Man so special - and I think you become more and more aware of those qualities the longer you stay here. Business, social life, sports and charity work all come together in a beautiful way. Living in the Isle of Man really does feel like living on a jewel in the Irish Sea.” She first moved to the Isle of Man in 2004 when working for Deloitte as a Senior Audit Manager. Initially this move was a two year placement - but she has remained on the Island ever since, initially working as Finance Manager at AXA and Finance Director and Company Secretary at uVme Limited before co-founding Annexio. In 2006 she married Jay who is from just over the water in Merseyside. The couple now live in a top floor apartment on Douglas Promenade which has a terrace that offers a spectacular sea view. “One of our favourite times of the year is when we host a Champagne party on the terrace to watch the Red Arrows display during the TT festival,” she adds.


With the whole world to choose from, Jennifer has found an idyllic location which provides the perfect place to live and work. Well, almost perfect, because there’s one thing missing: “I have a 1970 VW Karmann Beetle Convertible which has been in our family since I was nine-years-old. It has travelled with me around the world and is being restored at the moment. I’m looking forward to driving it on Manx roads.” The Beetle is orange, an appropriate colour symbolising a bright future in life and business.


50

iomplc RECRUITMENT

QUALITY PEOPLE IN QUALITY POSTS Not just a mission statement, it’s the cornerstone of our business and it defines our unique and successful approach to the recruitment profession in the Isle of Man. 17 defining years of People Resourcing Expertise, Talent Management and Career Coaching.

SEARCH & SELECT OFFSHORE


Here at Search & Select, we work in partnership with businesses to select the right talent to take on the ever changing economic climate; and in doing so, our team work closely with the local and international working communities to unleash potential and encourage ambition. The growth, development and retention of local skills and professionally qualified individuals are central to our efforts; delivering every time on career guidance, tailored to the individual and representing the Isle of Man’s employment market. Our team of experienced and professional consultants offer an unmatched level of personal service and expertise in our specialist areas; executive, general and temporary/contract recruitment solutions, operating across the Isle of Man’s globally recognised business centre. We understand the Isle of Man’s employment market, its prestigious reputation and international standing. The support we offer local businesses through the highs and lows of global economic change sets us apart from competitors. Whilst focused on continual talent resourcing, we also respond and service downturn. Our senior management team offer personally tailored outplacement support services. Working with

companies and their displaced staff, to rebuild confidence and design effective ‘back to work’ action plans and career clinics. Our same senior management team get involved with local business acquisition, operating a significant portfolio of local business buyers and sellers; introducing owners accordingly. Yet another complementing extension of our international, and local client network. Our 17 years of recruitment excellence has led to our proactive involvement with new local business start-ups; successfully running with holistic, top-down recruitment programmes. Securing the right skills - long term. In doing so our search for skills and talent reaches a global scale. Attracting skilled workers to the Isle of Man brings need to promote the island’s many positives including the favourable income and corporate tax set up; its obvious scenic beauty and a real work/ life balanced culture - something other employment centres such as London are unable to facilitate today. We have eagerly represented the Isle of Man at UK based Expo Events and Career Conventions. Our offices are based in the heart of Douglas, the island’s capital. We specialise in

accountancy, actuarial, banking, engineering, eCommerce, eGaming, fiduciary services, IT, law, life assurance, as well as shipping, trading businesses and some manufacturing. Our client network reaches all districts of the island, built on long standing relationships with key individuals and business heads. With excellent opportunities and careers available at all levels, and many of our client businesses enjoying continued growth, the Isle of Man continues to prosper as a market leading offshore jurisdiction for businesses and professionals alike. For further information, please call on +44 (1624) 678144 or email us at

recruitment@searchandselect.com

or visit www.searchandselect.com

Search & Select Offshore; 17 years of Recruitment Excellence.


52

iomplc CHAMBER

ISLE OF MAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS THE ISLAND’S BIGGEST BUSINESS NETWORK IOMPLC TALKS TO CHIEF EXECUTIVE JANE DELLAR. IOMPLC: Explain the role Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce plays in the Island’s business community. JD: Our members are from businesses which represent around half of the private sector workforce on the Island. As such, we are the biggest business network here with a history dating back 56 years. Chamber has always been the Island’s leading champion for business, and still plays a vital role today by enabling members to work together for the common goal of furthering the cause of ‘Isle of Man plc’. We give a powerful collective voice for all sectors of the economy. IOMPLC: How do you see Chamber’s role in relation to Government? JD: The expert input from Chamber, and its members, is respected by Government – as is Chamber’s role in providing a forum for more effective resolution of common business issues. Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce has a long track record of supporting and encouraging Government initiatives which it believes will benefit the economy. After all, promoting the continued prosperity of ‘IOMPLC’ is in everyone’s interest. But, when we have a difference of opinion on Government policy or analysis, Chamber is ready to use its independence to challenge and lobby Ministers. That’s important in maintaining our independence and fulfilling our role of providing a powerful voice for the business community. IOMPLC: What advantages does Chamber provide for members? JD: Membership provides many networking opportunities, and

