MBR ISSUE 44

martin.vella

COVER STORY INTERVIEW

Making Investments Easy

Interview with Sergey Vasin, Chief

Operating Officer of Blackmoon, a

Blockchain FinTech company p.06

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

Driving Change

Exclusive Interview with Marlene Mizzi,

MEP p.12

ONE-ON-ONE

Adding Value to Business

MBR Exclusive with Sue Duke, global

head of public policy, LinkedIn p.18

GAMING INTERVIEW

Ahead of the Curve

Exclusive interview with CEO and Founder

of Betconstruct Vigen Badalyan p.36

MALTA BUSINESS REVIEW

ISSUE 44 | 2018

Newspaper Post


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Together we thrive


your perfect atmosphere

Malta Business Review

CONTENTS

Issue 44

COVER STORY INTERVIEW

06 MAKING INVESTMENTS EASY

Interview with Sergey Vasin, Chief Operating Officer of

Blackmoon, a Blockchain FinTech company

6

30

34

AN AI COMMUNITY

ROUNDTABLE REPORT | USING AI TO SERVE

CITIZENS: A ROADMAP FOR FRANCE

An ongoing conversation about artificial intelligence

and the key governance and innovation issues facing

policymakers, scientists, innovators, industries and

academics, powered by our founding partner Accenture.

SPECIAL REPORT

HSBC BANK MALTA SUSTAINS DIVIDEND,

SHIFTS FOCUS TO GROWTH

Annual Bank Report presented by HSBC

TALKING POINT

10 DON’T BE A BOSS BE A LEADER

As the saying goes, people don't leave bad jobs, they leave

bad bosses- so tells us Brigette Hyacinth

12

18

12

18

22

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

DRIVING CHANGE

Exclusive Interview with Marlene Mizzi, MEP, with the

group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and

Democrats in the European Parliament

ONE-ON-ONE

ADDING VALUE TO BUSINESS

MBR Exclusive with Sue Duke, global head of public policy,

LinkedIn

EUROPE START-UP STUDY

EUROPEAN START-UP STUDY: MALTA'S

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GREW BY 89%

FROM 2016-2017

Yvonne Bernhardt provides our readers with an interesting

study on the construction industry

MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVES

26 THE MOST IMPORTANT WAY TO INCREASE

YOUR POTENTIAL

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra

Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Centre

for Wellbeing, world-renowned pioneer in integrative

medicine and personal transformation, with his first

contribution to MBR

OUR GOLDEN PARTNERS

40

46

46

26

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

36 GAMING INTERVIEW

Exclusive interview with CEO and Founder of

Betconstruct Vigen Badalyan

FEATURES & STORIES

VENTURE CAPITAL FIRMS, INCUBATORS OF

DISRUPTIVE IDEAS

Ninad Tipnis Ninad, an architect from the Academy

of Architecture, Mumbai and the founder of JTCPL

Designs gives us his distinguished insights

TOP TRENDS IN CORPORATE BANKING:

2018–2019 EDITION

Patricia Hines brings us CELENT’s latest edition of top

trends in corporate banking

RUSSIA’S BLOODY WORLD CUP

Minky Worden bravely details us with an account on

Russia’s many rights abuses during the FIFA World

Cup

36

52

WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE SELFISH?

Josh Davies describes a minority of people, known as

“Machiavellians,” who pay no regard to these social

norms in society

4


COVER STORY

Making Investments Easy

Interview with Sergey Vasin, Chief

Operating Officer of Blackmoon, a

Blockchain FinTech company p.06

Newspaper Post

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

Driving Change

Exclusive Interview with Marlene Mizzi,

MEP p.12

ONE-ON-ONE

Adding Value to Business

MBR Exclusive with Sue Duke, global

head of public policy, LinkedIn p.18

GAMING INTERVIEW

Ahead of the Curve

Exclusive interview with CEO and Founder

of Betconstruct Vigen Badalyan p.36

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

Yvonne Bernhardt; Antoine Bonello; George

Carol; Deepak Chopra; Jean Paul Demajo;

Patricia Hines; Brigette Hyacinth; Ninad Tipnis;

Minky Wordin

SPECIAL THANKS

DOI; European Parliament Information Office in

Malta; European Parliament, Directorate- General

for Communication/Press Office; European

Research Council; FIMBank; HSBC; LinkedIn;

Edwards Lowell & Co.; MORGEN EUROPA; OPR;

POLITICO SPRL; Politico Global Policy Lab; PTV

Group; Taylor & Francis Group.

PRINT PRODUCTION

Velprint

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Once you start ignoring your enemies they will

be disappointed because they will no longer

have the power to make you angry or miserable.”

Emanuel Vella, Ex-Snr. Inspector Police Corps,

Malta

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:

MALTA BUSINESS REVIEW

ISSUE 44 | 2018

E-mail: martin@mbrpublications.net

Twitter: @MBRPublications

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaltaBusinessReview

EDITORIAL

Malta Business Review

Power is an important quality that a leader must possess.

Power or the way the leaders behave emanate from the

principles on which organizations are crafted. Hence, the

power that is exercised is the other side of the coin. Due to

the system’s tenets, individuals are influenced and have some

kind of “shape” in their performance and leadership style. It is

through this kind of power that individuals impose influence

over others. However, some tend to misuse this power in

various ways.

In the past we have been taught that leadership is position, so

as leaders we go for position, but when we are in the esteemed position, we realize that it does

not follow that everyone follows us. We do not lead through structure, through influence.

Positional leaders only influence positional followers, whereas, real leaders influence

everyone. From this one can understand that having a position does not mean influencing

others. Position does not make the leader, but the leader make the position if he influences

others willingly and enthusiastically. For an effective leadership, power is influencing people

to commit to the vision and mission of an organization. It is not having position of certain

level and exerting force over others. It is precisely this factor which is lacking in the Opposition

leadership at the moment, so if a leader is not performing up to the required standard, the

team will obviously not give out their best as well; for a leader to be genuinely competent,

he needs to demonstrate both professional and leadership competencies, having the ability

or skill to listen, understand, evaluate, monitor, interact, accept, tolerate, guide, decide

impartially, act rationally, and adapt to change.

Humility is one of the key effective leadership qualities. Though leaders have the maximum

responsibility, and though they are the ones who work harder than anyone else in the group,

a leader needs to be down-to-earth. He should not think of himself as someone special; he

should understand that he is just a leader and not the owner of his people. Only if the leader

is humble, people will approach him. It is the duty of a leader to motivate his people, and only

if a leader is humble will he be able to guide and support his group members. A leader must

define his strategies, be able to provide a structure, have a heart and soul to accomplish an

objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.

In general, leadership is about relationships. Above all, it is about working with and guiding

people in new directions; it is about integrity and trust; achieving the most positive interaction

between leaders and followers.

The current situation shows that without effective leadership and good governance at all

levels, it is arguably virtually impossible for the Opposition to achieve and to sustain effective

administration, to achieve goals, to sustain quality and deliver first-rate services, including

being capable to answer any journalist’s questions in the true spirit of democracy and

freedom of expression, and not act condescendingly, or to the contrary.

The other important quality of effective leadership is openness. In exercising leadership,

openness fosters integrity and dedication of the leader to achieve the targeted goal. By

dedication, it is to mean that the leader spends all of his time to accomplish the targeted

objective being a model for others. Through openness, there is free flow of information

among leaders and followers, including the public at large. Because, the leaders are there to

serve the public at large.

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

MAKING INVESTMENTS EASY

By Martin Vella

Sergey Vasin

Exclusive interview with Sergey Vasin, Chief Operating Officer of

Blackmoon, a Blockchain FinTech company, and the creators of

the only operational blockchain investment platform, who are

expanding into Malta.

MBR: I want to kick off first

with Blockchain Fintech, since

you have just announced

your expansion into Malta.

What are the big trends for

you in this space and what is

significant about your choice

to position your growth

strategies in Malta?

SV: We selected Malta after rigorous research of

the proposed regulations in a number of European

countries. The Maltese regulator really impressed

us with their proactive approach. We had a very

positive preliminary meeting, where the MFSA

representatives asked very deep questions about

our business model and value propositions. It went

extremely well and we decided to choose Malta as a

go-to jurisdiction.

Blackmoon understands that the blockchain

technology could bring its promise of enhanced

liquidity, transparency and price discovery only in

close collaboration with the regulators like the MFSA.

I believe that the promise of blockchain technology is

the biggest trend in the financial space. It is the first

time in history that the financial system could switch

from competitive mode to the sharing of common

resources. Blockchain provides the technology, as a

shared database, to scale and distribute the required

standardizations for industry associations. This will

enable financial institutions to become inclusive and

offer their clients products issued by other sellers.

MBR: Can you tell us about

your role and what is

Blackmoon?

SV: Blackmoon’s mission is to make innovative

investments easily tradable for all.

MBR: I have been with

Blackmoon since 2014. As

COO, I’m responsible for the

operational activity of the

company with a focus on

developing new products and

the platform functionality.

These products and platform

functionalities allow investors

to access investment

opportunities that were

previously inaccessible: from

real estate lending hedge

funds to algorithmic trading

in cryptocurrencies.

SV: Our platform unlocks liquidity for these

investments. The tradability in the secondary

market improves price discovery, transparency and

mitigates the overall risk in the financial system.

With compliance at our heart, we strive to offer

our services to a wider range of investors. For

asset managers, Blackmoon is a turnkey solution

to increase their assets under management with a

reliable distribution channel like our platform.

MBR: What are the major

features and services

provided by Blackmoon?

SV: There are three pillars of Blackmoon as a fintech

group: Issuer, Technology Provider and Sales Channel.

As an Issuer, we issue our own investment products.

As a Technological Provider, we apply blockchain

technology and provide tokenization infrastructure

for third-party issuers. Finally, as a Sales Channel,

we distribute products to verified investors and

provide secondary liquidity on issued instruments.

Our strategy is to develop an end-to-end platform

for innovative financial instruments that makes

investments easy, accessible and liquid to all.

MBR: Can you describe what

is the technology behind

Blackmoon?

"I believe that the

promise of blockchain

technology is the biggest

trend in the financial

space

SV: Blackmoon as a technology provider uses the

blockchain technology to manage tokenization

infrastructure for the issuers. This infrastructure

enables value transfer between participants while

keeping the ecosystem open. That means that a Token

issued in one place can travel across whitelisted sales

channels. The technology is easy to use, customizable

and failure-resistant due to the distributed ledger.

The lifecycle of the token includes creation,

distributed custody, and clearing, verification, trade,

and redemption. This technological layer creates

unparalleled opportunities to get access to a wider

user base via multiple Brokers or other sales channels.

Blackmoon provides a turn-key solution as it includes

not only technological but a legal framework for that.

MBR: With the MiFid II

license, what promise to the

investors to build a legally

compliant framework for

its services does Blackmoon

fulfil?

SV: We understand the importance of regulation.

That’s why we already apply strict KYC and AML

procedures. The Category 3 Investment Services

Licence issued by the Malta Financial Services

Authority (MFSA) that we applied for (and made

significant progress with) will enable Blackmoon as

a distribution channel to offer our products to the

broader audience of the investors.

MBR: How does Blackmoon

intend to add further plans

to strengthen its regulatory

stance?

SV: Blackmoon’s further regulatory milestones are

entering the MFSA Virtual Financial Assets (VFA)

sandbox and applying for a licence as soon as the

regulation is enacted. On the other side of the ocean

the Blackmoon group works on the REG D and REG

S offerings to enter the US market targeting both

investors and issuers respectively.

6


COVER STORY INTERVIEW

Malta Business Review

This diligent approach and proactive cooperation

with the regulatory bodies is the only way to build a

scalable and reliable company.

MBR: What can you tell our

readers about the release of

Blackmoon’s Prime Meridian

Capital token (BMxPMR),

announced last week, how

does it work and how can we

invest in it?

SV: The release of this token is an important milestone

for us. With this seventh asset on our platform,

we provide investors with the opportunity to get

access to the performance of the leading US hedge

fund managers with $700 million in assets under

management. To get access to this opportunity,

investors should pass KYC. This includes not only the

identity check but an appropriateness test as well.

Once verified, a potential investor gets access to

the dedicated interface with the information on the

strategy and historical performance.

MBR: What is the market

size of the Blockchain Fintech

industry and how do you

intend to capitalise on this

market with the launch of

your new offices in Malta?

SV: Since our solutions cover the needs of the entire

asset management industry, Blackmoon is in a multitrillion

dollar market, as Asset Managers benefit from

not having to deal with multiple investors and most

importantly, from the secondary market liquidity

provided by our platform. With our launch in Malta,

we enable investors to onboard with Blackmoon to

diversify their portfolios with innovative investment

products featuring various risk and return profiles.

MBR: How safe is Blackmoon,

would you like to talk about

your legal and security

measures?

SV: Our current procedures are already based on

ESMA and MiFID requirements and we are looking

forward to providing users with a fully licensed entry

point. We perform in-house customer onboarding

with PEP and Sanctions screening and perform KYC

and AML in cooperation with some of the world’s

most credible risk intelligence data providers.

Furthermore, we do assessments on all our thirdparty

suppliers to ensure their credibility and

reliability.

From a security standpoint, we use two-factor

authentication and prompt our clients to do so, cold

storages and multi-signature wallets, a unique pool

of addresses and partner with the leading provider in

cyber security, to name some measures.

MBR: What is next on

the Blackmoon roadmap

and where do you see the

business in two years in

Malta?

SV: The next big milestones on our roadmap are

the public launch of the secondary market and the

first completed equity offering (also known as STO)

on the platform. In the meantime, Blackmoon will

keep on adding new investment opportunities to the

platform. In the next several years I see Blackmoon

becoming the go-to solution for investors to get

access to the innovative investment opportunities.

Without getting into details, we can reveal that

our strategy will be segregated into retail and

institutional. For the retail segment, we plan to be a

more support/assistant role for our clients nurturing

the lasting relationship. Institutional sales have a

longer cycle. We have already set up this division and

have made significant progress. Blackmoon is open

for cooperation with new and existing companies to

make the promise of the Blockchain to investment

world a reality.

Editor’s Note:

Mr. Sergey Vasin is an investment and operations

professional with SEVEN years experience in startups,

venture capital, and investment banking. As COO

at Blackmoon, he is responsible for the operational

activity of the company with a focus on developing

new products and managing internal processes.As

the investment director at Flint Capital, Mr. Vasin

was responsible for the execution of the deals and

operational supervision of the portfolio companies

with a focus on the fintech sector. Prior to that, he

had a 3-year experience in investment banking. Mr.

Vasin is a CFA charter holder. He graduated from the

Higher School of Economics and holds a MS degree

in Quantitative Economics

Risk warning:

Due to the fact that cryptocurrency markets are

unregulated and decentralized, the provision of our

services is not governed by any specific regulatory

framework or investor protection rules. Investment

in cryptocurrencies carries high degree of risk and

volatility and is not suitable for every investor;

therefore, you should not risk the capital you cannot

afford to lose. Please consult an independent

professional financial or legal advisor to ensure the

product meets your objectives before you decide

to invest. Under no circumstances shall Blackmoon

have any liability to any person or entity for (a) any

loss or damage in whole or part caused by, resulting

from, or relating to any transactions related to

the asset tokens or (b) any direct, indirect, special,

consequential or incidental damages whatsoever.

Please consider our Risk Disclosure and our Terms

of Use before using our products. Social media

posts about Blackmoon platform are generated

by members of Blackmoon community and do not

contain advice, recommendations or solicitation on

behalf of Blackmoon. You are not permitted to use,

alter or reproduce or distribute any of Blackmoon

images and/or content, including but not limited to

text, graphics, video, audio, software code, interface

design or logos without our prior written consent.

MBR

All rights reserved © - Blackmoon Financial Group

2018

Credits: BLACKMOON FINANCIAL GROUP 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

7


Malta Business Review

TRANSPORT

More electric cars on EU roads by 2030

by Baptiste Chatain

• 40% of new cars and vans to be zero- or

low-emission vehicles by 2030

• Carmakers to cut their fleet-wide CO2

emissions by 45%

• Towards real driving emissions testing for

CO2 emissions


CO2 emissions from new cars should be cut by

45% by 2030 and market uptake of zero - and

low- emission vehicles should accelerate, said

committee MEPs on Monday.

Environment Committee MEPs proposed setting a

higher target for reducing EU fleet-wide emissions

for new cars by 2030: 45% (compared to the EU

Commission’s 30%) with an intermediate target

of 20% by 2025. The draft legislation also sets

similar targets for new vans.

Manufacturers whose average CO2 emissions

exceed these targets will pay a premium to the

EU budget, to be used, inter alia, for up-skilling

workers affected by changes in the automotive

sector, MEPs agreed.

Carmakers will also have to ensure that zero- and

low- emission vehicles - ZLEVs - (which emit less

than 50g co2/km) have a 40% market share of

sales of new cars and vans by 2030, and 20% by

2025.

Real-driving emissions

Within two years, the EU Commission should

table plans for a real-world CO2 emissions

test using a portable device, like that recently

introduced for NOx. CO2 emissions must

meanwhile be measured on the basis of data

from the cars’ fuel consumption meters. The realdriving

emissions test must be up and running

from 2023, say MEPs.

Social impact of decarbonisation

MEPs acknowledge that a socially-acceptable and

just transition towards zero-emission mobility

requires changes throughout the automotive

value chain, with possible negative social impacts.

The EU should therefore promote skill formation

and reallocation of workers in the sector,

particularly in regions and communities most

affected by the transition. MEPs also advocate

support for European battery manufacturing.

Labelling

By end 2019, the EU Commission will have to

propose legislation to provide consumers with

accurate and comparable information on the fuel

consumption, CO2 and pollutant emissions of

new cars.

Lifecycle emissions

From 2025, carmakers will have to report the

lifecycle CO2 emissions of new cars put on the

market, using a common methodology.

Quote

Miriam Dalli (S&D, MT), rapporteur, said: “The

decisive vote in the Environment Committee

represents a commitment to start tackling the

fight against climate change seriously.

