MBR_ISSUE 46_NOV_DEC_18_LowRes

bdarmanin

COVER STORY

Connecting Malta for a better

Future

Interview Sonia Hernandez, Vodafone

Malta’s new CEO p.06

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Artificial Intelligence and Customer

Service – Here to help?

Interview with Pierre Mallia, Managing

Director, iMovo p.12

CORPORATE INTERVIEW

Organizational Standard, Excellence

& Outstanding Achievement

Interview with Mark Farrugia, Regional

Director at Lidl Malta Ltd p.16

SPECIAL FEATURE: SRB

Delivering Financial Stability

Exclusive Interview with (SRB) Chair, Elke

Könige p.28

MALTA BUSINESS REVIEW

ISSUE 46 | 2018

Newspaper Post


Efficiency in business is

core. So is taking control

over your payments.

When business is moving fast, managing your payments

efficiently and conveniently becomes even more essential.

With HSBCnet you can view the balances of all your business

accounts, in one place – as well as effect multiple payments

online with just one log in. This makes it the ideal tool for

transferring money, paying suppliers or your team’s salaries,

at one go…without the need to pay in either cash or cheques,

thus saving your business money as well as time.

HSBCnet – making payments simpler.

Speak to us today by calling 2380 8000 or visiting

www.business.hsbc.com.mt/HSBCnet

Approved and issued by HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., 116 Archbishop Street, Valletta VLT 1444 which is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority. (Ref No. 101210 – 03/2018)


Together we thrive


your perfect atmosphere

Malta Business Review

CONTENTS

Issue 45

34 THE COMMON BACKSTOP: HOW IT WILL

STRENGTHEN THE SINGLE RESOLUTION FUN

Single Resolution Board Article by SRB Vice Chair, Timo

Lottinyemi

COVER STORY

6

INTERVIEWS & FEATURES

36 EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO POWER THEIR

GOALS

Shield Consultants 1-2-1 interview series with key

employees

06

CONNECTING MALTA FOR A BETTER FUTURE

Interview Sonia Hernandez, Vodafone Malta’s new CEO

38 3DZ – TOLY GROUP CASE STUDY

How Toly uses 3D printing

TALKING POINT

08 EU-WIDE PROTECTION AND SUPPORT FOR

WHISTLE-BLOWERS

New system to protect and encourage reporting of

breaches of EU law with safeguards against retaliations

and protects whistle-blowers

INTERVIEWS OF THE MONTH

12 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND CUSTOMER

SERVICE – HERE TO HELP?

Interview with Pierre Mallia, Managing Director, iMovo

12

16

16 ORGANIZATIONAL STANDARD, EXCELLENCE

AND OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT

Interview with Mark Farrugia, Regional Director at Lidl Malta Ltd

18

28

BLOCKCHAIN SUMMIT INTERVIEW

18 TRUST IS A WAY OF LIFE

Martin Vella interviews Manuela Sedvartaite founder of

SociumTrade

SPECIAL FEATURE: SINGLE RESOLUTION

BOARD

28 DELIVERING FINANCIAL STABILITY

Exclusive Interview with (SRB) Chair, Elke König, responsible

for the management of the organisation,

the work and the Executive and Plenary sessions of the

Board (EP)

OUR GOLDEN PARTNERS

42 SCOPE ASSIGNS MALTA FIRST-TIME CREDIT RAT-

ING OF A+ WITH STABLE OUTLOOK

Euro area membership, high economic growth,

prudent fiscal management among Malta’s credit

strengths

46 INNOVATE AND GROW! MALTA’S INNOVATORS

INVITED TO JOIN THE EIT COMMUNITY

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology

(EIT) is showcasing its innovation cooperation

opportunities during an Awareness Day in Kalkara

50 THE GENDER PAY GAP

President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca about

the gender pay gap

SIMON

ESTATES

56 BREXIT: ENSURING A SMOOTH TRANSITION

Isabel Teixeira Nadkarni on EU safety and quality standards

to be maintained

4


COVER STORY

Connecting Malta for a better

Future

Interview Sonia Hernandez, Vodafone

Malta’s new CEO p.06

Newspaper Post

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Artificial Intelligence and Customer

Service – Here to help?

Interview with Pierre Mallia, Managing

Director, iMovo p.12

CORPORATE INTERVIEW

Organizational Standard, Excellence

& Outstanding Achievement

Interview with Mark Farrugia, Regional

Director at Lidl Malta Ltd p.16

SPECIAL FEATURE: SRB

Delivering Financial Stability

Exclusive Interview with (SRB) Chair, Elke

Könige p.28

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

Giacomo Barisone; Bernhard Bartels; Antoine

Bonello; George Carol; James Vella Clark; Neil

Corlett; Jaume Duch Guillot; Elke König; Timo

Löyttyniemi; Pierre Mallia; Isabel Teixeira

Nadkarni; Manuela Sedvartaite

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

Gutenberg Press Ltd

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The

most certain way to succeed is always to try just

one more time.”

Thomas A. Edisonn

Disclaimer

MALTA BUSINESS REVIEW

ISSUE 46 | 2018

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.

EDITORIAL

Midlevel managers are underperforming and underserved

in a world of increased competitive pressures and reduced

resources, midlevel managers are the lifeblood of the company.

They execute the most important strategic priorities. They

motivate the company’s employees.

And yet, in most organizations, this key group is underperforming,

with estimates of nearly half of midlevel managers’ performance

seen as fair to poor. Traditional leadership development programs

aimed at this group fall short of expectations. They either do not

work within a company’s priorities or distract from day-to-day

work. Many focus too much on specific skills, neglecting crucial

leadership concepts like self-awareness, mind-set, and values.

BREAKTHROUGH LEADERSHIP: Focusing on mind-set and skill set is the first event that MBR

Publications Ltd will be organising in 2019, together with Resource Productivity Consulting Services,

and engineered by Prof. David J Dingli. Our research indicates leadership development for midlevel

managers would be more effective if knowledge and skill sets were more tightly integrated with

the development of leadership mind-set and attitudes. That’s what the Breakthrough Leadership

event we have in mind is designed to do.

Breakthrough leaders see themselves and the world differently. They believe the organization

is their responsibility. Breakthrough leaders are made, not born. Through extensive work and

research we have found that building breakthrough leaders requires development of deep

expertise across core disciplines.

In Malta there is a scarcity of Breakthrough leaders, across the social, civil, government, political and

business clusters. Most leadership training provides incremental change. MBR programs provide

monumental change. Change in retention, self- and employee- satisfaction, and performance

across the board.

This MBR event set for February 22nd 2019, is designed to bring today's managers and

professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world.

From the preeminent thinkers whose work has defined an entire field to the rising stars who will

redefine the way we think about business, the event will bring leading minds and landmark ideas

that have established MBR as the B2B platform for ambitious businesspeople in organizations. This

event will create an “ownership” culture of integrity, responsibility, innovation and inspired action

across departments and teams.

When leaders grow, the community and companies grow too! Watch out for more news and

information about this event in the coming weeks.

As the curtain closes down on another year, the last quarter, like the last few miles of a race, is a

great time to dig deep and aim to excel. Much can be accomplished in a few short weeks. After all,

while everyone else is pulling up, the winner is often the one who finds the strength for one more

burst of speed. I close this year with a T. S. Eliot quote- “Only those who will risk going too far can

possibly find out how far one can go.”

Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all.

Martin Vella

Editor-in-Chief

Malta Business Review

Talk to us:

E-mail: martin@mbrpublications.net

Twitter: @MBRPublications

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaltaBusinessReview

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

Connecting Malta for a better future

By Martin Vella

MBR interviews Sonia Hernandez, Vodafone Malta’s new CEO, who has been living in Malta with her

family for the past five months, where she already feels at home. Sonia is personally committed to making

a significant positive impact and reiterates that Vodafone will be investing in helping transform people’s

lives for the better and in bringing more value to Malta.

MBR: Can you tell us how you started your

career and worked your way to the top spot

at Vodafone?

SH: I joined Vodafone in April 2012 and have

21 years of international experience in the

telecommunications industry.

I graduated as an electrical engineer in

Madrid in 1996, with a final thesis on

microelectronics at the Technical University

of Darmstadt in Germany. I started my

career working in sales for Siemens, based in

Munich. I then decided to undergo a drastic

change in my career, with the aspiration of

one day getting into general management,

and changed to Human Resources.

After fifteen years working for the same

company, I was offered the opportunity to

make the change to one of the largest global

telecom operators: Vodafone. I joined the

management team of the Global Vodafone

Procurement Company based in Luxembourg

in 2012 as Head of Global Radio Access

"We have a duty to

work within the

community to create

better, more inclusive

societies and deliver

more value to this

great country.

Supply chain. I was promoted to Director of

Global Supply Chain Commercial & Services

in 2015, as well as a member of the Board

of the Vodafone Procurement Company in

Luxembourg. I was also appointed member to

the Board of Kabel Deutschland Holding AG

and Supervisory Board of Vodafone Germany

GmbH. After six years in Luxembourg Supply

Chain I was offered the CEO role of Vodafone

Malta.

Nothing has been easy or “free of charge” - I

have always felt stretched, along every step

of the way, but I always applied my passion

and drew from my reserves of courage to

successfully make it happen. For many years,

I was the only woman in most meetings;

but that didn't bother me at all. I am very

authentic and straightforward person, and I

always felt well supported by the industry.

MBR: What can you tell us about Vodafone's

new strategy?

SH: We feel we have a duty to work within

the community we operate in to create

better, more inclusive societies, and deliver

more value to this great country. This aim is

6


COVER STORY INTERVIEW

Malta Business Review

Sonia Hernandez

at the heart of Vodafone’s recently launched

purpose: "connecting Malta for a better

future". Our new Digital Vodafone strategy

is the vehicle by which we will achieve this

purpose.

There are three pillars within the framework

of our new Vodafone strategy: connecting

a digital society, help protect Malta and

the environment, and inclusion for all as a

company culture. Our leadership in Internet

of Things will underpin all three pillars whilst

being the best digital workplace is our

foundation for attracting and retaining the

best talent.

As Vodafone we are also highly committed to

investing in our future workforce. To mention

just one example, we want to empower

young Maltese women and address the

wide gender gap in STEM careers. Our Code

Like a Girl initiative was born out of this. We

offered girls aged between fourteen and

eighteen free training sessions on coding,

in a bid to give them a taster of the fun and

opportunities, which come from studying

and pursuing a career in technology. We

were overwhelmed by the feedback we

received and the thirst for such initiatives,

and heartened by the girls' sheer enthusiasm

and boundless energy.

To cement our commitment to carry on

with this initiative and introduce others, we

signed a Memorandum of Understanding

with the Ministry for Education and

Employment which establishes a framework

for cooperation to help equip students in

Malta with the knowledge and skills needed

for a digital future. This also includes working

towards a safer digital environment; In fact,

we will be holding workshops on digital life

skills for parents.

MBR: How does the Vodafone Malta

Foundation feed into this strategy?

SH: Our Foundation is an integral part of the

Digital Vodafone strategy. Its Connecting for

Good strategy is all about harnessing the

power of mobile technology to bring about

social change. In one of the latest projects

announced, the Foundation, together with

the University's Department of Artificial

Intelligence, is working on providing an

alternative to drugs in order to relieve the

pain which children suffering from various

illnesses such as cancer go through. This will

result in cutting-edge technology combining

virtual reality with ‘affective gaming’,

meaning that the specially designed game

will be intelligent enough to also determine

the child’s emotional and physical state and

adjust the game accordingly in real time to

distract the child from feeling pain.

In the next few months, the Foundation

will also be announcing new Connecting for

Good projects revolving around persons with

disability, persons with autism and mental

health, amongst others.

"Connecting a digital

society, helping

protect Malta and

the environment, and

inclusion for all are

the three pillars of our

new strategy.

MBR: What plans are in the pipeline for the

growth of the company in Malta?

SH: We will be investing a solid €150 million

over the next few years with an aim to

create the most engaging digital customer

experience by adopting new ways of working,

embracing new technologies and simplifying

business models. This will not only make our

customers lives’ easier by making it simpler

to deal with us, but it will also enable them

to make the most of the future. The world

around is becoming increasingly more and

more connected, and we believe we have a

role to play in helping our customers realise

the opportunities this brings and help them

make the most of it.

One of the enablers in this is the Internet of

Things (IoT). Around the world, industries

are being transformed and on a global level,

Vodafone has been rated by analysts as the

global leader in IoT. Vodafone has helped

organisations from all industries—from

healthcare to manufacturing, automotive to

public sector—along their IoT journeys. The

potential benefits of IoT are immense and

we’ll be leveraging our global expertise and

experience to transform Malta’s businesses

through IoT.

In fact, we have recently introduced

next generation IoT network based on

Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology in

Malta. Vodafone has been the first to bring

this technology to Malta. Our new NB-IoT

network provides excellent data connectivity

in places where regular radio signal is not

sufficient (e.g. sensors could buried deep or

under water as well), coupled with very low

energy consumption for the sensors.

The applications of NB-IoT are endless,

ranging from monitoring patients to

intelligent parking and efficient street lighting.

Vodafone is committed to bring best of value

with this technology and help customers to

get full transparency of data and the industry

to become more efficient.

The first live application on this network is

aiming to revolutionise waste collection.

Working alongside recycling cooperative

GreenPak, we developed connectivity for

smart sensors for rubbish bins which indicate

when a bin is full and needs to be emptied.

The sensors will also detect any tampering

or damage to the bins, such as if a bin has

caught fire.

Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, I relish

the prospect of our business playing an

increasingly important role in building a

better today as well as an exciting future for

us and for Malta. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

7


Malta Business Review

EU: INDUSTRY / RESEARCH

MEP's want to increase research funding to

€120 billion in 2021-2027

• €120 billion for Horizon Europe research

programme

• European Defence Fund programme worth

€11.5 billion

• €14.8 billion for EU Space Programme

• Digital Europe to be funded with €8.2 billion

Industry Committee MEPs call for budgetary

means to match ambitions on research,

defence, space and digital Europe

Following Parliament’s adoption of its position

on the EU’s long-term budget (multiannual

financial framework - MFF 2021-2027) last week,

the Industry, Research and Energy committee on

Wednesday set out their scope and priorities for

funding important areas that will stimulate future

growth such as research, defence, space and

digital Europe.

MEPs underlined that they are ready to start

negotiations with EU ministers at any time to reach

an agreement before the European elections.

