MBR AUGUST ALL

bdarmanin

MALTA

ISSUE 34 AUGUST 2017

BUSINESS REVIEW

COVER STORY

PEOPLE AND TECHNOLOGY

Stephen P DeFalco, CEO with Crane Currency, talks

about the significant multi-million Malta investment

06

8

16

40

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Developing a resilient and creative community

A comprehensive interview with Gozo Minister

The Hon. Dr Justyne Caruana

ERC STORIES

Religious Integration: How to look beyond

stereotyped images

Nilüfer Göle ‘s insights from his ERC-funded research into

emblematic controversies may help to find a way forward

IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW SERIES

Equiom’s yachting and aviation experts

MBR interviews Equiom’s dedicated yachting and

aviation team


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your perfect atmosphere

Malta Business Review

CONTENTS

August 2017

FEATURES

MALTA

BUSINESS REVIEW

EDITORIAL

Malta Business Review

COVER STORY

6 PEOPLE AND TECHNOLOGY

Stephen P DeFalco, CEO with Crane Currency, talks about

the significant multi-million Malta investment

GOZO: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

8 DEVELOPING A RESILIENT AND CREATIVE

COMMUNITY

A comprehensive interview with Gozo Minister Justyne

Caruana

SPECIAL REPORT

12 DBRS CONFIRMS REPUBLIC OF MALTA AT A,

TREND CHANGED TO POSITIVE

Adriana Alvarado & Nichola James provide us with a

detailed account following the recent DBRS report on

Malta’s rating to Positive

ERC STORIES

16 RELIGIOUS INTEGRATION: HOW TO LOOK

BEYOND STEREOTYPED IMAGES

Nilüfer Göle ‘s insights from his ERC-funded

research into emblematic controversies may help to find a

way forward

22

CORPORATE INTERVIEWS

CONTINUOUS INNOVATION,

UNCOMPROMISING INTEGRITY &

PROFESSIONALISM

Liam Ferriggi, Managing Director with Infinite

Fusion Technology tells us why the firm has become a

leading global IT Solution company

26 RESPECT, LEARNING & TEAM SPIRIT

Added value tactics and inspiring leadership with Deborah

Schembri, Managing Director of STM Malta Trust & Company

Management Ltd.

OUR GOLDEN PARTNERS

6

32 WHAT IS PHISHING?

Brain Darmanin, J2 GROUP explains why Phishing scams

are among the most prevalent forms of

cybercrime and how to overcome them

34 GLOBAL WARMING COULD RESULT IN LOSSES

FOR THE EUROPEAN WINE INDUSTRY

Taylor & Francis, in exclusive collaboration with MBR

provides us with top quality research and studies on the

effects of global warming

36 CLIMETRICS

Josh Snowdin introduces us to Climetrics, the world’s first

fund rating which enables investors to integrate climate

impact into their investment decisions

IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW SERIES

40 EQUIOM’S YACHTING AND AVIATION EXPERTS

MBR meets and interviews Equiom’s dedicated yachting

and aviation team, international professional services

providers for more than ten years

8 16

22

EU, BANKING & BUSINESS REPORTS

42 WORKFORCE

Databyte Dynamic Solutions present us with their latest

cloud based HR System running on the latest technologies

44 WHAT’S DRIVING BRUSSELS & EUROPE

Newsfeeds and latest behind-the-scenes happenings

within the EU, courtesy of POLITICO’s Playbook

46 HSBC BANK MALTA REPORTS RESILIENT

PROFITABILITY IN H1 2017

A glimpse into HSBC’s performance during the first six

months of 2017

40

52 BE VIGILANT: MFSA WARNING ON VIRTUAL

CURRENCIES

The Malta Financial Services Authority (“MFSA”) has taken

note of recent articles in the media referring to virtual

currency ATMs following the installation of a first such

ATM in Malta

PUBLISHER

MBR Publications Limited

OFFICES

Highland Apartment - Level 1,

Naxxar Road,

Birkirkara, BKR 9042

+356 2149 7814

EDITOR

Martin Vella

TECHNICAL ADVISOR

Marcelle D’Argy Smith

SALES DIRECTOR

Margaret Brincat

DESIGN

MBR Design

ADVERTISING

Call: 9940 6743 or 9926 0163/4/6;

Email: margaret@mbrpublications.net

or admin@mbrpublications.net

CONTRIBUTORS

Adriana Alvarado; Quentin Ariès; Howard Bilton;

Antoine Bonello; George Carol; Harry Cooper;

Brian Darmanin; Nilüfer Göle; Jean Paul Demajo;

Nichola James; Christian Müller; Josh Snowdin;

Charlie Williams, Hadrian Sammut

SPECIAL THANKS

Crane Currency; DBRS Ratings Limited; Demajo

Dental; DOI; European Research Council; Simon

Marks; Ministry for Gozo; POLITICO SPRL;

Taylor & Francis Group

PRINT PRODUCTION

Printit

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can

gather strength from distress, and grow brave

by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to

shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose

conscience approves their conduct, will pursue

their principles unto death.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Disclaimer

All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by copyright may

be reproduced or copied and reproduction in whole or part is strictly

prohibited without written permission of the publisher. All content

material available on this publication is duly protected by Maltese

and International Law. No person, organisation, other publisher or

online web content manager should rely, or on any way act upon

any part of the contents of this publication, whether that information

is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without

first obtaining the publisher’s consent. The opinions expressed in the

Malta Business Review are those of the authors or contributors, and

are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

Talk to us:

E-mail: martin@mbrpublications.net

Twitter: @MBRPublications

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaltaBusinessReview

Martin Vella

Editor-in-Chief

Extreme weather events are the new normal. Hurricanes Harvey and

IRMA have highlighted the struggle to apply climate science. Hurricane

Harvey is already being described as one of the ten costliest storms in

US history, with the estimated financial damage put at between US$10

billion and $20 billion. Oil- and gas-industry infrastructure lies among

the wreckage, and investors are eyeing the impact on the energy and

insurance markets.

In Malta, we have endured and suffered one of the most hottest and

sizzling summers ever. This year, the sun has been roasting us with

temperatures exceeding the 30 degrees Celsius since the beginning

of May, rising well over flaming 40s during the past weeks. Extreme

weather events such as Harvey, IRMA and the scorching heat wave can

be described as ‘unprecedented’ only so many times before companies and governments are forced to

accept that such events are the new normal, and to plan accordingly. Scientists cannot yet supply the kind

of detailed, quantified information that companies and others require to best plan for changes coming in

the next few years to decades.

This is partly a question of resources: the world is a big place, the future infinite and there isn’t enough

computing power to go around. It is partly political, with the few late-adopters still offering a false flag

around which to rally those who prefer inaction and obstruction. And it’s partly because the field of climate

services — as the field of such detailed projections is known — is on the front line of a cultural switch that

sees science listen to society’s questions, instead of simply offering answers. It is an imperfect storm, and

scientists can’t meet the cost alone.

Meanwhile, the International ratings agency, DBRS, has given Malta an ‘A’ rating. According to the American

experts of DBRS, this reflects Malta's strong economic growth as well as the progress made in respect of

reducing the deficit and national debt. Indeed international analysts argue that if this progress continues

and the reforms undertaken in the public sector are successful, Malta’s rating will improve further.

Following the recent change in the trend on Malta’s rating to Positive, we note below their analyst teams'

take on why DBRS decided to take this rating action:

“Malta is now among the few EU countries in full compliance with the EU fiscal rules. The Positive trend

reflects our view that the important improvements in the fiscal position since 2014 are likely to be sustained.

Primary surpluses above 2% of GDP, together with steady economic growth between 3% and 4%, should

allow Malta to continue reducing its public debt. Current forecasts point to a government debt ratio below

53% of GDP by the end of 2018.

“A continued reduction in public indebtedness in the near to medium term could lead to an upgrade in

Malta’s ratings. Other factors such as the successful implementation of reforms to improve the efficiency of

the public sector, boost private sector investment, and increase further labour force participation, could also

have a positive effect on the ratings.

“However, the emergence of additional contingent liabilities, from state-owned enterprises or the financial

sector, could lead to a change in the trend back to Stable. Large external shocks could also pose downside

risks, given the small size of Malta’s economy.”

Government's efforts to address structural and fiscal challenges including the restructuring of Enemalta and

Air Malta, and measures to address tax evasion and informality were also noted by DBRS. Finally, pressures

from age-related costs present another challenge for Malta. Healthcare costs and pension liabilities, while

still below EU averages, have increased rapidly in recent years. Labour market participation is rising, as a

result of recent reform efforts, but remains among the lowest in the EU, particularly among women and

older workers. Pension reform measures are being implemented and this should help secure the long-term

sustainability of the system. However, the overall impact of the measures is still to be assessed.

Hope you enjoy this month’s read, packed with the best quality business interviews, factual and topical

information, educational features, stories and articles.

Malta Business Review’s editorial opinions are decided by its Editor, and besides reflecting the Editor’s

opinion, are written to represent a fair and impartial representation of facts, events and provide a correct

analysis of local and international news.

Agents for:

4 5

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Malta Business Review

COVER STORY OF THE MONTH

COVER STORY OF THE MONTH

Malta Business Review

People and Technology

By George Carol

Stephen P DeFalco is the Chief Executive

Officer with Crane Currency, an established

company that makes money making money -

the banknotes used by countries all over the

world. In this exclusive interview, Stephen tells

us that Crane Currency’s message has been

that this is a great time to join a leader in the

banknote business who is building the most

modern banknote production and customer

experience facility in the world here in Malta.

There has been a phenomenal response to

all the public calls, and Stephen confirms the

general feeling is that people want to be part of

this journey right from the start. In fact, within

a month after Crane Currency announced

their intention to locate in Malta, over 1500

people submitted their information to their

Malta careers site. We learn more about this

prestigious multi-million investment and Crane

Currency in this absorbing interview.

MBR: What can you tell us about Crane

Currency?

SPD: Crane Currency is a fully integrated

supplier of secure, durable and well-designed

banknotes for central banks all over the

world. We are a pioneer in advanced microoptics

technology and offer an endless series

of engaging visual effects on a banknote to

increase the level of security and public trust.

Customers can benefit from our combined

expertise in design, paper and printing – and

a culture of knowledge sharing and long-term

partnerships. We are a global company and

a trusted partner of more than 50 central

banks.

MBR: What about your history… how long

have you been in business?

SPD: The Company was founded in 1801 in

Dalton, Massachusetts by Zenas Crane. He

Stephen P. DeFalco, Chief Executive Officer at Crane Currency

started his own paper mill catering primarily to

banks, printers and shopkeepers. The biggest

impact on Crane’s future came in 1879 when

the company managed to secure an order to

manufacture U.S. banknote paper. While we

have been continuously suppling the paper

for U.S. currency, in 2002 we broadened our

global footprint through the acquisition of the

Swedish Central Bank’s (Sveriges Riksbank)

banknote paper mill and printing operations

in Tumba, Sweden.

The biggest impact on Crane’s

future came in 1879 when the

company managed to secure

an order to manufacture U.S.

banknote paper.

MBR: How is the company positioned

today?

SPD: While we have a 200 year history in the

banknote business, it has been the last ten

years that have propelled the company to the

global technology leader it is today. We have

grown substantially, driven by strong customer

pull for our anti-counterfeiting technology.

Our micro-optic technology (MOTION) can

be found in over 80 high value denominations

around the world. It is based on pioneering

research in material science and proprietary

equipment, promising decades of innovative

and effective security for our central bank

customers and the cash-using public.

MBR: Isn’t the use of banknotes declining?

SPD: No, that’s what the credit card

companies want you to believe. Actually on a

worldwide basis cash is growing at about 6%.

Interestingly, a recent study of currency use

in Asia showed that cash holdings are highest

in those countries with the most advanced

Groundbreaking at the Hal Far site, December 14, 2016

(L-R) Annemarie Watson, Crane Currency; Ambassador G. Kathleen Hill;

Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat; Stephen DeFalco, Crane Currency

payment platforms, for example in S. Korea,

Singapore and Hong Kong. Cash guarantees

economic connectedness for those who

do not have access to bank accounts, but it

also remains a preferred payment means

for those having many payment options.

And despite the rise in mobile payment

technology, cash is growing in every country

in the world except Sweden, with growth in

the U.S. at four to six percent a year. Electronic

transactions generally have replaced the

previous generation of electronics, not cash.

Someone using Apple Pay uses that instead of

a debit card. It's the great myth. If you see an

article saying cash is dying, turn to page three

and the chart will show cash is just fine.

MBR: What differentiates Crane Currency?

SPD: Its people and its technology. We position

ourselves as a fully integrated partner. Our

banknote papermaking skills, steeped in over

200 years of experience have produced some

of the most durable and functional banknotes

in the world. Our printworks in Tumba has

faced challenging deadlines by demanding

customers and continues to deliver on time

and on quality. And our investment in research

and development has yielded numerous

advances in paper, print and security features.

Our family of MOTION® micro optics based

security features have proven to be the best

defense against counterfeiters. From the

perspective of our central bank customers,

it is the perfect security feature: easy for the

public to authenticate and impossible for the

counterfeiter to duplicate.

MBR: Crane Currency was honoured

with the Banknote and Currency Services

Provider of the year award. How do you feel

your team achieved this?

SPD: We are grateful for the recognition

from Central Banking Publications. It truly is a

tribute to our employees who worked so hard

to create a breakout year for our company.

Their efforts expanded our relationship with a

number of key customers. Crane won a record

number of new micro-optic specifications

during the year, which will drive an increase in

paper and banknote orders in the future. We

also produced a record number of banknotes

which has led to the need for further

expansion to increase our banknote printing

capacity.

Central bankers from around

the world will be coming to

Malta to work with Crane on

their next series of banknotes

for generations to come

MBR: Why Malta?

SPD: The country of Malta has a wellknown

history of banknote production,

providing Crane access to a skilled workforce.

In addition, the country has a business

friendly environment and is located in close

proximity to many of Crane's customers. The

construction at our site in Hal Far has gone

extremely well, and we are grateful to the

contractors and other providers who have

worked diligently on this facility. I am pleased

with the success of our hiring to date. The

experience and skill levels of the employees

we have hired here in Malta have exceeded

our expectations.

MBR: What makes this production center

unique?

SPD: Being able to build a greenfield project

is a great opportunity to establish the most

modern, efficient and customer friendly

banknote production facility in the world.

