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BUSINESS BRITAIN Volume 5 • Issue 8

Top 20 reasons to do business in the UK Give your business a new-year health check

DARLING IN 2008: THE UK ECONOMY HAS CRASHED AND BURNED

• BUSINESS TRAVEL • OFFSHORE CORPORATE REGISTRY • GLOBAL BANK OF COMMERCE • VAT REFORM


introduction

Introduction Hello, and welcome to the January/February edition of Business Britain magazine. First of all, we sincerely hope that you all had a joyous festive season and did not over-indulge too much! Well, here we are at the start of what will undoubtedly be a very Business Britain is mailed on a bi-monthly basis strictly to named subscribers at Decision-Maker level; Chief Executives, CEOs and MDs, as well as qualifying members of Senior Management within Blue Chip MNCs and SMEs. Involved in the specialist functions of I.T, Communications, Financial/Banking, Business Services, Manufacturing and High-Tech/Knowledge/Creative, as well as a presence within the UK public sector and local government,

important and indeed interesting 12 months, not least for Gordon Brown and his administration but also for his soon-to-be installed US counterpart, who will be hoping that his first year in power offers a smoother ride than Mr Brown’s did. The economy is obviously top of the agenda, and the business world will wait with baited breath to see exactly what measures, initiatives and long/short-term solutions are offered in order to avert a further slide into recession.

our subscription lists extend across the UK and EMEA, and due to the expansion of the European Union, several Central and eastern European countries. The readership is expanding on a continuous basis. Design anD ProDuction: Vortex Creative Ltd www.v-creative.co.uk eDitorial: editorial@businessbritainuk.co.uk PublisheD by: Business Britain 46 Aldgate High Street London EC3N 1AL Tel: +44 0207 744 7713 Email: info@businessbritainuk.co.uk Web: www.businessbritainuk.co.uk Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, Business Britain magazine cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. Business Britain magazine cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage of any material, solicited or unsolicited. No reproduction of any part of this publication, in any form or by any means, is permitted without the prior written consent of Business Britain magazine. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or advertisers.

The topics covered within this edition focus on certain global destinations from the business travel perspective; the fabulous city of Toronto, the glamour and beauty of New York, and the opulence of Dubai. We also address the issue of Offshore Corporate Registries, and the benefits that such offshore solutions offer to companies in terms of stability, taxation benefits and information disclosure. We hope you enjoy this first edition of the Year.

Business Britain magazine

Business Britain january/february 2009 3


contents

58 Toronto 40 Lord Mandelson

32 Airports

CONTENTS • NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY • GLOBAL BANK OF COMMERCE • NEWARK AND SHERWOOD • VAT REDUCTION • WINDJAMMER RESORTS • BUSINESS TRAVEL • PERFECT PARTNER • KNOWLEDGE TO ACTION • MARSHALL ISLANDS • RICHARD A ROOKE 4 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN


36 Economic Crisis

68 Dubai 74 Serviced Apartments

22 Economy

84 Costa Blanca

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 5


LI S CR

THE LIBERIAN REGISTRY

THE REGISTRY OF CHOICE FOR QUALITY For more than half a century Liberia has provided the registry of choice to the offshore financial services industry and the flag of choice to the international shipping community. The stability of Liberia’s corporate and maritime programs and international legal structures, as well as commitment to service and investment in technical innovation, provides increased convenience and efficiency in the global service to clients of the Liberian Registry at competitive rates. The Registry is ready to assist professionals in the offshore financial services sector, to enable them to provide quality service, to accommodate with discretion and respect for confidentiality the individual and specific needs of their sophisticated clients, and to meet the requirements of today’s rapidly changing regulatory environment.

8619 Westwood Center Drive Vienna, Virginia, USA Tel: +1.703.790.3434 Fax: +1.703.251.2489 E-mail: corporate@liscr.com

Schiffla¬ nde 16, First Floor CH-8001 Zu¬ rich, Switzerland Tel: +41.44.250.8650 Fax: +41.44.251.8655 E-mail: info@liscr.ch

www.LISCR.com A H I S T O RY O F P R O F E S S I O N A L I S M , A F U T U R E O F I N N O VA T I O N

®R I C H |N E W Y O R K | H O N G K O N G |L O N D O N |M O N R O V I A |P I R A E U S |T O K Y O V I E N N A , VA | H A M B U R G | Z U


business news Pictured are Group managing director Keith Howells (centre) and director for the North East Cathy Travers (second from left) presenting a cheque to Pam Thornes of The Laura Crane Trust (second from right).

Mott MacDonald celebrates new Leeds office opening with charity launch event EmployEEs at thE lEEds branch of global management, engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald and its cost consultancy business franklin+andrews have celebrated their move to a new city-centre office with a charity launch event. Over 150 guests including Mott MacDonald staff, clients, and local business leaders in the north of england gathered at the new premises in Leeds’ brewery Wharf for a reception hosted jointly with Mott MacDonald Leeds’ charity for 2009, youth cancer charity The Laura Crane Trust.* Mott MacDonald’s new, larger office in Leeds will house the company’s expanding team in the city, which has grown from 12 employees in 2004 to over 80 today. The consultancy works across a range of sectors in the region on high-profile projects including the Leeds building Schools for the future project, bridgewater Place, Leeds Gateway and, working in partnership with

Metro and Leeds City Council, the Leeds new Generation Transport Project, a key component of the transport strategy for the city. Cathy Travers, Mott MacDonald’s director for the north east, remarked, “Mott MacDonald already has a strong presence in Leeds however growing our team will enable us to move forward in strategic areas such as transport and energy.” She added, “It’s important that we put something back into the community, so as well as celebrating our new office and our track-record of successful project delivery in Leeds and the surrounding area, the launch event was a great opportunity for us to give some valuable support to a local charity.” as part of the ‘Leeds Cares’** initiative, staff from Mott MacDonald organised a number of fundraising activities including raffles and ‘dress down fridays’ to raise £1000 for The Laura Crane Trust. Pam Thornes, fundraising manager for

the charity, said: “a big thank you to Mott MacDonald for their kind donation and for giving us the opportunity to promote the work of The Laura Crane Trust – we were totally blown away by your generosity the money will go towards our Santa appeal to buy age appropriate gifts for teenage cancer patients facing this Christmas in hospital.” Mott MacDonald is a global management, engineering and development consultancy with 14,500 staff, £850 million turnover and work in 120 countries for the public and private sectors. The employee-owned company is ranked 8th in the 2008 Sunday Times 20 best big Companies to Work for survey. Mott MacDonald’s core business sectors cover buildings, transport, energy, water, environment, health, education, industry, oil and gas, communications and international development. • For more information about Mott MacDonald please visit www.mottmac.com

Business Britain january/february 2009 7


BUSINESS NEWS

Employers ‘could be held liable in drug cases’ EMPLOYERS ARE BEING WARNED that they must have proper drink and drug policies in place as they could be held liable for the actions of any employees who are under the influence. Details of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 were discussed at a conference organised by Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) yesterday. It was announced that companies could face fines of up to €3 million (£2.5 million) or up to two years imprisonment for breaches of management in this area. MQI director Tony Geoghegan said: “The employer can be held liable for contributing to the problem if it was deemed workplace stress was a factor or the employer knew about the drug or alcohol problem and did not intervene.” According to a spokesperson for ClickAJob, it is an issue that employers increasingly will have to get used to. “Employers already screen for

8 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN

attitude and skills compatibility, but social behaviour is equally critical, particularly if employees have to interface with customers,” he says. “In the US, it is already standard practice to screen for conditions of drug or alcohol abuse. With social pressures - particularly stress - reaching similar levels here, it is only a matter of time before UK employers find they have to follow suit.” “Of course, the heart of the matter is the quality of the employer-employee relationship. It’s not just the employer who is responsible for employee behaviour towards the public – employees have a responsibility too, to themselves as well as their employers,” he concludes. Earlier this month, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health advised employers that they must not cut back on health and safety in the workplace to save money during the recession.


‘Business as usual’ for Folio Hotels group of companies Booking agents can continue to Book rooms at Folio Hotels The announcemenT recenTly that MCr was appointed as administrators to one of largest independent groups of three and four star hotels, the folio Hotels Group, has raised a number of issues for booking agents in the travel industry. Paul Clark, lead partner at MCr, stated: “In the last 24 hours we have managed to meet with the management of all 36 hotels in the group as well as other stakeholders in this process and I have to stress that all the hotels in the group are continuing to trade whilst a buyer is sought as a going concern,” “for booking agents large and small the message is clear: all 36 folio hotels throughout the uK are open for business and we would encourage agents to continue to make bookings during this period,” he added. Commissions for guests who stay at the hotels or events taking place at the hotels, during the administration period will be honored. The administrators are currently reviewing the financial position of the Company with a view to completing a sale of the business and assets of the Company as a going concern. founded in 2005, folio Hotels Limited has a group turnover of around £70 million and runs not only rooms for both business and leisure guests, but meeting and event facilities suited for weddings, parties, family gatherings and business events. Paul Clark is lead partner and Philip Duffy and jason Godefroy, partners at MCr, have been appointed as joint administrators. The joint administrators are trading the business as normal and anticipate that they will secure a going concern sale very shortly. abouT mcr MCr was formed in april 2001 to offer turnaround, restructuring and insolvency services of outstanding quality to banks, lenders, business owners and individuals in the mid-market sector. It aims to provide the most practicable ways to resolve issues affecting business performance. The firm has ten partners who practice an ethos of high-level involvement to ensure that each assignment capitalises upon the expertise and knowledge of the whole team. MCr regularly handles significant projects across a range of sectors and has been involved in a number of high profile cases. MCr is increasingly being asked to restructure businesses and find turnaround solutions to help companies avoid formal insolvency. Sectors include property, manufacturing, printing, recruitment, hotels, leisure, the internet, e-commerce, automotive, telecommunications, music, entertainment and construction.

MP OPENS NEW SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS PARK A ShropShire Mp hAS prAiSed the opening of a prestigious business park in north Shropshire giving a boost for businesses and employment in the region. Owen Paterson, a member of the Shadow Cabinet, urged companies from across the county to visit Mullbry Business Park in Whitchurch, built by Shropshire’s leading civil engineers McPhillips. Cutting the tape to officially open the new park, he said: “At such a time of national financial crisis, it is tremendous news that Mullbry Business Park is opening, giving both new and existing businesses the chance to operate from top class premises. “This is a great boost for enterprise and wealth creation in North Shropshire and I would urge businesses far and wide to visit Mullbry Park to see just what it has to offer them.” North Shropshire District Council also welcomed the investment in a future “thriving business community.” Councillor Marilyn Patrick said it “addressed the need” for employment in the area, would create more jobs and reduce the need for travelling long distances to find work by the town’s growing population. “Whitchurch has seen steady industrial development in recent years and enquiries for premises throughout the district continue

to increase. We are confident that Mullbry Business Park will prove very successful and we hope to see a thriving business community at the site shortly,” said the councillor who is Portfolio Holder for Development Strategy at North Shropshire District Council. The business park, built on a five acre field, has easy access to the A41 and A49 roads and a range of buildings able to be tailored to individual business needs. The units are suitable for a range of businesses such as a showroom, trade counter, light manufacturing, industrial storage and office use. Developer Peter McPhillips said: “They are built to the latest environmental and building regulation standards and range from 5,000sq ft to 22,000sq ft with a flexible internal layout for the requirement of each individual business. We expect the business park to eventually grow to 80,000 sq ft of business units.” For more information contact Andrew Dixon & Co. on 01952 521000 or the district council’s Frank Lauriello on 01939 232771. • Pictured are North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, a member of the Shadow Cabinet, officially declaring Mullbry Business Park in Whitchurch open with the help of brothers Peter and Nicholas McPhillips (left), joint Managing Directors of civil engineers McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd.

BUSINESS BRItAIN january/february 2009 9


business news Pictured from left to right Sue Burgess (Chairman HBAA), Ian Burnley (CEO Expotel) and Peter Ducker (Executive Director HBAA)

expotel joins HBaa ExpotEl is thE latEst in a series of high-profile hotel booking agents to join the Hbaa. expotel joins the Hbaa as the association asserts its presence as the leading voice for the hotel and conference booking market. Increased demand by corporate travel managers to use hotel booking agents, coupled with the association’s drive for professionalism through its respected Code of Conduct, has led to an increase in the number of agency members and their associated buying power. 2008 has finished with a record number of 75 member agents, and partner members (comprising chain and independent hotels, venues and training establishments) exceeding 200 across the uK and europe. The Hbaa’s buying power for meetings, conferences and accommodation now exceeds £1.4bn per annum, making the association one of the largest representative

10 january/february 2009 Business Britain

bodies in the business travel sector. Sue burgess, Hbaa Chairman said: “We are delighted that expotel has joined the association as it confirms our leading status. Collectively we will continue to develop policies and drive to attract the best people to work in this exciting area of the travel industry.” Ian burnley, expotel CeO said: “as a leading player in the Hba market, I believe it is important that we participate in the organisation that drives standards and promotes change in our sector. following our management buyout in july this year and with a new management team and investors in place, we are very pleased to become members of the Hbaa at such an important time for the industry.” The Hbaa is widely recognised for its work in driving for continual improvement in policy and procedures, and at the business Travel Show, 2009, senior representatives will present a keynote speech on the findings from

the Hbaa’s most recent White Paper. Hbaa is the leading voice within the hotel booking sector and will be addressing the business Travel Show, 2009 with a keynote speech. • The Hotel booking agents association (Hbaa) was formed in 1997 and now consists of over 75 agent members and 200 Hotel Charter Partners. • Member agents are specialists in making hotel accommodation, conference and event reservations as their core business. • Charter Partners are comprised of the leading hotel chains, training centres and independent hotels and venues, and include Hilton, Marriott and Wyboston Lakes. • The Hbaa comprises a committee of 12 industry figureheads who oversee separate committees including: technology, partnerships, memberships, marketing & Pr, events and education.


finance

VAT – WHAT DOES THE REDUCTION MEAN? BUSINESS BRITAIN asked Prof. Hermann Simon (Chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners Strategy & Marketing Consultants, the world’s leading pricing consultancy www. simon-kucher.com), exactly what the VAT rate cut will mean and how this will effect the UK economy. “The VAT rate cut from 17.5% to 15% that is at the heart of the government’s stimulus package to move Britain out of the current recession is not going to work. Reducing VAT by 2.5% is essentially a 2.1% price reduction (2.5 of 117.5). How much more are shoppers going to spend at that level of price cuts? At a realistic price elasticity of 0.3 to 0.5 the demand effect would be somewhere between 0.6 and just over 1%, stretched over a full year (which is the time Alistair Darling expects the rate cut to apply for) – too little, too late.” “This is absolutely ineffective and will do very little to give the UK economy the impulses it needs now. I like to compare the current situation with a medical emergency. If a patient’s heart has stopped you have to give him a massive shot with a defibrillator to revive him. You basically have to break a shock situation with a radical and immediate action. The chancellor’s current VAT plan is not radical enough and works

Prof. Hermann Simon

too slowly.” “A much more radical, and I believe more effective approach would be to not charge VAT altogether for one month, preferably in December. That would cost the government approx. £6.5-8bn compared to the £12.5bn of the current plan. This shock therapy would work immediately and start the engine again rather than a trickle effect spread out over 12 months, which will lead to nothing.”

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF SUCH A SOLUTION? • High ticket items will benefit from this relief in a much higher proportion in absolute pound terms. Saving one or two pounds on a product is not going to bring shoppers in or lead companies to invest. However, saving a hundred pounds on a TV and IT hardware or thousands on a car definitely will. • To spread any impact from such a measure over twelve months will lead to very little momentum to change consumer behaviour and general negative perception of the state of the economy. If the full effect is bundled into a very short period of time the impact could be significantly more positive. Just as in bad times negative headlines quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy as they influence consumer behaviour; positive impulses could achieve the same. • As in the government’s original plans, it affects the whole industry, not only one particular sector (i.e. the automotive sector, as is being discussed in other countries). That way the government would avoid exposing itself to complaints about discriminatory behaviour or preferential treatment of certain industries or companies.

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 11


politics

12 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN


BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 13


politics

future VAt “tAx bombshell” D

avid Cameron claims leaked documents show Gordon brown is secretly planning a future VaT “tax bombshell”. In stormy Commons exchanges, the Tory leader accused Mr brown of giving the uK the “debt levels of Italy and the accounting practices of enron”. The PM admitted ministers considered increasing VaT to 18.5%, or higher, but had now rejected such a move in favour of a VaT cut funded by borrowing. He called Mr Cameron the “do nothing leader of a do nothing party”. Chancellor alistair Darling’s pre-budget report on Monday sparked stormy scenes at prime minister’s questions - ahead of an emergency debate forced by the Tories.

‘Hard pressed’ Launching his attack by brandishing a mistakenly published Treasury document, Mr Cameron demanded: “If the government doesn’t have a secret plan to increase VaT, why did the Treasury minister put his signature to it?” The Conservatives say there is a “black hole” in the government’s plans to repay record borrowing, which would have been filled by a 1% VaT rise. Mr brown replied that the government had looked at “every option” adding: “We looked at the 1980-83 recession and when the Conservatives raised VaT from 8% to 15% hard working families were hurt.

“We looked at the 1990s and when the Conservatives raised VaT from 15% to 17.5% hard pressed families were hurt. “and when you were adviser to the Treasury they tried to raise VaT on fuel to 17.5% “We looked at all options. We rejected the option of raising VaT. We decided we would lower it and we hope the Conservative Party will support us.” Mr Cameron hit back by accusing Mr brown of bringing the country to the brink of bankruptcy, with the same levels of national debt as when Labour was in power in the 1970s, when the country had to be bailed out by the IMf.

‘New Labour dead’ “The fact is this prime minister has given us the debt levels of Italy and the accounting practices of enron,” said the Tory leader to cheers from his own benches. He added: “Isn’t the real lesson from the Pbr this: the country is going bankrupt, he’s been found out and new Labour’s dead?” demanded Mr Cameron. Mr brown said the Tories would “do nothing” to help families and businesses hit by the downturn and the uK’s debt levels were still lower than many other industrialised nations. Later, in an emergency Commons debate on the pre-budget report, Chancellor alistair Darling said the Treasury minister’s name had ended up on the document by mistake and he had not seen it or authorised it. He recently unveiled a 13 month cut in

VaT from 17.5% to 15% in an effort to get consumers spending. but the bbC understands a rise in Value added Tax to 18.5% from 2011 was in the government’s plans until less than a week ago. Mr Darling told MPs that he had decided a rise in national Insurance contributions was the “fairest” way to raise money while VaT would return to 17.5% after 13 months.

scotcH wHisky “That is the government’s position and that remains the government’s position,” he said. but he said later that measures announced to keep the price of alcohol and cigarettes the same - by raising duty to compensate for the

Launching his attack by brandishing a mistakenly published Treasury document, Mr Cameron demanded: “If the government doesn’t have a secret plan to increase VAT, why did the Treasury minister put his signature to it?” 14 january/february 2009 Business BriTain


VaT drop - had not “actually achieved that” in relation to spirits and an order would be moved to cut the increase in duty planned for them. It follows protests from the Scotch whisky industry that the measures would put 29p on the price of a bottle of whisky. Mr Darling told MPs these were “extraordinary economic circumstances” and there was a choice between “supporting people, supporting businesses, supporting the economy ... or walking away, saying we will do absolutely nothing and letting recession run its course.” It was important to get the banks lending again, he said, and some action had been taken but he added “we do need to go further”. He said the government was “ready and willing and it will hold the banks to account”. During the same debate shadow chancellor George Osborne said the pre-budget report had “completely fallen apart in just 48 hours”.

