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ISSUE: 156/19

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In this issue: News, Reviews & Business Views Motoring: Bentley Continental GT Convertible Gadgets & Gizmos Travel: Yangon

INNOVATE OR LOSE OUT IN 2019 KEY TRENDS SET TO MAKE WAVES IN THE BUSINESS SECTOR In Conversation: Graeme Gordon CEO, Praxity


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Contents In this issue... NEWS 4 IN CONVERSATION: Graeme Gordon, CEO, Praxity

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BUSINESS FEATURES

24 Welcome...

Innovate lose out in 2019

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Focus now

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Challenges galore

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Making business sense

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Parting of ways

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Far from reality

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Rising to the challenge

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Banking on mobile

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The new kid on the block

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Going hi-tech

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100 LEADING LAW FIRMS

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TOP 50 GLOBAL LAW EXPERTS 2018

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LIFESTYLE City – Yangon

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In this edition, Frans Labuschagne from Entersek writes

Hotel – Strand Hotel

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on how payments are being subsumed by contextual

Adventure – Prepare to be stupa-fied

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applications in the financial services realm. Using the

Gadgets & Gizmos

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mobile device for authentication wherever possible

Motoring – Bentley Continental Gt Convertible

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Profile – Kenny Ewan

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means that it serves as not only a secure channel between the financial institution and the consumer, but as the source of the security of that channel. It becomes the device that indicates to all parties  the financial institution itself, merchants, and automation end points like ATMs  that users are who they say they are. This, as well

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as using relationship integrity to contribute to self-sovereign identity, are cornerstones of this new security paradigm for the new digital world, Levent Lezgin Kılınç of Kılınç Law & Consulting discusses the current state of the legal market in Turkey, such as how independent private practice firms remain successful in a competitive market, and how international firms work in conjunction with local firms to tap into local expertise in

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Meanwhile, Aziz Rahman of Rahman Ravelli outlines the challenges that

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complying with a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) can present. He

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also explains why DPAs may pose legal questions that will need to be resolved regarding corporate and individual liability. Enjoy. Isaac Hamza - Editor

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GLOBAL NEWS

Intercontinental News UNITED KINGDOM

Barclays becomes first UK high street bank to launch app enabling customers to stop transactions at chosen retailers Barclays has launched a new feature for customers within its mobile banking app giving them the ability to ‘turn off’ spending with certain types of retailers. The first UK high street bank to offer such a feature, Barclays developed the new tool with customers in vulnerable circumstances in mind. However, the feature will help all customers take greater control over where their money can be spent, as well as making them less vulnerable to fraud and scams. Working with a range of advisors such as the Money Advice Trust and building on published evidence from organisations such as the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Barclays identified a group of customers who would particularly benefit from being able to decide how and where their money is spent. These include those with mental health issues, addictions, and those who rely on carers or a guardian to handle their finances. A simple button within the Barclays mobile banking app now allows the customer to choose which types of retailers they are able to spend with, meaning any attempted payments that fall within the ‘turned off’ category will be automatically declined. Barclays identified five core retailer groups which customers can control. These groups have been selected based on research by the bank into the areas that customers would most like to manage, as well as consultation with advisors. The retailer categories are groceries and supermarkets; restaurants, takeaways, pubs and bars; petrol and diesel; gambling (to include gambling websites and betting shops); and premium rate websites and phone lines. This follows on from other safety features introduced for Barclays debit card holders over the past year, such as the ability to set a daily cash machine withdrawal limit and turning off the ability to make purchases online and via the phone. Catherine McGrath, managing director at Barclays, said: “This new control feature is the latest new service that we have introduced in the Barclays Mobile Banking app that aims to give all of our customers a better way to manage their money in a simple, secure and effective way.” The new feature is now available to all Barclays debit card customers, and will be rolled out to credit card holders in the near future.

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UNITED STATES

GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer agree £10B merger

Emma Walmsley, CEO, GSK

Ian Read, chairman and current CEO, Pfizer

Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer have agreed to combine their consumer health businesses into a new joint venture, with combined sales of approximately £9.8billion ($12.7billion). GSK will have a majority controlling equity interest of 68 per cent and Pfizer will have an equity interest of 32 per cent in the Joint Venture. The proposed all-equity transaction represents a compelling opportunity to build on the recent buyout of Novartis’ stake in GSK Consumer Healthcare, to create a new world-leading consumer healthcare business and to deliver further significant shareholder value. The proposed transaction also supports GSK’s key priority of strengthening its pharmaceuticals business over the next few years by increasing cashflows and providing an effective pathway through the separation of GSK Consumer Healthcare to build further support for investment in its R&D pipeline. Emma Walmsley, CEO, GSK, said: “Eighteen months ago, I set out clear priorities and a capital allocation framework for GSK to improve our long-term competitive performance and to strengthen our ability to bring new breakthrough medicines and better healthcare products to people around the world. “The transaction we have announced

is a unique opportunity to accelerate this work. Through the combination of GSK and Pfizer’s consumer healthcare businesses we will create substantial further value for shareholders. At the same time, incremental cashflows and visibility of the intended separation will help support GSK’s future capital planning and further investment in our pharmaceuticals pipeline. “Ultimately, our goal is to create two exceptional, UK-based global companies, with appropriate capital structures, that are each well positioned to deliver improving returns to shareholders and significant benefits to patients and consumers.” Ian Read, chairman and current CEO, Pfizer, said: “Pfizer and GSK have an excellent track record of creating successful collaborations, and we look forward to working together again to unlock the potential of our combined consumer healthcare businesses.” Albert Bourla, chief operating officer and incoming CEO, Pfizer, said: “The combination of these leading businesses with distinct regional and category strengths will be more sustainable and broader in scope than either company individually. “We believe that this joint venture is a great opportunity to ensure the future success of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare while unlocking meaningful after-tax value for Pfizer shareholders.”

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GLOBAL NEWS

JAPAN

SoftBank invests $6B in WeWork US shared office provider WeWork received a $6billion investment from Japanese multinational holding conglomerate SoftBank. Five billion dollar is in the form of primary growth capital and the remaining $1billion in secondary capital which will be used to fund share purchases from investors and employees. WeWork’s post-money valuation is now $47billion. This investment includes a previously announced $4billion funding commitment from SoftBank in the form of a $1billion convertible note and a $3billion warrant. WeWork and its subsidiaries have now raised more than $10billion in total commitments from SoftBank since 2017. Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group , said: “WeWork is disrupting a multi-trillion-dollar industry with a technology platform that provides a complete solution for space needs. WeWork has already experienced unparalleled growth and we are confident that with Adam’s vision and this growth capital the company will be able to aggressively pursue the enormous market opportunity ahead of them.” WeWork also announced the launch of The We Company, which will establish WeWork, WeLive, and WeGrow as three distinct business lines that will expand upon WeWork’s existing efforts in these areas.

Adam Neumann, co-founder and CEO, The We Company, said: “Through the extended WeWork network and the Meetup community, The We Company now touches approximately five million people around the world, with the funding to reach millions more. We are driven by the impact we know we can have when we all work together with a shared intention. I am grateful to our employees, members, and our incredible partner in SoftBank for their commitment to our mission. WeWork began 2019 with more than 400,000 members at 425 locations in 100 cities across 27 countries. Enterprise customers (members with over 1,000 employees) accounted for over 30 per cent of the company’s total membership base. Forty-six per cent of enterprise members credit WeWork with giving them the freedom and flexibility to grow to new markets. As of September 2018, 30 per cent of the Global Fortune 500 were with WeWork. A Japanese multinational holding conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, SoftBank owns operations in broadband; fixed-line telecommunications; e-commerce; internet; technology services; finance; media and marketing; semiconductor design; and other businesses. It ranked in the Forbes Global 2000 list as the 39th largest public company in the world, and the fourth largest publicly traded company in Japan after Toyota, MUFG, NTT.

Appointments DON THOMPSON

Don Thompson has been appointed co-president of LegalShield’s Network Division, effective immediately. He will report directly to LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell. In his new role, Thompson will be responsible for creating and driving sales and network marketing strategies that elevate LegalShield in the marketplace. He is expected to play an instrumental role in driving the future expansion the firm. Thompson began his career at LegalShield in 1996. In the subsequent 22 years, he has been attributed with making significant contributions to the firm and its field teams. Thompson said: “I have been committed to LegalShield’s mission of providing equal access to justice for all for more than 20 years.”

JEFF PIERCE

Jeff Pierce will be the new CEO of Wipfli Financial Advisors, LLC (Wipfli Financial), a national, CPA-affiliated wealth management firm in the US. The appointment will be effective 11 February, 2019. Pierce joins the firm following a tenure as vice president and head of advisor practice management at Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), an Austin-based investment advisory firm whose philosophy and mutual funds are an important aspect of Wipfli Financial’s investment approach. Julie Nichols, Wipfli Financial’s interim CEO and chief financial officer (CFO), said: “Our entire team looks forward to working with Jeff in growing our holistic, personalised planning approach, which will deliver even greater impact to our current and future clients in the months and years ahead.”

PAUL BEAUDRY Paul Beaudry has been appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, effective February 2019. In this capacity, he will be one of two deputy governors responsible for overseeing the Bank’s analysis and activities in promoting a stable and efficient financial system. As a member of the Bank’s Governing Council, he will share responsibility for decisions with respect to monetary policy and financial system stability and for setting the strategic direction of the Bank. As Deputy Governor, Beaudry will join the Bank’s governing council, which is the Bank’s policy-making body. The governing council is responsible for decisions with respect to monetary policy and financial system stability and for setting the strategic direction of the Bank.

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GLOBAL NEWS

Intercontinental News SWITZERLAND

Swiss retail trade facing tougher competition from international online retailers Despite a buoyant economy, the Swiss retail trade saw only a slight increase in sales in 2018, according to Credit Suisse annual study titled ‘Retail outlook’ conducted study in collaboration with consultancy firm Fuhrer & Hotz. As for 2019, Credit Suisse economists expect growth in the retail sector to be just as sluggish as last year. Robust labour market conditions and an expected increase in purchasing power are likely to provide a positive impetus. On the flipside, competitive pressure due to the growth in cross-border online trade should continue to increase. This will squeeze prices and lead to a loss of market share. Sales in the Swiss retail sector increased by an estimated 0.4 per cent in 2018 thanks to above-average growth in the country's economy, according to economists at Credit Suisse. Last year saw the economy enjoy a temporary growth surge on the back of an acceleration in economic activity abroad. This benefited the labour market, which in turn supported consumer sentiment; however, it was not enough to send shoppers on a spending spree. Consumer spending was dampened by the fact that inflation rose faster than wages, resulting in a slight loss of purchasing power. On a positive note, the population grew at roughly the same rate as in the previous year thanks to immigration; in addition, exchange rate developments between the euro and the Swiss franc, as well as minimal price increases on the part of Swiss retailers, meant that shopping abroad became slightly less attractive to Swiss consumers than in previous years. Meanwhile, Amazon's partial entry into the market last year is likely to accelerate the move away from brick-and-mortar to online trading in the non-food segment. The Amazon example nevertheless demonstrates that the competition facing Swiss retailers is increasingly international in nature. Increasing foreign competition is putting the heat on retailers, according to the Credit Suisse economists. Even so, in the opinion of the economists at Credit Suisse, challenging times also bring opportunities – as is almost always the case. Retailers affected by the more intense competition are putting more effort into developing their companies than those that have not (yet) felt the effects of international competitive pressures. This, the Credit Suisse economists hope, will ultimately make the industry more resilient in the long term.

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SINGAPORE

Huobi DM exceeds $12B in cumulative trading volume in first month of operation Huobi DM's cryptocurrency Huobi DM, Huobi Group's contract trading service cryptocurrency contract allows users the ability trading service, saw to take long and short its cumulative trading positions on Bitcoin (BTC), volume exceed $12billion Ethereum (ETH), and EOS in its first full month of (EOS), providing options operation. It attributed this for arbitrage, speculation, growth to being fuelled by and hedging that were not strong market demand for previously widely available in powerful tools to manage crypto trading. volatility and risk in the cryptocurrency market. Huobi will continue to Livio Weng, CEO, Huobi Global Livio Weng, CEO, Huobi enhance Huobi DM over Global, said: "We are incredibly the course of 2019, adding happy with Huobi DM's rapid growth in additional contract types and enhancing December and we think it illustrates the the platform's features. strong desire that is out there from institutional Consisting of 10 upstream and traders and professional traders. downstream enterprises, Huobi Group's "The time has come for tools to manage accumulative turnover exceeds $1trillion. It the risk and volatility of cryptocurrency – provides cryptocurrency trading and asset particularly during bear markets, like the management services to millions of users one we find ourselves in now." in more than 130 countries. KUWAIT

Kuwait asks Dubai release half-billion dollars in private equity funds frozen for over a year in long-running dispute The Port Fund announced that Kuwait has joined its year-long effort to recoup $496million of investor funds that have been held in Dubai. The State of Kuwait has formally requested that Dubai unfreeze and return the money to The Port Fund, a private equity fund, which will then distribute the money to its investors and other international and US stakeholders. After selling its last investment in November 2017, The Port Fund wired $496million to the bank account of its general partner, Port Link GP, at Noor Bank in Dubai, at which point the money was frozen without cause. In a letter dated 30 December, 2018, Kuwait Attorney General Dherar Al-Asousi wrote to Dubai Attorney General Essam Issa Al Humaidan requesting ‘to remove the hold [on the funds] … and enable the account holder company to transfer and distribute the mentioned amount [$496million]’. Dubai cleared the funds of any legal concerns months ago, leaving Kuwait – the largest investor in The Port Fund – as the only government that had not yet approved the release of the funds. Now that Kuwait

has lifted its hold, The Port Fund anticipates the immediate transfer of the money to its account at Noor Bank. Mark Williams, investment director of the fund, said: "We are pleased that both Kuwait and Dubai have recognised the lawful nature of our successful management of The Port Fund. "We are eager to distribute these funds to our investors and have already provided Noor Bank with wiring instructions to ensure there is no delay in these payments. We thank our investors and stakeholders for their patience and trust in our management team as we bring this matter to a successful conclusion."

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GLOBAL NEWS

ICELAND

Creditinfo joins forces with Central Bank of Oman to implement credit bureau in Sultanate and the Gulf Region. We look forward Global credit information and fintech services provider to working with CBO, and to deliver Creditinfo Group announced a these capabilities to our financial new strategic partnership with the services clients globally.” Central Bank of Oman (CBO). Tahir bin Salim Al Amri, executive As part of the contract, Creditinfo president, at Central Bank of Oman, Group will offer a full range of products Stefano Stoppani, said:“The signing of this agreement to support the development, roll-out CEO, Creditinfo between Central Bank of Oman and and management of a sophisticated Creditinfo, a World-Class Credit Bureau and scalable credit registry system, including a & FinTech Analytics Provider- is part of modular credit reporting system with a roadmap CBO 2019-2021 strategy which is aligned of value-added products. with the National Program for Economic The contract with CBO will ensure that The Diversification. OCB once launched will Sultanate has the credit bureau in the region, become a national one-stop-shop for credit with capabilities and facilities that extend far and financial information in the Sultante. beyond those of a traditional credit bureau. Established in 1997 and headquartered The new bureau will be processing credit in Reykjavík, Iceland, Creditinfo is a provider data sourced from both banks and nonof credit information and risk management banking entities like providers of leasing solutions worldwide. With more than 33 credit finance, SME sector lenders, insurance bureaus running today, Creditinfo has the companies, telecommunication companies, largest global presence in the field of credit utilities and government data. risk management, with a significantly greater Stefano Stoppani, CEO, Creditinfo, said: footprint than competitors. “We are thrilled to start this new adventure with Central Bank of Oman (CBO) is the the Central Bank of Oman and provide the full regulatory authority for all licensed banks potential of intelligent information, software operating within the Sultanate of Oman and and analytics solutions to this project. for those commercial banks incorporated “Backed by international know-how and in the Sultanate with operations extending local market support, the infrastructure we will deliver will set a high bar in the Omani market to countries outside of the Sultanate. IRELAND

Continuous growth in global defence spending to drive growth from $39.4B in 2017 to $43.3B in 2023 The global warship and naval vessels market was worth $39.4billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $43.3billion by 2023, exhibiting a CAGR of nearly two per cent during 2018-2023, according to ‘Warship and Naval Vessels Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2018-2023’ report. One of the biggest factors driving the global market for warships and naval vessels is the continuous growth in the global defence spending. Driven by a rise in regional conflicts, the global defence spending has been rising continuously in recent years. In 2017, the global defence spending reached around $1.7trillion. This growth has been largely catalysed by a rise in defence budgets by countries in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions, such as China, India and Saudi Arabia. Countries are currently spending extensively on upgrading and expanding their current fleet of naval vessels. Apart from participating in offensive operations against enemy forces, naval vessels are also involved in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

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Based on the naval vessels type, the market has been segmented into warships, submarines and aircraft carriers. Warships currently represent the biggest segment. Based on the application, the market has been segmented into rescue, defence and others. Region-wise, the market has been segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America. The competitive landscape of the market has also been examined with some of the key players being Babcock International Group, General Dynamics, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Lockheed Martin, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, CSIC, DSME, Fincantieri, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Navantia, and Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited. This report provides a deep insight into the global warship and naval vessels market covering all its essential aspects. This ranges from macro overview of the market to micro details of the industry performance, recent trends, key market drivers and challenges, SWOT analysis, Porter’s five forces analysis, value chain analysis.

BRIEFS BAD FINANCIAL DECISIONS BY MANAGERS COST FIRMS PROFITS, SAYS GARTNER

Chronic occurrence of poor operational decisions by midlevel managers is eroding margins and costing firms upward of three per cent of profits, according to global research and advisory firm Gartner. As digital and other business transformations  such as merger and acquisition (M&A)  drive a greater volume and variety of operational decisions, it is vital to the organisation’s bottom line that CFOs ensure those decisions are financially sound. CFOs seeking to better support these managers should redefine the role of their finance business partners — those assigned to support decisions from business unit managers — to more specialised positions focused on individual decision types. “Managers tell us that they have faced a significantly higher volume of financial decisions over the past three years,” said Randeep Rathindran, research vice president at Gartner. “This increased volume has exposed the lack of rigour employed by most midlevel managers in reaching material decisions that impact the bottom line.” Gartner surveyed 469 business decision makers and 128 senior finance executives globally across various industries as part of its 2018 study.

TRADITIONAL WEALTH MANAGERS SET TO LOSE MARKET SHARE TO ROBOADVISORS: GLOBALDATA

The robo-advisory market is increasing in competition globally, with more start-ups entering the wealth management industry year by year, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company. Sergel Woldemicheal, wealth management analyst at GlobalData, said: “In previous years, traditional wealth managers across the globe had a widespread level of agreement that robo-advice would seize market share. “However, as of 2018, the level of agreement that Asian-Pacific and European wealth managers will lose market share to robo-advisors is beginning to align.” “For traditional wealth managers to reduce the risk of losing market share, they would benefit from introducing a digital investment platform,” he added.