Crane is very excited about our state of the art

facility, and its customer experience center

as a place where we can partner with our

customers to develop the most advanced

banknotes in the world. Central bankers from

around the world will be coming to Malta

to work with Crane on their next series of

banknotes for generations to come.

MBR: When will it be ready to start?

SPD: We commence operations in December

and full production Q1 2018. The facility is

15,000 square meters in size and will have

space for 3 print lines.

MBR: What is Crane's company ethos?

SPD: Beyond earning the trust of our

customers, Crane has built strong effective

partnerships with our communities. We have

worked cooperatively to increase the vitality

and long term health of the cities and towns

in which we operate. We have established

robust relationships with local educational

organizations to expand the pool of available

skilled labor not just for Crane – but all local

employers.

Crane is a proud founding member of the

Banknote Ethics Initiative, which has set

the highest industry standards for integrity

and ethics. This trade group has made

significant advancements in building trust and

partnerships in a highly competitive industry.

We hold all of our suppliers and vendors to

these same standards of conduct through our

global purchasing protocols.

And lastly, Crane has a 200 year history of

caring for the safety of our employees and our

environment. We establish regular meetings

with local communities to understand the

issues which are important to them and

work together on solutions. Our teams are

focusing on using continuing improvement

methodologies to innovate solutions to

reduce waste, conserve energy and minimize

our environmental footprint.

Crane is proud to be an industry leader

in making our business and communities

economically, environmentally and socially

sustainable. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2017

EDITOR’S

Note

Stephen was named

Chief Executive Officer

in 2011. Previously, he

was Chief Executive

Officer at MDS, a publicly

traded $1.2B revenue life

science company with

5,000 employees in 29

countries. Prior to that

he held leadership positions at US Genomics,

PerkinElmer, United Technologies, McKinsey

& Company, and IBM. Stephen is the chairman

of the board of Senseonics Holdings, Inc., a

medical technology company. Stephen holds

an MS in Management from the Sloan School

of Management at MIT. He also holds an

MS in Computer Engineering from Syracuse

University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering

from MIT.

6 7

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Malta Business Review

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Malta Business Review

Developing a resilient and creative community

by Martin Vella

the responsible participation of the whole

community. The full perspective is to be kept

in sight by decision-makers, the civil society,

entrepreneurs, NGOs and the public in

general - be they residents and visitors.

MBR: The presence of pesticide residues in

food is emerging as the number one enemy

of people’s health worldwide. What’s being

done to promote organic farming in Gozo,

taking into account that, the plots of land

being so small, organic farming will not be

possible unless all or most farmers adopt it?

JC: Despite the size of the island, we already

have successful industries that have dealt

in modern technologies to promote Gozo's

agricultural products. Although agricultural

policy is another portfolio's remit, as a team

in government we aim at securing the latest

methods, such as organic farming, in the

wake of public health awareness. In itself it

is an educational process and we diligently

seek further funds to incentivise our farmers.

The Ministry for Gozo is in the process of

upgrading services for farmers in terms of the

electoral manifesto proposals.

MBR: Clean air is one of the major resources

of Gozo. Are there incentives in place for

eliminating or reducing diesel and gasolinedriven

means of transport and would you

support the idea that all Gozo’s public

transport go electric?

JC: Clean air is one of Gozo's major attractions

and is in fact an important reason for

domestic tourism. In turn, the periodical but

constant increase in the island's population

due to year-round tourism, can be a threat

and must therefore be addressed through

necessary measures. Although Gozo has its

particular needs, we are part of a government

committed to national strategies in the energy

sector. It is my duty not to leave any stone

unturned to push forward all that sustains and

protects the island's eco-system.

MBR: How would you appraise the strength

of the financial sector in Gozo and what is

being done to boost investment in Gozo?

JC: I have been personally involved in

formulating this Government's electoral

proposals for Gozo. We have feasible plans

that incentivise further investment, not only

to create more jobs, but also to boost the

island's financial and economic standing,

utilising all its potential with regards to human

resources and technological skills.

we are part of a government

committed to national strategies

in the energy sector

MBR: What infrastructure projects are

currently underway in Gozo and have you

identified areas where you can improve,

strengthen and make infrastructure projects

more efficient?

JC: My first weeks at the Gozo Ministry

were taken up by long reviews of projects

in hand with a view to add further impetus

in full respect of timeframes and efficiency

- both budgetary and logistic. Consultation

is a basic requirement, on-site inspections

are helpful, but decisions have to be taken

- even the shelving of long overdue projects,

re-dimensioning or re-locating others as well

new and innovative ones which we need

to start from scratch. I have resourceful

collaborators for whom I do not need to

invent the wheel, but ensure that it moves

faster in the right direction.

MBR: How is the ministry planning to

balance tourism growth while preserving

the rich heritage of the island?

JC: Diligent and coordinated use is the best

way of preserving the island's cultural and

natural heritage. We need to be fully aware

that Gozo is not just made of attractions, but

is in itself our own home and a destination

for visitors. In planning and managing our

programmes, and schedules within the

tourist industry we must ensure that such a

heritage is not ours but belongs also to future

generations.

MBR: What would you like to achieve during

your tenure in this role and can you tell us

more about your future plans for Gozo?

JC: I have always believed in Gozo's potential

and the resilient skills of my fellow Gozitans.

In my new role as Minister, I want to be a

driving agent to instill further trust in our

own abilities. This will be achieved through

more organisational measures in all sectors,

providing the necessary tools and structures

to reach our targets on time and within

budgetary forecasts. As already said, I mean

to erase the erroneous idea that anything

goes here. Whether it is economic, social,

infrastructural or cultural, the concept of

quality is a must! MBR

All rights reserved / Copyright 2017

Gozo is one of the Malta’s most famous tourism destinations, and a potential cruise hub. It’s also a place that has changed

significantly in the past two decades and is likely to see more in the coming years. And after growth last year upwards of 8

percent, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana wants to see tourism continue to climb — in a way that increases development for

the people. Minister Caruana insists quality is a must and highlights the initiatives underway to boost the local economy.

MBR: What are the main priorities for the

ministry, and what have been your key

challenges and objectives since taking office

recently?

JC: The Ministry for Gozo is to lead and

coordinate the planning and implementation

of current and future projects in various

sectors, scheduling a synchronised way of

doing things around the island. My major

challenge upon taking office, is to delete the

wrong perception that in Gozo anything goes

and to tangibly improve the quality of life of

Gozitans, particularly by delivering overdue

projects.

MBR: How would you define Gozo’s

identity, and how should it be perceived by

the international community?

JC: Gozo is a particular island with a rich

cultural heritage and the homeland of a

resilient and creative community.

The environment is our

major inheritance and its best

appraisal is in the balance we

manage to strike where progress

is a need and sustainability

is a must.

MBR: Hon Minister, you are well known

for stressing on the importance of leading

a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. As you

might expect, ecoGozo comes to mind…

can you elaborate on what action you

will embark to enhance how ecoGozo is

distributed under the four main pillars: the

Economy, Environment, Society and Culture

and Identity?

JC: All four pillars have to work in tandem,

seeking sustainability in each pillar through

the full respect of the economic and social

life of the community. The environment is

our major inheritance and its best appraisal

is in the balance we manage to strike where

progress is a need and sustainability is a must.

MBR: Under the Eco-Gozo development

strategy, Gozo aims to become an eco-island

by 2020. What does this entail?

JC: In itself Eco-Gozo is a strategy that

includes development within the limits of

social requirements and, as such, it involves

PHOTO: DOI- Clodagh Farrugia O' Neill

8 9

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Malta Business Review

COST OF LIVING

Malta Business Review

THE REAL COST OF LIVING

SOVEREIGN WORLDWIDE COST OF LIVING INDEX (SWCLI)

TAX RATES HAVE MAJOR IMPACT ON COST OF LIVING.

What you need to earn to afford it is more important than cost.

By Howard Bilton

Sovereign’s tax-adjusted Worldwide Cost of Living Index is intended

to provide businesses with a relevant and authoritative benchmark

Singapore was 20% more expensive than

New York and 5% pricier than Hong Kong,

factors in not only the comparative prices of goods and services in

which lies in second place, closely followed by

cities around the world but how much an individual living and earning

Sovereign’s

“We were quite surprised by the results.

Hong Kong and Singapore, which are the

tax-adjusted Worldwide world’s most expensive cities (according to

Cost of Living Index

the Economist Information Unit), drop out

Zurich.

of the top 10 altogether when you factor

is intended to services in after the paying tax.” Howard local taxes. Bilton, Chairman of

provide businesses

Sovereign

with a relevant

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

publishes a bi-annual survey of the cost

and authoritative

of living in the world’s major cities, which

benchmark on

compares the prices of 160 goods and

services in 133 cities around the world. The

which to formulate

most recent survey, published in March, rated

iving compensation

– Sovereign Worldwide Cost of Living Index (SWCLI)

Singapore as the world’s most expensive city

PRESENTED BY:

packages for overseas

for a fourth consecutive year. It found that

staff. It factors in not

nce Unit (EIU) publishes a bi-annual

only the comparative Country City

WCOL index

(New York = 100)

ng in the world’s major cities,

prices of goods and

ces of 160 goods and services in

orld. services in cities

around the world

, published but in how March, much rated an

s most expensive individual city living for a and fourth

d that earning Singapore in was a particular

20% more

rk and 5% city pricier would than need Hong to Kong, earn

ce, closely to afford followed these by Zurich. goods

and services after

w a return paying to the local top taxes. ten for Tokyo

ustained recovery in the strength

th Japanese cities returning to the

half of the ten most expensive

urope accounts for a further four

ity was the lone North American

ten are ranked as follows:

The latest survey also saw a return to the top

ten for Tokyo and Osaka owing to a sustained

recovery in the strength of the Japanese yen.

With Japanese cities returning to the fold, Asia

accounted for half of the ten most expensive

cities ranked. Western Europe accounts for a

further four cities, while New York City was

the lone North American representative.

The top ten are ranked as follows:

Rank

Rank Movement

Singapore Singapore 120 1 0

Hong Kong Hong Kong 114 2 0

Switzerland Zürich 113 3 -1

Japan Tokyo 110 4 7

Japan Osaka 109 5 9

South Korea Seoul 108 6 2

Switzerland Geneva 107 7 -3

France Paris 107 8 -2

US New York 100 9 -2

MBR

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A partnership built on trust.

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We support corporations and high-net-worth individuals around the world with their fiduciary and related

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Malta Business Review

ISSUER RATINGS

EU: TRANSPARENCY

Malta Business Review

DBRS Confirms Republic of Malta at A,

Trend Changed to Positive By Adriana Alvarado & Nichola James

DBRS Ratings Limited (DBRS) confirmed the

Republic of Malta’s Long-Term Foreign and

Local Currency – Issuer Ratings at A and its

Short-Term Foreign and Local Currency –

Issuer Ratings at R-1 (low). The trend on the

ratings has been changed to Positive.

The rating is supported by Malta’s Eurozone

membership, its solid external position, a

favourable public debt structure, and the

robust financial position of households.

However, Malta’s contingent liabilities remain

a source of vulnerability, its economy is

exposed to external shocks, and pressures

from the rising age-related costs, if

unaddressed, could pose a concern for the

pensions system. Nevertheless, the Positive

trend reflects DBRS’s view that the important

improvement in the fiscal position over the

past three years is likely to be sustained.

A sound budget position, together with

solid growth, is expected to lead to the

further reduction in the public debt ratio.

Improvements in the “Fiscal Management

and Policy”, “Debt and Liquidity”, and

“Economic Structure and Performance”

sections of our analysis were the key factors

for the trend change.

Following a fiscal consolidation process

since 2013, Malta’s fiscal outturns came

in better than expected in 2016. Both the

headline and the structural deficits turned

into surpluses, and the government debt

ratio, already 12 percentage points lower

than its 2011 peak, fell below 60% of GDP.

The improvement in public finances has

been driven by strong revenues as well as

moderation in expenditure, and supported

by a strengthened fiscal framework. The fiscal

over-performance also meant that Malta

complied with the budget balance rule, the

debt rule, and the expenditure benchmark of

the EU Stability and Growth Pact in 2016.

Malta’s Eurozone membership ensures

reliable access to European markets, fosters

strong and credible macroeconomic policies

and makes available financial facilities from

European institutions. The expansion of trade

and travel links with Europe has also provided

a boost to the country’s economy. Malta’s

economy is among the fastest growing in

the Euro area and its growth prospects look

favourable.

Malta’s solid external position is another

credit strength. The current account surplus

has averaged 4.4% of GDP in 2011-2016, and

the country is also a net external creditor with

a net external asset position of 31.2% of GDP

on average over the same period. Although

the import content of production remains

high, this has declined as the economy

Republic of Malta

RATINGS

Issuer

Malta, Republic of

Malta, Republic of

Malta, Republic of

Malta, Republic of

Long-Term Foreign Currency - Issuer Rating

Long-Term Local Currency - Issuer Rating

Short-Term Foreign Currency - Issuer Rating

Short-Term Local Currency - Issuer Rating

becomes more service oriented. The current

account surplus is supported by sizable

services exports. Malta’s low reliance on

external financing has supported its resilience

in recent years, as the core domestic banking

sector is funded by domestic retail deposits,

and the government meets its financing

requirements domestically.

Malta’s public debt composition and maturity

structure also provide support to its rating.

The Maltese Treasury has followed a strategy

of lengthening the maturity of government

debt in recent years. The average maturity of

government bonds was 9.0 years in July 2017,

which compares favourably to other European

economies. Government debt is also largely

fixed-rate, resulting in a predictable and

manageable debt redemption schedule.

On the private sector, Maltese households

enjoy high levels of savings and moderate

indebtedness. Household net financial

assets are large at 182% of GDP. Household

debt, mainly in the form of mortgages, has

increased but it remains moderate. Private

consumption growth is consequently quite

resilient.

Some of Malta’s credit challenges are

associated with the exposure of its public

sector and the still moderately high, albeit

declining, level of public debt. Contingent

liabilities from large state-owned enterprises

(SOEs), though reduced, continue to pose

a risk to government finances. The degree

of concentration in the domestic financial

sector could also be a source of contingent

liabilities. Although the restructuring of some

of the SOEs has reduced risks to the public

sector balance sheet, and the overall financial

condition of the core domestic banks looks

strong, the public sector remains vulnerable

to debt shocks. After remaining above 60%

of GDP for decades, public debt has been

declining since 2014 and forecast to fall below

53% in 2018.