Some cities across the European Union are

already banning polluting cars but policymakers

need to incentivise putting cleaner vehicles on

the road. Since charging infrastructure is a precondition

for the successful deployment of ZLEVs,

and investment needs to be increased from

today’s low levels, different support instruments

at both Union and Member State level need

to effectively work together, mobilising and

incentivising significant public and private

investment.

This is an opportunity to inject new life into the

EU’s manufacturing sector, investing in innovation

and boosting economic growth. With training,

re-skilling and up-skilling of workers, the EU can

provide its citizens with sustainable quality jobs. ”

Next steps

The full House will vote on the report during its

1-4 October plenary session in Strasbourg.

Background

Transport is the only major sector in the EU where

greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, say

MEPs. In order to meet the commitments made at

COP21 in 2015, the decarbonisation of the entire

transport sector needs to be accelerated, on the

path towards zero emissions by mid-century.

At the same time, the global automotive sector

is changing rapidly, in particular in electrified

powertrains. If European carmakers engage late

in the necessary energy transition, they risk losing

their leading role, say MEPs. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

Electric Car

8


MALTA

PENSION SOLUTIONS

PENSIONS

GLOBAL

PRESENCE

CAREER

OPPORTUNITIES

STM are world leaders in the

field of pensions and offer

a range of bespoke International

Retirement Solutions. As

pioneers in the field of QROPS,

we are working to open up

pension transfers in a number

of EU countries.

At STM our primary goal is

to secure client assets and

preserve client wealth. Because

we have offices in multiple

jurisdictions covering a diverse

range of products, we are able

to offer global solutions to an

international market.

STM are an equal opportunities

employer and are always looking

for high-calibre, ambitious

individuals. With offices in multiple

jurisdictions the opportunity

to progress and diversify is

only limited by the talent and

aspirations of the individual.

STM MALTA TRUST AND COMPANY MANAGEMENT LIMITED IS PART OF STM GROUP PLC, A MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL

FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP LISTED ON THE ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT MARKET OF THE LONDON STOCK

EXCHANGE. FOR OVER 25 YEARS STM GROUP PLC HAS PROVIDED INDEPENDENT FIDUCIARY SERVICES AND

ASSET STRUCTURING TO HIGH-NET-WORTH INDIVIDUALS AND CORPORATE INSTITUTIONS.

FOR A CONFIDENTIAL DISCUSSION ABOUT OUR

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES PLEASE CONTACT US TODAY:

+356 21 333 210

info@stmmalta.com

STM GROUP COMPANIES ARE REGULATED WHERE REQUIRED IN THEIR HOST

JURISDICTIONS. STM MALTA TRUST AND COMPANY MANAGEMENT LIMITED

IS AUTHORISED BY THE MALTA FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY TO ACT

AS TRUSTEE AND REGISTERED TO ACT AS ADMINISTRATOR OF RETIREMENT

SCHEMES. PENSION SCHEMES OFFERED IN MALTA ARE REGULATED BY THE

MALTA FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY.

UNITED KINGDOM - GIBRALTAR - MALTA - JERSEY - SPAIN


Malta Business Review

LEADERSHIP

DON'T BE A BOSS - BE A LEADER

By Brigette Hyacinth

I have worked for many bosses but few leaders. Working

under a bad boss can make a good job even in the best

company, unbearable. As the saying goes, people don't

leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.

Brigette Hyacinth

Author: The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Here are the four types of bad bosses that

make employees want to quit companies:

1) “Marionette” - In an age of uncertainty,

many managers are yielding to this trap of

just playing it safe to preserve their position

and privileges. They just follow orders. They

are mere puppets and exude no loyalty to

employees. It's demotivating working for a

manager who does not stand up for their

team. If you make a mistake they quickly turn

into judge , jury and executioner. It's hard to

feel passion for a job when you experience

this.

2) “King Kong” - Some bosses when they reach

to the top immediately forget where they

came from. These type of managers possess

a superiority complex and like to draw the

distinction between management and staff.

It is dreadful to work under a manager who

is more worried about pushing their weight

around than building relationships. Great

leaders don’t talk down to their employees.

They treat everyone with respect.

3) “Superman” - They think the organization

revolves around them. Some start behaving

like they are the owners of the company. This

trap includes making all of the decisions solo,

ignoring feedback you don't like and taking the

credit." Letting your ego get ahead of you and

thinking you know it all is a sure path to failure.

Showing some humility and vulnerability

allows you to strengthen relations with your

team.

4) “Taskmaster” - Their sole focus is on the

bottom-line. They use the carrot and stick

approach to motivation which clearly doesn't

work. Continuously drilling employees is

a sure way make them unhappy at work.

Micromanagement suffocates, demoralizes

and kills creativity. These managers get so

caught up in the bottom line that they forget

to treat people with dignity and respect. Very

few bosses show empathy towards their

team members and this helps improve overall

morale and performance.

Then there is the LEADER. A leader coaches,

supports and inspires. He/she puts the interests

of their team before their own. Leaders develop

safe atmospheres where risk-taking and

feedback is welcomed. They take care of their

team. The focus is to help everyone around

them succeed. They push their team to grow

and become their very best. A leader never

leaves any of his team members to hang out dry.

When a leader is at the helm, employees feel

valued and appreciated. The corporate world

is littered with managers but lacks leaders.

Employees long for managers who are leaders.

Lauralee emailed me this: "I worked for a

company in Brussels a few years ago when

my brother had cancer. In that year, I had ten

weeks leave visiting him and then, when he

died, attending his funeral). When I asked my

manager, Eric how I could repay the company

for all these extra holidays, he simply replied

"they weren't holidays, don't worry about it". To

this day, Eric was the best manager I ever had... I

would walk over hot coals for him!"

Bad bosses cost the world economy an

estimated $360 billion in productivity. Employee

engagement is at an all-time low (32%). Usually

when an employee has an issue with their

company, it has to do with something regarding

their manager. Companies need to take a closer

look at their managers and their leadership style.

"An employee's

motivation is a direct

result of the sum of

interactions with his or

her manager

Employee engagement is more of a manager

issue. 75% of American workers say their boss

is the worst and most stressful part of their

jobs. How bad are they? Bad enough for 65%

of respondents to say they’d rather have a new

boss over a pay raise. Can a manager become a

leader? Yes, it's possible. Sometimes it just takes

being human and developing your people skills.

Technical skills alone do not keep employees

motivated. In this Artificial Intelligence economy,

the new smart is not determined by IQ but by

EQ. It's about listening, relating, collaborating

and connecting with your team. This takes

humility, authenticity and empathy.

Studies have shown that leading with vision,

inspiration, and purpose, produces better

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All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

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Malta Business Review

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

DRIVING CHANGE

By Martin Vella

Marlene Mizzi

Exclusive Interview with Marlene Mizzi, MEP, with the group

of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the

European Parliament and first Maltese woman to be elected

to the European Parliament

ST: You will not contest again

the European Parliament

elections, scheduled for

next year. What can you tell

us about life as an MEP?

MM: I am basically a technocrat not a

politician! After entering the realm of politics

ten years ago, five of which spent as an MEP,

I feel it’s time to hang up my political boots!

However, hand on heart I can say that I gave

my elected post my all. I am satisfied that

during my term of office I was entrusted with

very important reports on issues which made

real difference to the citizens – like the report

on roaming charges, European standards,

the single digital gateway, Brexit and many

others. I have won awards, including the

MEP of the Year Award for my work in IMCO.

I represented the European Parliament

in numerous missions and conferences ,

including in the role of head of delegation.

In the end my greatest satisfaction is that I

did not let down the thousands of people

who entrusted me with their vote and their

voice in the European Parliament. I believe

I have served my country well. But, I am

neither attached of the seat of power, nor to

the handsome MEP financial package and so

I decided to move on to other adventures –

and to leave when at the peak of my political

career. However, I am still an MEP until June

2019 and I intend to continue working to the

very last day of my term.

It has been a big change in lifestyle for me

since I became an MEP for the first time in

2013. Life as a Member of the European

Parliament is what one makes of it. For me

of it was a complete change of lifestyle living

and working in different countries. But it is a

wonderful adventure... It involves travelling to

and from Brussels and Strasbourg, and other

countries on various missions. A typical week

starts by getting there on Monday, plan the

week ahead, go through reports, agendas and

answering emails. My days in Brussels and

Strasbourg are hectic - report presentations,

plenaries, shadow and committee meetings.

When I’m in Malta I engage in meetings with

individual constituents, local organizations,

national politicians, businesses organizations,

trade unions, local councils and so on. While

many would assume that travelling so much

may be glamorous, it quickly becomes

stressful. Even so, I still love what I do and I

knew what I was getting myself into... so I am

only explaining, not complaining!

MBR: How do you account

for your ten year success to

date, and what are the

main highlights of these ten

years?

MM: These ten years have been a busy, hectic

but exciting adventure for me. I entered into

politics because I wanted to be part of the

change the country desperately needed at

the time. So I accepted Dr Muscat’s invitation

to join the PL team to contest the 2009 MEP

elections – when I was not elected for a

whisker! The biggest highlight during these

years is, therefore, being elected as an MEP

replacing Prof. Edward Scicluna in the 2013

by-elections. I am proud to be part of Malta’s

political history as Malta's first woman to be

elected to the European Parliament.

As an MEP I am member of various

committees – Internal Market and Consumer

protection (IMCO), Vice President of the

Petitions Committee(PETI ) , and substitute

member in the Committee of culture,

education and sport (CULT). I am also a

member of various Parliamentary Intergroups

including Animal Welfare, LGTBQ, Children’s

Rights and others.

One of the main highlights was my role within

IMCO where I was part of the negotiating

team which was instrumental in the signing of

the legislation that abolished roaming charges

across Europe. This was a historic step for

EU citizens since it meant that anyone with

a mobile phone line based in any of the 28

European Member States can travel between

EU countries and not pay extra for roaming.

This year we also managed to reach an

agreement with the EU Council for a new legal

framework for electronic communications,

where I was the S&D negotiator of the IMCO

on the new EU telecoms rules. One of the

main proposals will reduce the price of phone

calls made from one EU member state to

another one. It is on occasions like these

that I realise how our work as MEPs has a

real impact on improving the daily lives of all

Europeans.

On a personal level, it was an honour for me

to win the prestigious MEP of the Year Award

for my role as key negotiator on several

Digital Singel Market dossiers, including on

the European Standards of the 21 st Century

report.

This was the second time that I was nominated

for the MEP of the Year Award, after that in

2017 I was one of the finalists for my work on

animal welfare issues.In the same year I was

also named Eurogroup for Animals’ Person of

the Year for standing strong for the protection

and promotion of animal health and habitat

across Europe.

More than anything I hope that my

achievements and work will be of benefit

and make a difference to the citizens in their

everyday life.

"The Single Digital

Gateway offers more

user- friendly services

and millions of

Europeans citizens will

benefit from it.

12


INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

Malta Business Review

MBR: What do you expect

the EU to do about Malta’s

immigration concerns?

MM: Respecting the integrity and rights of

migrants is a must and xenophobic comments

and behaviour are never acceptable. As an

MEP I have been following this issue closely

since 2013 and I was the rapporteur on the

report on the situation in the Mediterranean

and the need for a holistic EU approach on

migration. I always sustained that the exodus

of thousands of peoples from Africa into

Europe is a symptom not the cause.

For a good number of years I have been

stressing that to solve the migration problem

we need action and no more useless

words and catchy phrases in the European

Parliament. Unfortunately, I have to say that

concrete action is still lacking.

The migration phenomenon will not be solved

as long as its cause of origin is tackled from

its roots – mainly, the conflicts and instability

in the countries where migrants come from.

A solution has to be found for the main

causes which are forcing thousands of people

fleeing their country. If not, we should expect

the situation to get worse and not better.I

strongly believe that the best way to address

migration from African countries is to make

sure that the people are given all necessary

toolsand opportunities in their country of

origin. We have to give people a future in their

own country.

In April I was part of the European delegation

which held discussions with parliamentarians

from ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific)

countries. One of the main issues was

immigration and the funds, running into

millions of Euros per year, which the EU

contributes to these countries. During these

meetings I insisted that we must ensure that

"The main objective of

my work as a shadows

rapporteur was to

address the current

gaps, so that citizens will

finally have the same

power as the European

Parliament.

the development funds are being used to

create investment and to create jobs. Only

then we can be satisfied that the millions

given to ACP countries are being used for the

benefit of all the citizens rather than for the

few.

The EU must understand that while

protecting our borders is a priority, no EU

country can or should be left alone to address

huge migratory pressures. We need stronger

and realistic internal and external policies

involving EU countries and institutions.

MBR: Recently, the

European Parliament’s

InternalMarketCommittee

(IMCO) approved with an

overwhelming majority

the Mizzi legislative report

on creating the first ever

European single digital

gateway that will make

it easier for citizens and

businesses to do their

paperwork online and to

find the right administrative

information they need

wherever they are in the

EU. How significant was this

milestone for you, as well as

for the general public?

MM: I am proud to have successfully lead the

tripartite discussions concerning the Digital

Single Gateway, between the three European

institutions to make this important legislation

possible. After lengthy discussions, my Report

on the Single Digital Gateway got the final

approval from Member States and from all

the political groups in the IMCO Committee.

This legislation is an important milestone

towards digitalization of public services in

Europe.

All existing administrative information of

all Member States will now be combined

into a single search engine. This will make

it easier for citizens and businesses to

find information, procedures, forms and

assistance for people moving to, studying or

doing business in another EU country. It will

also provide access to key administrative

procedures online, such as requesting a birth

certificate, car registration, European Health

Card, applications for study loans and grants,

and permits for business activity amongst

many others.

The Single Digital Gateway would eliminate

the need to search in different sites for crossborder

information, filing endless forms, and

hours waiting at long queues in public offices

and the frustration of wasting long hours online,

at times without getting the required

information. This legislation will make a

positive difference to our citizens, and this is

Marlene Mizzi

www.maltabusinessreview.net

13


Malta Business Review

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

what gives me the greatest satisfaction in my

work as a legislator and MEP.

MBR: Why do you consider

this as a key step and how

far are we from making the

digital single market a reality?

MM: Digitalisation is the present and the

future. The internet has great potential and

offers unlimited opportunities for the future

development of the single market. Obviously

there are also a number of challenges

that might affect consumers, workers and

traditional business providers and suppliers.

potential?

MM: The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI),

which was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty,

aims at increasing citizen’s role within the lawmaking

process of the EU by enabling citizens

to influence legislation. Regretfully, the

instrument has failed short on expectations

and after continuous callings from citizens and

the European Parliament, the Commission

published a new revised rules in September

2017.

It was indeed very satisfying to see the positive

results we got on the new rules for the revision

as the European Parliament and the Council

to propose new initiatives and policies at

European level. For me the Citizens’ Initiative

is a direct appeal from the people to the EU

to directly shape the political future in Europe.

MBR: You served also as Vice

Chair, as well as a member on

the Committee on Economic

and Monetary Affairs. What

are your experiences from

these positions?

MM: I was Vice President and member of

Marlene Mizzi at the EU Parliment

The approval of the Report is a key step

towards changing the way we think, the way

we work and the way we live. The Single Digital

Gateway offers more user- friendly services

and millions of Europeans citizens will benefit

from it – especially those who have worked

or studied, or intend to do so , in other EU

member states. The Single Digital Gateway will

open the door towards numerous advantages

and opportunites,and hopefully it will become

a reality soon. The Report will be put to the

final vote in plenary in September.

MBR: You have campaigned

in favour that citizens must

be given stronger voice

through European Citizens’

Initiative. What was your key

role in drafting and voting on

this strong position that will

ensure that the instrument is

citizens friendly as possible

and lives up to its full

of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) in

May 2018. There was widespread consensus

across all the political groups in support of my

amendments aimed at improving the current

rules and give voice to European citizens when

organizing, participating or simply supporting

a Citizens’ Initiative.

I am happy that as a shadow rapporteur I had

a key role to play in drafting and voting on

this strong position that will ensure that the

instrument is citizens friendly as possible and

lives up to its full potential. This was a crucial

vote in favour of giving a stronger voice to

citizens where EU legislation is concerned.

The Commission’s new proposal will solve

several relevant problems, which currently

limit the user-friendliness of the instrument.

However, the proposal still fails short on some

fundamental issues, which are essential to

ensure the future success of the ECI.

The main objective of my work as a shadows

rapporteur was to address the current gaps, so

that citizens will finally have the same power

ECON in the last year of the previous mandate,

2013-2014. As an economist this committee

was right up my street but the term of office

was too short to, as it was also MEP election

year. However, ECON is a very important

committee, but as it is very technical and its

effectiveness is often underestimated. I

decided to change committees for the 2014-

19 mandate.

MBR: You were also

appointed as a rapporteur

for the Brexit newsbook –

which report is aimed to

create a market structure

that would still give vehicle

manufacturers access to

the European single market

following the United

Kingdom’s exist from the

Union. Can you share your

opinions about Brexit?

MM: As of present many citizens are still

unsure as to whether we will see the

14


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Malta Business Review

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

continuance of Brexit or if there will be a

second referendum – although I am personally

skeptical about the latter possibility. Therefore,

in that context one adds that one must wait

and see what the British government is intent

on doing with Prime Minister Theresa May at

the helm. The one thing that is certain is that

MEPs who have been trusted with files related

to Brexit must negotiate with the intention to

benefit all EU citizens. This is inclusive of those

citizens who reside, and work in the United

Kingdom, therefore the approach must be

well-balanced.

Additionally, Brexit will set new corner stones

for the European Union and its members,

creating grounds of precedent which means

that the European Institutions must get closer

to the citizen than ever before. The work

of the negotiating team will determine the

fate of over four million citizens and thus it is

necessary that the right balance throughout

the discourse is maintained.

MBR: You have been awared

MEP of the Year Award in

the Internal Market and

Consumer Protection (IMCO)

category for her work as lead

IMCO Committee Rapporteur

on the European Standards of

the 21st Century report. How

significant was this award for

you and for what recognition

was this prestigious award

bestowed to you?

