LowResMBR

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COVER STORY

INTERVIEW WITH COLIN

GREGORY AND EDWARD

SALIBA, EQUIOM MALTA

A dual interview regarding the latest

business acquisition and what it means

to Equiom p.06

ANALYSIS

ANGELA MERKEL’S

GOVERNMENT OF LOSERS

An exceptional analyses and forecast

of German Politics following recent

elections p.10

ANALYSIS

CRYPTOCURRENCY: THE HAIL

MARY PASS FOR PEOPLE WHO

MISSED THE TECH BOOM

Anna Wiener interviews Anthony

Pompliano, a leading authority on

cryptocurrency p.16

ANALYSIS

VAPING ENTREPRENEUR

MEET PEDRO THE MAN

BEHIND BIG VAPES

Interview with Pedro Camilleri, the 31-year old

start-up, who discusses vaping culture p.40

MALTA BUSINESS REVIEW

ISSUE 39 | 2018

Newspaper Post


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Malta Business Review

CONTENTS

Issue 39

COVER STORY

6

30

DEEP LEARNING

POLITICO DATA AND DIGITIZATION PRO SNAPSHOT

Welcome to POLITICO Pro Digitization Insights: Janosch

Delcker, POLITICO’s AI Correspondent in Berlin provides

unique insights on how big data, AI and automation are

changing the world as we know it

34 EDITOR’S BEST PICK OF THE MONTHY GUIDE

TO WHAT’S DRIVING BRUSSELS AND THE EU

Special Feature brought courtesy of POLITICO and

presented by EPP Group: SPD goes full Hamlet - Barnier's

Brexit truth serum - Clegg and the Muppets

06

INTERVIEW WITH COLIN GREGORY, MANAGING

DIRECTOR, AND EDWARD SALIBA, DIRECTOR AT

EQUIOM MALTA

A dual interview regarding the latest business acquisition

and what this integration process means to Equiom

ANALYSIS

10 ANGELA MERKEL’S GOVERNMENT OF LOSERS

An exceptional analyses and forecast of German Politics

following recent elections

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

10

12

12 HELLO CODING – WHEN DID YOU GET SO COOL?

Zita Petrahai interviews Derek Lo, the co-founder of Py,

responsible for over 100,000 downloads on both iTunes

and Google Play

FEATURES

14 GIG’S 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENT

Host co-founder of Apple and legendary Silicon Valley

tech wizard Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak in Malta

14

SPECIAL FEATURES & INTERVIEWS

40

16 CRYPTOCURRENCY: THE HAIL MARY PASS FOR

PEOPLE WHO MISSED THE TECH BOOM

Anna Wiener interviews Anthony Pompliano, a venture

capitalist who is a leading authority on cryptocurrency

22 2018 MARKS A DECADE OF THE MITA STUDENT

PLACEMENT PROGRAMME

MBR follows the MITA Student Placement Programme

which places students in temporary jobs during the three

months of summer

26 GERMANY: ITS GROWTH MOMENTUM

Antonella Mercieca charts the unprecedented growth of

the German economy

OUR GOLDEN PARTNERS

38 THE MOST POWERFUL PASSPORTS IN THE

WORD FOR 2018

We follow the most powerful and mobile passport in

the world, in the latest edition of the Henley Passport

Index

40 VAPING ENTREPRENEUR MEET PEDRO THE

MAN BEHIND BIG VAPES

John Paul Abela interviews Pedro Camilleri, the

31-year old start-up on a mission to increase a local

widespread vaping culture

44 THE GLOBAL SEARCH FOR EDUCATION

Impact of Globalization on the North and South Divide

46 UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON TRADE

AND DEVELOPMENT

United States Tax Act Reforms affect firms holding 50%

of global foreign direct investment

50 ONLINE SHOPPING

EU Parliament votes to end barriers to cross-border

online shopping

4


MALTA

BUSINESS REVIEW

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

J. P. Abela; Antoine Bonello; George Carol;

Harry Cooper; Jean Paul Demajo; Natasha

Gowens; Josef Joffe; Antonella Mercieca;

Estefania Narrillos; Zita Perahai; Ryan Heath

Gediminas Vilkas; Anna Wiener; Charlie

Williams;.

SPECIAL THANKS

CDOI; European Parliament Information Office in

Malta; European Parliament, Directorate- General

for Communication; European Research Council;

HSBC; MITA; MORGEN EUROPA; The New Yorker;

OPR; POLITICO SPRL; Politico Global Policy Lab;

PKF Malta; Taylor & Francis Group; The

Parliamentary Secretariat For Financial Services,

Digital Economy And Innovation; C. M. RUBIN;

UNCTAD; David Wine.

PRINT PRODUCTION

Printit

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

"Many of those most excited about crypto don’t

work in tech, and their financial futures are

uncertain."

By Anna Wiener

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

EDITORIAL

Malta Business Review

Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the

freedom of an individual or community to articulate

one's opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation,

censorship, or sanction. The term "freedom of

expression" is sometimes used synonymously, but

includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting

information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

It is an integral part of the fundamental right of

freedom of expression, as recognized by Resolution

59 of the UN General Assembly adopted in 1946,

as well as by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration

of Human Rights (1948), which states that the

fundamental right of freedom of expression

encompasses the freedom to “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas

through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

Denying us the basic principle of the right to know, even if this is bound to secrecy

by the Court, means that we are accepting to be restricted and reject one of the

most significant human right: that of receiving and imparting information. The

right of information has been as vibrant in the hearts of marginalised people as

it is in the pages of academic journals and in the media. Regrettably, local media

are either agenda-bound to serve their master’s voice, or compelled to be

massively sanctioned if they report the story as it really is. This is not surprising

since food security, shelter, environment, employment and other survival needs

are inextricably linked to the right of information. It is more democratic for the

media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few.

This implies that in Malta we are not being allowed to exercise our basic

fundamental human rights since we are obstructed and hindered by one kind

of excuse or another.

It is becoming clear that the right to information has to be legally enforceable

and we must campaign to demand more transparency of official records. A

social audit of government spending and a redressal machinery for the citizens

who have not been given their dues is necessary.

Its independent existence as an attribute of liberty cannot be disputed. Viewed

from this angle information or knowledge becomes an important resource. An

equitable access to this resource must be guaranteed. The right to know is a

necessary ingredient of participatory democracy.

The right to know is the basic indivisible from a democratic polity. This right

includes the right to acquire information and to disseminate it. Right to

information is necessary for self-expression, which is an important means of free

conscience and self-fulfilment. The attempt of the court in this case should be to

expand the reach and ambit of the fundamental right by the process of judicial

interpretation. This is the only way to expose graft and punish corrupt officials.

Over the past three decades, right to know laws have become one of the most

innovative and effective means of protecting the environment and public health.

These laws, also known as information disclosure, serve a number of key societal

interests. Right to know laws helps to improve the efficient functioning of

democracy, of the economy, of the market and of the state. Armed with better

information, people can make informed decisions, and press for change.

Right to know laws also promote a democratic decision making and the power of

ordinary citizens. Equipped with better information, citizens can participate on a

more equal footing it regulated entities permitting, land use and other political

decisions.

Martin Vella

Editor-in-Chief

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:

www.maltabusinessreview.net

5


Malta Business Review

COVER STORY

INTERVIEW WITH

COLIN GREGORY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AND

EDWARD SALIBA, DIRECTOR AT EQUIOM MALTA

Colin Gregory, Managing Director of Equiom Malta explains what this acquisition means to Equiom. Edward Saliba,

previously a Director and Head of Corporate Services at DF Corporate and now part of Equiom Malta, discusses the

integration process from his perspective and the benefits it has brought to his team and clients.

MBR: What can you tell us about the

recent acquisitions Equiom has completed,

and why are they key in strengthening its

presence in Europe?

CG: In October 2017, Equiom completed two

acquisitions in one week with the acquisition

of trust and fiduciary business Carey SAM in

Monaco and trustee and fiduciary business

DF Corporate here in Malta. A few weeks ago,

we expanded into Luxembourg and added

fund administration to our suite of services

with the acquisition of Carey SA.

These acquisitions have further strengthened

our position in Europe and support our

strategy to seek sustainable growth across

the EU market. Having a presence in Malta,

Luxembourg and Monaco offers clients

comfort, continuity and a sharper focus on

the EU market during uncertain times.

ES: DF Corporate was, since its inception, very

much focused on taking advantage of the

main benefits of the local jurisdiction to serve

clients. We have always aspired to be a global

business but would have never been able to

accomplish this on our own. Through joining

Equiom, we can achieve a more global reach

- a resourceful asset for the benefits of clients

across the globe who have interests in Europe

and more importantly within the EU market.

acquisition of DF Corporate expanded the

Malta team to 14 staff. We can now offer a

full range of support services to our clients

that we previously did not have the resources

to do.

ES: A larger team has given Equiom Malta

more substance and, with an increasing focus

on compliance and business continuity, it has

allowed the business to become more robust

to regulatory changes and requirements.

The acquisition is the right decision for both

companies in our quest to become more

competitive.

MBR: Why is the team at DF Corporate

Services such a perfect fit for Equiom?

CG: As a lawyer by profession, Edward

brings a lot to the table. Under his leadership,

DF Corporate has developed an in-depth

knowledge of the local regulatory landscape.

DF Corporate has more than a decade of

experience in the corporate arena. The

team has an accounting background,

and a sound knowledge of VAT and other

regulatory matters. It is the mix of client

service experience and support services that

really complements our offering. We have

the specialist expertise needed to deliver

our core services and, with the addition

of DF Corporate, we can also provide a

suite of support services coupled with local

knowledge and experience.

MBR: How positive has the move to Equiom

been?

ES: We consider it a certificate of prestige

to be joining a true global business. Being

part of a larger firm with years of expertise

MBR: How will Equiom Malta’s acquisition

of DF Corporate benefit clients – from both

businesses?

CG: Equiom Malta was formed organically

rather than through acquisition in 2012 and

we obtained our licence from the MFSA

under the Trust & Trustees Act in 2013. From

the beginning, we had ambitious plans to

grow the business in Malta. We searched for

the right partner over a number of years to

identify a good cultural fit and a company

that complements our core strengths. The

Equiom Team

6


COVER STORY

Malta Business Review

and worldwide capability will give us the

ability to be more efficient with international

structures. There are a lot of synergies – we

are both proactive in our business interests,

both seeking to expand, and we share

the same core values, among them our

commitment to clients, and this focus has

made the integration process very smooth.

The acquisition has provided opportunities

for us as well. To fully integrate the two

businesses, we will adopt Equiom’s

procedures and processes which will benefit

our team and clients, ultimately helping us

to operate globally.

MBR: Can you explain Equiom’s offering, its

USP and what differentiates you globally?

CG: Our strength lies in our ability to build

strong partnerships with our clients and

intermediaries, and we have been recognised

globally for our leading role in managing a

diverse portfolio across a range of service lines.

Just recently, Equiom Malta was awarded

‘Trust Company of the Year’ for the Malta

category in the 2018 Citywealth International

Financial Centre Awards. This is the second

year in a row we have received this accolade

and it demonstrates our outstanding

dedication and expertise in the sector, which

sets us apart from the rest.

ES: I think the ability to offer tailor-made

solutions to our client base, while also having

access to a network of experts in countries all

around the world, enables us to stand out as

a professional services provider. The fact that

we are recruiting top professionals in each of

the jurisdictions in which we operate means

that we are also building on the knowledge

and expertise we have in these regions - and

that makes us a very attractive alternative

to competitors.

MBR: How important has the relocation to

new offices in Mriehel been?

CG: It is a real feel-good factor to have everyone

under one roof, working together as one team.

The new look of the office signifies clear space

for growth and is a positive message to our

staff and to Malta that we are here to stay.

Mriehel itself is a great location because

it is fast becoming a financial services hub

with some of the larger corporations now

relocating here. So, it is a good place to be

and I think it will continue to develop as a

favourable location for doing business.

ES: I would second that. I am very enthusiastic

about the new offices. It is a good

Management team

Reception

environment and the move was key to

expediting the integration process. There is

space for new workstations, so it is easy to

imagine becoming a larger team in the future.

MBR: What does the future hold for

Equiom Malta in terms of opportunities and

challenges?

CG: There is a lot of interest in setting up

businesses in Malta, and several reasons

why this is the case. We are a politically

and economically stable jurisdiction, with a

steadily rising GDP (which is forecast to be

more than 6% for 2018), have an attractive

tax regime and a well-regulated jurisdiction.

Among the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,

Malta offers advantages as an EU Member

State. Brexit provides an opportunity for

businesses to consider relocating their

operations to other EU jurisdictions and

Malta rates highly, for many of the reasons

mentioned above.

With more regulations surrounding our

industry, we anticipate seeing an increased

amount of mergers as the regulatory

requirements become too complex for some

smaller businesses to cope with.

ES: The future is a challenging one. We

see opportunities where others see

complications. As part of a big group, we are

well-equipped to face the changing demands

of the market and we have the confidence

to confront challenges both big and small. I

am looking forward to the months and years

ahead as part of the Equiom Group. MBR

www.equiomgroup.com

Equiom (Malta) Limited is authorised to act

as a trustee and fiduciary services provider by

the Malta Financial Services Authority.

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

7


Malta Business Review

TALKING POINT

EU NEEDS TO INCREASE ITS RESILIENCE

TO RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA, SAY MEPS

MEPs sounded the alarm about Russia’s propaganda influence on EU countries, and suggested

strengthening an EU strategic communication team, in a topical debate on Wednesday.

Kremlin-orchestrated leaks, fake news,

disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks

against the EU and its member states have all

increased since the war in Ukraine, stressed

MEPs in a debate with Security Union

Commissioner Sir Julian King. They highlighted

Russian meddling in Brexit, but also in recent

elections in France, Germany and Spain.

MEPs regretted the EU’s limited response,

noting that the EU’s tiny 17-strong strategic

communication team is striving to counteract

Russian propaganda tools, such as Sputnik or

Russia Today, that have a billion euro backing.

To improve EU resilience to these tools, MEPs

called for measures to improve media literacy,

raise awareness, promote independent

and investigative journalism, and revise the

EU audiovisual directive so as to mandate

national regulators to enforce zero tolerance

of hate speech.

They also stressed the need to improve the

transparency of media ownership and funding

of political parties and their campaigns. As

social media are becoming the main news

source for many, they should abide by the

same rules other media, added some MEPs.

Latvian MEP Sandra Kalniete from the EPP told

the plenary that Europe should take the lead

in setting international rules for cyberspace.

“Europe drives the international agreement

on climate change and it should be among

the rule makers for the cyberspace,” she said.

Kalniete also noted that here is no substitute

to independent and fact-checked journalism.

“Quality journalism should be supported by

the governments including the EU because

otherwise it would disappear and leave us all

at the mercy for Kremlin and other trolls that

learned how to play the social media game,”

the Latvian MEP said.

In the debate, European Security Union

Commissioner Julian King noted that Russia’s

military doctrine and generals “regard

false data and destabilising propaganda as

legitimate tools and information as another

type of the armed force”.

Commissioner King noted that Russia’s

military doctrine and generals regard false

data and destabilising propaganda as a

legitimate tool of the armed forces. He

welcomed MEPs’ suggestions to strengthen

EU strategic communication team and said

that the Commission will table a strategy on

fake news in the spring. MBR

Credit: Gediminas VILKAS, EP/Press Unit

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Malta Business Review

ANALYSIS

ANGELA’S MERKEL

GOVERNMENT OF

LOSERS

Lame will lead lamer in next German cabinet.

By Josef Joffe

HAMBURG — This is a first in the history of electoral politics: The

biggest losers have ended up as the German government’s de facto leaders.

The Social Democrats were humiliated in the September contest. And yet

Angela Merkel, whose Christian Democrats came out way ahead, gave

away the most critical Cabinet posts to the diminutive SPD — anything

to stay in power as Germany’s fourth-term chancellor. The masscirculation

Bild jeered: “Merkel gives away the government to the SPD!”

Merkel has yielded critical levers in order to

buy herself another four years in the country's

top office | Clemens Bilan/EPA

Merkel has yielded critical levers in order to

buy herself another four years in the country’s

top office. Now these SPD politicos, most of

whom are relatively unknown outside Berlin,

will be the ones to shape the politics of Europe

and Germany, the EU’s mightiest member, in

the years to come.

Olaf Scholz, the governor of the city-state

of Hamburg, has been tapped for the

finance ministry. Say goodbye to Wolfgang

Schäuble, who laboured hard to impose

financial discipline and market reforms on the

eurozone over the last 12 years. The Social

Democrats want to move closer to France’s

Emmanuel Macron: They like the idea of a

vastly expanded EU budget; they favour a

European finance minister who will be able

to disburse billions to prop up deficit-ridden

“Club Med” members like Italy and Greece.

The party’s lodestar is redistribution on a

continental scale, something tight-fisted

Schäuble fought throughout his career.

Then there is Eva Högl, who is in line to head

the labour and welfare department. She will

have almost €140 billion to disburse and first

dibs in shaping labour market legislation.

Expect more regulations that will constrain

flexibility, like an end to short-term contracts

and more difficult hiring and firing.

It was a popular vote of no-confidence. The

fact that these same losers are now forming

a new government sounds like a cosmic joke.

The SPD will also mould legislation on

domestic security and anti-terror policy,

if Heiko Maas gets the justice ministry as

expected. And then, of course, there’s

Martin Schulz — the former president of the

European Parliament who last held elective

office as mayor of the backwater of Würselen

— who was going to head the foreign office

until he announced Friday that he wasn’t

going to because of party infighting.

True, foreign ministers don’t really make

foreign policy. That power is lodged in the

White House, the Kremlin and the Elysée. But

whoever replaces Schulz will have to heed his

comrades, who have advocated moving away

from the mainstays of German diplomacy.

The SPD doesn’t like the Russia sanctions over

Ukraine and Crimea, and wants to make nice

with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The

party is loath to raise the German defence

budget to 2 percent of GDP. It wants to go easy

on Iran sanctions, and detests Trump’s America

more than is necessary. The Social Democrats’

vision of the EU is a social welfare empire from

Portugal to Poland that will gestate into the

“United States of Europe” by 2025.

It was a popular vote of noconfidence.

The fact that these

same losers are now forming a

new government sounds like a

cosmic joke.

Whether all this comes to pass will, of course,

hinge on whether the SPD rank-and-file

blesses the Grand Coalition 3.0 by individual

ballot. But it is a safe bet that they will. And

why wouldn’t they? Though headed by

a Christian Democrat, the government’s

coloration will be “red,” the traditional colour

of the democratic left.

Look beyond the coalition deal and the

haggling over Cabinet posts and it’s clear

that the country — still the linchpin of

the European order — will be a run by a

government of losers.

It is even odds that Merkel will not last out her

term.

Last September, Merkel’s conservative alliance

shed almost 9 percentage points compared to

2012. Crashing down to 20 percent, the SPD

lost 5 percentage points. The most recent poll

gave the party, which once scored in the midforties,

only 17 percent support. Added up,

this means that Merkel’s grand coalition was

decimated in September, its losses totalling

almost 14 percentage points.