Malta’s tourism sector and other industries

that rely on foreign demand also expose

the economy to unfavourable external

developments. Tourism benefits from a

market of wealthy European economies, but

Debt rated Rating Trend

A

A

R-1 (Low)

R-1 (Low)

Positive

Positive

Positive

Positive

it could be adversely affected by an economic

downturn in the region. Malta is exposed to

a slowdown in the UK economy, as British

tourists account for 25% of Malta’s total

tourists. Shocks to external demand could

also have an impact on domestic real estate

prices, with potential adverse implications

for household finances. The increasing

diversification of the economy, nevertheless,

helps mitigate some of the external risks.

Finally, pressures from age-related costs

present another challenge for Malta.

Healthcare costs and pension liabilities, while

still below EU averages, have increased rapidly

in recent years. Labour-market participation

is rising, as a result of recent reform efforts,

but remains among the lowest in the EU,

particularly among women and older

workers. Pension reform measures are being

implemented and this should help secure

the long-term sustainability of the system.

However, the overall impact of the measures

is still to be assessed.

RATING DRIVERS

A reduction in public indebtedness in the

near to medium term, in line with DBRS’s

expectations, could lead to an upgrade in the

ratings. Successful implementation of reforms

to improve the efficiency of the public sector,

boost private sector investment, and increase

further labour force participation could

also have a positive effect. However, the

emergence of additional contingent liabilities,

from state-owned enterprises or the financial

sector, could lead to a change in the trend

back to Stable. Large external shocks could

also pose downside risks. MBR

Notes:

The main points of the Rating Committee

discussion included the fiscal performance,

debt trajectory, economic performance

and structure, government guarantees, and

external position.

All figures are in Euros (EUR) unless otherwise

noted.

Creditline: European Operations, DBRS Ratings

Limited http://www.dbr

TRANSPARENCY, ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY:

The push for greater transparency about

how lawmakers make decisions, who they

meet and which interests are doing what

has been gathering pace in recent years,

with numerous inquiries launched by the

European ombudsman, cases before the

European Court of Justice and measures

to boost lobbying disclosure rules. To the

NGOs campaigning for transparency, it’s

a question of democratic accountability.

But not everyone is convinced. MBR

TRANSPARENCY HELPS LOBBYISTS:

A group of American researchers published

a study this month called “The evolution of

transparent corruption,” which argues that

the introduction of rules forcing lawmakers

to say how they voted helps lobbyists rather

than boosts democratic accountability. “Endto-end

transparency appears to provide

enormous advantages for the application of

grand scale corruption, as it provides both

a sense of legitimacy and a way to interface

easily with legislators,” write the Congressional

Research Institute’s James D’Angelo, the

Ronin Institute’s Brent Ranalli and Harvard

University’s David C. King. They argue that

as soon as lobbyists can see how a lawmaker

votes, they can then start manipulating them

using threats and money, a practice they say

started in the U.S. in the early 1970s when

Congress introduced new transparency rules.

“Hopefully we’re at peak transparency,”

D’Angelo told Brussels Influence. MBR

UNDER-PRESSURE LAWMAKERS: The

researchers argue that lawmakers need to

be able to vote and discuss laws in secret

because if there is too much scrutiny, they can

be more easily persuaded to vote in a way that

benefits a particular group. “They say, ‘every

time a vote is open, my sphincter closes,’” said

D’Angelo, referring to the pressure lawmakers

can feel when lobbyists know how they are

voting. MBR

By HARRY COOPER and QUENTIN ARIÈS

with thanks to Simon Marks

A BRUSSELS PROBLEM? Votes and

discussions in the EU institutions, however,

are often shrouded in mystery, with lobbyists

and activists complaining about a resistance

to publish voting records, documents and

legal opinions. The most sensitive discussions

take place in so-called trilogues, an informal

process whereby representatives from the

three main institutions meet in closed-door

meetings with no obligation to disclose

anything. MEPs also aren’t that easily

manipulated by promises of campaign

finance, which is heavily regulated in most

European countries. And in the Council of the

EU, ambassadors representing EU countries

take their orders from national capitals, where

knowledge of what’s going on in Brussels is

often patchy at best. MBR

LOBBYING IS FINE BTW: D’Angelo was keen

to point out that lobbying per se is not a

problem. “Anyone should be able to lobby, to

express an opinion,” he said. “But as soon as

you say ‘if you don’t vote this way, we will do

this,’ then it’s a problem.” In the compromisebuilding

world of Brussels, you’d be hardpressed

to find a lobbyist willing to threaten

an MEP in that way, although many NGOs

have spotted the benefits of this personalized

approach to lobbying, with some naming and

shaming MEPs on the International Trade

Committee who voted in favor of free trade

deals last year. MBR

MONSANTO STRIKES BACK ON GLYPHOSATE:

The agri-chemical giant says it has evidence

that debunks the only appraisal by a major

world body to label its weedkiller glyphosate

as carcinogenic. It says court depositions in

the U.S. show that the International Agency

for Research on Cancer (IARC), a United

Nations body, failed to make reference to

two pieces of research from Germany that

suggested the herbicide was safe. Testimony

from Charles William Jameson, a worldrenowned

scientist who specialized in animal

studies at the IARC, was part of hundreds of

documents from a high-profile court case in

San Francisco that Monsanto provided to

POLITICO’s Simon Marks. The agency denied

purposefully withholding information from

Jameson or anyone else. MBR

TIMING IS EVERYTHING: The courtroom fight

in San Francisco is happening as both U.S. and

EU regulators decide whether glyphosate

should remain on the market — which

would be a big deal as it’s used by farmers

and gardeners the world over. The EU has to

make a decision by the end of the year, while

the United States Environmental Protection

Agency could release its recommendation at

any time, although both have already said the

chemical is safe in its current form. MBR

MORE AGENCY DRAMA: The European

Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected

claims made by Testbiotech, an anti-GMO

NGO, that one of its scientists was indirectly

paid by Monsanto to attend the annual

conference of the Society of Toxicology. EFSA

says the scientist in question, José Tarazona,

didn’t go to the event in the U.S., which was

instead attended by Daniele Court Marques,

another leading scientist at the Parma-based

institution. “Participation of EFSA staff in

scientific conferences to present EFSA’s work

is a standard activity,” the agency said. “In line

with EFSA’s policy, no travel reimbursement,

sponsorship or fee was received by the EFSA

delegate from the conference organizers.” MBR

COMPETITION SUMMER SCHOOL: The

Institute of European Studies is hosting

a summer school on EU competition law

from September 4 with classes taught by

officials from the European Commission and

European Court of Justice as well as lawyers

from big firms such as Covington & Burling,

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford

Chance. MBR

RUSSIA WATCH: The U.S. Embassy is looking

for a Russian-speaking “information specialist”

tasked with supporting “the Department

of State’s broader efforts to communicate

authoritative, accurate, and timely U.S. policy

information to Russian-language media

throughout Europe and Central Asia.” MBR

REGISTER MY INTEREST: Last week 56

new organizations signed up to the joint EU

transparency register. MBR

Creditline: POLITICO SPRL

12 13

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Malta Business Review

ICT

Malta Business Review

Turn your KPIs into actionable

process improvements with

the right ERP solution

By Charlie Willams

Realise Your Full Business Potential

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One of the hallmarks of most businesses is a

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stock might find this challenging. With

the Acumatica Distribution Management

module, product distribution management

becomes an easy and straightforward process.

Users can determine the business real-time

profitability, which can even be analysed

down to specific warehouses, product lines,

and locations.

The ability to coordinate product distribution

and manage customers’ expectations are

considered critical operational benchmarks.

However, the ultimate goal of any company

is to turn a profit, which is an integral KPI

for business owners and investors. With the

Acumatica Financial Management module,

the finance team can utilise a core set of

applications designed for companies with

complex requirements, yet are easy to use in

smaller organisations, making financial data

clearly represented in C-level dashboards.

Analysing KPIs is a vital way of understanding

how you can improve your business

performance. However, this is not always

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Learn more about Acumatica:

www.computimesoftware.com/acumatica.

Email us at info@computimesoftware.com or

call us on +356 2149 0700. MBR

EDITOR’S

Note

Charlie Williams is Head

of Business Development,

Computime Software.

Charlie is a seasoned

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14 www.maltabusinessreview.net 15

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Malta Business Review

ERC STORY

ERC STORY

Malta Business Review

RELIGIOUS INTEGRATION: HOW TO LOOK BEYOND STEREOTYPED IMAGES

Headscarves, mosques and halal shops —

many EU citizens are Muslims, but visible

signs of their faith are often viewed with

distrust. What some Europeans see as a

right to express their identity, others regard

as a threat to societal core values.

Insights from ERC-funded research into

emblematic controversies may help to

find a way forward.

PROJECT DETAILS

Researcher (PI): Nilüfer Göle

Title:

EUROPUBLICISLAM

Islam in the Making of a European

Public Sphere

The Cologne Mosque, for debating new architectural forms in European context

Controversies surrounding Islam aren’t

specific to the city or country where they

arise. In the post-migration phase, these

public controversies reach across Europe

and have gained a transnational dynamic.

This is the premise of the research project

EuroPublicIslam conducted by Prof. Nilüfer

Göle, professor of sociology at EHESS, the

School for Advanced Studies in the Social

Sciences in Paris.

“With my research, I wanted to look beyond

the headlines to see the real people involved

in these controversies,” she explains. “In the

media debate, we don’t usually hear the

voices of those who are involved.” To do so,

she ran workshops exploring prominent

disputes between Muslims and their

neighbours in 21 European cities.

In 2015, Prof. Göle published: Musulmans

au Quotidien. Une enquête européenne

sur les controverses autour de l’islam (La

Découverte, Paris, 2015), a book based on this

research. It has been translated to German,

Polish, Turkish and was recently released in

English. In May of 2017, Prof. Göle received

the "Ambassador of the New Europe" award

for her book, a prize awarded by the Center

for European Solidarity (Solidarnosc) and

the Jan Nowak-Jezioranski College in Eastern

Europe, Gdansk, Poland.

COURTING CONTROVERSY

The public sphere is a matter of people, of

citizens more than organised politics, Prof.

Göle explains. The controversies around Islam

appear not at an abstract level, but in local,

physical places such as cities, where citizens

interact and assert their differences.

This observation raised tricky questions for

research, she adds. “I wondered if there

actually was such a thing as a European public

sphere around Islam, and if so, how I could

conduct research there.”

In response to this question, she developed

an “experimental public sphere” – a

methodology recreating miniature versions

of the public sphere where she and a

team of students could study the dispute.

This approach took the form of four-hour

encounters where citizens discussed a

particular bone of contention, such as a

controversial art installation in Brussels or

hotly debated plans for a new mosque in

Cologne. Residents from diverse religious and

cultural backgrounds were brought together

in these sessions and explored possibilities for

living together addressing also the conflictual

issues.

INTEGRATION BEYOND INVISIBILITY

Europe’s Muslims are not a homogenous

group – no more so than the other parties

involved in the debate. However, says Prof.

Göle, they have one thing in common, in that

they are seeking to gain acceptance as being

both Muslim and European.

Other Europeans often feel threatened and

invaded as core values of their societies are

called into question, she notes. ‘Concessions’,

however minor, may be viewed as the

thin end of the wedge. When discussions

are however allowed to go beyond the

exchange of standard phrases, a wide range

of perspectives can emerge on both sides of

the debate.

UNITED IN DIVERSITY?

“The question,” says Göle, “is how to go

beyond the opposition at the level of everyday

life and public life. There were many groups

where the attempt failed.”

If we want to move forward together,

she argues, we need to look beyond the

stereotyped images conveyed by many

media, reclaiming what she calls the power

of interpretation in a bid to learn more

about ordinary citizens, their hopes and their

concerns. We need to express our diverse

heritage in innovative forms and aesthetics,

as exemplified by the integration of churchbuilding

expertise in the design of Cologne’s

new mosque.

Change is already under way, says Prof. Göle.

“Muslim citizens are carving out a space for

themselves”, she notes.

And, she adds, they need to reach out.

Performative citizenship can help to break

down barriers and increase tolerance, Prof.

Göle explains, citing the example of a peace

circle formed by Muslims around a synagogue

in Oslo following extremist attacks in other

European cities.

“A new dynamic has begun to emerge in

European public culture, an exploration of

common norms, shared experiences of living

together,” Prof. Göle notes. She describes

this dialogue as crucial, even more so at

times when terrorism targets cohexistence

and exposes the vulnerability of public life in

Europe.

EuroPublicIslam, which ended in December

2013, was backed by a grant from the

European Research Council. “This grant has

taken my work to an entirely new level,” Prof.

Göle reports, adding that the project also

provided opportunities and inspiration for

the budding researchers who composed her

team.

“The project helped me to explore many

ways of becoming European and being part

of society, and it actually made me more

European myself,” she concludes.

Nilüfer Göle is Professor of Sociology at the

School for Advanced Studies in the Social

Sciences (EHESS) in Paris (France). She

works on Islamic visibility, secularism and

intercultural controversies in European public

spheres. Her sociological approach aims to

open up a new reading of modernity from

a non-western perspective and a broader

critique of Eurocentrism in the definitions

of secular modernity. Her books have been

published in many languages. MBR

Creditline: European Research Council

Host Institution:

ECOLE DES HAUTES ETUDES EN

SCIENCES SOCIALES,

France

ERC call details:

ERC-2008-AdG, SH5

Max ERC Funding:

€ 1 414 645

16 17

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Malta Business Review

ERC STORY

Malta Business Review

Gozo,

your best Opera destination

HIGH ENERGY FASHION

PROJECT DETAILS

Portrait © Jan-Olof Yxell | Illustration: Conducting silk fibre on a washing line © Jason Ryan & Anja

“The internet of things” is said to be the

next big frontier for technology firms. A

variety of small devices are always on and

always connected. These devices permeate

our lives at an ever increasing rate, bringing

with them a demand for new and innovative

mobile energy sources. One of the most

promising candidates is thermoelectric

power; a technology that would allow us to

harvest one of the most ubiquitous energy

sources available to us, our body heat.