‘Hope to despair’ He told MPs the doubling of national debt

had shocked the country, national Insurance rises would hit people on “modest incomes” and “virtually nothing” would be raised by a new 45p top rate of tax. He added: “We know about the secret plan for VaT. They have totally destroyed public trust in the government’s motives, confirming what everyone suspects - that Labour’s temporary giveaways now are dwarfed by permanent tax rises later.” He asked the chancellor to confirm or deny that the government considered raising VaT further, to 20%, in 2012. asked about the charge later, the prime minister’s spokesman did not deny it but said: “There were a whole range of options considered. The key thing is what we did ... and we reduced it [VaT].” Mr Osborne concluded: “now their emergency budget is unravelling, their secret tax bombshell is revealed, their scorched earth policy is leading this country’s economy to ruin. “They have run out of money and the sooner they are run out of office the better.”

former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke suggested the Treasury had wanted “more tax increases” to be included in the Pbr but Downing Street did not and they had instead been “substituted by wholly incredible growth forecasts”. Chief Secretary to the Treasury yvette Cooper said he was “talking nonsense”. but Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said the government’s forecast for growth were “wildly optimistic” - and only supported by investment banks. He said it was more likely that economic growth in the next two years would be “negative or negligible”. He also said the plans concealed “a drastic cut in public investment over the period to 2012/2013” which he said made a nonsense of the government’s claim to be borrowing to invest. He said there had been a transition “from hope to despair” among the public. “unless we get a more effective response to this crisis from both the major parties that anger and despair will continue”. Business Britain january/february 2009 15


finance

high street vat saving swallowed up

The Treasury assessment said business would need to spend £24.5 million this year on ‘familiarising’ their staff with the change, plus £50 million on repricing, £27 million on extra accountancy checks and £70 million changing their systems. 16 january/february 2009 Business Britain


M

illions of pounds that could be used to slash high street prices will be swallowed up implementing the emergency cut in VAT. The major supermarkets must spend an average of £2million each to rewrite their computer programs and change their shelf stickers at the busiest trading period of the year. The bill across the High Street is tipped to run to £165.5million this year. One fashion chain, White Stuff, has ruled out wasting thousands of pounds on changing price tags and will donate the benefits of the VAT windfall to charity. At least one major supermarket has considered refusing to change the price of items to save the money and red tape involved. The firm would then use the saved money, together with a VAT windfall of more than £50million, to offer targeted price cuts on products. The reduction in standard VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent came into effect on December 1st last year. As things stand, if supermarkets apply the VAT cut to a typical £50 basket of groceries, the shopper would save just 53p. The Treasury assessment said business would need to spend £24.5 million this year on ‘familiarising’ their staff with the change, plus £50 million on repricing, £27 million on extra accountancy checks and £70 million changing their systems. A spokesman for the British Retail consortium said most firms would be able to absorb the costs without a problem: “Yes, it is a lot of money but retailers support the principle of

what the Chancellor is trying to do and they will absorb the costs.” A Treasury spokesman said firms saw the cost as worthwhile. “Clearly the benefits to the economy and businesses of a £12.5 billion reduction in VAT massively outweigh the cost of implementing the change. This will be good for the economy but also good for the UK’s 4.3 million businesses who, to the extent they pass on the reduction, will see increased sales.” But the change will have only a small effect on day-to-day living costs, as the sales tax is not applied to essentials such as food. At the same time, the Chancellor moved to cancel out the benefit of VAT reductions on petrol, alcohol and tobacco by imposing punishing increases in other duties. The changes mean a worker on £25,000 a year who spends £8,000 on goods and services would save £170-£200 a year. A shopper spending a typical £384 on Christmas presents would save just £10 about enough to cover the higher cost of a turkey this year. But since stores such as M&S and Debenhams have already cut prices by more than 20 per cent, industry leaders believe another small reduction will make little difference. Many retailers may even leave prices unchanged, and pocket the benefit of the tax cut. Reducing VAT to 15 per cent brings a fall in the price paid by shoppers by 2.13 per cent. That is the equivalent of 1p off a Mars bar or £1 off a £50 jumper. A Ford Mondeo with a retail price including VAT of £17,595 will come down by £375. Homeowners spending £35,000 on a house

extension or loft conversion will see the VAT bill fall by £875, putting the final bill at £40,250. Mr Darling said his changes will encourage spending and limit the impact of recession and job losses. ‘This temporary reduction is the equivalent of the Government giving back some £12.5billion to consumers to boost the economy. ‘It will make goods and services cheaper and, by encouraging spending, will help stimulate growth.’ But he admitted that he cannot force retailers and others to pass on the tax cut. The British Retail Consortium, which speaks for the large chains, said its members will struggle to implement the changes, particularly in the Christmas period. It said: ‘IT system changes, replacing shelf labels and stickering-over prices on packs will be a mammoth and costly task.’ The last time VAT was changed in 1991, retailers struggled for more than six months to implement an increase from 15 to 17.5 per cent. VAT accountant Alan Pearce, of Blick Rothenberg, doubted consumers will notice the benefit. ‘Shops are so desperate, they are already offering the savings,’ he said. Accountants will also be working overtime to assess the VAT to be paid to the Government. Retailers have paid at 17.5 per cent on merchandise bought for Christmas. Consumers will be charged 15 per cent VAT on the higher purchase price of these items. The difference will have to be paid to the Government. The 15 per cent rate is the lowest allowed by EU law.

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 17


united kingdom

Top 20 reasons to do business in the uK What makes the Uk eUrope’s leading investment destination for companies relocating and developing their global bUsiness? We look at 20 of the top reasons setting the Uk apart from other coUntries

18 january/february 2009 Business BriTain


1. the easiest place to set up and run a Business in europe: The World bank found that it takes 13 days to set up a business in uK, compared to the european average of 32 days. It ranks the uK first in europe and sixth in the world to operate a business. Source: World bank. 2. an internationally competitive tax environment for foreign investors: The top corporate rate is 28 per cent, the lowest in the G7 and below most of the uK’s core competitors. The uK has reduced its corporate tax rate from over 50% in the early 1980s down to one of the lowest in the industrialised world. The uK’s highest personal tax band, at 40 per cent, is one of the lowest in the eu. Source: Deloitte 3. one of the most flexiBle laBour markets in europe: The World bank ranks the uK the second best place in europe to employ workers, just behind Denmark. Source World bank 4. least Barriers to entrepreneurship in the world: The OeCD noted that the uK is second in the world for Product

Market regulation behind australia, has the least barriers to entrepreneurship in the world and has the third least barriers to trade and investment in the world. Source: OeCD. 5. world leader in innovation: The uK is one of the most productive places for innovation firms in the world, ranking second only to the uSa for the quality of its research base. 6. one of the most staBle political environments to do Business: according to Transparency International, the uK is one of the most transparent (least corrupt) countries in the world. It has a higher rating than france, Germany, uSa and japan. 7. staBle regulatory environment: The uK has a consultative approach to the formulation of regulation, so there are no surprises for business. 8. one of the easiest countries to register a property: To register a property, the uK is ranked above france, Germany, Ireland and Italy. Source: Cushamn and Wakefield.

Business Britain january/february 2009 19


united kingdom The UK is the number one gateway to Europe giving easy access to the 27 member states of the European Union, and Oxford University (below).

9. COMMITMENT TO IMPROVING THE PLANNING REGIME: The Planning Bill proposes an improved system of consents for major infrastructure including strategic energy, air port and sea port projects. The current Killian Pretty Review will help to deliver a faster and more responsive system for business planning applications. 10. SPEAKING IN THE INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS: Operating in English gives firms in the UK a natural advantage when communicating globally. 11. PROGRESSIVE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK: The UK has the most extensive broadband market among the G7 countries and one of the strongest ICT infrastructures in the world. 12. HOME TO EUROPE’S NUMBER ONE CITY FOR BUSINESS: London is the world’s leading financial services centre on a number of key performance indicators and was voted top European city for business for the 19th year running in 2008 by the European Cities Monitor. 13. TOP TALENT: According to the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), the UK has the top six universities in Europe and two of the top three globally. Source: The Times.

14. SPRINGBOARD TO EUROPE: The UK is the number one gateway to Europe giving easy access to the 27 member states of the European Union, the world’s largest single market, with its population of nearly 500 million.

and London City; for sea container terminals at London Gateway and Felixstowe; and for the rail network with investment in London Cross Rail and rail freight infrastructure.

15. NUMBER ONE LOCATION FOR EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS: More overseas companies set up their European headquarters in the UK than anywhere else.

18. HIGH QUALITY OF LIVING: UK residents enjoy a high standard of living, education and recreation. Personal taxes are low, publicly-funded health is free to all and there is a rich cultural heritage and abundance of leisure facilities.

16. OLYMPIC OPPORTUNITIES: London will host the Olympic Games in 2012. Procurement started in 2007. Contracts will be available for firms of all sizes and the total budget will run into billions.

19. MAGNET FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT: In 2007, the UK attracted and retained over one trillion US dollars of investment: the highest in Europe and the second largest in the world.

17. OUTSTANDING TRANSPORT LINKS: The UK offers world class transport links. Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 is now open and working efficiently. Additional expansion is planned for international air ports at Stansted

20. PRODUCTIVITY RAPIDLY INCREASING: Historically, the UK had lower productivity than its main competitors, but this is changing and the UK has closed the gap with many countries and overtaken others.

The Planning Bill proposes an improved system of consents for major infrastructure including strategic energy, air port and sea port projects. The current Killian Pretty Review will help to deliver a faster and more responsive system for business planning applications. 20 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN


newark beacon

Newark BeacoN celeBrates success!

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he newark beacon business and Innovation Centre (bIC) recently celebrated a year of success by holding a One year anniversary event on the 24th September. The event was attended by over 50 delegates including local businesses, entrepreneurs, tenants and representatives from the organisations who funded the centre; newark and Sherwood District Council, nottinghamshire County Council, east Midlands Development Centre and the alliance SSP. Guest speakers at the event were Mr roger Parlby; editor in Chief and joint MD newark advertiser who talked about the history of newark and the Cafferata Site and Mr Dean Hyde; Tenant and Chair of the newark business Club, who shared with us the trials and tribulations of setting up your own business and being an entrepreneur. The event also was about recognising the success of the businesses based at the newark beacon. The three tenants who talked about how their businesses have improved since moving into the beacon were jo Small

of Optima Training uK Ltd, Philip Grover of CgMs and Davina Symonds of Marketing Mode. jo Small, Director of Optima Training uK said “Moving to the beacon has had a huge impact on us. We were a home-based company before, which limited our ability to offer training at our premises, being at the beacon changed that, now people can come to visit us here in professional and welcoming environment.” Visitors were then invited to take an opendoor tour of the centre where they had chance to see the units and businesses in action and talk to the owners and their staff in a relaxed atmosphere. The tour ended with a networking lunch to continue discussions from the tour. Mike robinson, economic regeneration Manager at newark & Sherwood District Council said, “We are delighted to welcome people back to the beacon one year on. We have had a tremendous year and I am pleased to say that so have many of our tenants. The environment and support that is offered here has played a key role in the success of the centre and our tenants. The event has

Left to right: Mike Cafferata, Sonia Pike, Cllr Tony Roberts, Leader of Newark & Sherwood District Council, Felicity Cafferata and Harry Pike. Mike Cafferata and Sonia Pike are the son and daughter of Gerald Cafferata of Cafferata & Co which was originally on the site where the Beacon is built and after which the address, Cafferata Way is named. The photo is taken next to the eco-friendly bio-mass boiler at the Beacon.

enabled us to showcase this inspirational new business innovation centre and encourage local businesses, both new and old, to look to the newark beacon as a base for their business.” • For further information on units available at the Newark Beacon please call Sarah Jones, centre manager, on 0845 650 0028 or email sjones@ newarkbeacon.co.uk

Business Britain january/february 2009 21


finance

ECONOMIC DOWNTURN MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO UNDERMINE EFFORTS ON TRADE LIBERALISATION LORDS EU COMMITTEE

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he current downturn in the world economy and fears of global recession must not divert the EU and the UK Government’s commitments to developing free trade argue the House of Lords EU Committee in a report published today. The report Developments in EU Trade Policy calls on the Government to continue to press for further trade liberalisation through the EU and asserts that the continued removal of trade barriers will help generate economic growth and create jobs world wide. The Committee stress that EU Member States must not use the current economic slump as an excuse to push for protectionist measures The Committee look in detail at the state of the Doha Round trade negotiations and express disappointment that those negotiations are not yet concluded. They are also concerned that negotiations to free up trade in services are proving particularly slow. This is of specific concern to the UK as we have well developed service industries that could benefit from being able to operate more freely across national borders. The Committee remain optimistic that the Doha Round can produce benefits in liberalising trade and stress that given the current economic crises and the consequent dangers of protectionism, a round in which World Trade Organisation members agree not to increase tariffs from their current historically low level might be regarded as a success. The Committee point out that the current low tariff levels cannot be taken for granted especially given the volatility of raw material prices and a likely world wide economic recession. The report considers the role of bilat-

22 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN

Baroness Cohen of Pimlico

eral trade agreements and argues that they are now an inevitable fixture of the trade negotiation and scape. To ensure that such agreements do not disadvantage developing nations the Committee call on the WTO to become more active in monitoring bilateral negotiations. They propose that the WTO should work to ensure bilateral agreements include provisions to minimise the damage to non-signatory countries. The report proposes that while the Doha Round should be completed under the WTO’s current trade rules, discussion should start now on how the WTO can be reformed for the future. The Committee assert that it is no longer appropriate that the WTO should move at the speed of its slowest or most cautious member. The Committee suggest that groups of WTO members should be allowed to negotiate their own agreements within the auspices of the WTO as long as the agreement is then

made open to all WTO members who wish to join. They also argue that the WTO should promote unilateral trade liberalisation among its members and encourage them to set applied tariffs at rates below the maximum the WTO allows. The Committee consider ways to improve the trading capacity of less developed nations, pointing out that this will be vital if the developing world is to take advantage of liberalised international trade. The Committee support the Government in the leadership role the UK has taken on development but point out that many of the proposals in Aid for Trade are simply a rebranding of pre-planned, existing development aid. The Committee stress that development funds should be directed towards infrastructure improvements and advice for potential exporters in developing countries. Commenting, Baroness Cohen of Pimlico, Chairman of the Lord EU Sub-Committee on Economic and Financial Affairs, said: “It is vital for the world economy that the current economic crisis does not persuade nations to fall back into dangerous patterns of protectionism.” “Now more than ever the EU, the WTO and the British Government must refocus their efforts on ensuring we have a completion of the Doha Round that maintains the international momentum towards liberalisation of world trade. “Free international trade will be vital in getting the world economy moving again and now is the time to ensure it is done in such a way that developing countries as well as the West begin to enjoy the benefits of open, fair and efficient trade across national borders.”


The report Developments in EU Trade Policy calls on the Government to continue to press for further trade liberalisation through the EU and asserts that the continued removal of trade barriers will help generate economic growth and create jobs world wide. BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 23


health-check

health W Give your Business a

hilst the festive period may have represented a welcome break for some, it can be a busy time of year for many small to medium-sized business owners. The race to get work completed before the year is out coupled with the desire to launch full throttle into the following year, may have often seemed unachievable. However, bibby financial Services is encouraging owners and managers to ‘stop and pause’ and review their business to ensure it’s in the best possible shape for the year ahead, which is set to be another challenging twelve months. David robertson, chief executive of bibby financial Services, comments, “While Christmas was a busy time for many owners and managers – trying to finish 2008 on an even keel and find the time to plan for the next twelve months, reviewing business practices is an invaluable exercise for the year ahead. With another tough year upon us, owners and managers that invest the time now will reap the rewards of their efforts well in to 2009.” With a ‘business health-check’ in mind, David has developed some key tips for owners and managers who want to get their business fit for the new year and beyond:

24 january/february 2009 Business Britain

1. Be realistic: Whether you are just starting out, or want to develop your business further in the new year, be realistic about what you can achieve. Know your strengths, how they can be best be utilised within your operating environment and the current economy. Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice where both you and your business will benefit.

2. credit check: Don’t hide in your shell when it comes to customers, creditchecks bring security and peace of mind. With the current economy, you may already be experiencing longer payment terms, however a common and accepted business practice, credit checking ensures a smoother business relationship overall with no nasty surprises further down the line. Keep an eye on customers’ payment trends and spot potential problems before they become major issues – forewarned is forearmed.

3. Get protection: In the current climate being prepared for bad debt is crucial, avoid payment problems before they happen. research shows that 47 per cent of owners and mangers have no provisions in place to cope with bad debt. Investing in bad debt protection ensures you receive payment, even if your customer becomes insolvent, bringing security and peace of mind to areas otherwise beyond your control.

4. review suppliers: are you getting the best deal from your suppliers - shop around and negotiate longer credit terms (you don’t get if you don’t ask!). Suppliers are keen to keep as much business as they can so take advantage of any special deals on offer. 5. keep in contact: Can your customers contact you easily? How do you


check communicate with your core customers? regular communication is key to knowing your customers and keeping your business front of mind. assess the communications tools you currently use – from the simple things such as answering machine messages, to customer newsletters and your company website. 6. read the small print: If you are looking to secure business funding don’t be tempted by the largest amount without

thoroughly understanding the fee structure and reading through all the terms and conditions. If the sum on offer from one lender is significantly larger than the rest, you could still pay dearly so be sure to go through all the small print. There are many alternative finance solutions, such as invoice finance, available instead of the traditional bank loan or overdraft. Make sure you explore all the options before signing on the dotted line.

provide a valuable collections service to chase outstanding payments.

7. Be prepared: businesses need a nest egg too. from a surprise tax bill to a quiet patch, it’s good to ensure you have the funds available for the unexpected. regularly review your financial arrangements, to ensure they are in tune with your ongoing needs.