Horizon Europe - research

Complementing the plenary’s decision to better

fund Europe’s future budget, the Industry

Committee MEPs voted to:

• Increase the Horizon Europe research

programme budget for 2021-2027 to €120

billion in 2018 prices (instead of €83.5

billion, as proposed by Commission).

• Increase support for small and mediumsized

enterprises (SMEs) by reintroducing

the possibility of grants for incremental

innovation, with a ring-fenced budget of

€2.5 billion.

• Introduce innovative measures, such

as widening fellowships to strengthen

European Research Areas, and reduce the

scientific and technological divide.

• Give priority to programmes that include

women, SMEs or participants from lowerperforming

EU countries when deciding on

two equally strong applications.

The European Defence Fund (EDF)

By supporting the Commission’s proposal to

allocate €11.5 billion in 2018 prices to the

European Defence Fund for 2021-2027, the

committee stresses there is a need for a more

‘European’ approach, to defence. The EDF will

finance cross-border collaboration in defence

research and development projects, for

interoperable technology and equipment in areas

such as encrypted software and drone technology.

The EU Space Programme

In order to help maintain, and further enhance,

the EU's leadership in the field, Parliament wants

to raise the Commission’s proposed budget to the

EU Space Programme, with €621 million to €14.82

billion in 2018 prices during 2021-2027. This will

also give an important boost to EU industry in the

field of space.

MEPs also voted to include tackling cyber threats

and supporting space diplomacy to the scope.

The Digital Europe programme

The European Parliament has welcomed the

Commission’s proposal to create the first ever

Digital Europe programme, and will invest €8.2

billion under the EU budget 2021-2027, to address

increasing digital challenges. The funding is crucial

to achieve the Digital Single Market strategy and to

increase the EU's international competitiveness.

In addition to reinforcing Europe's strategic

digital capacities, it is also vital to support highperformance

computing, artificial intelligence,

cybersecurity and advanced digital skills.

The following reports on MFF related files were

adopted today

• Horizon Europe (Research and Innovation),

adopted with 60 votes to 1 and 3

abstentions.

• Specific programmes implementing Horizon

Europe,

adopted with 61 votes to 1 and 1

abstentions.

• Research and Training Programme of the

European Atomic Energy Community (2021-

2025), adopted with 43 votes to 12 and 7

abstentions.

• European Defence Fund, adopted with 35

votes to 11 and 14 abstentions.

• Digital Europe programme for 2021-

2027, adopted with 57 votes to 2 and 3

abstentions.

• Space programme the EU Agency for the

Space Programme,

adopted with 54 votes to 7 and 0

abstentions.

• European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the

Development of Fusion Energy,

adopted with 49 votes to 11 and 3

abstentions.

• Nuclear decommissioning assistance

programme of the Ignalina nuclear power

plant in Lithuania, adopted with 61 votes to

2 and 0 abstentions.

Next steps

The Plenary will now vote on the decision to start

talks with EU ministers, which can begin, once a

common position is agreed. MEPs want to make as

much progress as possible before the end of this

legislative term. MBR

Participation of Tibor Navracsics, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Youth

and Sport, at Joint Research Centre (JRC) Scientists’ Awards ceremony.

© European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart

Creditline: EU Press Office/EPO Valletta

8


Malta Business Review

EU:

EU-wide protection and support

for whistle-blowers

in Europe, this Directive protects individuals

speaking out for the public good much better

than before. Parliament has introduced significant

improvements to the Commission's text. The

creation of a single and easily identifiable public

authority in each Member State, which will provide

free of charge confidential advice to those who

intend to blow or have blown the whistle, together

with legal and financial assistance, are major

steps to make sure that we efficiently protect free

speech".

Next steps

• New system to protect and encourage

reporting of breaches of EU law with

safeguards against retaliations

• Protection of whistle-blowers is currently

fragmented in the EU

• The loss of potential benefits due to lack

of whistle-blower protection in public

procurement is estimated to be between

€5.8 to €9.6 billion each year in the EU

Proposals to protect whistle-blowers, set up safe

mechanisms for reporting breaches and measures

against retaliation were adopted by the Legal

Affairs Committee.

Recently, Legal Affairs Committee MEPs approved

draft legislation to guarantee that whistle-blowers

in the EU can report breaches of EU law in the

area of tax evasion, corruption, environmental

protection and public health and safety, without

fear of retaliation or intimidation. Legal Affairs

MEPs agreed that the same protection measures

must also apply to those assisting the reporting

person, e.g. journalists.

Safe reporting mechanisms

To make sure that potential whistle-blowers feel

safe and are aware of reporting channels, MEPs

agreed that:

• member states would be requested to ensure

that private and public sectors put in place

adequate internal and external reporting

channels;

• reporting avenues should ensure that the

reporting person is notified that their report

has been received within a week, while

follow-up on the report should be received

no later than two months after the report

was received;

• it should be up to the reporting person

to choose the most appropriate channel

to report, whether internal or external,

depending on circumstances.

Prohibition against retaliation and support

The agreed text explicitly prohibits reprisals and

member states would have to take necessary

safeguards against retaliation towards whistleblowers.

MEPs also urge member states to provide

information and advice free of charge as well as

legal, financial and psychological support.

Quote

Rapporteur Virginie Roziere (S&D, FR) said:

“Following recent big scandals, such as Luxleaks,

and the great difficulties faced by whistle-blowers

The text was adopted by 22 votes to none against,

with one abstention. The decision to enter into

negotiations was approved with 22 votes, none

against and two abstentions. Once plenary has

endorsed the negotiating mandate, talks with EU

ministers can start, to agree on the final shape of

the legislation.

Background

Whistle-blower protection is fragmented or only

partial across member states, with only 10 EU

countries (France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania,

Malta, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden and UK)

providing comprehensive legal protection.

The European Commission’s legislative proposal

follows on from the Council of Europe’s

Recommendation on Protection of Whistleblowers

and the European Parliament’s resolution

of 24 October 2017 on Legitimate measures to

protect whistle-blowers.

A 2017 study carried out for the Commission

estimated the loss of potential benefits due to

a lack of whistle-blower protection, in public

procurement alone, to be in the range of €5.8 to

€9.6 billion each year for the EU as a whole. MBR

EP/EU/Valletta

10


FIMBank Business Account

Manage your day to day corporate requirements with ease

The Business Account is one of the latest in FIMBank’s suite of products and has been designed to facilitate

the banking requirements of corporates, SMEs and partnerships. FIMBank is dedicated to provide businesses

and other entities with a holistic range of banking services, aimed at facilitating their daily operations.

Benefit from:

• Favourable international payments selection and multi-currency credit facilities

• Efficient USD settlements, payments and deposit services

• International banking support with the expertise of specialised Relationship Managers

• Real time settlement opportunities

• Use of a secure, versatile and easily accessible digital banking platform

• Competitive interest rates

Foreign Exchange

• Control your cash flow effectively

• Support your international commercial needs

with efficient Foreign Exchange Services

• Manage exchange rate volatility in the most

traded currencies

FIMBank Business

Fixed Term Deposits

• Fixed term deposit flexibility, available

in USD, EUR and GBP

• Effective management of liquidity

• Attractive interest rates

• Available in major currencies

2132 2100 info@fimbank.com www.fimbank.com

FIMBank p.l.c., Mercury Tower, The Exchange Financial & Business Centre, Elia Zammit Street, St. Julian’s STJ 3155

FIMBank p.l.c. is a licensed credit institution regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority and is listed on the Malta Stock Exchange.