MASTERCARD DROPS NAME FROM BRAND MARK IN MOVE TO ADAPT TO DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

Mastercard announced that it is dropping its name from its iconic brand mark in select contexts. The interlocking red and yellow circles, referred to as the Mastercard Symbol, will now stand on its own across cards using the red and yellow brand mark, acceptance marks at retail locations both in the physical and digital worlds, and major sponsorship properties. As the consumer and commerce landscape continues to evolve, the Mastercard Symbol represents Mastercard better than one word ever could, and the flexible modern design will allow it to work seamlessly across the digital landscape, the company said.

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IN CONVERSATION

In conversation....

Graeme Gordon CEO, PRAXITY MY NAME IS GRAEME GORDON AND I AM THE CEO AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PRAXITY, THE WORLD'S LARGEST ALLIANCE OF INDEPENDENT ACCOUNTING AND CONSULTING FIRMS. Trained as a chartered accountant, I joined the firm in 2010. Previous to that I was the managing director and senior tutor of Emile Woolf Group, an international training and development firm. I was also previously group finance director of a technology company listed on the London Stock Exchange. I am a council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a former president of the Thames Valley Society of Chartered Accountants. Before becoming an accountant, I served in the British Royal Navy.

use the only member firm in that jurisdiction, regardless of suitability.

PRAXITY

My style is for others to say, but I am strongly influenced by my time as an officer in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. I believe in playing to the strengths of your individual team members and their collective fortes, always trying to be there to support colleagues if they feel like they are failing and ensuring they get the backing they personally need to advance in their role. Going forward, I would love to build upon the success of the global tax conferences we run for participant firms and hold further conferences for specific service lines. To this end, the Praxity management team is already planning to trial events in the very near future.

Praxity is a global alliance of independent accounting, tax and consulting firms. Our participant firms have more than 700 offices in over 100 countries, with 3,690 partners and 47,600 employees. Their combined turnover for the year ended 31 December 2017 was $5.20billion, which was slightly larger than Grant Thornton International and slightly less than BDO International.

USP

Our USP is the fact we are an alliance. And what sets us apart from others is that our participant firms are transparently separate and independent businesses, able to offer clients a bespoke service. We have multiple firms in most locations, designed to fulfil clients’ specific needs. They are not forced to

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ROLE AS CEO

My role evolves in tandem with the accounting profession. Technology and globalisation means as a sector we must adapt to meet the growing needs of users and businesses rapidly-shifting requirements. Our participant firms are required to meet new challenges and offer a wider portfolio of services, therefore it is beholden on my team and the Praxity Board to ensure we have solutions our firms can use when necessary. Going forward, my focus is to develop services that empower participant firms while ensuring they retain their transparent independence.

MANAGEMENT STYLE

CHALLENGES

Business challenges range from the dayto-day, like running an organisation which

has offices in most time zones across the world, to being aware of the many regulatory changes between jurisdictions, their impact and resolving any issues caused. As ever with challenges, they are overcome by talking to the right people with the right expertise, plus collaborating and communicating.

2018-19

2018, like most years, has been ‘interesting’. The challenges of 2019, with the unknown Brexit situation and continuing trade wars, will be even more ‘interesting’ I suspect.

AIM, GOALS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

When we reached our tenth ‘birthday’ – 1 April 2017 – we started a full re-evaluation of the what, why and how. Having evolved well above and beyond the expectations of our founders, we wanted to ensure we remain focused on how we benefit our participant firms and thus their clients. To this end we dispensed with our socalled mission statement and went through a complete re-brand. We started with Praxity’s purpose, which after several months of research and a lot of soul searching was identified as: ‘to assist participant firms in finding the best solutions for achieving their clients’ goals through seamless collaboration within Praxity’s global alliance of independent firms’. We, the board of Praxity, and our members are not interested in flags in a map. True, we have grown to having a presence in well over 100 countries since I took over, when there were probably less than 70, but this has been done, and will continue to be done, only by going into countries where participant firms’

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IN CONVERSATION

Our USP is the fact we are an alliance. And what sets us apart from others is that our participant firms are transparently separate and independent businesses, able to offer clients a bespoke service. clients have real needs. Then we only bring on board new firms whose culture, as well as skill sets, fit the Praxity ‘family’ ethos.

FUTURE

Out of our purpose, came a new position statement ‘empowering our participants as champions for global business success’ and from here, a fresh new logo, website and suite of marketing material. We have a more ‘modern, professional feel’ with a new strapline ‘empowering business globally’. We are ready to embrace the future. And the future for Praxity is to continue doing things as an alliance and to push boundaries to advance our support for participant firms. In short, we will endeavour to provide ‘leading edge, not bleeding edge’ support for our independent accounting, tax and consulting firms. l

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TRENDS 2019

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INNOVATE OR LOSE OUT IN 2019 KEY TRENDS SET TO MAKE WAVES IN THE BUSINESS SECTOR Innovation is not a new concept but embracing it rapidly and adapting to the disruption it brings is going to be key in 2019. Those businesses that fail to innovate and quickly embrace technological innovations as part of their core offerings risk being left behind in the race to triumph in the ever-competitive global market. Christopher Burke

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AS WE LOOK BACK ON 2018, THE YEAR WAS PRETTY MUCH AS EXPECTED. High aspirations of innovation were hindered by resources being channelled into regulations such as MiFID and GDPR, as well as large investment decisions being delayed by the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the Brexit debate. Whilst digitalisation, data analytics, and increased automation dominated the agendas of many business boards, they ultimately failed to reach their climax. Ultimately while the financial markets managed to shake off the effect of the credit crunch and the following regulatory curfew on resources, they have not been able to shift their investment to innovations that create value for clients and make a major difference in their businesses. Firms face changing political landscapes on both sides of the Atlantic and need to fend off fintech challengers who are starting to make inroads into core business areas in many sectors. As a result, for 2019, firms will need to refine their strategy and leverage the latest technologies if they are going survive in the decade ahead. Accumulating our years of experience working with global clients in solving their challenges and helping them thrive in competitive markets, we have put together the five trends set to dominate the business agenda.

1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be a game changer in 2019, with a focus on innovation for business growth rather than just for cost cutting. The businesses which embrace these concepts are more likely to be successful in the transition from just surviving, to thriving in the business world of the future. The impact of data regulation could have a significant influence on the effectiveness of machine learning but when leveraged properly it will provide significant revenue and cost-cutting opportunities and a more personalised and superior service for customers. Effective implementation of machine learning will also enable financial services companies to free up some of their resources and channel them into other areas.

2. Looking beyond data

This buzzword will continue to play an important role in 2019, though like in most

TRENDS 2019

other areas, the focus for 2019 is expected to shift to innovation. The Holy Grail is no longer about predictive or prescriptive analytics. Businesses need to go one step further to decode the black box of algorithms and provide an explanation to the user and give context around predictions. Explainability will become a key feature in the data world, along with technology, algorithms and architecture, the key going forward will be for organisations to focus on actions and solutions that can be rolled out into production. In the areas of data science and big data there have been a lot of proof-of-concepts (POCs) and siloed implementations, which now need to be turned into scalable solutions in the production environment. As such, developing a mature software house capability for their data business will be paramount in delivering the business vision for the future.

3. Role of financial regulation

In many ways regulation has become excessive over the past few years, with most of it emerging as a knee-jerk reaction to unexpected financial issues, errors and misconduct. On the other hand, there are still areas, products and players, where regulators play an important role. For instance, asset managers who managed to escape the attention of the regulators for many years are now seeing the impact on their business. In 2019, the impact of regulators on the financial services sector is set to decrease, with the regulatory agenda taking on a more business-as-usual form and focusing on ongoing conduct. Having said that, regulators are also expected to take a more pro-active approach and apply their experiences to some of the as-of-yet relatively untouched areas of business. As the number of new regulations decreases, the agility to migrate and allocate resources to growth areas will be equivalent to first mover advantage. In 2019, businesses that manage to adapt to innovative technologies as part of their core offerings will set themselves from the competition.

4. Brexit

A peek into the crystal ball for 2019 cannot be complete without a nod to Brexit. While progress appears to be being made in the overall debate, Brexit will continue to dominate the agendas and minds of

businesses on all sides. It will, without doubt, evolve significantly in 2019, with clarification on today’s unknowns providing certainty in some areas and new mysteries in others. The biggest risk to any business is uncertainty and the longer the process takes, the more likely firms are to look for jurisdictions where they can make long-term decisions with confidence. All businesses, but especially those in financial services, should be prepared not only for multiple scenarios and ongoing change, but also to survive any potential crisis caused by major uncertainties which come out of the finalisation of the Brexit deal.

5. Future of the workforce

We are living through a paramount shift in the way we work, the inevitable increase in automation will reduce the need for as many repetitive jobs, shifting the focus to the workforce’s ability to innovate or disrupt. 2019 will see more automation through machine learning and robotics, changing the need in the workforce from repetitive and predictable tasks to more strategic and valueadding roles. This will not necessarily lead to a significant reduction in the workforce as the increased ability via AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will also proportionally increase the expectations from customers, regulators and agents. As a result in 2019 we will see relationship between financial services and technology firms become tighter, but equally more complicated, with each side trying to capture market share from the other.

2019 and beyond

To conclude, the biggest unknown in 2019 is Brexit and its outcome is impossible to predict. Excluding this elephant in the room, 2019 is likely to see a continuation of momentum in some of the areas that have come under the spotlight in 2018. Digitalisation, data analytics, and machine learning will continue to be hot topics. The focus on regulation and compliance will continue to taper away and be replaced by the need to embrace technological innovation quickly and efficiently. How things will play out precisely remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that businesses globally will need to embrace the innovations on offer if they are to succeed and gain first mover advantage in what is becoming an increasingly tight and competitive marketplace. l

Christopher Burke is CEO of Brickendon, a UK-based management and technology consulting firm serving the financial services industry. It consults on a range of areas, and operates with some of the largest global banks, hedge funds and asset managers. Founded in 2010, it has offices based in London, New York, Warsaw and Krakow.

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STRATEGIC DECISION-MAKING

FOCUS NOW WHAT TO PAY ATTENTION TO AS DIGITAL REVOLUTIONISES YOUR INDUSTRY AND ORGANISATION Twelve principles to ensure your organisation makes a successful leap to digital. Getting aligned on strategy and decision making, engaging your people wherever they may be and building capability to swiftly get your organisation to the next level. Paul Ashcroft and Garrick Jones

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THE IMPACT OF THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION IS BEING FELT ACROSS ALL INDUSTRIES. Computerisation, online communications, algorithms, and work flow software has made its mark on professional services organisations. This is still to make the largest impact as work shifts from face to face to online. The economic benefits of this are clear, more work is done, as less travel is required. One of the biggest challenges for organisations from law to accountancy has been making the online social shifts that are required to get the best out of the new digital reality. Digital work requires some shift in mindset within the organisation, while still meeting the policy requirements of the legal and/or the financial system. We have developed a framework of 12 principles around three main pillars which we believe determine the truly activated and successful digital human-based organisation.

DECISION-MAKING AND EXECUTING

1. The spine: Organise decision making and knowledge making As organizations become ever more networked, they become like a labyrinth of connections, pathways and knowledge. A digital spine is the sequencing of activities and documenting of knowledge over time that supports the work of a team.

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STRATEGIC DECISION-MAKING

motivate people to engage. Nudges keep online communities animated and connected. Small things make the difference.

LEARNING AND GETTING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

9. Targets and the mirror: Use feedback for navigating Within digital organisations, an immense amount of feedback is available. This is essential to growth and success. The mapping of this landscape of reflected data is now becoming one of the primary tasks in navigating a changing world. For digital humans and organisations, being able to navigate the volume of data and feedback is a complex task. Digital tools such as realtime information dashboards can lead to better decision-making and outcomes.

2. Build together: Collaborate and create alignment across virtual teams People buy into what they build. Quality, scale and unimaginable speed can be achieved when people are involved in building the outcome together. Digital enables global groups to communicate and work more effectively using a common language, tools and methods to create together. 3. The organization of one: Design work around people’s lives Digital is re-wiring the way we work and has brought a shift in the social contract between employers and employees. We can design work around peoples’ lives. 4. Add-app-ability: Apply an app mindset to organisations Digital enables us to programme and adapt our organisations in a dynamic manner. When we are able to programme the world around us, organisations operate less like highly tuned, classical orchestras and more like jazz bands: free flowing and inventive. Smart organisations are already beginning to act like app developers. An app mindset allows teams to build and test ideas and practices within organisations, making them more agile using a ‘fail fast, fail better’ approach.

ENGAGING AND MOTIVATING

5. Theatres of work: Create and use an ecosystem of connected environments Throughout history, humans have designed physical places to bring people together for work, learning and play. These spaces provide a focal point for every kind of

conversation. The way we meet and connect with each other has changed dramatically in the past decade. A single physical environment or even a network of multiple offices around the world is insufficient for digital working. We need to create theatres of work that are inspiring and facilitate many different forms of work. 6. Build beautiful things: Build trust through delivering excellence at every step An organization is always a work in progress: a continually iterating set of people, products, services, knowledge and technology. Paying attention to quality at every step in the process is important. Quality is a mindset that is fundamental to successful transformation. For digital humans, often working from different locations, this additional effort is necessary to build trust and results in better outcomes. 7. Playing games: Use gamification as a major lever for engagement Games continue to be an integral part of our lives. Games bring us together, help us learn and make life fun. In the digital realm, games give organisations a powerful method for teaching, engaging and inspiring, as well as having fun. 8. The power of small things: Lead in the digital world. Leaders can use the power of small things to enable an organisation to self-transform. Personalised experiences and use of games and incentives, competitions and awards that recognize particular types of behaviour

10. Always learning: Deliver transformational learning at scale The digital world provides everyone with access to high-quality knowledge anytime, anywhere. The future of learning for digital humans is about getting what we want, when we want it and in the way we want it. We need to continually learn and update our skills to remain relevant. Organisations need to be ready to provide transformational learning at a massive scale using digital tools. 11. Meaningful alternatives: Define and share a future that people want to step into People will only step into a new reality if they believe it is possible and that it is sufficiently better than their current situation. Organisations can use digital to bring to life their vision for the future in incredible ways and at the same time reach huge audiences with ease. 12. Turn it on: Create a movement and activate the power within it Digital organisations can accelerate change within themselves by creating movements that grow organically, using the power of their tribes to shift the organisation from the inside and create the spark for sustainable change in the longer term. Stories are a great tool to build movements. They make the most influential tool to communication and engagement. By paying attention to these 12 principles simultaneously, organisations will be able to make a successful shift to digital and set in place the basis for the next epoch of work. The opportunities for finding new competitive forms are immense. l

Paul Ashcroft and Garrick Jones are founders of global digital consultancy Ludic, a company providing new tools and a fundamentally new consulting delivery model to organisations with the aim to enable clients to make decisions, transform and implement in powerful new ways. Founded in 2004, headquartered in the UK and has been working with 132 of the Fortune 500 companies. The authors’ latest book Alive: Digital Humans and Their Organizations (Novaro 2018) offers 12 principles to help leaders develop a digital ‘spine’ for their organisation, transforming their business into a complex evolving system that can adapt to the rapid and constant change demanded by the digital age.

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DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT

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Challenges galore WHY OBTAINING A DPA AND SEEING IT THROUGH TO COMPLETION REMAINS A TOUGH TASK Standard Bank has become the first organisation to successfully conclude a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in the UK. Obtaining a DPA is far from straightforward; gaining one is only the start of the process. Aziz Rahman

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THE SATISFACTORY CONCLUSION OF THE FIRST DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT (DPA) IS A MILESTONE. BUT IT SHOULD ALSO BE VIEWED AS SOMETHING THAT ANYONE IN BUSINESS CAN LEARN FROM. Standard Bank PLC has been told by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that it will not face prosecution over allegations of failure to prevent bribery, as it has now met fully the terms of its DPA. The conclusion of this agreement is the first since DPA’s were introduced into the UK legal system Introduced by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which came into effect in 2014, a DPA allows a prosecutor to suspend a prosecution for a defined period  providing the organisation completes actions specified in the DPA. A DPA is reached under supervision of a judge and is an alternative to prosecution, available to the SFO and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Conditions Meeting the conditions in a DPA, as Standard has done, ensures an organisation is not prosecuted for the allegations. But a failure to meet the conditions will lead to the DPA ending and a prosecution commencing. Standard’s former sister company, Stanbic Bank Tanzania Ltd, was alleged to have made a $6million payment to influence members of that country’s government to help it secure a lucrative contract. The resulting DPA required Standard Bank to pay nearly $26million in fines and disgorgement of profits, $6million compensation to the Tanzania government and £330,000 SFO costs. Standard Bank was also required to commission an external consultant to report on its antibribery and corruption controls, to act on the consultant’s recommendations and to cooperate fully with the SFO’s investigation of the allegations. Standard met these conditions, the DPA expired at the end of November and formal notification was sent to Southwark Crown Court, where the DPA had originally been approved. It would be tempting to believe that securing a DPA is the simple, obvious

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route to a prosecution-free future. But, as Standard would no doubt testify, such an agreement’s conditions mean it is far from being an easily-obtained ‘get out of jail’ card.

Obtaining DPA DPA’s are not given out freely to any organisation that wants one. The SFO has made it clear that a company has a greater chance of obtaining a DPA if it self-reports its problems to the SFO and cooperates with its investigators. As an example, in the UK’s second DPA  the case known as XYZ – the judge approving the agreement commented on the speed with which the company had self-reported and remarked that it should benefit from such openness. But self-reporting is no guarantee of a DPA: just four DPA’s in four years is proof of this. Exactly how self-reporting and any resulting negotiations are carried out will affect the likelihood of a DPA being obtained. It is for this reason why it is vitally important that such tasks are conducted (or at least guided) by those who have the relevant legal expertise and experience of dealing with the SFO and / or CPS. Any cooperation with the SFO has to be seen by it to be a genuine attempt to put right any wrongs; not merely a last-ditch attempt to save face and avoid prosecution. Factors such as how early a company selfreports, the thoroughness and quality of the internal investigation it has conducted and the access it gives investigators to its findings can all determine whether the SFO considers a case worthy of a DPA. This is not mere theory. Rolls-Royce did not report its bribery in far-flung countries, yet it obtained the UK’s third DPA by then offering all possible help to the SFO; including reporting wrongdoing that the agency had not known about. The DPA settlement

even made reference to the ‘extraordinary cooperation’ the company offered the SFO. The extent to which a company changes to avoid a repeat of its problems is also a factor. It is no coincidence that all the UK’s DPA’s have been granted to companies that have removed senior staff who were either involved in the wrongdoing or appeared to be turning a blind eye to it.