MM: This is the second year running in which

I was nominated for the MEP of the Year

Award (the first time was for my work in the

field of animal welfare). I played a leading role

in the IMCO committee as key negotiator on

several Digital Single Market dossiers. I helped

finalizing and drafting European legislation on

important issues such as net neutrality and

abolishing roaming charges. I also worked

on a strategic report on shaping the future

of European standards and I was one of the

leading MEPs who worked so that phone calls

from one EU country to another cost almost

the same as a domestic call.

It is an honour to win this prestigious MEP

of the Year award and to have one’s work

acknowledged by independent judges. I was

pleased, not only for me, but also for Malta.

I am humbled that people have placed their

faith and trust in me especially because I have

been given this award for my contributions

in the area of digital single market. What is

particularly satisfying is that my work as an

MEP leaves real impact on people’s lives and

that the voice of consumers, citizens, and

micro and small businesses is heard across

the European spectrum and the European

Parliament.

We need to ensure that the digital world we

live in is more fair, just and sustainable, whilst

providing equal opportunities for all. This

award is a responsibility that I do not take

lightly, and I will continue to represent citizens,

consumers and businesses across Europe with

the utmost devotion and boldness.

MBR: With the PN party in

total disarray, where do you

see Labour in a year’s time at

the EP elections?

MM: The worst thing the Labour Party , the

government and the citizens can do is to take

pleasure in the troubles of the Nationalist

Party. The country needs a strong, serious and

responsible opposition. I truly hope that the

PN finds the courage to take bold steps and

take those decisions which many not be easy

– including disassociating itself from people

who lack the integrity and the insight to realise

the damage they have inflicted on the PN;

from people who brought their own party

in total disarray; from people who consider

themselves bigger than the Party.

In the European Parliament I experienced

a different way of doing politics, whereas it

is more a politics of debate rather than one

of continuous confrontation. It is due time

to move away from the tribal politics which

"I am afraid that many

PN MPs and supporters

have not yet realised the

gravity of the situation

their party is in.

unfortunately exist in our country. Still, I am

afraid that many PN MPs and supporters have

not yet realised the gravity of the situation

their party is in, and are still digging a deeper

hole and harming the PN even more. On the

other hand Labour is determined to keep on

working in the interest of all citizens and our

country, both on national, international and

European level.

At the European Parliament elections people

will vote for those candidates who really have

their country’s interest at heart and not those

who try to undermine national interest to gain

political points. The electorate is no fool and

knows who worked in their interest, and in the

interest of our country and who collaborated

with foreign MEPs to damage our reputation,

hoping to bring down a democratically elected

government.

I do not like to make predictions, therefore I will

not predict! . However, I am sure that citizens

will make the right choice since it is crystal

clear which party is working for a better future

for its people, and which party is just hungry

for power, mainly interested in playing dirty

games to tarnish Malta’s reputation in Europe.

Having said so, what I wish for my beloved

country and for the sake of democracy, is a

strong Government and a strong constructive

Opposition. We have the former, we badly

need the latter. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

Marlene Mizzi

16


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Malta Business Review

ONE-ON-ONE

ADDING VALUE TO BUSINESS

MBR Exclusive with Sue Duke, global head of

public policy, LinkedIn

As news filters through that EU

unemployment levels are at their lowest

in 10 years (6.9 percent for the EU28, but

8.3 percent for the eurozone), Sue Duke

wonders if national labour markets even

exist in 2018.

Duke’s got the data of 167 million Europeans

at her fingertips — in what LinkedIn’s calls

its “economic graph” — to illustrate the

clunkiness of old ways of thinking about

and measuring our economy.

Take entrepreneurship: “Everybody kind

of thinks the start-up scene is the same

everywhere. You know, lots of bean bags

and cool young people running around in

sneakers. But actually when you dive in and

take a look you realize that they are very

different, often very much rooted in the

history and culture of the city.” There are

often older entrepreneurs and innovation

hubs tied to the a city’s original industry,

for example: What Duke calls “historical

echoes” in cities such as Manchester,

which was at the centre of the Industrial

Revolution.

"What we are not

necessarily seeing is

displacement of jobs.

what we are seeing

is jobs evolving and

adapting to take

account of these new

technologies

Why should you care? First, Duke is

helping politicians including European

commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska,

and the mayors of cities like Stockholm,

reshape their policies with her data.

“When we spoke to the city of Stockholm

they were able to use the insights that we

generated to go out to companies abroad

and say, you know, if you want to set up

a Centre for Digital Design, if you want to

be focused on user interface, you should

come here, because look how well we

compare, look what we are doing in that

space,” Duke said.

Duke is also European and based in

Europe: a rarity for senior figures in global

tech companies, who tend to treat Europe

as a troublesome offshoot to be governed

from California.

She was in Brussels pitching how low she

can go in terms of labour market granularity,

telling officials “what is happening on the

ground concretely in their labour market:

who’s moving in and out, what new jobs

are emerging, what new sectors are on the

rise or indeed on the decline,” she said.

LinkedIn’s European Commission work

focuses on the politically sensitive car

sector. Often seen as vulnerable to artificial

intelligence, which could replace many

humans in the industry, Duke said there

are surprises: “What we are not necessarily

seeing is displacement of jobs. what we are

Sue Duke - Global head of public policy, LinkedIn

seeing is jobs evolving and adapting to take

account of these new technologies.”

Duke also had wise words for EU

Confidential regarding pregnancy in the

workplace: Pregnant women need lumbar

support, so give them the best chair in the

room (unlike EU Confidential, which gave

Duke a nice looking, but not particularly

supportive, chair).

Beyond that, Duke is using her own

pregnancy to broaden workplace

conversations about absence. “It should

be part of a broader conversation around

different phases in your career,” she

said. “I think that’s one of your primary

responsibilities as a leader, to ensure that

no matter whether you are on leave for

parental reasons or because you got run

over by a bus, that actually you have a team

in place that has that ability to ensure that

the organization and its members continue

to be well served.” MBR

Creditline: POLITICO SPRL

18


BANKING NEWS

Malta Business Review

FIMBank Meets

Professional Stakeholders

FIMBank recently hosted a meeting with

professional stakeholders to discuss the Bank’s

interim financial results for 2018. The meeting

revolved around the key developments at

FIMBank, including its interim after- tax profit

of USD 6.1 million for the first six months of

2018, an increase of 47 per cent on the USD

4.1 million registered during the same period

in 2017.

During his opening speech, FIMBank Group

Chairman Dr John C. Grech referred to the

Rights Issue announced in March, which

he referred to as a ‘significant milestone’ in

the Group’s development. He stated that

the raising of additional equity amounting

to USD 105 million in the second quarter of

2018, “was a statement of strategic intent,

taking the Group’s capital strength to a

superior level, and unlocking the potential

for further growth.” Looking towards the

future with optimism, Dr Grech reinforced

that the turnaround is over, a strong indicator

that FIMBank is now in growth mode, and

that the results obtained recently show an

acceleration of performance on the bottom

line, a process that is expected to continue.

FIMBank’s CEO, Murali Subramanian,

elaborated on FIMBank’s strategy, explaining

that this is founded on the “core pillars

of client origination and delivery, product

evolution, funding efficiency, and risk and

governance stability.” Mr Subramanian added

that “Consistent planning, hard work, and

perseverance, have contributed to our stable

performance and the creation of a sustainable

platform for further success.”

The Group’s Chief Financial Officer, Ronald

Mizzi, provided a detailed overview of

FIMBank’s financial results, highlighting

amongst others the salient milestones and

issues which marked the Group’s financial

performance during the first six months of the

year, whilst analysing the trends relating to the

main key performance ratios. In this regard,

he concluded that “the Group recorded

positive results across the main key areas,

with assets growing compared to last year,

revenue increasing, asset quality improving,

and costs being managed adequately across

all businesses. This was supported by the new

capital injected earlier in the year, enabling

FIMBank to achieve the objectives set for

2018 and beyond.” MBR

Creditline: FIMBank

"Consistent planning,

hard work, and

perseverance, have

contributed to our

stable performance

and the creation of a

sustainable platform for

further success.

Professional Stakeholders Meeting

www.maltabusinessreview.net

19


Malta Business Review

TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

A TRAINING ACADEMY WITH A MISSION

At Express Trailers, one ideal has always stood the test of time:

that the people within the organisation, are one of the main

drivers for business.

At Express Trailers, one ideal has always

stood the test of time: that the people

within the organisation, are one of the

main drivers for business.

“Equipment and space are investments

that anyone can make. But attracting,

training, and retaining the best people is

a culture. We have decided to set up our

new Express Trailers Training Academy

with a very specific mission: to intersect

theory, experience and better practice

in the field of transport and logistics. We

want this project to be a source and flow

of knowledge and motivation for all our

employees,” explains Franco Azzopardi,

Chairman and CEO of Express Trailers.

The Express Trailers Training Academy will

be providing Express Trailers’ employees

with ongoing training based on a structured

and long-term plan.

“The intention is driven by the way we do

things at Express Trailers because we do not

just hire people, but we provide them with

ample opportunities for career progression

based on transmitted experience and

knowledge aimed at heightening their

capabilities and experience. Indeed, we do

not just employ people – we train them to

become experts in logistics.”

"Indeed, we do not just

employ people – we

train them to become

experts in logistics.

“The transport and logistics sectors are

very dynamic ones which are constantly

evolving. To be able to retain our expertise,

our people need to remain abreast with the

latest developments. In fact, through this

Academy, we will be training our people

in the art of logistics, be it on the road, at

customer level, in operations, planning,

administration and management.”

Franco Azzopardi acknowledges the

importance for companies like Express

Trailers to harness the wealth of knowledge

that exists and that is held by many of its

key people.

“Harnessing this knowledge and passing

it on is part of good succession planning

that every company needs to be looking

at. Key experts in companies are always

very busy and no one knows what would

happen if one day, these key people decide

to leave. The Express Trailers Training

Academy is part of our long-term plan on

making sure this knowledge keeps being

passed on to the respective teams to

ensure business continuity. In fact, besides

the specialised training courses delivered

by accredited bodies and online courses

Express Trailers Training Academy

20


TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

Malta Business Review

Express Trailers Training Academy

which the employees may follow in their

own time and at their own pace, we will

also be involving our mature employees,

heads of departments, managers and even

retirees,” added Franco Azzopardi.

The first course will be an online course

on International Commercial Terms and

Documentation. Also known as incoterms,

these are standard contract terms used in

sales contracts with importing/exporting

to define responsibility and liability for

shipment of the goods. Other topics will

include GDPR, procedures related to safety

and security as well as courses on soft

skills.

Mr Azzopardi stressed how Express Trailers

has always been a market leader especially

in the way it does things.

“We do not see the return on investment in

monetary terms but more as a barometric

reading of employee satisfaction. We only

look ahead of the game. Perhaps others

will follow. There are employers who are

afraid of investing in their employees

because these might eventually move

to competition. We think differently and

expect any over-spill of people trained by

us moving into the industry to transmit

a contagion of good practice. There is

absolutely nothing wrong there. Ultimately,

I know that an initiative like this will not

only help us develop our current workforce

but also building the next generation of

employees.”

“From our customers’ perspective, they

will know that they are working with a

company whose workforce is being trained

in speaking the same language and working

in the same style using the same high-tech

systems and equipment, is mindful of

ethics, health and safety and manners.”

“Our aim has always been to be a positive

experience and a strong currency on the

curriculum vitae of our people, even if

they ever decide to move on to other

jobs. Ultimately, as leaders in the industry,

we also believe it is in our interest to see

the industry grow not only in terms of

numbers but more holistically especially in

the quality of service it offers,” he adds.

The obvious question one tends to ask in

the end is what kind of return one could

expect from this investment and how does

this initiative fit into the company’s longterm

strategy.

“We are very positive that our people will

embrace this initiative and will help them

in their self-development path. Personally,

I also look at this as a differentiator that

strengthens Express Trailers’ reputation as

a good employer who is constantly seeking

to not only hire but train its people into

becoming logistics experts,” concluded

Franco Azzopardi. MBR

Creditline: Express Trailers

www.maltabusinessreview.net

21


Malta Business Review

EUROPEAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

European Start-up study: Malta's construction

industry grew by 89% from 2016-2017

by Yvonne Bernhardt

• With 1,955,681 start-ups registered between

2013-2017, the construction sector is the

third biggest industry fuelling Europe’s startup

scene

• Ireland is the top country for the construction

industry in Europe, with a steady growth of

11.18% of new businesses between 2013-17

• Looking at the growth rates between 2016-

2018, Malta’s construction industry is

booming with a growth of over 89%

Analysing the start-up industry in

Europe, card processing specialists,

Paymentsense, have conducted research

to reveal the countries seeing significant

growth in start-ups between 2013 -2017.

The data has been mapped out across

Europe - detailing the industry’s most

prevalent in each country and the rate of

growth over the last 5 years.

Paymentsense have analysed 30

European countries and ranked each

one based on how many new businesses

have been registered in a 5-year period.

The business types which have been the

most popular in these countries are also

detailed.

When looking at what type of start-ups

have dominated Europe in the last few

years, wholesale and retail have the

largest presence with 3.7 million new

businesses started up. This is surprising

The type of companies that have started up in Europe between 2013-2017:

to see when in recent years we have

seen a retail crash with companies like

Woolworths and Toys R Us go bust.

With 1,955,681 start-ups registered

between 2013-2017, the construction

sector is the third biggest industry

fuelling Europe’s start-up scene.

Looking at the percentage growth of new

businesses in the construction sector,

Ireland tops the charts as country with

the highest stable growth of 11.18%

between 2013-2017, followed by Latvia

and Malta. Although the UK has the

highest number of newly registered

businesses, its industry has only gained

7.10% more companies over the course

of the past 5 years.

Guy Moreve, Chief Marketing Officer at

Paymentsense, says:

“It’s fascinating to see how Europe has

changed in recent times. A number of

countries are now placing more emphasis

on technology which has helped create a

‘golden era’ for tech start-ups.

Top 10 countries fuelling the European construction industry:

“In order to thrive a business in your

respective country, make sure you

analyse the market you’re addressing

– what works best and what doesn’t;

It’s also worth looking at the legal and

environmental conditions in order

to make sure your business idea is a

success”. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

22


HEALTHCARE

Malta Business Review

Anatomy Centre in Gozo to Open in September

A new anatomy centre next to Gozo General

Hospital in Victoria is scheduled to complete

this September, as artist’s impressions of

the development are released by Barts

and The London School of Medicine and

Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London

(see Notes to Editors).

Carrying a bespoke design for a modern

anatomy centre, the building will be

equipped with the most up-to-date facilities

to support anatomy and clinical skills

teaching.

The unique facility will be the focus of

teaching activity from September 2018, in

time for Year 2 medical students to continue

their anatomy studies and for the new

intake of first year students. The building

will also provide office accommodation

for academic, technical and administrative

staff.

A central feature of the building is its anatomy

lab where students will undertake practicals

and tutors will lead demonstrations using

anatomical specimens and models. The lab

will include a dedicated area for learning

anatomy through dissection, and will be

equipped with facilities for showing clinical

images, videos of surgical procedures and

specialised computer imaging.

The building also has a central courtyard,

which will provide an outdoor space for

students and staff.

at Gozo General Hospital, which is due to be

completed in Spring 2019.

Professor Anthony Warrens, Dean for

Education at Barts and The London School

of Medicine and Dentistry, said: “We are

delighted to see our new state-of-theart

anatomy centre taking shape. These

facilities combined with the high-quality

educational programme which we’re

already delivering, will give our students the

very best start to their medical careers and

help train the next generation of doctors.”

Dr. Nadine Delicata, Chief Operating

Officer at Steward Health Care Malta, said:

“Steward Malta is honoured to have Barts

onsite within the Gozo Hospital campus,

and we are looking forward to contributing

toward the education of medical students

at Barts. Together both institutions can

work to further improve the quality of care

delivered to patients of Malta and Gozo.”

MBR

Creditline: Joel Winston, Public Relations

Manager – Medicine and Dentistry, Queen

Mary University of London

The development is part of the ongoing

construction work for a new medical school

Barts Anatomy Centre - Mock-up Design

Barts Anatomy Centre

www.maltabusinessreview.net

23


Malta Business Review

DENTAL HEALTHCARE

I CHOOSE IMPLANTS!

By Dr Jean Paul Demajo

It is a fact that the majority of the population

wishes to have straight teeth. It is also a

fact that they want them white and natural

looking. Patients never request crooked,

yellow or poor-looking teeth. So straight,

white and natural looking, are adjectives

patients often use to describe the type of

smile they wish to have. Patients also request

that they receive the necessary treatment in

the quickest time with the minimal number

of injections and appointments. A typical

scenario is a soon to be bride and mother

of the bride. Unfortunately time is very

often an essential part of it especially when

the treatment involves braces and tooth

alignment. The proposition of having a

treatment plan spanning over a year or two is

absurd and is quickly shot down.

Intra-oral before treatment

Quick fixes are often attractive but by far

not the best choice, as they tend to be

non-conservative in nature and destructive

towards the tooth tissue. Often, upon

patient’s wishes, dentists are made to

propose alternative treatment plans involving

elective extractions, crown building and the

fixation of porcelain veneers. This may be a

controversial topic, which in some countries

may even have you lose your licence. Having

said that, in other countries it is done

following the patients requests reasoning

on the lines of the teeth are theirs and they

decide. Time and money are also factors,

which push patients to opt for the second

or third option of treatment leaving the

unattractive first option out altogether.

Intra-oral 3 months after implant placement

Intra-Oral after fitting of implant bridge

What is a must, is to inform the patients of

all the treatment options that are available in

dentistry discussing in detail their advantages

and disadvantages. It is then up to the patient

to choose their preferred option. Let us

not forget that even dentists like providing

their patients with straight, white goodlooking

teeth. Dentists might disagree with

the patients’ choice of plan but might also

understand where they are coming from for

time and money are not always available.

Extra-Oral after treatement

Case Study

A middle aged lady wishes to fix her top four front teeth. She is extremely conscious of them and is always covering

her mouth. As time went by, the teeth got worse. She is not interested in braces and wishes a relatively quick fix.

She didn’t wish to touch any of the other teeth. Besides aesthetics her main concerns were how they would feel

on her lip and whether it would have an effect on her speech. It was decided to remove the four front top teeth

and place three dental implants. These implants were then restored with a porcelain bridge, straight and relatively

white looking teeth. MBR

Ask your dentist!