Malta Business Review

INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

AI and Customer Service – Here to help?

Interview with Pierre Mallia, Managing Director, iMovo

By George Carol

MBR: AI and Customer Service? Is this fiction

or a reality?

PM: It’s real alright, I am pretty sure that a

lot of us have been using it and have just not

realised that they have been interacting with

AI instead of a human being. AI in customer

service was estimated to be generating some

$100B in value in the retail sector alone.

The scope and application of AI to improve

service, create new efficiencies and generate

value is growing every day.

MBR: What’s behind this latest venture by

iMovo in the field of AI?

PM: We have been focused on Customer

Service technology and services since

inception, some eight years ago. About three

years ago we started taking a serious look at

AI and how it could affect our business and

whether it would help our customers. This

brought about our first direct encounter

with an AI called Amelia and for the first time

ever, I heard another human being refer to

an AI as "she". During this encounter, which

was more an awakening than anything else, I

could see that the opportunity was very real,

and we were looking at the future of not only

our business, but that of our customers. To

phrase how I thought of it at the time, "it was

like standing on a railway track watching an

oncoming train - thinking, either get on this

train or get run over by it". So, our move into

this area was not just a "smart" move, it’s a

necessary one.

We also saw the potential positive impact that

it could bring to our customers. Organisations

spend a lot of money on customer service and

yet customers are still frequently unhappy

with the experience. Just remember the last

time you called your bank or your telecom

provider. What did that feel like?

MBR: Who are Digital Genius? And what is

the relationship with iMovo about?

PM: Digital Genius is an AI platform that helps

put your customer service on autopilot by

understanding conversations and automating

repetitive processes. The company has been

around for around four years and has been

invested in by leading venture capital funds

including Salesforce ventures. You might have

heard of chatbots, which are the latest fad in

customer service - a lightweight AI that carries

out chat conversations and provides answers

to frequently asked questions, like "When is

the next flight to Rome?" etc... DigitalGenius

does a lot more than that, it will go away and

do your booking if you ask it to. As a young

start-up, DigitalGenius' cultures meshes well

with the entrepreneurial culture at iMovo.

We have a multi-faceted relationship with

them, acting as an extended part of their

project team as well as reselling the AI service

and building intellectual property to enhance

the AI platform.

MBR: What is the significance behind the

new partnership with Digital Genius, and

what does this mean to you and iMovo?

PM: Over the past few months, both

companies have invested time in getting to

know each other well and defining potential

synergies. For iMovo, this catapults us into

an exciting new area of technology and

business. It brings to bear the strategy we

laid out some three years ago when we set

AI as a business goal. It also puts us in the

forefront of the customer service industry.

We have a lot of experience working with

a lot of organisations in this field across

several countries and we see a lot of scope of

helping these organisations to innovate and

move their customer service departments

into the sphere of AI. It’s a massive growth

opportunity and gives us a unique blend to

offer the market.

MBR: How does DigitalGenius help

organisations and is it different from

Chatbots?

PM: Let me start with the second bit of your

question. Chatbots are what I would term,

"lightweight" AI, they allow a customer to

converse and answer basic questions which

are limited by pre-designed conversations

and limited data sets. They are useful but

Pierre Mallia, Managing Director, iMovo with Dmitry Aksenov, CEO & Founder,

DigitalGenius and Chris Kellner, Head of Sales & Strategic Partnerships, DigitalGenius

12


INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH

Malta Business Review

Pierre Mallia

only to a very limited extent. When you're

dealing with possibly hundreds of calls a

day, Chatbots are not able to scale. Digital

Genius can do the Chatbot thing, but then

its designed to also execute processes.

For instance, if you call your local telecom

provider and ask about your current billing,

Digital Genius can answer you. Then if

you decide you want an upgrade on your

bandwidth, Digital Genius can be configured

to handle this. In a typical Chatbot scenario,

you would probably not be able to ask for

your latest billing info and certainly not trigger

off the provisioning of a bandwidth upgrade.

This is the huge difference that Digital Genius

makes in the market, it’s really quite powerful

and unique and works well side by side with

human customer agents.

MBR: Can you tell us about iMovo's vision

and what the plans are in view of the new

partnership with Digital Genius?

PM: Eight years ago, we set out a vision to

be a thought leadership company in the

field of customer relationship management

and customer service management. Our

vision is to continue with this journey and

help our customers turn their customer

service departments into sources of value

generation.

Our partnership with DigitalGenius will

contribute to our growth strategy especially

in terms of growing even further than

we have internationally. During a recent

meeting in London, Dmitry Aksenov, one

of the founders, and I discussed how we

saw each other being an essential part of

our respective organisation's growth plans.

When you have that kind of synchronicity

at company leadership level, its proof of the

potential.

MBR: Will technology such as AI replace

workers in the future or will it just enable

workers to get the job done more efficiently?

PM: There is a lot happening in the field of

AI and no doubt every year the technology

is getting smarter and more capable. As a

personal belief I think we need to be careful

how we use AI. It must be applied as a force

for good - it should not be used to create

further distortion in the distribution of

wealth and disparity between the have and

have-nots. There is a lot of debate about

how to manage this aspect, including ideas

like instituting an AI tax to be used to fund

programmes designed to address the wealth

gap I mentioned. That said, there is also

the danger of an AI arms race lurking in the

background. China, US and Russia are all

known to have programmes to weaponize AI.

This is where things could go horribly wrong.

Will AI replace workers - not just yet, in many

cases - at its current level and the way we see

DigitalGenius in this specific case, it’s about

"augmenting" people's jobs, freeing them up

to do more complex tasks than the mundane

repetitive. In short, I call it "amplifying the

impact of your people".

"There is alot

happening in the

field of AI and no

doubt every year

the technology is

getting smarter and

more capable.

MBR: How has AI technology impacted the

industry and will advances in AI technology

change the workforce for the future?

PM: It depends which industry you are

referring to, but as a general statement AI is

already impacting several industries and like

the introduction of the printing press and the

weaving looms hundreds of years ago, it will

change the workforce. Into what and how, is

something I don’t particularly feel prepared

to answer. Some writers like Yuval Hariri and

Martin Ford, have taken some pretty good

stabs at this in their books.

MBR: Where do you see the greatest

opportunities for growth and what is the

future direction for iMovo?

PM: We are at the beginning of a new chapter

in iMovo's growth with our relationship with

DigitalGenius, so for the time being I'd say

we're concentrating on this for now. Part

of the fun of iMovo is that despite being an

eight-year-old company, its culture is very

much like that of a start-up and we are able

to adapt to change quickly and there is an

open mind. We just love to find interesting

niches; I'd say we're the only company in the

country which is specialised in the fields we

are in like customer service. Customers like us

because of this. They don’t just come to us

because of the software we sell, but because

they know of our deep experience in certain

areas and we also advise them at times,

without selling them any sort of technology.

We offer expert and practical experience in

seeing how AI can help their organisation, or

indeed if its right for them in the first place.

A lot of our customers are repeat customers

or come to us by word of mouth. To me that's

a clear signal that we are on the right path.