10. spend quality time: It’s essential you take time out from work if only to tackle any pressing issues with a clearer perspective. and as well as enjoying some quality time with friends and family, many owners and managers have their best ideas when they are out of the office.

8. Cash is King: you’ll need a strong cash flow to keep your business afloat, if this is stalling because of orders waiting to be confirmed and late payments it may be time to enlist outside help. Invoice financiers like bibby financial Services allow businesses to raise finance based on the value of their outstanding sales invoices, releasing up to 85 per cent of the value as it’s raised. a much needed cash injection is provided up front and then an ongoing source of funding that grows in line with your sales growth. Invoice financiers also

9. taKe a fresh looK: are you sitting on a cash-cow without realizing. Take time out to look afresh at your business offering and operating area because, even a slight shift that perhaps seemed unfeasible even six months ago, may now dramatically boost your bottom line.

11. shout aBout your suCCess: Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet. establish what makes your business unique (cheaper, greater choice, locally based, innovative etc), and let people know about it. remind existing customers why they work with you and let potential customers know about your business and how you can help them. 12. get the team Behind you: as your business grows it’s important to keep everyone in the loop and drumming-home the ethos, and goals of your company, as well as any recent developments and successes. Including your team in your vision keeps your business focused and strong and builds a loyal and motivated team of employees behind you.

Don’t hide in your shell when it comes to customers, credit-checks bring security and peace of mind. With the current economy, you may already be experiencing longer payment terms however credit checking ensures a smoother business relationship overall with no nasty surprises further down the line. Business Britain january/february 2009 25


cybercrime

DOWNTURN ‘BOOSTING CYBER-CRIME’ THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN IS “PROVING A HOTBED” FOR GLOBAL CYBER-CRIME, A STUDY BY SECURITY FIRM MCAFEE HAS WARNED.

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cAfee said this was because cyber-criminals were “cashing in on consumer anxiety to profit from oldfashioned ‘get rich quick’ scams”. At the same time, it warned government attention to the problem was being distracted by economic recovery work. Fellow computer security group Sophos said it now found a new infected website every 4.5 seconds. Each of these websites could lead to the user having his or her computer infiltrated, risking their identity being stolen, said Sophos in its 2009 Security Threat Report. ‘Escalating severity’ McAfee warned in its latest annual Virtual Criminology Report that governments should not put all their focus on economic recovery at the expensive of fighting computer crime. “As governments are focusing on the economic downturn, the fight against cybercrime slips down their agenda, creating an opportunity for cyber-crime to escalate in severity,” it said. “With the economic downturn driving more people to the web to seek the best deals, opportunities for cyber-criminals to attack are on the rise as people are more easily drawn in.” McAfee added that Russia and China remained the main homes of cyber-criminals. Sophos said that while the number of e-mails sent with infected attachments had declined from 2007 to 2008 - down from

26 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN

one in 909 to one in 714 - the number of malicious attachments had increased as 2008 had progressed. It said that there were now five times more malicious e-mails being sent than at the beginning of the year. Sophos added that the US remained the biggest source of infected websites - 37% - followed by China (27.9%) and Russia (9.1%). It further said that malicious software was a growing problem for Apple Macintosh users. “Although the sheer number of Windows threats far outweighs attacks against any other platform, cyber-criminals are turning their attention to other operating systems, such as Apple, and vulnerable crossplatform software.”


BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 27


cybercrime

28 january/february 2009 Business Britain


Business Britain january/february 2009 29


cybercrime

STAY SAFE ONLINE WAYS TO COMBAT WEB FRAUD

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O AN INTERNET FRAUDSTER an identity is worth £80, suggests research from the UK’s Get Safe Online campaign. The same study revealed that in 2008 23% of net users fell victim to phishing attacks - far higher than the 8% it claims were caught out in 2007. Small wonder that Britain has been described as being in the midst of a cyber crimewave. Here the BBC offers some advice about how to stay safe online.

HOW BAD IS IDENTITY FRAUD? In 2006, a government estimate put the cost of ID theft at £1.7bn a year. In 2007 Cifas - the UK’s fraud prevention service - helped more than 65,000 victims of ID fraud and theft. Fraudsters use personal details to gain access to bank accounts, run up bills, launder money, create false documents such as passports or birth certificates and carry out benefit fraud. The consequences can be very distressing and a headache for victims to sort out. While you will not normally be liable for the stolen money, credit reference agency Equifax estimates it can take up to 300 hours to resolve one case. My bank has sent me an e-mail, asking me to update security details - what should I do? Ignore it and delete it. If you receive an e-mail purporting to be from your bank or credit card provider which asks you to update your details, it is very likely to be a “phishing” scam. Anyone falling for the scam will let fraudsters can gain access to their bank accounts or use them to launder money. It is important to remember that your bank will never ask for your log in and password by e-mail. Many explicitly say so on their

banking websites - after all the bank already has these details and does not need them. By contrast the fraudsters do not have them and want them. If in doubt, call the bank. I’ve got an e-mail from a friend with an attachment but it’s not the type of message they usually send. What should I do? Ignore it and delete it. Many hi-tech criminals still use e-mail to try to catch people out. Many of the messages they send play on current events or subjects of prurient interest to get people opening them up. The attachment could well be boobytrapped with a malicious program that aims to infiltrate your computer and lie in wait to gather data when you visit an online bank or login to an online game. If you are not sure most anti-virus programs allow users to scan attachments and other documents before opening them. However, this check is not infallible because there are so many viruses and variants now in circulation. The vast majority of security threats are aimed at Microsoft’s Windows and its other programs. Advice from security firms is to ensure that, if you use Microsoft software, ensure it is updated as soon as security fixes are available. Some advise users to consider using non-Microsoft programs for web browsing, e-mail and other day-to-day tasks. Am I safe if I avoid sites dealing in pornography, pirated media, cracks for games and gambling? Not necessarily. It used to be the case that anyone visiting such sites was at far greater risk of falling victim to an attack.

However, in recent months hi-tech criminals have put a lot of effort into subverting popular sites with a good reputation. Scammers often inject booby-trapped adverts onto such sites or get at the website code to install malicious programs that infect every visitor. Web users can reduce the chance of being caught out by making sure they use the latest version of their web browser of choice and using security software that keeps an eye on them while they browse. A pop-up advert tells me that my computer is riddled with spyware. What should I do? Ignore the advert and close the pop-up page. Many scammers are turning to fake tools that warn about non-existent problems on a PC. At best when installed these machines will nag users until they pay for some useless security software. At worst they will be completely fake and simply steal saleable data. It is better to stick with one security software suite than it is to get bits and bobs from here and there. How can I safeguard my personal documents? Although the rise of ID fraud is very alarming, there are steps you can take to try to protect yourself. Carelessly discarding personal details is an easy way to become a victim. Criminal gangs have been known to employ homeless people to search through rubbish bins for financial records and identity documents. The number one tip from experts is that all documents containing personal information

‘In recent months hi-tech criminals have put a lot of effort into subverting popular sites with a good reputation. Scammers often inject booby-trapped adverts onto such sites or get at the website code to install malicious programs that infect every visitor.’ 30 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN


and financial transactions should be either ripped up or shredded before they are thrown out. Destroying evidence should also extend to direct mailings or any documentation that contains your name and address, experts advise. Electric shredders can be purchased for as little as £15 and can help take some of the hassle out of destroying documents. How can I keep my passwords safe? Experts urge people not to write down their passwords and pin numbers and not to disclose them to anyone. They also suggest people should steer clear of using obvious passwords, such as a mother’s maiden name or date of birth. Some security firms offer programs known as a “password safe”, which let users keep a secure record of important

logins on their computer. It is also worth using what is known as a “strong” password. This is one that is not easily guessed or would take a long time for a computer to work out. Instead of being words it could be a random combination of letters, numbers and symbols. What if I am a victim? Act quickly and notify the credit provider straight away. It is also important to report it as a crime to the police and request a crime number. Industry body Cifas advises victims to

keep a record of everything, as recovering from identity theft can be a long and complicated process. Cifas also advises all letters should be sent by recorded or special delivery and for people to keep track of how much time they spend dealing with the problem. Victims of identity fraud or people who are concerned they could become a victim because they have had important documents stolen, can apply for extra protection through Cifas’ Protective Registration Service. It costs £11.75 and places a warning on credit files. This should ensure that if anyone applies for credit under your name, further identity checks are made. This service can also be used to protect the identity of a deceased person. Telephone 0870 0102091 to register. • www.bbc.co.uk BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 31


redundancy

BRITAIN IS FACING WIDESPREAD REDUNDANCY

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n unfortunate result of the current economic crisis is that companies of all size have no option but to make redundancies in order to save on costs and allow the business survive. Whilst this is not a practice that any business leader enjoys undertaking, there are guidelines by which the process must be managed, with communication being a key factor. We asked David Green, CEO at MTA Solicitors, for his expert opinion on how to deal with redundancies and for clear direction on what the correct redundancy procedure entails: The Office for National Statistics showed GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth at zero per cent between April and June 2008. As a recession is defined as two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP, and taking into account the current economic climate and the unemployment jump in August 2008 it is evident we are facing a downturn. The recent fears show that the number of people that are unemployed will break through the two million level by Christmas, draws the conclusion of an increase in redundancies, and not just in the city either. Redundancy is a potentially fair reason to dismiss and with the ‘credit crunch’ in full swing it is vital that companies get this procedure right as failure to do so could result in an unfair dismissal claim at the employment tribunal. A business must only dismiss an employee if they are genuinely redundant; otherwise the company could be sued for unfair dismissal. A genuine redundancy situation arises when a company has ceased to operate, has moved to a different place or the companies’ need for work of a particular type has ceased or diminished, or is expected to.

REDUNDANCY PROCEDURE The employers must follow the statutory dismissal procedures before dismissing an employee on the grounds of redundancy. Such procedures should be outlined in the employment handbook. Principally an employer must: 1. Write to the employee letting them know that they are at risk of redundancy, detailing the situation and inviting them to a meeting

32 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN

to discuss the matter further. They should then follow a period of consultation with all affected employees who have been put at risk. If no alternatives have been found during the consultation period then the employer should write to the employee again inviting them to a further meeting, confirming that the decision has been made to make their position redundant. Employers should let the employee know that they are entitled to have a representative with them at the meeting that can either be a work colleague or trade union representative. 2. Hold a meeting with the employee and notify them of the decision reached, allowing time for an adjournment. The decision from the meeting should always then be communicated to the employee by letter and should also inform them of their right of appeal. 3. If the employee wishes to appeal, an appeal meeting should be arranged. The employee should be advised of the final decision in writing.

HELPFUL GUIDELINES • Record keeping and thorough documentation is a necessity. Well-prepared documentation regarding the employee will help back up any redundancy decision, especially if it is their job that has ceased. • The employer must clearly explain the


Whether you have five or 100 employees it is important to keep them up-to-date and in the picture, giving as much warning as possible. One of the main things an employer can do is keep their employees informed at each step of the way. reason for redundancy. • The letter to the employee informing them that they are at risk of redundancy must make it clear that no final decision has been made. • It is essential to record the minutes of all meetings as this allows the employer and employee to hold an accurate record of what has been discussed.

Key tips for the redundancy process Whether you have five or 100 employees it is important to keep them up-to-date and in the picture, giving as much warning as possible. One of the main things an employer can do is keep their employees informed at each step of the way. Make sure employees know and understand the situation and that they could be at risk. Keeping employees involved prevents rumours from spreading across the work force and a low staff morale. Consult with your employees; spend at least 20 minutes with each department. Together you might be able to work out which departments can be slimmed down, staff may be willing to cut hours rather than employees lose their job. a tribunal will not criticise how a business is run; only the way the employees are dismissed. remain objective and ensure that a fair selection criteria is used when deciding which employees will be made redundant. If a particular department is affected by the possibility of redundancies and there are five individuals who carry out the same role but only two are now required, be objective. It is not recommended to use ‘last in first out’ and it is important to note that part-time employees have the same statutory rights and protection as full time employees. The correct process must be followed.

consultation with employee representative Consultation is essential; the steps taken here will depend on the number of redundancies you need to make. There are four areas which need to be covered clearly in the consultation: • 1. The number and category of at-risk employees • 2. Method and criteria of selection • 3. Procedure as to carrying out the dismissal - statutory procedure • 4. How the redundancy payments will be calculated

use a selection criteria (points based system) to work out general performance and what each individual brings to the business. employers should look back over the annual reviews, attendance and disciplinary record. This will ensure that the selection for redundancy is objective and fair and in accordance with the criteria set. an employment tribunal will take into consideration, whether the employer considered any suitable alternatives for the affected employees; if the employer hasn’t, the tribunal will consider whether a dismissal was unfair. However, if an employee unreasonably refuses an offer of suitable alternative employment they will lose the right to a redundancy payment. redundancies of 20 people or more ‘collective redundancy’ must be discussed with a recognised trade union, plus the Department of Trade and Industry must be notified 30 days before the first dismissal takes place. If there are more than 100 employees involved this period increases to 90 days. Communication is a key strategy in redundancy, it prevents rumours from starting, and it makes the employees feel part of the situation. More importantly remaining employees will remember how well or how badly you treated your staff.

About MtA SolicitorS: Established in 2001, MTA Solicitors provides a wide range of legal services including personal injury, conveyancing, employment, debt, corporate law, general and commercial litigation and dispute resolution (including arbitration), IT and e-commerce, banking and finance, trusts, wills and probate, trust litigation and contentious probate. MTA Solicitors clients’ span across many different business sectors in the UK and overseas; including major UK and global insurance companies, domestic and foreign banks, foreign law firms, offshore trustees, transport operators, local authorities, agents and service providers, and individuals. MTA has offices based in London, Kent and Manchester and employs over 250 lawyers. Please visit: www.mtasolicitors.com for further information.

Business Britain january/february 2009 33


job cuts

British AirwAys hAs Announced it is plAnning to cut more thAn 100 joBs At gAtwick Airport.

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he company said it was planning to operate up to 15% fewer departures at the Sussex airport next summer. four aircraft will also be withdrawn. Ground operations staff including those working at check-in desks are expected to be affected by the cuts. The GMb union said it was surprised at the announcement, adding it feared up to 180 jobs could be lost. GMb official adrian baker said: “We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the company to find out more information and we will do all we can to keep job losses to a minimum.”

Voluntarily redundancy BA said in a statement: “We have briefed our staff and their trade unions that the number of departures at Gatwick will reduce by 15% next summer compared to this summer. “We are also reducing the number of aircraft

at Gatwick by four from 41 to 37. “In light of this, we are looking to reduce our ground operations staff at the airport by more than 100 people. “We are committed to doing this voluntarily and aim to have a voluntary severance programme in place by the end of this year.” The reasons for the move are thought to be the worsening economic climate and ba’s trend of moving operations in London to Heathrow Terminal 5, which has been sped up by the advent of the Open Skies agreement between the eu and the uS. In its most recently announced results, ba reported a 91.6% drop in six-month profits, blaming “incredibly difficult trading conditions” for the plunge. Its pre-tax profit totalled £52m between april and September, down from £616m a year earlier. furthermore, Qantas has warned that merger talks with british airways could fail because of the uK carrier’s potential tie-up

with the Spanish carrier Iberia. ba is currently in merger talks with both the australian and the Spanish airlines. Qantas chief executive alan joyce said there was a reasonable chance that the deal would not go ahead. He also revealed that the talks had only been announced because the news had been leaked. “There’s absolutely no guarantee that a transaction will be forthcoming,” Mr joyce said. “That’s why I think we felt that the leak was a bit premature.” He also identified ba’s current pension liabilities, which stand at about £1.5bn ($2.2bn) as a possible hurdle for the talks. The talks come amid growing consolidation in the troubled aviation industry which is suffering as the global financial and economic crisis is hitting demand for air travel.

consolidation After the news was leaked recently, the firms

BA axes over 34 january/february 2009 Business BriTain


confirmed that they were considering a merger through the creation of a dual-listed company, so it would be listed in London and Australia. However, no other details were disclosed. Mr Joyce sought to allay the concerns of some Qantas investors and the Australian government that the majority of the company’s shares would be held by Australian investors. Under current Australian law, Qantas must be at least 51% Australian-owned. Any individual foreign airline can only own up to 25% of Qantas, and only a total of 35% may be owned by foreign airlines. “Whatever happens, Qantas will remain majority Australian owned, the vast majority of employees will always be Australian, and Australia will remain our headquarters,” Mr Joyce said. At the same time, BA is also in merger talks with the Spanish carrier Iberia. It is understood that only one deal will go ahead.

BA and Qantas are in merger talks

100 staff

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 35


finance

ORGANISATIONS URGED TO TACKLE THE ECONOMIC CRISIS HEAD ON WITH MANAGEMENT SURVIVAL TIPS B usiness Britain spoke with katy Murray, Principal Management Trainer, of The Management Centre, on how companies must ensure a sound management infrastructure is i9n place to survive the current crisis and continue to prosper. The Management Centre (‘=mc’) – the uK’s leading management consultancy and training provider working with not-for-profit organisations - has released 5 management ‘survival tips’ for organisations to make it through the current global economic downturn. available online at www.managementcentre.co.uk, the recommendations are designed to prompt chief executives, directors and managerial staff into action, taking the necessary measures to ensure survival and strive for growth. The recommendations are:

1. TaKe a FirM LeaD: your staff are looking for leadership in times of uncertainty – you need to provide it (or make sure that someone above you is!) The board and Senior Management Team should provide clarity of direction. agree the stepping stones that are necessary to get there and determine what changes and practical measures must be made. 2. COMMuniCaTe: Talk to your staff and be honest about the impact of the economic downturn upon the organisation. They may well be feeling insecure or unsettled and, if you hide bad news from them, they will only assume the worst and staff morale will fall. Instead, remind them what the organisation is working to achieve, highlighting what individuals need to do to tackle any problems and to achieve growth. 3. MOTiVaTe sTaFF: now, more than ever, staff motivation is vital. Tap into individual motivations and be creative about what rewards you can offer your team even when money is tight. additional leave? Child care vouchers? a close early friday? a thank you? 4. BuiLD YOur in-HOuse sKiLLBase: If business is slow, now may be the very time for your staff to undergo relevant training and team-building exercises. use the time to build your in-house skills and to strengthen working relationships. Good training will motivate staff, as well as improve performance. Look across the silos and share knowledge across the organisation. 36 january/february 2009 Business BriTain

5. eXPanD: This is not a time for inertia, but to stick your head above the parapet and ensure that your organisation continues to get noticed; building brand awareness and striving for increased income. Where many companies are pulling back, new avenues of growth arise. also, there is an opportunity to snap up some new talent from the glut of workers coming on to the market. Katy continued: “It is all too easy to bury your head in the sand and continue on, business as usual. but, the current economic crisis requires action. While every organisation has a unique path to follow in order to survive the downturn, there are some simple yet vital principles that remain the same. We would urge senior managers and Hr professionals ensure their organisation doesn’t become another casualty of the downturn and be bold in making the necessary changes to ensure survival.” The recommendations are freely available at www.managementcentre.co.uk


Business Britain january/february 2009 37


education

BenefiTs of an What are the benefits of an Mba? the More appropriate question is, hoW Will an Mba benefit you? to ansWer that, you need to have a clear understanding of yourself and your career goals.