It was a popular vote of no-confidence. The fact

that these same losers are now forming a new

government sounds like a cosmic joke. Schulz

best embodies the “Peter Principle,” which

decrees that everybody will be promoted to

the level of his own incompetence. A respected

president of the European Parliament, he went

for the SPD chairmanship and dragged the

party down to its lowest take since the birth of

the Federal Republic.

Bavaria’s strongman, CSU chief Horst

Seehofer, is sitting pretty too, despite being

toppled by revolt at home. He will be replaced

as the state’s prime minister, but will now run

the interior ministry in Berlin. Merkel, once

touted as “empress of Europe,” wins this race

of the losers. This masterful politico, who has

out-maneuvered every potential contender

for twelve years, could only hang on to power

by practically giving away the government to

her weakened junior partner.

Thus are the high and mighty laid low, and the

lame will lead the lame in the government

to come. The only consolation for this

government of losers, is that — apart from

Paris — other European capitals aren’t faring

much better.

In London, the prime minister is sinking.

Spain is being torn asunder by secessionism.

Italy is in thrall to caretaker governments

and elections are likely to only bring more

instability. And now Germany, the rock of the

ages? It is even odds that Merkel will not last

out her term.

Josef Joffe is a member of the editorial

council of Die Zeit in Hamburg and a fellow of

Stanford’s Hoover Institution. MBR

Creditline: Politico

10


Malta Business Review

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

HELLO

CODING

When Did You

Get So Cool?


We specifically write our content

using language that even young

children can understand.

Derek Lo


By Zita Petrahai

MBR: Why were 600,000 high-paying tech

jobs unfilled in 2015 in the United States

alone, or is the better question: Is technology

developing faster than humans can learn to

handle it?

DL: According to the White House, by 2018,

51 percent of STEM jobs will be in computer

science-related fields. However, the number

of tech employees has not increased along

with the number of jobs available. Why?

The answer is simple: lack of relevant

education. The White House maintains that

just one quarter of K-12 schools offer highquality

computer science with programming

and coding. In addition, in 2016, the PEW

Research Center reported that only 17% of

adults believed they were “digitally ready.”

When we look at diversity, things only get

worse. In 2015, 22 percent of students taking

the AP Computer Science exam were girls

while 13 percent were African-American or

Latino. These statistics are not U.S. specific; in

2015, Australia reported that only 28 percent

of ICT jobs were held by women. Coding

has always been regarded as a mysterious

field, something Derek Lo, co-founder of

the new application “Py”, wants to change.

Launched in 2016, the application offers

interactive courses on everything from

Python to iOS development. The “unique

value proposition,” as Lo puts it, has been

a revolutionary success. The fun-oriented

application has so far resulted in over 100,000

downloads on both iTunes and Google Play.

Most parents frown when kids use their

phones at the dinner table, but what if the

kids were learning to code over Sunday roast?

“Ok, so maybe not the Sunday roast, but

seriously, could a more accessible and fun

coding application make all the difference?”

MBR Publications, in-conjunction with the

Global Search for Education is excited to

welcome one of Py’s founders, Derek Lo, to

discuss how Py’s revolutionary approach is

literally making coding cool.

Coding can provide people

with the awesome ability of

being able to create tangible

things like websites and apps.

It also instills less tangible

things like a greater aptitude

for systematic thinking and

logical decision making.

MBR: People say education today is often

treated as a business and that individual

students’ needs have not been prioritized

enough. As the number of qualified

applicants increases, can individualized

learning tools, such as Py, help today’s

generations remain competent in our

globalized world, even with “broken”

education systems?

DL: Yes. As college acceptance rates decline,

more people will need alternatives for

learning career-essential skills, and we believe

Py will be a big part of that. Using machine

learning algorithms, we are able to adapt

the user experience based on prior skill and

behavior within the app, creating a tailored

curriculum. Having a personal tutor in your

pocket that knows how you learn and what

you should be learning is powerful and why

we are investing in personalization.

MBR: Py provides its users with a simple

and easy platform while many other coding

applications (e.g. Solo Learn) have opted

for more traditional and serious lesson

plans. Does making learning applications

appear more serious fuel the conception

that coding is a hard and scary thing to

learn? Are we over-complicating the field

of coding and making it seem inaccessible

for people or should students really be this

wary of programming?

12


INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

Malta Business Review

DL: One of the reasons that my co-founder

and I started Py is to demystify “coding”. We

make it easy by making it fun. When you’re

dragging pretty blocks around and pressing

colorful buttons, it doesn’t feel like work.

Yet users are still soaking up all the same

knowledge they would be by slogging through

a boring textbook. We also intentionally

avoid programming jargon until the learner

is ready. A good example is when we teach

users about loops -we use words like “repeat”

instead of “iterate”. Almost all of Py’s courses

are focused on teaching the fundamental

concepts using simple language and in an

interactive fashion.

Also, many people are scared away from

learning how to code because they hear

from friends that computer science is such

a difficult major in school. An important

thing to realise is that there’s a big difference

between theoretical computer science and

making a simple website. An art major might

not need to understand Dijkstra’s algorithm,

but would greatly benefit from knowing a bit

of HTML and CSS.

MBR: What would you say to skeptics who

question whether a game-like application

like Py can truly help people learn how to

code properly?

DL: Gamification isn’t a hindrance to learningit

accelerates it. By keeping you excited and

engaged, Py teaches you better than if you

got bored or zoned out. When you are having

fun, you actually learn faster and better.

Another way to phrase this question might

be, “Even if Py is fun, do you walk away

having learned something from it?” The

answer is yes, definitely. We are very datadriven,

constantly improving our courses by

analyzing our users’ progress. We can see

(and track) real progress in our users’ ability to

understand everything from basic semantics

to high-level algorithms and design principles.

MBR: Do you think Py’s game-like surface

allows younger generations to become

more involved with coding?

DL: Yes. We specifically write our content

using language that even young children can

understand. In fact, a parent emailed us just

the other day telling us he was using Py to

teach his 10-year old son Python! Currently

our target demographic is definitely a bit older

than that though. We think of Py as the learnto-code

solution for the SnapChat generation.

We are extremely excited

about helping to change

people’s image (and selfimage)

of who a coder is and

actively encourage more girls

to get into coding.

MBR: What general skills does coding teach

kids/ young adults?

DL: Coding can provide people with the

awesome ability of being able to create

tangible things like websites and apps. It

also instills less tangible things like a greater

aptitude for systematic thinking and logical

decision making.

MBR: Py has recently partnered with Girls

Who Code. Why do you think coding has

been branded throughout history as a

‘male’ profession and how do you hope to

eliminate this gender gap?

DL: Historically some of the most important

computer scientists are women. Ada Lovelace

and Grace Hopper are considered pioneers

of programming. Stereotypes aside, men

and women are obviously equally capable of

becoming great software engineers. We are

extremely excited about helping to change

people’s image (and self-image) of who a

coder is and actively encourage more girls

to get into coding. We are huge fans of Girls

Who Code and we are so excited to provide

them free premium subscriptions for some of

their students.

MBR: When we think of coding, we mostly

envision computer screens, yet we tend

to use our phones more often than we do

our computers. How does Py bridge the

gap between using a computer screen as

opposed to learning how to code on smaller

devices? Is the coding world shifting to using

smartphones or is coding still a generally

‘computer’ based field?

DL: People actually don’t need to type lots

of code to learn the concepts necessary to

become great programmers. We’ve built

interaction types like “fill-in-the-blank” that

let users quickly edit code on the fly without

any typing. Recently we’ve also created a

custom keyboard that allows users to type

real code on their phones in a frictionless way.

This is great for short programs and practicing

the fundamentals, and it’s how we’re making

the transition from computer to phone and

vice versa easier. Applying this knowledge to

create a website or app does still primarily

take place on computers. But the world

is seeing a wave of new mobile learning

applications, and I think we’re at the forefront

of that trend.

MBR: How do you envision the world of

coding changing in the next 15-20 years?

How will Py keep up with these changes in

the field?

DL: Coding will become less about rote

memorization of basic syntax and more about

high-level understanding of what’s really going

on. At a minimum, programming languages

have morphed from low-level (shifting bits

and allocating memory) to high-level (abstract

data structures and functional programming),

from obtuse (assembly, machine code) to

human friendly (Python, Swift).

That’s why Py focuses on high-level concepts.

Once you understand how an algorithm

works, typing it out should be an afterthought.

The important thing is to understand it—once

you do, it’s yours forever. MBR

Creditline: C. M. Rubin

Derek Lo

EDITOR’S

Note

Derek Lo is the co-founder of Py. Py launched

in 2016, and offers interactive courses on

everything from Python to iOS development.

The “unique value proposition,” as Lo puts it, has

been a revolutionary success. The fun-oriented

application has so far resulted in over 100,000

downloads on both iTunes and Google Play.

www.maltabusinessreview.net

13


Malta Business Review

GIGSTERS CONNECT

STEVE

WOZNIAK,

CO-FOUNDER OF

APPLE, TO VISIT

MALTA FOR GIG’S 5

YEAR ANNIVERSARY

EVENT

Gaming Innovation

Group (GiG), one of

the island’s biggest

iGaming employers, will

host co-founder of Apple

and legendary Silicon Valley

tech wizard Steve ‘Woz’

Wozniak in Malta at an event

celebrating the company’s

five year anniversary.

GiG’s annual employee conference, ‘Gigsters

Connect’, will take place on 6 & 7 March for all

650 GiG employees - including over 200 who

will travel from Spain, Denmark and Norway

to join their Malta based colleagues. As well

as meetings, hackathons, parties and learning

opportunities, there will be a ‘fireside chat’

and open audience Q&A with Woz. Attendees

will hear about Apple's humble beginnings

and how Woz revolutionized the status quo

by inventing the impossible.

GiG will also invite over 400 university and

MCAST tech students, developers, start-ups,

entrepreneurs, and some members of the

business community in Malta to the session

with Apple’s co-founder.

GiG CEO Robin Reed: Wozniak to inspire GiG

employees and 400 members of Maltese tech

community.

GiG’s CEO Robin Reed: “There are many

people in Malta, including at GiG, who work

in highly specialist technology roles. We

couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate

five successful years of our company than

by giving our employees and 400 of the

Maltese tech community the opportunity to

be inspired by Woz, a pioneer of technology.”

Engineering genius Steve Wozniak founded

Apple Inc. with Steve Jobs. As a pioneer of

the personal computer revolution, Steve

Wozniak single-handedly built the first Apple

computer prototype.

GiG has an exciting growth story, having just

announced all time high quarterly revenues of

EUR 39.9 million in Q4 of 2017, and is planning

to enter the regulated US market after signing a

new partnership with Hard Rock International

to deliver their first online casino. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

About Steve Wozniak:

Engineering genius Steve Wozniak founded

Apple Inc. with Steve Jobs. As a pioneer of

the personal computer revolution, Steve

Wozniak single-handedly built the first Apple

computer prototype. A Silicon Valley icon and

philanthropist for more than thirty years, Steve

Wozniak has helped shape the computing

industry with his design of Apple’s first line

of products the Apple I and II and influenced

the popular Macintosh. In 1976, Wozniak and

Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. with

Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer.

About GIG:

Gaming Innovation Group Inc. is a technology

company providing products and services

throughout the entire value chain in the

iGaming industry. Founded in 2012, Gaming

Innovation Group’s vision is ”To open up

iGaming and make it fair and fun for all”.

Through our eco-system of products and

services, we are connecting operators,

suppliers and users, to create the best

iGaming experiences in the world. Gaming

Innovation Group operates out of state of

the art offices in St George's Bay, Malta and

is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the

ticker symbol GIG.

For further information, contact:

Natasha Gowans, Head of Communications,

Natasha.gowans@gig.com (+356 79699763)

Liesbeth Oost, PR Manager, Liesbeth.oost@

gig.com (+356 79699774)

14


Your partners for HR outsourcing

WWW.OZOGROUP.COM

info@ozogroup.com


Malta Business Review

LETTER FROM SILICON VALLEY

CRYPTOCURRENCY:

THE HAIL MARY PASS FOR PEOPLE WHO MISSED THE TECH BOOM

By Anna Wiener

Between mid-December and early

February, bitcoin lost more than half its

value, dropping from a high of nearly

twenty thousand dollars to just below seven

thousand. Depending on whom you asked, it

was either a catastrophe—a portent of things

to come—or a rare opportunity. Anthony

Pompliano, a venture capitalist who is prone

to posting bullish, cryptocurrency-related

aphorisms on Twitter (“Bitcoin is the ultimate

test of someone’s imagination”), reassured

his eighty-three thousand followers that it was

almost certainly the latter. “This may be the

first real ‘crypto recession,’ ” he wrote. “Those

that stick around will be rewarded immensely.”

Earlier this month, I attended a primer on

cryptocurrency for women, “Decrypting

Crypto,” hosted by the life-style company Brit +

Co and sponsored by SoFi, a personal-finance

site. At the front of the cavernous, glass-walled

lobby of the LinkedIn building, in San Francisco’s

South of Market neighbourhood, a stage-like

area had been decorated with Bertoia-style

wire bar stools, colorful patterned rugs, and a

smattering of artfully arranged houseplants in

pink and silver pots. A staff member wearing

a “Britcoin” T-shirt took iPhone photographs

of Brit Morin, Brit + Co’s founder and C.E.O.,

posing beside a pastel welcome sign: smiling;

looking serious; making a silly face; rubbing her

thumb against her index and middle fingers.

Attendees milled about the bar area, stacking

16

small plates with charcuterie and crudité as

Snoop Dogg’s “Young, Wild & Free” pounded

through the room. “Literally every guy in crypto

right now is having the worst day,” one woman

remarked to another.

By many counts, “literally every guy in crypto”

is pretty much everyone in crypto, at least

for the time being. A handful of surveys

and studies estimate that women make up

somewhere between four and sixteen per

cent of cryptocurrency investors. Morin,

during her introductory remarks, explained

that she had heard the four-per-cent figure

over the recent winter holidays, when bitcoin

was valued at nearly twenty thousand dollars.

Part of the problem, she determined, was a

paucity of educational resources for women

about the fundamentals, and risks, of investing

This technology is so profound,

on so many levels, that it feels

really important to educate

everyone about it.

in cryptocurrencies. “We have an opportunity

to rebuild the financial system,” Morin said,

quoting Galia Benartzi, the co-founder of

Bancor, a cryptocurrency protocol; protocols,

like Bitcoin or Ethereum, enable decentralized

networks of computers to collaborate in

maintaining a shared history of immutable

transactions, known as the blockchain. “Are we

going to do it with all guys again?”

The first speaker to join Morin onstage was

her husband, Dave, a venture capitalist,

entrepreneur, and former early employee of

Facebook. “It just can’t happen that we have

another wave of technical innovation happen,

and that all of society is not participating,” he

said. “I think that means both men and women;

I think that means, you know, people in cities

and people in rural areas. This technology is so

profound, on so many levels, that it feels really

important to educate everyone about it.” By

his account, it wasn’t just about the money:

the blockchain—that ledger of permanently

documented exchanges, which is distributed

by participants in a given protocol’s network—

has far greater implications. He suggested

that other transactions could move to the

blockchain, eliminating flurries of paperwork,

and intermediaries, as well as increasing the

digital security and privacy of all parties; he

gave the examples of buying real estate and

negotiating venture-capital contracts. (In

2017, women-founded companies accounted

for just over four per cent of venture capital

deals, and received about two per cent of that

year’s venture funding, according to Fortune

magazine.) And yet speculation about the

possibilities of the blockchain have a tendency

to turn cypherpunk. “We all use things like

social capital, and love, and empathy,” Dave

Morin said. “Most of those ways that we

interact have not been turned into money, or

haven’t been turned into a currency of any

kind. It’s the first time in history that we’re

Continued on pg 36


The A2E Scheme has been designed to make it easier to benefit from Employment Aid.

Employers who engage disadvantaged persons can receive a subsidy of up to €85 per week for each new

recruit for 26 to 104 weeks. When engaging registered disabled persons,

this subsidy can increase to €125 per week to a maximum of 156 weeks.

For more information contact Jobsplus on 2220 1399 or a2e.jobsplus@gov.mt or visit our website www.jobsplus.gov.mt

Operational Programme II - European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020

“Investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the well-being of society”

Aid Scheme part-financed by the European Social Fund

Co-financing rate: 80% European Union; 20% National Funds


Malta Business Review

RULE OF LAW

RULE OF LAW IN MALTA: MEPS DEMAND POLICE

INVESTIGATE ALL CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS

MALTA’S POLICE MUST INVESTIGATE ALL CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS, PARTICULARLY AT THE

HIGHEST POLITICAL LEVEL, TO END THE PERCEIVED IMPUNITY IN THE COUNTRY, MEPS SAY.

Members of the Civil Liberties Committee and

the former Committee of Inquiry into Money

Laundering, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance

(PANA) discussed the conclusions of a factfinding

mission to Valletta last month to assess

the situation of the rule of law and several

allegations of corruption and money laundering.

Maltese Minister of Justice Dr Owen Bonnici

attended the meeting, as did two of the sons

of the journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana

Galizia, who was killed in a bomb attack in

October 2017. Mr Bonnici regretted that

MEPs are not taking account of the significant

reforms adopted by the Maltese government

to address corruption and assured them that

all serious allegations are being investigated.

“It is completely false that this government has

put the rule of law in the dustbin”, he stated.

Most of the MEPs criticised the lack of police

action, despite the very serious evidence of

maladministration involving even members of

the Maltese government, and considered the

situation in Malta a source of concern for the

whole of the EU. Many pointed to the lack of

transparency of the Citizenship by Investment

programme. Some speakers also asked for

more time to get a full and clear picture of

what is going on in the country.

anti-money laundering legislation, the serious

problems deriving from the ‘investments for

citizenship programme’, and the mentions

of Maltese politically exposed persons in the

Panama Papers and their continuing presence

in government. Members noted the low rate

of investigations and absence of prosecution

by the Maltese authorities on these cases, as

well as with regards to private sector actors

involved, such as Nexia BT and Pilatus Bank.

The delegation’s leader Ana Gomes (S&D, PT)

underlined that the rule of law in the Member

States, whether it is Malta or any other EU

country, is of great concern to all: “The rule

of law is a matter of collective security. The

brutal assassination of Daphne Caruana

Galizia was aimed at instilling fear in everyone,

especially those involved in investigating and

prosecuting cases of money laundering and

corruption. We are worried about the low

number of cases that are being prosecuted

in the area of financial crimes. This impunity

cannot continue”, she said.