Editor’s Note

Pierre Mallia is a 28-year veteran

of the ICT industry and has worked

extensively on projects across a

range of sectors including the public

sector, telecommunications, software

development, manufacturing, healthcare,

media, retail, transport, financial services

and recruitment. After a number of years

working with start-ups, he then moved

to Microsoft where he spent seven years

as a Country Manager and established

Microsoft’s subsidiary in Malta. In 2010

he founded iMovo Limited, a specialized

company in the area of Customer

Experience & Service Management

using approaches like CRM, Business

Intelligence and Workforce Management

to help its customers extend and deepen

their own customer relationships. Pierre

is a graduate in Computer Science from

Kingston University and has followed

executive development programmes

at the National University of Singapore

and INSEAD. He has a keen interest in

technology and underwater photography

in his spare time.

About iMovo Limited

iMovo specialises in Customer

Experience Management (CEM), Business

Intelligence (BI) Big Data Analytics,

Artificial Intelligence & Workforce

Management (WFM). Blending some of

the most innovative technology solutions

in the market with a formal advisory

approach, iMovo enables organisations to

build long-term value relationships with

their customers resulting in consistent &

profitable growth. For more info about

iMovo visit: www.imovo.com.mt

iMovo is a Premier Solution Provider for

DigitalGenius, Planday, Qlik, Salesforce,

Tableau, Talend and Zendesk. MBR

Creditline: iMovo Limited

www.maltabusinessreview.net

13


Malta Business Review

EU: CIVIL LIBERTIES / FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Malta: lead MEP demands thorough

investigation of latest revelations

Sophia in ‘t Veld, Chair of the EP’s Rule of

Law Monitoring Group, called on Tuesday

for a thorough investigation of the latest

revelations regarding the Maltese “17

Black” company.

Following media reports that 17 Black, a

Maltese company suspected of money

laundering, is owned by Maltese businessman

Yorgen Fenech, who is also director of the

ElectroGas Malta power station and CEO of

Tumas Group, Sophia in ‘t Veld (ALDE, NL)

said:

“Any possible links and alleged payments

between 17 Black and the two Panama

companies Hearnville and Tillgate, owned

by the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Keith

Schembri, and Minister Konrad Mizzi, have

to be brought to light. These new revelations

are extremely worrying and should trigger an

immediate and thorough investigation by the

Maltese authorities.

Given the possible relevance for the ongoing

investigation into the murder of Ms Daphne

Caruana Galizia, we expect Europol to be

fully involved in the follow up. In that light,

we also sent a letter to Europol requesting

their involvement and assessment of the

current situation.”

Ms in ‘t Veld recently led a European

Parliament mission to Malta to check on

the ground the progress in the murder

case investigations regarding the death of

Ms Daphne Caruana Galizia and assess the

situation of rule of law in the country.

The report summarising the meetings and

conclusions of the MEPs travelling to Malta

will be presented in a meeting of the Civil

Liberties Committee on 20 November. MBR

Credit: Office of Sophia in't Veld MEP

Lotto Warehouse strikes landmark

deal with Betsson

The Betsson family of brands will soon

offer its customers access to the world’s

biggest and best lottery jackpots, perfectly

complementing their extensive portfolio

of Sports Betting, Casino, Poker, Bingo and

other games.

This deal is truly a significant one for Lotto

Warehouse as it sees the Nasdaq Stockholm

listed company, and one of the largest

companies within the European iGaming

industry, embracing the potential of the

lottery vertical.

Lotto Warehouse CEO Thomas Biro said:

“Betsson are a hugely respected operator

and we are pleased they saw the great

potential of our offering.”

“We wanted to revolutionise one of the

oldest gaming industries whilst giving players

the opportunity to dream big. Today’s players

are discerning ones - they want choice and

they want customization. Lotto Warehouse

offers all that and more by breaking down

borders and offering the world’s biggest

lotteries in one place.”

Mark Adams, General Counsel for The Multi

Group, “Absolutely delighted that we have

reached an agreement to provide services

to Betsson Group. Both the legal and

commercial teams have done an outstanding

job to bring this deal together.”

Joey Hurtado, Head of Gaming for Betsson

Group added: “After a thorough search and

review of different lottery providers, we felt

that Lotto Warehouse’s great UI, excellent

offering and outstanding business models

were the best fit for Betsson Group and our

players.”

Lotto Warehouse are a B2B Lottery Betting

provider for the iGaming industry. They are

licensed by both the Malta Gaming Authority

and the British Gambling Commission

and offer operators the chance to add a

catalogue of the world’s biggest lottery

betting products to their platforms, with all

higher tier payouts protected by their unique

jackpot indemnity insurance model. They

are a subsidiary of New York Stock Exchange

listed online sports lottery service provider

500.com (NYSE: WBAI) and their extensive

client list now also proudly includes Betsson.

If you too want to learn more about this

exciting new vertical that you can offer your

customers, why not set up a meeting with

Lotto Warehouse at Sigma by email to info@

lottowarehouse.com. It’s time to let your

customers dream big! MBR

For press related inquiries please

contact Melanie Hart at melanie.hart@

themultigroup.com or via mobile on 00356

99441047.

14


Know that you’ve made

a healthy investment

Timberland Securities Investment plc.

2 New bond issues

ß Minimum investment of €3,000

ß

Yield paid in June & December

ß

A copy of the prospectus is available

from our offices

A bond with

yield

for a 5 year period

maturing in 2023

Another bond with

3.75% 4.6%

Aragon House Business Centre

Dragonara Road, St Julian’s STJ 3140

Email: info@timberland-malta.com

www.timberland-malta.com

yield

for a 10 year period

maturing in 2028

Call us on

2090 8100

ß

ß

Investment in the Bond should

be based on the full details of the

prospectus

Timberland Securities Investment plc.

has appointed Timberland Invest Ltd.

as an authorised distributor in Malta.

Timberland Invest Ltd. is authorised

by the MFSA.

Prospective investors should note that the bonds are not redeemable before maturity. If you invest in these

products, you will not have access to your money before 15 th November 2023 in respect of the bond having a

yield of 3.75% or before 15 th November 2028 in respect of the bond having a yield of 4.6%. However, you may

transfer or sell your bonds to third parties in accordance with the terms of the Prospectus. The value of your

investment may go up as well as down and you may lose some or all the amount you invested. A copy of the

prospectus is available free of charge from our offices. Timberland Securities Investment plc is incorporated

under the laws of Malta and has issued a Prospectus under the Liechtenstein Securities Prospectus Act and

passported a prospectus in terms of the Prospectus Directive (Directive 2003/71/EC).


Malta Business Review

MBR: What motivated you to work with

LIDL? How did the idea come about and

what is your role?

MF: Lidl is one of the top four grocery retailers

in the world. Who wouldn’t be motivated

to work for a company of this stature? The

Company has a presence in 30 Countries

worldwide, with over 10,500 stores and more

than 260,000 employees!

CORPORATE INTERVIEW

Organisational Standard, Excellence

and Outstanding Achievement By George Carol

Interview with Mark Farrugia, Regional Director at Lidl Malta Ltd.

I started at Lidl in 2013. Before I had

been working for an important local food

distributing company for nearly nine years.

I was very happy working for that company,

but felt at the time that I was not growing

enough personally. I was approached by a

recruitment agency to fill the post of a Sales

Operations Executive, which was a stone’s

throw away from my home. I went for an

interview - and it turned out to be Lidl, and

the rest is history now.