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here are many career benefits of an Mba and people get the degree for different reasons. Some of the most common reasons fall into these general categories‌

AdvAncing your cAreer: An MBA can help you move up in your current job in regards to responsibility and/or pay. you might have to pay for the degree on your own in hopes of a promotion, but sometimes employers will encourage more education and reimburse your tuition costs. an Mba can also increase job security with your current employer or within your current industry. If nothing else, Mba programs can provide good networking opportunities. Getting an Mba is an excellent way to advance your career.

38 january/february 2009 Business Britain

chAnging your cAreer: Often getting an MBA can lead to a career change. The Mba is considered a management degree and can prepare you for management-level positions. Good management is needed in every industry, and an Mba can give you autonomy to move across industries. also, many programs have specializations or are specialized in their industry focus (ex: Healthcare Mba). Getting a specific Mba can make you more marketable within that specialized area.

StArting your own buSineSS: A significant number of the students that pursue an Mba do it to eventually start their own business. While an Mba is not required

to be an entrepreneur or to start a business, it can be a huge benefit. The Mba, by its very nature, covers a broad set of business topics. It is good to know a little of everything if you own a business. There is no doubt that what you learn in an Mba program will be applicable to running your own business.

developing your buSineSS expertiSe: Earning an MBA will increase your business knowledge and add to your expertise. While some people do not have a specific career goal in mind, they know that an Mba will help them. an Mba is a very versatile degree. Most programs welcome and even prefer applicants


MBa with non-business backgrounds. an Mba combined with just about any other field of study will enhance the degree holder’s business savvy or management skill within that field. an Mba is also acceptable if you plan on going on for a PhD. Most schools recognize it as a professional degree as well as an academic degree.

How MBA ProgrAMs Benefit tHe CorPorAte world MBA programs help employers by providing highly qualified, motivated talent that is a vital part to any company’s workforce. at the same time, earning an Mba can help employees advance their careers and gives them endless opportunities in a variety of fields. “The training that most Mbas receive prepares them to come into companies with a broad managerial overview of operations, new insights, fresh ideas, and enthusiasm,” says rosberto McGinnis, director of investment and capital control at DaimlerChrysler. “These are all skills Mba [graduates] can contribute right away.”

earning an Mba can help employees expand their careers, and it can also help with career changes as well. Students often seek Mbas for both reasons. “Obtaining an Mba can act as a bridge for employees who are transitioning from a lowerlevel position or a single functional perspective at a company into a broader-based strategic view after getting their Mba,” says McGinnis. “It also allows a person to look at the company and their role in it differently and move from being a worker at a tactical level to a manager at a strategic level.” Obtaining internships while in college can also help you decide if you want to pursue an Mba in your future. Internships offer valuable work experience where students can gain skills and talents from a variety of positions. DaimlerChrysler offers internships through the college recruitment process. “We have teams of people who visit campuses around the country and interview students in several different disciplines and offer internships to those who meet our needs and requirements,” says McGinnis. Internships give students the opportunity to see how companies function and allow them to learn the skills necessary to perform in the careers of their choice. “It gives them the opportunity to see how companies operate firsthand,” says McGinnis.

“More importantly, it provides an up-close observation and comparison between classroom learning and practical application. That is critical to improving the student experience during the second year of the Mba process and making them more competitive when seeking full-time employment.” Many companies also provide scholarships to students going to college or tuition assistance to employees seeking to return to school for their Mba degree. DaimlerChrysler, for example, offers both. “Our company strongly supports higher education,” says McGinnis. “employees are encouraged to pursue advanced degrees, and the company does provide financial assistance to those employees who are interested.” Many colleges and universities now have advanced degree programs that make it more convenient for working adults to earn their Mba or other degrees with evening and parttime classes. In order to pursue an Mba at DaimlerChrysler and get financial assistance, employees must select the course of study they are interested in completing, apply with the proper institution, and complete the proper enrollment process. The benefits of seeking an Mba in today’s workforce are endless. Many companies today now offer tuition reimbursement programs that bring your Mba one step closer.

Business Britain january/february 2009 39


politics

FEARS REMAIN OVER MORTGAGE INTEREST RELIEF PLAN LORD MANDELSON HAS FAILED TO QUELL CLAIMS THE GOVERNMENT HAS YET TO REACH A DEAL WITH THE BANKS OVER ITS MORTGAGE INTEREST RELIEF PLAN.

40 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN


T

he business secretary told BBC News the government was “working together” with the banks on the plan. But pressed repeatedly on whether they had reached a deal yet, Lord Mandelson declined to comment. Under the government’s plan, people could defer part of their mortgage interest payments for up to two years. The plan is designed to give extended breathing space to those who lose their jobs or suffer a big cut in income, if they are facing repossession. The scheme will cover mortgages worth up to £400,000, the BBC understands. In a speech in Scotland, Mr Darling said it was “crucial” banks treated their customers fairly and argued this latest initiative would be an “important step” in reassuring people about the security of their mortgages and “bringing confidence” to the housing market.

‘WORKING TOGETHER’ The lender and homeowner will agree on the proportion of payment to be deferred, but it could be up to 100%. The housing minister Margaret Beckett has estimated about 9,000 homeowners would benefit from the scheme but told the BBC it would not protect everyone. Announcing the scheme on Thursday, during a debate on the Queen’s Speech, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said eight of the major mortgage lenders had signed up to the scheme, which is due to start in the new year. But the Conservatives said two banks said to be committed to the plan - Lloyds TSB and HBOS - had not yet agreed to the details of

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 41


politics Mr Darling said it was “crucial” banks treated their customers fairly and argued this latest initiative would be an “important step” in reassuring people about the security of their mortgages and “bringing confidence” to the housing market. the scheme. Tackled about how whether the government had reached a deal with the banks, Lord Mandelson said: “The banks know very well what actions the government is taking, what responses we expect. We are working together. “There is no point in working against each other in this situation. We have to work together to work through these problems and that’s what we are doing.” but he declined to confirm a deal had been reached. It comes amid predictions repossession numbers could rise to 75,000 next year higher than the level seen during the last recession in 1991. Mrs beckett told bbC radio 4’s Today programme the scheme did not mean no-one would lose their homes.

to default but is really struggling.” She said some people, faced with the threat of repossession, “kind of shut down and don’t talk to anybody until it’s too late” the government wanted to encourage them to talk to their lenders. There was “clearly a terrible fear out there of people losing their homes” which was understandable, but not “justified to that degree”. The scheme would make it “more in the interests of lenders to be more generous and understanding”. asked again how many people would take it up, she said it was “genuinely quite hard to judge” - having earlier said an estimate from lenders suggested it would be only 9,000 homeowners. “It’s very much on a case by case basis,” she added.

No guaraNtee

repossessioN delay

“Sadly there will be some people who perhaps have second charges and so on which take them into a field where even the help we can give, substantial though it may be, won’t be enough to save them,” she said. “We can’t guarantee everybody but we are trying to help the hard working person who wants to pay their mortgage, who isn’t trying

She said it was aimed at people who were not eligible for other forms of government help, such as income support, as they had not lost their jobs but, for example, their partner had and they were struggling with repayments. People could also convert a repayment mortgage into an interest-only loan to take

42 january/february 2009 Business Britain

advantage of the scheme. Mr brown also announced governmentowned lenders northern rock and bradford and bingley had followed rbS’s lead in agreeing that repossession proceedings would not begin in any case until households were six months behind on their payments. Currently, those on benefits have their mortgage interest payments covered for two years if their mortgage is below £200,000. The government’s plan is effectively a government mortgage insurance scheme, which will work by the Treasury underwriting the extra risk that banks take. The banks will not need any extra capital to cover the extended risk of people defaulting on their mortgages. In the worst-case scenario, it is thought the government would be exposed to £1bn in risk, with the cost to the taxpayer likely to be about £100m, government sources suggest. Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Vince Cable said he believed the plan would be a “positive step” in helping to slow down the repossessions process. but he warned that people must study the small print to see who would benefit and what knock-on effect the plan would have on banks’ wider lending policies. • www.bbc.co.uk


finance

hsbc set to increase mortgage lending H

SBC Bank is aiming to grab a much larger share of the uK mortgage market in 2009. It has set aside £15bn ($22.3bn) to lend to home owners next year, roughly double the amount it lent in 2007. new mortgage lending by all banks is predicted to come to a halt next year because the credit crunch means most do not have fresh funds to lend. “We will be surprised if we do not have a bigger slice of a smaller market,” said an HSbC spokesman.

Falling prices HSBC is one of the world’s largest international banks and has not been as badly affected by the financial crisis as many of its rivals in the uK. as such, the spokesman explained, it would be able to draw on its own internal resources to finance greater mortgage lending, as it does not have to rely on wholesale financial markets, nor uK domestic savers, to provide it with the necessary funds. “We believe we are the only uK bank that can do this,” he said. If the bank lends all of the £15bn at an average of £100,000 per borrower, then that would amount to 150,000 home loans. but HSbC said it was not trying to stimulate the property market by bringing in first-time buyers who would otherwise continue to be frozen out. Much of its lending is likely to be to existing borrowers who are either moving house, or simply staying put but moving their mortgage deals. and it will continue to charge much higher fees and interest rates for borrowers, such as first-time borrowers, who put down smaller deposits. “It appears house prices will fall again next year,” said the spokesman. “but the quality of our mortgage book will not fall,” he stressed.

small businesses Recently HSBC said it would also make £1bn in extra credit available to support small british businesses. The government has been demanding for

weeks that banks resume lending to firms struggling as credit dries up. The bank said the money would help “fundamentally sound businesses” with cashflow problems to “weather short-term shocks caused by the downturn”. HSbC, which did not take any of the government’s recent bail-out funding, said that the money for businesses was part of a £3.3bn global working capital fund for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMes).

It said lending would be decided on a “case-by-case basis” using HSbC’s normal lending criteria. alan Keir, co-head of HSbC’s commercial banking, said: “This is new money, new money to support struggling small businesses that bank with us.” “We’ve heard that their critical need is for working capital, so we’re responding to that,” he said. • www.bbc.co.uk

HSBC said it would make £1bn extra credit available to help “fundamentally sound businesses” with cash-flow problems to “weather short-term shocks caused by the downturn”. Business Britain january/february 2009 43


business travel

44 january/february 2009 Business BriTain


Travel

business britain brings you the finest global destinations for the discerning traveller

Business Britain january/february 2009 45


new york

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EW YORK CITY is without question the world’s ultimate tourism destination. New York serves as the worldwide symbol of urban life. Although it is totally American, the world as a whole sees New York City from a universal perspective; NYC typifies the big city, and acts as a representative of the city scene throughout the world. No other place on earth has had its image exposed as much as that of New York. NYC has some of the finest examples of urban architecture; the arts scene is legendary, and includes theatre, opera, dance, museums, painting, sculpture - in fact for any imaginable art form NYC nearly always has the best, or at least among the best. The restaurant scene here is also remarkable, whatever you want

to eat when you want it. NYC is a shopper’s dream come true - if it can’t be found here, it’s unlikely to be found anywhere. NYC also has wonderful parks and offers countless leisure activities. All the positive aspects of city life can be found in New York City - the deservedly but self-proclaimed ‘capital of the world.’ It would be foolish to deny that New York City is without some negative elements. However for the average visitor to this magnificent place, with a little advance planning and some common sense, only the positive elements need to be experienced. To see all that New York City has to offer in just one visit would be impossible; in fact it would take years of living here to really know this city. It is not just huge, in terms of population which consists of over eight mil-

lion people, and area comprising 301 square miles, but in concept. This city is so eclectic and its scope so large that to really know it well, would be the equivalent of becoming intimate with a fairly large country. However a few days in New York is certainly a lot better than never experiencing it. In a short time it is possible to fit a lot of activity in. Whatever your personal taste, New York City never fails to move people. At first glance, the sheer pace of NYC seems totally insane, but most people adapt to this fairly rapidly. New York is a dazzling combination of romantic charm, grandeur and (to some people’s tastes) even crass vulgarity. It combines huge shock value and yet is tremendously appealing. Like L.A. the whole world feels they know New York personally, yet NYC seems so real, with its

New York, New York!

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feet placed firmly on the ground, in contrast to the dreamlike ambience of Los Angeles. New York City’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean has a strong influence on the climate. Humidity in the area is always high, year round. This means that in summer temperatures seem higher, and in winter colder than the actual thermometer reading. Summers can be very hot, but there is nothing like walking in Manhattan in a balmy breeze in the early hours, or enjoying some of the finest cuisine available anywhere at a pavement cafe. Air conditioning is practically universal here, so indoor relief from the heat is always at hand. Although winter can be cold and there is often snow on the ground, indoor activities abound - the cultural season is in full swing. Watching the skaters (or joining in) at the

Rockefeller Center is a New York City tradition, as are the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day or St. Patrick’s Day Parades - a giant-sized celebration when everybody is Irish for the day. Spring in New York is magnificent, the blooming trees and flowers in the many parks contribute to a sense of renewal, and even in the heart of 5th Avenue everything seems fresh and clean. Autumn is also wonderful as the city awaits a new batch of plays and other arts events with eager anticipation. The foliage in Central Park is most impressive, and a trip outside the city limits up the valley of the Hudson River to the Albany area is worthwhile for the spectacle of color. It is very difficult to make a list of what is best to see in New

York City. Rather than a series of individual places or events, New York is an experience and individual sights and attractions tend to make up part of a whole. The city appeals to so many different tastes that the phrase ‘something for everyone’ is no cliché when referring to NYC. However amongst the hundreds of potential areas of interest, or essential experience for the visitor, certain things are an essential component of a New York City vacation. The ultimate symbol of New York City, and America as a whole is the Statue of Liberty. Designed by Frederic-Auguste-Bartholdi it took 10 years to construct and design. The design is of copper stretched over an iron framework (designed by Gustave Eiffel whose tower was named

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 47


new york

Times Square

after him). Over the years the copper and iron corroded, but happily Lady Liberty has been lovingly restored to mark her 100 years in new york. It is possible to take a ship to the island the statue stands on, and even climb up to the observation windows conveniently placed in the crown. However this is a very popular pastime for visitors and so for many the crowds are a deterrent for many, and unless one gets to the terminal for the boat that takes visitors out to Liberty Island early a long lineup is usually the case. actually the best views of the statue are obtained by sailing past on the Staten Island ferry. for many years this romantic new york institution was known as the ‘cheapest ride in the world’ - at 10 cents. now it is even more of a bargain as the charge has been totally waived. This ride commands magnificent views of the whole of new york Harbor, and is essential to capture the true feel of the great port city. Staten Island seems quiet and relaxed compared to new york City, but the

main attraction is the ferry ride itself and the wonderful panoramas new york offers. for lovers of art and even those with just a passing interest new york City is a Mecca. There is a seemingly endless variety of galleries and art dealers for browsers and collectors. What is particularly wonderful in new york City is the selection of first rate art museums. There are three that are particularly remarkable, but this is not meant to indicate that the many other art collections are not worthwhile. They all have something distinct to offer the new york City arts scene. The Museum of Modern art or ‘MoMa’ has an outstanding collection of paintings and sculptures beginning with the early impressionists to contemporary works. Photography, film, architecture and design are also covered. Paintings include works by everyone from Cezanne and Van Gogh to Picasso and Pollock. The sculpture garden has work by artists including rodin interspersed with various design artifacts.

new york’s most well known museum, and one of the truly great art museums of the world is the Met - officially known as the Metropolitan Museum of art. The Met’s collection includes over three and a half million works of art - which is barely imaginable. The huge museum receives over five million visitors annually so it can be crowded. as well as the vast permanent collection, there are always special exhibits, lectures and inaugurations of new work that are all open to the public. Many consider the Met’s collection of european paintings to be unrivalled anywhere - particularly the early Dutch and flemish collection including work by breughel (a particular favorite of young visitors) and jan van eyck. The nineteenth Century Gallery has a marvelous collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works. Other galleries include the american Wing, Medieval Galleries and the more recently added Lehman Collection, which brought some priceless Italian renaissance works to

For lovers of art and even those with just a passing interest New York City is a Mecca. There is a seemingly endless variety of galleries and art dealers for browsers and collectors. 48 january/february 2009 Business Britain


Clockwise from top: Statue of Liberty; Staten Island Ferry; one of the myriad of New York’s eateries; Interior at the Guggenheim and Macy’s - the largest store in the world

the museum. The rockefeller family funded the africa and Pacific Island arts section. Going back to ancient times there is the Greek and roman Section, and the egyptian art Gallery which includes real mummies and an entire temple - the Temple of Dendur. The collection here is all encompassing and impossible to summarize. The third exceptionally notable new york City art museum is the Solomon r. Guggenheim Museum. The familiar spiral-shaped building that this is housed in was designed by america’s most eminent architect frank Lloyd Wright, and many visitors come to the museum for this alone, without even considering the collection. The design of the museum very much enhances the art displayed there as once inside the work is displayed along the walls of the ramp as visitors ascend along the spiral to the top of the building. among the great works here are some mobiles by Calder, a major collection of Cubist art, and an almost complete collection of works by Kandinsky. Chagall, Picasso, and Modigliani help round off an eclectic selection. There are also many more works by some of the world’s most famous artists. There is probably nowhere on the face

of this planet that offers a greater selection of places to eat, and available varieties of cuisine than new york City. While this cuisine originates with the influx of the various immigrant groups to the city, some of these specialties have come into their own in new york City. for example pizza originates in the naples region of Italy, but only when it reached new york with the many neapolitan immigrants to the city, did pizza reach its full potential and became the internationally popular dish that it is today. Similarly bagels were brought over by eastern european jews; they were eaten plain, and although they could be tasty were somewhat uninspiring. It was in new york that the idea of eating bagels with exotic fillings such as lox (smoked salmon), cream cheese and other delights was born. Today new york bagels (especially those baked in a wood oven) are the world’s best and have inspired the setting up of bagel bakeries all over the world. It is not only the innumerable types of food that you can eat here, but also the great variety of eating venues. This ranges from portable carts selling delicious fast foods such as hot dogs, gyros and hamburgers for those that like or need to eat on the go, to

fine internationally famous palaces of haute cuisine that import the world’s great chefs and emphasizes the latest culinary trends. new york has a greater selection of this type of restaurant than anywhere else does, and the chefs at these places become celebrities in their own right. In between the hand carts and the gourmet is a huge variety including: ‘holes in the wall’ (bare bones furnishings but often phenomenal food), delis, take-out (that often specialize in one kind of food such as soup, salads or sandwiches). also widespread are coffee shops, pavement cafés, delis, department store and office-complex cafeterias, drug store lunch counters (where eating standing up while reading a newspaper becomes an art form) and many others. While enjoying new york City’s culinary scene it is important to remember that price is not necessarily indicative of the quality of the food; sometimes the prices reflect the perceived ‘experience’ of the institution rather than the palatability of its fare. The best advice is to ask a local where the good places to eat are. Two things are certain, the selection will be overwhelming and - with persistence, whatever the palate craves will be obtainable. Business Britain january/february 2009 49


HOTEL MELA

HOTEL MELA HAS EVERYTHING A BUSINESS TRAVELLER IN NEW YORK CITY WOULD DESIRE.