Jane Dellar

promotes the sharing of best practice across all sectors. Businesses also benefit from increased internet visibility via the member directory on the www.iomchamber.org.im website. Joining Chamber provides two distinct advantages for businesses which already have, or wish to develop, international markets. This comes in the form of a discount on Certificates of Origin for exporting, and access to the global network of Chambers of Commerce which provides international development contacts and opportunities as Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce is the only organisation here affiliated to the British Chambers of Commerce. Chamber has eight sector committee representing ICT and eBusiness, retail, finance, manufacturing and technical industries, tourism, construction, transport, and employment and training. Each one is chaired by

members who have specialist knowledge and experience of the relevant sector, and the high level of participation by everyone on the sector committees provides an invaluable source of expertise and insight for all members. Sector committee chairs are also among the contributors to regular CPD Workshop events, seminars and debates which focus on important, topical, business issues. The CPD Workshops in particular are extremely popular, especially for members from small businesses. While major corporations will have the resources to acquire specialist advice in areas such as the impact of new legislation, it may not be practical or cost-effective for a small business to do the same. The CPD Workshops fill this gap by focusing on topics that affect all employers.

IOMPLC: And what do members contribute to Chamber? JD: Our strength comes from the active participation of our members who contribute to the sector committees. In most cases, the committees are considered by Government as providing the strongest and most representative voice for each of the relevant sectors of the economy. It’s an excellent example of how Government and the private sector work in partnership here, and this level of co-operation is one of many factors which puts the Isle of Man ahead of competitor jurisdictions. To find out more visit www.iomchamber.org.im or phone +44 (0)1624 674941.


IN MOST CASES, THE COMMITTEES ARE CONSIDERED BY GOVERNMENT AS PROVIDING THE STRONGEST AND MOST REPRESENTATIVE VOICE FOR EACH OF THE RELEVANT SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY.


54

iomplc HOSTING

CONTINENT 8 CONNECTING IOM TO GLOBAL MARKETS

The Isle of Man has a long history of providing financial security and stability, advantageous business and personal taxation rates, carrier-class connectivity, self-sufficient power generation, and world-class communications infrastructure. Well regulated and governed, it’s an ideal location for the provision of hosting services, and also offers many advantages for businesses looking to co-locate, implement a disaster recovery footprint, or establish IT operations. Enterprises are becoming more geographically dispersed today than ever, with business optimising their business locations relevant to their business needs or to be closer to their customers.

model links the Island, via the Continent 8 private network, to its globally distributed data centres in Europe, North America, and Asia – a must have for todays networked businesses.

The Isle of Man’s success as an international business centre relies upon global connectivity – and for many businesses here that means trusting the tried and tested ‘reliable innovation’ provided by Continent 8 Technologies. It’s the only onIsland provider with a global private network and an international data centre footprint. The company offers a full range of hosting products and services tailored specifically for eBusiness.

In 2006 the company chose to locate its headquarters in the Isle of Man, and subsequently built a state-ofthe-art data centre. Michael Tobin, co-founder and CEO, says the decision to locate its headquarters here was relatively straightforward. “The first and most important network we always build is our relationship with people – employees, customers, and community. In our comprehensive review of where an entrepreneurial and expanding technology infrastructure company like ours could locate, we had many choices. A customer’s introduction to key government and industry leaders was the catalyst that differentiated the Island for us. At the time the Government promoted the Island with a ‘freedom to flourish’ philosophy – but that was much more than just a marketing slogan. To us it’s very evident that there was then, and still is today, a strong desire to be an independent, creative and forward thinking entrepreneurial jurisdiction

Continent 8 enables organisations to rapidly deploy to market and implement business critical back office or public front-end systems, across the globe, and in multiple industry verticals. With centres of excellence – including London, Paris, Dublin, Malta, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Singapore, Montreal and New Jersey – it provides a truly worldwide service capability to clients, regardless of geography. This multi-jurisdictional hosting and managed services