Following an initial training stint in Italy

(of around 16 months) I took over the

Sales Department for Lidl Malta as Sales

Operations Executive and as of last June as

Regional Director.

MBR: How would you measure success in

what you do and also in the role you hold?

MF: Success is measured in various ways; the

easiest is the numeric one, which is financial

performance and the attainment of KPIs. The

more difficult one is the qualitative one.

At Lidl Malta the success factor can be

clearly seen every day through the number

of clients who choose us consistently as their

supermarket of choice. This can be confirmed

by the fact that we have been voted the best

value and most loved supermarket on the

island consistently for a number of years now.

Today’s leading enterprises such as Lidl

Malta foster a work ethos that encourages

employee enthusiasm, vision, and problem

solving skills that are crucial in ensuring the

success of the enterprise. The success of such

a work ethos is measured in the development

of a team that believes in what they do, and

who carries out their daily duties with passion

and dedication.

MBR: How much oversight/interaction

do you like to have from your employees

when working and how important are the

relations you keep with your team?

MF: In a world where we are more

networked than ever, where one could say

we have become completely interdependent,

interaction with one’s team is imperative.

In today’s world, a company’s purpose

or mission will need to be ingrained, or

At every level of this

journey someone,

somewhere in some way

would leave some sort

of influence on me.

moulded into the minds of all employees. We

must nurture this talent towards becoming

collaborators in value rather than individuals

after personal success. This talent will need

to be gradually empowered to take real time

innovative decisions always in line with the

company’s mission or purpose.

MBR: What is the most interesting LIDL

project you have worked on? What did you

learn from this, and how did you apply it?

Mark Farrugia

MF: There are so many projects covered

that it is difficult to pinpoint one - so I will

mention two which have definitely been

game changers.

The first was the opening of the Lidl Mosta

store. This was definitely a gamble since it

distanced itself from the conventional Lidl

stores we had opened previously. The store

was the first of its size to be built offering

a completely different experience to our

customers. The siting was also very different

to what we would have usually opted for and

the timeline we gave ourselves, to take the

store from the drawing board to being fully

operational (sixteen weeks), was what some

people would have deemed "ambitious".

The outcome depended on a number of

internal departments and external entities

working perfectly in sync in order to achieve

the deadlines. We managed to build and

open the store in a record fourteen weeks;

unprecedented! The store went on to

become one of the most successful in the Lidl

portfolio worldwide.

The second would have to be ‘Evoluzzjoni

Store Manager…….L’evoluzzjoni hija is - sahha

taghna’. This was a project which kicked

off in June 2015 when the company took

the decision to raise the bar on all levels of

management. In order to do so, it required

a formation strategy and level of planning

which was unparalleled. Imagine waking up

one morning and saying that we are going

to re-train every level of management in the

company on a global scale. Easier said than

16


CORPORATE INTERVIEW

Malta Business Review

done. The project was meticulously planned

and implemented. Locally it involved more

than 17,000 hours of training over a period of

two years. Truly one of the most intense yet

rewarding projects ever executed.

MBR: What kind of “tools” do today’s

entrepreneurs want/need, and how is

LIDL positioning itself to be of value to its

customers?

MF: Today’s modern retail framework is

constantly evolving in terms of speed and

complexity. This is mostly driven by our

endless crave for accessibility to more human

knowledge, and dependence on modern and

innovative technologies.

Entrepreneurial spirited individuals want

to learn, experiment, apply, share, partner

in the running of the enterprise - and this is

specifically what we have focused on doing at

Lidl Malta over the years, developing a strong

team which has gone from just 50 people to

more than 350.

The growth, results and market share we

have gained in recent years and the fact that

we have been voted the best value and most

loved chain of supermarkets on the island,

consistently over the last years is the result of

smart people working together, challenging

themselves continuously and consistently

raising the bar. Together, we keep pushing the

boundaries of what was initially thought of as

impossible, and make it possible!

MBR: Who has been your greatest influencer

along your entrepreneurial journey? How

did they shape what you do at LIDL?

MF: I cannot possibly mention one. Everyone

I have crossed paths with has in some way

influenced this journey, especially at Lidl. This

company takes everything to a different level.

Every time a new colleague joins the company,

I like to reminisce with him/her of my first day

at Lidl - on a freezing morning in Padova. It

had snowed so much that the trailer couldn’t

back into the unloading bay to unload the

daily order. The store manager smiled and

handed me a shovel and before I knew it the

whole team was shoveling snow, or breaking

ice blocks to get the stock unloaded and get

the store stocked for our customers for that

day. At that point, I understood everything

that this company stood for and that at every

level of this journey someone, somewhere in

some way would leave some sort of influence

on me.

In these six years I have been lucky enough

to work under the guidance of a board of

directors I consider visionaries. I have learnt

to challenge myself endlessly; how to be

motivated and how to motivate others, but

more importantly to believe that together

'nothing is impossible'!

MBR: What is your overall approach to the

supermarket trade today?

MF: The supermarket trade is a dynamic

sector which continues to evolve rapidly. It

is one where not everything can be planned

ahead, so both you as an individual and as

a company need to be extremely flexible in

your approach towards the industry.

In addition to that, new technologies, a

proliferation of supply of different formats,

and all of that, means that customers have

more choice of where to shop. Together,

with increasingly busy lifestyles, this leads to

fragmentation of where they shop - that all

supermarkets have to respond to.

You need to be at the top of your game all

the time. You need to think outside the box

and you need push your team to come up

with an innovative approach to everything.

Ultimately, I consider it to be exciting. Not

a single day is similar to another. It can

be challenging at times but it definitely is

incredibly motivating and rewarding.

MBR: Can you tell us about how you felt

when your name and that of LIDL was

announced as winner of the Chairman’s

Award for Excellence during Malta’s Best

Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2018?

MF: Let’s start off by saying that it was an

honour and a privilege for the Lidl team to

be nominated, let alone to win the award.

On the night of the event sitting there with

so many beautiful minds, so many successful

entrepreneurs, managers and companies

alike was an incredible experience. It sort of

re-assures you that as an individual and as a

team you must be doing something right.

The prestigious Chairman’s award for

excellence recognises organisational

standard, excellence and outstanding

achievement which clearly sums up

everything this Company has achieved over

the last ten years since it set foot here, and

I was truly humbled to be picking up this

award on behalf of the company.

MBR: How significant is it to be recognised

by such prestigious awards and would you

support sponsoring such causes in the

future?

MF: I believe that recognition is an

integral part of one's professional journey.

Acknowledgement is a key motivating factor.

It costs nothing but it gives incredible payback.

So, be it the simple pat on the back

and well done after talking with whoever, I

firmly believe that "acknowledgement" can

be a work changer. I definitely support such

initiatives now and will do so also in the

future. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

17


Malta Business Review

ONE-ON-ONE

Blockchain Summit Interview

Martin Vella interviews Manuela Sedvartaite founder of SociumTrade. Manuela comes

across as a key game changer and innovator; a trail blazing woman entrepreneur driver.

Her enterprising person gave birth to a thriving blockchain company, making significant

differences in the business community.

Manuela Sedvartaite

MBR: What can you tell us about

Socium Trade and the role you play in

it?