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UR ROOMS AND SUITES have all of the amenities you’d expect to get the job done, including complimentary wireless, high-speed internet access and same-day dry cleaning and laundry service. Need a little more space? The Executive Rooms include separate mahogany desk area, Daniel Paul chairs, cordless telephone, business accessories, coffee makers, extended complimentary local phones calls and newspaper. ‘At Home Sophistication’ coupled with the luxury of modern design, the lobby of the hotel is a welcomed departure from traditional hotel public space design. Carefully selected New York themed artwork pays homage to the New York of past and present, and celebrates the contribution by Italian culture. Hence the name Hotel Mela, which means ‘apple’ in Italian. Guestrooms and suites are furnished in rich decadent fabrics with interesting architectural accents and touches along with smart technology and electronic equipment for guests’ comfort. Antique details throughout the building provide contrast when set against the clean lines of sleek contemporary furniture. A palette of warm woods and soft fabrics keeps the guestrooms cozy and sophisticated. An expansive penthouse is the showpiece of the hotel where special care has been given to preserve the historical aspects of structural design while providing guests with a study space that is as unique as the city in which it resides. Hotel Mela offers 228 spacious guestrooms and suites. Accommodations feature rich soothing earth tones that provide an atmosphere of tranquility, elegance, modern luxury and classic sophistication. Hotel Mela features Superior, Deluxe, and Executive Rooms, as

well as Mela and Desires Suites. Located at the hotel is Saju, an eclectic culinary experience featuring exotic “haute Vietnamese cuisine” in an enchanting and sophisticated atmosphere. The restaurant, which seats 110 guests, also features a fullservice bar offering several signature cocktails created with unique flavors such as ginger and lemongrass. Saju’s menu includes enticing delicacies created by Executive Chef Thao Nguyen from the finest in fresh ingredients in a warm, seductive setting. In addition to the cutting edge cuisine, Saju’s philosophy and

Hotel Mela is conveniently LAM_0715_FullPageAd_BusinessBrit1 1 located to all three airports

service represent the welcoming custom of Vietnamese culture. Hotel Mela features the your Desires guest program which offers a unique lifestyle experience tailored to your preferences. A dedicated Manager of Desires will customize your experience before your arrival, including making sure that a favorite beverage and snack is waiting in your room with our compliments. During your stay, your Manager of Desires or Agent of Desires can help you make the most of New York City, assisting with dinner reservations, theater tickets and more! Program members will also enjoy Members-only offers and promotions. We are located at 120 West 44th Street in the heart of New York City’s renowned theater and fashion districts. The hotel is easily accessible by commuter railroad to Penn Station (Amtrak, NJ Transit and LIRR), Grand Central Station (Metro North) and New York City Transit buses and subway lines. Conveniently located to all area airports - La Guardia, Kennedy and Newark Liberty Airports. BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 51


st lucia

St Lucia

A CARIBBEAN DREAM

About St. Lucia

POPULATION

St Lucia lies at latitude 13 54’ north of the Equator and 60 50’ west. One of the Windward Islands, it is located in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands and is approximately 21 miles south of Martinique and 90 miles northwest of Barbados. Castries (population 50,000) is the island’s capital and is situated North-west of the island.

Currently estimated at 150,000 with a workforce of about 65,000. Annual population growth rate is approximately 2%. English is the official language of St Lucia however, a Frenchbased patois is widely spoken.

LANGUAGE The main language in Saint Lucia is English although many St. Lucians also speak French and Spanish. Kwéyòl, St Lucia’s second language, is widely spoken by the St. Lucian people including all walks of life such as doctors, bankers, government ministers and the man on the street! Kwéyòl is not just a patois or broken French, but a language in its own right, with its own rules of grammar and syntax. The language is being preserved by its everyday use in day-to-day affairs and by special radio programmes and news read entirely in Kwéyòl.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS The island is 238 sq. miles (616 sq. km), 27 miles long, 14 miles wide with a combination of high mountains, forests, low lying lands and beaches. A central mountain range runs the length of the island, with peaks ranging between 1000 and 3145 feet. Forests dominate the mountains, while jasmine, scarlet chenille and wild orchids provide splashes of colour to the lush green slopes. The two towering volcanic cones on the southwest coast, Gros Piton (797m) and Petit Piton (750m) are one of the Caribbean’s most famous landmarks. The volcanic origin of the island provides visitors with an opportunity to visit a “drive-in volcano” and take a dip in the reputedly therapeutic Sulphur springs.

CLIMATE The climate on island is tropical with temperatures ranging from 70 – 90 Fahrenheit. The rainy season is from June to November and the drier period between December and May. Average rainfall is between 160-360cm depending on altitude. 52 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN

St. Lucian tours and attractions St. Lucia simply fresh, floral and fantastic! St. Lucia is rich in natural beauty – and there is so much to see and do. This tropical island beckons the visitor to explore. Historical, cultural and heritage sites can be found throughout the island. Local tour companies combining several of the sites and attractions offer a large variety of tours. Attractions and tours can be sought by location as well as by type. More recently St. Lucia has developed a multiplicity of community based heritage tourism sites, these are well marked with Heritage Tourism Site signage. Of course, St. Lucia being a tropical island, is

surrounded by water. Boat tours – daytime or at sunset are also options to choose from.

CULTURE HERITAGE TOURS Fond Latisab Creole Park - Babonneau: Experience the truly St Lucian way of life, with a tour that takes you to a community in Babonneau called Fond Assau. There you will experience traditional practices such as preparation of cassava bread, cooking on macambou leaves, catching crayfish in the river, collecting honey from a beehive and the very authentic display of wood-sawing while in Chak Chak band plays traditional music in the background. Castries Heritage Walk: The historic buildings of Castries come alive as well informed tour guides take you on a walk through the architectural history of an old colonial island city, whilst at the same time enjoying the spirit and life of the modern Caribbean. Pigeon Island National Landmark: Pigeon Island contains more history than any other part of St Lucia. Once the home of the Amerindians it has been a pirate hideout and military base. Visit Fort Charlotte, now a college but once the site of some of the firecast fighting between the French and the British. Or view the Choiseul Heritage site, a village rich in history, crafts and offering spectacular views.

PLANTATION TOURS Fond d’Or Nature Historic Park: Enjoy the tropical island’s natural beauty on a tour that combines historical St Lucia with the tranquility


st lucia of a nature sitem the find d’Or nature Historic Park includes symbols of the amerindian settlement and historical buildings of the sugar age. follow a hiking trail through an estuarine tropical forest to a wide white sand beach that is frequented by nesting Leatherback Turtles, then visit and relax at the Interpretation Centre. from there, drive to the Latille Waterfall where a twenty-foot waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation and additional pools await you. To book contact Heritage Tours. Fond Doux Estate: follow the scenic country road to a tropical Caribbean-style working plantation called where you will heighten your senses by smelling, touching and tasting a variety of tropical fruits and plants. Once you have explored the plantation you can relax in the plantation house sipping local rum punch, local fruit juices and coconut water before being treated to an authentic Creole Lunch. Morne Coubaril: There’s the 400-acre La Sikwi Sugar Mill plantation with a museum, theatre and a 40ft waterwheel located in anse-la-raye. The Morne Coubaril estate which is located in picturesque Soufriere, with its worker’s village, sugar mill, manioc and cocoa houses is a meticulously preserved museum, restaurant and botanical garden.

Botanical Gardens Visitors can choose from three exquisite

54 january/february 2009 Business Britain

tropical botanical gardens; each brimming with rare and exotic flora. These tropical gardens present a riot of colour, perfume and lush tropical vegetation. Mamiku Gardens is situated on an historic site with a fascinating history. nature trails meander through the gardens with scenic vistas and peaceful resting points. Diamond botanical Gardens: The Diamond botanical Gardens in Soufriere features mineral baths and a picturesque waterfall. Mamiku Gardens: On the Vieux fort Highway, Mamiku Gardens which encircle the ruins of an 18th Century Micoud estate.

soft adventure Maria Island: The Maria Island experience takes you through the backroads to Vieux fort and by boat to the home of two species found nowhere else in the world: the Kouwes Snake and the Zandoli Terre lizard. Fregate Island Tour: fregate Island Tour, visits the small fishing village of Praslin and the fregate Island nature reserve, a tropical sanctuary for rare birds, Southern Safari takes you to the islands interior from north to South. Heritage Sunday is held weekly during the summer. Soufrière: View the majestic Pitons as you travel to the Diamond Waterfall located in a beautiful botanical garden surrounded by nature finest plants and flowers. from the Diamond Waterfall, drive through the quaint town of Soufriere to the world’s only drive-in volcano with its bubbling holes of sulphuric waters. anse La raye adventure: Visit the traditional fishing village of anse La raye, where you can explore the waterfront with its quaint wooden houses, colourful fishing boats and perhaps see bread making in a traditional bakery. Head inland to visit a beautiful waterfall set in enchanting tropical tranquility. eserved by its everyday use in day-to-day affairs and by special radio programmes and news read entirely in Kwéyòl.


The historic buildings of Castries come alive as well informed tour guides take you on a walk through the architectural history of an old colonial island city

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBR UARY 2009 55


st lucia

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Rising above a sea of resorts

M

ore fun in the sun is yours at Windjammer Landing from now until April 2009. It’s easier than ever before to earn Sun Dollars™ when you book your holiday and now you can gain 50% more spending power! Use your credits for services and amenities at Windjammer - dining, day trips, spa treatments or upgrades – it’s totally up to you. It’s never been easier to enjoy the adventure and beauty of St. Lucia. Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resorts is offering a time-limited promotion which gives you up to 50% in credits that you can use while on holiday. All you have to do is book before April 2009. “The beauty of this program is that the credits can be applied to a range of fun and exciting activities and amenities both on resort and off,” explains Anthony Bowen, Windjammer Landing managing director. “It’s an ideal incentive for families and couples alike who are seeking to truly enjoy their Caribbean resort vacation and try new experiences together.” Just think of the added fun – at no further cost to you – by using your Sun Dollars™. It’s like being given half of your money back in credits (worth half of what you paid to book the stay) and being able to use those credits on things you can’t wait to try. While Sun Dollars™ are not refundable or redeemable for cash, they are good for a wide range of purchases made at the resort and for selected day trips and island adventures. The credits can even be used to upgrade accommodations, if those are available. So if it is relaxation and pampering you are in the mood for, consider trying a spa treatment at Serenity Spa, Windjammer’s renowned therapeutic spa. The lovely hillside location is private and spa packages offer a number of choices for couples to enjoy a massage or spa treatment together. The setting is that of a tropical paradise, complete with a eucalyptus steam room, massaging pedicure chair, and a treatment room that overlooks a tropical garden.

For those who love the great outdoors, exploring the natural beauty of St. Lucia cannot be beat. Day tours and taxi transfers are available from Windjammer giving visitors a unique view of the idyllic St. Lucia countryside. Adventurous travelers will want to explore even further and are encouraged to try the scuba diving. The crystal clear Caribbean seas are teaming with unbelievable wonder and seeing it up close is the only way to go. For families, one of the great options is the children’s program that is run through Windjammer’s Jaquot Fun Club. While there are lots of activities on resort to enjoy, there are also a number of off-property excursions. These tours give children a chance to explore and have fun in the company of friends their own age while under the care of camp counselors. When the sun starts to set, visitors can enjoy a number of dining choices including fine-dining at the resort’s signature restaurant Dragonfly. Asian and Creole influences make this locale a special treat. Unlike some other resorts, Windjammer has five different dining destinations and each has its own ambiance and menu selections.

For example, you can dine under the stars at Jammers’ beachside location, enjoying not only the modern menu but also nightly music and a stellar moonlit view of the ocean. If Caribbean seafood is your taste, then Upper Deck is the place to choose. Embers serves up a beachside BBQ lunch that sets tastebuds humming and then in the evening, try Papa Don’s with a mountainside view and authentic Mediterranean menu. At Windjammer, it’s easy to make each tropical evening a taste sensation. Since all the restaurants on the resort accept payments through Sun Dollars™, the final choice is up to you. For those times when a more inti mate setting is called for, consider Windjammer’s in-villa personal chef service. It’s perfect for that special occasion or celebration. The unique dining experience is under the care of one of the resort’s chefs who prepares a gourmet feast in the comfort of your own villa. Personalize the menu and make the cozy evening simply unforgettable. Overall, the Windjammer Landing experience is the perfect retreat for families, couples and anyone seeking top-level service and amenities. With its crescent-shaped, white-sand beach and well-appointed villas over 60 acres, there is something for everyone. When all this natural beauty is combined with the Sun Dollars™ 50% back incentive program, visitors to Windjammer are able to maximize the value of their Caribbean vacation and enjoy even more adventure this year. To make the most of the Sun Dollars™ program, check out all details by visiting www.windjammer-landing.com or call 1-800-345-0356.

Business Britain january/february 2009 57


canada

Toronto THE IDEAL MEETINGS AND BUSINESS DESTINATION

58 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN


Toronto at a Glance A CITY OF SEASONS

MEETING & EVENT VENUES

Situated on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is one of the southernmost cities in Canada. In fact, its latitude is very close to that of northern California. As a result, Toronto has a surprisingly moderate climate – with the warmest springs and summers in Canada.

Choose Toronto and choose a venue that leaves you speechless. From top notch convention centres (including Canada’s largest) and magnificent hotel properties to the tallest tower in the world, sleek skyscrapers, exclusive clubs, glamourous lounges, a castle in the centre of a city, showcase museums, historic heritage properties, wineries, pastoral islands to a fleet of boats on our beautiful waterfront, Toronto offers an extraordinary selection of inspirational and stimulating meeting venues for your events. Toronto’s spectacular venues and settings are sure to turn heads.

LANGUAGES SPOKEN There are two official languages in Canada – English and French. In addition to these official languages, the top 5 languages spoken in Toronto are Chinese, Italian, Tamil, Portuguese and Spanish.

Beyond Downtown The unique nature of Toronto as a meeting destination extends far beyond the downtown core. Regions to the east, west and north offer their own special feel. To the east, small town charm and more intimate amenities complement the nearby lake, public parkland and downtown, while the west offers close proximity to Pearson Airport, a diverse cultural scene and simple commuting options to the city core.

EAST REGION SERVICES Tourism Toronto’s CVB Services include in-depth knowledge of the East Toronto region. Some say the grass really is greener

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 59


canada

Fast Facts on Toronto ➤ With a population of 5.5 million, Toronto is Canada’s largest city

➤ Toronto is the 5th-largest city in North America, after Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago

➤ More than 60% of the population of the United States is within a 90-minute flight

➤ As the capital of Ontario, Toronto is the seat of government for Canada’s most populous province and is the industrial and business centre for the country

➤ The most popular choice for U.S. sponsored association meetings outside the U.S.

➤ Top Canadian domestic business travel destination

➤ More than 38,000 hotel rooms in over 230 hotels ➤ The largest convention centre in Canada

ranking among the top ten largest continuous-space facilities in North America

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in East Toronto – it certainly may be for those who prefer to stay outside of the downtown core’s bustle, while still being close enough to visit. East Toronto is made up of beautiful parklands and a high-tech corporate enclave that translates into state-of-the-art telecommunications for a meeting or event. Services include advice on accommodations that are close to hockey rinks and soccer fields for minor sporting events, as well as those near a Canadian Open golf course for corporate and leisure travellers hitting the greens. If a group is best suited to quaint villages and towns, East Toronto has that friendly feel with the added modern convenience of large shopping centres – all connected by an easyto-access network of highways.

WEST REGION SERVICES Toronto Tourism’s Regional Office offers all the services of their CVB, with a special emphasis on the unique features of West Toronto. Their expertise extends from advising on West Toronto accommodations to liaising with Canada Customs. There is no charge for any of these great services. They’ll walk you through West Toronto, even if you’re planning from miles away. The area is an excellent destination choice for travellers who don’t want to commute into the downtown core. 12,950 hotel rooms are within a quick ride from the airport – with its brand new terminal – and major highway systems. West Toronto offers world-class accommodations with a trip to the races, an arts centre or theatre production just minutes away. And the downtown core — just a few minutes more. The West Toronto office will also help you decide which of the nearly 1 million square feet of convention and meeting space should be dedicated to your event. Or which sports facilities will best suit your team.

GREEN MEETINGS & FACILITIES Green meetings are the future of a sustainable meetings and conventions industry. Toronto CVB can connect you with local meeting services and eco-friendly venues that can support your goal of having a more environmentally conscious meeting or event in Toronto. In the August 2006 issue of Meetings and Conventions Magazine, Toronto was listed as one of the greenest cities in North America. With excellent choices of green facilities, including the following, it’s easy to see why! From a distance, it’s easy to pick out Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place. Just look

for the 30-storey wind turbine, the first of its kind in North America and the first permanent turbine in the City of Toronto. It stands as one of the more visible examples of Direct Energy Centre and Exhibition Place’s commitment to reduce emissions and waste. The Centre is also involved in an 80% waste reduction process, green roof, urban forestry, recycling and hydrogen-powered transportation programs as well as the Direct Energy Innovation Centre, a permanent educational exhibit which explores energy use and the environment. They have over 1 million sq. ft. of exhibition space. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), with its green roof, deep lake water-cooling system and comprehensive recycling program, is a signature host of environmentally friendly events. With over 600,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space, the facility hosted the Construct Canada Exposition and Conference as well as the first-ever annual meeting outside the U.S. of the international Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Both citywide meetings were Zero Waste Events. Be sure to take in the Toronto Botanical Gardens, an array of 12 award-winning themed gardens spanning nearly four acres and meeting facilities for up to 300 guests. Here, a complete range of innovative indoor and outdoor learning experiences include garden tours, nature day camps, field trips and an extensive horticultural library. The buildings are as green as the gardens – the visitors centre is LEED Silver Certified with an energy-efficient sloping green roof and an award-winning ecologically conscious design, complete with rental facilities, garden shop and seasonal café.