Complying with DPA The aforementioned activities will, if managed correctly, improve a company’s chances of being offered a DPA. But it would be a mistake to believe that the hard work has been done if and when a DPA has been obtained. A DPA comes with terms. And those terms have to be adhered to if a prosecution is to be avoided. Earlier, we outlined the terms that Standard had to meet: terms that involved a continuous commitment over three years to ensuring it put right the wrongs that brought it close to prosecution. If Standard had fallen short when it came to meeting those terms, it would very likely be facing prosecution. And being a company that is prosecuted for failing to meet the terms of a DPA could be hugely costly in terms of both finance and reputation. If a company does obtain a DPA, therefore, it has to make sure it has systems in place so that it complies with all aspects of the agreement at all times. Such systems will differ with the terms of each DPA. But they must be devised in a way that recognises the demands being placed on the company by the DPA – and must make sure it complies with them at all times. And if a company feels it is not able to create and implement these practices itself, it must seek external expertise. Leaving compliance with the terms of a DPA to chance or good luck is simply too risky and can be extremely damaging. l

Aziz Rahman is founder and senior partner at Rahman Ravelli, UK-based legal firm specialising in serious crime and serious fraud including commercial fraud and business crime, regulatory matters and commercial litigation.

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FUNDRAISING PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE

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Making business sense COMPARING FUNDRAISING PRACTICES BY START-UPS IN JAPAN AND ISRAEL Early stage funding practices in Israel and Japan shed light on the differences in their business cultures. But is this split in the approach to investment in young companies showing signs of change? Peter Sugarman and Eliran Furman

IN OUR EXPERIENCE, REPRESENTING NUMEROUS START-UP COMPANIES IN ISRAEL OVER THE YEARS, WE HAVE SEEN THAT MOST STARTUP COMPANIES ARE FORCED TO SPEND FAR MORE TIME THINKING ABOUT HOW TO GET FUNDING THAN CONSIDERING AND EVALUATING THE SOURCE OF THE FUNDS AND WHAT IT WILL MEAN FOR THEM DOWN THE LINE. While the various funding sources could have a substantial impact on the future of a company, we have found that most Israeli startups and early-stage companies are happy to just take any money using the path

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of least resistance to get whatever funds they can from the easiest sources. While pretty intuitive, this principle can have widely differing results for start-up companies, depending on the market ecosystem in which they exist and hunt for funds. Beyond the obvious observation that the specifics of each investor, including the personalities of the actual individuals, are key factors in determining the success of a company's choice of investors, we have compared the practices in Israel and in Japan. We believe the comparison between the two is illuminating. Whereas Israeli startups, more often than not, will turn to angels as a source of early

stage funding and to venture capital funds as potential sources of funding at a later stage, the same does not hold true with their Japanese counterparts, at least up until a few years ago. Japanese startups raised only $2.4billion in 2016 and about $2.5-2.66billion in venture capital investments in 2017. By comparison, Israeli startups, despite the significantly smaller local economy, raised around $5.24billion in 2017. The difference could easily be explained by assuming that Israel simply has substantially more startups in comparison to Japan. While this is probably true, the way in which Japanese startups raise money in their early stages is most likely a factor as well.

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Japanese start-up companies are far more likely to attempt to raise money via an IPO than they are to turn to VCs, even at a much earlier stage than most companies would expect to have an IPO. Some have taken to explaining this phenomenon as cultural, namely a reluctance to sign over part of their company and its management to a VC. However, a more practical view would be that the answer is tied to the simple fact that the Tokyo Stock Exchange has relatively low thresholds for initial listings on its 'Mothers' market, which is geared to new and emerging companies. For a new listing on the Mothers market, the capital threshold can be as low as Japanese Yen ¥0.5billion (about $4.5million). This relatively low threshold opens the door for an early stage company to raise money via an IPO, which would be unattainable for companies at a similar stage in parallel markets. Another potential reason for the relatively low level of VC activity in Japan is the prevalence of corporate VCs (CVCs) in contrast to the more traditional VCs. CVCs are funds established by large corporations as a vehicle to invest in startups and other early stage companies. CVC investment constitutes approximately two-

FUNDRAISING PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE

thirds to four-fifths of all VC-backed deals in Japan versus only about one-fifth in the US and slightly more than one-third in Israel. Another interesting finding is that around ten per cent of the top 300 CVC funds in the world are from Japan. Some examples of Japanese CVCs are Mirai Creation Investment, a fund created by Toyota together with SMBC and Sparx (an asset management company), The Sony Innovation Fund set up by Sony, Alliance Ventures set up by Renault–Nissan– Mitsubishi, 31 Ventures established by Mitsui Fudosan and managed by Global Brain, a Japanese VC fund, Sosei CVC established by Sosei, a biopharma company, and the Nikon-SBI Innovation Fund established by Nikon Corporation and SBI. Nonetheless, Japan has seen a rise in VC funding over the past few years, which could be an indicator that the trend may become more and more popular amongst Japanese startups. This may be enticing for foreign VCs who had not previously paid attention to the Japanese market. On one of our recent trips to Japan, several of the industry leaders we met expressed some frustration regarding the difficulties surrounding funding for Japanese start-ups. They are disappointed with the ‘premature IPO’ phenomenon, which more often than

not results in a fall-out in the share price within a couple of years of the IPO. The problems of going public too early are not unique to Japan and we have seen this with clients in different jurisdictions over the years. The industry seems to cause these types of waves from time to time and companies are tempted by what seems like the most painless route to funding. However, there can be many disadvantages to being a public company. For example, in a company with low revenues, the disclosure requirements on financials and contractual activity can get in the way of being a nimble early stage company. In addition, there are ongoing compliance headaches and costs, both of which can be a significant financial burden on a young company and require internal and external staff. Another factor is the potential media spotlight on the company, which can quickly turn issues that would have had little impact in a private company into major issues for a public company and its share price. Moving forward, we hope to see the angel and VC community growing in Japan and increasing their market share in comparison to corporate VCs, which we believe would have a beneficial impact on Japan’s start-up community. l

Peter Sugarman and Eliran Furman are corporate partners at Israeli law firm Yigal Arnon & Co. The firm provides a full range of legal services to meet the differing needs of clients across a variety of industries. Founded in 1957, it is one of the largest law firms in Israel with offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

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EXIT STRATEGY

PARTING OF WAYS HOW ORGANISATIONS CAN ENSURE TACTFUL EXIT OF SENIOR EXECUTIVES Whatever the nature of any business, it is likely that at some point it will face a tricky termination situation. Handling the exit of a senior executive is a significant challenge but can be handled smoothly if they understand the risks and manage the process with care. Florence Brocklesby THERE ARE INVARIABLY A NUMBER OF REASONS WHY AN EMPLOYER MIGHT WISH TO EXIT A SENIOR EXECUTIVE. Whatever the cause for parting ways, there are challenges to the process and a smooth outcome depends on how the situation is handled from the very start. If the business’s objective is to make the transition as smooth as possible – and exit a senior executive without animosity – the process needs to be handled with sensitivity and tact. It is important to bear in mind that senior employees are often high-performing individuals who may not have experienced anything similar previously and emotions can run high.

The process

In many businesses, a very senior level employee exit will probably involve several steps as laid out below. Removal as director. The senior executive will need to formally resign their directorship. If there is provision for this in their existing employment contract, the company can

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handle this on their behalf. If not, this will need to be agreed with the director, typically as part of a settlement agreement. Whilst this is usually seen by both parties as a formality, in a contentious departure the fact that it needs to happen can give the employee some leverage. Exiting as a shareholder. Senior executives often own shares – typically the company will want these back when the executive departs. There may be some provision for this in a shareholders’ agreement, but the company will still need to consider the value of the shares and the logistics of transferring them; this can be made easier through a separate sale and purchase agreement. Where the executive holds options or any long-term incentive plan, this should also be considered as part of the package. Termination of employment. In practice this is often the most complicated element, throwing up the most sticking-points. Formal options leading to dismissal may not be appropriate in order to exit senior executives. These are time-consuming and can cause

excessive damage to the employee’s standing within the organisation. In order to ensure a smooth transition, handling the exit in a way that protects the individual’s dignity should be a priority. Obviously, if there is any suspicion of serious misconduct then different considerations apply. You may need to investigate, consider disciplinary proceedings and decide whether to report the matter to regulatory or criminal authorities.

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Preparation is key

If you prepare for these kinds of exits, then the process will run more smoothly. Some issues to consider proactively are: Reviewing contracts. Your employment contracts and service agreements should be drafted with an exit in mind. They should include provisions entitling you to place the employee on garden leave; or to make a payment in lieu of allowing them to work their notice, preferably at their basic salary level. For employees who are also statutory directors, they should also contain a power of attorney allowing the company to affect the employee’s resignation as a director. Do remember to look at the length of the employee’s notice period and any posttermination restrictions as well. Considering the conversation. In the UK, for example, section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 gives employers and employees the right to have what is known as a ‘protected conversation’: a conversation about what a termination might look like, but which cannot be used in an unfair dismissal claim. Such conversations can be helpful as they allow the parties to have a frank and constructive discussion about potential options. The employer must take care not to behave improperly of course, for example, by stating that the employee’s departure is a foregone conclusion. Before any conversation, employers should consider: how they want the conversation to go; the ideal timing of the senior executive’s departure; and the timing of the conversation itself (allowing enough time for both parties to consider their options and avoiding any major upcoming events). Reactions from the employee will vary, with some people being

unfazed; some being shocked and horrified; and some even welcoming the news. Handling the discussion with empathy is key to ensuring a smooth transition. Think carefully about your financial offer. It is generally best not to make your final offer first, as the employee may naturally want to negotiate, but you do need to make a sensible and appropriate opening offer. Pitching too low will likely cause bad feeling and sour negotiations. However, every situation is different: if you do feel that you do not want to negotiate then make it very clear that this is your best and final offer. Bear in mind, too, that there is little point playing ‘hardball’ if you want to exit a senior executive smoothly. Consider other ‘perks’. There may be items that can be added into the settlement as ‘sweeteners’ which don’t cost the company much but are valuable to the employee. Allowing them to keep their phone or other devices or allowing them to retain access to private medical insurance for a period can help ensure an amicable exit. Assuring the exiting executive that news of their departure will be handled in a positive way could prove advantageous to negotiations. Encourage the employee to seek legal advice – and consider covering costs. The employee will require basic legal advice on the terms and effect of any settlement agreement. It is usual for employers to make a contribution to the costs of this, but can sometimes make sense for the employer to cover the cost of more extensive legal advice as this can help ensure a difficult situation remains as amicable as possible.

Changing of the guard

With high-level departures, the CEO will usually be heavily involved in the conversation and process. However, if the CEO needs to be let go, this duty typically falls to the Chair. For HR teams, boards and the broader team, this change in leadership can mean a considerable shift in culture, dynamics and remit. To ensure the business can continue operating efficiently – and to avoid an atmosphere of anxiety and instability – there needs to be a very clear plan of action that is both executed promptly and well communicated to the organisation and external stakeholders. The exit of chief people officers (CPOs) or HR directors throws up other difficulties. Normally, if someone senior were to be let go, the CPO would work alongside the CEO to effect this transition. When it is time for a CPO to move on themselves, the situation becomes trickier: external help is needed to handle this effectively. HR directors have often seen enough exits to be pragmatic about their own, but the company will need to lean more heavily than usual on its external employment lawyers to manage their departure, and, sometimes, parts of the HR director’s day-to-day role during the transition. In some cases, a further challenge presents itself if the company believes its external advisers may be too close to the CPO to advise on their exit. In these instances, the company will need to turn to another firm with a track record in handling similar situations independently. l

Florence Brocklesby is founder and principal at UK-based Bellevue Law, a specialist employment and litigation law firm. Its clients include multinationals, professional services firms, entrepreneurs, owner managed businesses and individuals, and it advises on matters as diverse as contractual disputes, negligence claims, shareholder disputes, fraud and defamation.

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REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

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Far from reality DEEPFAKE AND THE PROBLEMS IT CAN CAUSE A deepfake is a film or video that can be created in a very short time scale using machine learning, depicting an individual appearing to say and do things that they have not. This piece looks at the methods being used to create a deepfake, a portmanteau of ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake’. It looks at what can be done using current laws in the face of a deep fake which is damaging to you and/or your organisation’s reputation. Lorna Caddy

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IT TOOK MONTHS TO CREATE THE SCENES IN FORREST GUMP’S WHERE FORREST IS SEEN WITH THE VARIOUS PRESIDENTS. Using advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, these scenes could be created within days or even hours. While the advances in the technology are exciting news for the film industry, the potential for misuse is massive. Commentators on the technology have thus far mainly concentrated on the potential for fake news in the political arena. However, there are potential business implications also. What if the technology were used to create a fake announcement by a company executive or major shareholder? The ensuing havoc could be hard to contain and incredibly damaging to the business’ ability in the marketplace. Given the ease with which such a film could be posted on social media, quickly percolating via the ‘share’ button it is possible that a company’s share price could be affected within hours. This issue has gained such concern that US Members of Congress recently raised their concern in a letter to the Director of National Intelligence, stating that ‘[b]y blurring the line between fact and fiction, deep fake technology could undermine public trust in recorded images and videos as objective depictions of reality’. Explaining how the technology works, Hyeongwoo Kim from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics saya: “It works by using model-based 3D face performance capture to record the detailed movements of the eyebrows, mouth, nose, and head position of the dubbing actor in a video. It then transposes these movements onto the ‘target’ actor in the film to accurately sync the lips and facial movements with the new audio.” Professor Hany Farid is a computer science professor at Dartmouth College in the US. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the professor comments: “This is a big deal…You can literally put into a person’s mouth anything you want.” He is concerned that the development of fakes is not being outpaced by the development of methods for detecting them. An example of a deepfake gaining much media attention is one where Barack Obama appears to call President Trump a ‘dipshit’. In a recent video published by Buzzfeed earlier in 2018, Jordan Peele sits in front of a camera speaking and moving his face. Using machine learning, a computer synthesises the same facial movement in real time on an existing video of Barack Obama, with the result that Obama appears to be saying the words spoken by Peele. The key concern that accompanies the otherwise exciting advances in this technology is the potential for audiences not to recognise content as fictional, particularly where it is deployed by a competitor or a rival. Public consumption of fake content created by these means most likely via

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social media channels could irrevocably damage a business’ reputation, future plans and their share price.

Legal tools

Lawyers have been advising on forged content for years. However, with the ease and speed of this new technology, we are likely to see an increase in fake content created by these means. With that increase, there is likely to be an increase in the number of clients asking their lawyers to assist. We predict that it will not be long until lawyers are regularly consulted on deep fakes harmful to individuals and their businesses. In terms of ease of removal, pornographic deepfakes are at the easier end of the scale. This is because they involve a clear misuse of private information, as well as other potentially criminal offences. In the case of most social media sites, this kind of content will be removable under the site’s Terms of Use. At the harder end of the scale will be parodies where it is obvious to the audience that the person depicted did not say or do the things shown, particularly if the parody is created purely for comedy value on a not for profit basis. If the content is harmful and you want to do something about it, it’s more likely that you would have to rely on copyright infringement –if indeed the original work has been substantially copied. However, English copyright law was amended in October 2014 to include a fair dealing exception to copyright protection where the original work is used for parody, pastiche and/or caricature. Equally, under US law, there are fairly wide ‘fair use’ defences which cater for and permit certain parodies. You should expect any maker of a deepfake parody to rely on this defence,

leaving the lawyers to argue whether the piece amounts to a parody and, if it does, if the use amounts to fair dealing. Equally, it could be that the maker of the deepfake only needs to take a very small amount of the original film of the complainant in order to create a deepfake such that it could be difficult to get a copyright infringement claim off the ground. In these circumstances, the complainant’s moral rights under copyright legislation could usefully come into play. Another line of defence to consider is that any script or words spoken or the actions depicted in a deepfake are likely to form new copyright works even where they are created using artificial intelligence. Assuming that the words spoken and/ or actions done are understood by the audience to have been genuinely spoken by the complainant, there could be scope for a false attribution argument. Under English copyright legislation, a person has the right not to have a copyrighted work attributed to them as the author. It would also be in these sorts of circumstances, where the words spoken or actions depicted in the deepfake have caused or are likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant, that a defamation claim could also be appropriate. This is more likely to be so in the case of a deep fake which is intended to be taken seriously. With the rise in use of artificial intelligence to create content, the next couple of years could well see courts getting to grips with the copyright issues prompted by the technology. We wait to see whether those judicial efforts will be in the context of a deepfake. l

Lorna Caddy is director and specialist in IP and reputation management at Himsworth Scott, a UK-based law firm. Focusing on reputation defence, privacy and sports, it has traded for the last six years with a client base including global financial institutions, large PLCs, and elite sporting institutions.