Ms Gomes also expressed concerns about the

“accumulation of powers with the Attorney

General”, which she feels “are not fully used

when it comes to fighting corruption and

money laundering”. She added that, “Malta is

not yet fully implementing the 4th Anti Money

Laundering directive” and that it is blocking

an agreement on the 5th one, which aims at

increasing transparency when it comes to real

owners behind companies and trusts. She

also pointed out that Malta has decided not

to join the European Public Prosecutor Office

(EPPO), which aims at fighting fraud involving

EU funds and protecting the financial interests

of the Union. MBR

Cedit: EP Press Service/Estefania Narrillos

Concerns

During the meetings, the MEPs expressed

serious concerns about the unclear separation

of powers, which has been the source for the

perceived lack of independence of the judiciary

and the police, the weak implementation of

18

Mr Timmermans knees at a candlelight vigil for Ms

Caruana Galizia held in Brussels.


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Malta Business Review

ICT

DELIVERING PROJECTS ON TIME AND WITHIN BUDGET

By Charlie Williams

Business software projects are often complex

and require a high degree of commitment from

both the customer and supplier – commitment

to effort and commitment to change. This is an

area of Information Technology that is full of

failed projects and of projects which fall short

of meeting customer objectives.

In fact, a recent CIO survey placed the level

of customer satisfaction with ERP and

CRM projects at the very lowest levels of

all IT projects. At Computime Software we

understand these challenges and implement

strict best practices to circumvent potential

project pitfalls. In doing so, we enjoy a

consistently high customer satisfaction rating.

In fact, 96% of our clients say that Computime

exceeds their expectations, while 99% would

recommend Computime to their peers.

Proven track record

Computime have a positive track record of

35+ years in successful business software

implementations. Our philosophy is to be

completely transparent with our clients

from day one to completion – ensuring they

understand the amount of time, effort, and

cost required to implement a successful

software project.

Clear and consistent communication

The client engagement process that we adopt

starts with our first meeting and builds one

layer at a time. The main objective is always

delivering the maximum benefit at the

minimum risk and cost to the client.

Cutting edge technologies

We utilise cutting edge technologies from

leading suppliers, along with our own IP, to

optimise the use of the various technologies

available nowadays. At the same time, we

provide our clients with choices, as we

understand they each have unique technical

requirements.

First-class project management

We firmly believe that most software projects

should deliver value in stages. Expecting a

project to meet all objectives in one single

‘big bang’ is often a recipe for failure and it

puts a massive burden on both the client and

the implementation team. As a result, we

recommend to initially focus on delivering

a few small, but measurable objectives.

Together with the client, we ensure these

are met, and then move on to subsequent

phases, always at the client’s pace.

The main objective is always

delivering the maximum

benefit at the minimum risk

and cost to the client.

Experienced consultants and developers

We employ an experienced and multidisciplined

team of business and technology

consultants. Our technology specialists ensure

that the solution is built using technology

that is fit for purpose, performs well, and

integrates into the client’s environment. Our

usability experts certify that the software

is easy-to-use by non-technical users. Our

industry consultants interface with the client’s

business users to ensure that their objectives

are met. Our project managers oversee the

entire implementation process and work

together with our account managers to keep

the project on time and within budget. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

For more information visit

www.computimesoftware.com

email info@computimesoftware.com

call +356 2149 0700.

Business Software

& Integration Solutions

20


Business Software

& Integration Solutions

Delivering software projects on time and within budget

Solution

Discovery

Requirements

Analysis

Solution

Design

Solution

Implementation

Testing &

Training

Support &

Maintenance

R

www.computimesoftware.com +356 2149 0700 info@computimesoftware.com


Malta Business Review

STUDENT PLACEMENT PROGRAMME

2018

MARKS A DECADE OF THE MITA

STUDENT PLACEMENT PROGRAMME

The MITA Student Placement Programme places students in temporary jobs during the three months

of summer. The placements are spread over 11 weeks, based upon 30 hours per week. Last year, the

initiative placed over 330 students from over 500 valid applicants, across more than 90 organisations

from the private sector, public service, public sector and NGOs.

SPP is mutually beneficial to both the

student and employer. While this serves

as a meaningful working experience to the

students, in return they inject creativity and

fresh ideas to their work environment.

This year, MITA will be moving away from

the traditional slots and open the calls

for application for both employers and

students simultaneously. Following closure

of the application stage, MITA will attempt

to match potential candidates based on the

requirements each employer has listed in

their application form from the vast pool

of student resources. Employers are then

provided with a list of students matching their

specific requirements for their consideration.

It is the employers who conduct the interview

22

process within a stipulated timeframe,

ultimately ensuring the selection of the best

resource to best fit their needs.

Students eligible to participate need to

be studying ICT or related subjects. The

minimum entry level is for students who

have completed their 2nd year 6th Form

(and awaiting examination results), as well

as those students who have completed

their 2nd year of the Diploma (and awaiting

examination results). In both cases, students

are requested to obtain written confirmation

of this from their respective Educational

Institutions. In addition, students studying at

the University of Malta, MCAST, and various

private institutions are also eligible, subject to

studying ICT or related subjects.

Eligibility is mainly granted to those studying

at the University of Malta, MCAST, Sixth Form

and various private institutions which cater

for the aforementioned area of study.

SPP does not only grant the employer the

opportunity for temporary summer student

placements but more sustainably, the chance

to evaluate the students’ skills and offer them

long-term employment in the future.

Following the end of the placement, aside

from investing in future workforce, the

private sector is reimbursed 50% of the

students’ salary costs. Organisations from

the Public service, Public sector and NGOs

will be reimbursed 100% of the students’

salary costs. MITA will reimburse a maximum

of 330 hours per student and payments are

processed by the end of the year.

Similarly, to the previous years of SPP,

employers have the possibility to put forward

their request for pre-allocations through

spp.mita@gov.mt. This year the process has

changed for the better with both drivers of

SPP in mind. To be able to accommodate as

many student applicants as possible, means

that all valid employer applicants must also be

satisfied. For this reason, the selection process

has been revised with more positive changes

added to the process. MITA will be holding

several information sessions to explain the

new setup. These sessions will be held on

the 6th and 7th of March 2018 between 9:00

and 11:00 hrs. Interested employers should

register their attendance via e-mail indicating

the preferred date on spp.mita@gov.mt, or by

calling the contact numbers below. MBR

Still hesitant whether to give your organisation

and future workforce a chance? Visit MITA’s

website www.mita.gov.mt/spp for more

information or contact Ms Jacquie Cremona

Crossey on 2599 2474; Ms Andrea Mallia on

2599 2514 or Ms Adelaide Grixti on 2599 2015.

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018


Today’s

student

is

tomorrow’s workforce


Malta Business Review

DENTAL HEALTHCARE

QUALITY OF TREATMENT!

By Dr Jean Paul Demajo

A patient visits the clinic and

asks “Dot I came for a second

opinion as I need to replace

a tooth with an implant. My

dentist said he can do it for

me and have a tooth put on

immediately. It is my front

tooth so I am bit concerned

about the final result. What

are your thoughts on this?

The doctor says “Sinjura,

this is true, it is very easy for

an implant to heal. What is

difficult is to achieve a very

good aesthetic result that

blends in with your smile”

This simplified manner of speaking is a very

common scenario. It is perfectly correct. The

implant would heal to the bone quite easily

but how good would the aesthetics be?

Some patients are happy with the average

joe implant-tooth to fill the gap. Others have

higher expectations. A thorough assessment

is a must:

Patient factors

• General health

• Habits

• Budget

• Expectations

Extra-oral factors

• Smile-line

Intra-oral factors

• Tooth shape/size

• Gum

• Bone

Some of the above are obvious factors to

weigh out prior to implant treatment. Health,

history of serious illness and habits like

smoking or drug-use decrease predictability

of success. The smile-line is very important

too. If the patient displays a high smile-line

a lot of tooth and gum tissue will show on

smiling and if not properly restored then the

poor aesthetic result will be visible. If the

smile-line is low then although all the defects

will be covered up, they will affect the quality

of hygiene as well as the long-term prognosis

of the implant.

The aesthetic result is highly dependent

on the tooth, bone and gingiva. The tooth

aesthetics depend on the choice and quality

of the material used, the quality of the

workmanship of the dental technician and

the instructions given by the implantologist.

The bone is something we talk about a lot.

It is simple; in order to place an implant we

need adequate bone quantity and quality.

The best bone is our own and if more is

needed, it may be obtained from other parts

of our mouth. Alternate bone substitutes may

be bought but are not of the same quality.

Often indentations in the bony areas above

the teeth are visible. If not filled, on smiling

these would appear as hollow grooves. These

grooves may be filled with both bone, and

gum tissue.

There are different gum types; thick fibrous or

thin friable. The thick one is easier to use and

more predictable while the opposite applies

to the thin type. In recent years the role of

gingival tissue has gained a lot of importance.

Colour, level around the tooth, and the right

architecture play vital roles in producing

natural-looking gingival tissue. This surrounds

the tooth and therefore contributes

immensely to the overall aesthetic result.

In aesthetic anterior implant cases, more

often than not we have to add gum grafts

taken from the palate to increase the volume

of gums. Artificial gum tissue may also be

A Case Study

Before tooth implant replacement

After tooth implant replacement

A middle-aged lady wishes to change

her bridge done ten years ago. From

day one, she was never happy with

the colour and overall aesthetics but

never mentioned it to her dentist.

She thought that it was as good as it

could ever be. With time the gum also

receded, exposing the metal margins

of the bridge. The bridge was replaced

with a non-metallic alternative material

called zirconia and instead of being

constructed in one chunky piece it was

mostly separated into single crowns

further improving the aesthetics.

bought but is nowhere as good in quality to

the patients’.

So back to the initial point; placing an implant

and crown to fill the gap is an easy enough

affair. But if you are a patient with higher

expectations then you would probably need

to add bone or gum or both to achieve the

best aesthetic result. MBR

Ask your Dentist!

DR JEAN PAUL DEMAJO

Dental and Implant Surgeon

24


Malta Business Review

OPINION

GERMANY:

ITS GROWTH

MOMENTUM

By Antonella Mercieca

The German economy has been

expanding for eight consecutive

years, with growth in 2017 at

almost one percentage point

above the average growth rate

of the last ten years (1.3 percent).

The main factors driving this

growth were consumption

and investment. According to

the Federal Statistical Office

Destatis, private consumption

expanded by a price-adjusted

2 percent on the year and

government consumption

also rose by 1.4 per cent.

Gross Fixed capital formation

experienced above-average

growth of 3 percent on the

year. Construction investment

increased significantly by 2.6

percent.

German exports experienced a further

growth in 2017, with price-adjusted exports

of goods and services climbed by 4.7 percent

on the year. Imports posted stronger growth

(+5.2 percent) during the same period.

Furthermore, all the economic sectors such

as information and communication, trade,

transport and hotel and restaurants sector

have experienced positive growth.

The rate of employment has reached its highest

since Germany’s reunification at just under 44.3

million people. According to Destatis more than

1.5 percent people were in employment in 2017

when compared with 2016.

In January German business confidence rose

unexpectedly matching the records reached in

November according to a Survey. The Munich

based Ifo Institute for Economic Research said

its business climate index, based on a monthly

survey of 7,000 firms, rose to 117.6 in January

from 117.2 in December. The survey showed

that the overall improvement was driven

by managers taking a stronger view of their

current business situation, with the respective

sub-index hitting a record high. Furthermore

German consumer morale rose heading into

February to its highest level since 2001, as

shopper’s perception of a boom of the largest

European economy continued going strong.

Consumers are benefitting from a record high

employment, increased job security, and low

borrowing costs.

Inflation as measured by the Harmonised

Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), which has

increased considerably to 1.7 percent on

average for 2017 from the higher crude oil

prices and food shortages will likely remain

until 2019 and could rise to 1.9 percent in

2020.

The German stock market is also benefitting

from strong economic growth and from the

unconventional monetary policy measures

adopted by the European Central Bank. The

DAX had reached the 13,000 level for the

first time in October 2017. The Bundesbank

which is Germany’s central bank anticipates

that the German economy will continue to

grow strongly in 2018.

Meanwhile, the political situation is still at a

deadlock as Chancellor Angela Merkel has

failed to form a government months after a

national election. This has raised concerns

among investors at a time when Europe is

facing multiple challenges such as the Brexit

and the euro zone reform. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

Sources: Dutsche Bundesbank Monthly Report 2017, ifo Institute Center for Economic Studies (CES), Bloomberg,

Reuters and https://www.bundesbank.de/Navigation/EN/Bundesbank/Eurosystem/eurosystem.html

EDITOR’S

Note

Antonella Mercieca is the Client Relationship

Manager with Timberland Securities Investment plc

Aragon House Business Centre, Dragonara Road,

St Julian’s STJ 3140 | Tel: 2090 8100

Email: info@timberland-malta.com

www.timberland-malta.com

26


Malta Business Review

TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

EXPRESS TRAILERS

AND DATABYTE

TO TAKE UNIQUE

PROPRIETARY

IT SYSTEM

INTERNATIONALLY

When Express Trailers

launched its managed

pharma warehousing service

in 2012, it’s obvious choice

in terms of software was an

already mature Warehouse

Management System for

3PL that was developed by

Databyte, a leading software

development house, forming

part of the KDM Group. That

system consisted of an ITbased

platform that efficiently

manages administration and

invoicing of the receipt, storage

and distribution of stocks. The

original proprietary system, was

further developed by DataByte,

and Express Trailers is now coinvesting

with DataByte to take

this system to the next level

and market it both locally and

internationally to other Third-

Party Logistics operators.

“Managed Warehousing goes beyond having

available space for storage but rather, it entails

having the right IT platform supporting the

day-to-day management of receiving and

holding third party inventory, issue holding

bills, taking orders, delivering these orders to

customers and keeping track of replenishing

stock,” said Franco Azzopardi, Chairman and

CEO of Express Trailers.

“We have been collaborating with DataByte

since our first pharma warehouses started

operating in 2012. However, since different

commodities require different handling,

we had to modify the system to cater for

such requirements and today, besides

pharmaceuticals, this platform has been

modified to cater for different types of

commodities including brown goods, white

goods, manufacturing goods and more.

Eventually, this IT system is now being applied

to the management of Express Trailers’ new

centralized managed warehousing facilities in

Qormi,” added Franco Azzopardi.

Express Trailers’ Warehouse Management

System for 3PL, features a configurated plan

of each warehouse facility identifying length

of stay of goods stored in the warehouse,

the accrued billing value per night of storage

and any vacant storage space that can be

sold. When cargo is received, tallied and

warehoused, all items are bar-coded on

location. Clients supply electronic files with

the incoming cargo to enable us to prepare

the related documentation for the warehouse

coordinator to administer.

Pick orders, are also sent by the client in

electronic format to include the number

of items required, respective stock code,

segregated according to each driver or

vehicle. The newer improved system is

planned to cater for online data interface and

give clients more authorised accessibility.

Currently, Express Trailers handles third party

logistics for a number of companies including

a major telecoms company and a Leading

white goods.

Frederick Micallef DataByte’s Managing

Director said that, the relationship between

Express Trailers and DataByte started in 1986,

when DataByte started to analyse, design

and build the core Transport Management

System for the company. During the same

year, DataByte also started developing a

Warehouse Management System for third

party logistics for another client who operated

in a different sector. Convergence between

the two distinct product paths took place

some seven years ago when Express Trailers

engaged DataByte in the company’s own

product development for third party logistics,

specifically warehouse management. Express

Trailers had taken a strategic decision to

invest in this area of business as part of their

diversification strategy.

“Express Trailers is the leading logistics

partner in Malta with expertise in the field

and with a vision and commitment towards

internationalization. This is in sync with our

vision and strategy and as such we decided

to establish a a company to develop and

market this product both locally as well as

internationally. To achieve this, we will be

also maximising our recently announced

partnership with international consultants

Gartner for the internationalization of the

product, which product will be also using our

robust and safe cloud-infrastructure,” added

Frederick Micallef.

Franco Azzopardi concluded, “today, the

prospects of more growth in this activity led

us to start consolidating our available space

and we decided to centralize our managed

warehousing service under one roof to be

able to offer a better and more efficient

service to an increased demand. Our pharma

warehouses will remain next to our main

offices but our current managed warehouses

located opposite our main operating yard will

be moved to our new 2800sqm warehouse in

Qormi, leaving us with more space that will be

utilised better to gain more efficiencies.” MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

28


Pride can lead to great things.

We are proud of what we achieve,

through our ability, our services

the reliability we offer and the trust we enjoy.

Orange is our pride.

#WeAreOrange.

We deliver your cargo from wherever to anywhere, and however,

whether by road, sea freight, airfreight or multimodal

We are experts in total logistics.

PHOTO: ONE OF OUR EMPLOYEES’ PHOTOS IN THE 2016 EXPRESS TRAILERS PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION THEMED ‘WE ARE ORANGE’.

Express Group Malta

Velbro House, Qormi Road,

Luqa LQA 9040,

MALTA

Tel: (+356) 21 242311

Email: info@expressgroup.com

www.expressgroup.com


Malta Business Review

DEEP LEARNING

DIGITIZATION INSIGHTS

Welcome back to POLITICO Pro Digitization Insights. It’s Janosch Delcker, POLITICO’s AI Correspondent

in Berlin and your host of this weekly newsletter in which we focus on how big data, AI and automation

are changing the world as we know it. Let’s start with some of the news that caught our attention

during the last few days: The technological revolution we are experiencing will hit smaller cities much

harder than big metropolises, a new study looking at U.S. cities suggests. It will also radically change

farming — and the EU’s antitrust boss Margrethe Vestager warned that, in light of the upcoming

takeover of Monsanto by German multinational Bayer, her agency had to “to ensure that the deal will

not limit competition in digital farming and research.”

One thing everyone can agree on is that Europe must boost innovation, otherwise it will fall behind in

the global technology race. Any tech entrepreneur will tell you that to be innovative, you need money.

And when it comes to get this funding, the U.K. remains the undefeated top dog in Europe, an analysis

by Dutch venture capital database Dealroom suggests — with British investment now accounting for

37 percent of all investment in Europe. MBR

Digital bugs exploit design flaws in Intel

processors and other chips, potentially letting

hackers access normally protected data |

Sascha Steinbach/EPA

SPOTLIGHT: WAR

Buried deep in Germany’s next government’s

coalition agreement, on page 149, two

overlooked sentences point to an imminent

technological revolution that is about to

change war as radically as nuclear weapons

once did. “We reject autonomous weapon

systems that lack human direction,” the

document released last week states. “We

want to ban them globally.”

AI is not just revolutionizing the way we work,

travel and live — it’s also about to change the

way wars are fought around the globe, most

prominently through the development and

potential use of so-called lethal autonomous

weapons or LAWs.

Dubbed “killer robots” by their opponents,

LAWs are systems that are technically able to

hunt and attack targets on their own — and

they’re far from just a sci-fi scenario. Later this

week, leaders from around the world will flock

to this year’s Munich Security Conference to

discuss the most pressing security issues of

our time — and it’s no coincidence that the

first panel on Thursday afternoon, kicking off

the conference’s influential side-events, is

dedicated to the role AI will play in modern

conflicts. (If you’ll be there, drop me a line.)