When the doors of the new Toronto Congress Centre expansion officially opened in January 2008, the city of Toronto became home to one of the largest and most sustainable trade and convention facilities in North America. This major addition will double TCC’s current space to one million square feet, and position the centre as one of the greenest trade show facilities in the world.

INCENTIVE TRAVEL There’s really only one way to truly reward the best of the best, and that’s with the best there is to offer. A destination made of dream activities and unforgettable rewards. A destination with activities, attractions and itineraries that will surprise and delight. Your best have come through for you. A trip of a lifetime to Toronto will prove that you’ve come through for them, as well.

It’s easy to pick out Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place. Just look for the 30-storey wind turbine, the first of its kind in North America and the first permanent turbine in the City of Toronto. BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 61


canada

Here’s just a glimpse of what the WONDER

MAJESTY

ELEGANCE

Heed the call of the wild, take in the hush of the country, and go all out at an elegant casino. Toronto’s nearby attractions are as distinctive as the city’s remarkable CN Tower. Niagara Falls deserves all its praise, with the captivating, wondrous waterfall that has inspired awe for generations, as well as legions of modern attractions. Race there on the waves by high-speed boat, then hover over the Falls in a helicopter and marvel from a perspective that few will ever have. Tour an award-winning winery, and taste impossible to find vintages with the best regional cuisine. The Ontario north lures the adventurer with fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, rafting and more. Learn some age-old skills at the hand of a native guide, or catch Shakespeare at his best. When all is done, let your mind drift as you unwind at a full-service spa.

Free-flowing and fabulous, let Lake Ontario define a day of relaxation in Toronto. Take a majestic voyage along the shoreline beneath the fluttering canvas of a Tall Ship’s sails. Savour a seasonal feast onboard, or stop on your own private island for a champagne picnic and a stroll on the sand. Dance on the deck of a cruising yacht, making the most of the stars and a summer breeze. On the shore, cycle or skate along the winding paths, or find your stroke at a lakeside driving range or tennis court. Take in the skyline view from an exclusive yacht club on Toronto’s Islands. Finish the day with live music at an outdoor amphitheatre, capped with the awe of an international fireworks festival. Your team has earned this view.

There is no substitute for elegance, and nothing so seductive as luxury. You’re there to celebrate, so indulge in the ceremony and pageantry of a themed reception at a castle on a hill. Commandeer a famous art gallery or renowned museum for an evening of divine cuisine and exclusive tours. Dream yourself into another age by whisking your honoured guests to a mystery destination aboard a private train. Mark your occasion at an estate that dates back to the very birth of Canada. There’s something very worthwhile to be said for doing it in style.

The Ontario north lures the adventurer with fishing, hiking, snowmobiling, rafting and more. 62 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN

MAGIC The dream team deserves a dream world. Create your own magical possibilities in some of the most stunning settings. Enjoy the finer things at an elegant gala, in a floating


city has to offer... ballroom with a skyline view. Host a carnival complete with games, entertainment and a full-size Ferris wheel, under the awe-inspiring retractable roof of the Rogers Centre. Join sporting legends real and remembered in a shrine to one of the world’s great games. Toy with an afternoon of state-of-the-art fun, featuring cutting-edge virtual reality games, rock climbing and more. All that glitters is yours to enjoy.

sure it visits for a while. Toronto’s theatres span centuries – from a gorgeous, historic double-decker theatre to the glossiest, most modern stages, the shows they put on cover even more ground. Toronto’s performing arts extend beyond its rank as a top-three theatre city. Dress up for world-renowned opera, symphony or ballet. Loosen up with live, big-name concerts in any genre of music, or come undone with a master of comedy.

PERFORMANCE

EXHILARATION

Bring your all-stars, and Toronto will put on the show. Settle into a plush box and be one of the first to see a bold new play before it takes Broadway by storm, then celebrate backstage with the cast at your exclusive reception. Or catch the hottest musicals as they show off their new Tony awards. If the show wasn’t born here, it will make

Give in to your passions, follow your sense of adventure, and just plain enjoy the game. You’ll never forget Toronto’s hundreds of golf options, from an easy nine right downtown to PGA Tour courses and dramatic links that make the most of rugged Ontario scenery. Toronto’s major-league action never rests; catch a game from an exclusive suite,

followed by an autograph session with the star of the night. Make your sporting dreams a reality with your own game on the turf at the Rogers Centre, or on the ice at the Air Canada Centre. Place a wager, then watch thoroughbreds thunder past your private tent. Or thrill in the inimitable roar of Indy race cars, with a private pit-row reception area. Then find your thrills in the sky with a hot-air balloon ride as gentle as an autumn breeze, or an adrenaline-surging helicopter adventure.

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 63


canada

InsIde knoWledge from

the InterContInental toronto Centre

W

hether it’s heading out with Chef to buy organic produce at the farmer’s market or jumping on the ferry for an exquisite afternoon on the islands, gourmet picnic basket in tow, the InterContinental Toronto Centre -- one of the city’s leading luxury hotels located in the heart of the entertainment and financial districts -- has new Insider experience packages designed for every palate. “understanding that a true definition of luxury is no longer just great service or facilities, our Insider experiences give our customers the chance to experience a destination in a new and unique way,” says renaud Payette, general manager, InterContinental Toronto Centre. “We have created these packages with both global and local visitors in mind and feel that there is something to please everyone who stays in Toronto.”

Shopping with Chef The Insider Culture – St. Lawrence farmer’s Market package (from $829 per night) is an opportunity for guests to go food hunting with executive Chef Klaus Seewald, an internationally trained chef with 30 years experience. Hailed as one of the Top 25 fresh Markets in the world (food & Wine magazine), St. Lawrence is housed in Toronto’s first city hall dating to the mid-1800s. In keeping with the culinary trend to purchase produce grown within a 100-mile radius — local vendors sell everything from artisanal sausages and 64 january/february 2009 Business Britain

cheeses to back-bacon sandwiches and paper-thin prosciutto — Seewald will share his knowledge on how to pick the best produce as well as detailing different methods of preparation while creating their menu for that evening’s dinner. The grand finale is a four-course chef’s table comprised of comestibles purchased at the market. Klaus Seewald, Executive Chef: Biography As executive chef, azure restaurant & bar, located in the InterContinental Toronto Centre -- one of Toronto’s leading luxury hotels located in the heart of the entertainment and financial districts -- Klaus Seewald is responsible for the operation of the four Diamond restaurant, accommodating all food and beverage outlets within the hotel. He brings with him 30 years of international culinary expertise as a professional european-trained chef as well as excellent communication skills and dedication to providing superior quality in food service and presentation. His breadth of experience includes time spent in Düsseldorf, Germany at the Hotel InterContinental’s La belle Époque restaurant; in Stratford, england at the Hilton Hotel; in Hamilton, bermuda at The Princess Hotel’s Tiara restaurant as well as in Toronto at the Inn On The Park’s auberge restaurant, The Westin, The four Seasons and The fairmont. Chef Seewald’s repertory of cuisine mastery includes innovative modern continental, classic french, north american

and German fare. His dishes are beautifully composed and highly textural, employing only the freshest of ingredients.

Urban oaSeS Since the InterContinental Toronto Centre is situated within walking distance of many of Toronto’s diversions, guests will be delighted to discover the hotel’s Insider City packages. Visible from most of the guest rooms, Lake Ontario’s barrier islands form a natural harbour that provides an idyllic escape from the urban pace. a local favorite, the string of islands that include a small airport, amusement park and neighbourhood with cottage-like homes, also boast parkland and sandy beaches. Picnic in the Park (from $349 per night) enables guests to plan their own personalized gourmet picnic basket with Chef. The package also includes a knapsack perfect for toting a special hotel blanket, Toronto Islands map, ferry pass for two and, of course, the picnic delectables. a private tour of the city harbour and islands, aboard the mahogany-and-teak-trimmed MV new beginnings vessel, is also available. and, as every Torontonian knows, there is no more stellar view of the city than that gleaned from the water. Toronto is famous as one of the world’s most multi-ethnic cities. for visitors, this means you can dine around the globe without having to get on a plane. The epicurean ethnicity package (from $268 per night)


makes use of the Clef d’Or concierge’s insider knowledge of the vast variety of cuisine and restaurants available in the city. Before arriving, the concierge will create, in concert with the guest, a personalized dining guide of in-the-know restaurants based on guests’ favorite foods. Insider contacts also produce results at each restaurant visited, as the concierge arranges a personal meeting with either the chef or owner. Guests can upgrade to a private car for the entire evening out.

CITY SCENES For sports lovers, the InterContinental Toronto Centre is making sure that getting tickets to popular events is as streamlined as possible. Insider Events features two packages: Game Day (from $229 per night) and Arts & Culture (from $289 per night). Both include dinner at the hotel’s four-diamond Azure restaurant. The pre-game menu features a special selection of award-winning beers from Ontario’s microbreweries. The property hasn’t overlooked families, either. Among the Insider Leisure packages tailormade for kids is Urban Jungle (from $348 per night). Count on four tickets to either the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Place or the CN Tower as well as a Kid’s City Explorer Kit (backpack with a disposable camera, Roots toque or cap, map and colouring tools) all made easy with a TTC Day Pass for two adults and up to three kids. End the day with special kid-friendly treats from Chef at bedtime. For an extra charge, add four tickets to Canada’s Wonderland.

Toronto’s business area

Picturesque Lake Ontario

MEMORABLE MOMENTS A 90-minute drive from Toronto is all it takes to land in world-renowned vineyards. At the centre of Ontario’s viniculture is the quaint town of Niagara-onthe-Lake, recognized for it’s lovingly preserved centuries-old homes and shops. In conjunction with one of the area’s best-known hostelries, the Oban Inn, InterContinental Toronto Centre is offering Insider Wine Country (from $758 for two nights) as part of its Insider Occasion packages. Guests travel hassle-free on Via Rail and stay in a deluxe room that includes a four-hour guided tour of a winery, 45-minute horse-drawn carriage ride, bouquet of a dozen roses and European continental

breakfast for two. Getting romantic is easy at the hotel, too, with a Romance Package priced from $289 per night. Add a day tour to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Niagara Falls, as well as Niagara-on-the-Lake plus a neighbouring winery, and you’re sure to have a memorable visit.

PACKAGE INCLUSIONS All packages are based on double occupancy in a deluxe or superior guest room and include transfers, breakfasts and valet parking.

ROOMS WITH A VIEW The InterContinental is a masterpiece of modernism, designed to fulfil every need of the global traveler. Following a spectacular, $30-million renovation, the 586-room hotel brings together an ideal location, plush accommodations, state-of-the-art technology and meeting facilities, and the very best in personalized service. The hotel features the exceptional Azure Restaurant & Bar and The Spa at Intercontinental Toronto Centre, a serene oasis with a roster of otherworldly treatments. As well, it offers Club InterContinental, an exclusive 8th floor “hotel within the hotel.” The Club level, designed with the business traveler in mind, provides 90 elegantly appointed rooms and suites, private concierge services, private lounge, library and boardroom. The InterContinental Toronto Centre, which overlooks scenic Lake Ontario, could not be better located. It is set in the midst of Toronto’s main financial, theatre and restaurant districts and is directly attached to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. InterContinental Toronto Centre is managed and operated under license by InterContinental Hotel Group, Inc. Direct reservations within Canada and the U.S. can be made by calling 1-800-422-7969 or 416-597-1400; for worldwide reservations call 1-800-327-0200 or online at www.ictc.ca. BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 65


Laptop Shoulder: Tips and Exercises What is it? Many frequent business travellers carry heavy laptops when they’re travelling and can experience pain or discomfort in their neck and shoulders as a result. This is a recognised condition known as laptop shoulder. Driving, air travel and sitting badly can put additional strain on the joints of the upper back and neck and often results in referred pain into the shoulders. Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts has partnered with Diane Hunter, physiotherapy consultant, to provide some tips and exercises to help you avoid suffering from laptop shoulder.

Tips: When carrying a laptop: – Carry your laptop in a laptop bag with a well padded strap to minimise the pressure on your neck and shoulders and alternate the weight between your left and right shoulders. – Replace your single strap bag with a specially designed rucksack with two shoulder straps or invest in a wheeled case. – Minimise the amount of time you spend carrying your laptop by using trolleys in hotels and the airport and asking the hotel to take your laptop up to your room for you when you arrive at your hotel. – Take time to stop and re-set your posture if you’re carrying the laptop for a long period of time.

crowneplaza.co.uk


When working in your hotel room Muscle and joint pain can be caused by bad posture. Follow these tips when you’re working in your hotel room: – Sit upright at the desk, with your bottom right back in the seat. – For extra comfort, use a pillow to sit on or to support your lower back. – Eyes should be level with the toolbar on the screen of your laptop. – Knees and hips should be at right angles.

– Earlobes should be level with the tip of the shoulder. – Get as close to the desk as possible and allow your forearms to rest on the desk. – Do not allow your head to drift forward, try to keep your upper back against the back of the chair at all times. – Take regular breaks from work to stand up and walk around.

Exercises Sit upright in the chair and look straight ahead. Gently tuck in your chin and pull your head back for five seconds. Repeat this five times.

When you arrive in your hotel room, take ten minutes to lie on your back on the bed, allow your arms to relax by your sides and take a few deep breaths. Sitting upright in the chair, stretch your arms above your head, lean back in the chair so you can stretch your upper back and take three deep breaths without allowing your head to tilt forwards or backwards.

Sitting upright in your chair, shrug both shoulders up and back and drop them down to achieve a backwards rolling motion. Do this five times.

Rotating your upper body in the chair, grab onto the chair and stretch round as far as you can. Do this five times to your left and five times to your right.

Look down at the front of your right shoulder until you feel a mild stretch in your left upper neck. Slowly and gently, repeat this to the left.

Relaxation – At the end of day, take the time to relax in a hot bath, allowing the heat to relax your upper back and shoulder muscles.

– When you’re in a shower, take advantage of the massage setting and allow the hot water to target your upper back and shoulders for a few minutes, allowing the heat to penetrate your muscles.

If any of these exercises cause you pain, stop immediately. If you have any symptoms of numbness or tingling in your arms, headaches or dizziness do not attempt to perform these exercises and contact your physiotherapist or GP for advice.

Diane Hunter MSc BSc (Hons) MCSP Physiotherapy Consultant www.physiologix.co.uk


dubai

Dubai

The ulTimaTe in luxury

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dubai

Located at the cross-roads of Asia, Europe and Africa, Dubai is well positioned to attract tourists looking for somewhere new and different 70 january/february 2009 Business Britain


COSMOPOLITAN DUBAI Sunshine, shopping, seaside, sports and safety - five of the key ingredients that have earned Dubai a growing reputation as one of the world’s most attractive and rapidly developing leisure destinations. Long established as the trading and commercial hub of the Middle east, the emirate combines the excitement of a bustling commercial centre with the wide open spaces of a luxurious resort. Located at the cross-roads of asia, europe and africa, Dubai is well positioned to attract tourists looking for somewhere new and different, a destination combining the traditions of the east with the comforts of the west. both business travelers and tourists find that Dubai offers the highest standards of comfort and luxury. as befits a dynamic and prosperous business centre, Dubai’s ultramodern hotels offer every luxury. yet the comforts of the 21st century co-exist comfortably with the emirate’s rich arabIslamic culture. an intriguing land that combines old-world souks and modern shopping malls, rolling sand dunes and championship grass golf courses, remote bedouin villages and an array of five-star hotels, Dubai defies easy definition.

LIFESTYLE Expatriates and foreign visitors - both male and female - enjoy a relaxed and pleasant lifestyle in Dubai. There is virtually no crime, the city is clean, apartments and villas are modern and spacious and the climate is pleasant for most of the year. There are many clubs and societies in Dubai. freedom of worship is allowed to all religions, and Christian churches

have existed in Dubai for many years. foreign newspapers, magazines, films and videos are readily available. alcohol may be consumed at home provided a permit is obtained, or in hotels, and on licensed club premises.

DUBAI – THE GREAT INCENTIVE Dubai is one of the most exciting new destinations to emerge on the incentive travel market in recent years. although a relative newcomer to the incentive travel market, Dubai has already achieved considerable success. This is because it fits neatly into the incentive travel organisers’ ideal profile of somewhere new and different that combines exotic experiences and excitement with professional destination management services and top quality hotels. Dubai’s key attraction is that it brings together the comforts of the western world with the adventure of arabia. One of the world’s leading inter-continental transit centres, Dubai is easily accessible. More than 135 airlines operate through the Dubai International airport linking the emirate to 210 destinations worldwide with direct connections to the main cities worldwide. Dubai airport is modern and efficient; customs and immigration procedures are simple. Dubai offers a wide choice of luxury modern accommodation in the city, on the beach or in the mountains. all of Dubai’s hotels are well equipped with modern facilities. They all offer excellent conference and meeting facilities, state-of-the-art telecommunications, fully equipped health clubs and facilities for a wide range of sports. Cuisine from around the world can be sampled at Dubai’s restaurants. unlike many newly emerging destinations,

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dubai Dubai offers incentive travel organisers a choice of internationally experienced, professional destination management companies and inbound tour operators. They employ multi-lingual guides and well-qualified drivers and have modern air-conditioned coaches for airport transfers and excursion tours. A variety of standard or tailor-made tours are available, lasting from one or two hours to several days. There are city tours (general, shopping, heritage etc.), excursions to the desert, through the wadis (dried up river beds), to the starkly beautiful Hajar mountains and to the sandy beaches of the East Coast on the waters of the Indian Ocean. There are helicopter, boat and dhow tours also on offer; special interest tours include fishing, golf, archaeology and bird watching. The highlight of any holiday in Dubai is the adventure of tackling the Arabian desert. Safaris, dune and wadi driving are popular; and sand skiing from the high dunes is the latest desert sport. A moonlit Arabian barbecue in the desert, complete with traditional entertainment and belly dancer makes for many memories, while the high-speed and boisterous camel races must not be missed. Those looking for a relaxed holiday will enjoy swimming and soaking in the sun by the poolside or on Dubai’s miles of clean, uncrowded sandy beaches. The energetic visitor will discover a choice of superb watersports - sailing, fishing, windsurfing, water-skiing, scuba diving and snorkeling. On land, visitors can play golf on championship grass golf courses designed by famous architects and international golf stars. For the sporting spectator, a full calendar

of top class international events - golf, horse racing, rallying, powerboat racing, rugby and snooker - makes Dubai the sports capital of the Middle East. One of the greatest attractions of Dubai is shopping. The city’s tax-free status means bargains galore. A choice of modern airconditioned malls offer attractive prices on the widest possible range of international brand names in electronics, hi-fi, cameras, watches, textiles, perfumes, cosmetics and much more. The ancient “souks” or markets offer a romantic setting for the purchase of spices, antiques, rugs, and silverware. The city is also one of the world’s great gold trading centres and streets of shops sell a dazzling array of modern machine-crafted and exquisite hand-made ornaments to suit every taste. Dubai’s award-winning duty free complex situated inside the arrivals and departure lounge of Dubai International Airport offers more bargains and more variety. Dubai city and the surrounding desert also offer photographic opportunities galore - elegant mosques, sumptuous palaces, majestic camels, ancient windtowers, dusty villages and dramatic sunsets. A modern city with timeless tradition, Dubai offers today’s traveler the incentive of a lifetime. Dubai’s location makes for easy accessibility. London is seven hours away, Frankfurt six; Hong Kong eight, and Nairobi four.