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INVESTMENT

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RISING TO THE CHALLENGE TURKISH LAW FIRMS FIND OPPORTUNITY IN CRISIS The recent fall in the Turkish lira is increasing international investment into Turkey and driving legal work. This has led to independent private practice firms in the country to remain successful in a competitive market whilst international firms work join hands with local firms to tap into local expertise in the market. Levent Lezgin Kılınç

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IN EVERY CRISIS LIES AN OPPORTUNITY. AFTER DECADES OF SUSTAINED GROWTH, THE TURKISH ECONOMY SLOWED DRAMATICALLY DURING 2018. The Turkish lira fell by almost a third against the Dollar and interest rates highly increased. Yet international investors are now seeing real value in Turkey  precisely due to the newly depreciated lira. The World Bank still predicts continuing Turkish economic growth into 2019. Turkey’s open economy and its youthful and increasingly-affluent population of 80 million, mean that investors see long-term opportunity here. As a lawyer specialising in energy law and project finance  and as founder of a firm that services foreign direct investment into Turkey  I have recently seen strong interest in new projects, especially from European investors. As a candidate for EU membership, many of Turkey’s laws and regulatory standards are designed to be fully compatible with EU Law. That includes the Turkish Commercial Code, which was introduced in 2012. As well as providing a transparent and modern legal and regulatory regime, the Turkish government has put in place strong incentives for investment, particularly in the eastern regions of Turkey and in particular industrial sectors. We have recently advised on major projects being undertaken in Turkey by clients from as far afield as the Netherlands, Italy, Azerbaijan and the Far East. In an increasingly globalised world, referrals from our contacts in law firms in the US and Europe are an important source of new business. When a global corporation desires to open up shop in a new jurisdiction like Turkey, it will often simply ask their existing lawyers who they recommend locally. Our strong relationships with international firms such as Baker

INVESTMENT

McKenzie and Covington & Burling have been vital in attracting new clients who wish to do business in Turkey. Personal contacts developed during my time working as a lawyer in the US have also proved very helpful in building relationships with new clients from overseas. The Turkish domestic legal market is increasingly competitive. Many firms now seek to attract international clients, and so being able to operate multilingually is a vital asset for a law firm. We anticipate that a challenging economic background may also lead to an increase in domestic litigation and insolvency work. Meanwhile, as Turkey represents better value than ever to international investor clients, law firms must seize the opportunity to focus on servicing the needs of international companies doing business in Turkey. The level of foreign direct investment into Turkey is expected to have exceeded $13billion in 2018. Turkey is a leader in renewable energy with a quarter of its energy coming from renewable sources. The government plans to increase this proportion to 30 per cent by 2023. These are welcome developments and the government’s plans to further diversify Turkey’s energy resources by constructing a new generation of modern nuclear power plants. New oil and gas fields have also been discovered in the Black Sea and in Anatolia. Turkey already has a modern pipeline network which delivers oil and gas rapidly and efficiently to its Mediterranean ports. As Europe seeks to diversify its energy supplies for strategic reasons, it is increasingly looking east to Turkey for a solution. The year 2018 saw the opening of the 1,850 kilometer Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (‘TANAP’) which connects to the South Caucasus Pipeline, and can pump directly

from Azerbaijan's giant Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian, through Georgia, to Turkey. This remarkable project’s completion has been welcomed by both the EU and the US. The pipeline has been dubbed the ‘Silk Road of Energy’, as it brings vital energy supplies from Asia to Europe’s very door. This ambitious project will connect TANAP pipeline directly to continental Europe by 2020. It is set to bring Asian energy supplies directly to Europe, travelling westwards from Turkey to Greece and then on to Italy. There are also some remarkable real estate and infrastructural projects taking place in Turkey. In 2016, the Turkish government created a TRY200billion ($40billion) sovereign wealth fund to finance investment in Turkish infrastructure, which has helped to boost the sector. Rapid growth in the tourism sector is also spurring construction activity. The Turkish government offers particular incentives for investment in industries such as shipbuilding and communications. It has also created Technology Development Zones, where certain investors can avail of a complete exemption from tax until 2023. Such incentives, combined with the fall in the Turkish Lira mean that overseas investors are seeing value in Turkey. Turkey’s recent economic challenges mean that Turkey’s legal market presents fresh opportunities  especially for firms focusing on servicing international clients. Law firms that can adapt quickly to emerging areas of law and to a rapidly-changing economic and technological landscape are well-positioned to thrive. l

Levent Lezgin Kılınç is founder and managing partner of Kılınç Law & Consulting, an Istanbul-based full service corporate and commercial law firm, specialising across a range of practices including energy, maritime and corporate law. Besides government relations consultancy, the firm’s expertise in international markets extend to consulting foreign companies in their investments in Turkey, contract negotiations, agreement completion, and taking legal action in the event of any conflicts arising.

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DIGITAL BANKING

Banking on mobile HOW FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CAN DELIVER NEW SECURITY PARADIGM FOR DIGITAL WORLD As the mobile device continues to evolve, do banks truly understand this opportunity, the powerful position they occupy, and the risks to their growth? Frans Labuschagne IN LESS THAN A DOZEN YEARS, SINCE THE INTRODUCTION OF APPLE’S IPHONE IN JUNE 2007, THE SMARTPHONE HAS QUICKLY BECOME THE MOST ESSENTIAL AND ENABLING TOOL FOR A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION. Mind-boggling numbers for smartphone usage and internet connectivity abound. For instance, by 2020, 6.1billion people – 70 per cent of the humans on the planet – will use a smartphone, forecasts global telecommunications organisation Ericsson. In addition, the average Briton now checks their mobile every 12 minutes and is online for 24 hours every week, twice as long as a decade ago, according to an Ofcom study published in August.

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In 2018, there were almost four billion internet users, double the 2015 figure, Cybersecurity Ventures research shows. Alarmingly, the same organisation predicts that by 2021, cybercrime will cost the world $6trillion (£4.75trillion) annually – up from $3trillion in 2015 – representing the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history. The burden on the financial services sector is colossal, and growing daily, with payments being subsumed by contextual applications that excel in convenience – from buying coffee with a tap to purchasing transportation that appears at the door in a couple of finger swipes, and everything in between. The mobile app and the mobile experience, which includes voice recognition and socialmedia integration, have elevated consumers’

expectations. Now they demand seamless and secure transactions across multiple digital channels, but the authentication mechanisms employed by banks have struggled to match users’ expectations. A heavy reliance on passwords for various online accounts is a significant challenge, and one that financial services are striving to solve. Consider that in 2020 the total universe of passwords is on course to grow to 300 billion, reveals a Thycotic report from 2017. Moreover, the London-based software company discovered that in 2016, some three billion user credentials and passwords were stolen – or 95 every second. While those figures are worrying, banks have been presented with a unique opportunity to live up to the trust that a

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predominant number of consumers place in them. Pioneers in the financial services sector have a chance to win loyalty and retain their position as the honest brokers at the centre of every transaction who can be relied upon to protect and defend the customer’s identity, much in the same way as they protect and defend their funds and assets. Sustaining the consumer’s trust in the era of online and mobile banking and payments hinges on securing the digital channel between banks and their customers, and ensuring that the integrity of the bank-customer relationship has not been compromised. However, do banks and other financial institutions truly understand this opportunity, the powerful position they occupy, and the risks to their growth as the mobile device evolves? That is the central question that a recent Entersekt-sponsored Mercator white paper, titled A new security paradigm for the new digital world, seeks to answer. Published in October, the document explores what a mobile-first security paradigm could mean for those in the financial services sector. Reassuringly, security investment continues to be a high priority for financial institutions. Indeed, a Kaspersky Lab and B2B International report from 2017 suggested that retail banks spend three times as much on IT security as comparably-sized nonfinancial institutions. Investment alone is not enough, though: to succeed in this space there needs to be a mindset change, too. The time for passive identity management is over. Until recently, financial institutions have grudgingly accepted that the most a service provider can do is to notify consumers that

DIGITAL BANKING

their personally identifiable information has possibly been stolen, or that they are at risk of fraud and ought to be vigilant, or that a fraudulent transaction has already taken place. This passive approach to identity management is outdated, ineffective, and will erode customer loyalty. The traditional financial services maxim has been to avoid reaching out to the customer when it comes to security, but in my understanding consumers want to feel in control of their identity and other digital assets. Increasingly, people are more aware of their data privacy and they want to be empowered by being able to decide upon an action made in their name before it takes place. Encouragingly, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), introduced in May 2018, is already sparking innovation in this area, across the continent and globally. Starting with the revised Payments Services Directive (PSD2), the authorities in Brussels are mandating access

by fintechs to the inner workings of chartered financial institutions, for example. It all comes down to digital-channel enablement within the banking ecosystem. Advances in authentication give financial services institutions the opportunity to provide services, security, products, and state-of-the-art functionality via every channel through which they reach their customers. This unified experience means a financial services provider is not merely a facilitator of purchase functionality, but the clearing house for all that is most important in the customers’ relationship to – and behaviours regarding – their money. Using the mobile device for authentication wherever possible means that it serves as not only a secure channel between the financial institution and the consumer, but as the source of the security of that channel. It becomes the device that indicates to all parties – the financial institution itself, merchants, and automation endpoints like ATMs – that users are who they say they are. Coupled with embracing relationship integrity to contribute to self-sovereign identity, these are the cornerstones of a new security paradigm for the digital world. Before long, passwords will be eliminated, superseded by machine learning-powered biometrics verification. Authentication will transform into a ‘persistent identity’ trust value, based on multimodal security, such as geolocation, as well as biometrics, which includes passive voice and face recognition, and a range of behavioural inputs. This new security paradigm offers a chance for financial institutions to build a deeper relationship with the customer, one that transcends transactions, requests for information, and paying bills at the end of the month. Ultimately, it is as much an opportunity for banks as it is a challenge, and those who fail to evolve quickly enough will not survive. l

Frans Labuschagne is UK and Ireland country manager for Entersekt, a provider of online push-based authentication and application security solutions for banks and enterprises. Founded in 2008 and based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, it offers online and mobile banking, mobile application, and card not present authentication services. The company serves clients in US, Europe, and Africa, and has offices in all three markets. It is represented by resellers in a number of countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Nigeria.

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RULES AND REGULATIONS

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THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK PRIIPS DISCLOSURE RULES RAISES CONCERN IN FINANCIAL WORLD The Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Products (PRIIPs) Regulation came into force in early 2018 amid a backdrop of a financial sector already heavily burdened by rules and regulations. Concerns have been raised surrounding the practical aspects of these new obligations, particularly in relation to the costs and comparability of the production of a standardised Key Information Document (KID). The time is right to take a close look at the PRIIPs regulation, focusing on the liabilities around KIDs, the aforementioned concerns, and looking at best practice and possible solutions. Andrew Frost

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PRIIPs Disclosure: overview and need to know

The new PRIIPs regulation came in to force with the aim of increasing transparency and comparability in investment products through the issue of a standardised disclosure document named the Key Information Document (KID); with its main goal being to enhance investor protection standards for retail clients. It is worth noting that these retail investors are defined for these purposes in MiFID in such a way as to include many high net worth individuals who would not classically be regarded as retail at all. According to Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the aim of this new regulation is to ‘encourage efficient EU markets by helping investors to better understand and compare the key features, risk, rewards and costs of different PRIIPs, through access to a short and consumer-friendly Key Information Document (KID)’. A PRIIP is defined by the regulation as any product that meets either of the following definitions: • An investment product where the amount repayable to the retail investor is subject to fluctuations due to the exposure to reference values or the performance of

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one or more assets that are not directly purchased by the retail investor. •  An insurance-based investment product that offers a maturity or surrender value that is in any way exposed to market fluctuations. Examples of such products that fall within the definition include, but are not limited to: investment funds, investment objects, unit-linked life insurance policies, structured products, structured deposits and derivatives. Though undertakings for investment in transferable securities (UCITS) also fall within the PRIIPs definition, these have been exempt from the provisions of the regulation until 31 December 2019. Until then, UCITS will continue to prepare a Key Investor Information Document (UCITS KIID) as required by the UCITS Directive. The European Commission is due to assess by 31 December 2018, whether this transitional arrangement should be prolonged, or whether the UCITS KIID provisions as might be replaced by or considered equivalent to the PRIIPs KID provisions. Manufacturers and distributors of PRIIPs are bound by the regulation. Whilst the obligation to produce the KID falls squarely on the manufacturer, the obligation to provide retail investors with the KID falls on the distributors’ shoulders. To clarify, asset management and life insurance companies as well as issuing banks are classed as the manufacturers as they structure or modify the products. Credit institutions and investment firms, therefore, fall under the category of distributors as they advise on or sell the products. Manufacturers are required to prepare a KID for each PRIIP produced and publish them all on their website before it is made available to retail investors. These KIDs should also be added to any pre-contractual information package and be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Distributors, on the other hand, are obligated to deliver any KID in ‘good time’ to the retail investor before any transaction is concluded. Where further investments are made in the same PRIIP, the KID should be provided to the retail investor only if relevant changes in information occur.

KID: rules and requirements

The regulation requires the KID to be a standalone, standardised document for each and every investment. As these requirements are

RULES AND REGULATIONS

contained in EU regulation, the FCA is bound to supervise compliance with the regulation within the UK. The purpose of the KID is to provide retail investors with information easily digested relating to the features of the products, any potential risks and comparisons with similar products on offer. With a maximum length of three sides of A4, the KID may  if needed  refer to other documents such as the prospectus or provide information about underlying options such as a life policy. As the regulation applies to products and services purchased by an EEA Resident Retail Investor, regardless of nationality or region purchased, the KID must be supplied in the investors’ language for them to understand. It is important to note that the regulation provides that the PRIIP manufacturer shall not incur civil liability solely on the basis of the KID, including any translation, unless the KID is misleading, inaccurate, inconsistent with the relevant parts of legally binding precontractual and contractual documents, or inconsistent with the requirements regarding the structure and content of the KID. The standardised document is made up of the following sections that require the following input: 1. What is the product? 2. What are the risks and what could I get in return? 3. What happens if the PRIIP manufacturer is unable to pay out? 4. What are the costs? 5. How long should I hold it and can I take my money out early? Recommended holding period also to be inserted here. 6. How can I complain? 7. Other relevant information

Voiced concerns

Since PRIIPs regulation came into force at the beginning of the year, there have been various concerns raised in the market about the practical aspects of the obligation to produce the standardised KID. The top concerns appear to be the issues of costs and comparability across products and have prompted regulators, firms, and trade associations across the EU to take action. July 2018 saw the FCA launch a Call for Input asking firms and consumers to share their initial experiences of the requirements with a deadline for responses of 28th September. This call was followed in September last year by a published

response regarding the aforementioned Call for Input from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC). The association, through its response and also a recently published damning report ‘Burn before reading’ on the subject, set out its concerns around the failures of requirements. Within the report’s key findings it states that the KID leads to: •  Misleading disclosure of risk •  Misleading disclosure of performance •  Creating more danger by using the risk indicator in combination with the performance scenarios •  Misleading in all market conditions Not to be left behind, the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) wrote a letter to the European Commission on 1 October expressing their concerns regarding the possibility of duplicating information requirements for investment funds. The ESAs also voiced their intentions to launch a public consultation as part of a review of the PRIIPs regulatory technical standards set out in the regulation, and expect to examine performance scenarios followed by a submission of proposed amendments to the European Commission. Finally, the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) stated on 19 November 2018 that they are prepared to accept a proposed time extension on the UCITS KIID until what could be 31 December 2021. We are expecting a final report on numerous amendments to the regulation to be published by the end of Q2 2019, and those amendments are expected to apply from 1January 2020. Uncertainty prevails. This is yet another area where financial technology (FinTech) or regulatory technology (RegTech) can help unburden those affected by the issues raised above. KIDs depend on the quality of the underlying source data and assumptions, i.e. performance scenarios. These can be highly mathematical and compound any errors over time showing incorrect scenario outcomes which may be misleading to retail investors. Anybody affected by the regulation (manufacturers and distributors) may be liable for any incorrect information published. A decent technological solution should be able to provide you with: •  Complete software solution for the production of KIDs •  Verification checks •  Monthly monitoring services in line with EU regulations for the production and maintenance of PRIIPs-KIDs. l

Andrew Frost is executive director at investment management solutions at Lawson Conner, an investment manager platform offering services in the areas of compliance and regulatory infrastructure, risk management and fund incubation. Headquartered in London, UK, the company provides regulatory infrastructure and managed compliance services, which it does by providing tech-enabled solutions, advice and compliance expertise. It operates ground staff in London, Jersey and Singapore as well as representations in New York, Boston and Hong Kong. Its clientele includes investment managers, wealth managers, corporate finance advisors, and fintech companies across the world.

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TAXATION AND TECHNOLOGY

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GOING HI-TECH TAX AND ITS LONG HISTORY WITH TECHNOLOGY Tax administrations have always looked to the latest technological developments to assist in the task of effectively collecting taxes from the population.The current shift in the digitalisation of the global economy is an opportunity presented to national tax collectors to make a change in the efficiency of their processes. Jason Piper

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THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN WHAT GETS TAXED AND HOW IS BLURRING, JUST AS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BUSINESS AND SOCIETY IS UNDER SCRUTINY. EXISTING MODELS OF TRUST, LAW, CORPORATE FORM AND JURISDICTION ARE CHALLENGED BY DATA DRIVEN DEMATERIALISED BUSINESSES INHABITING CYBERSPACE. Tax has a long history of interaction with technology, from the earliest Egyptian surveyors developing trigo-nometry to value irregular land parcels, through to the development of tally sticks from tax records to a widespread medium of exchange. Entering a new age of digital tools, for production, consumption, and above all from the tax collectors’ perspective, administration, we are looking at further developments. Already we see direct administrative tools, such as the eXtensible Business Reporting Language reporting languages and the Standard Audit File for Tax mechanism, and more prosaically the use of email instead of fax to communicate. But there are more fundamental changes in the pipeline and more to tax administrative shifts than just the tools. Much of the popular debate around tax and technology is focused on the digitalisation of the wider economy and its interaction with the legal aspects of tax and creation of liabilities. But as the development of the digitalised economy is challenging the value attribution mechanisms which underpin current assessment models, looking further ahead we can see the scope for entirely new mechanisms of compliance and even assessment itself. The changing nature of how businesses conduct their affairs is transforming more than just how they can communicate with the tax authority. At its most basic level, business is about exploiting some advantage over a counterparty, whether in skills, resources or simply knowledge, for a profit – and in a sustainable economy, that will be a mutual profit, even where the value of each party’s contribution to the transaction has been crystallised into money. The transformation of the fishing industry in sub-Saharan Africa, as mobile phones reduced search costs and improved markets, is a vivid and well-documented example of the value of knowledge. Taxation of the profits on fish sales is (relatively)

TAXATION AND TECHNOLOGY

simple, as the location of the transaction, and the value generated, is clear. However, where the product that’s consumed is itself digital, the locus of value creation can be harder to identify or even define. And if the goal is taxation of ‘profit’, we add another whole layer of complexity to the assessment process when the nature of the value itself is less obvious. Increasingly, the efficiency with which that value is created is driven by data collection and analysis across the business’s customer base, but one of the biggest issues that many consumers have with the digitalised economy is the extent to which information about them is held by private business for commercial gain. Recognising the value in the data, many governments have proposed taxing information based businesses directly on the value of the data they hold or process. This is an entirely new field, and it’s by no means clear what the value attributable to a single user’s footprint might be. More worryingly, there are significant issues around tracking that footprint. Regulations such as the EU GDPR have been introduced precisely to control the exploitation for gain of tracked personal information – and yet the basic premise of the current batch of proposals for digital services taxes rely on distinguishing page impressions based on the nationality and identity of the user, with governments forcing businesses to monitor and record individual data in very much the way that the businesses themselves are discouraged from doing for their own benefit. Nonetheless, there may yet be a way around it. As the OECD’s definition notes, ‘Taxes are compulsory, unrequited payments, in cash or in kind, made by institutional units to government units’. The proposal has already been put forward for those at the cutting edge of the digitalised economy that the answer might not lie in the convoluted process of collating, analysing and valuing data then paying a cash contribution based on the attributed worth of the data. Instead, the solution might be found in transferring the data itself to the government. There will be challenges. Cash is easily valued, and clearly bears the same nominal value whether in the hands of government or taxpayer – but how would we value the data? Should the basis be the cost of transmission,

or its value in the hands of government and society in general? Again, privacy concerns would need to be addressed. And how should governments manage the tension between those businesses in a position to contribute in data form, and those whose only option is to hand over cash? On the other hand, there are huge potential benefits. Public sector data is notorious for its poor quality and incompleteness, especially compared to private sector actors. Taking a specific example, real time monitoring of vehicle performance is on the rise, and with the push to autonomous vehicles driving many of the biggest players, the amount of data collected will increase exponentially. Information about speeds, fuel consumption, component wear and the like are vitally important to manufacturers seeking to build cars that can perform better, handle better, and cost less to run and build. While governments will usually have no more than an indirect interest in ensuring that the physical stock of available vehicles is safe and efficient, those same metrics can be every bit as useful to monitor things which are of central government concern, such as congestion and pollution levels, and will be far more detailed and potentially valuable in aggregate than traffic monitoring from fixed cameras and the like. Although the figures from any single manufacturer would of course be incomplete and of limited value, the more manufacturers’ data the government can collate the better. The value of such data is already known – for some years, UK local authorities have been using congestion data to redirect ambulances in order to reduce response times and save more lives. Less altruistically, but still usefully from an environmental perspective, a major courier firm analysed its delivery drivers’ journey data and reset journey planning algorithms to all but eliminate turns across the traffic flow. Although distances covered went up slightly, costs in both time and fuel and indirectly congestion and pollution  fell across the fleet. Scaled up at a national level, the benefits of aggregated private sector data could be huge, and in a large developed economy, it’s not hard to see a national benefit worth considerably more than the $500million or so cash which seems to be the typical expectation of current Digital Services Tax proposals from e.g. the UK and France. l

Jason Piper is head of business and tax law at ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people seeking a career in accountancy, finance and management. ACCA supports its 208,000 members and 503,000 students in 179 countries, enabling them to develop careers in accounting and business with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 104 offices and centres and more than 7,300 Approved Employers worldwide.