The panelists include Estonia’s President Kersti

Kaljulaid and former NATO former General

Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen. It’s called

“The Force Awakens.” That’s admittedly a

clumsy metaphor — but you get the message.

Stay tuned, we’ll have an in-depth article on

the issue for you soon. MBR

COUNTDOWN:

101 DAYS TO GO.

On May 25, Europe’s new privacy rules, the

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),

will take effect. One way or another, the rules

will affect you. Here’s our financial services

colleague Cat Contiguglia with the latest on a

conundrum her sector faces:

When it rains, it pours: As financial firms

struggle to comply with the GDPR, they also

have to reconcile it with the list of other

new regulations coming online in 2018 that

revolve around data collection — and that’s

going to be far from easy, officials say.

Firms face a hefty list of new regulations,

including the revised Markets in Financial

Instruments Directive, the revised Payment

Services Directive, and the fourth Anti-Money

Laundering Directive. All revolve around

getting and holding more information.

For example, Julian Parkin, a data protection

expert leading GDPR implementation at a

U.K. bank, told Cat that “there is an inherent

conflict between the right to be forgotten

and rules around anti-money laundering or

fraud, as under those rules, you need to hold

information for longer.”

To deal with the conflict, the Financial Conduct

Authority hosted an industry roundtable, and

said it “will continue to collaborate in the

coming months to address concerns firms

raise.”

To read more about this regulatory conflict,

keep an eye out for an in-depth article coming

soon to your inbox.

Speaking of the U.K. and data privacy, “Open

Banking” rules went online in January that

require banks to make available client data

to authorized third parties via a standard

Application Program Interface or API. The

point is to improve competition in banking, by,

for example, allowing a customer to authorize

an app to access their account details to

find them the best offer on an account. But

the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority sees

a contradiction in asking clients to share

more data ahead of new EU rules banning a

dangerous form of data sharing go online.

“Screen scraping” will be banned in the

revised Payment Services Directive, but the

part of the rules with the ban is not going to be

in force for a while. In testimony to lawmakers

last week, FCA chief executive Andrew

Bailey lamented the delay, saying the FCA is

“working with various industry bodies” and

asking them, “can you put in place sensible

standards in the meantime that balance

openness against security objectives?”

While Open Banking intends for apps to plug

directly into banks just to get the data they are

authorized, in “screen scraping,” an app logs

into the client’s secure account with their login

details. Allowing an app to directly access the

whole of a client’s account with their actual

details opens creates a much greater risk of

fraud than going through an API. MBR

ARTIFICIAL

INTELLIGENCE,

A GLOSSARY

Talk about artificial intelligence is everywhere.

What do all the terms thrown around actually

mean? One buzzword at a time, we’ll get you up

to date. Today: deep learning.

To us humans, learning comes naturally. (Well, to

some more than others, but that’s not the point

here.) The point is: To computers, it doesn’t.

And that’s where deep learning comes in. It’s a

technique that allows computers to mimic our

thought patterns — and go far beyond that. In

some instances, this can already help computers

become better at recognizing objects, text or

sound than humans ever could be.

This unseen level of accuracy is the secret

behind the success of deep learning; the

technique has created quite a fuss during

the last couple of years. Let’s say that if all

AI technologies were a family, then “deep

learning” would be the handsome midtwentysomething

whom everyone loves, who

scored numerous global No. 1 hits during the

last couple of years, and who already made

billions for the family.

Deep learning is, for example, the key

30


DEEP LEARNING

Malta Business Review

By Janosch Delcker with thanks to Cat Contiguglia and Myfanwy Craigie

technology behind driverless cars, the voice

control in our smartphones or the software

inside medical microscopes to identify cancer

cells. When it comes to how most deep learning

technology works, it’s crucial to understand the

role of so-called neural networks — which we’ll

cover in the weeks to come.

Want to understand more about deep learning?

A good start is Katrina Onstad’s impeccable

profile of Geoffrey Hinton, the Canadian

scientist who spent 30 years hammering away

at deep learning while most other scientists

dismissed his ideas as nonsense, in Toronto

Life. (If you only have time for one longread this

week, make it this one.) MBR

BY THE NUMBERS:

In an increasingly digitized world economy,

access to fast internet is key. Here’s how the

situation has changed across the EU:

In the U.K., a former air force officer is

meanwhile on a mission to bring ultra-fast

internet speeds to people hundreds of

kilometers away from London. GDPR MBR

BOOKMARK THESE

• Facial recognition:

It’s one of the key AI technologies. But a

test of software from IBM and Microsoft

raises concerns about the systems being

significantly less accurate when it comes

to identifying black women, compared

with white men: “The companies’

algorithms proved near perfect at

identifying the gender of men with lighter

skin, but frequently erred when analyzing

images of women with dark skin.”

• AI and ethics:

It’s a broad field — so Philosopher Paula

Boddington narrowed her reading list

down to the five books she believes

people should read to understand the

myriad ethical questions posed by

artificial intelligence.

• Financial crime:

AI is also changing the way to how to rob a

bank. Mark Gazit of cybersecurity company

ThetaRay spoke with TechRepublic’s Dan

Patterson about how AI is unleashing a

new type of cybercrime.

• A new society, invented by blockchain?

Meanwhile, dozens of wealthy tech

entrepreneurs are heading to Puerto

Rico to build a crypto utopia — a new

city where the money is virtual and the

contracts are all public — to show the

rest of the world what a crypto future

could look like, the New York Times’

Nellie Bowles reports.

• Privacy vs. security:

It’s a question as old as democracy. National

Geographic asks it again. “Technology and

our increasing demand for security have

put us all under surveillance,” journalist

Robert Draper writes. “Is privacy becoming

just a memory?”

• Not pretty, that digital future:

Technologies distorting what’s real

by manipulating our perception and

falsifying reality are evolving faster

than our ability to mitigate them,

technologist Aviv Ovadya warns. “We

are so screwed it’s beyond what most

of us can imagine,” he told BuzzFeed’s

Charlie Warzel. “We were utterly

screwed a year and a half ago and

we’re even more screwed now. And

depending how far you look into the

future it just gets worse.” Tough outlook.

Decide for yourself. MBR

Creditline: POLITICO Pro Snapshot

www.maltabusinessreview.net

31


Malta Business Review

BANKING

HSBC BANK MALTA

ANNOUNCES LOWER PROFITS

BUT INCREASES DIVIDENDS

Andrew Beane, CEO, HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. speaks as

(from left) Rashid Daurov, Chief Financial Officer, and

Sonny Portelli, Chairman, HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c.

Rashid Daurov, Chief Financial Officer, Sonny Portelli,

Chairman, and Andrew Beane, CEO, HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c.

HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. (‘the bank’)

reported a profit before tax of €49.8m for

the year ended 31 December 2017. This

represents a decrease of €12.4m or 19.9%

on the previous year.

The bank confirms its business model and

risk management change programme was

substantially completed in 2017 leading to

a short term reduction in profitability. HSBC

has announced €20m extraordinary dividend

to reward shareholders given the strong

progress made with implementation of the

bank’s strategic plan.

The reported profit before tax incorporates

three notable items which are excluded from

the adjusted results as this is considered

a better reflection of management’s

performance.

In 2016, the bank recognised the gain on

disposal of the bank’s membership interest

in Visa Europe amounting to €10.8m and

raised a provision totalling €8m in relation

to a remediation of the legacy operational

failure in the bank’s brokerage business.

During 2017, the remediation programme

was largely completed and it was assessed

that a partial reversal of the conservatively

estimated provision was warranted. In this

regard, a reversal of €1.8m was effected in

2017.

During the year, the bank re-examined its

approach to the provision for the collective

agreement clauses related to future employee

benefits. A longer-term view was assumed in

the application of the current clauses which

resulted in an additional charge of €7.6m in

2017 as compared with the charge of €2m in

2016. While the movements in this provision

will periodically occur depending on the

changes in the composition of the bank’s

employee base, the provision adjustment

in 2017 was not related to the business

performance of the year.

Profit attributable to shareholders amounted

to €30.9m resulting in earnings per share of

8.6 cent compared with 11.2 cent in 2016. The

Board recommended maintaining a current

dividend payout ratio of 65% of net profit.

The Board also made a decision to return part

of retained earnings to the shareholders and

recommended an extraordinary dividend of

€20m in addition to the regular dividend paid

out of the net profit for the year. The final

gross dividend will be 12.4 cent per share (8.1

cent per share net of tax). Together with the

interim dividend paid in September 2017,

the total gross dividend for 2017 will be 17.1

cent per share (11.1 cent per share net of tax)

or €61.6m (€40.2m net of tax) representing

a 54.0% increase on the dividends paid for

2016. The final dividend will be paid on 19

April 2018 to shareholders who are on the

bank’s register of shareholders at 13 March

2018.

The year under review was characterised

by broadly stable but persistently low

interest rates and increasing excess liquidity

in the market while attractive investment

opportunities remained limited. In this

environment, a record number of debt

issuances by corporate entities was registered

on the Malta Stock Exchange fuelled by

investors’ demand for higher yield. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

HSBC BANK MALTA ANNOUNCES LOWER

PROFITS BUT INCREASES DIVIDENDS

• Reported profit before tax of €49.8m

for the year ended 31 December

2017, a decrease of €12.4m, or

19.9%, compared with prior year.

• Adjusted profit before tax, which

excludes the effect of notable items,

was €55.6m, 9.5% down on 2016.

• Net dividend for 2017 was €40.2m,

up 54.0% compared with prior year. It

includes a special dividend of €20m to

be distributed from surplus retained

earnings.

• Common equity tier 1 ratio increased

to 13.9% at 31 December 2017 from

13.2% at 31 December 2016. The

total capital ratio was 14.4% at 31

December 2017, compared with

14.2% at 31 December 2016.

• Adjusted cost efficiency ratio was

66.2%, compared with 58.7% in 2016.

• Adjusted return on equity for the year

ended 31 December 2017 was 7.2%

compared with 8.4% in 2016.

• Earnings per share of 8.6 cent

compared with 11.2 cent in 2016.

• The advances to deposits liquidity

ratio remained stable at 65.6%.

• Net loans and advances to customers

were €3,129m, down 5.8% compared

with 2016.

• Customer deposits decreased by 4.7%

to €4,766m at 31 December 2017.

32


CELEBRATE GAMING EXCELLENCE WITH US

MiGEA 2018: Malta’s largest and most prestigious Gaming awards are back!

Sensational Award Ceremony produced with finesse and precision

Welcome to the most highly recognized excellence awards in the Gaming industry.

These Gaming Awards recognise the greatest titles, teams, and individuals from across the gaming industry. A must-see

stop for hundreds of attendees. Categories catering to all major verticals of the gaming industry: MiGEA 2018 will host 24

unique awards categories- Definitely the most comprehensive awards encompassing all aspects of gaming. Awards are a

great opportunity to receive world-class recognition for your gaming projects.

Be a part of a whole new kind of gaming festival experience that can only be found

in the heart of the celebrated MiGEA event.

MiGEA Award Finalists Receive:

Being shortlisted as a finalist for one of our categories is rewarding in its own right. TIGA will ensure that:

• all finalists are included in press releases and relevant MiGEA’s marketing emails;

• coverage on MiGEA’s website, Malta Business Review fb page; Sunday Trends Fashion & Lifestyle

magazine fb page and also The Malta Independent Online website;

• promotion on MiGEA’s social media channels.

• Unique event live-streaming on U-Tube and facebook

MiGEA Award Winners Receive:

industry recognition at the Awards Ceremony in Malta attended by industry leaders and the media;

• a weighty MiGEA trophy and accredited certificate!

• PR through MiGEA’s press releases, live-streamed Press Conference which are sent to trade press and

national / international press;

• coverage on the main MiGEA website, and affiliated magazine/newspaper fb pages and in MiGEA’s

newsletters to over 200,000 database customers;

• a ‘winners’ signature logo which you can attach to your email or website.

This event is in aid of the Children’s Cancer Foundation Puttinu Cares and also

The Community Chest Fund patronised by HE The president of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.

Nominee entry and Sponsorship opportunities are available. These levels of sponsorship packages are designed for

companies and organisations desiring recognition as a strong community partner. All of these leader sponsorship packs

include basic value added benefits, and are designed to fit your marketing needs and budget. Additional Event and

Program or Category sponsorship packs are also available.

For Further Information:

Margaret Brincat

9940 6743

margaret@mbrpublications.net;


YOUR MONTHLY G

DRIVING BRUSSE

Malta Business Review

POLITICO BRUSSELS PLAYBOOK PLUS

By RYAN HEATH with HARRY COOPER

& MORGEN EUROPA

HAMLET COMES TO THE

GERMAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS

It wasn’t quite a mass murder, nor a suicide

pact, but the top two figures in the German

Social Democrats appear to have killed their

national political careers. Sigmar Gabriel, the

outgoing foreign minister, gave a damning

interview that pointed out how much

more popular he is than the man who was

supposed to replace him in that role, Martin

Schulz. Then on Friday, Schulz, who also

replaced Gabriel as party leader, said “my

personal ambitions should take a back seat

to the interests of the party,” and he wasn’t

going to be foreign minister after all. MBR

Former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

Theresa May, Michel Barnier

and David Davis pictured in deep

discussions at Downing Street

BARNIER ISSUES ULTIMATUM

AND WARNING TO LONDON

The EU draft of the U.K. withdrawal treaty will

be based on Northern Ireland remaining in the

EU customs union: an ultimatum to London

to accept the status quo or come up with

other options for managing the Irish border.

“A U.K. decision to leave the single market and

leave the customs union would make border

checks unavoidable,” Michel Barnier said. He

also bluntly warned the U.K. risks missing out

on a transition deal if it continues to dispute

the proposed terms.

Meanwhile, the U.K. is considering making a

demand for an “emergency brake” clause that

would allow it to unilaterally diverge from the

EU during the Brexit transition period if it felt

any new Brussels rules were creating serious

economic, social or environmental problems

for the country. The clause would be modeled

on Article 112 of the European Economic

Area (EEA) agreement.

Not that 112 emergency number: On an

entirely separate note, Sunday is “112 Day”

— an awareness-raising exercise named after

the EU-wide emergency number. MBR

NICK CLEGG ON EU

CONFIDENTIAL PODCAST

EU politics this week was all about shrinkage

(Brexit) and enlargement (Western Balkans).

EU Confidential’s featured guest is former

U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who is

agitating for a constitutional crisis — via a standoff

between parliament and government over

Brexit — and slams the “muppets” in the U.K.

Cabinet for their “cluelessness.”

A MESSAGE FROM THE EPP GROUP:

The European Parliament has voted for tougher

sanctions against the Venezuelan regime as it

prepares for early presidential elections seen

as a sham. President Nicolás Maduro is running

for a re-election, after his bloody crackdown on

the pro-democracy opposition. The suffering

of the people must end, says our MEP José

Ignacio Salafranca, who helped to shape the

Parliament’s position. MBR

WHO’S UP?

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: The Turkish president

was invited by European Council President

Donald Tusk to a summit of EU leaders in

Bulgaria in March.

Nicos Anastasiades: Defeated his leftist rival to

secure a second term as president of Cyprus.

AND WHO’S DOWN?

Dimitris Avramopolous: The European

migration commissioner on Friday strenuously

denied claims that he took bribes from Swiss

pharmaceutical giant Novartis when he was

Greek health minister.

Julian Assange: A British arrest warrant for

the WikiLeaks founder is still valid, a London

court ruled. MBR

‘VOTES FOR ALL’ CAMPAIGN

IN BRUSSELS

The European Union institutions are used to

coming under fire for having a democratic

deficit; but this week it’s Belgium’s turn. A

group of Brussels residents on Wednesday

launched the #1Bru1Vote campaign to extend

voting rights in Brussels regional elections

to non-Belgian citizens, accusing the Belgian

state of disenfranchising one-third of the

city’s residents. The campaign calls for Prime

Minister Charles Michel to submit a draft law

granting all adult residents the right to vote

in the May 2019 regional elections. Backers

of the campaign include professor Philippe

van Parijs, who initiated the Picnic the Streets

movement that led to the creation of the

Brussels center pedestrian area, and Brussels

Master Architect Kristiaan Borret.

34


POLITICO BRUSSELS PLAYBOOK PLUS

Malta Business Review

UIDE TO WHAT’S

LS AND EUROPE

presented by EPP Group: SPD goes full Hamlet -

Barnier's Brexit truth serum - Clegg and the Muppets

Nora Bednarski, one of the organizers, said

“the time has come” for Brussels to modernize

its governance. The Brussels capital region,

formed 29 years ago, is governed by a

complex web of political parties, and a system

that ensures representation for both French

and Flemish speakers, while excluding more

than 300,000 non-Belgian residents. All

Brussels residents can vote in local commune

elections, which take place every six years,

though non-EU citizens must have lived in

the city for at least five years to qualify. Most

eligible non-Belgians don’t register to vote.

Brussels regional government responsibilities

include mobility and public transport, urban

planning and heritage, parks and green

spaces, waste and recycling, infrastructure

and public works, pollution and air quality.

When Playbook hit the streets and social

media to find out what those without a vote

think, most said they would like to have the

right to vote. That’s not a surprise. There

are no occupations of Belgian government

buildings planned, but support for voting

rights campaigns does appear to be a step

beyond the apathy and complaint culture

generally associated with the members of the

EU bubble. Many residents Playbook spoke to

think it makes sense to merge the 19 Brussels

communes and regional parliament into a

single layer of government.

Thomas Huddleston, a naturalized Belgian

and migrant rights campaigner, said “Brussels

is the place in Belgium and in Europe where

I feel most free and welcome. But the

challenges and inequalities are growing. I fear

that both a city like Brussels and our project as

a European Union won’t be able to respond

and survive if we don’t open up and work

together with our neighbors.” MBR

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Frankly, people have got to grow some, get

a spine, stiffen up, stand up to these people

— most of them are ghastly bullies but also

cowards at the same time.”

— Tory MP Anna Soubry says British Prime

Minister Theresa May should stand up to

hard-line Brexiteers and kick them out of the

Conservative Party. MBR

REIMAGINING BREXIT

What if 19 countries left the EU single market

all at once? That’s how German MEP Hans-

Olaf Henkel, a former president of BDI,

Germany’s biggest industry lobby, wants you

to think of Brexit. Playbook ran the numbers,

and he’s right. Give or take a small part of

Austria’s economy, the GDP of the 19 least

populous EU countries is indeed close to the

GDP of the United Kingdom. MBR

MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel

UNFRIENDLY FIRE

The European Parliament this week voted

by a large majority in favor of removing one

of its vice presidents, Ryszard Czarnecki,

from his position after he sparked outrage

by comparing a fellow Polish MEP to a Nazi

collaborator. Czarnecki’s a member of Poland’s

ruling Law and Justice party, which has just

passed a law making it illegal to accuse Poles

… of complicity in Nazi crimes. Awkward. MBR

FEUD OF THE WEEK

Poland vs. everyone: France on Wednesday

became the latest country to criticize Poland’s

new Holocaust law, with Foreign Minister

Jean-Yves Le Drian, below right, calling

the text “ill- advised.” The U.S. has already

expressed “disappointment” and Israel said

it was worried the law could stifle the truth

about the role of some Poles in World War II.