DR JEAN PAUL DEMAJO

Dental and Implant Surgeon

24


Malta Business Review

www.maltabusinessreview.net

25


Malta Business Review

MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVES

THE MOST IMPORTANT WAY TO INCREASE

YOUR POTENTIAL

By Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Founda on and co-founder of The Chopra

Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integra ve medicine and personal

transforma on, and is Board Cer ed in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a

Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Associa on of Clinical

Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages,

including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are The Healing Self co-authored

with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Fron ers of

Mind/Body Medicine.

Deepak Chopra

By now many people are familiar with the term

“positive psychology,” although they might not

realize its significance. Medicine proceeds by

diagnosing diseases and attempting to cure them,

and as a branch of medicine, psychiatry and

psychology focused for decades on the pathology

of the mind. It took an enormous change in attitude

to switch the focus to the positive potential of the

mind. Positive psychology therefore addresses

issues like how to be happy, to increase self-esteem,

to promote well-being and so on.

One can think of this shift toward human potential in

much bigger terms. There are so-called paranormal

or psi abilities—are they a hidden potential in us?

There is the exploration of higher consciousness,

investigating the possibility of waking up from the

dream of pain and suffering and ultimately taking

the mind to a more evolved state. If you collect

all the areas of expanded human potential, which

includes creativity, insight, the renunciation of

violence, Yoga, meditation, and much more—there

is enough to revolutionize our conception of mind.

Once this happens, then we have a foundation for

redefining what it means to be human.

In an open society it’s hard to find someone who

hasn’t dabbled in human potential, beginning

with the most popular aspect, which is selfimprovement.

The desire to improve yourself is

an expression of the impulse to evolve, which is

unstoppable in human beings. But having painted

this picture, one needs to ask if the human

potential movement is bearing fruit. Is it moving

fast enough? Are reactionary forces pulling society

in the opposite direction?

There is an important personal choice, I believe,

that turns dabbling into commitment. It’s the

choice to envision yourself as an expression of

consciousness. For most people this would be a

radical step, because they see themselves in other

ways. Take a moment and mentally take stock. Do

you agree with the statement, “I am my body”?

Do you place importance on your income, social

status, possessions, and other external validations?

Consider the harsh political divisions in this

country—which side do you identify with?

A frank selfassessment

quickly

indicates that each

of us identifies with

various tags, labels,

issues, habits,

and a wide range

of conditioning.

Let’s take a nonjudgmental

perspective and

neutralize words

like good and bad,

right and wrong,

politically correct

and incorrect, and

so on. From a completely neutral position, anything

you identify with is a product of consciousness.

We have all spent our lives surrounded by these

products. In effect, we are wearing virtual reality

goggles through which we view the world, filtering

every perception through our habits, beliefs,

conditioning, likes and dislikes.

The human potential movement at bottom is

about one thing: getting free of virtual reality in

order to experience the “real” reality. Keeping

our neutral viewpoint for a moment, what is

the best way to divest ourselves of the mental

constructs—products of consciousness—that

create pain, suffering, frustration, victimhood, and

self-limitation? The answer is not to winnow out

the bad stuff and accentuate the good stuff. Of

course everyone wants to be good, but one quickly

discovers that there’s no real agreement on what is

good, and furthermore, life is inevitably a mixture

of good and bad.

There is a different answer for ending pain and

suffering, which is to stop identifying with the

products of consciousness and to start identifying

with consciousness itself. Right now we are like

visitors to an art museum wandering around

saying “I like this one” and “I don’t like that one,”

all the while never realizing that artists painted

the pictures. Artists are free to paint anything they

want, and questions of taste come second. The

same is true of consciousness. We wander through

life saying, “I like this about myself” and “I don’t like

that about myself,” without seeing that these are

secondary reactions. To live creatively is to know

that consciousness is the common element of

experience, the “stuff” from which human reality

is made.

When you see that you are a co-creator with

every other consciousness agent in the world,

you have truly entered the movement for higher

consciousness, personal evolution, overcoming

all the imprisoning mental constructs that create

hated, prejudice, and other divisive forces, along

with all the inner forces that enforce the divided self.

Taken altogether, the products of consciousness,

whether you look at history or just the contents of

a normal person’s mind, are chaotic. They contain

huge gaps, contradictions, blind spots, irrational

prejudices, and impulses of anger, fear, jealousy,

and self-doubt that have enormous power over us.

This chaos represents the misuse of consciousness.

What we call human nature isn’t natural at all but a

totally artificial, jerry-built Frankenstein’s monster,

a creation that has turned upon its creator. Among

all the contradictions that exist in human nature,

which force us to be loving one moment and hateful

the next, rational but deeply irrational, proud but

secretly ashamed, the ultimate contradiction is

that we create the products of consciousness and

then believe in them as if they exist independently

of us. No aspect of human nature exists outside

consciousness, and when we cannot change the

things we fear, we are renouncing consciousness,

the very thing that creates those fears. Once

we identify with consciousness itself, we will no

longer be defined by anything except the infinite

possibilities that are the ground state of reality.

To say “I am the field of infinite potential” is the

proper definition of being human. MBR

CREDITLINE: www.deepakchopra.com

26


AZURE ULTRA

Malta Business Review

A Sea Change

Cars. People. Noise. Cars. People. Noise. Cars.

People. Noise. Every which way you turn more

crowds and clamour, less peace and quiet.

When you’re coming down with a case of island

fever, there’s only one way to truly escape. Step

on board your own private yacht charter and

sail away into the horizon. Out there, there isn’t

a soul in sight. Out there it’s just you and the

sea. The flutter of the fresh breeze on your skin.

Dancing wavelets reflecting the sparkling sun. As

the Mediterranean casts its soothing spell, you

feel de-stressed, calm, recharged.

Azure Ultra specialises in bespoke Sunseeker

Wherever you’re heading on your boating

escapade, you’ll be cruising there in true

elegance. An iconic brand, Sunseeker is a

guarantee of impeccable luxury coupled with

thrilling performance. Each Sunseeker yacht

is meticulously handcrafted inside and out,

offering lounge style deck areas coupled with

opulent, fully-airconditioned sleeping quarters.

It’s no wonder that Sunseeker has become the

boat of choice for many a Hollywood A-lister.

No Azure Ultra experience is ever the same

because we tailor each trip around your

Creditline: Azure Ultra

yacht experiences that go beyond the ordinary.

Our award-winning crew will take care of all the

seafaring minutiae so you don’t have to. From

designing your dream itinerary to a personal

on-deck steward catering to your every whim,

everything is taken care of every step of the

way. Your only job is to roll out a map and let the

captain know where you wish to anchor.

Explore Malta’s many hidden coastal gems

or venture further ashore. Spirited Sicily. The

alluring Aeolian islands. The seductive slopes of

the Amalfi Coast. There’s a mesmerising watery

world of isolated beaches and secluded coves

waiting to breathe new life into you.

personal needs. Select the food menus and your

preferred vintage champagne. Choose whether

to go for a spot of glass-bottom canoeing or

snorkelling. Whatever you have in mind, just let

us know and we’ll get to work. MBR

Contact our Charter Specialists to design your

tailored yacht itinerary today. Simply call +356

2778 2500 or email charters@azureultra.com

for more information.

Creditline: Azure Ultra

Creditline: Azure Ultra

www.maltabusinessreview.net

27


Malta Business Review

ASIA FOCUS

Welcome to the Sovereign Asia Focus on The Malta Business

Review keeping you up-to-date with news and views from around

this burgeoning region – Hong Kong and Singapore, in particular,

where we have long-established offices.

Will virtual banks become the preferred

local banks for SMEs?

Companies and trusts have been finding

it harder to set up banking services in

Hong Kong as successive initiatives to

address risks around money laundering

and financing of terrorism activities have

led to more stringent account opening

procedures as banks vet potential

customers.

Banks worldwide now have a legal duty to

implement ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC)

procedures for all clients, new and old.

For corporate accounts, this will include

business plans, transaction records

and details of all ‘persons of significant

control’. Banks face huge fines if found

to have failed the relevant compliance

checks.

In Hong Kong, banks have been on

a de-risking exercise to comply with

customer due diligence requirements.

This has caused difficulties in opening

new accounts and has led to a flood of

complaints from businesses experiencing

difficulty in obtaining bank services,

particularly small and medium enterprises

(SMEs). This has implications for Hong

Kong’s status as a business and financial

hub, but help may be at hand from a new

direction.

Life assurance policies for the ‘returning

expat’ – Australia

Asia is home to a great many Australian

expatriates who intend to return to (or

other nationals who intend to move

to) Australia after a period of working

elsewhere in the region. In most cases,

restructuring business assets and/or

personal assets in advance, whilst still an

expat, can provide substantial advantages

if an individual eventually become tax

resident in Australia. Life assurance

policies, in particular, offer considerable

benefits in respect of holding either

business or personal assets.

Hong Kong brings two-tier profits tax

into force

The new two-tiered profits tax regime,

first announced by Chief Executive

Carrie Lam in her Policy Address on 11th

October 2017, was brought into force

on 1 April 2018 by the Inland Revenue

(Amendment) (No. 3) Ordinance 2018.

The regime is designed to lower the tax

burden for small and medium enterprises

(SMEs) and will apply to both corporations

and unincorporated business.

Why ‘Cloud Accounting’ is good for

business

Founded in 2006 in New Zealand, cloud

accounting specialist Xero is one of the

fastest growing software as a service

companies globally. Forbes identified Xero

as the World’s Most Innovative Growth

Company in 2014 and 2015. Here, Xero

explains why online accounting software

can be a wise investment if you want your

business to work smarter and faster.

Cloud-based accounting software helps

small businesses to thrive through better

tools, information and connections. It

connects people with the right numbers

anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Working online will give you a better

overview of your finances, and improve

collaboration with your team.

Sovereign Licensed as a Trust or

Company Service Provider in Hong Kong

Sovereign is pleased to announce that

it is among the first Hong Kong-based

firms to be formally licensed as a Trust or

Company Service Provider (TCSP) under

Hong Kong’s newly created TCSP licensing

regime. Sovereign Trust (Hong Kong)

Limited and its operating sister companies

– Sovereign Fiduciaries (Hong Kong)

Limited, Sovereign Fiduciaries Services

Limited and Sovereign Trustees Limited –

have all been granted TCSP licences. MBR

Courtesy: Sovereign Trust (HK) Ltd

28


Malta Business Review

POLITICO CONNECTED: AN AI COMMUNITY

Roundtable Report | Using AI to Serve Citizens:

A Roadmap for France

An ongoing conversation about artificial intelligence

and the key governance and innovation issues facing

policymakers, scientists, innovators, industries and

academics, powered by our founding partner Accenture.

POLITICO hosted an invitation-only

roundtable discussion, in partnership with

Accenture Applied Intelligence, in Paris on

June 14 to brainstorm and suggest pragmatic

solutions for using artificial intelligence to

serve French citizens. Here are the main

takeaways:

1. The battle for artificial intelligence: A

battle for human intelligence

Just a few years ago, the term was in the

realm of science fiction. Artificial intelligence

is now giving rise to transformation every day,

and all the stakeholders have now realized

the decisive role AI will increasingly play in

the future.

Data collection and management, virtual

correspondents, process automation,

business intelligence: AI has become a

concrete reality. It is radically changing whole

sectors of economic activity. It requires a

reappraisal of legal concepts which previously

seemed very sound. AI will — to a certain

extent — exercise control over our lives. But

who will exercise control over AI? Will we

succeed in using it at the service of citizens?

These issues have come into the limelight in

France in recent months. The Villani report

and an artificial intelligence plan express the

government’s determination to have France

play a leading role on this matter. And the

European General Data Protection Regulation

governing the use of personal data came into

effect in May. Beyond merely the competition

and regulation aspects, these issues also can

lead to the emergence of new models of

partnership and exemplarity.

2. A transformation already underway

The French higher education system has

conducted pioneering research for a long

time. The administration and large local

and regional governments have followed

a path over the past few years that has led

them from using data science to real artificial

intelligence tools. The state, aware of its lag

and its inertia, has in the past 18 months

taken measure of these issues and shown a

proactive approach to reform.

The impact of AI is also being felt in the

private sector. As one speaker said: “Artificial

intelligence is radically transforming

companies. It’s a change that had not been

seen in the past 30 years. It’s an absolutely

unique change.”

This change is admittedly not an easy one.

Many people are likely to be left behind if

they do not receive guidance in upgrading

their skills and expertise. The various actors

in the public sector, who are each working on

a specific aspect of artificial intelligence, were

originally skeptical at the idea of working

together, or with German or European

partners.

However, the initiatives are starting to

bear fruit and have sometimes laid the

groundwork for new partnerships in which

government agencies, higher education

entities and local and regional governments

work on projects jointly with big companies

or startups. Conversely, it is sometimes the

startup spirit that impregnates traditional

institutions. One participant explained the

path followed on many projects as follows:

“We act, we progress, we demonstrate, and

we encourage others to follow.”

3. Multi-dimensional data

The fuel of AI is data. On this, the participants

pointed out the advantage of the French

"Artificial intelligence is

radically transforming

companies. It’s a change

that had not been seen

in the past 30 years. It’s

an absolutely unique

change.

system, with its highly centralized government

departments. It therefore has databases of

gigantic proportions, notably in the area of

health, which can then be exploited.

However, this data cannot always be put to

use immediately. First, there is the issue of

the data’s quality, format and standards. The

issue is crucial for decisionmaking tools, but

even more so to share information across

separate databases.

Now, as one participant observed, sharing

is not obvious: “Data is a symbol of power.

Throughout history, it has been the property

of the people who held it.” In the case of

government departments, it should be

remembered that this data is above all the

data of the state rather than of a particular

department. And big companies want to keep

control of data generated by autonomous

vehicles.

These obstacles must be overcome. However,

the participants agreed in considering that a

central agency in charge of data collection

would present a number of problems.

Data collection and management must of

course protect citizens and their personal

information. But GDPR also aims to facilitate

the responsible reuse of data, and to make it

an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

Finally, social networks and cloud computing

services have a considerable volume of data

to monitor and supervise, which is why AI

systems are proving necessary. They are still

perfectible, and the use of human judgment

is essential. “Artificial intelligence is not yet

very familiar with subtle humor,” noted one

guest, who stressed the need to defend

humor and parody, which machines find hard

to detect.

4. The strengths of France and Europe

The participants pointed to the fact that

the government was a relatively latecomer

on AI, but that it is prepared to devote the

resources to catch up. France has a role to

play, notably in Europe.

As one speaker said, this is a strategic issue:

“There is a European model to be designed,

30


POLITICO CONNECTED: AN AI COMMUNITY

Malta Business Review

between on the one hand an American

model, where AI policy is driven by large

private players, and a Chinese model,

closely controlled by the government, with

a debatable approach from the ethical and

democratic perspectives.”

France can already highlight the quality of its

higher education system and its fundamental

"Theres a new obligation

and a new opportunity

for companies to engage

with people differently.

— Paul Daugherty

research (including on creative AI systems),

together with tax benefits. It is attracting

operations set up by these large private

players and also by smaller organizations.

Moreover, a dynamic seems to be emerging,

fueled by the investment plan and even by

Brexit, to anchor startups in France and put

an end to the brain drain.

This is a fundamental aspect: “The battle for

artificial intelligence is above all a battle for

human intelligence,” noted one guest. “We

won’t overcome this problem without having

a research ecosystem capable of welcoming

the best scientists in the world.”

5. The big foreign private players: Best

enemies

The large foreign private players specialized

in AI are not just limited to the GAFA (Google,

Apple, Facebook and Amazon). They are

perceived as both allies and threats. They set

up research laboratories in France and share

their work, and have become aware of the

fight against cybercrime and illegal content.

But they are buying up European startups,

sometimes taking over their intellectual

property in AI research. Their economic

weight alone gives them huge clout and

creates imbalances.

The autonomous vehicle industry plans to

negotiate separately with each major city and

retain full ownership of data. In response,

these cities have united to define a common

position. Some robotics companies have

pushed for their products, nurtured on AI, to

obtain a legal personality, reducing their own

liability in the event of an accident.

In conclusion, these players are partners

to be watched closely. For one speaker,

the European elections of 2019 will be

“the chance to transform these ethical

responsibilities, which these companies

fundamentally recognize, into legal and

legislative responsibilities at the European

level.”

How will Artificial Intelligence impact your business?

The past few years have brought an evolution of big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) at a

rapid rate. Businesses today can better use data to produce transformative results. Search Technologies, part of Accenture,

summarizes some key points on the rise of AI and how these developments can impact a business.

Artificial Intelligence: The next

frontier in health care?

On June 20, POLITICO hosted a

discussion on the role of artificial

intelligence in addressing the most

pressing health care issues. POLITICO’s

AI correspondent Janosch Delcker had

an open conversation with Roberto

Viola, the European Commission’s

director general for communications

networks, content and technology;

Paul Bate from Babylon Health; Manon

Benders from the University Medical

Center in Utrecht; and Eleonora

Harwich from Reform. MBR

Quick reads

Germany’s falling behind on tech, and Merkel knows it | Angela Merkel met the country’s top 32 AI experts at the chancellery in July to hear

how the country was doing. In spite of a good track record in AI research, their assesment was sobering, reports POLITICO's Janosch Delcker.

The man who invented the self-driving car (in 1986) | Janosch Delcker tells the story of the invention of the driverless car in 1986, how it

came to be all but forgotten and the lessons we can draw from it about the expectations we place on artificial intelligence now.

Learning to work with robots | Molly Kinder analyzes for Foreign Policy how workers wil have to adapt to face disruption from artificial

intelligence and automation.

AI vs. God: Who Stays and Who Leaves? | In Forbes, Kate Levchuk examines how artificial intelligence will challenge our perception of

consciousness and how that will impact religion throughout the world.

Source: POLITICO SPRL

www.maltabusinessreview.net

31


Malta Business Review

ERP SOFTWARE

The complete ERP solution for a

multi-brand distribution business

In today’s ever-changing distribution sector,

companies face many of the same challenges

around marketing a portfolio of brands in a

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the supply chain, and maintaining tight credit

control. Forward thinking companies are

turning to state of the art fully-integrated

ERP software which is specifically designed

for distributors.