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We deliver business intelligence, investigation services, legal advice and joined up solutions to unacceptable compliance risks and barriers to you conducting business. We are specialists in our field providing business enabling advice to some of the world’s largest companies.

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ICFM TOP 100 LEADING FIRMS 2018

IT IS OUR PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE TO YOU THE INTERCONTINENTAL FINANCE MAGAZINE’S 100 LEADING FIRMS LIST, FEATURING THE BEST FIRMS FROM THE WORLD OF LAW, FINANCE AND PRIVATE EQUITY The honourees on the list have been chosen in accordance with their business practice, depth of knowledge and service rendered to clients. ICF recognises that partnering with the right service provider in today’s highly-competitive world is of utmost importance to organisations who mean business and would settle for nothing less. Our list provides you that cutting edge you need with a roster of names that is a veritable Who’s Who of the business, finance and legal world. Featured are the crème de la crème who can advise you on all corporate matters.

Congratulations to all our Top 100 Leading Law Firms

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ICFM TOP 100 LEADING FIRMS 2018

Australia

Davis Advisory www.davisadvisory.com.au

Canada

Czech Republic

PatentAxis Inc.

Gurlich & Co.

www.patentaxis.com

Bahrain

www.akrg.cz

France Rogerson Law Group www.rogersonlaw.com

Zu'bi & Partners

Cabinet Plasseraud www.plass.com

www.zubipartners.com

China Belgium

AMBOS NBGO

Lee, Tsai & Partners

IXO Private Equity

www.leetsai.com

www.ixope.fr

Colombia

Germany

www.amboslaw.be

Botswana Posse Herrera Ruiz www.phrlegal.com

Busse & Miessen

Cyprus

www.busse-miessen.de

Luke & Associates www.lukeandassociates.net

Christodoulos G. Vassilliades & Co. LLC www.vasslaw.com

Kather Augenstein www.katheraugenstein.com

Piyush Sharma Attorneys & Co. www.sharma.co.bw

Costas Tsirides & Co Llc

Brazil

www.tsirides.com

Pohlmann & Company www.pohlmann-company.com

Basilio Advogados www.basilioadvogados.com.br

Mantis & Athinodorou www.mantislaw.com

SIWE www.si-we.d

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ICFM TOP 100 LEADING FIRMS 2018

Greece Fox Mandal PPT Legal

www.foxmandal.in

S.K. Srivastav www.srivastavandco.com

www.pptlegal.gr

India HSA Advocates www.hsalegal.com

Anand and Anand

Tuli & Co www.tuli.biz

www.anandandanand.com

Kesar Dass B. & Associates www.kesardass.org

VERITAS LEGAL www.veritaslegal.in

Indonesia AZB & Partners www.azbpartners.com

Law Office Of Ramni Tanjea www.ramnitaneja.com

Hermawan Juniarto www.hermawanjuniarto.com

D. H. Law Associates www.dhlawassociates.com

Mundkur Law Partners www.mundkur.com

Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo www.lgsonline.com

Ireland Desai & Diwanji www.desaidiwanji.com

NKN Legal www.nknlegal.co.id

Fidus Law Chambers www.fiduslawchambers.com

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VIGITRUST www.vigitrust.com

O.P. Khaitan & Co www.opkhaitan.com

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ICFM TOP 100 LEADING FIRMS 2018

Italy

Lebanon Berdeja Abogados SC www.berdeja.com.mx

Annunziata Associati www.acfirm.it

Abou Jaoude & Associates Law Firm www.ajalawfirm.com

Tumi Law Firm

Ritch Heather Mueller Y Nicolau www.ritch.com.mx

www.tumilawfirm.com

Dalla Verita' & Partners www.dallaverita.it

Nepal

Luxembourg

Dennemeyer & Associates S.A. www.dennemeyer.com

Pradhan, Ghimire & Associates www.pradhanlaw.com

Spadafora De Rosa Law www.spadaforaderosa.net

Nicaragua

EY www.ey.com/lu/en/home

Ughi e Nunziante - Studio Legale www.unlaw.it

Guy Jose Bendana-Guerrero & Asociados www.guybendana.com.ni

Malta Nigeria

Japan

YUASA and HARA www.yuasa-hara.co.jp

G. Elias & Co.

KSI Malta www.ksimalta.com

www.gelias.com

Mexico

Kenya

JATA www.jata.mx

Hermon www.hermonlaw.com

PPT Legal www.pptlegal.gr

Oscos Abogados

Tokunbo Orimobi LP

www.oscosabogados.com.mx

www.tolegalgroup.com

Waweru Gatonye www.wawerugatonye.co.ke

SMPS Legal www.smpslegal.com

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Pakistan

ICFM TOP 100 LEADING FIRMS 2018

The Netherlands

Spain

Heussen www.heussenlaw.nl

Vellani & Vellani www.vellani.com

Lebrero Abogados S.R.L.P. www.lebreroandco.com

Turkey

Philippines BEZEN & PARTNERS www.bezenpartners.com

DivinaLaw

Maio

www.divinalaw.com

www.maiolegal.com

Sweden

Group Law Firm www.grouplaw.com.tr

Hechanova Bugay Vilchez & Andaya-Racadio

Delphi www.delphi.se

ÜNLÜ & Co

www.hechanova.com.ph

www.unluco.com

Switzerland Portugal

UAE AFSCHRIFT

SPASS - Santos Pereira & Associados

www.afschrift.com

www.spass.pt

Fichte & Co

Russia

www.fichtelegal.com

Tax Partner AG

UK

www.taxpartner.ch

Zuykov & Partners www.zuykov.com

Taiwan ABR Solicitors www.abrsolicitors.com

Slovenia Deep & Far www.deepnfar.com.tw

AVONDALE Law Office PETEK Ltd

www.avondale.co.uk

www.op-petek.si

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ICFM TOP 100 LEADING FIRMS 2018

Bonaccord Ecosse Ltd www.bonaccord.eu

Fulcrum Chambers

SIA Group

www.fulcrumchambers.com

www.sia-group.co.uk

Ukraine Boult Wade Tennant

Goal Group Ltd

www.boult.com

www.goalgroup.com

Aleksey Pukha and Partners www.puhaipartnery.com.ua

HGF Limited www.hgf.com

USA

Carter Perry Bailey LLP www.cpblaw.com

Demotech, Inc. Imprima

www.demotech.com

www.imprima.com

Cavendish Corporate Finance LLP www.cavendish.com

Luvera, Barnett, Brindley, Beninger & Cunningham www.luveralawfirm.com

Intercorp Group Financial Marketing Ltd

www.intercorpgroup.com

www.financialmarketing.com

Maalouf Ashford & Talbot, LLP www.maaloufashford.com

Liquidity Services Inc. www.liquidity servicesinc.com

FMConsult www.fmconsult.co.uk

Purvis Gray Thomson, LLP www.purvisgray.net

Maxwell Winward LLP www.maxwellwinward.com

Sadis & Goldberg www.sglawyers.com

36

Intercontinental Finance & Law • 156/19


North America

Europe

Asia

www.winston.com


TO INTERCONTINENTAL FINANCE MAGAZINE'S TOP 50 GLOBAL LAW EXPERTS FOR 2018 THE FOLLOWING LAWYERS HAVE BEEN RECOGNISED BY INTERCONTINENTAL FINANCE MAGAZINE AS ONE OF THE TOP 50 GLOBAL LAW EXPERTS IN THE WORLD TODAY. ICFM is a monthly magazine and is distributed to our 158,500 strong corporate database. We hope our Top 50 Global Law Experts will help you to make informed decisions as to what firms or individuals to assist you in corporate matters, whether of a transactional nature, financing or simply ongoing assistance to ensure your businesses are applying good governance in all areas.

Congratulations to all our Top 50 Global Law Experts

39


Belgium - China

TOP 50 GLOBAL LAW EXPERTS 2018

De Broeck Van Laere & Partners

Didier Van Laere is a business lawyer at the Brussels’ Bar and the Ghent’s Bar, specialized in tax and corporate law. He obtained a Master degree in law at the University of Ghent and a special Master degree in tax law at the University of Brussels. Didier

E: dvl@dvp-law.com

Van Laere is one of the two founding partners of the law firm

T: +32 2 4230 042

De Broeck Van Laere & Partners (1998). His practice includes

F: +32 2 4230 032

corporate tax work, mergers & acquisitions, restructuring and...

www.dvp-law.com

READ MORE HERE

Thierry Afschrift

AFSCHRIFT LAW FIRM

With over 30 years experience in domestic and international tax law and white-collar crime law, Professor Thierry AFSCHRIFT leads the firm’s practice and advises individuals and a significant

E: avocats@afschrift.com

BELGIUM

number of major companies and banks, in reorganizations, tax

T: +32 2 6464 636

planning and tax litigation. He has often appeared as a “pioneer”

F: +32 2 6443 800

in respect to the developed argumentation in the dynamic field of

www.afschrift.com

tax law... READ MORE HERE

Principal Partner of Piyush Sharma Attorneys & Co. a Law Firm established in 2014 after the dissolution of Sebego Piyush Sharma Attorneys & Co.

BELGIUM

Didier Van Laere

Sharma & Co. The Principal Partner has set up a Firm with four

E: sharma@sharma.co.bw

Attorneys and support staff to cater to the needs of Botswana’s

T: +267 3 191 622

growing Commercial and Property market. Prior to this, he

F: +267 3 910 321

was Co-founding Partner of Sebego Sharma & Co.; Member of the International Bar Association; Law Society of Botswana;

www.sharma.co.bw

Botswana Institute of Arbitrators... READ MORE HERE

E: abasilio@basilio advogados.com.br T: +55 21 2277 4200 F: +55 21 2210 6316 www.basilioadvogados.com.br

Grandall Law Firm

40

as well as in arbitration. Bachelor of Law from Universidade

Cândido Mendes, worked in large offices of Brazil, among them, Sergio Bermudes’ firm, where she worked during eleven years. She was also a partner of Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Firm (Baker & McKenzie), being responsible, in Brazil, for the civil and

BRAZIL

Basilio Advogados

Ana Tereza Basilio is a specialist in civil and commercial litigation

commercial litigation area, from July, 2002 to December, 2005. She is a post graduate in... READ MORE HERE

Mr. Wang has represented legal service for numerous worldfamous companies include: General Motors Co. of U.S.A, General Motors China, The ABB Group of Switzerland, AT & T Inc. of

E: wangweidong@ grandall.com.cn

U.S.A., General Electric Company, IBM Corporation, U.S.A.,

T: +86 10 6589 0600

Japan, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, CLP Power Hong Kong Limited,

www.grandall.com.cn

Electricité de France, China 999 Group, Qinshan Nuclear Power

Siemens AG, National Power of U.K., Export-Import Bank of

CHINA

Ana Tereza Basilio

Weidong Wang

BOTSWANA

Piyush Sharma

and China Datang Corporation... READ MORE HERE

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50


TOP 50 LAW EXPERTS 2018

China - France Broad & Bright, founded in 2004, is a full-service Chinese law firm providing a broad range of specialized legal services in multiple

CHINA

practice areas for domestic and international clients, Among the firms in antitrust law practice in China. The antitrust team of

T: +86 10 8513 1818

Broad & Bright has extensive and expertise in the competition

F: +86 10 8513 1919

has... READ MORE HERE

www.broadbright.com/en/ zycy_fy.htm

Graduated from University College London in 1996. He was

Alexandros Tsirides

CYPRUS

Lincoln’s Inn in 1997 and completed his Master of Laws in 1998

E: alexandros@tsirides.com

called to the Cyprus Bar in 1999 and joined the firm. In 2004 he

T: +357 2 5820 810

was elected, and was until 2006, the treasurer of the Limassol Bar

F: +357 2 5359 772

Law and Trusts. Languages: Greek... READ MORE HERE

The law office GÜRLICH & Co was founded on 1st February 2002. All members of the firm are experienced lawyers possessing outstanding professional expertise in various branches of law.

www.tsirides.com

Richard Gürlich E: info@akrg.cz

by a qualified office staff. Besides, on a case to case basis, we

T: +420 2 2210 1591

would invite for cooperation many other external specialists and

F: +420 2 2210 1590

services in the Czech and English... READ MORE HERE

After an initial experience in an in-house legal department in a leading retailer, Bérénice joined the IP Department of a well-known firm in the cosmetics field. After joining Cabinet

www.akrg.cz

Bérénice Dejardins E: dejardins@plass.com

Design Attorney and contributed to the growth of the legal

T: +33 3 2814 1490

department by managing portfolios of trademarks, designs and

F: +33 3 2814 1495

consumer goods), and SMEs... READ MORE HERE

After starting her career as an in-house lawyer in the electronics industry, Guylène joined Cabinet PLASSERAUD in 1990. She actively developed the firm’s legal department and became a

www.plass.com

Guylene Kiesel Le Cosquer

partner of the firm. In addition to managing her own portfolio of

Cabinet PLASSERAUD

clients and overseeing cases of other IP professionals in the legal

E: kiesel@plass.com

department and drawing on her broad experience in Industrial Property, she is a regular speaker conferences in France as well as abroad on a host of subjects... READ MORE HERE

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50

Cabinet PLASSERAUD

PLASSERAUD in 1999, she qualified as a Trademark and

domain names for clients, leaders in their areas (high technology,

Gürlich & Co

Currently, the firm consists of many lawyers who are supported

free-lance lawyers. This law firm is fully capable of offering legal

COSTAS TSIRIDES & CO LLC

with specialisation in Commercial and Corporate Law. He was

Council. He specialises in Litigation, Contract and Tort, Company

CZECH EPUBLIC

Broad & Bright E: yao_feng@broadbright.com

called to the English Bar as member of the Honourable Society of

FRANCE

various practice areas, Broad & Bright is one of the leading law

law practice, including merger control review, quality service

FRANCE

Yao Feng

T: +33 1 4016 7000 F: +33 1 4280 0159 www.plass.com

41


Germany - India

TOP 50 GLOBAL LAW EXPERTS 2018

Dr Christof Augenstein has been active as a litigator for more Property in 2007, enforcing intellectual property rights such

Kather Augenstein

as patents, trademarks, and designs in litigation. His advice, in

E: augenstein@katheraugenstein.com particular in extensive, technically complex patent infringement litigation, is valued by clients around the world. He has been

T: +49 211 5135 360

GERMANY

than 10 years and has become a Certified Specialist in Intellectual

widely recommended in directories (Best Lawyers, IP Stars,

F: +49 211 5135 3622 www.katheraugenstein.com

Legal 500, JUVE) for his legal... READ MORE HERE

Dr Claus-Peter Martens

Lawyer. Specialist Lawyer for Administrative Law Partner

SammlerUsinger

and planning law, air pollution control and installations, Project

Focus: Waste, residual pollution and soil protection, construction management, Public Private Partnerships, Industrial Estates

E: claus-peter.martens@ sammlerusinger.com T: +49 30 2639 509 - 190 F: +49 30 2639 509 - 600 www.sammlerusinger.com

Dr Eugen Popp

Law, environmental and nature protection, administrative

GERMANY

Practice area: Public Commercial Law

law in trade and industry Foreign languages: English, French Education... READ MORE HERE

Meissner Bolte

Dipl.-Ing. (Master of Science-Mech.-Eng.); Dipl.-Wirtsch.Ing. (Master of Business and Administration), Master of Laws (LL.M.), German and European Patent and Trademark

E: mail@mbp.de

Attorney

Education

Mechanics,

industrial

management

T: +49 89 2121 860

and law at the Technical University of Munich and Ludwig-

F: +49 89 2121 8670

Maximilians-University of Munich; PhD in patent Law; Master

www.mbp.de

of Laws degree from the Open University of Hagen, Germany...

GERMANY

Dr Christof Augenstein

READ MORE HERE

Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote

Partner at CENTRAL LAW in Guatemala. Graduated Bachelor

CENTRAL LAW

CIG. He has continued his legal studies and obtained different specializations: in Arbitration Law and Alternate Dispute

T: +502 2383 6000

Resolutions in Loyola University; Specialization in International Mergers & Acquisitions, College of Law of England & Wales; Executive Program in Legal Issues... READ MORE HERE

Ramni Taneja

Born in New Delhi, India, on 4th December 1955, and educated in Mumbai, India, and London, England Ramni Taneja completed her school education through Grey Coat Hospital, Westminster,

E: ramni@ramnitaneja.com

London, England, United Kingdom, as a consequence of which

T: +91 11 4155 2051

she obtained the University of London, General Certificate of

F: +91 11 4155 2053

Education, Ordinary Levels and Advanced Levels, between 1972-

www.ramnitaneja.com

INDIA

www.central-law.com

Ramni Taneja

GUATEMALA

has a MSC. in Mercantile and Competiveness Law from USAC/

E: guatemala@central-law.com F: +502 2361 3317

42

in Laws from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala and

1974. She obtained her BA Honours [First Class Honours] Degree in English Literature [Major]... READ MORE HERE

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50


TOP 50 LAW EXPERTS 2018

India - Indonesia Rustam Gagrat is the Senior Partner of Gagrats in Mumbai and of Gagrat & Co. in New Delhi. Mr. Gagrat’s Practice Areas cover

INDIA

Aviation Law, Banking and Finance and Corporate (M&A). Mr.