When a thermoelectric device is placed in

such a way that it is exposed to a temperature

difference, an electric potential is generated

that can drive an electric current. This

technology has had various applications in the

past. From powering expensive wristwatches

to NASA’s Curiosity Rover that was send to

Mars. It has proven itself to be robust and able

to operate for an extended period of time

without maintenance but it has been difficult

to bring to the wider public. This has been due

to the high cost of the manufacturing process,

and the toxicity of the substances used.

The goal of the ERC-funded ThermoTex

project headed by Prof. Christian Müller of

Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden,

is to create textile-based thermoelectric

generators that can be woven into fabrics and

worn. The team aims to create fabrics that are

cheap, flexible and pose no health risk to the

wearer.

The project will test the capabilities of plastic

semiconductors which are based on abundant

elements such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen

and sulphur. A far more cost effective option

compared to the typically used metal alloys.

When processed in the right way, plastics are

also flexible and light.

Initially the research has centred on

the preparation of these plastics, the

thermoelectric properties which only recently

receive renewed attention. At a later stage

the Thermotex team will explore how these

polymers could be processed into light-weight

and flexible articles such as fibres, yarns and

ultimately fabrics by looking at traditional

weaving methods as well as emerging

3D-printing techniques.

Prof. Müller and his team focus on making

plastic semiconductors that are cost-effective,

can be used in a practical setting and are

able to survive the harsh conditions inside a

washing machine. They are currently working

Researcher (PI): Christian Müller

Title:

ThermoTex

Woven and 3D-Printed

Thermoelectric Textiles

Host Institution:

CHALMERS TEKNISKA HOEGSKOLA

AB, Sweden

ERC call details:

ERC-2014-STG, PE5

Max ERC Funding:

€ 1 500 000

Prof. Müller presenting his research at the ERC 10 years celebration event.

in collaboration with the Swedish School of

Textiles in Borås, Sweden exploring how they

can integrate these conducting fibres with

weaving looms that would ultimately allow

them to automate the manufacturing process

and one day make them available in a retail

store near you. MBR

Creditline: European Research Council

Photo by Daniel Cilia

www.visitgozo.com

18 19

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Malta Business Review

BANKING – TERM DEPOSITS

IIG Bank reintroduces

4 & 5-year term deposits

For well over two years, IIG Bank has offered

its standard range of Term Deposits with a

maximum term of 3 years.

Mixed economic indicators continue to

influence decisions at the Federal Reserve

and the European Central Bank. The high

expectations on the number of interest rate

hikes in 2017 for the US Dollar, and tapering

marking the end of quantitative easing by the

ECB have somewhat faded, with depositors

still finding it difficult to earn a decent return

on their savings. At IIG Bank, we continue to

see increasing requests from both existing

and potential clients for medium to longer

term deposits to secure an attractive rate of

interest. The Bank has therefore decided to

restructure the range of our products, taking

the opportunity to reintroduce the longer

term.

Nigel Stibbs, Chief Officer, Private Banking

said ‘We have had a range of products for well

over 2 years now, with rates being offered

from 3 months to 36 months with options

for each 6-month period in between. Our

Limited Edition 5-year deposit product,

launched earlier this year, proved to be very

popular and was fully subscribed in a matter

of weeks. We could see at that time and

indeed since the closing of that product, that

the demand for the longer term deposits is

still there and so we have reacted with a new

suite of revised rates to meet this demand.’

‘People may also notice that we are now

offering higher rates for US Dollar deposits

than those offered for Euro and British Pound.

In The US, the Fed Funds rate increased in

June by 0.25% to 1.25% and clients may wish

to take advantage of the increase in rates

for US Dollar deposits that we are offering,

now that such deposits are also protected

under the Depositor Compensation Scheme,

something that until last year was not the

case.’

IIG Bank has also taken the decision to remove

the 18 & 30-month terms from its range,

which will become effective on Monday 4th

September.

IIG’s offices are located on the Qui-Si-Sana

Seafront and also in the Portomaso Tower.

Its opening hours are 8am – 5pm, Monday to

Friday. MBR

Courtesy: IIG Bank

20


Malta Business Review

CORPORATE INTERVIEW

CONTINUOUS INNOVATION,

UNCOMPROMISING INTEGRITY

AND PROFESSIONALISM

Liam Ferriggi, Managing Director with Infinite Fusion Technology tells us why the firm has become a

leading global IT Solution company committed to provide a responsive, effective and flexible service

which has evolved into a leading IT service provider.

MBR: Would you tell us about the

culture and background of Infinite Fusion

Technologies Ltd?

LF: We focus on creating long-lasting

relationships with customers, keeping in mind

that every day brings fresh opportunities.

Simply stating this is simple enough, however,

as Director at Infinite Fusion Technology, I can

say with complete conviction that I, as well as

my team members, continuously motivate

each other to apply these values to our work

ethic truly.

MBR: What led you to become involved in

technology and how would you define your

role today?

LF: From a young age, when I was still at school,

I had an intense passion for technology. As

a result of my interest, I began performing

computer repairs, after which one thing led

to another, and I never looked back. I soon

started attending specialized training in IT

while simultaneously opening a small shop in

my hometown. It was through Infinite Fusion

Technologies foundation in 2003, however,

that the big changes occurred. During the

conception years, I provided technical services

to home users and small businesses. Later on,

I began supporting larger enterprises, and

during recent years I, along with my team,

have worked on enterprise projects. We now

consider ourselves to be amongst the top

tech-organisations.

22

IT services revolve around

keeping a business performing

on a daily basis, but more

importantly, they are meant to

ensure the long-term resiliency,

security, efficiency and

flexibility of clients’ business

MBR: What does it take to be successful in

the field of IT technology?

LF: Success in IT services comes from building

relationships with customers, understanding

their requirements and giving sincere yet

professional feedback. It is also important

to be flexible to the customers’ needs while

providing a simple and reliable solution. IT

services revolve around keeping a business

performing on a daily basis, but more

importantly, they are meant to ensure the

long-term resiliency, security, efficiency and

Liam Ferriggi, Director at Infinite Fusion and Mark Vassallo, Computime Software & Integration

Solutions

flexibility of clients’ business, so that it can

cope with future demands. Our portfolio of IT

services ensures that our clients’ investment

in software, hardware, and infrastructure

secures your outlay while adding value to

your business.

MBR: What is your feedback following

the success achieved in Malta’s Best

Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2017 and

how did you feel after winning Malta’s Best

Digital & ICT Company of the Year Award?

LF: Following the recent success, Infinite

Fusion Technologies Ltd was awarded Malta’s

Best Digital & ICT Company of the Year

Award. Being an SME organisation, this award

boosted our already renowned reputation

within the corporate sector. The exposure

that it resulted in is extremely beneficial

to an organisation such as ours, and, upon

receiving the award, I felt proud of all that I

have achieved throughout the years. This

was the result of numerous aspects that

constitute the set-up we are today: hard work

by all team members, reliability, providing the

best service, recruiting the top experts in the

field, etc.

MBR: As a key leader in this space, is there

anything you are working on that you are

particularly proud or excited about?

LF: Infinite Fusion Technologies has achieved

great accomplishments, recently. For

example, we have just been appointed by

an International Award-Winning Company,

which is currently setting up their 6th global

factory in Malta, to design their Active

Directory, not just for their Malta factory,

but for their worldwide organisation. This

didn’t happen coincidentally, but through the

trust gathered recently vis-a-vis consultancy

work our business set-up provided to this

international organisation. The future is sure

to be challenging and exciting. MBR

All rights reserved / Copyright 2017

IP CCTV

Wired & Wireless

We are an IT Solution Provider that can build or integrate

any IT solution with your business needs.

IT Design & Consultancy

IT Security

Servers & Storage

Access Control

Passive Infrastructure

IT Outsourcing

Infinite Fusion Technologies Ltd, Zingla Street, Zabbar, ZBR 1781, Malta, Europe

Video Conferencing

Home Automation

www.infinite-fusion.com +356 99827126 info@ifnetworks.net


Malta Business Review

Malta Business Review

TAKING TECHNOLOGY FURTHER

REPORTING, RECORDING,

DEVELOPMENT, SELF

SERVICE, OMNI-CHANNEL &

CUSTOM APPLICATIONS

THE TOOLS TO GET

YOU THERE

3XP LIVE

Every call that comes through to the Agents is

logged with a unique Ticket Reference Number in

a purpose built Cisco Finesse integrated CRM &

Ticketing System.

Agents can enter the details of the Callers query,

along with the Resolution notes wwhich are

automatically saved to a Knowledge Base to help

future calls drive a faster Resolution.

THE EVOLUTION OF

OMNI-CHANNEL CONTACT

CENTRE INTERACTIONS IS

HERE TRUST IN 3XP GROUP

TO TAKE YOU TO NEW

HORIZONS

CUSTOM REPORTING

We are experts in Contact Centre Reporting, including data manipulation, Contact Centre Performance

Analytics, Agent Score Cards, and much more.

Samples of all our reports are available upon request.

3XP MANAGE

Supervisors and Team Leaders now have the power

to make live changes to the Call Centre as they are

needed.

With a UI designed for non-technical staff,

this application removes the reliance on the IT

Department to implement change.

80% of changes to your Call Centre can now be

made by non-technical staff.

OMNI-CHANNEL

The key to offering an Omni-channel integrated Customer Care solution is to be able to provide the

best and most relevant information and solution for each Customer query, over any channel.

It can be a challenge to migrate customers from the traditional Contact Centre channels to Omnichannel

ones, as Customers sometimes believe that it is more difficult to access digital channels to find

information. 3XP Solutions aims to overcome this barrier and motivate its Customers to adopt digital

channels through its Self Service, EIM, WIM and Social channels.

CALL &

SCREEN

RECORDING

3XP AUDIT

The 3XP Audit Application makes recovering from a

Failure or Priority Incident easier than ever before.

OMNI-

CHANNEL

RECORDING

Managers & Change Control Boards can highlight

All Changes within specified dates, drill down

on what the change was, who implemented the

change, and what the previous value was. Providing

a quick and easy way to identify problematic

24 configuration.

www.maltabusinessreview.net 25


Malta Business Review

DENTAL HEALTHCARE

Malta Business Review

NEW BROOM

SWEEPS CLEAN

by Dr Jean Paul Demajo

Do you ever wonder what it would have been like if your teeth where in pristine shape? What went wrong? Have they

reached this state due to lack of care or do those genes you inherited have a part to play? Where has that left you? Besides

the obvious poor aesthetic smile you carry around with you on a daily basis what has all this done to your confidence?

Take this case scenario; a middle-aged patient with a history of bad teeth toiling with the idea of correcting his/her teeth.

Where is the starting line? Firstly and most importantly is will power to make that call and fix an appointment for a

consultation.

The Consultation is broken down into the

following main fields:

1. Past Dental/Medical History: Listening

to the patient’s past experiences puts

things into perspective on why his/her

teeth are in this state. What went wrong

along the years gives insight to a dentist

on what must be done to radically

improve the patient’s oral and mental

well-being.

2. Patient’s complaints: listing all of the

patient’s wishes helps the dentist

formulate a dental treatment plan and

present it to them. The patient’s requests

should be realistic, well addressed and

convincing enough to the dentist that

once all the work is done, what might

have been poor dental attendance

would be converted to good patient

compliance.

3. Treatment options: Treatments may

vary in time, expense and endurance.

Different lines of treatment can achieve

different goals. This brings us back to the

patient’s list of complaints and wishes.

Will that particular treatment plan tick

all the boxes on the patient’s list?

4. Advantages and disadvantages: Listen

to what the pros and cons are. Weigh

everything out and choose what is best

for you.

A Case Scenario:

1. A middle-aged man

presents with a dentition

in very poor state. Inflamed and enlarged

gums as well as and very mobile teeth

were present throughout the patient’s

dentition. The initial investigation

included a 3D CT scan. Bone levels:

is there enough bone to place dental

implants?

2. Periodontal status of remaining teeth:

are remaining teeth in good health or do

they require removal? Can the patient

maintain good hygiene post-treatment?

3. Endodontic or root canal status of

remaining teeth: do any teeth require

root canal therapy? Is it worth trying to

redo a root canal or does the tooth need

to be pulled out?

4. Potential presence of pathology

5. Anatomy of jaws: sinuses, nerves, buried

teeth etc

Plan:

1. Remove all upper and lower

remaining teeth

2. Recontouring of bone and gingival

plastic surgery

3. Simultaneous placement of 12 implants

4. Placement of provisional upper and

lower dentures

5. Planning of upper and lower fixed

implant-retained prosthesis 4months

post-implant insertion.

The dental work involved is anything but

simple. It is enduring and requires dedication

from both parties. Patients need to be patient

and reassured at all times. This nature of

dental work also carries a hefty cost in time

and money but the confidence achieved is

priceless!

Ask your dentist. MBR

Extra-oral before treatment

Extra-oral after treatment

DR JEAN PAUL DEMAJO

Dental and Implant Surgeon,

Trained in London working in

private practice in Malta

26 27

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review

LEADERSHIP

Respect, Learning and Team-Spirit

Deborah Schembri is the Managing Director of STM Malta Trust & Company

Management Ltd. Through her added value tactics and inspiring leadership

she has led with distinction, developing a view of leadership that blends the

need for fundamentals—vision, strategy, communication skills—with the

evolving complexities of a developing world in which corporations strive to

operate in a difficult environment.

MBR: In an industry that competes so much

on price, what difference can a brand really

make?

DS: Pricing sometimes is considered in

isolation from the rest of marketing—for

example, as part of the revenue management

function—and it may appear that companies

can go about their business of finding the

“right” price to charge with no regard to the

rest of marketing strategy, but experience

proves otherwise. Pricing is the marketing

lever with the most immediate and direct

business impact. Management decisions to

change prices translate into revenue and

profit. Pricing also is closely tied to the other

elements of brand strategy.

Traditional pricing practice starts from the

classical economic notion that volume

demand for a product will decline as price

increases. This applies to many marketing

situations, under the assumption that

“everything else is equal.” However, effective

brand marketing can give consumers

compelling reasons to pay a premium.

MBR: What kind of authority do you give

the members of your team?

DS: I believe that employees need the power

and authority to make the critical decisions

necessary to produce quality products and

serve customers effectively.

Employee empowerment does not mean

absolute authority or absolute power.

Empowerment is the extent or degree of

responsibility and authority given to an

employee or to a team. Different people and

different teams will have varying degrees

of empowerment based upon their level of

experience and expertise.