A modern ERP system for distributors provides

tools to help manage sales ordering, pricing,

shipping, sourcing, and billing – enabling you

streamline your business processes so that

all your information is in one secure location.

With accurate, real-time information

available, situations requiring attention can

be identified early and addressed quickly.

Our complete ERP solution provides mobile

sales force automation, merchandising,

logistics, purchasing, warehouse

management, and accounting. It delivers

seamless integration between your field

sales, distribution logistics, inventory

management, invoicing, and payment

functions. Additionally, it empowers your

field sales reps with access to relevant

information quickly and efficiently – enabling

you to eliminate the errors that come with

pen-and-paper order entry.

Empower your field sales reps

Mobile sales software provides field sales

reps with access to all customer, product,

and sales information while on the road.

Our solution enables them to use their own

Android or iOS device anytime, anywhere –

including offline capability. This leads to an

increase in orders as your field sales reps will

have immediate access to account-specific

pricing for individual customers based on

preferences and order history. Likewise, they

can provide complex discounts and crosssell

or up-sell promotions pertaining to an

individual customer.

Optimise your delivery process

Getting trucks in and out of the warehouse

quickly and efficiently puts your drivers on the

street faster so they can see more customers.

Highly automated truck loading increases

your velocity and assures inventory accuracy

during check out and check in. Our solution

enables you to adjust delivery sequence and

perform a truck inspection before loading.

The load can be in cases or units or a mixture

of both – even load temperature can be

captured. Any changes to the load are noted,

with reason codes and a signature captured

to confirm the transfer from the warehouse

to the truck.

Improve customer satisfaction

The key to growth and sustainability for a

distribution business is greater customer

satisfaction through speedy and effective

route management, without increasing

costs. Companies need a robust solution

that seamlessly integrates into their backend

ERP. They need to optimise resources and

improve their invoice-to-cash cycle, and at

the same time reduce operating costs per

route.

Our solution enables you to streamline your

direct store delivery and maximise truck

sales by using the latest technology. It will

help you reduce errors, payment disputes,

and the administrative costs associated

with distribution, merchandising, delivery,

receiving, and payment procedures.

For more information on how Computime

Software can empower your distribution

business to increase customer satisfaction

and unearth new sales opportunities for

route staff, visit: www.computimesoftware.

com/acumatica-erp or email: info@

computimesoftware.com MBR

Creditline: Computime Software

Credits: Computime Software

32


Malta Business Review

The complete ERP solution for your multi-brand distribution business

Acumatica seemlessly integrates your field sales, distribution logistics, inventory management, invoicing,

and payment collection – providing you with real-time access to relevant information anywhere, anytime.

Boost field staff

productivity

Maximise truck

sales

Increase inventory

visibility

Streamline direct

store delivery

Business Software

& Integration Solutions

+356 2149 0700 www.computimesoftware.com/acumatica-erp

info@computimesoftware.com

www.maltabusinessreview.net 33


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL REPORT

HSBC Bank Malta Sustains

Dividend, Shifts Focus to Growth

Lower H1 profitability reflects impact of risk management actions and negative interest rates

The profit before tax for the six months

ended 30 June 2018 of HSBC Bank Malta

p.l.c. amounted to €16.2m, a decrease of

€9.8m or 38% compared with the same

period last year. The performance during the

first six months of 2018 mainly reflected the

continuing impact of low interest rates and

prioritisation of risk management actions

during 2017.

Profit attributable to shareholders amounted

to €14.3m resulting in earnings per share of

4.0 cents compared with 4.7 cents in the first

half of 2017. The Board proposes to maintain

the current dividend pay-out ratio of 65% and

recommends an interim gross dividend of 4.0

cents per share (2.6 cents per share net of

tax). The interim dividend will be paid on 18

September 2018 to shareholders who are on

the bank’s register as at 17 August 2018.

All three main business lines, Retail Banking

and Wealth Management, Commercial

Banking, and Global Markets, continued to

be profitable during the six month period

under review.

Andrew Beane, Director and Chief Executive

Officer of HSBC Malta, said: “Our profitability

in the first half of 2018 was lower than the

prior year reflecting four main factors:

1. The impact of essential de-risking

actions taken during 2017.

2. The ongoing effect of negative interest

rates.

3. Loan impairments arising where the

sale of assets pledged as security

by corporate borrowers in default

for many years have been delayed

by lengthy judicial processes which

make the recovery of liabilities a very

protracted exercise.

4. From investment in regulatory and

risk programmes such as GDPR and

customer due diligence.”

He added: “HSBC is proud of the progress

we have made to achieve the highest level of

financial crime compliance standards within

our bank which can give confidence to our

customers as they use HSBC’s services. It is

essential that the financial system as a whole

is able to demonstrate full and effective

compliance with European Union standards.

Looking to the future, the substantive

elements of HSBC’s business model

transformation are now complete which

is enabling the bank to move into a new

strategic phase characterised by a return to

growth and value creation. Over time, and

without increasing our risk appetite, HSBC

Malta will focus on growing revenue faster

than costs in order to increase our return on

tangible equity and, subject to our ongoing

capital management processes, sustain our

signature dividend.”

He continued: “The early signs of this new

phase are encouraging with significant

increases in our commercial banking

business pipeline which has led to a

stabilisation of loans and advances which

we expect to steadily increase over time. We

are also seeing increased volumes in parts of

our retail banking and wealth management

business as we re-allocate capacity into sales

and service activity, including insurance

"The early signs of

this new phase are

encouraging with

significant increases in

our commercial banking

business pipeline

sales. HSBC’s plans to deliver market leading

customer service standards enabled by

new digital innovations are a particular

opportunity and represent a key focus for us

in the second half of 2018 and beyond.

I would like to thank our shareholders and

customers for their ongoing confidence

HSBC Operations Centre, Qormi

34


SPECIAL REPORT

Malta Business Review

HSBC Press Conference

and trust, and my colleagues for their

outstanding contribution as we complete

this chapter for HSBC Malta and move into

a new phase.”

Net interest income decreased to €54.1m

or 10% compared with €60.3m in the

same period in 2017 predominately due

to a further decline in the average yield

on the investment book due to continuing

amortisation of higher yielding bonds as well

as contraction of the Commercial Banking

loan book relative to the prior year position.

Non-interest income (fees and commissions

and trading income) remained broadly in

line with the same period in 2017. Following

the completion of the risk management

actions taken by the bank in 2017, the

strategic direction taken in the first half of

the year started reaping positive results,

in particular increased commissions as a

result of higher volume of credit facilities

granted and higher income generated from

guarantees and derivative transactions.

Operating expenses increased to €54.9m or

5% compared with €52.2m in the same period

in 2017. This increase reflects continued

investment in regulatory programmes,

financial crime compliance and business

growth. The bank continues to exercise

rigorous cost control and to implement

initiatives at cost base streamlining through

digitalisation, outsourcing and processes

optimisation. During the period under

review, the bank concluded the remediation

process for the MiFID (Markets in Financial

Instruments Directive) complex instruments

issue disclosed in the 2016 year-end results.

The bank’s guidance on the costs of this

programme remains unchanged.

"HSBC Life Assurance

(Malta) Limited reported

a profit before tax of

€1.8m compared to

€4.4m in the same

period of 2017

On 1 January 2018, the bank adopted IFRS

9 ‘Financial Instruments’. Adoption of this

new standard reduced net assets by €8.0m,

net of deferred tax of €4.3m. The bank was

not required to restate comparative periods.

Accordingly, all adjustments resulting from

the transition apply by adjusting the opening

balance sheet as at 1 January 2018.

Since adoption, the bank registered a

change in expected credit losses under

IFRS 9 of €3.4m, €0.9m lower than the loan

impairment charges under IAS 39 of €4.3m

reported in the same period in 2017 with

one specific impairment relating to a longdated

case subject to legal proceedings

representing the majority of the 2018

charge. The bank continues to maintain a

conservative provisioning approach. Overall

asset quality remained satisfactory and total

non-performing loans further declined from

€168m to €155m during the first six months

of 2018.

The effective tax rate is 11%. This translated

into a tax expense of €1.8m, €7.2m lower

than €9.1m in the same period in 2017.

During the period under review, the bank

benefitted from a different tax treatment

applied on a specific transaction.

HSBC Life Assurance (Malta) Limited

reported a profit before tax of €1.8m

compared to €4.4m in the same period of

2017. The decline was driven by positive

market movements in 2017 which were not

repeated in the first half of 2018. In addition,

the insurance subsidiary registered a

reduction in premium income, as a result of

lower new single premium policies written

when compared to prior year. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

35


Malta Business Review

GAMING INTERVIEW

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

By Martin Vella

Exclusive interview with CEO and Founder of Betconstruct Vigen Badalyan

BetConstruct is an award-winning developer and provider of online and land-based gaming solutions with

development, sales and service centers around the globe.

BetConstruct’s innovative and proven offerings include an extensive range of products and services, including

Sportsbook, Sports Data Solutions, Retail Solutions, RNG & Live Dealer Casino, VR Casino, Poker, Skill Games, Fantasy

Sports, Social Platform and more. The latest addition is the industry-first complete management infrastructure,

SpringBME (Business Management Environment).

All partners benefit from the BetConstruct Spring platform with its powerful

back office tools and all-inclusive services that empower operators’ growth

and help contain their costs. From stand-alone set up to turn-key and white

label solutions, BetConstruct offers its partners unfettered opportunity to

succeed.

MBR: First of all, thank you

very much for accepting this

interview. I would like to

ask you to shortly introduce

yourself and your role to

our readers. When and why

you started working in this

industry?

VB: I started this business with my brother

Vahe Badalyan and a handful of like-minded

people who were ambitious and courageous

enough to enter the gaming and betting

industry and start a business from zero.

We shared one dream which was to build a

company with the potential to revolutionize

the IT industry and stay on top of emerging

trends.

"we have the largest

portfolios of gaming

products casino, virtual

sports and skill games,

live dealer casinos,

fantasy sports networks,

social gaming platform

and much more.

MBR: The company you

represent, BetConstruct,

constantly innovates,

presents new products and is

a leader in this sector. What

is the key of your success?

VB: We are a fully transparent company

in many senses. Everyone can go to our

website and see our pricing. Everyone can

go to SpringBME and try out our products,

activate them and see how easy it is to start

an igaming business with us. Alongside with

our offerings we have third party solution

available through our platform as well.

Giving a freedom of choice is what defines

BetConstruct’s approach. And that is exactly

what make us successful.

MBR: The aim of your

company is to build the

most advanced platform by

constantly innovating and

keeping up to date with the

new technologies. This is a

very difficult task. How can

you overcome the difficulties

this rapidly changing industry

faces you?

VB: It is a rapidly developing sphere. Finding

a room for improvement and innovation is

our full-time commitment. One must always

be on the move to keep up the pace with the

progress, let alone be ahead of the curve.

And that is not an easy job. However, what

remains unchanged is the considerable effort

we put to fit the expectations of our partners

as they demand innovation alongside safe

knowledge of being taken care of. We put a

considerable effort in learning our partners’

demands to custom-tailor our solutions and

services to meet their desirable results.

MBR: Tell me about your

company’s game portfolio

and what is your philosophy

when manufacturing a slot

game?

Through our platform one may find

everything needed to start or expand a

gaming business. All the products, tools,

services. Our philosophy is to provide full

expertise. Along with the very powerful and

smart solutions we have the largest portfolios

of gaming products casino, virtual sports and

skill games, live dealer casinos, fantasy sports

networks, social gaming platform and much

more. What come to creating slot games,

we want our solutions to disappear into

experience. Our games are not just about

spinning reels, but a story behind it. With

SlotBuilder our casino partners can create

their bespoke slots in addition to over 5,000

games we provide from our own studios and

over 60 other suppliers.

MBR: Recently, there is a

change in the gambling

sector worldwide, with the

most countries’ governments

trying to regulate their

market through their national

legislation. What do you

think about that? Does that

affect you as a manufacturer

VB: The legislative developments speeding

36


GAMING INTERVIEW

Malta Business Review

through continents show that states prefer to

accept the legality of the industry and keep the

market under control. New legislative reforms

will prevent dishonest operators from taking

advantage of the lack of regulation, but help

the enthusiasts enter the market with unique

offerings and keep the industry income from

going offshore.

MBR: Your recently won

prestigious awards in MiGEA

2018, mainly Best Industry

Achiever (Land Based),

Best Gaming Technology

Supplier and Best Online

Casino Operator. What is

your feedback on the event

and how significant are these

unprecedented accolades

you have received from the

judges?

The recognition among the industry is a huge

motivation. It fuels our excitement, pushes

our competitiveness and challenges us to

strive for a bigger success. And in this case we

do not define success only by profitability or

awards. It is also the productive cooperation

with our partners and their success as well.

MBR: What upcoming events

is the company focusing on

nowadays and how prepared

is the company for these

events?

VB: We attend 100+ events annually.

Our calendar of expos, conferences and

networking events encompasses dozens of

markets where we travel to offer our solutions

tailored for a particular region. Apart from that,

since 2017 we organize series of informative

workshops. And this year is no different.

BetConstruct does have several exciting

announcements coming soon.

"The recognition among

the industry is a huge

motivation. It challenges

us to push the

boundaries and strive

for a bigger success.

MBR: What do you consider

to be BetConstruct’s most

important achievements so

far?

VB: Young, aspiring, determined and forward

looking people who make up a strong

workforce of BetConstruct. Looking back, 10

years ago we would have to invite software

engineers from abroad to get the company

going. Now the powerful engine behind

BetConstruct solutions keeps the company

prospering with the help of our strong team of

specialists who eagerly share their knowledge

with fresh minds helping them in their turn to

become professionals and contribute to the

growth of our company. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

CEO and Founder of BetConstruct Badalyan, Vigen

www.maltabusinessreview.net

37


Malta Business Review

eCOMMERCE

DHL Express Reveals

Purchasing Habits of Online Shoppers

• An international express shipping option can increase e-commerce basket value by up to 70%, helping merchants

boost revenue and tap new markets.

• Global digital advertising campaign “Where Everything Clicks” educates businesses on how to increase their share

of the trillion-dollar global e-commerce market.

DHL Express, the world’s leading international

express service provider, has launched “Where

Everything Clicks,” a global digital campaign

to grow its e-commerce business and guide

web merchants as they access the booming

global marketplace. DHL helps sellers navigate

an increasingly international landscape, in

which 70% of online buyers made a purchase

from an international site in 2017, up 6%

from a year earlier. DHL Express is aiming its

campaign at companies ranging from startups

to large enterprises, advising on how to

enhance international e-commerce shipping

capabilities and how to target internet-savvy

buyers like millennials – 68% of whom are

likely to choose a retailer based on delivery

options offered.

“International e-commerce is growing at a

remarkable pace, and we want our customers

to grab their share of the market – that

means adding value to their e-commerce

proposition,” states John Pearson, CEO

Europe and Head of Commercial for DHL

Express. “Our customers’ success is closely

tied to their buyers’ satisfaction with the

delivery experience and the delivery options

offered. DHL has developed services that both

enhance the customer experience and that

support web merchants as they access new

markets. Our global marketing campaign will

showcase those services, from On Demand

Delivery with its flexible delivery options for

buyers to intelligent website analyses tailored

to merchants.”

Using advanced market intelligence tools, DHL

can quickly identify shopping sites that receive

traffic from international locations, thus

flagging potential sales outside of the seller’s

core market. In addition, DHL can compare

website engagement metrics to those of

competitors, identifying opportunities to

reduce bounce rates with the addition of a

cross-border express delivery option. With

a checklist-based approach, DHL Express

advises merchants on how to optimize their

websites for international sales and how to

create a competitive advantage via shipping

options offered.

With On Demand Delivery, buyers are

notified proactively via email or SMS about a

shipment’s progress. Receivers can schedule

delivery for another day, arrange delivery to

a nearby DHL Service Point or an alternate

address, and even request that a shipment is

held during vacation. DHL Express offers On

Demand Delivery in over 100 countries, with

about 50 more coming this year.

“’Where Everything Clicks’ reveals purchasing

habits of online shoppers, including always

important delivery preferences, and shows

merchants how to use this information

to increase sales. We want to educate

current customers and to convert potential

international web merchants,” says Pearson.

“We’re convinced that cross-border

e-commerce has a huge upside that many

merchants – B2C and B2B – have not yet

tapped. Our aim is to support web sellers as

they go global and to stand as the international

express provider of choice for e-commerce.”

Creditline: DHL

MBR

38


EDITOR’S CHOICE

Malta Business Review

EDWARDS LOWELL OPENS MALTA’S FIRST

ROLEX BOUTIQUE

Valletta, August 2018 – Edwards Lowell and

Rolex today announced the opening of a Rolex

Boutique that is the rst of its kind in Malta.

Situated in Republic Street, Valletta, the Edwards

Lowell Rolex Boutique features an innovative

use of Rolex’s signature aqua pattern and a

handcrafted stucco wall with a depiction of

Valletta.

The new boutique offers professional expertise

in an elegant setting, one that promotes a

sense of harmony, discretion and intimacy with

the brand, which has been setting standards in

watchmaking for more than a century.

“This is an exciting new chapter in Edwards

Lowell’s distinctive history. A singular and worldclass

project that aims to set new standards

in Maltese retail and pave the way for future

projects,” said Malcolm R. Lowell, Managing

Director of Edwards Lowell.

ONE

BOUTIQUE, A

WHOLE ROLEX

WORLD

Every element of the interior design features the

elegant Rolex aesthetic and radiates the values

of the Rolex crown. Excellence, precision and

attention to detail emanate from the careful

calibration of colours and patterns in the fittings

and furnishings.

Sensitive lighting accentuates the beauty of a

wide selection of Rolex models in display cases

lined with beige leather with bronze trims.