Those looking for a relaxed holiday will enjoy swimming and soaking in the sun by the poolside or on Dubai’s miles of clean, uncrowded sandy beaches. 72 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN


FAIRMONT DUBAI

A

unique blend of contemporary design and urban chic, the Fairmont Dubai is an icon in the financial heart of the city. Designed with business in mind, this multi-use complex is just minutes from Dubai’s key attractions, shopping facilities, golf clubs and beaches and is directly linked to the Dubai International Convention Centre by a dedicated covered walkway. Modeled after an Arabic wind tunnel (barajeel), this 34 storey property features 394 guestrooms (including 128 suites and luxury penthouses), residential apartments and offices as well as its premier Fairmont Gold ‘hotel within a hotel’ product, 10 dining and entertainment venues, a Willow Stream Spa and two terraced rooftop swimming pools. The first international property for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Dubai opened in February 2002 and is managed on behalf of the private office of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan. From the stunning architectural design, unrivalled accommodation and facilities to the warm and engaging service, it has quickly become a distinctive landmark on the ever-evolving city skyline and the Middle East flagship property for the company.

GUEST SERVICES Dining and Entertainment Ten contemporary dining and entertainment venues offers guests an array of gastronomic delights to amuse the palate from Café Sushi, the contemporary Japanese café featuring a selection of sushi creations to the casual Italian alfresco fare at Bacchus. Guests can enjoy the understated elegance of the lobby lounge to the bustling ambience of Pronto, the gourmet café or bask poolside with a fresh fruit juice or healthy smoothie from Sol Juice Bar. Spectrum on One will mesmerise diners with eight interactive kitchens specialising in six influential global cuisines, while the hotel’s 24-hour all day restaurant Cascades, serves an array of international delights under a soaring atrium. The Exchange Floor is home to three unique destinations including the award winning Exchange Grill, noted for a tantalizing selection of grill specialties and an extensive wine list. Cin Cin, a chic wine bar showcases over 300 global labels, while a modern day cigar bar features an impressive selection of worldclass cigars in a handcrafted, walk-in humidor. Local Attractions Dubai is a city full of adventure and surprises. Its diversity provides visitors with a wide range of experiences from beautiful undulating sand dunes to unspoiled beaches, to the excitement of a bustling nightlife. Trade is the lifeblood of this traditionally

Arabic and tolerant society, where business and commerce bring the best and brightest from across the world to help build Dubai’s future. For many it’s the Hong Kong of the Middle East with a little Las Vegas flare; a cosmopolitan melting pot at the crossroads of time and the quintessential home of sand, sea, sun and shopping.

ROOMS Fairmont Rooms and Suites Classical elegance and contemporary décor are reflected throughout the 394 guestrooms and suites, combining timeless style with generous comfort. Polished granite floors and soft luxurious fabrics are united to create a soothing atmosphere, complemented by stunning panoramic views of the city. All guest rooms feature well-appointed bathrooms, inroom business facilities, separate chaise lounge sitting area and high speed Internet service. Fairmont Gold Fairmont Gold is a hotel-within-a hotel, designed to meet the needs of the most discerning corporate or leisure guest. Exclusive features include complimentary return airport transfers, discreet and attentive concierge service, a dedicated check in and check out area; a private lounge with drinks

and canapés; complimentary breakfast; complimentary high-speed Internet in Fairmont Gold guest rooms, wireless Internet access in the Fairmont Gold lounge and access to executive boardroom facilities.

Penthouses Soaring 34 storeys and perched high above the city lights, six exclusive penthouse suites exemplify the contemporary suffused with lavish Arabic touches for the ultimate in luxury accommodation. A choice of three distinctly styled penthouses (Imperial, Royal and Presidential) combines five star glamour with an exuberant feel. The Imperial, the largest in the collection, boasts two storeys, highlighted by floor to ceiling windows running along the length the astonishing 548 sq m penthouse. This sheer abundance of space also makes room for a rooftop terrace, ideal for outdoor dining during the cooler months, state of the art Bose home entertainment system and indoor Jacuzzi and sunroom set against the backdrop of a hand painted Arabic mural depicting the natural beauty of the Emirate. All penthouses offer commanding views of the city as far as The Palm Islands and a wealth of living options to be enjoyed with full Fairmont Gold services and a personal butler. Business Services The 33rd is the city’s premier meeting and business facility. With views across the city skyline, each facet of the floor’s 18 versatile meeting rooms offers state of the art technology while many are also flooded with natural daylight. A multi purpose business centre offers a range of administrative services, as well as private workstations and an executive boardroom. Supported by the uncompromising quality of the award winning culinary brigade and catering team, who have a reputation for creative excellence and renowned service, The 33rd promises to deliver a memorable event. BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 73


serviced apartments

74 january/february 2009 Business BriTain


SERVICED APARTMENTS ARE AN INCREASINGLY ATTRACTIVE COST OPTION FOR CORPORATE TRAVEL AND RELOCATION… I

n the summer of 2008, The Apartment Service, the largest European booking agent for serviced apartments worldwide, commissioned a global survey amongst 20,000 serviced apartment operators, (corporate) bookers and clients, which has resulted in the first ever Global Serviced Apartment Industry Report, which was published in September. The report showed that significant savings can be made against traditional hotel accommodation – usually around 30% for stays of 3 or 4 days or more, but first, readers need to know….

WHAT IS A SERVICED APARTMENT? The term “serviced apartment” is used when referring to an apartment alternative for hotel accommodation for short and long stay leisure and business travellers. There are however distinctions to be made between types of serviced apartment: First there is the extended stay hotel or aparthotel. This type of apartment offers generally a 24 hour reception, is located in city centres and gives the guest a home away from home feeling, within a hotel like environment. They range from budget to deluxe and room types range from studio apartments (one room which can be used as living area and sleeping area, a little kitchenette and a separate bathroom), to two or three bedroom apartments which offer a separate living area, a kitchen, one or more bathrooms and separate bedroom(s). Because of the availability of kitchen facilities in the apartments, extended stay properties and apart-hotels do not tend to offer any extra services such as restaurants and bars. There are of course exceptions to this rule, because there are a number of extended stay properties which have been built as an annexe to existing 4 or five star hotels and the guests who stay in the apartments can make use of the hotel facilities free of charge.

telephone and television, for stays of 30 days or more. They can be located in city centres, but more often than not they are located on the outskirts of the centre of town, with easy access to the main business areas. Both of the serviced apartment types above have in common that the units are all fully furnished and equipped and the guests will enter a home away from home, with cooking facilities and all modern conveniences such as television, DVD, internet access etc. Having a kitchen means that the client can opt for eating in instead of out, hence making an instant saving. Other benefits of a serviced apartment include, added space to both work and play, more privacy and more comfort. The serviced apartment concept was created in the USA and the influence of America on the global serviced apartment market remains huge. 77% of the world´s stock of serviced apartments is located there. Many, from origin hotel operators, which offer extended stay product, such as Marriott (Residence Inn, Execustay), Hilton (Homewood Suites) and InterContinental (Staybridge) have introduced their products worldwide. Next to that there are the companies, which only offer serviced apartments, such as The Ascott Group and Frasers Hospitality, which have been rapidly expanding their offerings across the globe. In the UK one of the first companies to offer corporate housing was The Apartment Service

with their Roomspace Serviced Apartments and Executive Roomspace brands. Serviced apartments have long been regarded as a specialist market with different payment options, rate structures and booking procedures than hotels, which meant that they were largely left untouched by Travel Management Companies, Corporate Bookers and other travel buyers. Apart from that a historical problem in the booking of serviced apartments has always been their visibility: traditionally travel agents and travel management companies have been using the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) to book their accommodation, offering instant availability and confirmation and only 1/3 of the total serviced apartments worldwide are listed on the GDS. But change is afoot with more and more serviced apartments leaping on the GDS band wagon and specialised agencies such as The Apartment Service have integrated GDS connectivity introduced on their website. The 90s saw a dramatic rise in the number of agencies specialising in booking serviced apartments, resulting in an increased level of competition between booking agents for serviced apartments and the high occupancy in hotels began to drive people towards the serviced apartment. At the same time, it became more common place to work away from home for longer periods of time, and

Secondly we can distinguish corporate housing. These are residential properties which have been upgraded for shorter term rentals and packaged together with services such as cleaning, utility charges, local taxes, BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 75


serviced apartments hotels are not equipped to cater for this type of accommodation. A third factor in this shift to serviced apartments is cost: It is regarded that a stay in a serviced apartment of one week or more will save a client up to 30% on a stay in a hotel of comparable standard. And, the longer you can commit, the more economical it becomes to use a serviced apartment. Relocation and Expatriate Housing have become common place terminology in the global work place and anno 2008 there are more people working away from their home (country) than ever before. Most popular countries to work in are United States, United Kingdom, China, Canada and Australia. However, priorities and the general outlook is changing: whereas 20 years ago a company would send their employees away to work for sometimes years on end and no one batted an eyelid, nowadays, this practice is used with much more careful consideration because of employee welfare and the work/life balance which is created. A happy employee is worth a lot in terms of the credibility and prosperity of the company. Most assignments away from home last no longer than 9 months at the most. This is another reason for the meteoric rise of the number and popularity of serviced apartment accommodation worldwide. The remainder of 2008 and 2009 will see some interesting challenges for the short term accommodation sector. The Global Economic Crisis is mentioned as a serious concern which will have an effect on the sector as a whole. However there is a cautious optimism that serviced apartments will weather the storm due to demand outstripping supply and the cost saving benefits apartments are able to offer over hotels. But serious threats which will affect the development of the sector, such as more stringent planning and zoning permissions which will restrict operations and increasingly aggressive pricing by hotels will have to be taken into account and solutions will have to be found to counteract these.

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE HAVE IN STORE FOR THE SERVICED APARTMENT SECTOR? The sector will continue to grow, especially where it concerns short to mid term accommodation. Employers who are sending their workers abroad, have to take into account the well being of their employees, who do not want to spend extended periods away from home. Serviced apartments with their flexible stay options and favourable pricing are the answer. The sector will also become more accountable following the introduction of grading systems for serviced apartments, for example the Quality in Tourism initiative by Visit Britain, which were only a few years ago unheard of. Clients have always been able to make distinctions between hotels by their star grading system, which would give them basic 76 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN

information about what to expect. Now this will also be possible for serviced apartments. Another initiative to organise the sector, is the development of Associations. In Britain there is since 2005 the ASAP (Association for Serviced Apartment Providers) and another notable and long established one is, for example, the CHPA (Corporate Housing Providers Association) with roots in the USA. Thirdly serviced apartments cannot escape the “green lobby”. Nowadays when new apartments are being built the environment has to be taken into account and new design features are introduced to make a serviced apartment as environmentally economical as possible. Existing apartments are being upgraded and refurbished to cater for this drive as well. So, the future is rosy for serviced apartments especially where it concerns stays of one week or more, where they offer much better value for money over traditional hotel accommodation. By developing their product and by making it more visible and accessible for the corporate agents and travel management companies for example on the GDS, they will continue to increase their market share and will become increasingly fixed in the mindset of those who stay in them. • Articles of The Global Serviced Apartment Industry Report can be downloaded for free from the website of The Apartment Service, www.apartmentservice.com/GSAIR08 and a hard copy of the full report can be ordered on this page as well. Bard Vos, The Apartment Service.


Relocation and Expatriate Housing have become common place terminology in the global work place and anno 2008 there are more people working away from their home country than ever before. BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 77


entrepreneurs

The PerfecT

Partner W

Wendy Seinturier, founder and Ceo of the PerfeCt Partner (tPP) iS not your average MatChMaker – She’S young, vivaCiouS and abSolutely loveS bringing PeoPle together!

endy Seinturier is herself a global traveller who regularly splits her time between London, amsterdam, Geneva and new york. When it comes to business, Wendy doesn’t just talk the talk – she most definitely walks the walk. TPP was founded in 2002 as a result of her own very unsatisfactory experiences of using an introduction agency to meet a partner who shared her goals, aspirations, interests, background and more importantly, her lifestyle. following several

78 january/february 2009 Business Britain

disastrous and sometimes dangerous ‘dates’, Wendy decided she could do a better job herself. So, equipped with her mobile phone, a positive attitude and a clear vision of what she wanted to achieve TPP was born.“I set up my company to represent people like me... successful single members of the international community… people who are just too busy, or not around in the same place long enough to meet their perfect partner. I understand their lifestyle and can focus on their needs.” This is undoubtedly one of the reasons

why TPP is so successful – Wendy knows her clientele and understands their lifestyles. Invariably, TPP’s clients are educated, culturally aware, affluent, successful business leaders and entrepreneurs with interests spanning 1, 2 or even 3 continents. factors which contribute significantly to the challenges many of them face in meeting suitable, like minded potential partners. “I set up my company to represent people like me… successful single members of the international community who are just too


Meet the life partner who understands your lifestyle. Are you successful in your field, well traveled, adaptable, value family and friendships, with an international lifestyle where you often meet quality people? It is likely that you do not have trouble meeting attractive single people. However, you are not currently in a relationship with someone that understands your lifestyle and/or future goals.

The Perfect Partner is a Matchmaker/Life Partner Search Firm specializing in introducing unique individuals like you. The Perfect Partner clients have international backgrounds and are open to meeting potential life partners that may or may not live in their city or country of permanent residence.

Wendy Seinturier travels internationally meeting quality, prequalified individuals like you. She invests time and energy in her clients achieving a high percentage of successful introductions.

Are you ready to make a personal investment towards your future happiness? Visit our website www.tpp-worldwide.com, email wendy@tpp-worldwide.com or call one of our International offices and ask for Wendy Seinturier.

Wendy Seinturier, Founder

London Geneva

Winner - Business Britain’s Lifestyle Partner of the Year 2007/2008

+44 207 887 6030 +41 2 2 819 1888

Hong Kong Singapore

+852 318 095 32 +65 6248 4839


entrepreneurs ‘TPP is a specialist, niche global matchmaker service – discretion, trust and flexibility are integral to everything that TPP does. Using a vibrant yet professional approach, TPP successfully introduces like minded people for the purpose of committed relationships, life partnerships or marriage anywhere in the world.’ busy, or not around in the same place long enough to meet their perfect partner.” TPP is a specialist, niche global matchmaker service – discretion, trust and flexibility are integral to everything that TPP does. Using a vibrant yet professional approach, TPP successfully introduces like minded people for the purpose of committed relationships, life partnerships or marriage anywhere in the world. For Wendy and TPP, quality is of far more importance than quantity and their main priorities include establishing compatibility, trust, commitment and suitability between their clients. Wendy acknowledges that the dating game has changed considerably and that men and women are now looking for very different things in a long term relationship. Recognizing the shift in traditional gender

80 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 BUSINESS BRITAIN

roles, and the increasingly prominent role being played by women in the global economy has been a significant factor in understanding the specific requirements of TPP’s clients, and this is reflected in the service that TPP offers. “…my male clients are looking for partners, women who can hold their own and don’t need them financially. My female clients have all had careers and are financially stable… and are looking for partners.” TPP women are turning traditional gender roles on their heads and are challenging the old expectations that men should make the first move, and more importantly, that men will be the providers. With the help of introduction agencies and matchmaking services such as TPP women are becoming more and more comfortable with pursuing a man they find attractive and in making the first move - this has to be good news for TPP’s male clients.

There are strict and exacting criteria which must be met by all would-be TPP clients. Without exception, TPP carries out stringent and thorough background checks on all prospective clients to verify the applicant’s identity and background. This information is also used to ensure that prospective applicants are suitable candidates for the TPP network. Serial daters, escorts and those not interested in committed relationships are declined. In addition to the careful background checks, Wendy insists on personally meeting and interviewing all prospective clients. This hands-on personal approach distinguishes her from many of her contemporaries, especially since TPP firmly bases its reputation on the quality of its introductions and not simply the quantity. Furthermore, meeting the criteria and being able to pay the membership fee does not automatically guarantee membership. “I accept my clients not because they can pay the fee, but because of their attitude and their commitment…they have to have realistic ideals and expectations.” This approach has in no way affected the number of people applying to join TPP. On the contrary, the last five years have been hugely successful and TPP has firmly established itself as a well respected and professional ‘Global Matchmaking Service’ which offers its clients a totally unique and bespoke experience. As one of TPP’s clients you are assured an unrivalled personal, dedicated and discrete service 24 hours a day, 7 days a weeks, 365 days a year - no matter where you are in the world! “I’m matching and dating people all over the globe. A client in Geneva may meet for a date in Tokyo and I often meet prospective clients in countries they don’t reside in.” The future for TPP is bright …


knowledge to action

KNOWLEDGE TO ACTION BUSINESS BRITAIN SPOKE WITH GREG SECKER, CEO OF TRADERS UNIVERSITY, WITH REGARDS TO THE AWARDWINNING STOCK MARKET TRAINING COURSES THAT THE UNIVERSITY OFFERS TO ASPIRING INVESTORS. Please accept our sincere congratulations once again on being this year’s recipient of Business Britain magazine’s Award for “UK’s #1 Trader Coaching Company”. Given the current financial climate, what does this mean to the company in terms of recognition and also that the company is still managing to provide market-leading advice to potential stock-market traders? Thank-you for your award! It is a great honour and the traders and the wider team are excited once again. I think the recognition we’ve gained from you over the last few years goes to prove the continued success of our business model – fantastic trader education utilising proven strategies with excellent post-course trader coaching by professional traders. It’s not an easy business model to implement, but we believe in the quality of our

coaching and the results our clients achieve – so it makes it all worth it. What do you feel are the main contributory factors behind the success enjoyed by the company thus far, and what are the main philosophies or beliefs that you feel lie behind that success? Our trader education is world-class and uses only proven trading strategies with very personal post course trader coaching from professional traders – this sets us apart from our competition. Furthermore we provide a stepping stone approach that allows a client to embark on a fully supported journey towards professional trading at their own pace. When learning to trade, it is important that people ‘feel supported’ and can physically sit with a trader and place trades together. This year we launched our state-of-the art trading floor and training centre – a place where students can

come and trade confidently under the watchful eye of our traders. In terms of previous experience, does a potential trader need to have had prior exposure to the nature of stock markets, or is this part of the whole Traders University program, whereby potential traders are taught the mechanics of the whole environment as well from scratch? Whilst we have trained individuals from complete beginners to hedge-fund managers there is no requirement to have engaged in any trading before attending the course. In fact it can be an advantage to be a complete beginner as the individual will be open to learning new skills without any previous bias. What are the realistic timescales within which a trader can expect a worthwhile return on their investment(s)? It’s always a factor of two critical elements, time and money. Returns are based on your starting capital and what you personally put into your trading. The more you put in, the more you get back. Our coaching team will help to create your personal trading plan so you achieve your goals. We expect individuals to see a decent return on investment within six months, although some graduates have made their money back from the course fee within two weeks. BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 81


discipline, trade risk management and core trading strategies. In terms of personal qualities that provide an advantage we always find that both desire and commitment work well together. Having a desire to improve your financial position will lead you to take action whilst having the commitment to continue taking action and develop your skills and talents as a trader will help immensely. What do you see as the future for not only Traders University as a company, but also the UK economy over the next 5 years, and how can Traders University assist individuals in taking advantage of that? Traders University is expanding into new

Unlike anything else, the core essence of Knowledge to Action is all about teaching you real money making strategies, from real life that work. We have taught thousands of people, using this model of strategy-led training and the results, awards and accolades speak for themselves. What advantages do you feel that stock market trading holds over other more conventional types of investment, such as the recent surge in property investment in recent times? Stock market Trading has the ability provide an immediate income. Furthermore it can be done from the comfort of your own home and by using technology you can minimise the time required to achieve great results. In this country, you can spread trade (bet on the markets direction either up or down) and make money when the markets move up or down...an added bonus is that the profits are free of taxation. What advice would you give to new traders who may be experiencing difficulties at the moment, given the current economic climate which has obviously now escalated on a global scale? Often when beginners learn trading, they buy lots of books and immerse themselves in an academic journey into technical analysis and market awareness. This is the long way to do it and often the most painful. Using tried and tested trading strategies is the key to successfully and rapidly making money from the markets. When a new sous-chef is taught to make an award winning meal in a top Michelin star restaurant, he is not given an exhaustive lecture on the origin and intricacies of the ingredients - instead, he is taught the recipe, and of course within hours he is reproducing the results of the creator. Our advice, put the chef in the kitchen and get in there with him – it’s the fastest route to success. If you don’t know any chef’s our kitchens...we are only a call away..!