Poland’s retaliatory PR efforts left a lot to be

desired. The prime minister’s office organized

a press tour for foreign correspondents that

was intended to show how difficult and risky

it was for Poles to save Jews during the war.

(POLITICO wasn’t invited.) The journalists

were fed omelette with Kiełbasa, a Polish

sausage made with pork (a curious choice on

a trip whose purpose was to make clear that the

government has nothing against Jews). MBR

NEW NATIONAL FRONT MEP

NOT GREAT ON GAY RIGHTS

Jacques Colombier, the president of the National

Front in Nouvelle Aquitaine — who is set to

replace recently deceased Edouard Ferrand in

the European Parliament — isn’t helping Marine

Le Pen’s push for a more gay-friendly party

image. In June last year, Colombier issued a

statement against a local Pride march, saying the

FN “opposes many of the claims made by gay

pride” like same-sex marriage and gay adoption.

For Colombier, “sexual practices should remain

in the private sphere and not be discussed in the

public sphere, especially given they sometimes

involve a show close to indecency in front of

young people.” MBR

BY THE NUMBERS

3,148: Amount of megawatts of new offshore

wind capacity installed in 2017, a European

record, according to data released Tuesday by

the industry group Wind Europe. That’s twice as

much as in 2016.

1,000,000: The number of people who’ve viewed

a recent TED talk by European Competition

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

177: The number of pages in the new German

coalition government agreement. MBR

GAFFES & LAUGHS

Bold mottos: Why have one company motto when

every employee can have one? The four founders of

new consultancy boldT have each indicated what

their personal mottos are. For Chairman Herbert

Heitmann, it’s the slightly wooden “reputation and

brand can be managed like a balance sheet … and

should be part of it.” Jeremy Galbraith, who was

at Burson-Marsteller for more than two decades,

says his is “Never, never, never give up.” Michiel van

Hulten, a founding partner, thinks “honesty is the

best policy” and newcomer Morten Pedersen “can

prove that it works.” (Playbook isn’t sure what “it” is.)

Cheese creator delivers vegan speciality:

French people might want to sit down before

reading the next bit: One of your own — a woman

from Lorraine (but not called Lorraine) — has

come up with a vegan camembert! Anne Guth

has made a dairy-free version of Camembert,

made with cashew nut “milk”. As there’s no actual

milk, it cannot be advertised as cheese. Guth calls

it a “vegetable speciality” instead. MBR

Creditline: POLITICO; Morgen Europa; Brussels Playbook

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

www.maltabusinessreview.net

35


Malta Business Review

LETTER FROM SILICON VALLEY

Continued from pg 16

taking all these things that have not been a

currency in the past, and turning them into

currencies that can be exchanged in various

different ways.”

For most people, it is currencies—the kinds

that can be converted into fiat money, and

deposited into a bank account—that are the

incentive, and the end game, for participating

in transaction-verification technology. “I’ve

been hearing ‘this is a bubble, it’s a scam’ since

I got into the space, in 2013,” Arianna Simpson,

an early-stage investor, said onstage. “If you

understand the technology, you realize that

there may be bubble activity on the price, but

the technology is really important. The idea

of a blockchain is going to become, I think,

pretty ubiquitous in the next couple of years.”

Outside, the sun dropped; a man stopped

to snap pictures of the conference through

the glass, and a small child hopped back and

forth on the sidewalk, waving. The woman to

my left opened her Brit + Co goodie bag—a

small, drawstringed canvas sack, printed with

a dollar sign and containing, among other

things, a fake hundred-dollar bill and colorful

plastic sunglasses with dollar-sign lenses—

and removed a yellow-frosted cookie with the

Bitcoin logo on it, which she surreptitiously ate.

Though the speakers emphasized, for legal

reasons, that they were not offering financial

advice, the general consensus on how to

participate wasn’t particularly novel: buy a

little bitcoin (“as much as you feel comfortable

never seeing again,” Alexia Bonatsos, a venture

capitalist, advised); start experimenting with

different wallets (the ways, or places, to

securely store one’s public and private keys,

used to send and receive currency); and play

the long game. Take advantage of resources,

such as Linda Xie’s guides to cryptoassets and

Laura Shin’s “Unchained” podcast, and ask

knowledgeable friends for access to Listservs

and online communities—in short, network

and Google. (It doesn’t hurt to have some

technical know-how; for security reasons,

it’s safer to have a hardware or paper wallet

than to use the more user-friendly platforms

recommended by Morin and Bonatsos, like

Coinbase or Robinhood.) “Think, obviously,

about the risk of what you’re putting in,”

Simpson said. “But really think about what is the

risk of not investing, and not learning and not

participating. Because I think, over a period of

The idea of a blockchain is

going to become, I think, pretty

ubiquitous in the next couple

of years

decades, if you invest the time, invest money,

and start really participating, you will do well.”

There is something utopian, and appealing,

about the potential for cryptocurrency to

provide an opportunity for more equitable

wealth distribution. In San Francisco, where it’s

easy to become inured to the phenomenon

of people becoming shockingly wealthy

overnight—Facebook, when it went public, in

2012, was rumoured to have created a thousand

new millionaires—it’s also nearly impossible

to forget that these windfalls are still rarefied,

reserved for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists,

and tech workers, those smart or lucky enough

to be in the right place at the right time. For the

most part, the people I know who are curious

and excited about cryptocurrency don’t work

in tech, and don’t have a ton of money to burn.

Cryptocurrency is the closest thing they have

to employee equity, itself a speculative asset;

it’s their opportunity to be in the right place

at the right time. They’re largely writers and

academics, activists and artists, even some

tech workers looking for a change. Their career

paths and aspirations are precarious, their

financial futures uncertain. There is the feeling

that, if the tech industry hasn’t already come for

their livelihoods, then it’s only a matter of time.

Investing in cryptocurrency is an experiment, a

hedge against the future, something of a Hail

Mary pass.

Just as the economic—and political—power

of tech’s new socioeconomic class is inchoate,

largely untested and unexplored, the same

could be true of those whose fortunes arrive

through investments in cryptocurrency. Money

doesn’t just move; it has a profound ripple

effect. It is exciting to imagine a more diverse

group getting in on the game: perhaps the

personal, political, and social interests of this

power will look different from the interests

of the élite that came before. (Already, an

anonymous bitcoin enthusiast and early

investor, who goes by the moniker Pine, has

put eighty-six million dollars’ worth of bitcoin

into the Pineapple Fund, which has since

donated more than fifty-three million dollars

to fifty-six nonprofits.)

Still, on a Forbes list of the richest people in

cryptocurrency, published in early February,

the top twenty beneficiaries identified by the

magazine were already entrepreneurs, privateequity

investors, or venture capitalists. (They

were also all men.) Toward the top of the list

were Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who

together hold between nine hundred million

and 1.1 billion dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency.

Profit is proportional, relative. Making—and

losing—millions is a different kind of game

when one has millions to begin with.

Last weekend, Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder

of Ethereum, posted a precaution about

the volatility of cryptocurrencies on Twitter.

“Reminder: cryptocurrencies are still a new

and hyper-volatile asset class, and could drop

to near-zero at any time,” he wrote. “If you’re

trying to figure out where to store your life

savings, traditional assets are still your safest

bet.” I thought of when, several weeks ago, at

an Italian restaurant in the northeast corner

of the city, a man and woman in their early

thirties, sharing tiramisu on what appeared to

be an algorithmically assisted date, engaged

in a frank discussion about their digital assets

as my table pretended not to eavesdrop. The

man confessed that he had purchased a single

bitcoin, long ago; the woman made a face that

looked like something between pity and vague

fondness. “At work, we call bitcoin ‘the fuck-you

money,’” she said. She raised her hand to her

cheek and rubbed her thumb against her index

and middle fingers. “ ‘Forget your 401(k). We

got that f***-you money.’ ” This struck me as a

strange way to think about one’s 401(k), until I

realized what she meant: retirement planning

is quaint and archaic—a relic of an outmoded

financial system—in the face of swift and

massive profit. I looked over at one of my

friends, a social worker who had just recently

sold a modest amount of the cryptocurrency

Ether—not fuck-you money, but not nothing—

at a four-thousand-per-cent profit. He blushed.

It might have been the blush of complicity—or

perhaps it was the look of a thirtysomething

American, without a retirement savings plan

to begin with, wondering if he had sold himself

short, and been too hasty to get off the ride. MBR

Anna Wiener lives in San Francisco and works

in technology

Creditine: The New Yorker

36


KULĦADD JIĠĠENERA

L-ISKART

FAĊLI TISSEPARA SEW!

Iva, tista’ tagħmel differenza


Malta Business Review

PASSPORT RANKINGS

THE MOST POWERFUL

PASSPORTS IN THE

WORLD FOR 2018

For the fifth year in a row, the German passport has maintained its position

as the most powerful and mobile passport in the world, in the latest edition

of the Henley Passport Index. Germany has managed to keep its stronghold

on the top spot with ID papers that are the most widely accepted around

the world. German passport holders currently enjoy visa-free access to 177

countries, up from 176 in 2017.

The European country managed to edge out

its closest rival, Singapore, by just one country

this year. Singapore was given the same title

in a similar ranking released in 2017 by Arton

Capital, a Canada-based global advisor on

residents and citizenship solutions. “Across

the economic spectrum, individuals want to

transcend the constraints imposed on them

by their country of origin and access business,

financial, career, and lifestyle opportunities

on a global scale,” said Henley & Partners

chairman Christian H. Kalin in a statement.

“The Henley Passport Index shows individuals

where they lie on the spectrum of global

mobility, revealing the strength their passport

has in relation to others.”

The Henley Passport Index is based on

data from the International Air Transport

Association (IATA).

Rounding out the podium, eight countries

tie for third spot on the index: Denmark,

Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Norway,

Sweden and the UK, which offer access to

175 countries.

This year, the United States improved its visafree

score, rising from 172 to 173 countries.

But the most improved countries on the

index were Georgia, which gained access to

30 countries, and the Ukraine, which now has

access to 32 additional countries, following

the completion of the visa-liberalization

process with the European Union last year.

At the other end of the spectrum, the least

mobile countries in the world are Pakistan,

Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, with visa-free

access to just 30 or fewer countries.

HERE IS THE TOP 10 LIST

OF MOST POWERFUL

PASSPORTS OF 2018,

ACCORDING TO HENLEY &

PARTNERS:

1. Germany – 177 countries

2. Singapore – 176 countries

3. Denmark, Finland, France, Italy,

Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the United

Kingdom – 175 countries

4. Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the

Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain –

174 countries

5. Ireland, South Korea, Portugal, U.S. –

173 countries

6. Canada – 172 countries

7. Australia, Greece, New Zealand – 171

countries

8. Czech Republic, Iceland – 170

countries

9. Malta – 169 countries

10. Hungary – 168 countries

The Philippines ranked 72nd for 2018, with

visa-free access in 63 countries. MBR

Published on Inquirer, 10th January 2018

Creditline: PKF Malta, licensed Accredited

Agents for all Malta Immigration &

Residency Solutions

38


Malta Business Review

START-UP OF THE MONTH

VAPING ENTREPRENEUR

MEET PEDRO THE MAN

BEHIND BIG VAPES

By John Paul Abela

Set up by 31-year-old Pedro Camilleri, the yearold

start-up is on a mission to increase a local

widespread vaping culture. Vapor Clouds

offers the widest variety of products made of

guilt-free substitutes and significantly safer for

occasional and heavy smokers. With a knack

for management, it’s no surprise that the local

entrepreneur is the owner of two leading vape

shops and other businesses.

Pedro Camilleri

An entrepreneur since his first foray into the

business world selling vaping accessories,

Pedro used his little savings to furnish friends’

requests with vaping items. The story began,

like so many others, with a vaper taking

customisation to the next level by importing

and mixing his own liquids, discovering he

has a talent for it, and realising he can turn his

passion into a profession. In no time Pedro’s

business acumen led him to open up a vape

shop in Hamrun and Gozo possibly with more

to come.

I neither underestimate nor

worry about competition

- existing or in the pipeline -

because I have total confidence

in this business.

Vapor Clouds was launched last year and

is proving precocious. The shop is highly

regarded for its unique (often exclusive)

hardware range, wide variety of liquids and

prolific output of its own signature flavours.

“Our employees can give you advice to help

you make good decisions about vaping and

the products associated with vaping because

we use them ourselves, and this is all we

do. We are not in the business of selling

vaping supplies as an addition to our store’s

inventory, vaping supplies are all we sell,”

explains Pedro.

Vapor Clouds has not just hit their stride in

the liquid market, but in hardware as well.

Vapers come from around the island to get

their hands on new hardware. “We source

hardware often before anyone else can get

their hands on it,” says Pedro proudly, when

asked on the secrets to his success.

“Hard work and determination are vital

ingredients to a successful way forward,”

explains Pedro. “We thank all our customers

for the ongoing support; we always strive to

bring to our customers the best experience

possible whilst making constant innovations

and improvements to ensure we can achieve

a higher level of service - Vapor Clouds is a

solid venture and is here to stay. I neither

underestimate nor worry about competition

- existing or in the pipeline - because I have

total confidence in this business. There is

always a staff member at the shop floor to

deal with customers’ needs as they arise. Our

customers are dealt with in an amicable yet

professional manner,” continued Pedro.

Success does not come easy and running

your own business takes a lot of discipline.

You cannot run a solo operation and expect

your business to survive, without sacrificing

most of your social and family life while

working yourself to the bone. When you start

your own business you have to make choices,

some of which will be sacrifices. There are

some things you will gain, and some things

you will lose. It’s a balancing act, but if you

work hard enough, the things you will gain are

far more rewarding. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

40


EDITOR’S CHOICE

Malta Business Review

Navitimer - black dial and black

alligator strap

Navitimer - red gold with bronze dial

and brown alligator leather strap

Navitimer - Chronograph with blue

dial and stainless steel bracelet

BREITLING’S NAVITIMER 8:

A tribute to one of watchmaking's greatest legacies

Breitling, famous for its chronographs and its strong link to aviation, has just launched

a new pilot’s watch collection: the Navitimer 8. The 8 in its name is a nod to the Huit

Aviation Department, which was set up in 1938 to produce cockpit instruments as well

as classic pilot’s watches for civilian and military use. At the time, Willy Breitling chose

the name “Huit,” the French word for “eight,” as a reference to the eight-day power

reserve offered by its storied cockpit instruments.

Georges Kern, Breitling’s CEO since the

summer of 2017, is particularly excited about

the new product line. “With the Navitimer

8,” he says, “we are honoring not only our

rich heritage but also our pioneering role in

building chronographic instruments. But while

the Navitimer 8 pays tribute to our past, it also

does something considerably more important.

It opens the door to a very exciting future.”

The Navitimer 8 – Bridging the Past

and the Future

The Navitimer 8 family introduces five

distinct models that are worthy heirs to

watchmaking’s richest aviation tradition,

drawing heavily on Breitling’s design DNA

and the technical features of the first board

clocks and pilot’s wristwatches as well as on

the Huit Aviation Department’s commitment

to quality.

It is also worth noting that Huit Aviation had

distinguished itself by putting its products

through a series of rigorous challenges.

It subjected each instrument to extreme

temperatures and vibrations before checking

its timekeeping precision with oscilloscopes.

The Department’s commitment to quality

was rewarded as it immediately attracted

the attention of military aviators and, ahead

of World War II, received a large order for

chronographs from the Royal Air Force.

Continuing a Great Tradition

Each of the five new models in the collection

expresses a design code – conceived down to

the minutest detail – with a high recognition

value. Guy Bove, Creative Director at Breitling

who fully immersed himself in the design of

the board clocks and wristwatches created by

the Huit Aviation Department, described the

inspiration behind the Navitimer 8’s exterior

design cues as follows: “With the Navitimer

8, we wanted to create a watch that was in

line with our vision for the brand’s future,

but which would also pay tribute to the

great Breitling watches of the early to midtwentieth

century. From a design perspective,

it occupies a unique position between Huit’s

onboard clocks and the Navitimer.”

Resurrecting Design Values

The new watches resurrect some of the design

values of the Huit Aviation Department’s

onboard clocks – especially in terms of the

dials and bezels – as well as Breitling’s iconic

pilot’s watch, Reference 768, with the rotating

bezel and distinctive triangular pointer

that made it a favorite among pilots. Just as

important were the luminous hands against

black dials, a combination that offered easy

readability in any lighting conditions, and

which also contributed to Breitling’s aviation

heritage. The Navitimer 8 watches recall the

uncompromising flair of that earlier era.

It starts with the eye-catching case: with the

typical notches on the bezel, its contrasting

satin and polished surfaces and its artfully

shaped lugs, it offers – from the very first

glance – a compelling blend of sportiness and

elegance.

For the typography of the large luminescent

Arabic numerals on the dial of each new

Navitimer 8 model, Guy Bove took inspiration

from the style used on the first pilot’s watch

models including the Reference 768. The

small triangles and the long minute markers in

the so-called railway minute tracks also recall

those from some of Breitling’s great early

wristwatch models, as do the luminescent

skeletonized hour and minute hands, the

latter’s length being matched precisely to

the dial’s indexing. The beveled hands add a

degree of sophistication and shine to the dial.

Each Navitimer 8 watch is water-resistant to

10 bar (100 meters). Their dials are all visible

through sapphire crystals with anti-reflective

coating on both sides. The chronographs in

the family offer power reserves ranging from

40 to more than 70 hours, depending on the

model and movement. MBR

Check out the full range of Breitling watches

at Edwards Lowell boutiques in Spinola, St.

Julian’s and Zachary street, Valletta or on our

online boutique www.elcol.com.

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

41


Malta Business Review

ECONOMIC REPORT

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had high praise

for Malta, saying its economic growth remained one of the

strongest in Europe, but cautioned that sustained efforts are

needed to safeguard the financial system’s integrity.

IMF RATES MALTA’S

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK AS

‘FAVOURABLE’

Following the 2017 Article IV consultation, the

IMF said that Malta’s favourable economic

conditions and sound policies, had advanced

structural reforms and supported the

strengthening of private and public balance

sheets.

“Output is estimated to have expanded by 6.8

per cent in 2017, accompanied by dynamic

job creation, which brought unemployment

to a record-low. Strong inflows of foreign

workers and rising labor force participation

kept wage pressures contained in most

sectors, thus contributing to low inflation

despite a positive output gap.”

The IMF also remarked that the rapid

economic expansion and the growing

population have put pressure on physical

infrastructure and resulted in a continued

housing market appreciation.

“The fiscal balance is estimated to have

registered a surplus for the second

consecutive year in 2017, thanks to buoyant

revenues—including from Individual Investor

Program proceeds—and contained capital

expenditure growth. The 2017 current

account is estimated to have remained in

surplus, driven largely by a sizable balance of

services.”