A striking emerald aqua floor highlights Rolex’s

rich heritage – its wave motif referencing

the iconic Oyster, the world’s rst waterproof

wristwatch. Used as flooring for the first time, the

aqua material draws the eye across the boutique

towards handcrafted stucco panels that feature

a view of Valletta from the sea. The intense green

used around the boutique creates accents that

harmonize a refreshed colour palette. The space

also mixes textures from walnut-brown wood to

beige- coloured marble and leather, and includes

notable marble counters with leather and wood

detailing.

ABOUT

EDWARDS

LOWELL CO.

LIMITED

“When a man dedicates his life to a company,

both become intricately entwined. The business

becomes personal, especially in the case of a

family-owned business.”

- Malcolm A. Lowell, Edwards Lowell Chairman

Synonymous with luxury since 1925, Edwards

Lowell is renowned for being a ne retailer of a

curated selection of the most prestigious brands

in the world. From its conception over ninety years

ago, this family-run business has strived to offer its

clients the world’s nest products alongside unique

customer service. The Edwards Lowell Rolex

Boutique is the rst Rolex Boutique on the island

and is set to be valuable addition to the Edwards

Lowell family.

Edwards Lowell is looking forward to presenting

their esteemed clients with a curated selection of

ne timepieces which can be enjoyed and treasured

for their unparalleled craftsmanship and ultimately

be passed down from generation to generation.

ABOUT

ROLEX

An unrivalled reputation for quality and

expertise. Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture

headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the

world over for its expertise and the quality of

its products. Its Oyster and Cellini watches,

all certi ed as Superlative Chronometers for

their precision, performance and reliability, are

symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige.

Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand

pioneered the development of the wristwatch

and is at the origin of numerous major

watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster,

the rst waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926,

and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism

invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over

400 patents in the course of its history. A truly

integrated and independent manufacturing

company, Rolex designs, develops and produces

in-house all the essential components of its

watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to

the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing

of the movement, case, dial and bracelet.

Through philanthropic programmes and a broad

palette of sponsorship activities, Rolex is also

actively involved in supporting the arts, sports

and exploration, and encourages the spirit of

enterprise, as well as the conservation of natural

environments. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

Rolex Boutique, Valletta

www.maltabusinessreview.net

39


Malta Business Review

VENTURE CAPITAL

VENTURE CAPITAL FIRMS, INCUBATORS OF DISRUPTIVE IDEAS

“In today’s hyperlinked world, solving problems

anywhere, solves problems everywhere.” These

words by renowned entrepreneur Peter H.

Diamandis couldn’t have been more relatable. Some

of the key businesses that drive our lives today are

startups which have leveraged technology to create

globally-replicable solutions. Be it an Uber or an

Airbnb, disruptive ideas have scaled into universal

verbs on the back of technology.

As VC firms continue to fund technology-led

businesses, I sometimes wonder if the data and

infotech sector has reached its saturation point. But

Matrix Partners India MD, Avnish Bajaj says we can

only expect more innovation in the future, adding,

“Things are still nascent in India when it comes to

optimising the potential of the internet and mobile”.

Besides, considering the market right now is fertile

with ideas, this trend is only going to flourish.

Apart from technology, what drives the minds

behind these game-changing startups is the faith

in original thinking and the power of continuous

collaboration. A second home to such folks then,

must reflect these values with open, inspiring spaces.

It must be high on the approachable factor not only

to communicate the company's 'inviting' philosophy

to visitors, but also to help team members absorb

the core essence of the world of venture capitalists.

The role of VC professionals has now evolved

into one of value-addition partners. Beyond just

furnishing capital, they bring vision, belief and

guidance to take entrepreneurial passion to new

heights. Contemporary VC workspaces have been

incorporating this ethos into their design. The

tone for their team members and visitors alike

is set keeping this in mind - right from the colour

palette to more community spaces for ideation and

collaboration.

Another factor that has contributed to the new

design culture at VC offices is the fact that their

visitors are no longer limited to "safe sectors".

The likes of lifestyle brands like Chumbak have

transformed the universe of potential funded

businesses. They embody the vibrancy and freshness

of ideas in their spaces. This is why, a ping pong table

in the reception lounge, like at the Matrix Partners'

Mumbai office, is not an unusual sight. When future

founders walk into a VC office, they see a reflection

of how they envision their own company. Just like

Matrix Partners' “Founders First” philosophy, a spirit

of openness towards new entrepreneurs is integral

to VC firms all over. A case in point is Sequoia

Capital’s Silicon Valley office, modelled to serve as

“an office that lets guests feel at home.”

The second wave of changes will further cement

the shift in the funded-funder relationship. VC

offices will also have to mirror their visitors’ passion

for groundbreaking technology if they are to invite

the most disruptive business ideas. VCs have been

cultivating a growing preference for funding startups

that leverage augmented and virtual reality, artificial

intelligence, and human experience design. When

designing VC workspaces of the future, I believe the

following aspects will play a key role:

Courtesy: Photographix | Sebastian Zachariah

• AI-enabled insights and environment

• Virtual reality zones that allow visitors to

showcase their business vision

• Human experience design that appeals to

design partners

• Cues from pop culture that communicate VC

professionals' inclination towards business

that have changed lifestyles globally. For

instance, an OTT platform entrepreneur will

want to partner with a professional who is

well-versed with highbrow content on Netflix

and Amazon Prime Video.

To sum it up, VC offices are set to go from being a

second home for technology-driven entrepreneurs

to becoming the home for disruptive experiences

and discussions. Their workspace design will thus

serve as a catalyst for developing relationships with

entrepreneurs who’re redesigning our future.

About Architect

Ninad Tipnis

Ninad is an architect by qualification from the

Academy of Architecture, Mumbai and the founder

of JTCPL Designs. Ninad’s enthusiasm for always

delivering the best pervades through the team and

his ability to thrive under pressure is an inspiration

in itself. More than a creative leader he is a great

motivator & a mentor to many in the field. His ideas

and insights have impacted the entire industry and

he has been recognized with distinguished awards

by renowned design bodies. MBR

Courtesy: Photographix | Sebastian Zachariah

• Presentation spaces that are compatible with

AR / VR technology

Creditline: Venture Capital

40


Malta Business Review

www.maltabusinessreview.net

41


Malta Business Review

GAMING

MGA - New Gaming Act Comes Into Force

Heathcliff Farrugia, MGA CEO

The new Gaming Act, approved by

Maltese Parliament on 8 March 2018,

together with the subsidiary legislation

and Authority-issued binding instruments

which establish the detailed processes

and procedures constituting the holistic

regulatory framework for the gaming

sector, came into force today 1 August

2018 after undergoing the EU Technical

Regulation Information System (TRIS)

process, in line with European Union

Directive 2015/1535.

The new framework elevates the

jurisdictional profile of Malta from a

regulatory perspective by strengthening

the MGA’s supervisory role, specifically the

Authority’s compliance and enforcement

"Today marks one of the

most important days in

the history of the MGA.

Years of hard work

finally come to fruition

functions to better achieve its regulatory

objectives. This is in line with concurrent

developments relating to anti-money

laundering and combating the funding of

terrorism.

The new regulatory framework also

empowers the Authority to be more

agile in its decision-making, by removing

unnecessary regulatory burdens not

conducive to the regulatory objectives,

whilst simultaneously strengthening

supervision and focusing the regulator’s

efforts on areas which present a higher

risk profile.

Furthermore, the reform enhances

consumer protection standards and

responsible gaming measures, while

promoting a risk-based approach towards

regulation. It provides the MGA with wider

powers in the fields of compliance and

enforcement and establishes objectiveoriented

standards to encourage

innovation and development.

Underlining the importance of this

milestone the MGA’s Chief Executive

Officer Heathcliff Farrugia stated that:

"Today marks one of the most important

days in the history of the MGA. Years of

hard work finally come to fruition. I would

like to thank all those involved in making

the new regulatory framework a reality,

in particular my predecessor Mr Joseph

Cuschieri for the foresight to initiate

this project, Parliamentary Secretary

Hon. Silvio Schembri and the Maltese

Government at large for their ongoing

support and commitment, and especially

the MGA's personnel for their relentless

work in developing and implementing the

new legal regime.

This is the beginning of a new chapter in

Maltese gaming regulation. One which

builds on the foundations of the previous

laws, and which empowers the Authority

to further strengthen the way it regulates

the industry, and to continue being a

thought leader for the years the come.”

Subject to the transitory provisions

envisaged therein, this framework is

applicable for remote gaming operators

as of today 1 August 2018, whereas landbased

operators shall become subject to

these new laws as of 1 January 2019.

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

ww.mga.org.mt

MBR

42


CYBERCRIME

Malta Business Review

Acronis Hosts MEP Miriam Dalli

Leading Member of the European Parliament – to Discuss Cybercrime and how

more girls can be encouraged to join the IT sector

LOCATION, 20 July 2018 – Acronis, a global

leader in cyber protection, announced today

that it hosted Dr. Miriam Dalli, a prominent

Member of the European Parliament (MEP),

at its office in Malta to discuss efforts to fight

cybercrime and promote cyber protection in the

EU and countries such as Malta.

MEP Dr. Dalli has been very vocal in the

European Parliament on issues relating to

the protection of citizens in the cyber world.

Acknowledging the extensive work that she

has undertaken in the area of cyber protection,

Acronis pledged to provide sufficient resources

to assist her in developing policies for any of

the forums in which she participates in the

European Parliament.

Acronis and Dr. Dalli agreed that a more

concerted effort is required amongst all

stakeholders and that cooperation is needed

in order to develop policies and strategies to

combat cybercrime. Acronis’ expertise and

research have the potential to serve as a key

factor in ensuring effective cyber protection

across Europe.

Acronis and Dr. Dalli also discussed the need to

create a platform with which young ICT experts

can be trained to combat cybercrime, starting

with pilot projects based at Acronis’ R&D center

in Malta. Acronis will provide IT experts in Malta

with training, as well as access to its products,

to ensure the country has the necessary

capabilities to detect and defeat cybercrime.

To raise awareness of the need for cyber

protection, Dr. Dalli is interested in supporting

the Acronis Foundation, a European nongovernment

organisation (NGO) dedicated

to promoting knowledge around the world

by building schools and increasing access to

education in developing countries.

Together with MEP Dalli, Acronis and Acronis

Foundation will collaborate to attract more

girls and women in IT. One goal is to introduce

training programmes specifically aimed at

young girls. “It is important to create equal

opportunities in IT for girls and women. With

our joint initiative Acronis and my team will

enable young aspiring talents to strive to their

full potential in IT. The digital industry offers

opportunities for both men and women but

research shows that less girls are attracted to

careers in IT,” says Dr. Miriam Dalli.

"The digital industry

offers opportunities for

both men and women

but research shows that

less girls are attracted to

careers in IT.

“We have a common goal to make the digital

world a safe place for everybody. We’re excited

to discuss these important issues with MEP

Miriam Dalli and believe that we can make a

great contribution to the efforts of the European

Parliament to define effective standards for

cyber protection,” said John Zanni, President of

Acronis.

About Acronis

Acronis sets the standard for cyber protection

and hybrid cloud storage through its innovative

backup, anti-ransomware, disaster recovery,

storage, and enterprise file sync and share

solutions. Powered by the Acronis AnyData

Engine and strengthened by its artificial

intelligence-based ransomware defense and

blockchain-based data certification, Acronis

solutions deliver easy, reliable, efficient, secure,

and private cyber protection for physical, virtual,

cloud, mobile workloads and applications.

Founded in Singapore in 2003 and incorporated

in Switzerland in 2008, Acronis is currently

celebrating its 15-year anniversary as a global

leader in cyber protection. Its innovative

technology is driven by 100+ patents, developed

by 500 engineers, and supported by more than

1,000 employees worldwide. Acronis’ products

are used in over 150 countries in more than 20

languages, bringing complete protection for

more than 5 million consumers and 500,000

businesses.

Acronis solutions are available worldwide

through a global network of service providers,

distributors, and cloud resellers. MBR

To find out more, visit www.acronis.com

Creditline: Acronis

Dr. Miriam Dalli

www.maltabusinessreview.net

43


Malta Business Review

BANKING REPORT

Top Trends in Corporate Banking:

2018–2019 Edition

Patricia Hines

Celent’s latest edition of top trends in corporate banking explores the

issues that executives at banks around the globe should be aware of.

Some are just beginning to emerge, while others have been around a

long time.

Key Research Questions:

• What trends are most

profoundly affecting corporate

banking today?

• What are the implications for

banks?

• What are the next best actions

for banks and their technology

partners?

Abstract:

Our corporate banking trends track Celent’s

themes of Digital and Omnichannel;

Innovation and Fintech; and Legacy and

Ecosystem Transformation. To help banks

to navigate an evolving ecosystem, this

Celent report focuses on ten trends that

bankers should have on their radar.

Our analysis is high-level and aims to

provide a quick perspective on the salient

trends affecting corporate banking over the

next year. Bankers should not view these

trends in a vacuum.

There is substantial overlap across many

of the trends in terms of drivers and

outcomes. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

44


SOCIAL

Malta Business Review

GiG Hosts press conference to launch Malta Pride Week 2018,

as headline sponsor

Malta Pride was officially launched by the Minister

for European Affairs and Equality, Helena Dalli, on

Thursday 6 September. The press conference was

held at GiG, the headline sponsor of Malta Pride

2018. The Shadow Minister, Claudette Buttigieg,

also addressed the audience together with the

President of the Allied Rainbow Communities

(ARC), Eamonn Gomez Jimenez, and the COO of

GiG, Mikael Angman.

Several local artists will be performing for the

crowds at the open air concert which will be held

after the parade in Valletta. In addition, the Italian

Drag duo Karma B. will be entertaining the crowds

with their spectacular acts. More information will

be available on www.maltapride.org

Quotes from GiG:

"We don’t just believe that iGaming should be fair

and fun for all, we believe that life should be fair

and fun for all. And to demonstrate our support,

today we’re teaming up with Allied Rainbow

Communities (ARC) to be Malta Pride 2018’s main

partner" - Mikael Ångman

Mikael Ångman, Chief Operations Officer of

GiG said: “We are proud to be the headline

supporters of Malta Pride, an event we believe to

be a highlight in Malta’s calendar! GiG’s vision is

to change the iGaming industry to make it fair and

fun for all. A huge part of that is to have a diverse

workforce and provide an atmosphere where

everyone can be the best version of themselves,

no matter their background or sexual orientation.

We want to encourage everyone to be able to be

who they are without fear. We make insanely great

tech products through the entire value chain in the

iGaming industry”

Quotes ARC:

Clayton Mercieca, who is organising Pride as part

of ARC Malta (Allied Rainbow Community) has

said that witnessing a collaboration between the

business and civic community is a big step forward.

"We are hoping to make each year's Pride bigger

and better than before," he said.

"With a major employer like GiG supporting Pride,

it highlights Pride as more than just the fanfare

and glamour that is fun for all the family, but it

also becomes an important event because there is

a lot of isolation in our small islands that makes it

very hard for minorities like the LGBTIQ community

to integrate." – Quote from Clayton Mercieca

(Organiser Malta Pride)

“Malta Pride week runs from the 9th to the 16th

September and consists of many events from

football and volleyball tournaments to mental

health and Family Networking events. And of

course, on Saturday 15th of September we hold

the Pride march and concert at the Heart of the

Mediterranean” MBR

Creditline: GiG, ARC

GIG Event

CORINTHIA PALACE HOTEL & SPA

Opens New Executive Lounge

Located on the ground floor of the hotel overlooking its beautiful gardens, the Lounge is exclusive to guests staying in Corinthia Palace

suites and executive rooms.

Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa recently unveiled yet

another luxurious facility for its guests to enjoy – its

new Executive Lounge on the Ground Floor. Located

just along from the popular Caprice Lounge, the

Executive Lounge was created exclusively for

guests booked into the hotel’s upmarket suites and

executive rooms.

Designed in a style synonymous with Corinthia

Palace’s renowned elegance, the Executive Lounge

is open throughout the day to serve complimentary

tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages, juices and snacks.

On top of that, a buffet breakfast is served from

7am to 11am, afternoon tea from 3.30pm till

5.30pm, and sunset drinks from 6pm till 7.30pm.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve our

facilities and service for our guests, and this latest

addition adds appealing exclusivity and luxury for

those staying in our executive rooms and suites,”

says Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa General Manager

Adrian Attard. “It is an opulent space reserved

exclusively for them, and we believe it adds that

little something extra to their stay with us, and on

the island.”

Beyond serving snacks and refreshments, the

Executive Lounge also offers additional business

services including complimentary access to the

Mdina meeting room, provided it is booked in

advance. MBR

Creditline: Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa

For more information on the newly-launched Corinthia Palace Executive Lounge, please visit

https://www.corinthia.com/en/hotels/palace-hotel-and-spa/executive-club

www.maltabusinessreview.net

45


Malta Business Review

FINTECH

Regulation of FinTech must strike a better balance between

market stimulation and the security and stability of the

financial and economic system

By Jasmin Klötzing

The EESC believes that the European Commission's Action

Plan is a good basis but that additional measures are

needed to tap the full potential of financial technology

and to ensure certainty and protection for all market

participants.

The measures proposed by the European

Commission concerning the development

of financial technology (FinTech) within the

European financial sector must be adjusted

so as to balance market stimulation and the

security and stability of the financial and

economic system. The overall aim must be to

ensure certainty and protection as well as fair

and equal market conditions for all market

participants. The EESC is strongly convinced

that FinTech, in an appropriate legal framework,

can deliver benefits to European businesses and

their clients, contributing to a more competitive

and innovative European financial sector.

"FinTech players should be subject to the

same rules as the financial sector, particularly

as regards resilience, cyber security and

supervision", said Petru Sorin Dandea,

rapporteur for the EESC opinion on the

proposals of the so-called FinTech Action Plan.

"We must follow the principle of 'same risk,

same rules, same supervision'", he said. In

addition, the Committee is calling for rules to

ensure uniform development of FinTech in the

EU.

Despite its reservations, the EESC supports

the Commission's action plan. It believes that

the plan could be instrumental as regards

"National supervisors

are closer to national

markets and can

better assess local

circumstances. The

Commission should thus

consider allocating them

a substantial supervisory

role.

deepening and broadening the capital markets

by integrating digitisation, and that it could

serve as a stimulus for small and medium-sized

enterprises active in the financial sector, as it

can facilitate their access to finance. The action

plan could thus contribute to the completion

of the capital markets union, Economic and

Monetary Union and the Digital Single Market,

priorities that are strongly championed by the

EESC.