Employee empowerment also entails

identifying how much responsibility and

authority an individual can effectively

handle without becoming over-burdened or

distressed.

MBR: How does STM create added value to

its customers?

DS: Added value is an important tactic that can

be used by businesses to acquire and retain

customers, increase brand awareness, and

differentiate one’s place in the marketplace.

Four ways to create added value will include:

• Consider customer’s perspective

• Consistently work and improve

customer’s satisfaction

• Implement marketing models within

your strategy

• Develop a memorable customer

experience

Empowerment is the extent

or degree of responsibility and

authority given to an employee

or to a team.

MBR: What keeps this business so fresh for

you?

DS: The only thing constant in life is change.

Life – and with it society, technology, trends,

priorities – constantly changes. Because of

that continuously fluid state of affairs, your

business must be ready, willing and able to

change along with the times to remain viable

in the marketplace. We’re not talking about

a complete change of identity necessarily;

in most cases, small yet significant tweaks

to what you’re already doing will keep your

business current with customer needs and

tastes.

Adjusting certain aspects of your operation

to meet the expectations of your customer

base is in no way a negative reflection on

your business’ past performance. If it wasn’t

meeting the public’s needs, it would not have

remained successful. The key to longevity

is to continue meeting the needs of your

current customers while attracting new ones.

Updating or re-imagining things is simply a

smart way to keep your business robust and

moving forward.

MBR: Which aspects of STM’s culture stand

out to you?

DS: Company culture is the personality of

a company. It defines the environment in

which employees work. Company culture

includes a variety of elements, including work

environment, company mission, value, ethics,

expectations, and goals.

I describe and foster STM Malta’s culture as

Respect, Learning and Team-Spirit. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2017

EDITOR’S

Note

BA(Hons) Accty., Dip. Tax.,

FIA, CPA, DipPMI, MIM,

MBA (Henley) Deborah has

twenty years experience in

the financial services, gaming

and hospitality industries.

In her various C-level and

board member roles she had

formulated new strategic

directions and implemented the necessary

changes. She has been instrumental in setting up

and growing various companies. She is a Certified

Public Accountant, holds a Masters in Business

Administration from Henley Management

College and she holds a Diploma in Retirement

Provision pursued with the UK Pensions

Management Institute. She is the only Maltese

resident holding such a qualification in pensions.

She is a Fellow Member of the Malta Institute of

Accountants, and a Member of the Malta Institute

of Taxation, Malta Institute of Management,

Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and

Pension Management Institute UK. Deborah

won Malta’s Best Knowledge Entrepreneur of the

Year Award 2015. She has also been nominated

and then voted as one of the four finalists for the

Commonwealth Women Entrepreneur of the Year

2015.

28


Malta Business Review

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

NETWORK OF YOUNG WOMEN LEADERS

Malta Business Review

Malta-Ghana technical Joint Commission to hold second meeting;

new agreement establishing a bilateral political consultation framework signed

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela, exchanging views with the Ambassador for the European Union in Ghana, William Hanna.

Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs and

Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor

Botchway, and Malta’s Minister for Foreign

Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela,

have agreed to commence preparatory work

for the second meeting of the Malta-Ghana

Permanent Joint Commission for Bilateral

Cooperation to be convened in Ghana

in the coming months. The decision was

taken during a bilateral meeting held in the

Ghanaian capital, Accra, on Wednesday, 26th

July 2017 on the margins of the President of

Malta’s current State Visit to Ghana.

The technical Joint Commission was

established through a technical Memorandum

of Understanding that was signed by the two

countries on the 26th September 2014 on

the margins of the 69th Session of the United

Nations General Assembly in New York.

The first meeting was held at the Ministry

for Foreign Affairs in Valletta on the 11th

September 2015, with the two sides agreeing

on several proposals to be implemented

to contribute to enhancing and developing

bilateral relations and increasing exchanges,

experiences and cooperation in the fields of

culture and tourism, education, migration

and police cooperation in border control,

adoptions and investment cooperation.

Meanwhile, in Accra on Wednesday,

Ministers Abela and Botchway signed a new

Memorandum of Understanding establishing

a mechanism for regular bilateral political

consultations. The consultations will cover

political, economic, cultural, technological,

and consular relations and other connected

areas of common interest in order to

strengthen and develop bilateral cooperation.

The signing ceremony was held at the

Presidential Palace in Accra in the presence of

the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa

Akufo-Addo, and the President of Malta,

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, and

Malta’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela, signing the Memorandum

of Understanding establishing a political consultation framework in the presence of the President of

Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Promotion, Carmelo Abela, meeting

Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan

Kyerematen.

In Accra, Minister Abela also held a bilateral

meeting with Ghanaian Minister of Trade and

Industry, Alan Kyerematen, with whom he

discussed ways how trade relations between

Malta and Ghana could be enhanced. They

agreed that unleashing the bilateral business

potential would not only benefit both

countries economically but also serve as an

excellent way to connect the Maltese and the

Ghanaian people.

Minister Abela also had an exchange of views

with the Ambassador for the European Union

in Ghana, William Hanna, and attended a

social event with Ghanaian former students

of the International Maritime Organisation’s

International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI),

which is headquartered on the campus of the

University of Malta. MBR

Source: The Ministry For Foreign Affairs And Trade Promotion

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

inaugurated ‘Artemisia’, an exhibition

organised by the Network of Young Women

Leaders, celebrating the stories of 100

remarkable women and their narrative of

courage, of leadership, and of hope recently

at San Anton Palace.

The President commended the Network of

Young Women Leaders for their commitment

to ensuring that young women in Malta and

Gozo have a voice and can work together

to promote equity and inclusion within our

communities and across our society, and

noted that the Network is growing and is

undertaking meaningful initiatives focusing

on gender empowerment.

“The Network was not only created to provide

a safe space for young women to come

together and explore their ambitions. It is also

encouraging connections between women

of different generations by providing an

environment where women who are already

active in political life can offer their expertise

and support,” the President explained.

“Although we have, both as an international

community and as a country, made

important strides forward to improve

gender equality, there is still so much to be

done”

President Coleiro Preca said that inequalities

between women and men and between girls

and boys continue to play a negative role in

the lives of countless individuals and families,

adding that unacceptable discrepancies in

terms of women’s economic and political

empowerment are having a destructive effect

on our global economies and cultures.

“Women are being paid less; women are

being underrepresented in political, social,

and economic sectors; and the authentic

voices and concerns of women are less likely

to be heard in our media and across our

culture,” argued the President.

The President also drew attention to the

crucial need for women to be visible role

models in society, saying that “we need more

inspirational female figures to encourage the

participation of girls and young women in the

social, political, cultural, and economic lives

of our communities and our society”. For

this reason, ‘Artemisia’ is particularly timely

and necessary, “because when we talk about

motivating young women to achieve their full

potential, I believe that we must first of all

lead by example”.

The President cited a recent study coauthored

by Esther Duflo, Professor of Poverty

Alleviation and Development Economics, at

the Massachusetts Institute for Technology,

highlighting the importance of female role

models to determine the attitudes and to

nurture the ambitions of girls and young

women. The report offers conclusive evidence

on the powerful effect that direct leadership,

“I am confident that with the

contributions of Malta’s young

women, the political future of

our nation is in safe hands”

Her Excellency The President of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca

through inspirational women in political life,

can have on the future prospects of girls and

young women and states that localities which

had long-serving female leaders in positions

of authority within local government saw

a massive reduction in their gender gap in

education for teenage girls. This was due

to the fact that girls had set higher goals for

themselves and worked towards achieving

these goals.

The report also shows that parents are

25 percent more likely to have higher

expectations for their daughters when

women leaders are active role models,

creating a home environment to support and

nurture their daughters’ ambitions.

The President said that “the study reveals just

how far-reaching the inspirational effect of

women leaders can be, and should encourage

us to implement quota systems and other

strategies for the inclusion of women at

all levels of political and socio-economic

life”, adding that in today’s world, some ten

countries in Europe including Norway, France,

and Spain have already approved quota

systems to ensure female representation on

corporate boards.

President Coleiro Preca said that this is an

important step towards the closing the gender

pay gap, but most importantly to ensure that

inspiring examples of female leadership are

present within the corporate world.

“Having women in positions of authority

transforms public perceptions opens peoples’

minds on who can lead and the important

qualities in effective leadership. Therefore

there is no doubt that under-representation

of female leadership in positions of influence

and authority is having a negative impact on

young women”, said the President.

Gender quotas are one strategy which can

help speed up positive change and encourage

the ambitions of the next generation of girls

and young women. The President added that

our efforts to secure gender equality and the

equitable empowerment of women and girls

will be putting the United Nations’ Agenda

2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals

into action, and will show our commitment

to implement SDG 5 which specifically targets

the particular challenges of poverty, exclusion,

and violence that women and girls around the

world face.

On concluding, President Coleiro Preca,

appealed for women to contribute at every

level of our cultural, social, economic, and

political sectors, and for women’s skills,

perspectives, and attitudes.

“We must be the champions of social justice

because we have all experienced injustice.

We must bring a message of hope because

we all know how hopeless it can feel to be

unfairly held back or sidelined because of our

gender. We must be courageous activists for

peace and well-being by guiding our national

and international policies in ways that are

inclusive, fully participatory, and respectful of

our diversity”, the President concluded. MBR

Creditline/Photos: OPR

30 31

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review

TARGET 2

Malta Business Review

FIMBank part of TARGET2

European payment system

FIMBank plc has announced its direct

participation in TARGET2, a payment system

owned and operated by the European Central

Bank Eurosystem. TARGET2 is the leading

European platform for processing largevalue

payments, and is used by both central

and commercial banks to process real time

payments in Euro.

Commenting on this landmark development,

FIMBank’s Group Chief Operating Officer

Howard Gaunt stated that, “Modern

economies are heavily dependent on the safe

and seamless flow of transactions. Payment

systems provide the plumbing that allows

money to flow in the economy. TARGET2

enables EU banks to transfer money between

each other in real time, which is known as

real-time gross settlement (RTGS). More

than 1,700 banks use TARGET2 to initiate

transactions in Euro, either on their own

behalf, or on behalf of their customers. Taking

into account branches and subsidiaries, more

than 55,000 banks worldwide (and all their

customers) can be reached via TARGET2.”

FIMBank’s Head of Banking Operations &

Project Management Loranne Pace, explained

that “Our membership to the TARGET2 system

means that we will now be able to receive

Euro payments directly from banks through

the TARGET2 network. This also means that

we are now in a position to process priority

payments on behalf of our customers.” She

further added that such membership will

allow the bank to provide a Payments Priority

Service, for which a respective fee applies.

As part of the advantages of TARGET2

payments, FIMBank is now directly

reachable for Euro payments without the

need for payments to go through its Euro

correspondents. Membership of the system

also facilitates the processing of high value

priority payment orders in ‘safe’ central

bank money with immediate finality, even

across borders, thus reducing the inherent

risks in payment transactions. Moreover,

TARGET2 allows for extended cut-off time for

Euro payments. The system also allows for

straightforward direct settlement, thereby

minimising claims from beneficiaries for nonreceipt

of funds. Finally, national and crossborder

payments are processed in the same

way, with beneficiary banks being addressed

directly. MBR

For more information about FIMBank plc, visit

www.fimbank.com.

“Modern economies are heavily

dependent on the safe and

seamless flow of transactions.”

32 33

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review

GLOBAL WARMING

ICT

Malta Business Review

Global warming

could result in

losses for the

European wine

industry

By Andreas D. Flouris

Dakar Software Systems have announced the

launch of their first native mobile phone app,

available for both android and iOS. Following

the success of Dakar's online web-based

leave modules with over 60,000 live users,

Dakar have launched a fully functional Leave

booking mobile app.

The Leave booking mobile app enables

employees to book leave and report in sick

directly from their mobile phone. Managers

will receive immediate notifications on their

mobile phones and will be able to action the

leave request immediately.

Employees may also report sick from home

via their mobile phones. A notification will be

sent in real-time to both the HR manager and

the company doctor who will use a dedicated

Dakar mobile app to view the employee's

home address via a map. All related medical

information may be inserted directly by the

doctor via the app itself. The HR department

will be immediately notified, making the

entire sick reporting function far more proactive.

Dakar Software Systems® is a leader in the

development and delivery of scalable "HR,

Dakar

announced

the launch

of their first

native mobile

phone app

People Management Software Solutions".

The company specialises in offering web

based and desktop solutions. These include

Payroll, Personnel (HR), Training, Recruitment,

Performance Appraisals, On-Line Clocking's,

Rostering and Time & Attendance software

applications. The company also supplies

Hand Readers, Face Recognition, Finger-

Print Readers, IRIS Scanners and Swipe Card

devices which integrate seamlessly with

Dakar's software applications.

For information kindly contact Dakar Software

Systems on +356 21 374078 MBR

Slight increases in temperature in

Mediterranean regions from global warming

could potentially result in labor, productivity

and economic losses for the European wine

industry, an article in the journal Temperature

suggests.

Researchers studied the effects of high

temperatures on the labor output and

productivity of manual agricultural grapepicking

workers in the wine production

industry in Cyprus, who often work in

conditions of up to 36 degrees Celsius.

They found that higher temperatures in

the working conditions during the summer

correlated with a significant labor loss of up to

27%, due to the environmental heat causing

increased perceived exertion on worker’s

metabolic and cardiovascular systems and

resulting in reduced output.

When temperatures increased, there was

also a 15% decrease in the amount of time

workers were able to carry out their duties

due to the increased need for irregular and

unplanned work breaks.

These research findings demonstrate that

workplace heat, specifically in European

agricultural workers, is accompanied by

significant labor and productivity losses. With

the wine industry comprising of 0.2% of world

GDP, increased temperatures from global

warming may negatively impact the industry

and even potentially result in large losses

worldwide.

For this study, the authors specifically chose

to study grape-picking workers, as the

production of wine is still largely dominated

by manual labor unlike other industries and

therefore the effects of global warming on

workers in this industry is highly likely to more

prevalent.

The authors warned that this research

should not be considered an exhaustive

large scale study of the impact of global

warming on agriculture workers, and broader

studies involving more workers and different

locations should be undertaken in order to full

assess the full impact.