– and we see clear parallels in our own business development goals and vision.” Approaching the 10th anniversary of the opening of its Isle of Man Headquarters the company now provides a comprehensive suite of services and solutions. In addition to a range of hosting related products such as: Hosting Co-Location and Disaster Recovery Network Management, Fully Managed Services, IP Transit and Tier 1 Peering, Global and MPLS Connectivity, Continent 8 offers a number of services that can be used without the need for a company’s infrastructure to be hosted with the company; DDoS mitigation services and Cloud Backup. At the core of the business is an ISO27001 and PCI compliant Isle of Man Data Centre built to world class specifications. With Continent 8 Technologies you will find a trusted business partner that can provide reliable, innovative solutions designed to meet your organisation’s needs now, and well into the future. www.continent8.com


THE GOVERNMENT PROMOTED THE ISLAND WITH A ‘FREEDOM TO FLOURISH’ PHILOSOPHY – BUT THAT WAS MUCH MORE THAN JUST A MARKETING SLOGAN.

dƌĂŶƐĨĞƌ ŐĞŶĐLJ ^ŽůƵƟŽŶƐ   /Ŷ ĂŶ ŝŶĐƌĞĂƐŝŶŐůLJ ŐůŽďĂů ƚƌĂŶƐĨĞƌ ĂŐĞŶĐLJ ĞŶǀŝƌŽŶŵĞŶƚ͕ ƚŚĞ ĂďŝůŝƚLJ ƚŽ ŽīĞƌ Ă ƐŝŶŐůĞ d ƐŽůƵƟŽŶ ĐĂƉĂďůĞ ŽĨ ƐĞƌǀŝĐŝŶŐ ŵƵůƟƉůĞ ũƵƌŝƐĚŝĐƟŽŶƐ ĂŶĚ ƉƌŽĚƵĐƚ ƚLJƉĞƐ ĂĐƌŽƐƐ ƚŚĞ ŐůŽďĞ ŚĂƐ ďĞĐŽŵĞ Ă ƉƌŝŵĂƌLJ ƌĞƋƵŝƌĞŵĞŶƚ͘ ZŝǀĂ ŽīĞƌƐ Ă ĐŽŵƉƌĞŚĞŶƐŝǀĞ ƚƌĂŶƐĨĞƌ ĂŐĞŶĐLJ ƐŽůƵƟŽŶ ƚŚĂƚ ƐƵƉƉŽƌƚƐ ŵƵůƟƉůĞ ůŽĐĂƟŽŶƐ͕ ũƵƌŝƐĚŝĐƟŽŶƐ ĂŶĚ ŝŶǀĞƐƚŵĞŶƚ ƉƌŽĚƵĐƚƐ ŽŶ Ă ƐŝŶŐůĞ ƉůĂƞŽƌŵ ǁŝƚŚ Ă ůŽǁ ƚŽƚĂů ĐŽƐƚ ŽĨ ŽǁŶĞƌƐŚŝƉ͘

&Žƌ ĨƵƌƚŚĞƌ ŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶ ƉůĞĂƐĞ ǀŝƐŝƚ ŽƵƌ ǁĞďƐŝƚĞ  Žƌ ĐĂůů ƵƐ ŽŶ  ĂŶĚ ůĞĂƌŶ ŵŽƌĞ ĂďŽƵƚ ZŝǀĂ d ͘


56

iomplc EDUCATION

A BLESSING TO THIS ISLAND So said Lieutenant Governor Cornelius Smelt on St George’s Day 1830 as he laid the foundation stone of King William’s College. By Martin Humphreys, Principal, King William’s College. We would probably not use such language today, but the underlying thought that King William’s College is an extremely valuable part of the “fabric” of the Isle of Man is as valid today as it was nearly 185 years ago. Independent education is to some a controversial topic. I am a pragmatist. I believe that the presence of King William’s College on this beautiful Island is a magnificent asset. King William’s College has provided politicians, businessmen and women, doctors, lawyers, solicitors, soldiers, statesmen and scientists for the Island and beyond for generations. Looking to the future, College is, I believe, fundamentally important to this Island’s commercial and economic destiny. 2015 is the centenary of the award of the unique double Nobel Prize in Physics to Professor Sir William Bragg and his son. Bragg is perhaps our most eminent alumnus or “OKW”. In the field of science and invention, College continues to produce eminent men and women in their field. Dr John Taylor’s work and design skills are present in almost every kitchen in the world. Whenever you have a taste for a cup of coffee and you flick on the