“The outlook is favourable, with growth

decelerating gradually and converging to

about 3 percent over the medium term.

Growth is expected to be driven largely by

domestic demand, backed by rising incomes

and historically-low unemployment while

buoyant services exports will continue to

sustain current account surpluses. Inflation

is set to pick up gradually, reflecting an

increase in import prices and tighter labor

market conditions. Headline fiscal surpluses

are forecast to continue and contribute to a

further moderation of public debt.”

The IMF commented that efforts were needed

to ensure that fiscal policy is geared towards

addressing the infrastructure challenges while

avoiding unwarranted stimulus, while steps to

advance balance sheet repair and strengthen

the oversight of nonbank lending would

enhance financial sector resilience. “Sustained

efforts are needed to safeguard the financial

system’s integrity. Robust implementation

and effective enforcement of the Anti-Money

Laundering framework is critical given the

size of Malta’s financial sector, the fastgrowing

remote gaming activity, and the high

demand for the IIP. Continuing strengthening

the collaboration between the competent

supervisors and regulators, and finalizing

the related National Risk Assessment would

support these efforts.”

Policy measures suggested by the IMF

included targeted macroprudential limits for

mortgages; closing data gaps on borrower

characteristics would help to calibrate these

measures effectively; aligning the tax rate

on rental income with tax rates on other

sources of income, and introducing periodic

reviews of the scope and parameters of

the IIP, including the minimum real estate

investment or leasing values, to curb housing

demand pressure.

Sustained efforts are needed

to safeguard the financial

system’s integrity.

It also suggested that Malta should focus

on reducing the severe congestion by

improving road quality and increasing the

use of alternative means of transport,

upskilling and reskilling the labour force to

better align education with business needs,

increasing female labour force participation

further, particularly among older cohorts,

strengthen innovation by developing research

infrastructure, increasing the financial

support for research and innovation, and

improve links between academia and the

private sector would enhance productivity

and boost growth prospects. MBR

Published on Malta Chamber 30th January 2018

Source: PKF Malta

42


SPORTS CONTRACT

Malta Business Review

Mapfre extends contract with

Renault for Formula 1

After a positive first year of collaboration

in 2017, MAPFRE has agreed to renew and

expand its agreement with the Renault Sport

Formula One Team. The Spanish insurance

company will become one of the team’s main

official sponsors over the next five seasons.

The agreement, which was presented in a

meeting between the Chairman and CEO

of MAPFRE, Antonio Huertas and Renault

Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn, goes

beyond a sports sponsorship; it opens

the door to MAPFRE and Groupe Renault

exploring additional mobility solutions and

services linked to the role of insurance in the

future of the automotive industry.

"This agreement with Groupe Renault will

allow us to further promote the MAPFRE brand

and its values worldwide," explained Antonio

Huertas, Chairman and CEO of MAPFRE.

“Formula 1 is not just a competitive sport

- it is also a testing ground for technological

research that can then be expanded to society

as a whole. This philosophy fits perfectly with

our strategic position for the future.”

“Our relationship with MAPFRE has

highlighted the reach and potential of

Formula 1 and the team and this long-term

partnership is an opportunity for Groupe

Renault and MAPFRE to build new projects

together. We look forward to continuing

to push for our respective targets over

the coming seasons,” added Jérôme Stoll,

President of Renault Sport Racing.

Mapfre also sponsors the tennis player Rafael

Nadal, the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation

and the Spanish team of the Volvo Ocean

Race.

MAPFRE is a global insurance company which

operates across five continents and employs

more than 37,000 professionals and services

approximately 37 million clients worldwide. In

Malta, it is represented by MAPFRE Middlesea

and MAPFRE MSV Life.

MAPFRE Middlesea p.l.c. (C-5553) is

authorised by the Malta Financial Services

Authority (MFSA) to carry on both Long Term

and General Business under the Insurance

Business Act, 1998.

MAPFRE MSV Life p.l.c. (C-15722) is authorised

by the MFSA to carry on long term business

under the Insurance Business Act 1998. Both

entities are regulated by MFSA. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

43


Malta Business Review

EDUCATION

The Global Search For Education:

Impact of Globalization on the North and South Divide

By C. M. Rubin

“The pressures in systems in the

North is to compete to ensure more

and more learners are succeeding in

acquiring higher order learning skills as

articulated in cross-national tests like

PISA, PIRLS and TIMSS"

The North-South or Rich-Poor Divide is the

socio-economic and political division that

exists between the wealthy developed

countries, known collectively as “the North,”

and the poorer developing countries, known

collectively as “the South.”

Brahm Fleisch is Professor of Education Policy

and Head of the Division of Educational

Leadership, Policy and Skills, The University

of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, who

believes that globalization is an opportunity to

learn from each other by exploring innovative

learning approaches bridging the North-South

divide. Fleisch’s work is featured in the new

book, Future Directions of Educational Change

(edited by Helen Janc Malone, Santiago Rincón-

Gallardo, and Kristin Kew; Routledge, 2018),

which brings together timely discussions on

social justice, professional capital, and systems

change from some of the leading global

scholars in the field of education.

“At least 250 million young people are failing to

learn the basics, including a large proportion

attending school.” — Brahm Fleisch

MBR: Brahm, please explain the inequality

that exists today between the Global South

and the Global North education systems?

How has globalization impacted this

situation?

BF: There are substantial differences in

the kinds of challenges currently faced by

education systems in the Global North and

South. The pressures in systems in the North

is to compete to ensure more and more

learners are succeeding in acquiring higher

order learning skills as articulated in crossnational

tests like PISA, PIRLS and TIMSS. At

the level of instructional reform, these systems

are finding ways to ensure that teachers are

engaged in ‘ambitious teaching’. In contrast,

low and lower middle income countries in the

Global South, having only recently achieved

universal school access, are confronted with

the problem that many children are in school

but not learning to read, write, and become

numerate. This is most clearly illustrated in

the recent UNESCO global monitoring report

that revealed that at least 250 million young

people are failing to learn the basics, including

a large proportion attending school.

The knowledge base in the

field of educational change

has largely been built on case

studies of ‘successful’ districts,

provinces or countries

MBR: What do you see as the key strategies/

drivers required to bring about positive

system change?

BF: The emerging evidence from the Global

South, as reflected in the experimental

research from India, Kenya, and South Africa,

is that combined and structured intervention

programs need to focus on early grade

learning, particularly in areas of literacy in

local languages and second language. These

initiatives are geared to change entrenched

instructional practices and thereby impact

positively on learning outcomes. In some cases,

at large-scale and otherwise, system-wide,

these interventions impact core elements

of instruction — they enhance teachers’

instructional knowledge and skills, upgrade the

educational materials available to learners and

change the typical learning tasks children do in

the classrooms.

“The emerging evidence from the Global South,

as reflected in the experimental research from

India, Kenya, and South Africa is that combined

and structured intervention programs need to

focus on early grade learning, particularly in

areas of literacy in local languages and second

language.” — Brahm Fleisch

MBR: What case studies would you point to

as examples of positive change?

BF: The chapter describes three sites in the

Global South that point to positive change.

This includes the work currently spearheaded

by Pratham, a large Indian not-for-profit

organisation, focused on high-quality, lowcost

and replicable interventions; the Kenyan

experience in the Primary Mathematics and

Reading Initiative (PRIMR) and national rollout

in Tusome in over 22,000 schools; and the

Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics

Initiatives (GPLMS) and the Early Grade Reading

Study (EGRS) in South Africa. Although each

system context is making a unique contribution

to the field of educational change (for example,

the use of basic assessment instruments and

principle of ‘teaching at the right level’ in India),

they share in common a commitment to the

use of rigorous research methods including

experimental studies.

MBR: What are your recommendations for

the stakeholders involved?

BF: Within the field of educational change, the

focus has been on developed school systems

in North America and Europe, with growing

interest in ‘high performing’ systems in east

and South East Asia. The knowledge base in

the field of educational change has largely

been built on case studies of ‘successful’

districts, provinces or countries. The chapter

highlights the emergence of a new knowledge

base from the Global South as represented in

the experimental research on system-wide

improvement of early grade learning. Unlike

the methodological orientation in the field in

the Global North, the research from the South

is increasingly building on the accumulation

of findings on robust models using large-scale

randomised trials. This experimental research

tradition is pointing key stakeholders —

international donors/funders, policy makers

and system-managers, to what works in

resource-constrained contexts with limited

professional capital. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

MBR

EDITOR’S

Note

Courtesy of CMRubinWorld

Profs Brahm Fleisch is currently a professor at

the Wits School of Education and head of the

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies center

44


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Malta Business Review

UNCTAD

UNITED NATIONS

CONFERENCE ON TRADE

AND DEVELOPMENT

UNITED STATES TAX ACT COULD

LEAD TO REPATRIATION OF $2

TRILLION OF OVERSEAS INVESTMENT

Reforms affect firms holding 50% of global

foreign direct investment

American President Donald Trump

T

he United States “Tax Cuts and

Jobs Act” will have significant

implications for global FDI patterns.

It will affect multinational enterprises

and foreign affiliates accounting for

almost 50% of global FDI stock, according

to a special issue of the UNCTAD Global

Investment Trends Monitor.

“The experience from the last tax break on

the repatriation of capital in 2005 would

indicate that multinationals could bring back

almost $2 trillion, leading to sharp reductions

in global FDI stocks,” said James Zhan, Director

of UNCTAD’s Investment Division.

The United States Government adopted the

tax reform bill in December. The changes to

the corporate tax regime will significantly

affect both investment into the United States

and the investment positions of US firms

abroad. Almost half of global investment

stock is either located in the United States or

owned by US multinationals.

The most significant change to the tax regime

for multinationals is the shift from a worldwide

system (taxing worldwide income) to a

territorial system (taxing only income earned

at home). Under the old regime, tax liabilities

on foreign income became payable only upon

repatriation of funds to the United States. As a

result, United States multinationals kept their

earnings outside their home country.

Measures in the tax reform include a one-off

tax on accumulated foreign earnings, freeing

the funds to be repatriated. Retained earnings

overseas of United States multinationals

amount to an estimated $3.2 trillion. The

2005 Homeland Investment Act, the last tax

break on funds repatriation, led firms to bring

home two thirds of their foreign retained

earnings. Funds available for repatriation are

today seven times larger than in 2005.

Ultimately, the impact on global investment

stocks will depend on the actions of a

relatively small number of very large

multinationals that, together, hold the bulk

of overseas cash. Five high-tech companies

alone (Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Alphabet and

Oracle) together hold more than $530 billion

in cash overseas – one quarter of the total

amount of liquid assets that are estimated to

be available for repatriation.

Repatriations could cause a large drop in the

outward FDI stock position of the United

States, from the current $6.4 trillion to

possibly as low as $4.5 trillion, with inverse

consequences for inward FDI stocks in other

countries. About one quarter of United States

outward stock of FDI is located in developing

countries. However, it is likely that a large part

of the stock located in developing countries is

invested in productive assets and therefore

not easily repatriated.

“The impact on investment in the developing

world remains to be seen. However, developing

countries need real investments in productive

assets, not cash parked overseas,” said UNCTAD

Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

The outcomes will also depend on reactions

in other countries. The reforms fit in a wider

trend of lower corporate income tax rates,

which could lead to increased global tax

competition.

The removal of the need to keep earnings

overseas could lead to structurally lower

retained earnings in foreign affiliates of US

multinationals. The freeing up of overseas cash

might also lead to a further increase in mergers

and acquisitions. Finally, stimulus measures for

investment in the United States included in the

bill could lead to higher inward investment in

the United States, and possibly to further reshoring

of manufacturing activity. MBR

Ref: http://unctad.org/en/

PublicationsLibrary/diaeia2018d1_en.pdf

To read the latest edition of the UNCTAD

Global Investment Trends Monitor, released

in January, please click http://unctad.org/en/

PublicationsLibrary/diaeia2018d1_en.pdf.

Credit: UNCTAD Communications and

Information Unit

46


HEALTHCARE

Malta Business Review

Update from Umana

As you might be aware, Umana Medical is

now starting its production of the T1 system

and we are looking forward to launch the

product in a few countries in the upcoming

months. Our team, advisors and supporters

have been crucial in the development of

this technology and the recent move to

our production and research facilities . The

company is also conducting a 2000 patient

clinical trial with the Maltese healthcare

system at Mater Dei Hospital in collaboration

with the University of Malta, with the aim

of evaluating the possibility of replacing the

standard ECG Holter system with the Umana

T1 Heart Monitor on a national scale. The T1

system is the brainchild of Dr Adrian Attard

Trevisan, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO, AND

Research Fellow at the Bedfordshire Centre

for Mental Health Research in association

with University of Cambridge www.bcmhrcu.org/content/members

Umana is also exhibiting at Europe’s leading

digital health conference organized by HIMMS

in partnership with the European Commission

which will be held in Barcelona between the

27th and 29th May. At this conference, Umana

will be officially launching the T1 system and

its offering for both Hospitals, Clinics and the

home based patient. We are looking forward

to meet prospective and current partners at

this major event. MBR

For further information please contact: +356

20145308 ; www.umanamedical.com

Vision Exchange Building, Level 2 |

Territorials Street, Mriehel | BKR3000, Malta

Credit:UMANA

KEEPING YOU CONNECTED

PHONE BOX SAN GWANN

Triq Tal-Balal, San Gwann, SGN 9016

Phone: (+356) 2138 1666

Fax: (356) 21371677

PHONE BOX SLIEMA

47, Bisazza Street, Sliema, SLM 1640

Phone: (+356) 2133 4466

www.phonebox.com.mt

www.maltabusinessreview.net

47


Malta Business Review

EU/EP

Size of Parliament to shrink after Brexit

The European Parliament should shrink

from 751 to 705 MEPs when the UK leaves

the EU, whilst leaving room for possible new

countries joining in the future.

• MEP numbers to be cut from 751 to 705

after Brexit

• 46 of the 73 UK seats freed up by Brexit

available for possible EU enlargement

• 27 UK seats to be shared out among 14

under-represented EU countries

Besides reducing Parliament’s size from 751

to 705 elected representatives, a proposed

re-distribution of seats, approved by the

Parliament as a whole on Wednesday, would

also place 46 of the 73 UK seats to be freed up

by Brexit in a reserve.

Some or all of the 46 seats in the

reserve could then be reallocated

to new countries joining the EU or

preserved to keep the institution

smaller.

New allocation of seats among

27 member states

The remaining 27 British seats

should be re-distributed among

the 14 EU countries that are

slightly under-represented, to

even out current inequalities in

their representation in the House,

say MEPs.

They also stress that this allocation

would apply only if the UK actually

leaves the EU. Otherwise the

current arrangements would stay

in place until further notice.

Pan-European electoral lists

A proposal by the Constitutional

Affairs Committee calling for a

number of MEPs to be elected

from an EU-wide electoral

constituency, was rejected by the

full House.

The proposal for a European

Council decision was approved on

Wednesday by 431 votes to 182

with 61 abstentions.

Quotes

Co-rapporteur Danuta Hübner

(EPP, PL) said: “In times when

Member State

democracy as a system is called into question,

it is our duty to re-ignite citizens’ passion for

democracy. I hope we can take a step in the

right direction by approving a distribution of

the European Parliament’s seats that is fair,

that follows objective principles, and that

respects the EU’s Treaty.”

Co-rapporteur Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D, PT)

said “This vote is an important step forward

for European democracy. The new allocation

of seats means that we will reduce the overall

number of MEPs from 751 to 705 while

ensuring no loss of seats for any member

state. Currently under-represented countries

will get 27 of the 73 UK seats available after

the UK leaves the EU. This will make the

European Parliament a fairer reflection of the

citizens it represents”.

Current

distribution of

seats

New Distribution

Difference

Germany 96 96 =

France 74 79 +5

United Kingdom 73 - -73

Italy 73 76 +3

Spain 54 59 +5

Poland 51 52 +1

Romania 32 33 +1

Netherlands 26 29 +3

Greece 21 21 =

Belgium 21 21 =

Portugal 21 21 =

Czech Republic 21 21 =

Hungary 21 21 =

Sweden 20 21 +1

Austria 18 19 +1

Bulgaria 17 17 =

Denmark 13 14 +1

Slovakia 13 14 +1

Finland 13 14 +1

Ireland 11 13 +2

Croatia 11 12 +1

Lithuania 11 11 =

Slovenia 8 8 =

Latvia 8 8 =

Estonia 6 7 +1

Cyprus 6 6 =

Luxembourg 6 6 =

Malta 6 6 =

TOTAL 751 705

Roberta Metsola (EPP) said: "The change

in the distribution of seats in the European

Parliament after Brexit is one of the critical

issues we face in the coming months. My

position in these debates is to defend the

interests of Malta and Gozo and to ensure

that they are protected. One of the ideas

proposed is the so-called transnational list

that will surely affect disproportionately

small member states. This list weakens the

direct link citizens to their representatives

and strengthen populist sentiments as well

as the criticism that the EU is rresponsabli. I

am against transnational list. I think we should

focus to eliminate the democratic deficit in

which citizens have the best possible access

to their representatives. "

Next steps

Now that this legislative initiative

has been approved by the full

House, it will be put to the

European Council (EU heads

of state or government) for a

unanimous decision, and then

returned to Parliament for a final

yes/no vote. The composition

of the European Parliament for

2019-2024 is one of the topics

expected to be debated by EU

leaders during the informal EU

summit later in February.

Background

According to Article 14(2) of

the Treaty on European Union,

the number of Members of the

European Parliament cannot

exceed 750, plus the President.

It also requires representation to

be “degressively proportional”,

with a minimum threshold of 6

members per member state, and

states that no member state is to

be allocated more than 96 seats.

In simplified terms, “degressive

proportionality” should meet two

requirements:

1. no smaller state shall receive

more seats than a larger one,

and

2. the population/seats ratio

shall increase as population

increases, before rounding to

whole numbers. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

48


Malta Business Review

DBRS Upgrades Republic of Malta to

A (high), Changes Trend to Stable

DBRS Ratings Limited has upgraded the

Republic of Malta’s Long-Term Foreign

and Local Currency – Issuer Ratings to A

(high) from A and upgraded its Short-Term

Foreign and Local Currency – Issuer Ratings

to R-1 (middle) from R-1 (low). The trend

on all ratings has been changed to Stable

from Positive.

The rating upgrade reflects DBRS’s assessment

that the trajectory of Malta’s public debt

has improved considerably. Since DBRS’s

latest review, the projection of the general

government debt ratio has been materially

revised downwards due to more favourable

growth prospects and stronger primary

balances in coming years. The debt-to-GDP

ratio is now forecast to decrease to 41.2%

of GDP by 2022, almost seven percentage

points less than previously anticipated. In

2017, the government is expected to have

exceeded its fiscal objective and reduced its

debt ratio thanks to stronger-than-expected

revenues. Improvements in the “Debt

and Liquidity”, “Economic Structure and

Performance”, and “Fiscal Management and

Policy” sections of our analysis were the key

factors for the rating upgrade.