The study is the first of its kind in Europe

assessing the impact of workplace heat

on European agriculture workers. The

researchers used an innovative approach to

assess labor output and productivity of seven

workers called time-motion analysis which

can analyse every second spent by each

worker during every work shift. MBR

Creditline: Taylor & Francis

* Read the full article online:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/233

28940.2017.1338210

EDITOR’S

Note

The article represents a study within a research program

funded by the European Union and led by an international

consortium of scientists (HEAT-SHIELD). The overall

goal of this work is to study the complex effects of

climate change on the European society. The study has

received funding from the European Union’s Horizon

2020 research and innovation programme under the grant

agreement No 668786

34

www.maltabusinessreview.net

35


Malta Business Review

CLIMETRICS

IT Solutions and Training Malta

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Climetrics By

Josh Snowdin

Climetrics is

the world’s first

fund rating

which enables

investors to

integrate

climate impact

into their

investment

decisions.

36

Climetrics – the world’s first climate rating for

funds, has been launched by CDP (Carbon

Disclosure Project), ISS-Ethix and Climate-KIC,

the EU’s climate innovation initiative.

Climetrics enables investors to compare, for

the first time, the climate impact of over 2,500

funds for sale in Europe worth €2 trillion.

With no such rating to-date for funds,

Climetrics measures the climate impact of

funds’ portfolio holdings, as well as asset

managers’ application of climate as an

investment and governance factor.

Climetrics is a missing link between individual

investment choices and the global problem of

climate change.

Methodology

Using the most advanced metrics available,

Climetrics has developed an independent,

rules-based and transparent methodology to

communicate the overall climate impact of

investment funds.

The methodology was developed by the

rating's data providers CDP and ISS-Ethix

Climate Solutions, in consultation with NGOs,

asset owners and managers, and members of

the academic community.

Also including a number of external data

sources, it scores funds across three levels

to produce its 1-5 green leaf rating. Most

importance is placed on each fund’s portfolio

score, measuring the climate impact of all

individual companies in which the fund is

invested. An asset manager score identifies

asset manager action on integrating climate

change into their governance and investment

processes, while a fund policy score identifies

funds with a specific ESG mandate. The

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the service provider for all of Climetrics’ fundrelated

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Mean Business Coalition. MBR

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Malta Business Review

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38 www.maltabusinessreview.net 39


Malta Business Review

IN DEPTH INTERVIEW SERIES

IN DEPTH INTERVIEW SERIES

Malta Business Review

IN

DEPTH:

Equiom’s yachting and aviation experts

Equiom, the international professional services provider, has had a dedicated

yachting and aviation team for more than 10 years. It has grown from a single

specialist to 30-strong worldwide and achieved a number of milestones, most

recently having reached USD4 billion in assets under administration. Malta

Business Review caught up with some of the key members of the team.

Edward Leigh, Director – Yachting and Aviation

"

Equiom has entered new

markets, we have built

up a multi-jurisdictional

approach

"

www.equiomgroup.com

MBR: What is your role at Equiom?

EL: I am responsible for leading Equiom’s

yachting and aviation services business and

oversee our 30-strong team across the Isle of

Man, Jersey, Guernsey and Malta.

MBR: How have the services you offer

evolved over the years?

EL: Having been in the industry for more than

20 years, I have seen a lot of changes in the

way the sector is regulated. For one thing,

there is more complexity around VAT, which

has more recently come to the fore following

new local regulations surrounding yachts

and specific requirements for aircraft of a

certain weight. As far is safety is concerned,

regulations have become increasingly tight

with new management systems put in place.

The regulations governing yacht and aircraft

vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and, as

Equiom has entered new markets, we have

built up a multi-jurisdictional approach which

gives us an advantage in determining the

optimal solutions for our clients.

MBR: What jurisdictions do you cover?

EL: The majority of our yachting and aviation

services are offered through our teams

in the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey and

Malta but we are expanding our aviation

services in Asia and, more recently, in the

USA for both yachting and aviation. With

our recent acquisition of a Guernsey-based

trust company giving us a presence in the

US, we are now able to move forward with

building a framework for offering licensing

and registration of yachts and aircraft in this

jurisdiction.

MBR: What have you got coming up?

EL: The next 12 months will be interesting

given our expansion into new regions and

plans for further development of our yachting

Edward Leigh, Director – Yachting and Aviation

Chris Cini, Legal Counsel

Mark Young, Senior Manager -

Yachting and Aviation

Daniel Gatt, Senior Trust and Company

Administrator

offering in Europe. Our team will also be

gearing up for several key industry events

throughout the year including the annual

Monaco Yacht Show, the Asian Business

Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE)

and its European counterpart, EBACE.

What is your role at Equiom?

CC: I am responsible for providing legal

support to Equiom Malta, focusing primarily

on the yachting, shipping and aviation sectors.

I am also actively involved in promoting the

yachting and aviation services offered by

Equiom Malta.

MBR: How did you end up working in the

sector?

CC: Ever since my university days, I have been

interested in the maritime and aviation law

sectors mainly because of their dynamic

and ever-evolving character. I also owe my

growing interest in the sector to a few people

that I have met throughout my working years

who have cultivated in me the skills required

to work in the sector.

MBR: What should owners and potential

buyers of yachts and aircrafts look out for?

CC: There are a number of issues. The VAT

situation of the asset is always important to

consider, and coupled with the necessary

import/export obligations, it would be best

for owners and potential buyers to check

their position properly before effecting any

transaction related to the asset.

MBR: Where does the majority of your

business come from?

CC: Most of our business comes from

owners or their representative offices, vessel

brokers, agents, managers and captains.

The geographic location of our clients was

historically Europe, but requests from outside

the EU are on the rise. Equiom is an allencompassing

provider offering everything

from VAT and customs advisory and

compliance for yacht and aircraft owners to

management of payroll and benefits for crew

members. Our global nature means that we

are able to provide services to clients around

the world, irrespective of their location.

MBR: What is your role at Equiom?

MY: I am responsible for the formation and

day-to-day management of niche ownership

structures for clients’ yachts and aircraft.

MBR: What are you working on at the

moment?

MY: One of my main projects is the import

and subsequent VAT leasing and ongoing

management of a superyacht valued at €85

million for a high-net-worth individual.

MBR: What sets Equiom apart from its

competitors?

MY: With the focus very much shifting

towards Brexit and potential tax ramifications

on UK high-net-worth individuals and their

assets, the Maltese VAT leasing structure

has never been so popular. Equiom is ideally

placed within the EU to deal with complex

transactions and the ongoing management of

ownership structures for individuals wishing

to ensure protection of their assets while

mitigating their tax liabilities.

MBR: You recently reached a milestone of

USD4 billion in assets under administration.

What does this mean for your team?

MY: The milestone demonstrates the

trustworthiness of Equiom as a yachting and

aviation services provider. We are one of the

largest yachting and aviation departments

in the corporate service sector globally and

manage transactions for some of the highest

valued yachts and aircrafts in the world,

including helicopters, other types of aircraft,

motor and sailing yachts. The new milestone

for assets under administration reflects our

strong team and robust service offering.

With an expanding team of professionals

worldwide, I believe we can only grow

stronger from here.

MBR: What is your role at Equiom?

DG: I am responsible for administering a

number of structures for clients across several

jurisdictions, dealing with a diverse portfolio

of assets including some of the world’s most

prestigious yachts and aircraft.

MBR: What are the most important qualities

for a person working in your sector?

DG: The yachting and aviation sector is a

dynamic one and requires individuals who

take a proactive approach to client service.

Our clients are at the heart of everything

we do, so it is important to be timely in our

responses and keep focused on the finer

details.

MBR: What attracted you to a career in

yachting and aviation?

DG: I have been working in the financial

services sector throughout my career and

was offered the opportunity to take a more

specialised role in yachting and aviation. I am

glad I did because I enjoy the variety of the

work and the fast pace of the sector.

MBR: What is your approach to client

service?

DG: I think it is important to take the time

to understand clients’ needs. For me, the

key is to spend your efforts building lasting

relationships with clients so you have a

mutual understanding for each other. Equally

important is communication; communicating

in an efficient and timely manner ensures the

highest quality of client service. MBR

40 41

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review

HR SYSTEM

REAL ESTATE

Malta Business Review

WORKFORCE

A cloud

based HR

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people.

WORKFORCE is a

Human Resources

platform that

combines workforce

management with

Human Capital

Management (HCM)

abilities and is suitable

for businesses of all

sizes.

WORKFORCE by DataByte is a cloud solution

that gives most businesses a quality leap

in their management of daily HR issues.

Workforce is a Human Resources platform

that combines workforce management with

Human Capital Management (HCM) abilities

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The fully integrated modules for our cloud

based WORKFORCE HR suite, were designed

to suit the customer requirements and how

technology could suit their needs.

During our 30 years of operations, we

garnered a wealth of experience in providing

clients with HR related systems, we believe

that we are in a very strong position to offer

cost effective and efficient solutions in this

field of management and fully aware of what

our customers want in terms of HR software

functionality.

New and exciting technologies come to our

aid as we develop software that is intuitive,

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premise installation. WORKFORCE allows

your employees to participate in creating

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integration. WORKFORCE gives organizations

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WORKFORCE is a single cloud-based solution

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Other modules like Rostering and Scheduling

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Be part of the WORKFORCE experience.

Best Deal

Properties’ CSR

commitment

Make your corporate

events remarkable…

Renault Kadjar

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Starting from €24,500

Model shown for demonstration purposes only.

Scrappage scheme available on some models.

Reg. No. S063

Renault CLIO

Starting from €12,900

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility

(CSR) activities for the year, Best Deal

Properties has recently supported the

opening of Jacob’s Brew in Marsascala.

The café, whose social enterprise concept

was inspired by a family’s struggle with

trauma and survival, is built around the idea

of creating a place to help and support others.

Erskine Vella, Director, Best Deal Properties

said, “Best Deal Properties has always taken

its Corporate Responsibility to heart. We

feel it is also important for our people to

take an active role in their communities, and

this project has helped tremendously in this

regard. Within the Company, we are also

using our internal communication channels

Corporate events are integral to an annual

itinerary of every company. Businesses

hailing from almost every industry would host

corporate events for some purpose or the

other.

The sophisticated and comfortable Diamond

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to share these experiences across the Group,

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over two floors, Wi-Fi access and a retractable

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Kind’s

Renault MEGANE

Starting from €21,900

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42 43

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review

EU

EU

Malta Business Review

WHAT’S DRIVING BRUSSELS AND EUROPE

By RYAN HEATH with HARRY COOPER and QUENTIN ARIÈS

THE PM WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD

Like a scolding parent with a trust fund and a

dose of affection up their sleeve, European

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

hugged Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico

close this week. While Slovakia looks set to

lose its court appeal against the EU’s refugee

quota system, and Fico is far from popular

in his Socialist political family for his hardline

migration rhetoric, Slovakia is now also

the only member of the Visegrad Group

of Central European countries to avoid

Commission legal action over refusing to take

asylum seekers. Indeed, Fico is all Juncker has

left in the Visegrad Group: both EU and Slovak

diplomats know it. While Slovakia handled

its EU presidency with widely-recognized

Airbus drone-car hybrid version

Playbook spoke with European Commissioner

for Transport Violeta Bulc about why every

farm should use drones, how self-driving cars

will take over Europe, her respect for Ryanair

boss Michael O’Leary and what it would

take to get more fast train lines in Europe.

Playbook also talked to POLITICO transport

maturity and restraint, Poland and Hungary

are derailing from the EU track, and the

Czech Republic is in election mode, with the

potential to elect Andrej Babiš, a Euroskeptic

liberal.

Here’s the new deal between Brussels

and one of its problem children, according

to Playbook’s sources: Fico agrees to

compromise on migration and the EU makes

him their point man in Central Europe.

Fico can do with the Brussels love. He has

to look over his shoulder at a neo-Nazi party

in parliament and at regular opposition-led

street protests over leasing an apartment from

businessman Ladislav Bašternák, who has been

under investigation for tax fraud. MBR

EU CONFIDENTIAL

TALKS TRAINS,

DRONES AND

SELF-DRIVING

AUTOMOBILES

reporter Joshua Posaner about the scandals

engulfing the German car industry.

Euclid Tsakalotos: Greece’s finance minister

successfully took his country back into

international bond markets, against the

advice of ECB chief Mario Draghi, and raised

€3 billion. MBR

BREXIT LATEST…

U.K. Home Office officials admitted the

department has not spoken to any experts

on the impact of its Brexit policy on the

Irish border. The U.K. Local Government

Association said councils need billions in

EU funding replaced after Brexit to create

jobs and roll out infrastructure.

FEUD OF THE

MONTH

Donald Tusk and Andrzej Duda vs.

Jarosław Kaczyński and Beata Szydło.:

You would be forgiven for thinking

Donald Tusk is the leader of the Polish

opposition rather than the European

Council president given his willingness to

pick fights in Poland and lack of interest

in talking to non-Polish media. Perhaps

he’s concerned about Polish President

Andrzej Duda moving to steal his crown

as the pro-EU conservative that Poles

can vote for in the 2020 election. Duda

surprised everyone this week by standing

up to his political patrons in the ruling

Law and Justice party and blocking

judicial reforms they were pushing. That

left Prime Minister Beata Szydło seething

in a televised speech.

PARLIAMENT’S

SECOND GHOST

TOWN

The European Parliament has a message for

citizens and other politicians this summer:

don’t call us (and we won’t call you). The

Parliament in Brussels is closed until August

18, won’t conduct any business in Brussels

until August 28, and is off limits to journalists

until September 4 — they’ve even put up

metal shutters to hammer the point home.

Too bad if you use one of the banks located

"Mirror mirror

on the wall,

who’s the

greatest French

leader of them

all?” President

Emmanuel

Macron ignores

polling showing

his approval

rating has

plummeted by

10 points."

EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime

Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella addresses

a press conference

PLASTIC NOT

FANTASTIC

Commissioner for Environment Karmenu

Vella launched the campaign “World

aquariums against marine litter” Thursday.

Around 100 aquariums across the world are

filling one of their exhibitions with plastic to

show the problem of marine litter. Vella told

Playbook “Aquariums are a TV screen to the

ocean. The world’s aquariums have decided

to become the oceans’ ‘breaking news’ to

avoid becoming its history channel.” MBR

inside the Parliament, because you won’t be

allowed in. In Strasbourg, it’s a similar story,

except that the French city is used to it as the

Parliament building there is closed for most of

the year anyway.