Rustam Gagrat Gagrats

Gagrat qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England

E: rjgagrat@gagrats.com

and is also admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of

T: +91 22 6752 9037 - 52

India. He obtained a BA (Hons) in Law and an MA from Downing

F: +91 22 6752 9053

College, Cambridge University and has also done the PIL at The

Harvard Law School... READ MORE HERE

Vishwang is the Managing Partner of Desai & Diwanji, one of the largest and oldest law firms in India. He practices corporate

INDIA

and finance law and specializes in mergers and acquisitions,

Vishwang Desai

Desai & Diwanji

private equity, buy-outs, spin-offs, de-mergers, divestitures,

E: v ydesai@desaidiwanji.com

project and structured finance, infrastructure and energy

T: + 91 22 3984 1000

project development, cross-border transactions, FDI, corporate

F: + 91 22 2265 8245

governance, competition and regulatory issues. He has been involved in complex restructurings... READ MORE HERE

Ignatius Andy started his law career at Kanaka-Legal Study

INDONESIA

Bureau as researcher from 1990 until 1991, when he was still a student at Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung. Soon

E: ignatius.andy@ignatiusandy.com

& Taira S. as associate concentrating at commercial dispute

T: +62 21 5150 350

resolutions and corporate commercial matters until 1996. He

F: +62 21 5150 351

joined Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners in 1996 as associate in

Dr. Ganie is the Managing Partner, and one of the founders, of Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo. He graduated from the Faculty of Law

INDONESIA

Ignatius Andy Law Offices

as he graduated cum laude, in 1992 Andy worked at Makarim

Banking & Finance Practice Group... READ MORE HERE

of the University of Indonesia and holds a PhD in Law from the

www.ignatiusandy.com

Dr. Mohamed Idwan ('Kiki') Ganie

University of Hamburg. Dr. Ganie is admitted to the Indonesian

Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo

Bar (PERADI) since 1984. Dr. Ganie specializes in commercial

E: ganie@lgslaw.co.id

transactions and commercial litigation, including alternative dispute resolution and has acted as an expert in a number court and arbitration proceedings... READ MORE HERE

Mr Arief Tarunakarya Surowidjojo specializes in corporate law, corporate and project finance, particularly capital markets,

INDONESIA

Ignatius Andy

merger & acquisition, mining, environmental, commercial

T: +62 21 8315 005 F: +62 21 8315 015 www.lgsonline.com

Mr Arief Tarunakarya Surowidjojo

litigation and alternative dispute resolutions, he has acted as the

Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo

lead lawyer in hundreds of IPOs, rights issues and other capital

E: surowidjojo@lgslaw.co.id

market transactions, in addition to another in excess of 100 M&A deals... READ MORE HERE

T: +62 21 8315 005 F: +62 21 8315 015 www.lgsonline.com

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50

43


Indonesia - Japan

TOP 50 GLOBAL LAW EXPERTS 2018

Mr. Timbul Thomas Lubis

Mr. Timbul Thomas Lubis obtained his law degree (S.H.) from the

Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo

degree in law (LL.M.) in 1981 from the University of Washington

to the Indonesian Bar in 1977. He went on to obtain a masters in Seattle, USA. Mr. Lubis has also completed an Accounting

E: lubis@lgslaw.co.id

Management Program at the Management Institution at the

T: +62 21 8315 005

University of Indonesia. In addition to being a member of the

F: +62 21 8315 015

INDONESIA

Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia in 1974 and was admitted

Indonesian Bar Association... READ MORE HERE

www.lgsonline.com

Osamu Yamamoto

Osamu Yamamoto is a patent attorney, and a managing partner

YUASA and HARA

of YUASA and HARA, and is the acting Chief of the Chemical

pharmaceutical research and worked in the field of development at a chemical company for around ten years before specializing in intellectual property. Mr. Yamamoto has represented a variety

F: +81 3 3246 0233

of companies in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals,

www.yuasa-hara.co.jp

diagnostics, and foods... READ MORE HERE

Hajime Watanabe

Hajime Watanabe is one of the founding partners of STW

STW & Partners E: hajime.watanabe@stwlaw.jp T: +81 3 3596 7303 F: +81 3 3596 7330 www.stwlaw.jp

& Partners. His main areas of practice are antitrust and competition laws, dispute resolution and intellectual property litigation. He also has assisted a number of clients with antitrust aspects in their commercial transactions and the establishment of compliance structures based on his extensive experience in

JAPAN

T: +81 3 3270 6641

JAPAN

Section. Mr. Yamamoto has experience in biotechnology and

E: yamamoto-ch@ yuasa-hara.co.jp

cases in Japan and other jurisdictions. He obtained an LLB from the University of Tokyo in 1985... READ MORE HERE

Satoko Niiya is one of the founding partners of STW & Partners.

STW & Partners E: satoko.niiya@stwlaw.jp

Her main areas of practice are corporate, M&A and dispute

resolution. Since November 2105, she has been serving as a partner in a Japanese private equity firm, Integral Corporation,

T: +81 3 3596 7305

dedicating herself to implementing various M&A transactions.

F: +81 3 3596 7330

Ms Niiya obtained an LLB from the Kyoto University in 1992 and

www.stwlaw.jp

was admitted in Japan to the Tokyo Bar Association in 1994...

JAPAN

Satoko Niiya

READ MORE HERE

STW & Partners

Shin’ichiro Yoshiba is one of partners of STW & Partners. His

main areas of practice are licensing, IP related M&A transactions, and IP litigation and dispute resolution involving infringement

E: shinichiro.yoshiba@stwlaw.jp of patents, trademarks and copyright. He has considerable T: +81 3 3596 7317 experience in handling IT-related legal issues and disputes F: +81 3 3596 7330 regarding various types of internet services and IT system www.stwlaw.jp

JAPAN

Shin’ichiro Yoshiba

development. He regularly provides comprehensive legal advice on litigation/dispute resolution,... READ MORE HERE

44

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50


TOP 50 LAW EXPERTS 2018

Japan - Mexico Wataru Sueyoshi is one of the founding partners of STW & Partners. His main areas of practice are IP Law and Corporate

JAPAN

Law. He obtained an LLB from the University of Tokyo in 1981 and was admitted in Japan to the Daini-Tokyo Bar Association in

E: wataru.sueyoshi @stwlaw.jp

1983. He joined Mori Sogo (now, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto) in

T: +81 3 3596 7301

1983 and established STW & Partners in 2007. Mr. Sueyoshi was

F: +81 3 3596 7330

the Visiting Professor, University of Tokyo Graduate Schools for Law and Politics from 2013 to 2016... READ MORE HERE

Nelson Ihachi Ashitiva is the Senior Partner and Head of Strategy at Ashitiva and Company Advocates, a firm he founded 5 years

KENYA

ago with partners Ken Ashimosi and George King’ori. A practicing

Nelson Ihachi Ashitiva

he is also a Commissioner of Oaths, Notary Public and an

E: info@ashitivaadvocates.com

Arbitrator and Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

Carlos Abou Jaoude is the founder and managing partner of Abou Jaoude & Associates Law Firm. His multidisciplinary expertise

LEBANON

www.stwlaw.jp

Ashitiva and Company Advocates

ADR specializing in corporate restructuring.... READ MORE

and international experience in a broad range of industries in both the public and private sectors include Corporate Law, Banking &

T: +254 20 2710 880 T: +254 722 764 732 www.ashitivaadvocates.com

Carlos Abou Jaoude Abou Jaoude & Associates

E: c.aboujaoude@ajalawfirm.com

Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets & Securities,

T: +961 1 395 555

Tax & Succession Planning, Structured Finance, Financial

F: +961 1 384 064

Restructuring & Insolvency, Telecommunications, Media, Project

www.ajalawfirm.com

Development & Finance and Privatization.... READ MORE HERE

Shankhnad Ghurburrun has many years of experience in advising international and domestic clients on white collar crime, asset

MAURITIUS

advocate of the High Court of Kenya with 10 years of experience,

of the United Kingdom. Nelson focuses on Commercial Law and

recovery and anti-fraud matters, in both Mauritius and the

Shankhnad Ghurburrun

Seychelles and regional cross border matters. GEROUDIS has its

Geroudis

own in-house intelligence team, and often collaborates with state

E: sanjeev@geroudis.com

authorities in the development and elaboration of commercial crime legislation in Mauritius. The firm has full service capabilities with around 20 Forbes 100 clients... READ MORE HERE

1977 was a good year for beginnings. The first Apple Computer went on sale, The Clash released their first album, Star Wars

MEXICO

Wataru Sueyoshi STW & Partners

opened in theaters, and as for real space exploration the Space

T: +230 2103 838 F: +230 2103 912 www.geroudis.com

Dario U Oscós Coria Oscós Abogados

In Mexico City, there was another sort of launch: Oscós Abogados

E: doscos@oscosa bogados.com.mx

Law Firm was founded by its senior partner Darío U. Oscós Coria.

T: +52 55 5550 2829

Oscós Abogados is a boutique law firm abounding with a team of

F: +52 55 5550 1273

Shuttle made its first test flight and Voyager I & II were launched.

professional lawyers.... READ MORE HERE

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50

45


Nigeria - Philippines

TOP 50 GLOBAL LAW EXPERTS 2018

Aham Eke Ejelam SAN

Called to the Nigerian Bar in August, 1985. LL.B (Hons.) (1984)

Principles Law Partnership

of Nigeria on the 22nd of September, 2014. Member, Chartered

University of Science and Technology. Made a Senior Advocate

E: aham.ejelam@principleslaw.com Institute of Arbitrators (UK). Member, International Bar

Association. Member, Commonwealth Lawyers Association.

T: +234 84 302 576

NIGERIA

University of Nigeria. LL.M (2000) from the Rivers State

Member of the Executive, Nigerian Bar Association, Port

www.principleslaw.com

Harcourt Branch... READ MORE HERE

Miannaya Aja Essien, SAN, CArb., FCIArb

Principles Law Partnership is a firm of legal practitioners,

Principles Law Partnership

an extensive range of legal services in areas of litigation,

arbitrators, notaries public and registered capital market

E: info@principleslaw.com

Corporate and Commercial law, Banking law and Secured Credit

T: +234 84 361 582

Transactions; trademarks and trade names, intellectual property,

NIGERIA

consultants in Port Harcourt and Lagos. Principles provides

Capital market, Environmental, electricity, oil and gas law,

www.principleslaw.com

receivership, liquidation... READ MORE HERE

Akabogu & Associates E: emeka@akabogulaw.com T: +234 1453 5940 T: +234 80554 61557 (DL) www.akabogulaw.com

Akabogu is a widely recognised expert in the field of maritime law and policy in Nigeria. He is the Senior Partner at the law firm, Akabogu & Associates, which is active in shipping, maritime, petroleum and international trade representation. He has served and continues to serve on a range of national committees and initiatives on maritime development including the Ministerial

NIGERIA

Emeka Akabogu

Cabotage Review Committee. His book, ‘Maritime Cabotage in Nigeria’, was the first published work... READ MORE HERE

Badaruddin F. Vellani

Mr. Badaruddin F. Vellani is an Honours graduate in Chemical

Vellani & Vellani

(London). He is a senior partner at Vellani & Vellani and has over

Leicestershire and a Barrister-at-Law of the Middle Temple

E: khi@vellani.com

35 years experience in commercial matters, including corporate

T: +92 21 3580 1000

work such as mergers and acquisitions, anti-trust and competition law, corporate finance, project finance, infrastructure projects,

F: +92 21 3580 2120

building and construction contracts... READ MORE HERE

DivinaLaw

Nilo T. Divina is a leading counsellor and authority in Philippine corporate law and litigation. He founded the Firm in 2006, and has been the firm’s managing partner since. He grew the

E: nilo.divina@divinalaw.com

firm from a crew of nine lawyers to the present complement of

T: +63 02 822 0808

50 attorneys and counsels. He is also the dean of the Faculty of

www.divinalaw.com

Civil Law of the University of Santo Tomas, one the Philippines’ leading law schools. Mr. Divina’s experience spans some 25 years

PHILIPPINES

www.vellani.com

Nilo T. Divina

PAKISTAN

Engineering from Loughborough University of Technology,

of appearing before courts of all levels... READ MORE HERE

46

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50


TOP 50 LAW EXPERTS 2018

Singapore - Turkey She has more than 35 years of experience of work in IP, including

RUSSIA

patents. According to the most reputable Russian and foreign magazines, Dr Vakhnina is one of the leading IP professionals in Russia. She was recommended by Russian business newspaper

E: mail@vakhnina.ru

Vedomosti and the website www.pravo.ru as one of 2011’s best

T: +7 49 5231 4840

Russian lawyers and as one of 2012’s best Russian lawyers for IP.

F: +7 49 5231 4841

In 2010 / 2011 / 2013 / 2014, she was listed as a leading legal expert by Who’s Who Legal... READ MORE HERE

Mr Ajaib Hari Dass is a consultant with Haridass Ho & Partners, a

SINGAPORE

law firm in Singapore which he co-founded. He is an Advocate and Solicitor, Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public. Graduated

T: +65 6533 2323

Temple in 1975 and called to the Singapore Bar as an Advocate &

F: +65 6533 7029

Banking division of One Legal LLC. She is also a founder of the

SINGAPORE

Haridass Ho & Partners E: mail@hhp.com.sg

Tracy Chen co-heads the Corporate, Corporate Finance & law corporation. Having been in corporate practice since 1988,

www.hhp.com.sg

Tracy Chen

One Legal LLC

Tracy has been actively involved in various aspects of the practice

E: tracy.chen@onelegal.sg

and particularly in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions,

T: +65 6720 6786

joint ventures, loan and security, and other corporate matters.

F: +65 6720 7998

Her clients include listed entities, small and medium enterprises, multinational clients... READ MORE HERE

Marla Bojorge is the owner of Bojorge & Associates, an international corporate and immigration law firm located in Valencia, Spain. The firm specialises in finding the right legal

SPAIN

Ajaib Haridass

(Honours) degree, he was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law, Middle Solicitor in 1976. He has more than 43 years of continuous legal

www.onelegal.sg

Marla Vanessa Bojorge Zúñiga

solution for each client’s unique circumstances. Ms Bojorge

Bojorge & Associates

previously practised in Switzerland (Tribunal de Première

E: marla@visalawspain.com

Instance – Suisse) and the United States (Kavanagh Maloney & Osnato LLP Manhattan, New York), and is a member of theInternational Bar Association (IBA).... READ MORE HERE

Since October, 1982, Mr. Tsai has indulged himself in experiencing all phases of intellectual property laws from preparation to prosecution and then to litigation of patent, trademark, copyright,

T: +34 96 0451 676 F: +34 96 1125 927 www.visalawspain.com

C. F. Tsai

Deep & Far

circuit layout, trade secret, unfair competition and license before

E: cft@deepnfar.com.tw

instances of courts in this country and other countries. Brain

T: +886 2 2585 6688

waves, perseverance and stamina are considered to be most

F: +886 2 2598 9900

important factors of a successful character.... READ MORE HERE

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50

www.vakhnina.com

from the University of London in 1974 with a Bachelor of Law

experience and specialises in shipping... READ MORE HERE

TAIWAN

Dr Tatyana Vakhnina Vakhnina and Partners

www.deepnfar.com.tw

47


Taiwan - USA

TOP 50 GLOBAL LAW EXPERTS 2018

Felix Wang is an attorney at law based in Taiwan with over 10

Felix Wang

YANGMING PARTNERS

labor law, securities law, cross-border M&A, and antitrust law.

E: fwang@yangminglaw.com

Mr. Wang has handled various M&A deals across industries,

T: +886 2 8725 6677

including life insurance, food, management services, cable

F: +886 2 2729 5577

television, communication equipment, application software, lodging, and container shipping. He also advised on premerger

www.yangminglaw.com

filings for a wide range of multinational... READ MORE HERE

Mehmet Nazım Aydın Deris

Mehmet Nazım Aydın Deriş graduated with first class honours

Deris

spoken command of Greek. Mr. Deris has been shareholder and

He is fluent in French, English, Italian and German and has a manager since July 1971 of the firm Deris Patents & Trademarks

Mr. E. Kerim Yardimci

Founding Partner and Executive Board Member at Deris, Kerim

Deris

Kerim’s international expertise is complemented by his extensive

Agency AS, which provides full-range services for securing, maintaining and defending (search, registration, renewal, opposition) intellectual... READ MORE HERE

attorney locally and internationally. Fluent in English and French, network. Kerim’s innovative approach to intellectual property litigation, complex court proceedings and portfolio management has helped drive Deris’ status as a top, forward-thinking IP law firm... READ MORE HERE

Gary P. Naftalis is co-chair of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by The National Law Journal and as one of the Top 10 Lawyers (Top Point Getter) in New York by Super Lawyers. Mr. Naftalis is a Fellow of the

F: +1 212 7159 238

American College of Trial Lawyers. He represents individuals

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and corporations... READ MORE HERE

The Entrepreneur Law Center, P.L. E: khamner@entrepreneur lawctr.com T: +1 407 6014 980 F: +1 407 6014 981

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One of the nation’s leading trial lawyers, he was selected as one

USA

E: gnaftalis@kramerlevin.com

LLP, where he co-chairs the firm’s extensive litigation practice.

For the past twenty five years, Ken Hamner has accumulated a wide variety of experience in finance, accounting, consulting, and

law. He has significant experience in structuring international and domestic transactions, equity and debt relationships, and negotiating contracts. Ken manages and directs all of the primary

USA

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Kenneth Hamner

TURKEY

is a highly experienced and respected intellectual property

E: aderis@deris.com.tr T: +90 212 2497 010 F: +90 212 2937 676 www.deris.com.tr

T: +1 212 7159 253

TURKEY

from the Faculty of Law at the University of Geneva in June 1968.

E: aderis@deris.com.tr T: +90 212 2497 010 F: +90 212 2937 676 www.deris.com.tr

Gary P. Naftalis

TAIWAN

years of experience specializing in general corporate matters,

practice areas of the Entrepreneur Law Center, P.L., a boutique law firm with focused practice areas of business planning, international and domestic... READ MORE HERE

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TOP 50 LAW EXPERTS 2018

USA - Uganda Mr. Rami Fakhoury is passionate about immigration law. He is the founder and Managing Attorney of Fakhoury Law Group, PC

USA

(FLG), a Martindale Hubbell AV-rated business immigration firm. Mr. Fakhoury was a pioneer in establishing an office in Mumbai

Fakhoury Law Group, PC (FLG)

to better service FLG’s Indian IT and Engineering clients. His

E: rami@employmentimmigration.com

knowledge of immigration and foresight into immigration trends and policy have earned him widespread recognition. He is currently helping the State of Michigan... READ MORE HERE

om has practiced Property Tax and Real Estate Law since 1978 and has been an MSBA Board Certified Specialist in Real Property Law since the inception of that designation. Tom is

USA

Rami Fakhoury Fakhoury

T: +1 248 6434 900 F: +1 248 6434 907 www.employmentimmigration.com

Thomas R. Wilhelmy

highly acclaimed for his expertise in real property valuation

E: t wilhelmy@fredlaw.com

and property tax appeals, including retail, office, industrial,

T: +1 612 4927 058

apartment and redevelopment properties. He is rated “AV

www.fredlaw.com

Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, and is a MSBA certified

Fredrikson & Byron P.A.

specialist in real property law.... READ MORE HERE

WAYNE N. OUTTEN is a founding and the managing partner of Outten & Golden LLP. His practice focuses exclusively on

USA

representing individuals in all areas of employment law. He co-

Wayne N. Outten Outten & Golden LLP

chairs the firm’s Executives and Professionals Practice Group.