Concerning the right to portability of personal

data, the EESC believes that this must be

implemented in a manner that is compatible

with the new Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

This would ensure that a level playing field is

achieved as regards access to customer data

under PSD2 and the General Data Protection

Regulation (GDPR).

The EESC would point out the need to clarify

the responsibility of companies offering cloud

services as regards protecting the personal data

they host. Possible rules should be identified by

the Commission.

Further recommendations expressed in the

Committee's opinion concern crypto-assets and

the impact of innovative technologies on the

labour market in the financial sector. The EESC

recommends that the European Commission

together with the European supervisory

authorities keeps a close eye on the growth

and the high degree of volatility of cryptoassets

and addresses any issue concerning this

matter that could threaten the security and

stability of the financial and economic system.

As regards the impact on the labour market,

the Committee calls on the Member States to

design and implement active labour market

measures enabling workers who lose their jobs

to take up new jobs.

In line with its opinion on the FinTech

Action Plan, the EESC strongly welcomes

the Commission's proposals for an enabling

framework for crowdfunding. It believes that

artificial obstacles should not act as a brake

on the new framework. It is therefore calling

for even stronger proposals and additional

measures. Nevertheless, the Commission

proposals would be a major step forward, as

they provide new opportunities and more

certainty and protection for service providers,

businesses and investors.

With regard to stronger proposals and

additional measures, Daniel Mareels,

rapporteur for the EESC opinion on Crowd and

peer-to-peer finance, said: "At least in the initial

stages, there should be an even stronger focus

on risk aspects associated with crowdfunding

operations and markets in order to better

identify them or mitigate them where possible

and to ensure certainty and protection for all

concerned parties".

Market deregulation would constitute higher

risks for investors and could create an uneven

playing field with traditional financial service

providers. Other areas of tension could be the

status of providers and their services and the

unclear role of national supervisory bodies.

Apart from that, the coexistence of European

and national regimes may give rise to

confusion and uncertainty. In order to ensure

clarity, additional obligations on authorities

and supervisors to provide accurate, easily

accessible information for all users or the

obligatory use of the "EU label" for service

providers could be options.

In its opinion, the EESC also urges the European

Commission to (better) address the issues

of money laundering, terrorism financing

and taxation related to crowdfunding. It

questions the limited possibility for subjecting

crowdfunding platforms to existing rules on

money laundering and terrorism financing and

the restriction to finance projects only up to an

amount of EUR 1 million.

Finally, the Committee encourages the

introduction of provisions to regularly monitor,

evaluate and measure the success of the

proposed EU regime. Consultations and

dialogue with all stakeholders and interested

parties would be desirable. MBR

Creditline: EESC Press Unit

46


EXECUTIVE LIFESTYLE

Malta Business Review

Blockchain in Action in Corporate Banking

by Alenka Grealish

“And they’re off” is the most succinct way to describe the status of

blockchain-based initiatives in commercial banking. The race to scale

production is on and will be a marathon, not a sprint.

Key Research Questions:

• What use cases are approaching the

golden triangle of value, feasibility,

and viability?

• Who are the payments contenders?

• Who are the trade finance

contenders?

Abstract:

Blockchain in corporate banking is moving

from experiment to live transactions,

proving value and feasibility but not

yet demonstrating viability (e.g., scale).

Celent showcases 12 contenders in

payments, trade finance, and syndicated

loans.

Early movers have gone from proofs

of concept to pilots and production.

The production launches are currently

relatively small initiatives. Most initiatives

are digitizing processes, that is, carrying

messages or documents. Only a very few

are using digital assets as a medium to

exchange value. The next 18 months will be

a critical period to attract service providers

and end users. In parallel, blockchain

and DLT platform providers are working

fervently on improving scale and speed

with the goal of staying one step ahead of

the needs of application providers.

Celent has selected 12 contenders to profile

based on their progress toward winning

medals in value, feasibility, and viability

as well as the calibre of their people and

participants.

• Five in cross-border payments with

the first three in production: Ripple,

Stellar, IBM World Wire, JPM Interbank

Information Network, and Visa B2B

Connect.

• Six in trade finance with the first two

in production: we.trade, India Trade

Connect, TradeIX, Skuchain, Voltron,

and Centrifuge.

• One in syndicated lending in

production:Fusion LenderComm by

Finastra. MBR

Creditline: Celent PR & Digital; Celent, a

division of Oliver Wyman

www.maltabusinessreview.net

47


Malta Business Review

THE LINESMAN

Russia’s bloody World Cup

by Minky Worden

From Russia’s escalating crackdown on peaceful critics to its unwelcoming anti-LGBT “propaganda” law to

workers dying to build shiny new stadiums, this World Cup did little to counter Russia’s many rights abuses.

We have all enjoyed the football, but the

human costs were high. Tunku Varadarajan and

colleagues on the 2018 World Cup through the

lenses of culture, politics, anthropology and the

love of the Beautiful Game.

The 2018 World Cup is has gone down with

memorable play, but for FIFA itself, this was a

preventable own goal.

FIFA’s flagship tournament could have done

something to relieve the worst human rights crisis

in Russia since the Soviet era, but instead the

football organization condoned many human rights

violations, undermining its own policies. Russian

President Vladimir Putin emerged as the big winner,

using the games to sportswash his rule — to

legitimize it by hosting a sporting mega-event.

FIFA adopted a Human Rights Policy in 2017,

pledging to “go beyond its responsibility to respect

human rights” by taking “measures to promote

the protection of human rights and positively

contribute to their enjoyment,” and it instituted a

new program of labour inspections at construction

sites. But from Russia’s escalating crackdown on

peaceful critics to its unwelcoming anti-LGBT

“propaganda” law to workers dying to build shiny

new stadiums, this World Cup did little to counter

Russia’s many rights abuses.

To deliver Russia’s World Cup, at least 21 workers

died in stadium construction, according to Building

Workers International. This is almost enough to

field two teams. According to BWI in its June 2018

report “Foul Play,” “most of these deaths were

because of falls from heights or because of heavy

equipment falling on workers, tragedies that could

have been averted if safety and health conditions

were enforced.”

Beyond worker abuses, the World Cup gave one of

Russia’s worst rights violators, the Chechen ruler

Ramzan Kadyrov, a global platform to launder his

reputation.

"Beyond worker abuses,

the World Cup gave one

of Russia’s worst rights

violators, the Chechen

ruler Ramzan Kadyrov,

a global platform to

launder his reputation.

In another low, North Korean forced labourers

constructed a World Cup stadium. In an

article titled “The Slaves of St Petersburg,” the

investigative magazine Josimar documented that at

least 110 North Koreans worked at the Zenit Arena

in St. Petersburg, one of the venues for the 2018

World Cup Finals. “International experts describe

the workers from North Korea as both slaves and

hostages. One North Korean worker was found

dead in a storage container outside the stadium.”

North Koreans working in Russia qualify as forced

labour because the North Korean labour suppliers

must send the vast majority of hard currency

the workers earn back to Pyongyang (in violation

of U.N. sanctions). After these revelations, FIFA

President Gianni Infantino said that “North Korean

workers are no longer being used” — but he did

not reveal what actually happened to the workers

who helped build the St. Petersburg stadium, and

whether they were ever fairly compensated for

their work.

Consistent with these findings, Human Rights

Watch documented wage-cheating, unsafe

conditions and exploitation in construction of

stadiums and other World Cup-related sites in

our 2017 report, Red Card. At one point, our

researcher was detained by police outside the

Volgograd stadium, putting an end to his research

on worker conditions. MBR

Creditline: POLITICO SPRL

48


Malta Business Review

www.maltabusinessreview.net

49


Malta Business Review

WOMEN'S RIGHTS

MEPs Propose Measures to Combat

Mobbing & Sexual Harassment

• Up to 55% of women have been sexually harassed in the EU

• Reporting should be made easier for victims

• Perpetrators should face tough and dissuasive sanctions

Sexual harassment victims should be helped to report

cases and perpetrators should face sanctions, say

Women’s Rights MEPs in a draft report adopted on

Tuesday.

In the context of the public debate

prompted by the Weinstein scandal and

the #MeToo campaign, which helped to

redraw the boundaries of what constitutes

sexual harassment and acceptable

behaviour, Women’s Rights and Gender

Equality Committee MEPs adopted a

draft report (21 votes in favour, 0 against,

5 abstentions) proposing measures to

combat mobbing and sexual harassment

in the EU.

Deploring the fact that laws and the

definitions in this area vary across member

states, they reiterate their call on the EU

Commission to propose a Directive against

all forms of violence against women (VAW),

including updated common definitions and

legal standards that treat it as a crime.

Victims should not be afraid to report a

case in the workplace

The draft report underlines the urgent

need for member states, local authorities

and trade unions to understand the

barriers that women face in reporting cases

of sexual harassment in the workplace

and to offer them full support to report

these cases safely, without fear of possible

consequences.

It also calls on member states to encourage

workplace policies based on prevention,

confidential procedures to deal with

complaints, and tough and dissuasive

sanctions for perpetrators.

Zero tolerance of sexual harassment in

politics

MEPs call on all political parties to tackle

sexual harassment notably by revising

party rules to introduce a zero-tolerance

policy and sanctions for perpetrators. They

also urge national and local parliaments

to fully support victims, investigate cases,

maintain a confidential register of cases

and ensure mandatory training for all staff

and members on respect and dignity.

“Virtual” public spaces: how to combat

online harassment

The draft report urges the EU Commission

to come up with a new definition of

“public space”, reflecting evolving

communication technologies and the

rise of ”virtual” public spaces such as

social networks and websites, which have

created more possibilities for harassment

and violence at every level of society.

MEPs call on member states to remind

internet providers of their duty to protect

their online customers by addressing

cases of repetitive abuse or stalking and to

inform the perpetrators that they cannot

act with impunity.

Finally, they reiterate that awarenessraising

campaigns and education at every

level are fundamental tools in helping to

address gender-based violence in public

spaces.

Quote

EP rapporteur Pina Picierno (S&D, IT)

said: ‘‘The #MeToo movement has shown

the world how big and widespread the

phenomenon of sexual harassment

and mobbing is, including in public and

work spaces. With this report we ask

the EU Commission to act at European

level, starting by proposing a clear legal

definition of what sexual harassment

is, stressing educational strategies and

tackling the dramatic phenomenon

of online harassment. Failing to do so

would mean ’tolerating’ mobbing and

harassment and leaving women even

more alone.’’

Next steps

The own-initiative report will be put to

a vote in plenary during the September

session in Strasbourg. MBR

Creditline: EPO

50


BANKING

Malta Business Review

FIMBank Announces Half-Yearly

profit of USD 6.1 million

The FIMBank Group has announced an

after-tax profit of USD 6.1 million for the

first six months of 2018, an increase of 47

percent on the USD 4.1 million registered

during the same period in 2017. These

figures emerge from the publication of the

Group’s Interim Financial Statements for

2018, which were approved at a meeting

of its Board of Directors on the 14th August

2018.

"The results for the first

six months of 2018 are a

manifestation of

FIMBank’s performing

fundamentals and

its realisation of a

sustainable platform

for further success.

During the period under review, net

operating results, that is operating revenues

less operating costs, more than tripled,

from USD 2.7 million to USD 9.8 million,

as the Group improved its revenues by

USD 4.4 million and reduced its costs by

USD 2.7 million. This was a contribution of

many factors, including increased volumes

and better yields on its product offering,

reduced cost of funds as the Group was

more selective in its funding sources and

successful implementation of measures in

managing costs.

Following the successful completion of the

USD 105 million Rights Issue concluded in

May 2018, the Group’s equity at 30th June

stands at USD 274 million, with the CET1

ratio at 16.7%. At the end of the reporting

period, Total Consolidated Assets stood at

USD 1.95 billion, an increase of 19 percent

over the USD 1.64 billion reported at end-

2017, while Total Consolidated Liabilities

stood at USD 1.67 billion, or 14 percent

more than the USD 1.47 billion reported at

end 2017.

Commenting on the financial results,

FIMBank Group CEO Murali Subramanian

stated that “The results for the first six

months of 2018 are a manifestation of

FIMBank’s performing fundamentals and

its realisation of a sustainable platform

for further success. The Group has been

successful in turning its business around,

generating profitability and providing a

platform for growth over the last twelve

quarters.” Mr Subramanian also highlighted

the strong improvement in the Group’s

core performance, explaining that this

has occurred across the key operational

pillars, covering business and revenue

generation, risk management and expense

management. “Notwithstanding the

economic situation around the world”,

stated FIMBank’s CEO, “the Group’s

origination efforts have been stepped up,

growing client assets and demonstrating

a strong pipeline of business across the

different products and geographies within

which it operates. As a result, core income

generation has rebounded on the back of

increased volumes, improved yields, and

lower cost of funds.”

Mr Subramanian also attributed the

Group’s positive half-yearly results to

successful measures in managing costs, and

to improving key cost/income ratios both

in absolute and relative terms. According

to the CEO, “as much as origination and

business development remain a priority for

the Group, the focus on asset quality and

acceptable risk levels has remained critically

important, resulting in improved provision

coverage on delinquent loans, with recovery

efforts continuing to yield expected results.”

He anticipates that the approach adopted

so far will continue evolving: “in the months

ahead, the Group will exploit its strong

expertise and improved operating culture to

grow across its diversified product offering.”

FIMBank Group Chairman Dr John C. Grech

expressed the satisfaction of the Board with

the results of the first half of 2018. He stated

that “FIMBank’s positive performance,

which has now extended into its third

year, has a very specific provenance. It is

the direct consequence of a strategic shift

in focus successfully tuned to changing

market conditions. Accomplished with

extremely sound planning and copious

amounts of hard work and perseverance

by our strong management team, ably led

by CEO Murali Subramanian, this successful

drive has contributed to establishing the

FIMBank Group as a more robust banking

institution, based on business discipline,

centrally-aligned operations, and effective

management of enterprise risks.”

Meanwhile, FIMBank’s Board of Directors

will not be recommending an interim

dividend for the period under review. MBR

For more information about FIMBank plc,

please visit www.fimbank.com

Creditline: FIMBank

FIMBANK

www.maltabusinessreview.net

51


Malta Business Review

DEBATE

Why Are Some People Selfish?

by Josh Davies

Josh Davies

Most of us are at least a little selfish, but some

more so than others. In order to get what we

want in life we tend to reward those who are

good to us by being good back to them, and

punish those who aren't. But there are a minority

of people, known as “Machiavellians,” who pay

no regard to these social norms. A new study,

published in Brain and Cognition, has managed

to visualize what happens in the brains of these

Machiavellians when others are nice to them,

and found they went into overdrive, working out

how best to exploit them, suggest the authors.

Named after the 16th Century Italian writer,

politician and diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli,

the term is used by psychologists to refer to

someone who is highly manipulative, deceitful,

and lacking empathy. The name derives not

because Machiavelli was particularly any of

those things, but because of the main character

in his most famous work "The Prince" used

clever tricks to hold on to power.

When it comes to society, it seems that some

people are hard-wired this way, exploiting others

for their own gain. And scientists are able to

work out where people fall on a scale from low-

Machiavellian to high-Machiavellian by means of

a questionnaire. Hungarian researchers from the

University of Pécs used this test to divide a group

of students into those with high Machiavellian

tendencies in a group of students and those who

displayed low tendencies, and then used an MRI

scan to see what happened in their brains during a

simple game of trust.

The game worked like this: The participants were

paired up with a partner. Individuals were then

given five dollars and asked to decide how much

they wanted to “invest” in their partner. The

participants all thought that their partner was

another student, but in actual fact they were

a computer, which was programmed to either

return their investment fairly (10% above or below

the initial investment), or unfairly (returning only

30% of the initial investment). After this first

interaction the roles were then reversed, with

the computer partner having to "invest" in the

participant. The participants then had to decide

whether to give a fair or unfair return. When the

low-Machs decided how much to give back to

their partners they acted according to the social

norms, rewarding their partner when they had

given them a “fair” return first, and punishing

them when they’d received an “unfair” return.

The high-Machs, however, gave everyone unfair

returns, regardless of what they’d previously been

given. Unsurprisingly, at the end of the game, the

high-Machs ended up with the most money.

But looking at the high-Machs' brain activity during

the task, the researchers found that when the

computer partner gave the high-Mach a fair return

"Named after the 16th

Century Italian writer,

politician and diplomat

Niccolò Machiavelli,

the term is used by

psychologists to refer to

someone who is highly

manipulative, deceitful,

and lacking empathy

for their initial investment, their brain activity shot

up in areas involved in inhibition and creativity.

The researchers suggest that this indicates they

might have been inhibiting their natural instinct to

reciprocate fairness, while at the same time trying

to calculate how best to take advantage of their

partner.

So, it seems that those who are most manipulative

and deceitful don’t decide to punish people

because they are unfair to them, instead deciding

to be unfair to them all the time, which feeds into

their lack of empathy. But show them fairness or

cooperation, and they start to figure out how best

to exploit you. MBR

Creditline: Josh Davies

52


EU/DIGITAL COPYRIGHT

Malta Business Review

Parliament adopts its position on

digital copyright rules

Copyright rules need updating for the digital age

• Tech giants must pay for work of artists and journalists which they use

• Small and micro platforms excluded from directive’s scope

• Hyperlinks, “accompanied by “individual words” can be shared freely

• Journalists must get a share of any copyright-related remuneration obtained

by their publishing house

Parliament adopted its revised negotiating

position on copyright rules on Wednesday,

adding safeguards to protect small firms and

freedom of expression.

Parliament’s position for talks with member

states to hammer out a final deal was

approved by 438 votes to 226, with 39

abstentions. It makes some important

tweaks to the June committee proposal.

Tech giants to share revenue with artists

and journalists

Many of Parliament’s changes to the EU

Commission’s original proposal aim to make

certain that artists, notably musicians,

performers and script authors, as well as

news publishers and journalists, are paid

for their work when it is used by sharing

platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, and

news aggregators such as Google News.