What does the Traders University course entail and what expertise should an individual expect to develop by attending? Are there any personal qualities that you feel give one individual an advantage over a counterpart when it comes to trading? When you attend Traders University, you are joining thousands of intelligent self-directed traders who have discovered a reliable way to create unlimited income, using powerful, yet simple trading strategies. The purpose of the Traders University programme is to equip individuals with the correct strategies and tactics to identify highly profitable trading opportunities and take advantage of these opportunities in a low-risk, precision driven method. We will teach you how to trade both long (profiting when stock prices rise) and short (profiting when stock prices fall) trading the stocks in the FTSE350 (the largest 350 companies traded on the London Stock Exchange). Over the course of the two days we ensure you know only what you need to know to trade the market successfully. The course focuses on the importance on trader

international markets on the back of our success here in the UK. In terms of the UK and Global economy well, these are turbulent times. But turbulent is also good – given we can make money when stocks fall (our trading account is up over 200% to date – autumn 2008) these are good times for private traders. Previous financial structures like pensions, property (both here & overseas) and mutual funds have let investors down and will continue to do so. Whenever there is a fear on the streets, it’s a signal that you don’t know what to do next and making an investment in your own financial education maybe the smartest investment decision you ever make. Unlike anything else, the core essence of Knowledge to Action is all about teaching you real money making strategies, from real life that work. We have taught thousands of people, using this model of strategyled training and the results, awards and accolades speak for themselves. We invite all of your readers to a free preview seminar to see exactly how our strategy works and how they can make money from it, register at www.tradersuniversity.co.uk

BUSINESS BRITAIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 83


spanish property

Costa Blanca spain’s white coast

84 january/february 2009 Business BriTain


T

he Costa Blanca or White Coast extends along the eastern coast of Spain (approximately in the middle) and covers the province of alicante. To the north of Denia is the Costa del azahar and to the south of Torrevieja is the Costa Calida. The Costa blanca is not as cold or wet in the winter as the Costa brava, north of Costa blanca, nor is it as humid or hot in the summer as the Costa del Sol, in the south. The Costa blanca has the best all year round temperatures. The climate is recognised as one of the best in the world by the World Health Organisation. Many people with arthritis come to the Costa blanca and within days feel much better. In the winter months the Costa blanca is lucky enough to have nearly as many sunny days as in the summertime. The Costa blanca is famous for its tourism. Once upon a time the places along the coast were mostly just tiny fishing villages. Then the fantastic climate and beaches attracted tourists and the area boomed. Some towns have restricted their development and retained their original charms while others have over-developed and lost what charm they originally had. The Costa blanca has over 100 kms of sandy beaches and rocky coves and many of the beaches have the coveted european blue flag signifying cleanliness and safe bathing. Of course the charms of the area have meant that many foreigners now live here. There has been a property explosion with many people regarding the Costa blanca as the California of europe. not just people retiring, nowadays many young families move to the Costa blanca searching for a better lifestyle. every nationality can be found there but especially english and Germans (oh and some Spanish too!).

The Costa blanca is a beautiful region with mountains stretching along most of the coast. The a7 motorway (with some toll sections) stretches from north to south along the coast. The n-332 also runs parallel yet is free from charges although much slower as it passes through the middle of many towns. There are huge amounts of flights into alicante airport, especially from northern europe. Valencia airport to the north is also well serviced. further to the south of the Costa blanca is Murcia airport. With the advent of many low-cost airlines many people live in Spain and commute to work in england. flying time is only about 2 hours which often doesn’t get you far when driving on congested roads in england. The northern Costa blanca is typically mountainous with cliffs and coves, a mixture of pebble beaches and fine sandy beaches. north of altea it is surprisingly very green and lush. The southern Costa blanca is mostly flat with fine sandy beaches, palm trees and salt lakes. The south is much drier and more typical of what a person who had never visited Spain would expect to see. The Costa blanca has something for everyone from tiny rural inland villages to cosmopolitan tourist resorts on the coast such as benidorm. The Costa blanca isn’t necessarily a place one would go to see historical monuments (although there are many). It’s attractions lie in it’s beauty - the amazing vivid blue Mediterranean waters, the lovely sandy beaches, the old towns and villages with their old narrow streets, the restaurants and bars where one can sit and relax outside because of the wonderful all-year round climate. It’s simply a wonderful place in which to enjoy life (as we should do but often don’t) and feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

The Costa Blanca has over 100 kms of sandy beaches and rocky coves

Business Britain january/february 2009 85


international finance

Global bank of CommerCe Business Britain magazine had the pleasure of speaking with Brian stuart-Young, Chairman and Ceo of gloBal Bank of CommerCe, aBout their reCent Business Britain magazine award win: Please aCCePt our sinCere ConGratulations onCe aGain, on beinG judGed as the reCiPient of this award for 2008; a Great aChievement, bearinG in mind the level of ComPetition within the international investment CateGory. what, in your oPinion, are the main faCtors in reCent times that have Contributed to the

suCCess that Global bank of CommerCe now enjoy? antigua is a relatively small Caribbean island, and we are a relatively small bank. We have for the past five years, however, built our business on the basis that we can compete on the global market by harnessing the strength of technological support for financial services, and our focus has been to serve the international banking community. five years ago we decided to invest in revamping our entire core

banking platform, and redesigned our banking products, with a view to serving the world market. Security and modern technology go together, but it’s important that technology must really become the unobtrusive means by which banks provide better customer service. We’ve built that into our architecture so that we feel our customers can be fully comfortable. The objective is to make the customer have a better banking experience, a very comfortable and pleasurable experience. We’ve taken technology out of operations and put it into our strategic thinking. Customers who seek an international banking service must be able to have multiple delivery channels from their bank, including online account access and funds available through debit cards or credit cards. When you put that into an account package proposal, you are then able to say to your customer, ‘yes, you’ve got 24/7 access to your account. It can be done at your convenience, at your time of choosing. you can also manage your wealth through bank services or take your money out at any aTM around the world, you can spend it anywhere in the world, and you can transfer large or small sums by wire to any place in the world.’ If the bank achieves all that for its customers then, frankly, geographical location doesn’t matter. The client and the bank can be in different parts of the world and have a good banking relationship and service experience. I think we’ve been able to create that environment for our customers very successfully. in your Position as both Chairman and Ceo of the bank, how have you seen the bank as a whole, and indeed the nature of business, evolve overall over the last 20 years? banking, like any other business sector, has seen modern technology make significant changes to its operations and delivery systems. The advent of secure internet banking Business Britain january/february 2009 87


international finance Like other Caribbean Financial Centres, the jurisdiction of Antigua has steadfastly developed its regulatory oversight and implemented necessary laws and regulations to maintain the reputation of a safe and ethical financial centre. has moved us beyond the teller, the branch and even the country. Clients may also access their funds via our Visa branded credit and prepaid debit cards at merchants and aTMs worldwide. We provide ecommerce services for online merchants with the most secure, scalable, and highly efficient credit card processing solutions. There is an ever evolving demand for improving international payments and settlements. Our bank continues to address this demand by a blend of our own core banking competencies, investing in new technology and processes, and through the formation of strategic alliances with leading e-commerce transaction engines. These facilitate business enhancements for merchant accounts to conduct global ecommerce services, with online review of customer transactions and call centres. We can offer issuing and merchant settlement in uS Dollars and euro currency. Our modern payment services will support e-government initiatives for payroll and commerce, and we have an attractive prepaid debit card product that is convenient for payroll and employment benefits to crews on yachts, cruise ships, airlines and other international work forces. Our bank has also been a leader in the use of Visa branded cards for remittances and has more than three years experience in remitting funds via card to card transactions in over one hundred countries. The potential for prepaid card usage is wide-ranging, including gift, employee benefits, business T&e, travel, and government disbursements - and they address consumer, government, and corporate needs. In recent tImes, and due to the ever-growIng need for transparency, how does the Bank ensure that customers are satIsfIed and that all regulatory legIslatIons are adhered to? International banking in Caribbean jurisdictions has recently experienced significant popularity, and this follows more than five years of signifi-

Mr. Kem Warner - Manager, Business Development & Private Banking

cant legislative improvements that assist the jurisdictions to meet all international standards in banking regulations and transparency to support safe and ethical depository of foreign currencies. The jurisdiction undergoes regular peer evaluation by the Caribbean financial action Task force (CfaTf) as well as reviews by the World bank and the IMf, all of which satisfy the enhanced scrutiny given to international banking. Global bank of Commerce is regulated by antigua’s financial Services regulatory Commission (fSrC) and must maintain internal policies to govern compliance controls and meet international standards. These initiatives, including third-party audits of its anti-money laundering (aML) practices and an investment in aML software assisted the bank in establishing new correspondent relationships under its Caribbean ownership and business vision. Institutions in the Caribbean are dependent on good correspondent banking relationships located in international jurisdictions and are therefore subject to the host country’s sovereign rule and policies. In this sense, a small bank must not only meet but surpass international banking standards. a central focus of our banking group is to ensure that the bank keeps ahead of the curve in respect of all regulatory and compliance issues related to a financial institution. Like other Caribbean financial Centres, the jurisdiction of antigua has steadfastly developed its regulatory oversight and implemented necessary laws and regulations to maintain the reputation of a safe and ethical financial centre. In addition to the fSrC as the supervisory authority for international banks, the Office of national Drug and Money Laundering Policy (OnDCP) was established with a financial Intelligence unit (fIu) to be the supervisory authority for the prevention of money laundering and to combat terrorism financing. OnDCP is a member of the egmont Group of fIus and this regulatory framework and enforcement mechanisms have, in turn, led the country to become aggressive in the global fight against financial

Mrs. Juliene James – Manager, Corporate Administration & Human Resources

Mr. Winston St. Agathe - General Manager

crime. In this process, the jurisdiction has become more discriminating of its institutions and the number of regulated banks was practically halved. There is a comprehensive and regularly updated Money Laundering Prevention act of 1996 and the Prevention of Terrorism act which, along with related regulations and a number of associated government to government arrangements treaties such as a Mutual Legal assistance Treaty and a Tax Information exchange Treaty, ensure that new business attracted to the country comply with international standards and the requirements of the World Trade Organization. The government is continually amending these laws to ensure the country’s harmonious relationships with the rest of the world’s financial communities and institutions. what are, In your opInIon, the maIn factors that make the carIBBean regIon so attractIve to potentIal Investors on Both a BusIness and personal level? The Caribbean is increasingly being identified as a safe haven to shelter from the volatility of unstable markets and pressures associated with crime, corruption and terrorism. as a region, it is providing a “green” and safe alternative for maintaining lifestyles in an ever-changing world. antigua and barbuda, a favoured tourism destination in the eastern Caribbean, is the marriage of natural beauty and a thriving business climate to create an environment that has long appealed to foreign investors. add to this the investment incentives sprinkled in by the Government and enhanced by the establishment of an Investment authority, and you have a financial paradise. antigua and barbuda has the infrastructure to respond to the special needs of not only locals but also to service Caribbean and international client relationships. The combination of well-regulated financial services, an excellent communications infrastructure, a skilled IT workforce and strong professional resources provides a comprehensive environment for

Ms. Erita Griffith Manager, Corporate Compliance

Mr. Thomas Anthony – Manager, Wealth Management

Photos courtesy Joseph Jones.

88 january/february 2009 Business Britain


Business Britain january/february 2009 89


international finance international business services. Increasingly, investors have been purchasing properties in antigua as vacation and second homes. These investments also qualify them for Permanent residency, and they can obtain advice from any of the major local accounting firms such as PKf, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, KPMG or their own advisory resources for tax planning arrangements. Several major real estate developments are being undertaken in antigua and barbuda, and the response from international investors has been significant. GbC has developed some products that are supportive to investors pursuing local real estate and tourism projects. antigua’s International financial Centre is committed to meeting the requirements of modern business and is well regarded in the surge of global demands for financial solutions. It is redefining the role of international banking relationships and complimenting global business opportunities that need financial solutions. The combination of well-regulated financial service providers and the ability to offer modern financial services in a stable and tax neutral environment makes antigua and barbuda a premier location for global business. What ongoing strategy has been, and is to be, implemented that Will ensure that global bank of CommerCe Continues to be reCognised as the market leader Within their seCtor, and to further build on the suCCess that the bank has enjoyed thus far under your steWardship? The globalised economy is changing the way financial institutions operate by opening the doors for banks located in small jurisdictions to support financial market integration. This challenge has been accepted by Global bank of Commerce which represents a new breed of financial institutions, one which is particular about maintaining best banking traditions but is prepared to step outside the box to deliver services demanded for global commerce and investments. Our strategy includes the investment in subsidiaries that create their own cost centres and core competencies but, more importantly, make up an efficient support infrastructure that allows our group focus to be customer centric. The bank has wholly owned subsidiaries, GbC Wealth Management Ltd. and GbC asset Management, Ltd., which have talented teams of financial service professionals who can tailor portfolios to meet the requirements of its local, regional and international clients. The bank also has a private banking division that caters to higher net worth clients and assists in estate planning, including the formation of corporate and trust structures to support the wealth management strate90 january/february 2009 Business Britain

global bank of CommerCe have been aWarded With ‘international investment partner of the year 2008’ by business britain magazine. The issue of International Inward Investment is one that is continually covered within Business Britain magazine, due to the sheer direct relevance that the topic has to a large majority of our readership on both a personal and business front, in terms of offshore investment, company domiciliation and financial planning. Over the course of the previous 12 months, we researched those representatives whom we felt were at the forefront of their particular marketplace, in terms of offering a high standard of service and an ongoing commitment to client welfare through not only offering core services, but also as to what additional services these companies offered to assist and reassure clients when considering certain offshore locations in terms of international investment, both business and personal. The criteria consisted of a number of different areas, and were based on a points scoring basis with the main points of interest being:

1 feasibility of location 2 Client relations (ongoing support offered in terms of business growth, as well as personal wealth development) 3 range of services 4 transparency 5 marketing and promotion 6 appropriateness to business britain’s readers 7 level of fees payable by client As the “grandfather” of banking in Antigua, Global Bank of Commerce has built an unrivalled reputation for living up to the high standards that they set for themselves. And with their unrelenting commitment to customer satisfaction, customers can count on specialized solutions, created with their needs in mind. As a result, and due to their dedication to customer satisfaction and their continued commitment to stay at the forefront of their industry through the implementation of new technologies and business processes, Business Britain magazine are happy and proud to name Global Bank of Commerce as “International Investment Partner of the Year 2008”.

gies legitimately employed by clients. In some cases we have developed proprietary banking products to meet the financial expectation of customers. The bank has also sponsored another subsidiary, Global Processing Centre, Ltd. which provides card and ecommerce processing services. as a leading Caribbean banker and founder of indigenous finanCial serviCes, and due to your obvious passion for both the business and region as a Whole, What sort of legaCy do you intend to leave that Will ensure the bank’s future suCCess in terms of assisting in regional eConomiC prosperity? The Caribbean has traditionally been known for tourism and agricultural products, but the shifting sands of the global economy are impacting on both these sectors. Caribbean governments generally provide a stable and democratic environment for business and are therefore keen to diversify their economies to include services. for my part, I am very

focused on building my Caribbean banking group to support systems for better global payment services. I am committed to forging in the Caribbean a platform that bridges the competencies of virtual bank card relationships, telecoms and payments. Our Caribbean region, and many other developing regions, is highly dependent on remittances from family members working in the Diaspora. remittances began as a trickle but soon became a flow of over 8.3 billion uS dollars in 2006, establishing remittances at about 20% of income per capita and a solid contributor to GDP of the island economies (i.e. barbados 9%; jamaica 18%; St.Vincent 26%; Grenada 31%). It is very important that we make the remittance of these funds more efficient and part of the formal banking sector, and therefore able to link it to broader banking services. My banking group’s success in serving this sector will therefore directly support regional economic prosperity. I hope that our investment in serving this sector to assist the Caribbean region will also establish the Caribbean’s strategic position to support global payments.


Balance.

Global Bank of Commerce provides the perfect balance of world class banking services, security and convenience. We have 25 years of experience managing your wealth across the globe, generation by generation. Keeping in harmony with your lifestyle is important to us, today and tomorrow.

Private Banking Wealth Management Global Commerce Centre Old Parham Road P.O. Box W1803 St. John’s, Antigua, West Indies Tel: (268) 480-2240 Fax: (268) 462-1831 email: customer.service@gbc.ag website: www.globalbank.ag

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