kettle, you pay homage to his skills. In the field of medicine, I have recently met two ground-breaking OKWs who learnt their Biology and Chemistry within these ancient walls. Professor Nigel Heaton is a world-renowned leader in the field of liver research, including at the cutting edge of live transplantation. Professor Andrew Rees is the Professor of kidney research at Vienna university. I was recently in Hong Kong where the College alumni are numerous and in very good form. We have 60 odd old boys and girls in that astonishing city: many of them leading lights in senior positions in law firms, accountancy, fund management and consultancy. King William’s College alumni are all over the world, from Moscow to Hamburg to Lagos to San Paolo. Since we started the International Baccalaureate in 2002 some 500 students have been awarded the IB Diploma. Almost all of them have gone on to the world’s leading universities and they are now working in all fields in careers across the globe. I see King William’s College as a magnificent generator of international affinity for the Isle of Man. As these alumni rise in their chosen fields and professions, they will always have

a connection with this Island and I am confident that that connection will reap benefits for the Island going forward. Whatever seeds we are sowing for the future, King William’s College is also a very important contributor to the Island economy today. We are a very successful IB World School and this year KWC was ranked equal 27th in the UK IB league tables. Education is a key determining factor for investors and entrepreneurs considering relocating to the Island. I see what we do at College as being a very important part of what this Island offers inward investors. We are very proud that KWC features prominently in the DED’s promotional material designed to attract business to the Island. King William’s College is also an important Island business. We are an £8.5 million turnover enterprise and a major Island employer. We employ 187 people (including 87 teachers) and this year we contributed £5.4 million in salaries, pensions and NI contributions to the Island economy. We are also a major Island consumer. Every year we spend some £600,000 on catering, local travel and utilities.


KWC is also a major Island investor. Over the last three years we have invested £3.3 million in our facilities, with most expenditure going to Island contractors. We plan to invest a further £1.3 million over the next two years. Our next major capital expenditure project is to upgrade our indoor sports facilities in the form of a new sports hall and gym. This is a major endeavour and will cost millions. We plan to design and build this facility to be available not just for the College community but for the wider Island community. KWC is also a very important exporter. There are currently 51 international students at College and their fees are in effect an export revenue stream for the Island. Over the last three years this export revenue has amounted to some £3.8 million. As an international school and enterprise, we invest heavily in recruitment. This expenditure amounts to some £175,000 each year in marketing and recruitment costs to promote our business. Over the summer holidays we completed a £500,000 refurbishment of our boarding facilities for international and Island students. Our current key markets are Germany, Hong Kong and China. Our emerging markets

include Nigeria, Russia and Thailand. Last month we hosted a prestigious business development, alumni and recruitment event in the China Club in Hong Kong. We also act as a significant magnet for the Island. International students bring their parents who stay locally for parents’ evenings

TO WATCH A SHORT VIDEO ABOUT KING WILLIAM’S COLLEGE CLICK HERE and celebrations. We estimate that we generate some 500 overnight stays on the Island every year which is clearly of significant benefit to the local economy. We fully endorse the Isle of Man Government’s strategy set out in their 2020 Vision document. We think there are considerable synergies

between our plans and the Government’s plans for the Island’s future. We all need to be outward looking and international in our focus. We are keen to work with the Isle of Man Government in attracting individuals and businesses to the Island. Schools and schooling are an absolutely critical factor in any decision by a high net worth individual or an entrepreneur with a moveable business in considering relocation. I recently met a senior partner of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom, the well-known US law firm. His job title was the gloriously phrased ‘Head of Jurisdictional Selection’ and he was visiting to assess what the Isle of Man has to offer his high net worth clients. He stressed that schooling was an absolutely critical factor in the overall decision matrix for high net worth individuals looking to change their jurisdiction of residence. We see ourselves as a school, as an institution, as an enterprise, as an employer, as a magnet and as a gem to this Island. We look forward to working seamlessly with the Government to ensure that all our futures on this wonderful Island are safe, secure, outward-looking and prosperous. www.kwc.im


58

iomplc FACTFILE

ISLE OF MAN

FACTFILE HEAD OF STATE:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

CURRENCY: £ Sterling

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

His Excellency Mr Adam Wood

CHIEF MINISTER: Hon Allan Bell MHK

CAPITAL: Douglas

GOVERNMENT:

An internally self-governing dependent territory of the Crown which is not part of the United Kingdom

PARLIAMENT: Tynwald

POPULATION:

84,497 (2011 Census)

POPULATION DENSITY:

133 people per sq. kilometre or 336 people per sq. mile

TELECOMS INFRASTRUCTURE:

World class off-Island connectivity, superfast VDSL and VDSL Plus fixed line broadband, 4G mobile broadband, Tier 3 Data Centres.