MS: Socium Trade is a decentralised

empowering financing platform,

enabling to connect traders and

investors, to engage in trade without

intermediaries. This means we have

created a place where you could

invest your money with complete

transparency and trust, a place where

all the data on your investments is

100% verifiable and accessible and a

trustee may take informed decisions

and engaged in market activities. This is

where an accurate, constantly updated

ranking system incentivizes traders to

maximise their performance in a way

that benefits all. Where, whatever

your level of knowledge, you have

the tools and community available to

help you learn more as you go. Here,

the big institutions are no longer the

gatekeepers. Everyone can interact

directly with one another. Socium Trade

is a place where investors and traders

have the independence and freedom to

grow and earn. And blockchain is at the

heart of this vision, because it enables

us to build a community where trust is

no longer a question, it is a way of life.

We act as a brokerage for traditional

investors, as well as cryptocurrrencies.

We see security and transparency

becoming the cornerstones of ever

transaction, and individuals taking

control of their financial futures. I

founded Socium Trade with the goal

of making finance and trading easy

for everyone. It is the cross-section

between trading platform and social

network. It brings together traders

and investors, enabling traders to

procure capital for their portfolios,

while giving investors the ability to fund

professionals without involving a third

party. My role is to oversee all aspects

of management and development,

managing over 40 employees working

on the project.

MBR: What motivated you to realise

this vision and embark on this

journey?

MS: I used to work with artificial

intelligence, biotechnology and my

background came from management

consulting and slowly moved into

emerging technologies, where I began

to love what I was doing. When I was

working with one of the big Forex

I thought the operational and risk

management systems were actually

very poorly built and that is where I saw

the potential of blockchain technology,

hence all my motivation that drove me

towards this objective.

MBR: How is SociumTrade looking to

change the game through its trading

and investment platform?

MS: For traders and investors,

remaining profitable and growing

portfolios in an extended bear trend is

hard. Doing it by yourself, without the

help of trading and investing networks,

is even harder, but existing communities

can be insecure, illegitimate, and

expensive.

SociumTrade is looking to change

the game through its trading and

investment platform that is accessible,

secure, and transparent to all its

participants. Akin to a niche social

network, users on the platform can

communicate and collaborate to share

strategies, resources, and research

findings with one another. For the

average individual beginning their

trek into crypto or traditional markets,

connecting themselves with private

trading groups, investment pools, and

even intuitive trading interfaces is

often impossible for those unwilling to

sacrifice huge amounts to subscription

fees or jeopardize their assets to

covertly malicious entities.

SociumTrade is shifting the paradigm

of a tokenized-economy with its

comprehensive ecosystem that will

connect its worldwide users to the

products and tools most commonly

sought after among traders and

investors alike. Moreover, the platform

prioritizes transparency and security

so that funds and profits are never

put in danger. The core features of the

platform are as follows:

Peer-To-Peer Transactions: Traders

can participate in over-the-counter

transactions with one another in a

trustless, secure manner. For coins

with low liquidity or little support from

exchanges, this means traders are never

subject to paying massive premiums

or having their funds lost on shoddy

exchanges.

"And blockchain is at

the heart of this vision,

because it enables us

to build a community

where trust is no longer

a question, it is a way of

life.

Decentralized P2P Lending:

SociumTrade users can cooperate

in peer-to-peer lending operations.

Investors can lease their holdings for

whatever interest rate they offer, and

traders can take advantage of available

funds to maximize their exposure or

take advantage of trading opportunities

without jeopardizing their current

holdings.

Follow Traders: Users on the platform

broadcast their trades to the ecosystem

and other traders can take note of the

strategies used by their peers.

18


ONE-ON-ONE

Malta Business Review

Investment Consortiums and Pools:

Users can combine their assets in order

to cooperate to build larger funds.

While investment consortiums allow

for effective capital management 24/7,

investment pools enable participants to

earn passive income with minimal risk.

Intuitive Trading Interface: A key focus

of SociumTrade is user experience.

The trading interface is straightforward

and powerful. Users build their own

terminal design, have a custom layout

and choose tools to be visible. From

the charting interface, users can draw

and highlight graphs, input trends,

study candles, and more. When they

are ready to trade, any amount of

market or limit orders can be made

simultaneously.

Data-Intelligence: SociumTrade

has a built-in AI driven analytical

engine to watch and predict market

trends, indicate the potential market

opportunities, analyze traders

behaviour and ratios, rank traders or

funds based on performance data.

As a result, SociumTrade provides a

decentralized, intuitive, accessible, and

highly powerful financial ecosystem.

KYC/AML compliance ensures all users

remain honest and regulations are

followed. Rating metrics can be applied

to different assets, strategies, and

traders to further share knowledge and

opinions.

Manuela Sedvartaite

Socium Trade Inc.

Co Founder and CMO

Dedicated to applying emerging

technologies to transform the financial

landscape, Manuela is the founder

of SociumTrade, a platform offering

a combination of multi-asset trading

and investment with the flexibility and

openness of a social network. Her vision

is to create an ecosystem for secure

investments worldwide using blockchain

technology. Currently, she works

amongst startups, regulators, investors

and incumbent financial institutions

to develop a collaborative approach to

rethinking financial services. Manuela

holds a business degree from the

Hong Kong University of Science and

Technology and has a diverse set of

experience ranging from robotic process

automation to Big 4 auditing. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

Photo credit: Getty Images

www.maltabusinessreview.net

19


Malta Business Review

TRANSPORTS & LOGISTICS

Express Trailers broadens

ShipLowCost.com Horizons

Express Trailers has not only revamped its

ShipLowCost online platform with a new

look but more importantly, it has extended

its offering to now allow customers to send

anything they want to anywhere in the world

through an online platform in just a few

clicks.

“Since the genesis of ShipLowCost, it was

always part of our strategic plan to also serve

the local retailer in gaining access to the

global market. Retailers are moving towards

omni-channel by adding e-commerce to their

brick-and-mortar outlets. One of the bigger

challenges being in an island, is the efficiency

and effectiveness of the delivery of e-sales

to their customer around the world. By

providing local online sellers with a platform

that enables them to sell to anywhere in the

world, we are actually enabling everyone

to become a global retailer,” said Franco

Azzopardi, Chairman and CEO of Express

Trailers.

“To date, ShipLowCost.com was geared

mainly towards online shoppers who

redirected their online purchases to one

of our depots spread around Europe and

"This project, to which

we have been affording

a lot of energy over

the past three years,

contributes further to

strengthening Express

Trailers’ leading position

in Malta’s logistics

sector.

from there, we had them shipped directly to

Malta through our extensive road network.

The strength in this offering is that we own

our fleet and we have thousands of trips

to and from Malta to make this offering

efficient. Now, the service is being extended

to anyone, business or individual, who wants

to sell and ship to anywhere in the world.”

“In fact, we have launched the service now,

at this particular time of the year for those

many customers who might also wish to

send presents to their loved ones abroad

over the Christmas season,” added Franco

Azzopardi. “Being strongly entrenched in

total logistics, we can support our exporting

client through a few clicks, with a collection

service, right-sizing of packing boxes and also

for the bigger retailer, managed warehousing

with a pick-pack-deliver option.”

“This project, to which we have been

affording a lot of energy over the past three

years, contributes further to strengthening

Express Trailers’ leading position in Malta’s

logistics sector,” added Franco Azzopardi.