Things are so slow that Czech MEP Pavel

Telička resorted to tweeting a picture of

snails. One Parliament staffer and library user

was not amused at the answers he was given

as to why some of the library’s services are

unavailable.

The rest of the EU has been working harder.

The European Court of Justice issued an

important opinion on Wednesday about

how flight passengers’ data is collected.

BY THE

NUMBERS

QUOTE OF THE

MONTH

“Germany is not a

professor, France is

a not a student.”

25

3000

42

— Martin Schulz reckons Germany should stop

telling everyone else what to do.

(There was no one at the Parliament to give

a response.) Three European commissioners

addressed reporters Wednesday following

the weekly meeting of all 28 commissioners,

during which they held talks with ministers

from Turkey and Egypt. EU ambassadors

also met, as did 14 groups of diplomats, and

competitiveness ministers held two days of

talks in Tallinn, Estonia.

MEPs are, of course, entitled to a vacation but

it doesn’t seem too unreasonable to suggest

a shorter break, synchronizing calendars with

other EU institutions and letting people know

who’s in charge while Antonio Tajani & Co. are

on the beach. MBR

HEATWAVE HITS

EUROPE:

Nicknamed Lucifer, a heatwave is set to

affect much of southern Europe, triggering

weather warnings of “exceptionally intense

meteorological phenomena” in Italy,

Switzerland, Croatia and Poland. According

to a new report authored by the European

Commission’s Joint Research Centre,

unless climate policies change, the number

of deaths from weather-related disasters

could rise to 152,000 between 2071 and

2100 from around 3,000 a year between

1981 and 2010.

Number of health ministers Romania has had

in the past 27 years.

The number of refugees relocated around

Europe in June 2017 — the best result since

the relocation mechanism was put in place.

Number of days that nothing is happening at

European Parliament over the summer.

PLAYBOOK COULDN’T

HAPPEN WITHOUT

Harry Cooper, Quentin Ariès,

Zoya Sheftalovich and Gasper

Zavrsnik.

Creditline: POLITICO SPRL

44 45

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review

BANKING

Business Software

& Integration Solutions

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HSBC Bank Malta reports

resilient profitability in H1 2017

– retains 65% dividend

payout ratio


£

• Reported profit before tax of €25.9m

for the six months ended 30 June 2017.

The reported performance was €15.4m

or 37% lower when compared with the

same period last year.

• On an adjusted basis (as explained

under “Financial performance” on

page 4), profit before tax was down

15% compared with the same period

in 2016 due to the continuing adverse

impact of negative interest rates, lower

non-interest income as a result of

risk management actions and higher

compliance costs.

• Profit attributable to shareholders of

€16.9m for the six months ended 30

June 2017 resulting in earnings per share

of 4.7 cents compared with 7.5 cents in

the same period in 2016.

• Common equity tier 1 capital ratio of

13.9% as at 30 June 2017, up from

13.2% at the end of 2016.

• Recommended gross interim dividend of

4.7 cents per share (3.0 cents per share

net of tax).

• Cost efficiency ratio of 63% for the six

months ended 30 June 2017, compared

with a ratio adjusted for the significant

items of 60% for the same period in

2016. The ratio was primarily impacted

by lower revenue.

• Adjusted return on equity of 7.1% for

the six months ended 30 June 2017,

compared with 8.5% for the same

period in 2016.

• Total assets of €7,068m at 30 June

2017, down €238m compared with 31

December 2016 due to lower loans and

advances to banks and customers.

• Customer accounts of €4,870m at 30

June 2017, down €131m compared with

31 December 2016.

HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. reported a profit

before tax of €25.9m for the six months

ended 30 June 2017 compared with €41.3m

for the same period in 2016. This represents

a decrease of €15.4m or 37% on the previous

period.

The reported results for the first six months of

2016 included the gain on disposal of €10.8m

arising on the sale of our membership interest

in Visa Europe. This was a significant event

and therefore the income related to this

transaction is excluded from the adjusted

results to analyse the underlying business

performance.

Reported profit before tax

Net gain on sale of

investment in Visa Europe

Adjusted profit before tax

H1 2017 H1 2016

€000 €000

25,925

25,925

41,314

(10,787)

30,527

The performance during the first six months

of 2017 was adversely impacted by persistent

low interest rates, risk management actions

and increased compliance costs but was in line

with the management’s expectations. MBR

-

R

¥

46

+356 2149 0700 info@computimesoftware.com


Malta Business Review

GAMBLING

Malta Business Review

WHY MALTA BRINGS CALM AND DISTRUPTIVE

THINKING TO THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY?

In the ever evolving and fast-growing

gambling industry, not only C-level but all

employees are overexposed to visual and

mind stress, facing challenging projects in

a short time, suffering the overstimulation

caused by desktop screens and multiple

screens. So, how to mitigate the frantic days

while working in the gambling industry?

BtoBet chose to have its head office in

Malta not only for the favorable gambling

legislation, but also for the therapeutic

power of water which, when in close

proximity, has been proven to transmit calm

and connectivity between people, to increase

innovation and insight. Living and working

in Malta, surrounded by the Mediterranean

Sea, is undoubtedly a big plus.

Since ancient times, humans have ascribed

healing and transformational properties

to water. In early Rome, baths were an

important part of cultural life, a place where

citizens went to find relaxation and to connect

with others in a calming setting. Rivers have

long been seen as sacred places, and in a

number of different spiritual contexts, water

has symbolized rebirth, spiritual cleansing and

salvation.

Today, we still turn to water for a sense of

calm and clarity. Our affinity to water is even

reflected in the near-universal attraction to

the colour blue. The marine biologist Wallace

J. Nichols believes that we all have a “blue

mind”; water can heal the mind and the body,

and helps to tap into a calmer and creative

state of being.

In this regard, Sabrina Solda’ CMO of BtoBet

expressed her vision about “blue mind”.

To discover more, read the entire blog here:

http://www.btobet.com/en/stories/

blue-mind-brings-calm-disruptivethinking-gambling-industry?utm_

source=Media&utm_medium=Pr&utm_

content=blog&utm_campaign=BlueMind

“Finding the blue mind is important to

improve the quality of our lives. It brings

3 main benefits to human beings: first of

all, contact with water allows us to give our

brains a rest from our everyday stressing life,

constantly bombarded with sensory stimuli,

whether from our devices, home, office and

expos. This is especially true in our hectic

sportsbook and gambling industry. How

many of you are feeling the same? Monitoring

player’s actions, betting odds, accepting risks,

fixing player’s requests, watching new gaming

content, being in conferences surrounded by

the sound of slots and visual overstimulation,

not to mention the virtual reality games.”

She personally admitted: “When my brain

definitely needs downtime, being surrounded

by water gives my brain and my senses a rest

from overstimulation. The sound of water

is far simpler than the sound of voices or

the sound of music or the sound of a city.

And the visual input is simplified, too.”

Sabrina added: “Secondly, when you have

that simplified, quieter ‘blue’ space, your

brain is better at a different set of processes,

in fact water can induce a meditative state.

Though we may not be conscious of it, water

could be inducing a mildly meditative state

of calm focus and gentle awareness. In fact,

being in a mindful state — in which the brain

is relaxed but focused —the mind and body

benefits include lower stress levels, relief from

mild anxiety, pain and depression, improved

mental clarity and focus, and better sleep

quality. The third benefit of the proximity

to water is that it can inspire us to be more

compassionate and connected with the rest

of the world around us and more creative.

In the restful, contemplative state associated

with observing or interacting with water, it’s

common to experience feelings of awe which

creates a strong connection to something

beyond ourselves, to the vastness of nature.

This feeling of awe can increase our capacity

for connection and empathy.”

Sabrina also underlined:

“If you are not as lucky as I am, that I chose

and managed to live and work by the sea,

do not despair! Also hopping in the shower

can be a great way to trigger ideas when our

brains are in a creative rut. In our always-busy,

screen-saturated lives, we don’t give our

minds much of a chance to rest and wander

freely. We need to activate a default network

to let the best insights and ideas come up

instead of leaving them stuck while sitting at

our computers, desperately searching for the

solution. Unquestionably, since I have been

living in Malta, my BLUE MIND DEVELOPED,

quickly and constantly.”

Commenting on her decision to live in Malta,

she concluded:

“Walking by the sea to go to BtoBet

headquarters every morning, and

contemplating the blue colour of the

magnificent Mediterranean Sea, brings me

the “Eureka” moment — the insight or

solution“ feels like it drops out of the sea and

into my head." MBR

About BtoBet

BtoBet is a pioneer in new technologies for iGaming

operators and the betting industry by using technological

intelligence as its main base for its products. It offers unique,

customisable, secure and flexible cloud based systems

delivering unprecedented capabilities to drive sportsbook and

iGaming business. BtoBet has offices in Macedonia, Italy and

Malta. The Technical team of the company is in Skopie and

has an ever-growing team of developers. BtoBet’s dynamic

Sportsbook team operates from Rome, whilst Malta hosts the

commercial and marketing centre.

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49


Malta Business Review

UNCLOS

Malta Business Review

50 years since Malta pioneered UNCLOS

50 years ago, on 17 August 1967, Malta tabled

a United Nations proposal which resulted in

the adoption of the 1982 Convention on the

Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)- Prof David Attard,

Director of the International Maritime Law

Institute (IMLI) recalled during a meeting

with the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade

Promotion, Carmelo Abela. Because of this

initiative, Malta is considered the pioneer of

UNCLOS and its outcomes.

Through its first Permanent Representative

to the UN, the late Maltese diplomat Dr

Arvid Pardo formalised this proposal to the

UN’s Secretary General which gave birth to

doctrine that states the seabed, ocean floor

and sub-soil, are ‘the common heritage of

mankind’, to only be used and exploited

for peaceful purposes and the benefit of

mankind as a whole.

This culminated in the famous three-hour

speech delivered by Dr Pardo at the UN’s

1515th meeting of the General Assembly

on 1 November, which triggered the later

negotiations of UNCLOS, and other legal

developments that subsequently earned Dr

Pardo the title ‘Father of the Law of the Sea’.

Minister Abela and Prof Attard agreed that

the Ministry for Foreign Affairs & Trade

Promotion and IMLI will work together to

organise a commemorative event marking

the anniversary of Dr Pardo’s speech, and the

adoption of the resolution:

“The examination of the question of the

reservation exclusively for peaceful purposes

of the sea bed and ocean floor and the subsoil

thereof, underlying the high seas beyond

the limits of present national jurisdiction,

and their use of resources in the interests of

mankind.”

Minister Abela underscored the significance

of commemorating these important

anniversaries which have left an indelible

mark on the history of mankind, and continue

to guide us in today’s world. And how the

doctrine of the ‘human heritage of mankind’

underpinned the idea of sharing our common

goods, which today has extended to all issues

concerning our common environment and

has even been extended to include outer

space.

Minister Abela and Prof Attard also discussed

possible initiatives that Malta could undertake

to further strengthen international maritime

law.

MBR

Creditline: The Ministry For Foreign Affairs And

Trade Promotion

50 51

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review

VIRTUAL CURRENCIES

PRE-BUDGET 2018 DOCUMENT

Malta Business Review

Be vigilant:

MFSA warning on

virtual currencies

The Malta Financial Services Authority

(“MFSA”) has taken note of recent articles

in the media referring to virtual currency

ATMs and the installation of a first such

ATM in Malta. The MFSA hereby informs the

public that a virtual currency (also known

as cryptocurrency) such as Bitcoin is an

unregulated digital instrument used as a form

of money that is not issued or guaranteed by

a Central Bank or by any other authority and is

not equivalent to traditional currencies.

Unlike traditional money, acceptance of

payment in virtual currency depends entirely

on the voluntary consent of the recipient.

Furthermore providers of services in relation

to virtual currencies are currently neither

regulated by law nor authorised by the MFSA.

‘Bitcoin’ is probably the most well known

virtual currency, however there are a number

of other virtual currencies. Virtual currencies

are becoming increasingly popular and it is

now possible to use virtual currencies as a

means to pay for goods and services.

However there are a number of possible risks

when buying, holding or trading such virtual

currencies, including the risk of losing your

money. The European Banking Authority had

issued a warning about virtual currencies

and this notice contains the salient aspects.

The public therefore should be aware of the

following risks: Money may be lost on the

exchange platform Virtual currencies may

be obtained from someone who owns them

or through an exchange platform. Currently

exchange platforms are not normally

regulated and in some cases they have failed

or gone out of business with the consequence

of consumers losing significant amounts of

money.

Exchange platforms are not banks and if an

exchange platform loses any money or fails,

there is no specific legal protection, such

as through a deposit guarantee scheme.

Money may be stolen from your digital wallet

Virtual currency is stored in a ‘digital wallet’

on a computer. Although digital wallets have

public and private keys or passwords they are

still vulnerable to hackers. Virtual money may

therefore be stolen from your wallet.

Consumers losing virtual money have little

prospect of having it returned. Furthermore

if you lose the key or password to your digital

wallet, your virtual money may be lost forever.

You are not protected when using virtual

currencies as a means of payment when using

virtual currencies as a means of payment you

are not protected by any refund rights under

EU law. Unauthorised or incorrect debits from

digital wallet can therefore not usually be

reversed.

The value of virtual currency can change

quickly, and could even drop to zero Different

virtual currencies have different values, the

MFSA said. Furthermore the value of virtual

currencies can easily go down as well as up.

Unlike the value of traditional currencies,

there is no guarantee that the value of virtual

currency funds remains stable. Transactions in

virtual currency may be misused for criminal

activities Transactions in virtual currencies are

largely untraceable and provide a high degree

of anonymity. This makes virtual currencies

vulnerable to misuse for criminal activities

such as money laundering. Law enforcement

authorities may therefore decide to take

action against or close exchange platforms

and prevent you from accessing or using

any digital funds that the platforms may be

holding for you.

The MFSA advised the public to exercise

caution and be vigilant when dealing with

virtual currencies and to ensure that they

have understood the risks involved. If

you buy virtual currencies, you should be

fully aware and understand their specific

characteristics. You should also exercise the

same caution with your digital wallet as you

would do with your conventional wallet. You

should not keep large amounts of money in

it and ensure you keep it safe and secure.