ECONOMY:

Finance and financial services, eBusiness, eGaming, manufacturing, clean tech, fin tech, aviation, maritime, space, retail and tourism.

MOODY’S RATING: Aa1

LAND AREA:

572 sq. km/221square miles

LOCATION:

The centre of the Irish Sea – 50 km (31 miles) from Ireland; 30 miles from England; and the Point of Ayre at the northern tip of the Island is only 16 miles from Burrow Head in Scotland.

BANK HOLIDAYS:

As per the UK with additional bank holidays for TT Senior Race Day (part of the Isle of Man TT motorcycle racing festival held at the beginning of June) and Tynwald Day (the Island’s national day which is usually held on July 5 – but if this falls on a weekend it is held on the following Monday)


ADVANCED TELECOMS SYSTEMS ARE REVOLUTIONISING THE OFFICE

Mike Phillips

The office is going digital. Businesses are adapting to new technology which is making business activity more efficient and completely changing the way we work. Mike Phillips, Sure Chief Operating Officer in the Isle of Man, explores how innovation in telecommunications is transforming the way we communicate and compute in the workplace. Modern technology is revolutionising the workplace. The most significant developments have been in office productivity and the different ways businesses can now communicate both internally and externally. Technologies such as mobile, cloud, mobility and online conferencing are now available and affordable to even the smallest businesses and for many they are now a requirement to grow and gain a competitive edge. The introduction of 4G mobile networks on the island has taken remote working to a new level for many employees but for many businesses the hub of their operations remains their office. Thanks to advanced telecoms systems analogue communication in the office is a thing of the past and digital technologies, including instant messages, email, video conferencing and online collaboration tools, are having a huge impact on the ways businesses operate. Technology is also helping internal communications, encouraging co-workers based anywhere in the world to network effectively and presenting opportunities to increase collaborative working. Managing the resource of the office has never been

more technologically enabled and an efficient, high-quality communications system can make all the difference in a competitive market. The Isle of Man has a varied business landscape covering a number of different industries but for all of them, no matter the size, a reliable telecommunications system is a key component of a successful business. Sure has a wide-ranging business telecommunications portfolio, from simple voice solutions through to private circuits (both on and off-island), internet, broadband, fixed voice, mobile, Cisco and Redbox voice recording products. Sure also has a long-standing partnership with corporate telecommunications solutions provider Mitel. Mitel has more than 40 years of experience in communication technology: it provides solutions in more than 100 countries and facilitates more than two billion business connections per day. This level of expertise is unparalleled and Sure’s partnership with Mitel offers business customers the widest choice and best products available on the market. Mitel systems are designed with the modern office in mind to simplify communications both internally and externally. They

encompass a range of products including intuitive IP telephony and advanced desktop solutions to facilitate more efficient communications throughout businesses. The complexity of office communications solutions is often a barrier to companies taking the plunge to update their systems, but the process couldn’t be easier with Sure’s fully qualified engineers able to lend their expertise to the installation and aftercare requirements. Innovations in telecoms technology are allowing businesses to work more efficiently and focus on more strategic business objectives that drive competitive advantage and real value. An increasingly mobile and constantly connected workforce that can perform tasks from anywhere, at any time, from any device is changing the face of the workplace. Business customers are invited to find out more about Sure’s corporate solutions and services by emailing business@sure.com or by calling one of our dedicated business account team on +44 (0)1624 692222. www.international.sure.com


60

iomplc BUSINESS SUPPORT

SUPPORTING YOU ALL THE WAY Whether you are starting a new business or relocating, Isle of Man Government offers a range of schemes which provide financial and advisory support. Here is a brief guide:

Financial Assistance Scheme This is designed to support: • The growth of existing businesses through investment in new technology, plant and machinery, productivity improvements and efficiency saving. • Inward investment and IOM relocations. • Start-ups • New projects creating jobs and/or new products. Grant levels vary depending upon business sector, but up to 40% grant support is available towards funding: • New buildings, extensions and refurbishments.