E: og@outtengolden.com

Mr. Outten’s notable cases include a recovery of $12 million in

T: +1 212 2451 000

a gender discrimination/retaliation case against Morgan Stanley

www.outtengolden.com

in federal court and (with partner Larry Moy) a $18.9 million arbitration award... READ MORE HERE

Mr. Martucci, who holds an LL.M. in employment law from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. practices nationally

USA

in complex class action (employment discrimination and wage

E: wmartucci@shb.com

worth having on any dream team for employment litigation and

T: +1 202 7838 400

policy issues.” His jury work has been featured in The National

F: +1 202 7834 211

in California, Florida, Illinois, ... READ MORE HERE

Joseph is the Managing Partner of the Firm; he holds an LLM (SEU) from Arkansas, MA Corporate Governance from Kingston University London, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Makerere University Kampala and, a Diploma in Legal Practice (Dip. LP), Law Development Center Kampala. Uganda; he has worked on local

www.shb.com

Joseph Buwembo

Buwembo and Company Advocates

E: joseph@buwemboadvocates.com

and international projects and his current practice draws upon

T: +256 41 4341 335

his experience in commercial and corporate/company law as well

F: +256 41 4341 842

as in the areas of intellectual property... READ MORE HERE

www.buwemboadvocates.com

www.intercontinental-finance.com/globallawexperts-50

Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP

& hour) and EEOC litigation. Chambers notes “Bill Martucci is

Law Journal. Currently, Bill is involved in class action litigation

UGANDA

William C. Martucci

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TRAVEL | CITY | YANGON

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YANGON

A BUSTLING RIVER CITY

The former capital of Myanmar, Yangon is the nation’s largest city and its most important commercial centre. Boasting the largest number of colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia, it has a unique colonial-era urban core that is remarkably intact. The city is home to the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's most sacred Buddhist pagoda, and the Sule Pagoda, which is reputed to be over 2,000 years old. Yangon also features the mausoleum of the last Mughal Emperor, where he had been exiled following the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Carol Wright ONCE ASIA’S BIGGEST CITY AND FLOURISHING RIVER PORT, YANGON WAS FOUNDED ON THE SITE OF DAGON, AN 11TH CENTURY FISHING VILLAGE IN 1755. ITS NAME MEANS ‘END OF STRIFE’ THOUGH THIS CHRISTENING PROVED A LITTLE PREMATURE. In the first Anglo-Burmese war from 182526, the British captured Yangon but returned it to Burma in 1827. Captured again after the 1852 war, renamed Rangoon and made

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the capital of British Burma, it prospered as the centre for business, culture and administration till taken by the Japanese in World War 2. After independence in 1948, Yangon remained the capital until 2005 when a new capital was created in Naypyitaw though embassies remain in Yangon. In 2008 a cyclone devastated the industrial area though there was little loss of life. Now the city has over five million population and covers 60sq.kms.

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TRAVEL | CITY | YANGON

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Yangon has a lively, diverse lifestyle. Chinese and Indian districts make their mark and churches of all major religions exist alongside the many Buddhist temples. The two main visitor areas are the Old Town and the new trendy Sule district. The former mixes modern architecture and solid colonial buildings especially in Pansodan Street. The 1936 neo-classical town hall and law courts are still used. The Old Town was laid out in the 1850s by an army engineer on a grid style though its then spacious design is clogged with today’s traffic. An oasis is a park around the Independence monument overlooked by the law courts. On the park’s northern side, cut off by traffic, is the 144-ft tall Sule Pagoda, a Burmese stupa located in the heart of the city. One of Yangon’s oldest landmarks, it draws local people to worship at the many shrines. The blobs of gold leaf for the mighty central stupa are purchased, put in a wicker container, and wound up to a monk standing at the top of the structure who places it on the stupa. The 325-ft high Shwedagon Pagoda is the city icon, a gilded dome that glows over the city near the 130-acre People’s Square and Park between the pagoda and parliament with a museum of national dress, flora and fauna. It is thought the Shwedagon was built over 2,500 years ago. Every five years, the gold coating is taken off, cleaned and replaced. The pagoda is said to contain

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relics and hairs of Buddha. The complex is huge with lift access to a mini city of glittering temples. Another temple worth visiting is the Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda containing the imposing 65-mtr long reclining Buddha dating from 1907. The National Museum on Pyay Road has four floors of objects from all over the country including royal regalia while the Myanmar Gems Museum shows off Myanmar’s rich jewel stone sources such as rubies, sapphires, jade and pearls. A wealth of crafts from lacquerware to carvings and clothings can be bought from stalls crammed into the Bogyoke Market fringed by many jewellery shops. More serene shopping at social enterprise shops, which support underprivileged groups. Hla Day, 81 Pansodan Street sells bags, papier maché toys, textiles, ceramics, items made from recycled industrial fabrics sand jewellery made from old car tyres. Pomelo, 89 Thein Phyu Street includes jewellery made from old Burmese coins with the proceeds supporting students through university. Contemporary art can be seen at the Rover Art and Pansodan Galleries. The city’s multi-cultural mix is reflected in its cafes and restaurants. Local food is found at the Rangoon Tea House and Burmese Bistro with the former having a good colonial style upstairs bar. International food can be found at the Mandalay Restaurant at the Belmond Governor’s Residence Hotel.

Yangon does not yet have a pulsating night life. Locals and expats favour Babett Eatery & Bar at Hotel G on Alan Pya Pagoda Street, an area where many foreigners live and which is dotted with restaurants offering different cuisines. Babett’s has a relaxing outdoor terrace as well as inner room casually furnished and a large bar with food including pizzas, charcoal grills, and sharing platters of cold cuts and cheeses. It is the place to meet for cocktails while local DJs provide music into the night. Hotel G also has large gym open to non residents. A soothing cocktail spot is the Kanlawghi Lake hotel’s lobby bar. Other good drinking spots include Yangon Yangon Rooftop Bar on the 21st floor of Surkura Tower – with splendid city overviews – the Gekko bar in the 1906 Lawkanat building, and Union Bar and Grill in the Red Cross Building on Strand Road. A delightful city escape is to hire a guide and take the ferry across the river to Dala Township, hire a rickshaw for the afternoon and travel at slow pace around small lakes, rice paddies, and villages, dropping in homes to see thousands of crisp pancakes being baked for Yangon’s breakfast, candlemaking, or waste material recycled into wantable souvenirs sold through Pomelo. Near the ferry jetty is a charming simple restaurant Daw Shan (Aunty Shan) where women cook and serve food from a central table – an excellent, multi-dish meal with rice, noodles, and curries costs under $1.50. l

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TRAVEL | HOTEL | STRAND HOTEL, YANGON

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Strand Hotel THE BEST HOTEL EAST OF SUEZ Built by the British entrepreneur John Darwood but later acquired by the Sarkies brothers, who owned a number of luxury hotels in the Far East, the Strand Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in Yangon and Southeast Asia. Opened in 1901, and facing the Hlaing – Yangon – River to its south, it was one of the most luxurious hotels in the British Empire and is today listed on the Yangon City Heritage List. Carol Wright

THE STRAND HOTEL BASED IN YANGON WAS DECLARED ‘THE FINEST HOSTELRY EAST OF SUEZ’ IN JOHN MURRAY’S 1911 HANDBOOK FOR TRAVELLERS IN INDIA, BURMA AND CEYLON. The Strand, located in the eponymous road alongside the busy river port, is centred in Yangon’s walkable Old Town with its embassies and nineteenth century colonial buildings. It opened in 1901 and was developed by the Sarkies brothers, the creators of the Raffles hotels. Early on the Strand hosted Rudyard Kipling, Noel Coward and Orson Welles though not the ubiquitous traveller Somerset Maugham, probably because he visited Yangon when the Strand had suffered one of its two bad fires. After World War 2 and Japanese occupation, the Strand was nationalised in 1963 and slowly sank into disrepair. Rats ran round the ballroom and the bar which remained popular. In 1991, a company under Adrian Secha, founder of Aman resorts, began a $12million restoration programme. The hotel reopened in 1993 offering 32 suites and is now operated by General Hotel Management. A further renovation involving 185 local craftsmen was completed in November 2017. The Strand stands out with a creamywhite colonnaded exterior, quite modest in size, among the large surrounding colonial buildings. The entrance doors open onto a

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spacious area combining lobby, reception and lounge where each morning and afternoon a musician plays traditional harp and xylophone instruments. Wide stairs as well as lifts lead up to the suites. The decor is in muted shades with a decorative accent of black and white, dramatically displayed in long striped drapes and cushions. The public areas open off the corners of the lobby. An all day focal point is the Strand Cafe with wrap round indoor veranda that has retained its traditional decor of black lacquered ceiling fans and scarlet rattan chairs, colours echoed in the longyi (wrapround skirts) patterns worn by the staff.

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While the hotel was renovated Chef Christian Martena travelled through Myanmar collecting local recipes recreated at the Strand with the help of two female sous-chefs who have been at the Strand since 1993. Menus include Mohingha, the national dish of fish soup with rice noodles topped with crispy fritters and boiled egg. In the afternoon, the Strand Cafe’s High Tea includes local dishes like tealeaf salad, wontons with shrimps, and sticky rice balls with brown bean paste served in lacquered boxes. Many of the cafe’s dishes are also available on room service. The elegant Strand Restaurant, open for dinner only from Wednesday to Saturday but bookable in the daytime for meetings and seminars, seats 45 with 10 in a private dining area backed by black and gold lacquered paintings from the ancient capital of Bagan. Under Executive Chef Patrick Périé, the a la carte menu features Mediterranean cuisine based on imported and local ingredients. The bar, named after the Sarkies Brothers, has a billiards table area and is the place to try the Strand Sour, which blends Mandalay

TRAVEL | HOTEL | STRAND HOTEL, YANGON

rum, lime juice, and Angostura bitters or one of the 50-plus single malt whiskies perhaps with a cigar as smoking areas are permitted here. Tall plaid upholstered stools line the bar and there are comfortable low tables and chairs around the window areas. In the 2017 upgrading, new areas were added at the rear of the hotel linked to the lobby by a snort corridor containing a local craft boutique, jeweller’s shops – Myanmar is famed for its rubies, sapphires and jade – business services including a 24-hour business centre and small private meeting room. The newly added areas are an 800-sq mtr garden including a 18x8 metre swimming pool for residents use only. Drinks and light meals are served poolside or in curtained private cabanas. Opening onto the pool is a gym and spa with two therapy rooms where traditional Myanmar massages and therapies are available mixing acupressure and aromatherapy techniques. In a separate building facing the pool garden is the Strand Hall, an imposing building with a 602sq mtr ballroom reached

by a carved teak staircase that takes 600700 people seated or 1,000 standing. It has polished teak floors, 25-feet high ceilings, and partitions for smaller events. The 35 suites are spacious havens from the city’s bustle and heat. Decor embraces potted palms, bedside lamps made from decorated jars, lacquerware, prints of old Yangon, circular mirrors over the beds, silk cushioned sofas and polished wood floors. There is a walk-in dressing area, wifi, TV and charger points above a spacious desk. Local fruits are presented each day and little jasmine garlands perfume turn down service. Every suite has 24-hour butler service with free teas and coffee, packing and unpacking services. The three-suite grades have similar decor but vary in size. All have bathroom with large tub, double vanities, and separate shower and toilet cubicles. The Strand Suite at 200-sq mtrs – the largest in Yangon – features a hand-carved four poster bed, antique furniture, study, sitting room with lacquered cane chairs and formal dining room seating up to 10. l

Strand Hotel 92 Strand Road Yangon Myanmar Tel: +95 1243 377 Email: info@hotelthestrand.com www.hotelthestrand.com

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TRAVEL | ADVENTURE | RIVER CRUISES

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Prepare to be Stupa-fied JOURNEY THROUGH MYANMAR’S FAMOUS RIVER SITES ON AN HISTORIC BOAT RIDE Exploring remote and often hard-to-navigate rivers and coasts through the celebrated Pandaw Company cruises in its specially-designed luxury small ships can lead to an exciting activity, one that would be etched in the memory for a lifetime. Carol Wright THE PANDAW COMPANY DATES BACK TO 1865 WHEN IT PROVIDED IRRAWADDY RIVER BOAT TRANSPORT THROUGH MYANMAR’S CENTRE. Snub-nosed boats made in Glasgow were shipped in flatpacks to Yangon and reassembled. Scuttled in World War 2, Pandaw 11 is an original boat rescued and restored. It now provides a serene way of seeing central Myanmar in great comfort. Traditional design blends with added modern amenities. Neat wood panelled cabins with adjacent shower rooms open onto a teak deck lined with rattan chairs and tables reminiscent of the film setting for Murder on the Nile. After the bustle of Yangon, it is soothing to relax on deck and

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watch the river world drift by. Cruises of varied lengths are available taking in Pyay in the teak plantation area, the desserts around Bagan and continuing to Mandalay and beyond. Life aboard is pampered  the crew attentive and smiling from cutting steps in the grey sand of steep river banks and forming a chain of supportive arms to assist passengers coming ashore to cleaning their shoes on their return, carrying market purchases, doling out wet wipes to clean feet after temple visits and making sure no one gets lost ashore. Meals are delicious with a choice of western or local dishes with the accent on fresh vegetable soups, salads and curries

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TRAVEL | ADVENTURE | RIVER CRUISES

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such as butterfish wrapped in banana leaf served with biryani rice or Bagan pork curry cooked in fermented black bean paste, all beautifully presented and accompanied with generous servings of very drinkable local Aythaya wines or beer. Every evening there is a free happy-hour offering themed cocktails and canapés followed by a briefing on the following days programme. On one silkily warm evening north of Mandalay, the crew carried the rattan chairs and tables onto a mid river sandbank, built a sand pit fire, set up a bar, added music and a sea of flickering candles for a unique cocktail party. After dinner entertainment included films, puppet show, traditional dances and afternoon events embraced a talk, on Myanmar politics, demonstrations

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of longyi wearing  the long wrapround skirt that is everything from clothing or shoulder bag  the use of Thanaka a paste made from ground bark of the eponymous tree used by locals as a cosmetic, sunburn protector, to smooth the skin and prevent acne. When not sightseeing, days pass relaxing on the sundeck, cool beer or wine in hand observing life on this great river; overtaking lengthy barges, snarling long tailed boats or fragile current propelled rafts. The banks are lined with golden temples poking their domes from clumps of trees, swathes of pampas grass, cattle dozing on a sandbank and women pounding laundry on stones. The river above Mandalay is particularly peaceful, wide, shallow around big sandbanks with low horizon hills, and the dramatic white stack of a solitary mountain made of marble. Temples dominate excursions: one made with solid gold bricks, another tiled with jade, a third of exquisite teak carvings including winged angels plucked from Christian missionaries’ stories, one that became through superstition the world’s largest unfinished brick building and in Mandalay the world’s largest book of 729 tablets inscribed with Buddhist teachings that take one year and three months to read; each tablet set in a blindingly white mini temple. The temple scene culminates at Bagan the country’s capital from 1044-1287. As Pandaw 11 noses across the river, the stupas of some 3,000 temples in this World Heritage site spear the horizon. It is pleasant to wander among the crumbling brown stone structures with their exquisite carvings. Now it is forbidden to climb stupas to see the sunrise or sunset, a grassed ramp has

been built for viewing or there are dawn balloon flights. On the cruise, passengers get an insight into rural village life and its crafts, and get to see elephant dancing. There is also an inter-village competitive tradition in which two men support a dazzling but immensely heavy head(50kg) and body(30kg) costume in an acrobatic dance. You can visit Pandaw supported schools or glimpse expat lifestyle of past times at Salay House in a former oil boom town or experience different transport from rickshaws to trucks and buses with pony carts taken to Myanmar’s oldest golf course dating from 1885 at Thayet with a chance to tee off. A highlight of my visit was visiting the U Bein Bridge with the world’s longest – at 1.2 km – teak bridge built in 1849 using 1,000 teak posts. Ferried around the lake in gondola like boats by local fishermen, passengers are served champagne while watching the sunset behind the bridge. Myanmar’s rich craft industries are studied from long necked women weaving and men making razor or sand paintings outside the Htilominlo temple at Bagan; markets yield longyi, silky trousers and fabric bags, workshop visits included a lacquerware factory in Bagan and in Mandalay Buddha statue carvers, gold sellers where boys rhythmically pounded gold into gold leaf and a silver ware workshop where boys hammered out detailed patterns on bowls. l

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GADGETS & GIZMOS

Gadgets & Gizmos DELL ULTRASHARP 49 CURVED DUAL QHD MONITOR

SHURE KSE1200 ELECTROSTATIC EARPHONE SYSTEM The Shure KSE1200 Electrostatic Earphone System is an electrostatic earphone and amplifier system for use in-line with portable media players. Featuring a pair of single-driver electrostatic Sound Isolating earphones and matched, high voltage amplifier, the input stage of the System is designed for seamless integration with premium audio players common in today’s high quality portable audio market. Providing an unrivalled level clarity and detail, the KSE1200 system brings Shure’s electrostatic technology into a more compact,

efficient, and affordable solution. Its custom-designed earphone cable specifically isolates each conductor while the integrated USB rechargeable battery can conveniently charge from standard USB wall charger or computer. The product’s lightweight, ergonomic earphone shape minimises ear fatigue while comfortable Sound Isolating sleeves block up to 37 dB of ambient noise. Both the Shure KSE1500 and KSE1200 systems make portable high fidelity audio a reality.

Dell Ultrasharp 49 Curved Dual QHD Monitor is the world’s first 49-inch curved dual QHD monitor1 with the revolutionary ultra-wide 32:9 aspect ratio for seamless multi-screen productivity. The expansive monitor seems an ideal replacement for two 27-inch QHD monitors. The large onscreen space with 5120x1440 resolution and IPS technology allows users to view more content and see fine details with consistent colour across a wide viewing angle. The Dell UltraSharp 49 Curved, 32 4K USB-C and 34 Curved USB-C monitors come with significant features. The Picture-by-Picture aspect allows for multi-tasking content from two different PCs. A built-in keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) help users toggle between and edit content using a single keyboard and mouse. This new portfolio of UltraSharp monitors also offers convenient USB-C connectivity that charges the connected laptop while transmitting data and video signals, all from one single cable to reduce cable clutter.