The rating is supported by Malta’s Eurozone

membership. This ensures reliable access

to European markets, fosters strong and

credible macroeconomic policies and makes

available financial facilities from European

institutions. Malta’s strong external position

and low reliance on external financing help

mitigate the vulnerabilities linked to its small

and open economy. The public-sector debt’s

long average maturity, primarily denominated

in euros, and high domestic ownership help

shield the debt ratio from interest, currency

or financial markets contagion risks. Also,

households’ strong financial position enhances

private consumption resiliency.

Malta nonetheless faces some challenges.

Malta’s contingent liabilities, stemming

from its large state-owned enterprises and

concentrated financial sector, remain a

source of vulnerability. Malta’s small and open

Continued on pg 53

economy with some sectors highly dependent

on foreign demand, such as tourism, exposes

the country to external developments.

Pressures from rising age-related costs, if

unaddressed, could pose a concern for the

pension and healthcare system.

THE MALTESE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO

POWER AHEAD

The Maltese economy continues to surprise

on the upside and remains one of the top

performers in the euro area. Recent economic

performance has been remarkable, with 6.4%

average GDP growth during 2013-2017 tripling

the 2.1% average rate in 2004-2012. While

remote gaming was a determining factor, other

sectors such as tourism which is a major source

of income and employment in Malta and

financial and business services also contributed

to the outperformance. A highly elastic foreign

labour supply and a rising share of less capitalintensive

service sectors, have prevented

very high growth rates leading to overheating

pressures in the economy. DBRS expects GDP

to continue to expand at an annual average

rate of 5% between 2018 and 2020, and to

gradually converge to its long-term growth

potential of just above 3%. Increasing labour

force participation and addressing emerging

infrastructure bottlenecks are expected to

help Malta’s GDP per capita, at EUR 22,724, to

continue to converge to EU average levels of

EUR 29,148 both in 2016.

Malta’s small and open economy, the smallest

in the Euro area, is vulnerable to external

oscillations. However, a more diversified

economic base and Malta’s low reliance on

external financing help mitigate these risks.

In DBRS’s view, downside risks to the outlook

largely stem from a downturn in Malta’s

main export markets and policy uncertainties

related to the post-Brexit arrangement and US

policymaking. In the longer term, corporate tax

reforms at the EU level and in the US, could

diminish to some degree the attractiveness

of several jurisdictions, including Malta, for

multinational companies. Also, the gaming

industry in Malta could be impacted by

regulatory changes at the EU level. On the

domestic side, higher wage increases could put

upside pressure on GDP growth, while delays

in construction projects or increasing physical

bottlenecks could constrain growth.

GROWTH CONTINUES TO SUPPORT PUBLIC

FINANCES

Malta has significantly improved its fiscal

management and performance. The adoption

of the 2014 Fiscal Responsibility Act has been

crucial in strengthening its fiscal framework

and ongoing spending reviews are helping to

improve efficiency in the public sector. Since

2013, Malta has experienced a significant

improvement in its fiscal performance driven

by: (1) fiscal consolidation efforts, (2) markedly

higher GDP growth, (3) lower funding costs,

(4) introduction of the citizenship scheme (the

International Investor Programme). The general

government deficit averaged 1.1% during 2013-

2016 compared to 4.0% during 2001-2012.

The structural balance turned positive in 2016.

Proceeds from the IIP played an important role

in the improvement of the structural deficit,

contributing 0.5%, 1.7%, and 2.1% of GDP in

2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively.

Related to a buoyant economy and higher thanexpected-revenues

from the citizenship scheme,

the general government is expected to have overachieved

its fiscal targets in 2017. The Central

Bank of Malta’s (CBM) latest estimates, show the

general government balance at 2.1% of GDP in

2017, well above the budget target of 0.8%. In

2018-2020, the government aims to maintain

an average headline surplus of 0.5% of GDP

and a structural surplus, supported by prudent

macroeconomic forecasts endorsed by Malta

Fiscal Advisory Council. Given the volatility and

the difficulty in predicting the IIP proceeds, DBRS

considers appropriate the authorities’ intention

to ensure compliance with the government’s

Medium Term Objective (MTO), net of IIP.

CONSERVATIVE CORE BANKS AND STRONG

HOUSEHOLDS LIMIT FINANCIAL STABILITY

RISKS

While the banking system is large relative to

the size of the economy, 440.7% of GDP in Q2

2017, only the core and non-core domestic

banks, with assets 217.8% and 22.2% of GDP,

respectively are tightly linked to the Maltese

economy. The so-called international banks,

with assets of 200.7% of GDP have limited

or no linkages to the domestic economy,

therefore, potential spillovers to the rest of the

system are contained. Core domestic banks’

loan portfolio is concentrated in real estaterelated

activities. However, their conservative

business model, reliant on retail deposits for

funding, mitigates against risks. Core domestic

banks’ healthy regulatory Tier 1 capital ratio of

13.4% in Q2 2017, high levels of liquid assets,

www.maltabusinessreview.net

49


Malta Business Review

ONLINE SHOPPING

Parliament votes to end barriers to cross-border online shopping

By Isabel Teixeira

• Buyers will be able to shop online

in the EU without being blocked or

automatically re-routed

• Traders will have to treat cross-border

shoppers in the same way as local ones,

granting them access to the same prices

• 63% of websites assessed in a survey

do not let shoppers buy from another

EU country

Online buyers will have wider and easier crossborder

access to products, hotel bookings, car

rentals, music festivals or leisure park tickets

in the EU.

The new rules will ban the “geo-blocking”

of buyers browsing websites in another EU

country, so as to enable them to choose from

which website they buy goods or services,

without being blocked or automatically

re-routed to another website due to their

nationality, place of residence or even their

temporary location.

This new EU law on geoblocking

is an important

step towards an even more

competitive and integrated

Digital Single Market, for both

consumers and traders. It also

represents another milestone

in the fight against the

discrimination of consumers

based on their nationality

or place of residence, which

should never be taking place in

our united Europe.

Traders will have to treat online shoppers

from another EU country in the same way as

local ones, i.e. grant them access to the same

prices or sales conditions, when they:

• buy goods (e.g. household appliances,

electronics, clothes) which are delivered

to a member state to which the trader

offers delivery in his general conditions,

or are collected at a location agreed by

both parties in an EU country in which

the trader offers such option (traders

would not have to deliver in all EU

countries, but buyers should have the

option to pick up the package in a place

agreed with the trader),

• receive electronically supplied services

not protected by copyright, such as cloud

services, firewalls, data warehousing,

website hosting, or

• buy a service which is supplied in the

premises of the trader or in a physical

location where the trader operates, e.g.

hotel stays, sports events, car rentals,

music festivals or leisure park tickets

Treating shoppers differently based on the

place of issuance of a credit or debit card will

also be forbidden. While traders remain free

to accept whatever payment means they

want, they may not discriminate within a

specific payment brand based on nationality.

Copyrighted content excluded for now

Digital copyrighted content, such as e-books,

downloadable music or online games, will

not be covered by the new rules for the time

being. However, the EU Commission must

assess within two years after the entry into

force of the regulation whether the ban on

geo-blocking should be widened to include

such content, as well as audio-visual and

transport services, which are also currently

excluded.

Quote

Róża Thun (EPP, PL), rapporteur, said: "This

new EU law on geo-blocking is an important

step towards an even more competitive and

integrated Digital Single Market, for both

consumers and traders. It also represents

another milestone in the fight against the

discrimination of consumers based on their

nationality or place of residence, which

should never be taking place in our united

Europe. We have proven that the European

Union can deliver concrete results for the

citizens all over Europe, bringing positive

changes in their daily lives."

The new rules were approved by 557 votes to

89, with 33 abstentions.

Next steps

The agreement on the geo-blocking

regulation stills needs to be formally approved

by Council. The new rules will be applicable

nine months from the day of its publication in

the EU Official Journal, i.e. before the end of

this year (2018).

Background

63% of websites do not let shoppers buy from

another EU country, according to findings of

a “mystery shopping” study carried out by

the Commission. For tangible goods, geoblocking

was highest for electrical household

appliances (86%), while for services it was for

online reservations of offline leisure sector,

such as sports event tickets (40%).

EU consumers show growing demand for

cross-border online shopping. In the last ten

years the share of Europeans buying online

has almost doubled.

Presented as part of the Digital Single Market,

the regulation to end unjustified geo-blocking

was included in the e-commerce package,

together with legislation on cross-border

parcel delivery services, to be voted in plenary

in March 2018, and a law to strengthen

enforcement of consumers' rights, which

was already approved by Parliament in

November 2017. MBR

Courtesy: EU/EP IMCO Press Unit

50


EC GDP FORECAST

Malta Business Review

EU REVISES ITS GROWTH FORECAST FOR MALTA

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna

welcomes the European Commission’s 2018

Winter Forecast wherein Malta’s growth rates

have been revised upwards for the years 2018

and 2019.

Minister Scicluna stated that, “this upward

revision on behalf of the EU is a confirmation

that Malta’s high rates of economic growth

are here to stay.”

The European Commission acknowledges

the strong growth recorded by the Maltese

economy last year, adding that growth

continued to surprise positively, with growing

services exports continuing to be the main

drivers of growth. The report further notes

that growing exports are also serving to boost

the current account surplus.

In 2018 and 2019, the European Commission

expects private consumption to become the

main driver of growth on the back of strong

employment growth, improved consumer

confidence and growing disposable income.

Investment is forecast to recover, led by the

residential construction sector. On external

trade, the report expects exports to continue

rising in line with the growing demand by

Malta’s main trading partners.

The report notes that inflation was lower than

the euro area average last year as relatively

moderate increases in regulated fuel prices

contained overall inflation. It further expects

inflation to increase modestly but remain below

the 2% threshold in the coming years. MBR

Credit: Ministry for Finance

ICE 2018 - ASTONISHING DAYS FOR BTOBET AT S1/320

BTOBET dancers- ice2018

BTOBET's combination of technology, trust,

flexibility and human ability - metaphorically

performed by the professional acroduo

dancers - left operators and bookmakers

totally impressed.

The multinational iGaming and Sports

betting technology provider BtoBet

successfully concluded its second day

exhibiting at ICE Totally Gaming 2018, where

operators and bookmakers from Europe,

Africa and Latin America came to discover its

comprehensive suite of products including

a full sportsbook platform called Neuron

Sports for bookmakers and its iGaming

platform called Neuron Gaming.

BtoBet’s stand this year shows a fullbody

humanoid, with real human eyes,

representing how BtoBet transforms

technological skills into human ability,

how functionality becomes competence,

helpfulness becomes benevolence, and

reliability becomes integrity.

At ICE, BtoBet is highlighting how its

technology is the perfect combination of

computer science and human ability, that

ensures clients enjoy a substantial brand

impact on the market.

To illustrate the technological transformation

that BtoBet offers, the professional acroduo

dancers performed at the stand and around

the pavilions, expressing the perfect metaphor

for what BtoBet can do for its partners in the

sports betting and iGaming industry.

Commenting on the first day at the show in

London, BtoBet’s CEO Kostandina Zafirovska

stated:

“Neuron Sports and Neuron Gaming, both

deploy a flexible technology, ensuring that

our clients can change with the circumstances

and evolve with our product.

BtoBet’s chairman Alessandro Fried also

highlighted: “BtoBet is a partner, not a supplier,

and as partners we provide constant support

to our clients; our support department is

working closely with our client’s operations

team – as colleagues – helping them during

the everyday operational job, identifying

their needs and working side by side. All

bookmakers and operators that wish to see

their brand evolve and become unique in the

market will have the chance to meet us at ICE

2018, stand S1-320 till 8 February.” MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

ABOUT BTOBET

BtoBet is a multinational company and is part of a group

with 20 years of experience in software development

in IT, finance, telecommunication, e-commerce and

banking, strongly committed to technology and widely

investing in technology research and development. The

experience gained in these advanced environments,

allows BtoBet to be visionary in the iGaming and

Sports betting industry with a deep understanding of

the requirements of the market, catching changing

trends and anticipating bookmakers’ and operators’

needs. BtoBet is a true partner in technology, offering a

standalone platform and services for the iGaming and

Sports Betting industry. It counts on a very talented,

continuously trained development team and day to

day management support to clients. BtoBet allows

licensees to be unique in the market, by giving them

the opportunity to completely personalise their offers

for Sports betting and iGaming business, online mobile

and retail. BtoBet has technical branches with large

ever-growing teams of developers in Skopje, Ohrid,

Bitola, Belgrade, Nish, Tirana, and Rome. Malta hosts

the commercial and marketing centre. Visit our site on:

www.btobet.com

www.maltabusinessreview.net

51


Malta Business Review

GAMING

MALTCO LOTTERIES CEO Mr Vasileios Kasiotakis and Operations Director Mr Georgios Kakouras with the ATG Head of

International Mr Lars Nemeth during the ICE Exhibition 2018, at Intralot’s Pavilion

Maltco Lotteries’ world-class partnership with

Sweden’s ATG remains exclusive for Malta.

Maltco Lotteries and the Swedish Horse

Racing Totalisator Board (ATG) have

broadened their exclusive partnership

signing an agreement in London during

ICE Totally Gaming 2018, which

ensures that Maltco Lotteries has sole

access to top ATG competitions and

races for Maltese betting enthusiasts

via their U*BET Horse Racing platform.

The extended cooperation agreement

enables Maltco Lotteries to satisfy

players’ interest in ATG events following

the single largest purse won by a Maltco

player in Malta, a sum in excess of

€2.1M on the last day of 2017 played

on the V75 jackpot organised by ATG.

ATG’s objective since 1974 has been to create

funding for trotting and thoroughbred racing

established by the Swedish state, with the aim

of guaranteeing long-term financial stability for

trotting and thoroughbred racing. Through this

partnership Malta has received major interest

from Swedish horse-racing breeders, trainers

and professionals resulting in a boost to Malta's

racing stock from Sweden as well as the input

of professional trainers into the local market.

ATG's success on the betting market together

with partners including Maltco Lotteries, have

made a major contribution to the health of

horse racing sports. ATG and Maltco Lotteries

partnership is the marriage of two leading

gaming companies with a strong focus on

a meaningful leisure activity by using topquality

trotting and thoroughbred racing as

the partnership's foundation, applying an

innovative and responsible approach to make

betting on horse-racing exciting, entertaining

and accessible.

The partnership between the two

companies started with V Bets in November

2007, which were followed by the Single

Leg races within the next year. This,

enhanced Maltco offerings of live sportsbetting

as well as an expanded games

portfolio populated by tens of thousands of

players requires best-of-breed international

content and live feeds that can be enjoyed

by all Maltese enthusiasts in all 230 Maltco

agents. The refreshed ATG agreement is

an important element in Maltco’s sportsbetting

offering, regulated by the Malta

Gaming Authority.

Maltco Lotteries’ CEO; Vasileios Kasiotakis

said, "Maltco is delighted to continue offering,

exclusively ATG's combination of live sport

and live gaming. Especially since the U*BET

Horse Racing V BETS which allows the player

to predict the winning horses in a number

of races seem to become more and more

popular amongst the Maltese players.“ MBR

For further information email info@maltco.

net, visit the Maltco website www.maltco.

com.mt or call 2388 3000.

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

EDITOR’S

Note

MALTCO Lotteries offers a comprehensive portfolio

of entertaining games of chance and skill based on

Responsible Gaming Principles that makes a major

contribution to the social and economic development

of the Maltese Islands. The company is one of

the major contributors towards the Responsible

Gaming Fund administered by the Government

of Malta. MALTCO operates a comprehensive

training programme for agents and their assistants

in recognition of their channel partnership. The

company supports many good causes and sponsors

several local sports.

52


IOD OPEN HOUSE UK

Malta Business Review

IoD Chairman James Satariano announces that Prime

Minister Joseph Muscat will be a keynote speaker at the

IoD Open House 2018 in London.

IoD Chairman James Satariano

Institute of Directors Malta (IoD) Chairman James J. Satariano has

announced that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will be a leading

keynote on the main stage during the opening morning of IoD

Open House 2018 on March 12 to explore a European response

to Brexit, and in his capacity as the political leader of one of the 27

member states poised to vote on the final deal.

The speech has been facilitated by

longstanding IoD Malta member Joseph

Zammit Tabona, the Prime Minister's Special

Envoy for Investment Promotion and Chair of

the Malta-UK Business Promotion Taskforce.

Mr. Zammit Tabona was formerly Malta's

High Commissioner to the UK, amongst many

distinguished posts.

IoD Open House 2018 is an annual convention

taking place on12-14 March 2018 for the first

time ever at the IoD's historic home at 116

Pall Mall, London. IoD UK is host to a threeday

business festival, allowing directors to

network and immerse in all matters facing

leadership today. Through keynotes, debates,

panel discussions and interactive workshops,

IoD Open House 2018 explores truly global

business, the importance of connectedness

and opportunities surrounding diversity

and inclusion.

Other speakers include Baroness Karren Brady,

CBE, Vice-Chairman of West Ham United

Football Club and recognised as the first

woman in English football. She was Managing

Director of Birmingham City from 1993 until

2009 and, during that time, turned the club’s

fortunes around; Mike Flewitt, CEO McLaren

Automotive, Gemma Godfrey founder and CEO

of Moola, Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of

the Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson,

Lindsay Herbert, Digital Transformation Leader

at IBM, Josh Graff, VP EMEA at LinkedIn and

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Chairman of The

Open Data Institute, amongst a raft of top

international speakers lined-up for the 3 days

of the event.

Mr. Satariano said, "I am delighted that Joseph

Zammit Tabona was able to facilitate the Prime

Minister's participation as a keynote speaker

and I look forward immensely to hearing that

speech, Brexit is one of the most important

European issues in many years. IoD Malta has

held Brexit events since 2016. As our economy

grows and becomes more international this

is exactly the kind of quality international

business exposure our country needs." MBR

To find out more about becoming an IoD member

kindly contact Honorary Secretary James Arrigo

on (+356) 21 247 400 or email: jamesarrigo@

marinamilling.com

Credit: Ogilvy PR

Continued from pg 49

and still good levels of profitability despite low

interest rate levels support the banks’ ability

to weather adversity. Legacy non-performing

loans amounting to 4.6% of total loans in

Q2 2017, concentrated in the real estate

development sector, have declined due to

the buoyant economy, the stronger housing

market, and tighter regulatory requirements.

Strong demand, driven by rising disposable

income and net migration, is fuelling housing

price inflation in Malta. Although residential

property prices continue to be roughly in line

with fundamentals, a continuation of this trend

could lead to significant imbalances. However,

there are several factors that may lessen the

risks emanating from the housing market

such as: (1) high levels of home ownership, (2)

households’ high financial wealth and liquid

assets, and (3) banks’ conservative lending

practices and prudent haircuts on collateral

values. Moreover, the government has eased

some of the constraints on the housing supply

side to alleviate the pressures.

RATING COMMITTEE SUMMARY

The DBRS Sovereign Scorecard generates

a result in the AA (high) – AA (low) range.