After the vote, rapporteur Axel Voss (EPP, DE)

said, “I am very glad that despite the very

strong lobbying campaign by the internet

giants, there is now a majority in the full

house backing the need to protect the

principle of fair pay for European creatives.

There has been much heated debate around

this directive and I believe that Parliament

has listened carefully to the concerns raised.

Thus, we have addressed concerns raised

about innovation by excluding small and

micro platforms or aggregators from the

scope.

I am convinced that once the dust has

settled, the internet will be as free as it is

today, creators and journalists will be earning

a fairer share of the revenues generated by

their works, and we will be wondering what

all the fuss was about.”

AP Images/European Union-EP

Fair pay for artists and journalists while

encouraging start-ups

Parliament’s position toughens the

Commission’s proposed plans to make

online platforms and aggregators liable for

copyright infringements. This would also

apply to snippets, where only a small part

of a news publisher’s text is displayed. In

practice, this liability requires these parties

to pay right holders for copyrighted material

that they make available. Parliament’s text

also specifically requires that journalists

themselves, and not just their publishing

houses, benefit from remuneration

stemming from this liability requirement.

At the same time, in an attempt to encourage

start-ups and innovation, the text now

exempts small and micro platforms from the

directive.

Protecting freedom of expression

The text includes provisions to ensure

that copyright law is observed online

without unfairly hampering the freedom

of expression that has come to define the

internet.

Thus, merely sharing hyperlinks to articles,

together with “individual words” to describe

them, will be free of copyright constraints.

Any action taken by platforms to check

that uploads do not breach copyright rules

must be designed in such a way as to avoid

catching “non-infringing works”. These

platforms will moreover be required to

establish rapid redress systems (operated by

the platform’s staff, not algorithms) through

which complaints can be lodged when an

upload is wrongly taken down.

Wikipedia and open source software

platforms will not be affected

The text also specifies that uploading to

online encyclopaedias in a non-commercial

way, such as Wikipedia, or open source

software platforms, such as GitHub,

will automatically be excluded from the

requirement to comply with copyright rules.

Stronger negotiating rights for authors and

performers

Parliament’s text also strengthens the

negotiating rights of authors and performers,

by enabling them to “claim” additional

remuneration from the party exploiting their

rights when the remuneration originally

agreed is “disproportionately” low compared

to the benefits derived.

The text adds that these benefits should

include “indirect revenues”. It would also

empower authors and performers to revoke

or terminate the exclusivity of an exploitation

licence for their work if the party holding

the exploitation rights is deemed not to be

exercising this right. MBR

Credit: John Schranz, Press Officer/EP

www.maltabusinessreview.net

53


Malta Business Review

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

HELP! A Storm is Coming

It is the time of the year when we experience

our annual September/October rain fall. This

usually comes after a dry period of intensive

heat. During this time of the year we experience

a drastic temperature change, shorter days and

lot of traffic. In short winter is coming back. But

what exactly happens to our houses in summer

and why many people endure water intake at

this time of the year. The truth is that we live in

an island surrounded by sea and our climate is

very humid and salty, this mix of heat, humidity

and salt is definitely not concrete friendly. Our

concrete roofs expand with the summer heat

and absorbs dew and moist in the evenings.

This combination of heat and salt water rusts

the iron bars inside the concrete structure,

subjecting it to cracks and unwanted building

damages.

Over 80% of building damages is the result of

water intake mostly due to bad waterproofing

systems, improper plumbing installations

(always implement waterproofing in bathrooms

prior installation of pipes and drains), rising

damp and drainage system. All this sounds

catastrophic and should be a matter of concern,

yet in reality with proper products and good

workmanship there is no reason for any alarm.

All the above mentioned problems can be solved

with a proper waterproofing resin membrane.

A waterproofing membrane is a thin layer of

water-tight material that is laid over a surface.

This layer is continuous and does not allow

water to pass through it. For example, on a

roof or flat terrace, a waterproofing membrane

could be laid above the structural slab and

Application of waterproofing plaster

Sealing of joints and openings of a metal structure

below the finish tiles.

This will ensure that

water does not seep

into the structural

slab. The tiles and

membrane must be laid

over a filler material

that is sloped to ensure

that water flows into

sumps and drains. Any water that remains as

puddles over the tiles roofs is likely to seep into

the slab over time, so puddles are to be avoided

at all costs.

The most common type of membranes used

in Malta are the sheet (carpet) bitumen

membranes and liquid applied membranes.

The first one is mainly made from bitumen, it

is non-elastic, creates heat intake and tends

to open from seams when subject to concrete

movements. This Old school membrane is

recommended for foundations only.

A good outdoor waterproofing membrane must

be flexible, tear-resistant and elastic so that it

can stretch when required. If the membrane

is to be exposed to sun rays, then it should be

UV resistant. The membrane should be flexible

enough to take any shape it is laid over and be

capable of turning up and over walls and other

construction features.

Liquid applied membranes can be sprayed,

roller or brush-applied on the surface. The

liquid cures when it comes in contact with air

and forms a seamless, joint-free membrane.

The thickness can be controlled by the number

of coats applied.

These are generally considered to be superior

to sheet bitumen membranes as they are jointfree.

However care must be taken in application

and the type of material used. Avoid plastic and

acrylic based membranes/compounds as they

lack UV resistance and will eventually flake. The

result is a fast deterioration and product failure

when you need it the most. The intensive heat

and high UV Rays makes life difficult for these

products to lust long, maybe a winter or two. An

Important factor is the environment, Bitumen

based products melt at low temperatures

create heat intake and are considered a hazard

to the environment. They are not suitable if you

have wells and are considered toxic.

The membrane can tear or break if it is too thin,

always make sure to apply the right thickness,

minimum three coats after the application of a

primer to create a good adhesion.

How can we identify a good waterproofing

product?

• UV Stability - if the membrane is to be

exposed to the sun, it must carry UV

resistant mark or else it will degrade over

time.

• Elongation - this is the ability of the

membrane to stretch. It is measured

in percentages. An elongation of 150%

means that the membrane can stretch

to 1.5 times its length when pulled.

Elongation is a must in buildings that

54


BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

Malta Business Review

will move, such as high-rise buildings, or

buildings made with steel, which is flexible.

This property will allow the membrane to

stretch over cracks that may develop in the

future

• Tear Resistance - this is an important

property, as many membranes that have

good elongation also can tear easily. Take a

small sample of the material in your hand,

and try and tear it into two pieces. This

gives a fair idea of its tear resistance. You

are looking for a membrane that will not

tear even if a reasonable force is exerted

on it.

• Chemical stability - check that the

membrane is chemically inert with

respect to its environment in the building.,

especially outside basement walls were

they are exposed to soil and rainwater.

• Case Studies - ask the manufacturer or

importer to give you case studies where

the membrane has been used. Ideally, it

should have been in place for over eight

years. Check with the building owners

to see if any leakage or problems have

occurred.

Quality materials and properly trained installers

is the secret to a perfect waterproofing. The

idea of one material fits all is just a fairy tale,

especially when it comes to waterproofing.

We know it All… and we have been doing this

type of application for many years… This classic

phrase is what we usually hear in the building

industry by many self-thought installers. The fact

that a person is doing the same thing for many

years does not qualify it as the right solution.

Product knowledge and how to use them

correctly is the secret of an able installer.

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 has all that is required for a job carried

out at its best. All this is being made possible

thanks to the Resin and Membrane Centre

and NAICI International Academy. For further

information with regards the Malta Professional

Waterproofing and Resin Flooring Association

visit our website on www.maltawaterproofing.

com or call us on 27477647. MBR

Creditline: The Resin & Membrane Centre

Thermal waterproofing around the solar panels to increase their intake

www.maltabusinessreview.net

55


Malta Business Review

SOCIETY

On the Way to School

Editor's Note: Since 1980, the photojournalist Reza has been undertaking a longterm

reportage on the Kurdish people –in Iran, Iraq, Turkey as well as in exile. In 2013,

he began an intense three-year photography project on Iraqi Kurdistan. This land

so marked by the scars of the conflicts in the Middle East is nevertheless home to a

modern, erudite society, with a diverse spirituality. The Kurdistan platform is a monthly

newsletter whose intent is to lift the veil on a little-known people.

Through the Eyes of REZA

I travelled several kilometers to a remote valley

to visit the only Montessori school in Kurdistan.

Convinced of the pertinence of this pedagogy,

founded upon the principle of autonomy in learning,

I was curious to understand what had motivated its

implementation in the region of Iraqi Kurdistan, an

area in the midst of a struggle both for the recognition

of its independence and against the encroachments

of ISIS.

Once again, I was moved by this people whose – to

use a formula of Gandhi’s – “degree of civilization” is

as elevated as their propensity to place the education

of their children at the center of their preoccupations,

despite all the other formidable odds they face.

After having spent a long time observing life behind

the walls of this school – the calm environment so

inductive to learning, the laughter and whispers, and

the respect for the teachers – so similar to that which

I had observed among my children during my years

in Paris, I set off for home with a few more notes of

hope. MBR

Credit: REZA PHOTOGRAPHY/MAPITA

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

Credit: REZA PHOTOGRAPHY/MAPITA

56


JUSTICE AND CITIZENSHIP / FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Malta Business Review

Rule of Law & Protection of Journalists:

Measure to Ensure Media Freedom

How to ensure media freedom and safety of investigative journalists in the EU, as a key element of rule of

law, will be the focus of a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday.

Members of the EP Civil Liberties

Committee will concentrate in particular

on the situation in Malta and Slovakia,

following the murders of journalists

Daphne Caruana Galizia (October 2017),

and Ján Kuciak and his fiancée (March

2018).

The first part of the hearing, dedicated

to cross-border cooperation between

law enforcement authorities, with the

participation of representatives of Europol,

Eurojust and national authorities, will be

held privately in camera.

The second part will focus on the safety

of journalists. MEPs will discuss the

situation with reporters, academics

and representatives of professional

organisations such as Reporters without

Borders and the Committee to Protect

Journalists.

Background

The Civil Liberties Committee

recently set up a new monitoring

group on rule of law and the fight

against corruption within the EU,

chaired by Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE,

NL), which will specifically address

the situation in Malta and Slovakia.

Following the murder of Ms

Caruana Galizia, a delegation of

MEPs travelled to the country to

assess the state of rule of law and

the implementation of European

anti-money laundering legislation

(AML). MEPs were also in Slovakia

after the killing of Ján Kuciak and

Martina Kušnírová. MBR

Creditline: EP Press Service

Single Digital Gateway:

A Time Saver for Citizens & Companies

• Easier for citizens and businesses to do their

paperwork online

• Key administrative procedures to be fully

accessible

• Examples include: birth certificates, car

registration, European Health Card, study loan

and grant applications and business permits

The single digital gateway will help citizens and

firms to access information and administrative

procedures online, e.g. to apply for study loans or

register a car.

A provisional deal struck with the Council on 24 May

to set up a single digital gateway, to make it easier

to find information, forms and assistance for people

moving to or doing business in another EU country,

but also for those staying at home, was endorsed

in plenary by 539 votes to 61, with 17 abstentions.

This European single entry point will be integrated in

the “Your Europe” portal, available in all languages.

It will provide access and links to national and EU

web sites and web pages, in a user-friendly way,

to enable users to exercise their rights and comply

with their obligations within the single market.

EU member states will be required to grant online

access to the most important and frequently used

procedures. In “exceptional cases justified by

overriding reasons of public interest in the areas

of public security, public health or the fight against

fraud”, member states may ask the user to appear

in person for a procedural step.

The information, online procedures and assistance

services provided must be of high quality and

accessible to users with disabilities. A user feedback

tool will also be available.

Quote

Marlene Mizzi (S&D, MT), who steered this

legislation through Parliament, said: “Today the

European Parliament has achieved an important

milestone, which makes it easier for citizens to

interact with public authorities. This shall be made

possible through the digitalisation of public services

and the completion of the digital single market.”

“The new rules will make it easier for citizens and

businesses to manage their paperwork online

through a single digital entry point, which will

provide access to administrative procedures

and high quality information. Such services are

paramount when people want to move, live or

study in another EU country and need to request

relative documentation - such as a birth certificate,

proof of residence or apply for university or study

financing, amongst many others. It is also very

relevant for businesses that require information

relating to cross-border activities and procedures.”

“The new rules will also implement for the first

time the “once only” principle, which essentially

means that citizens will no longer have to submit

the same documents over and over again to public

administrations. Rather, citizens will only need to

submit documentation once which will be re-used

by public administrations whenever necessary.”

“The single digital gateway shall provide responsive,

inclusive, borderless, user-friendly digital public

services to citizens and businesses at national and

European level.”

Background

The single digital gateway proposal is part of the

“compliance package”, aimed at enhancing the

practical functioning of the EU single market. It

builds on several existing schemes, which cover

only a few fields, are not always interconnected,

suffer from not being well known and are therefore

underused.

According to the European Commission, this

legislation could help EU citizens save up to 855 000

hours of their time annually and companies could

save more than EUR 11 billion per year. MBR

Creditline: EP/Valletta Office

www.maltabusinessreview.net

57


Malta Business Review

NEWSMAKERS

A Fiscal Surplus During

July of this Year

Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna

welcomes the latest Government Finance

Data, published by the National Statistics

Office (NSO), which shows during the month

of July this year, the government recorded

a surplus of €25 million in the Consolidated

Fund. The surplus reflected an increase

of €28 million in total revenue while total

expenditure decreased by €10 million over

July of last year.

“We have been able to start the second half

of this year with a monthly surplus. This

augurs well for reaching the fiscal target for

this year”, stated Minister Edward Scicluna.

During the first seven months of this year, tax

revenue continued to be robust, increasing

by €181 million. The significant increase in

tax revenues continued to reflect the buoyant

growth recorded in employment coupled

with a record low unemployment rate as

well as the consistent increases in private

consumption. Indeed, despite a significant

decline in revenue from EU grants of €65

million from the peak in revenue recorded in

2017, total recurrent revenue still increased

by €98 million.

Expenditure on public investment projects

increased by €23 million for the first seven

months of this year. Similarly, recurrent

expenditure also increased however, the

increase was in line with MFIN projections for

the period between January and July of 2018.

The Ministry for Finance is also pleased to

note the consistent reductions in national

debt in absolute terms. Indeed, the debt

decreased by €193 million year-on-year by

the end of July of this year. MBR

Creditline: MINISTRY OF FINANCE/DOI

Memorandum of

Understanding between

the Enemed company

and Emirates National Oil

Company Ltd.

Malta signed a cooperation agreement

between the company and Enemed national

Minister Joe Mizzi during ENOC

company of the United Arab Emirates oil,

ENOC.

This agreement sees the start of a possible

closer cooperation between the two

companies regarding capital projects locally

and even abroad, equity participation by

Maltese companies as ENOC and the opening

of trading office in Malta. Although the process

is still at the beginning, Enemed already started

working internally to identify the team of

negotiators will be led by Executive Chairman

Kevin Chircop under the guidance of Minister

Joe Mizzi.

This agreement is part of the strategy Enemed

company to further strengthen its presence

and assert itself as a model company for other

Minister Joe Mizzi during ENOC

entities by improving the continuous operation.

ENOC, with great experience to this sector, can

make a valuable contribution in future projects

that Enemed or future subsidiaries can have

both Malta and even abroad.

This MoU has been described as a major step to

Enemed in its strategic plan to further expand

operations and diversify the sector to continue

to guarantee the best quality products for its

customers. MBR

Courtesy: MINISTERU GĦALL-ENERĠIJA U

L-IMMANIĠĠJAR TAL-ILMA

Moody’s affirms ‘A3

Positive’ rating for Malta

The Ministry for Finance welcomes the latest

credit opinion by Moody’s Investor Service

that affirmed an A3 Rating for Malta with

a positive outlook. Moody’s highlighted

Malta’s sustained progress on public sector

debt reduction and the prospects for further

fiscal consolidation on the back of a buoyant

economic performance. The rating agency

points out that it will upgrade the rating

for Malta to A2 if the improvement in fiscal

strength is sustained.

Moody’s notes Malta’s recent track record

of strong economic growth, an elevated percapita

income and very high scores in terms of

global competitiveness. While its small szize

and openness make it susceptible to external

shocks, Malta is able to weather such storms

due to the high level of competitiveness as

well as elevated wealth levels.

Malta’s institutional strength is deemed

‘High’ by Moody’s, reflecting the country’s

robust policy framework, enhancements to

institutions and policymaking framework of

public-sector entities.

Moody’s acknowledges that Malta's fiscal

consolidation efforts are bearing fruit as the

fiscal surplus is expected to hover around

2.5 per cent in 2018 and 2019. This, coupled

with strong economic growth, will continue

to contribute towards a rapid reduction

of Malta’s debt-to-GDP ratio according to

Moody’s.

The rating agency considers Malta’s

susceptibility to event risk, stemming from

the banking sector primarily, as ‘low’, based

on the relative size of the sector in the

economy and the financial soundness of the

domestically oriented institutions, amongst

others.

Moody’s notes that despite the tightening

labour market, increased foreign workers

and higher female participation in the labour

market contained the wage growth.

The report explains that while growth, is

expected to moderate from recent highs,

it notes that Malta’s economic growth will

remain strong in both 2018 and 2019. MBR

Courtesy: MINISTRY OF FINANCE

MSX Plc signs MoU with

Binance

PHOTO: DOI JASON BORG

The subsidiary company of the Malta Stock

Exchange, MSX Plc, signed a memorandum

of understanding with Binance—the world’s

largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading

volume—at the Malta Stock Exchange

premises in Valletta. The Chairman of the

Malta Stock Exchange, Joseph Portelli, and

the CFO of Binance, Wei Zhou, were the

signatories of this MoU.

PHOTO: DOI JASON BORG

Prior to the signing ceremony, Minister for

Finance Edward Scicluna congratulated both

parties and said that the signing is an example

of the Malta Stock Exchange’s intention to

continue to play an active role in helping

the Maltese economy to experience further

growth, while expanding its operations by

partnering with global companies. MBR

Courtesy: MINISTRY OF FINANCE

58

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