STATOR SELF BALANCING ELECTRIC VEHICLE Stator is a self balancing electric vehicle designed to simplify personal transportation. High output lithium batteries power an efficient 1000W geared motor for extreme off-the-line torque, and speeds up to 25 mph with a 20mile range. Rear wheel regenerative braking is paired with a front-wheel hydraulic disc brake. Stator may be ridden stripped down or customised with components like seat, front/ rear utility racks, headlight, brake light, phone holder/charger and custom rack bags. A quickfolding handlebar gives the scooter packability for quick storage and transport. Stator construction balances cost, function, and longevity. Large tires house and protect the mechanical components, while electronics are safely housed within the steel base. The batteries are custom designed high-output, efficient 18650 cells that can withstand high recharge cycles. Over-sized parts give added

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strength and protection, and may be easily replaced if damaged. Nathan Allen designed Stator as a simple, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicle used to travel short distances. An avid skateboarder and bicyclist since childhood, he set out to build a vehicle that would provide a rider with the same unencumbered feeling of freedom and all the benefits of those modes of transportation. As a member of the faculty at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Allen is responsible for developing the curriculum to teach students critical foundational skills that are key to their entire educational experience. He has been an instructor at the college since 2006 and a guest lecturer at Caltech on prototyping and production. His 18 years of expertise have helped guide companies such as Google X and Idealab develop prototypes and design products for manufacturing.

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GADGETS & GIZMOS

Cool and clever gadgets and gizmos can turn us on, particularly the ones that surprise us with their extraordinary shapes, forms and features. And the day you give into these superlative electronic devices you will wonder how on earth you ever lived without them in the first place?

SAMSUNG NOTEBOOK 9 PEN  The Samsung Notebook 9 Pen is a premium 2-in1 PC with a built-in S Pen comes with improved design and performance, along with the maker’s Notebook’s most advanced S Pen yet. Built with an all-metal and aluminium frame to create a durable, stylish and portable device that can be taken anywhere, the Notebook 9 Pen has been features an edge-to-edge diamond cut metal finish for a premium look and feel. In spite of a full metal body, the Notebook 9 Pen has been designed to be a portable device and comes in two new colours namely vibrant Ocean Blue and pristine Platinum White. With Notebook 9 Pen, it’s easier than ever to jot notes, draw and even control the PC with S Pen. The S Pen reacts the moment it touches the vibrant display – as if putting an actual pen to paper – due to reduced latency of up to 2x from the previous

model. The S Pen options are also customisable, allowing you to swap in your choice of three different pen tips to get the drawing feel you prefer. The S Pen comes in the box, never needs to be charged and is stored directly into the PC. It can sketch a scene, take notes in a meeting, or diagram an idea. The notes are saved instantly and can be shared and transported across the cloud. To further enhance your S Pen experience, you can download the Myscript Nebo App for a free three month trial that allows you to not only convert notes into digital text, but also convert handdrawn charts and diagrams, into cleaner versions. The upgraded Notebook 9 Pen is now available in Korea and will expand to US, China, Brazil, and Hong Kong starting in early 2019. It comes in 13”, for those who want a powerful, portable sketchbook, and 15”, for those who want a designer workstation that maximises performance and screen real estate.

CYBERFISHING SMART ROD SENSOR

ODYSSEY GOLF STROKE LAB PUTTERS 

Attaching the Smart Rod Sensor from Cyberfishing to your rod allows you to get all the information you need to make every trip to your fishing spots better. By combining the lightweight Smart Rod Sensor and the Cyberfishing smartphone app, you can now record all the data from your fishing trips and find big fish more often. The ingenious Cyberfishing Smart Rod Sensor simply snaps onto your rod then records everything that happens as you fish – and it is so lightweight you won’t even notice it as you enjoy your day on the water.

The Odyssey Golf’s Stroke Lab putters feature the company's innovative new Stroke Lab weight distribution to improve performance dynamics for a more consistent putting stroke. These putters will be available nationwide in the US on 8 February, 2019. Stroke Lab putter line helps improve the stroke through a profound change in weight distribution made possible by an innovative new shaft. This is a completely new approach to putter weighting, and only Odyssey has it. The Stroke Lab shaft is a full 40 grams lighter made possible by an innovative new multimaterial shaft design that combines a graphite body with a steel tip to net out at just 75g, with most of the mass concentrated in the tip. The maker has redistributed that saved weight by adding 10g to the head in the form of two sole weights, and adding 30g to the grip-end via a 10g-lighter grip and 40g end-weight. The effect of Stroke Lab's innovative weight distribution on the stroke is dramatic. Odyssey studies indicate improvements in the consistency of backswing time, face-angle at impact, ball speed, and ball direction. Feel for the putterhead becomes more acute, helping the golfer repeat the same, smooth stroke time after time. Stroke Lab putters are targeted at any golfer who wants to putt better. The Stroke Lab lineup consists of 10 shapes – six mallets and four blades – all with the company’s newest White Hot Microhinge insert for smooth roll and good feel, in a choice of pistol grip or oversize grip.

The Smart Rod Sensor automatically captures data on the number of casts you make and the surrounding conditions. And when you catch a fish all it takes is a simple touch of a button and the Smart Rod Sensor saves the location instantly. That’s saved and stored no matter how long you fight the fish or however far the wind or the current takes you away from your original spot. And when the day is done? That’s when the Cyberfishing app comes into play. The Smart Rod Sensor connects to smartphones via Bluetooth and the Cyberfishing mobile app saves the captured data for easy access and retrieval. The Smart Rod Sensor attached to your rod enables you to get on with the casting and catching safe in the knowledge that it is doing the hard recording for you and you will soon have invaluable records to review and share.

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ASUS MINI PC PROART PA90 The Asus Mini PC ProArt PA90 is a new series of compact, workstation-class PCs created to deliver powerful, fast and stable performance for designers and content creators. Featuring 9th Generation Intel Core processors, NVIDIA Quadro graphics, up to 64GB of high-speed DDR4 memory, Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and a triple-storage design that blends ultrafast SSD and high-capacity HDD storage, it provides quality performance for computer-aided design (CAD) workflows for architecture, engineering and manufacturing in an attractively modern, compact form-factor that fits easily into any workspace. Powered by the latest 9th Generation Intel Core i9 and Core i7 processors, which provide up to 30 per cent better performance than the previous generation, the Mini PC ProArt PA90 comes equipped with NVIDIA Quadro workstation-grade graphics, which enable stunning visuals and accelerate content-creation workflows for designers who perform graphically intensive tasks, such as video and photo editing or 3D real-time photorealistic rendering. The NVIDIA Quadro graphics on Mini PC ProArt PA90 are also independent software vendor (ISV) certified to ensure that they deliver the best performance, stability and experience when working with a wide range of applications. With its powerful CPU and professional GPU, Mini PC ProArt PA90 delivers reliable computing performance for computer-aided design (CAD) workflows for architecture, engineering and manufacturing as well as media and entertainment, combined with an attractive, compact design that blends easily into any workspace.

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MOTORING

Bentley Continental GT Convertible THE PINNACLE OPEN-TOP GRAND TOURER

The Bentley Continental GT Convertible is the third generation model representing all that Bentley knows about creating the world’s definitive Grand Tourers. Beautiful, roof up or down, the GT Convertible’s flowing, elegant exterior styling is accented with muscular, sculptural lines whilst the finest handcrafted materials and in-car technologies harmonise to create a connected, personalised cabin that is both majestic and awe-inspiring. Quite simply, it takes your breath away. DESIGNED, ENGINEERED AND HANDCRAFTED IN BRITAIN – AND REPRESENTING ALL BENTLEY KNOWS ABOUT CREATING THE WORLD’S MOST STYLISH AND ELEGANT GRAND TOURERS – THE BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT CONVERTIBLE IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF THE LUXURY BRAND.

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Elegant and sculptural exterior styling harmonises perfectly with an exquisite handcrafted cabin, featuring the highest quality leathers and sustainably sourced veneers. The tailored convertible roof can be deployed or stowed in 19 seconds, with the car travelling at speeds of up to 30mph (50km/h). This transforms the Continental

GT Convertible from a luxurious coupe into an open-top Grand Tourer at the touch of a button. Seven different fabric hood colours are available, including an authentic tweed finish for the first time. A newly designed neckwarmer – both warmer and quieter than in the previous generation model – is seamlessly integrated into the heated Comfort Seats, optimising efficiency and airflow around the electrically adjustable headrests. The styling highlight of the new neckwarmer is a chrome centre vane that stretches the full width of the duct, echoing Bentley’s famous ‘bullseye’ vents. Combined with a heated steering wheel, seat heaters and new heated armrests, these sophisticated comfort features create a luxurious driving experience in all environments. The all-new Continental GT Convertible heightens the sensory experience of openair motoring with exhilarating performance. A powerful 6.0-litre Bentley W12 engine is mated to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission.

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The new powertrain uses the latest engine management technology to produce 635 PS (626 bhp) and 900 Nm (664 lb.ft.) of torque, and accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds (060 mph in 3.7 seconds), on to a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph). The new Continental GT Convertible also showcases major evolutions in Bentley’s unique application of technology. An advanced, fully digital, driver-focused instrument panel and Bentley Rotating Display for the driver are among the suite of innovations. The latter features an impressive 12.3” touchscreen housed in a three-sided unit, which revolves from pure veneer to reveal either a touchscreen or three elegant analogue dials – offering customers the option of a digital detox when desired. Elegant, sophisticated and refined, the all-new Continental GT Convertible is the pinnacle of open-top luxury Grand Touring.

EXTERIOR

Unmistakably a Bentley – the third generation Continental GT Convertible retains the elegance and style of its forebears. More sculpted and sharply-defined, the all-new body and materials combine to create a truly beautiful car – roof up or down. The Convertible’s profile is longer and lower than its forebear due to the positioning of the front wheels 135 mm further forward. This has allowed the bonnet to be extended and the nose to be lowered. The key signature power lines of its coupe sibling still dominate, flowing back towards the muscular rear haunches. The lighting on the Continental GT Convertible uses the latest LED Matrix technology, but it is the design of the headlamps that truly sets them apart. Inspired by the finest cut-crystal glasses, the internal surfaces are transparent with sharply defined edges that catch the light like a diamond. The result is similar to that of an illuminated gem – an effect which is magnified when the optional welcome sequence gradually illuminates the headlights as you approach the car. The taillights also feature the cut-crystal effect, highlighting the three-dimensional depth of the optics. The all-new Continental GT Convertible has 21” Five Tri-Spoke wheels as standard, with the option of 10-Spoke and 22” Five OpenSpoke wheels. These three wheel designs are offered in a selection of ten polished and painted finishes. Convertible customers can choose from the palette of 17 colours, including Beluga,

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MOTORING

Onyx and Portofino. An optional extended range of colours is also available – as well as the option of full bespoke colour-matching for Bentley customers. These can be coordinated with seven exterior roof colours.

INTERIOR The exquisite interior of the all-new Continental GT Convertible is a showcase for Bentley’s unrivalled expertise in the use of natural materials, fully revealed to the world when the elegant roof is lowered. From the highest-quality leathers, to rare, sustainably sourced veneers, such as Koa and Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus, the cabin is a triumph for craftsmanship and artisanal skill. Unique dual-veneer is offered, with over 10 square metres of wood used in every car. Customers have the choice of a polished wooden steering wheel too. The dashboard is styled and sculpted by long, flowing wings that mirror the shape of the Bentley badge. Continental GT Convertible customers can choose from eight interior hood lining colours, including Red, Blue and Magnolia. The 20-way adjustable Comfort Seats set new industry standards in comfort and refinement. Smooth centre panels allow maximum efficiency for the ventilation, heating and massage functions, while the adjustable bolsters retain the signature Bentley quilting. There is also the option of Hand Cross Stitch finishing. A choice of three audio systems is offered in the new Continental GT Convertible. The standard system features 10 speakers and 650 Watts, while a Bang & Olufsen 1,500 W, 16-speaker system with illuminated speaker grilles is available, benefiting from the first automotive application of the BeoSonic

system – a new way for tone setting with a simple, intuitive one-touch user interface. A Naim 2,200 W, 18-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats and eight sound modes is offered for the true audiophile. Behind the wheel, the technological advancements in the new Continental GT Convertible continue. The driver-orientated instrument panel is fully digital and can be personalised by the driver.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The third generation of Continental GT Convertible features Bentley Dynamic Ride, an advanced 48-volt roll control system for unrivalled car control. The system controls and adjusts the electronic actuators on the anti-roll bar of each axle and so improves handling and ride comfort, as well as making the car feel lighter and more precise. This system instantly counteracts lateral rolling forces when cornering and ensures maximum tyre-to-road contact to deliver classleading ride comfort and exceptional handling. While conventional anti-roll bars present a compromise between body control and ride comfort, Bentley’s active system provides variable torsional resistance, allowing the Continental GT Convertible to be both dynamically capable and comfortable for all occupants at all times. The use of a 48volt system results in silent, instantaneous responses and sufficient power on hand to deal with all road surfaces. Through Bentley’s Drive Dynamics Control different modes can be selected: Comfort mode, Bentley mode or Sport mode; the suspension, engine, gearbox and other chassis systems will modify to match the selected drive mode. Alternatively, the driver can personalise his or her own dynamic settings. l

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PROFILE - KENNY EWAN

Kenny Ewan FARMING FOR SUCCESS The frontman behind the London-based business enterprise Wefarm, Kenny Ewan prides on having created the world’s first and largest farmer-to-farmer digital network. Since its founding in 2015, he has led Wefarm to reach more than 1.3million users in Africa and become one of the UK’s most exciting start-ups, backed by top VCs in Europe and Silicon Valley, and named one of Africa’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies. HAILED AS THE ‘GOOGLE FOR FARMERS WITHOUT THE INTERNET’, WEFARM HAS WON NUMEROUS AWARDS SUCH AS THE GOOGLE IMPACT CHALLENGE AND THE GLOBAL GRAND PRIZE AT MIT INCLUSIVE INNOVATION CHALLENGE PROVING THAT ITS ONE OF A KIND MACHINE LEARNING TECHNOLOGY IS HIGHLYSCALABLE TO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS AND FOR PARTNERSHIP WITH LARGE CORPORATES. Founded in 2015 by Kenny Ewan, Wefarm’s vision is to solve global agricultural problems by helping farmers connect with one another to share ideas, knowledge and spread information. Alongside the milestone growth in users, the network’s content actively shared by farmers has grown 1,100 per cent to more than 1.3million questions and answers every month. Responsible for leading the overall strategic direction of Wefarm and overseeing the day-to-day activities of the business, 37-year-old Kenny grew up in Scotland where he studied architecture at Dundee University, before moving to Peru to work for an international NGO for seven years. “My first job after graduating was in Peru,” he says. “I signed to do a sixmonth placement helping an NGO with construction projects and ended up staying for seven years. I was offered a management position with an organisation called ProWorld Service Corps and specialised in building fish farms and water systems in rural, indigenous communities across the Peruvian Andes and rainforest, and in other parts of Latin America. “I did a great deal of listening and watching and realised that most farmers I was meeting had developed incredible solutions for the everyday problems they faced – but they

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didn’t have a way to share this information with one another without the internet. I also realised that a lot of NGOs were not paying any attention to this knowledge and worked on a very top-down basis. I wanted to show that this could be changed.” Kenny attributes his strong grounding in issues facing rural communities to his upbringing in the west of Scotland and credits his degree in architecture as having strong influence over his current role. It was in 2010 that he, alongside Claire Rhodes, general manager of the Cafédirect Producers Foundation (CPF), developed the idea for Wefarm together as a project for CPF, a UK-registered charity that works with 280,000 smallholder tea, coffee and cocoa farmers and their organisations on innovative, community driven projects. “We developed Wefarm as a peer-topeer knowledge sharing platform, giving smallholder farmers a way to access information from other farmers around the world through basic mobile phones and SMS,” says Kenny. “It would not be out of place to say that the project was born out of a perceived need for greater access to information for the 500million smallholder farmers in developing countries.” Wefarm was piloted, tested and developed over 2011 and 2012 as a CPF project with funding from the Nominet Trust. “This initial prototype of the system was tested in partnership with smallholder farming organisations in Peru, Kenya and Tanzania with successful proof of concept achieved – a real-time, multilingual knowledge sharing by farmers in three countries with no access to internet. This success led to more success.” In 2012, Wefarm won the Knight News Challenge, run by the Knight Foundation,

providing support to build a more robust, scalable version of the proof of concept system. In 2014 it was an overall winner of the Google Impact Challenge, providing funding to launch Wefarm in several different countries around the world and take it to scale. In October 2018 Wefarm announced it has reached over 1.3 million users across Kenya and Uganda, with plans to expand into the rest of Africa in 2019, beginning with Tanzania and then globally. For Kenny, building Wefarm has been the single most challenging and rewarding experience of his life to-date. “We have built a global agritech business with over one million users operating across three countries in three years. “The biggest challenge in the early months and years was getting anyone to listen. When we first started pitching and building our idea for a peer-to-peer network for offline farmers, it’s fair to say we got a bit of pushback and scepticism. But as we started to build the network and get thousands of farmers using it, more and more people started to get behind us. This has been a big lesson for me in how people accept and embrace new ideas.” Kenny equates his success to knowing millions of farmers to have found Wefarm indispensable and trustworthy in their daily work lives, and to having helped bring their voice back to the centre of global agriculture. “To get this success we need to strive to build a global company that has a social mission at the heart of everything it does, while also returning significant profit to our investors. We are also working hard to build a great culture at Wefarm and make sure our team goes home every night proud of working for Wefarm.” l Intercontinental Finance & Law • 156/19


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DEEP & FAR Attorneys-at-Law

Founded in 1992 by CF Tsai, Deep & Far law firm has successfully risen to be one of the top firms in its country of practice. The firm

Deep & Far are proud to be recognised as one of ICFM 100 Leading Firms of 2018

deals with all areas of intellectual property rights (IPR) including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair competition, and/or licensing, counseling, litigation and/or transaction thereof. Such is its expertise in the field that it has often been one of the largest sources from which foreign filing orders originate. “It is our philosophy to provide competent legal services that other firm cannot comparably provide,” says Tsai. “Our professionals own a relatively higher percentage of acquiring double backgrounds including technology and law.” Deep & Far employs highlyskilled legal professionals who have achieved significant expertise in their area of practice.

SPECIALISTS IN: I N T E L L E C T UA L P R O P E R T Y L AW C O M P E T I T I O N L AW C O R P O R AT I O N L AW DEBT COLLECTION REAL ESTATE C R I M I N A L L AW

13th F1., No. 27, Sec. 3, Chung San N. Rd. Taipei 104, Taiwan, R.O.C. Tel:+886-2-2585-6688 Email: cft@deepnfar.com.tw

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InterContinental Finance Issue 156/19  

Legal & Financial Publication

InterContinental Finance Issue 156/19  

Legal & Financial Publication

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