• Rent – First year rent costs. • Training – Costs relating to training that does not result in a qualification and can be covered by the Vocational Training Financial Support Scheme. Eg, training on new equipment. • Energy efficiency – Assistance with costs of implementing a project recommended by Business Support Scheme. E.g. where capital investment is required or where energy savings are clearly identifiable. • Waste efficiency – Projects that improve the quality or reduce the volume of waste produced.

• Plant and machinery, and office equipment. • Off-Island marketing – eg, attendance at exhibitions, material design, visiting potential new clients. • First year expenses – set-up costs, legal fees, on-Island hosting fees, relocation costs and some other professional fees.

Please note that terms and conditions apply for all of the schemes mentioned above. For further details go to www.whereyoucan.com/how-we-can-help which also has information about the Vocational Training and Financial Support Scheme, Small Business Start-Up Scheme, and Investors In People.


A guide to IOM business support schemes

0% Green Business Loans

Business Support Scheme

This provides flexible financing options to all types of organisations seeking to make their operations more efficient and lower their energy costs. It offers:

This is for established business and can:

• An interest free loan of 100% towards the cost of a project that improves energy efficiency.

• To assist with business and technical accreditations e.g. ISO, SALSA

• Loans of £1,000 up to a maximum of £20,000 per project.

• Provide consultancy to enable companies to operate more efficiently.

• In essence, the loans are repaid over four years as energy cost savings are made, so that it’s cost neutral to the business.

The Business Support Scheme can provide up to 50% funding of a project up to a maximum of £4,500

• Applicants can also complete a Business Support Scheme project to determine the requirements and potential levels of ongoing savings possible.

Specialist consultancy and mentorship support is available in the following areas:

• Help companies develop their business skills and management competencies.

• Transactional web site with off-Island trading • Marketing • Design • eBusiness • Environmental Efficiency • HR Development • Quality Systems • Operations Management • Business & Strategic Planning • ICT • Business and Financial Management Controls


62

iomplc STERLING

STERLING STABILITY ON THE ISLE OF MAN As Sterling Trust reaches its 20-year milestone of operations the company, in many respects, symbolises the maturation of the Isle of Man’s trust and corporate service sector. As Sterling Trust reaches its 20-year milestone of operations the company, in many respects, symbolises the maturation of the Isle of Man’s trust and corporate service sector. “When we first set up, in 1995, it was a completely unregulated sector” remembers David Johnson, who established Sterling Trust with a Kenyan partner initially to service their own business. The company soon expanded with other clients but also hit a major roadblock, “The problem was that within two years, my partner’s circumstances had changed; he left the business and I found myself in a pretty painful period of rationalisation and restructuring”. But Sterling survived and, with it, a unique level of expertise and connections in Africa. “For clients in Africa, the stability and consistency of the Isle of Man has been one of our key propositions” explains David “Many of our clients live and do business in unpredictable regimes. That’s when a thousand years of continuous parliament and a strong reputation for international regulatory compliance really scores! It’s all about stability.” So what have been the key changes over the last twenty years?

“Since we started out, the regulatory environment has changed out of all recognition. Back in the mid-nineties a lot of companies were non-resident, which is where most of the negative perceptions of ‘offshore’ were derived” explains David. “But the Island saw fit to discourage that type of activity and it’s fair to say people lost a lot of business; but I think many would now agree it was business the Island should not have had in the first place.” “In later years” he continues, “the biggest impact has come from us pre-emptively complying with transparency and automatic exchange of information”. David is the first to admit that he initially had deep reservations about these developments. “In hindsight though I think it was something of a masterstroke by the Isle of Man Government” he says. “It resulted in the Island being far better placed with the G20 and OECD and given that we would have had to take these steps anyway, to be first gave us an edge. There can only ever be one first place!” “Above all, it cemented our stability as an international jurisdiction of quality and good standing - and that is invaluable for our international clients”.

So how does a wealth management business in the Isle of Man company service clients in Africa? “Simple really. You get on a plane and go to see them!” says David. “This is vital, not just to win business but to get to know your clients well enough to understand their long term objectives. Trusts are, by their very nature, multi-generational. The structures we have established over the years will out survive me and those clients we established them for. So that knowledge has to be passed down, along with a deep understanding of our clients’ family and business affairs”. Sterling Trust has, in recent years expanded to form the Sterling Group of companies which includes divisions in Private Finance, Property and Business Services. “It’s been driven by our clients’ expanding needs and our own need to move with the times” explains David. “But, what never changes is the need for a stable and predictable financial regime like the Isle of Man”.

To find out more about Sterling Trust, visit: www.sterling.im


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