You should also familiarise yourself with the

ownership, reputability, transparency and

public perception of the exchange platforms

that you are considering using. MBR

Email: info@wel.com.mt | Tel: 2144 2295

52 53

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

Malta Business Review

How to perform in

The History of waterproofing dates back to

biblical times, when liquid bitumen coatings

was used to waterproof boats. However,

in early 20th century, certain methods and

products were invented in order to meet the

industrial requirements, and by the late 20th

century, flexible waterproofing systems were

introduced to the market. This technology

enhanced the durability of waterproofing

liquids greatly. Waterproofing can be

defined as the formation of an internal

or external membrane which is capable of

preventing water from entering or escaping

through a permeable layer.

Almost all roofs in Malta are nowadays

constructed with iron and poured concrete,

hopefully a proper waterproofing system

is implemented on top of it together with

some form of insulation. Afterwards a 10cm

thick concrete slab with power float finish

is made to seal it completely. Concrete

requires a great deal of maintenance to

keep it from leaking. The root problem is

that concrete is porous and retains moisture.

Water dampness flows from top bottom and

through openings and cracks which are the

result of expansions due to hot temperatures.

It is often observed that small plants grow

inside the joints and other openings. This is a

clear indication of water intake that is surely

affecting the strength of the concrete slab.

Without any form of waterproofing beneath

the slab, moisture and polluted atmosphere

containing sulphate and carbon reaches the

concrete roof structure, resulting in corrosion

of steel. The Volume of corroded steel

increases by more than three times its

original volume resulting in spalling concrete.

This can be very dangerous if it happens in

your bedroom while you are sleeping.

To avoid the ingress of rain water, moisture

and aggressive environment in concrete

waterproofing

surface it is imperative to make the outer

surface impervious by coating with suitable

resin membrane preferably with thermal

properties which could seal all the pores,

crevices, hair cracks etc. The waterproofing

compound should be resistant to

atmospheric temperature, aggressive

environment, and to the effect of ultra violet

rays. It should also be flexible enough to

withstand the expansion and contraction

of structures and resistant to normal

abrasion. But before we implement any type

of waterproofing we must make sure that an

elastic triangular fillet made of polymer resin

is applied around the perimeter of the roof

and in all the corners, thus facilitating water

exit and better seal the areas which are more

sensible to structural movements. Next is

the sealing of joints, there are two types of

joints, static and active joints. The first is one

is manmade and is meant to avoid cracks

during concrete shrinkage while the second

is the result of two separate concrete screeds

adjacent to each other. Both of them must be

treated with elastic materials, do not fill or seal

with ridged materials like cements as they are

not meant to stand stress and will crack soon

by Antoine Bonello

after. The implementation of a polymer resin

inside the openings is also recommend in this

case due to its UV resistance and elasticity.

The Primer is what we take for granted and

think that we can do without. Many even

think it is a waste of money, well…wrong.

The primer prevents the flaking and peeling

of membrane. A good primer bonds cement

dust and provides a strong surface over

which the membrane is applied. The latest

generation of primers now have biocide.

This helps to kill microspores and other

microorganisms that can regrow beneath the

membrane and detach it.

In industrial point of view, there are many

commercially available waterproofing

materials used for different purposes.

However, the suitability and the

performance of each and every product

are yet doubtful. Many products imported

in Malta are not made to withstand our harsh

hot climate.

A very interesting product is NAICI THERMAL

REFLEX MEMBRANE. It is a resin membrane

with micro fibres able to reduce 90% of heat

intake inside buildings. It also increases the

efficiency of solar panels and provides an

effective solution all year round.

Over 80% of building damages originates

from water intake. Always make sure that

your waterproofing works are carried by

skilful people affiliated with the Malta

Professional Waterproofing and Resin

Flooring Association and in possession of

the INSTALLERS Card. Improper works by

unaccountable or unethical persons can lead

to a serious of unwanted damages. Resulting

in endless court cases that can take years and

prove fruitless.

The Malta Waterproofing and Resin Flooring

Association provide technical knowledge and

professional formation to all Maltese installers

who wish to improve their workmanship or

start a carrier in the waterproofing business.

The Association also assists its members

by providing the services of a profession

advisor when facing challenging situations

or other difficulties during their works.

The Association also provides its qualified

members the Certified Installers Card. This

is done to reassure the general public that

the person is able to carry out the requested

job at its best. All this is being made possible

thanks to the Resin and Membrane Centre

and NAICI International Academy. For

further information with regards the Malta

Professional Waterproofing and Resin

Flooring Association visit our website on

www.maltawaterproofing.com or call on

27477647. MBR

54 55

www.maltabusinessreview.net


Malta Business Review INTERIOR DESIGN CRM

Malta Business Review

A new frontier for bio-interiors

We all know the benefits of having live

plants in our interiors be it home or office.

Research reveals that studying or working

in the presence of plants can have a pretty

dramatic effect, being around plants improves

concentration, memory and productivity.

Scientifically proven to reduce the heart rate

as you breathe deeply, soften your gaze. This is

the timeless appeal of nature and vegetation.

Its subtle shades of green evoke simplicity

and peace. A miniature landscape of moss

and lichen invites you to forget your hurry,

slow down and concentrate for a moment.

Moss walls are the latest trend in biophilic

interiors but this application has been long in

use known for it’s benefits. Buddhist monks

of Japan delighted in the cool tranquility of

the moss that grew in their temple gardens.

Cultivated on stones and walls, creating

the sensation of expansiveness, freedom

from clutter and daily distraction. For them,

moss was an essential element: a symbol of

harmony.

But having said all this we all know the

maintenance that comes with having indoor

vegetation.

But what exactly are Moss Walls. It’s an art for

inspiring and redefined interiors using natural

lichen. Grown naturally in Scandinavia,

covering very large areas that are generally

used for grazing reindeer, moose and musk

oxen.In the unspoiled nature of Lapland’s

forests, the Reindeer moss (Cladonia Stellaris)

grows in protected areas to ensure the natural

ecosystem of the land of ice. The Reindeer

moss is harvested in special areas it is then

collected, dried and later preserved, this is

process done using only natural ingredients.

Moss strives in humidity of no less then 50%,

making it ideal for Malta.

There is now a solution to having this mood

boosting decorative application in your

interior décor avoiding all the maintenance

that comes with it. A revolutionary and high

demand solution for interiors are preserved

vertical moss gardens. As an Interior Design

Studio we strive to source the best innovative

products and novelties available around the

globe and make these available for both our

projects colleagues such as designers and

architects. Vera Sant Fournier - Design Studio

is proud to represent Moss Trend in Malta.

The use of Moss in home or office interiors

is again only limited by imagination, starting

from having a stunning array of colours

available, Blue, Orange, Red for example,

giving one the flexibility to paring Moss with

the chosen colour palette of your chosen

décor. Signage and company logo’s can also

be recreated in Moss. Jungle Moss is another

method of creating a vertical garden, this

method takes various species of plants which

are all harvested and preserved to recreate

harmony in interiors. There is also Ball Moss,

this gives you a three dimensional feel to

your wall - ball moss and jungle moss are

both unique and custom methods, each time

giving you a completely individual result.

The studio is available to discuss your project

and to help you design and install your new

moss wall at home or at the office, our service

includes visuals and plans to help you get a

true feel of the end results you are able to

achieve.

Visit www.verasantfournier.com or call +356

2745 5567 to organise a site visit. MBR

Stay ahead

of the

tomorrow’s

challenges

and

improve

customer

satisfaction

by Hadrian Sammut

In today's fiercely competitive business

environment, companies are exploring new

ways to delight customers and retain their

loyalty because it has a direct impact on

revenue. Customers today expect to have

fluid, convenient and timely interactions

with businesses seamlessly across multiple

channels. While many businesses have

adopted an omni-channel approach,

customer data remains fragmented, making it

difficult to gain a single view of the customer.

So, combining data from multiple sources

is a fundamental step to gain a complete,

360-degree view of the customer. A customer

relationship management (CRM) software

offering data on all customer interactions

and integrating with other systems, is the

ideal first step to achieving your customer

experience goals.

If you are a business owner or a sales

manager, you’ve probably heard the term

‘CRM’. In its simplest definition: a CRM

system allows businesses to manage their

business relationships and the data and

information associated with them. A CRM

system such as Salesforce makes it easy for

sales representatives to effectively engage

with customers across multiple channels,

while keeping track of their own sales targets

and performance. They are also able to

capitalise on selling trends and share pipeline

information with their managers for better

collaboration and accountability.

A CRM system can use qualitative data to

provide customers the information they

need. For instance, what kind of questions

are leads and customers asking about your

product/service? Do some of your highvalue

customers have individual preferences

or specific queries? With this data at your

fingertips, you can add the right Q&As to

your FAQ page, highlight key points likely

to impress potential customers in your

marketing brochures and case-studies, and

update customer-care training materials with

useful takeaways.

Customer feedback from your website and

social media channels can be used to retain

customer loyalty and upsell to them. Some

points you may consider to identify patterns

of behaviour include:

• How frequently do they buy from you?

• How long have they been your

customer?

• What has motivated repeat purchases?

Was it seasonal or due to a sales

promotion?

If possible, enrich customer data with market

data and third-party data to test assumptions,

design in-house experiments and surveys,

and validate popular or trending customer

experience approaches. The wealth of

knowledge and insights gained from this

endeavour will serve as one of your most

valuable assets for the present and future.

For further information contact info@imovo.

com.mt or visit www.imovo.com.mt MBR

About iMovo

At iMovo we specialise in Customer

Experience Management, using

Business Intelligence, Big Data

Analytics and Customer Relationship

Management, delivering some of

the most innovative solutions in

the market. We help organisations

achieve insight in the customer value

chain, empowering them to plan and

execute profitable strategies that meet

the customer needs of today and the

future.

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57


Malta Business Review

NEWSMAKERS

During a visit at the Malta Financial Services

Authority, Parliamentary Secretary for

Financial Services, Digital Economy and

Innovation, Silvio Schembri announced

that the Government was publishing a

consultation document for the strengthening

of the MFSA to take the financial services

sector to a new level.

Silvio Schembri said that in such a dynamic

financial services environment, time was

ripe for MFSA to step up the game through

a pragmatic risk based approach rather

than a descriptive one, fostering more

efficient processes and a more conductive

environment for innovation.

He emphasized that this public consultation

should lead to an authority which is reactive

enough to address situations where

regulations lag the developments of new

products in the market. Silvio Schembri said

that a strengthened MFSA should be well set

to harness the industry in the design of new

products like Fintech, Blockchain and other

niches to tap.

“At the same time, the new MFSA needs to

be vigilant to ensure that any new niches do

not endanger the long-term stability of the

sector and with it Malta’s long standing high

reputation. The risk of allowing the industry

to tap new niches may be contained if there

is the right synergy between those willing to

invest and the regulatory authority to create

During August, our national airline Air Malta

assisted the Inspire Foundation by collecting

funds on board the airline’s flights towards

this cause.

Inspire believes that everyone has a right to

equality and inclusion. Its mission is to try to

help everyone with a disability achieve this, by

providing individuals and their families with

educational, therapeutic, and leisure services.

“Today, Inspire helps over 1000 individuals

with various disabilities ranging from Down

Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and

learning difficulties such as dyslexia and

dyscalculia. We do this through many services

and disability programmes that are offered at

a highly subsidised rate or sometimes even

for free. But this is only possible thanks to

the voluntary donations collected from the

general public and assistance from nationally

important organisations like Air Malta”,

explained Antonello Gauci – Inspire’s CEO.

Consultation document for

the strengthening of the

Malta Financial Services

Authority

products that actually reduce such risks”, said

Silvio Schembri.

Whilst thanking chairman Prof. Joe Bannister

and his team for their work to strengthen the

MFSA through the years, the Parliamentary

Secretary reiterated that the government is

committed to the continued development of

the financial services sector and is publishing this

Consultation Document to seek the views of all

operators on MFSA. The consultation document

can be downloaded online from www.opm.gov.

mt and submissions will be received until the

15th of September 2017. MBR

Courtesy: The Parliamentary Secretariat For

Financial Services, Digital Economy And Innovation

Air Malta Dedicates

August to Inspire

Joe Galea, Acting CEO of the National airline

said, “Air Malta is More Than Just an Airline.

Apart from our efforts to connect the Maltese

Islands to main gateways across Europe and

the Mediterranean we offer support to the

community through a number of initiatives.

We are proud to once again help Inspire to

continue their commendable work within

the local community and continue assisting

hundreds of individuals and their families

support services in time of need.”

This campaign also forms part of Air Malta’s

Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives

whereby the airline supports organisations

that work hard in the Maltese community.

As Malta’s national carrier, the airline is

the only airline flying from Malta that fully

supports the local community in all possible

ways and every year it carries an increasing

number of medical cases, including stretcher

cases for treatment abroad. No other airline

operating to Malta provides continued

support to voluntary and non-governmental

organisations like Air Malta.

This initiative is also being supported by the

airline’s catering provider – Sky Gourmet. MBR

The Malta

Stock Exchange

introduces

a new index

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna

inaugurated the ‘Malta Stock Exchange

Total Return Index – MSETRX’ which is a

methodology that calculates the value of

investment in equities through an index. In

his speech he said that “this is going to bring

the Maltese Stock Exchange in line with

international Stock Exchange’s standards,

reflecting the total return generated by equity

investments”.

The MSETRX will be replacing the current

MSE Equity Index which was used up till now.

The new Total Return Index (TRX) will take into

consideration both the price fluctuations of

the component shares as well as the dividends

the companies pay. The MSETRX is based on

the assumption that that all dividends are

reinvested back into the index thus giving

a better representation of the potential

economic benefit of equity investments and

the benefits of compounding. The indexes

return from January 1st 1996 to December

31st 2016 would have been 10.91% annually,

with a cumulative gain of 780%.

Malta Stock Exchange Chairman, Mr Joseph

Portelli, said that the tenants of sound

financial planning suggests that the hefty

dividends paid by many of the companies

listed on the MSE, where possible, could be

reinvested into buying more shares.

In fact he said the Exchange intends to

introduce a dividend re-investment program

facilitating the re-investment of dividends

with lower costs. He also said that the

Index’s stellar returns reflects very well on

the excellent growth of the Maltese economy

and fantastic performance of many of the

companies listed on the Exchange.

The Malta Stock Exchange for the first time

presented a special dividend of €2 million

to the Government of Malta, which is a sign

of the success the Malta Stock Exchange is

doing. MBR

Credit: The Ministry For Finance

58

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