Additional considerations factoring into

the Rating Committee decision included:

(1) heightened risks to growth and fiscal

Ratings

Date Issued

2/23/18

2/23/18

2/23/18

2/23/18

Debt Rated

Long-Term Foreign Currency - Issuer Rating

Long-Term Local Currency - Issuer Rating

Short-Term Foreign Currency - Issuer Rating

Short-Term Local Currency - Issuer Rating

performance due to the small size of

the Maltese economy, and (2) potential

risks stemming from regulatory or policy

harmonisation changes. The main points of

the Rating Committee discussion included

the fiscal performance, fiscal framework,

government guarantees, debt trajectory,

political environment, economic performance

and structure, and balance of risks to the

economic and fiscal outlook.

KEY INDICATORS

Fiscal Balance (% GDP): 1.1 (2016); 2.1 (2017F); 1.6

(2018F)

Gross Debt (% GDP): 57.7 (2016); 53.6 (2017F); 49.1

(2018F)

Nominal GDP (EUR billions): 9.9 (2016); 10.8 (2017F);

11.5 (2018F)

GDP per Capita (EUR): 22,700 (2016); 24,537 (2017F);

26,369 (2018F)

Real GDP growth (%): 5.5 (2016); 7.1 (2017F); 6.2

(2018F)

Consumer Price Inflation (%): 0.9 (2016); 1.3 (2017F);

1.6 (2018F)

Domestic Credit (% GDP): 269.2 (2016); 262.5 (Sept-

2017)

Current Account (% GDP): 6.6 (2016); 9.6 (2017F);

Action

Upgraded

Upgraded

Upgraded

Upgraded

Rating

A (high)

A (high)

R-1 (middle)

R-1 (middle)

Trend

Stb

Stb

Stb

Stb

Issued

EU

EU

EU

EU

9.8 (2018F)

International Investment Position (% GDP): 46.5

(2016); 63.1 (Sept-2017)

Gross External Debt (% GDP): 872.4 (2016); 843.5

(Sept-2017)

Governance Indicator (percentile rank): 77.4 (2016)

Human Development Index: 0.86 (2015) MBR

For further information on DBRS historical default

rates published by the European Securities and

Markets Authority (“ESMA”) in a central repository,

see: http://cerep.esma.europa.eu/cerep-web/statistics/

defaults.xhtml.

Ratings assigned by DBRS Ratings Limited are subject

to EU and US regulations only.

Lead Analyst: Javier Rouillet, Vice President, Global

Sovereign Ratings

Rating Committee Chair: Chair: Thomas R. Torgerson,

Co-Head of Sovereign Ratings, Global Sovereign Ratings

Initial Rating Date: 3 April 2015

Last Rating Date: 25 August 2017

Information regarding DBRS ratings, including

definitions, policies and methodologies, is available on

www.dbrs.com.

Creditline: European Operations, DBRS Ratings

Limited - http://www.dbrs.com

www.maltabusinessreview.net

53


Malta Business Review

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

AFTER THE STORM COMES THE CALM

Application of seamless resin membrane with

fibreglass netting

Finished roof

The heavy rainstorm

has finally stopped. Or

maybe a long winter has

finally ended.

While good weather

may seem like a relief,

the potential for water

damage may just be

the beginning. Storm

water runoff can quickly

overwhelm natural and

manmade systems,

leading to flooding and

property damage. The

most common damage

from a storm is to

roofing and retaining

walls, which often

results in water leakage

that leads to interior

water damage and

possible mould.

By Antoine Bonello

For homes that are connected, or semidetached,

damages on the roof or within

the walls can also cross property lines. In a

natural environment, storm water runoff is

absorbed by soil and vegetation, evaporates

into the atmosphere or flows into bodies of

water. Urban development has dramatically

changed this natural system. Rainfall is

nowadays directed rapidly by roofs and roads

into pipes and channels leading into wells or

other water storage facilities.

Storms are one of the most common causes

of roofing leaks. Water can enter your home

from various areas and you need to be

vigilant before a minor leak gets bigger. Many

damages are the result of poor DIY works or

the use of low quality materials that do not

withstand climate change and structural

movements.

The help of qualified experts in these

situations is of utmost importance. Only

a qualified roofer can provide you with a

tailor made waterproofing system that suits

your needs. The steps you take today to

prepare your home and terraces with proper

waterproofing and appropriate drainage

system can help you avoid time-consuming

and costly repairs when the bad weather

does blow through.

The good news is that there are products

and techniques that can withstand UV rays,

high winds, sea salt corrosion and water

stagnation and can save you the ordeal or

constant maintenance and vigilance.

How Can You Protect Your Home from

Storm Water?

Most of the water intake from retaining

walls are simply related to the use of nonelastic

and non UV resistant paint that

becomes rigid and starts to flake and peels

off when subjected to Sun rays and building

movements. An easy way to avoid these

types of problems is by using a certified UV

Resistant and Elastic waterproof paint. These

certifications must be clearly shown on the

cans and are usually found only on CE certified

products. If in doubt consult the product data

sheet that nowadays are easily available on

the internet. The application is important as

the product itself, we tend to believe that two

coats of product is sufficient to withstand our

Mediterranean climate and in many cases

the primer is left out. For optimal results

the application of a consolidating primer is

required to strengthen the sand and cement

plastering, together with a minimum of three

coats of product for an average consumption

of 500g-1kg per square metre.

Roofs are no exception and before we apply

any form of protection we have to put into

the equation many factors such as its size,

the location (by the sea or inland) and its use

(BBQ and leisure).

Salt, wind and hail can easily damage plastic/

acrylic based membranes, while traditional

carpet bitumen membranes and cement

based membranes are too rigid and fail very

easily when subject to structural movements.

Resins membranes on the other hand are

proving to be the future; they are designed

to meet our harsh hot summer and sudden

climate change. Their application is simply by

roller, brush or sprayed and can be applied

easily in corners and obstructed areas. The final

result is completely seamless, elastic, resistant

to heavy traffic, can withstand direct bonding

of tiles if desired and guaranteed to last for

years due to their resistance to UV rays. They

are light in weight compared to other materials

and can become stronger when they are

54


BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

Malta Business Review

Structural damage because on

inapropriate waterproofing

retaining walls treated with a UV

resistant elastic resin that waterproofs

and stops heat intake inside buildings

reinforced with fibreglass net type matt 225.

Resin membranes also help to reduce heat

intake inside buildings due to their thermal

ability to reflect natural radiation.

We all know that delicate works that involve

waterproofing must be carried out by

professionals who are able to identify the

problems and address them with the best

possible materials and solutions possible. The

problem is how to identify the good installers

from bad ones. The answer is simple, always

make sure that the roofers are members of

the Malta Professional Waterproofing and

Resin Flooring Association. This guarantees

good work, traceability and trustworthiness.

Serious roofers are in possession of the

Association’s Installers Card for the peace

of mind of their customers. Always ask

the roofer if he is a member of the said

association and to show you the Installers

card prior to any works. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

Sealing of cracks with elastic

Polymer and Fibreglass

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 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

www.maltabusinessreview.net

55


Malta Business Review

MBR HUMOUR

Life Really Does Happen In Numbers...

Four men were discussing coincidences at a

bar. The first man said: "My wife was reading a

Tale of Two Cities and she gave birth to twins."

"That’s funny", the second man remarked.

"My wife was reading The Three Musketeers

and she gave birth to triplets"

“My goodness,” the third man chimed in.

“The same happened to me. My wife had

quintuplets after reading The Five People You

Meet in Heaven.”

The fourth man shouted, now looking quite

ill, "Good God, I have to rush home!" When

asked what the problem was, he exclaimed,

"When I left the house, my wife was reading

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves!!" MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

MEPS DEMAND NEW LAW

TO DEFEND JOURNALISTS

Not long after Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was

killed by a car bomb, the bank that she had accused of being at the

center of a global money laundering network involving the Azeri

government and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s wife dropped its

numerous lawsuits against her — allegations all involved deny.

Vice President Frans Timmermans

The same bank successfully threatened

Maltese newspapers with libel action if they

didn’t delete certain articles on the grounds

they were based on lies and fabrications.

The use of lawsuits to shut down the work of

journalists is common in the U.S. but relatively

new to Europe. SLAPP lawsuits are intended to

intimidate and silence investigative journalists

and independent media by burdening them

with exorbitant legal expenses until they

abandon their stance as a result of the threat

of financially crippling lawsuits abroad. They

also noted that The Shift News received

similar threats from Henley and Partners, the

concessionaires of Malta’s cash-for-passport

scheme. Henley and Partners threatened The

Shift News with legal action in the US and

the UK in an attempt to get an article on the

company removed

In a letter to Commission First Vice President

Frans Timmermans, a cross-party group of

MEPs are demanding that the Commission

propose a new directive to give journalists the

ability to ask for such lawsuits to be dismissed,

as well as create a fund to help media firms

resist such legal action. “This practice is

abusive, poses a threat to media freedom

and has no place in the European Union,” the

MEPs said. MBR

Creditline: POLITICO; Morgen Europa

56


DLT REGULATION

Malta Business Review

Malta – a leader in DLT Regulation, implementing its vision of being a global

leader in innovative economy

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services,

Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri

launched a public consultation on the

establishment of the Malta Digital Innovation

Authority, the framework for the Certification

of Distributed Ledger Technology Platforms and

Related Service Providers.

Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri explained

that the aim of the proposed framework is to

offer legal certainty to a space that is currently

unregulated, and touches on a number of issues,

including types of authorisations, legal personality

and the applicability of law to smart contracts.

This legal framework will provide an environment

conducive to the development of this technology

and help position Malta as a natural destination

for businesses that operate in this space.

The Parliamentary Secretary explained that the

framework conceptualises the creation of a

new Digital Innovation Authority, the voluntary

registration of Technology Service Providers, and

the certification of DLT Platforms and related

smart contracts as technology arrangements.

The framework also includes another new regime

under the MFSA for the approval of ICOs and the

regulation of certain service providers dealing

with VCs, including brokers, exchanges, wallet

providers, asset managers, investment advisors

and market makers.

“This document is a result of extensive

consultation and informal dialogues with

interested parties, both locally and internationally.

The new authority will have amongst its roles

that of promoting innovation, and fostering

the creation of a successful ecosystem”, said

Parliamentary Secretary Schembri, while

explaining that the consultation document takes

a three-step approach.

The first step is that of setting up the Malta Digital

Innovation Authority, followed by a bill which

sets out the legal regime for the registration of

Technology Service Providers and the certification

of Technology Arrangements. Thirdly, a bill

that sets out the framework for ICOs and the

regulatory regime on to the provision of certain

services in relation to VCs is then drawn up. The

intermediaries subject to the VC Bill include

brokers, exchanges, wallet providers, asset

managers, investment advisors and market

makers dealing with VCs (to be issued by MFSA).

Parliamentary Secretary Schembri said that

the document put forward for consultation is

the base for the creation of a new economic

sector that will be a great contribution to Malta’s

economic growth. A new industry, potentially

as large as the iGaming industry, and capable of

creating thousands of new jobs, will compliment

and reinforce other sectors and act as a catalyst

for the creation or development of new economic

DOI - Jason Borg

DOI - Jason Borg

sectors such as supply chain management and

Fintech.

“This is the first framework of its kind in the world

that will make Malta a leader in DLT regulation”,

said the Parliamentary Secretary. MBR

The consultation period ends on 9th March 2018

and one may access the document at: http://

opm.gov.mt/en/Documents/FSDEI%20-%20

DLT%20Regulation%20Document.pdf

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

LAUNCH OF NEW SCHOLARSHIP FOR THE FINANCIAL SERVICE SECTOR

The Ministry for Education and Employment launches a new scholarship scheme

specifically aimed at the financial service sector.

With respect to financial services, Malta ranks

within the top 50 countries in the World

Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Report

2015-2016. In fact, Malta ranks 25th in the

world for its availability of financial services,

23rd for affordability of financial services

and 33rd for financing through the local

equity market. Despite being the smallest EU

Member State, Malta distinguishes itself in

this sector.

This sector is facing difficulties to fill in specific

vacancies, both at top and lower levels, mainly

maximum funding

Non-level rated

€200 per study programme.

courses on the MQF

MQF L3

MQF L4

MQF L5

award

€50 per ECTS/ECVET up to a

maximum of €1,500

€60 per ECTS/ECVET up to a

maximum of € 2,000

€70 per ECTS/ECVET up to a

maximum of €3,000

due to professional, technical and practical

skill gaps. The scholarship scheme aims to

address this through specialised training in

various areas of the financial services.

An agreement between the Malta Financial

Services Authority and the Ministry for

Education and Employment sees that for a

period of two consecutive years the lump

sum of fifty thousand euro per annum out

of the annual profit generated by MFSA, is to

be used to provide short-term scholarships

at advanced level aiming to address the

qualification

€2,500 (minimum of 60 ECTS/ECVET)

€5,500 (minimum of 120 ECTS/ECVET)

€6,500 (minimum of 120 ECTS/ECVET)

existing skill gaps in Malta’s financial services

sector.

The sectors offered include; banking,

financial institutions, insurance, insurance

intermediaries, investment services, trust

and trust management. Within these

sectors, training is necessary in particular

skills: compliance skills, fund administration

skills, general regulatory requirements,

technical skills in accounting, knowledge

in legal aspects, communications skills,

banking operations, analytical skills, IT

skills, investment management skills, risk

management skills, and actuarial skills.

Applicants shall start their studies within 12

months of the closing date of this call. MBR

An information meeting will be held on the

28th February at 5:15pm at the Ministry for

Education and Employment. Applications will be

accepted between 14th Feb 2018 and the 14th

March 2018 on (https://edumalta.gov.mt/en/

financial-services-scholarships-scheme).

credit: Ministry for Education and Employment

www.maltabusinessreview.net

57


Malta Business Review

NEWSMAKERS

Credit: MFIN

FINANCE MINISTER EDWARD SCICLUNA

ADDRESSES THE IMF/WORLD BANK

CONSTITUENCY MEETING IN LISBON

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna joined

other finance ministers and Central Bank

governors from Italy, Greece, Portugal, San

Marino, Albania, and East Timor in a discussion

within the joint International Monetary Fund

(IMF) and World Bank Constituency meeting

in Lisbon.

The meeting, hosted by the Portuguese Finance

Ministry, addressed issues of shared common

concern including the euro, governance issues

at the IMF, issues related to climate change, the

macroeconomic effect of weather shocks, and

strategic issues relating to the World Bank.

The meeting was addressed by IMF Executive

Director Alessandro Leipold and World Bank

Executive Director Patrizio Pagano, and special

presentations were given by Vice-President

and Treasurer of the World Bank Arunma Oteh

and IMF Senior Economist Mico Mrkaic.

Professor Scicluna was accompanied by Central

Bank of Malta Governor Dr Mario Vella.

“During the meeting, we had the chance to

discuss current pressing issues being faced by

the countries within our constituency and how

we should respond to them. I am grateful to the

Portuguese Finance Minister, Mario Centeno,

for hosting this important and useful meeting”,

said Finance Minister Edward Scicluna. MBR

Credit: MFIN

“MALTA’S HISTORY WITHIN THE EURO PROVIDES

A GOOD CASE STUDY OF HOW STRUCTURAL

REFORMS CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN

SUCCESS AND FAILURE WITHIN THE SINGLE

CURRENCY” – MINISTER CARDONA

Minister for the Economy, Investment and

Small Businesses Chris Cardona addressed

a business breakfast organised by the Malta

Institute of Management entitled ‘Ten Years

in the Eurozone’.

Addressing the conference, Minister Cardona

focused on the key issues facing the Eurozone

at this time, stating that, “despite global

headwinds, the EU’s economy is recovering

and all euro area countries are growing above

trend whilst unemployment is declining.”

Minister Cardona said that ten years after

Malta joined the Eurozone, the economy

has been drastically transformed from a net

importer to a net exporter of capital abroad.

Therefore, Malta’s economy is increasingly

financed by more stable FDI flows rather than

short-term borrowing, defying trends in the

rest of the Eurozone. These factors are a direct

result of the solid groundwork laid out by the

Maltese Government through its policies.

The Minister reiterated that despite these

positive outcomes, the global environment

is continuously changing and therefore this is

not the time for complacency. MBR

Credit: Ministry for the economy, investment and

small businesses

DOI- Ruben Piscopo

DOI- Ruben Piscopo

TROJAN HORSE WAS A UNICORN (THU)

ANNOUNCES THEY WILL BE RELOCATING THEIR

MAIN EVENT TO MALTA IN 2018.

Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi and

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial

Services, Digital Economy and Innovation

Silvio Schembri welcome the announcement

that THU will be hosting their Main Event in

Valletta, Malta in September of this year.

THU hosts one of the largest events within 3D,

VFX, Games and Concept Art Industries and

offers a unique, once in a lifetime experience

for creatives, entrepreneurs, and artists to

network, learn and create in this six day festival.

On the announcement Minister Konrad Mizzi

said ‘‘We are pleased THU has chosen Malta

for its international events. We have worked

with THU for the past months to ensure the

event will be a success.’’

Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri

commented, ‘’We welcome the news that

Malta is the new home for THU - an event

of international repute in the digital creative

sector. From our initial meeting with the

THU founders in September 2017 and the

continued efforts led by my Ministry, we are

now seeing this initiative come to life. THU

will not only be a vital part of Malta's digital

creative ecosystem but also adds impetus to

our vision in continuing to enhance the digital

creative and gaming industries in its broadest

spectrum while putting innovation, education

and attracting talent at the forefront of our

efforts."

Attracting this special event to our shores is

an integral part of Government’s drive to turn

Malta into a global creative hub. MBR

Credit: Ministry for tourism and the

Parliamentary secretariat for financial services,

digital economy and innovation

THU Event - Vr

MINISTER FOR FINANCE EDWARD SCICLUNA

ADDRESSES MEMBERS OF THE INSTITUTE OF

FINANCIAL SERVICES PRACTITIONERS

“Malta’s competitiveness in having a welltrained

workforce and expertise in place

and efficient institutions and businesses, is

resulting in the success we are registering in

the financial services sector”, said Finance

Minister Edward Scicluna while addressing

members of the Institute of Financial Services

Practitioners at an Efficiency and Innovation

Conference, organised by the Institute of

Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP).

Minister Scicluna remarked that the recent

OECD International Tax Cooperation Report

showed Malta to be among the world’s

most tax-compliant countries. The report

based its assessment on the absence of

harmful tax practices in relation to base

erosion in general, a strong commitment

in relation to tax cooperation, and on the

automatic exchange of information. Professor

Scicluna said that Malta has commenced

exchanging information in line with the

Common Reporting Standard and has an

activated information exchange network in

relation to country-by-country reporting for

multinational enterprises. Moreover, Malta

is ranked as being largely compliant when it

comes to the exchange of information on

request.

The Minister for Finance said that one should

first conclude the Banking Union and the

Capital Markets Union before embarking on

other ambitious roadmaps. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

58


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