ShipLowCost.com is going to remain one of

the main priorities and goals for 2019 for

Express Trailers.

“From a commercial aspect, we are going to

enhance ShipLowCost.com’s B2B capability

to include an export service for online sales

done by Malta-based retailers. With this

new enabling service, one does not need to

be a huge exporter to sell abroad. Indeed,

one will be able to sell even small quantities

and rely on the best of breed logistics for

export and final delivery,” concluded Franco

Azzopardi. MBR

Ship Low Cost Warehouse

Creditline: Express Trailers

20


Malta Business Review

MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

21


Malta Business Review

ICT

When it comes to Digital Transformation,

there’s more than one way to skin a cat

(but only a few ways to get quick ROI)

Last week in San Francisco, I met with a major automotive manufacturer. We’ve been working with one of their divisions for

many years, so this meeting was about taking the learnings from that division and applying them to another.

The challenge they outlined: “It’s not that I don’t

know where to start. We’ve already started. I need

to know where to focus!”

Sound familiar? If you’re in a large or mid-sized

manufacturing company, chances are you’re

already trialling new technologies for a range of

niche use cases. As productivity pressure piles up

and new solutions become available, it can be hard

to know where to focus your digital transformation

efforts.

I’m excited to be at the Manufacturing Leaders’

Summit next week, discussing this very problem

and how our diverse range of customers are

approaching it. For a preview of my presentation,

read on…

Productivity Pressures vs New Technologies

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution,

manufacturers have been looking for ways to boost

productivity. Whether through Taylor’s Time &

Motion studies, Toyota’s Total Quality Management

system, or GE’s Six Sigma programme, the most

successful companies do more with less. With

today’s new technologies, we have opportunities

to drive productivity further.

Is it really needed? Well, to give some context,

in North America unplanned downtime costs

process industry businesses $20bn annually, 80%

of which is preventable. Conversely, our own

estimates suggest that adoption of Industrial

Internet technologies could add between £200bn

and £320bn to the UK's GDP by 2030. Industrial

Internet solutions could bring greater efficiency

to key UK sectors, translating into real growth.

New technologies offer a way out of this stagnant

growth – but as my customer said last week it

can be hard to know where to focus. Today, new

technologies enable greater productivity, but not

all tech is created equal; some are more mature

than you might think.

There are a host of tech buzzwords out there, from

drones to digital twins, additive manufacturing to

augmented reality, blockchain to big data, edge

to the cloud, predictive maintenance to machine

learning. Many companies dabble in these but find

themselves bogged down in proofs of concept or

pilots that never take off.

Avoiding Pilot Purgatory: Why Build if You

can Buy?

Many IT departments invest in local solutions

tackling specific problems. To release value from

these initiatives, business leaders need to focus

on projects that can scale across multiple sites

and use cases. It wouldn’t make sense for your IT

team to build a new version of Microsoft Office, so

why should they build software for your industrial

assets and processes?

The key is understanding how to get from where

you are to where you want to be, tying investments

in digital technologies back to business strategy.

Opportunities to experiment are greater than ever,

but while it’s great having so many options, it also

means making more decisions – which solution to

choose, who is best aligned with your business,

what you can afford and what will bring the best

return.

Examples Worth Following

Many companies are already making great

progress. Here are some use cases from our

customers:

Gerdau, the largest producer of long steel in the

Americas, had a focus on ROI and reducing costs

from the beginning. They knew the importance of

a clear, outcome-focused ROI strategy – saving $4.5

billion annually. By connecting their digitalisation

activity to their business strategy they pioneered

the definition of productivity in the global steel

industry.

Intel proved the importance of scalability after we

ran a successful pilot with them installing APM on

fan filter units. Now, we’re partnering with them

to sell the solution across the semiconductor

industry. The model demonstrates the benefits of

greater processing power – from edge to cloud.

SIG, Swiss German food & beverage packaging

manufacturer, have a long history of data collection

and analysis on their machines. Their in-house IT

team had started over 150 digital transformation

projects, so they identified six priorities and

channelled their efforts there – focussing on our

unique Asset Performance Management and Field

Service Management solutions. A full analysis of

the upfront and hidden costs will help you make an

informed decision for the success of your business.

SIG knew that for them, buy was better than build.

Deborah Sherry is the Senior Vice President and

Chief Commercial Officer at GE Digital Europe,

Russia & CIS MBR

Creditline: GE Gigittal Europe

22


Malta Business Review

EUROPEAN UNION

European Elections 2019:

What Europe does for me

By Jaume Duch Guillot & Neil Corlett

• Short, easily readable notes on how the

EU has improved peoples’ lives;

• Quick and simple navigation by region,

profession, leisure activity;

A ground-breaking new website

demonstrating the EU’s positive impact

on individual citizens was unveiled by

President Tajani today.

The most recent Eurobarometer survey,

published last month, found that 68% of

respondents agreed that their country

has benefitted from EU membership. But

there have been very few attempts to list

the concrete benefits of EU membership to

ordinary people across the EU. Ahead of

the European elections in May next year, it is

hoped that this website will illustrate to what

extent the EU makes a difference.

them and this new European Parliament

website provides clear, jargon-free answers.

It will be a valuable tool in bringing Europe

closer to its citizens”.

Around 1 800 one-page notes are available

to read, share or reuse as on-line pages or

as PDF files. They are organised in two main

categories on the website. The first section,

‘In my region’, allows users to select the place

where they and their family live or work. How

is Europe present in our towns, cities and

regions? This section of the website covers

over 1 400 localities in every part of the

European Union.

The second section of the site, ‘In my life’,

lets each user select from 400 ‘one-pagers’

to find things that are important to her or

to him personally. How does the EU affect,

onward links to further information - rather

than trying to list everything the EU has ever

done.

They will be complemented, in a third section

"Europeans ask what the

EU has done for them

and this new European

Parliament website

provides clear, jargonfree

answers. It will be a

valuable tool in bringing

Europe closer to its

citizens.

The interactive, multilingual, ‘What Europe

Does For Me’ online website, put together

by the European Parliamentary Research

Service, presents hundreds of easy-to-read,

one-page notes giving examples of the

positive difference that the EU makes to

people's lives. Users can easily find specific

information about what Europe does for their

region, their profession or their favourite

pastime.

Launching the site in Strasbourg today,

European Parliament President Tajani said:

“Europeans ask what the EU has done for

for example, families, health care, hobbies,

travel, security, consumer choices and social

rights? How does the EU support people in

their professional lives in dozens of jobs - from

beekeepers to bus drivers to brewers? What

has the EU done for people who enjoy leisure

activities such as sport, music or watching

television? A series of podcasts in a growing

number of languages is also available for this

section.

The notes provide a snapshot of EU action for

citizens - based on interesting examples, with

of the site, with longer briefing papers on EU

policies ‘in focus’, which outline some of the

achievements of the current parliamentary

term, and the outlook for the future, with a

special focus on public opinion and citizens’

concerns and expectations of EU action.

This website has been put together by

the European Parliamentary Research

Service (EPRS), in conjunction with the

Communications and Translations services of

the European Parliament.

Jaume DUCH GUILLOT is the EP

Spokesperson and Director General for

Communication

Neil CORLETT is the Head of the Press Unit

Credit: EU Press/EPO Valletta

MBR

24


Malta Business Review

MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

25


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: THE SRB IN THE BANKING UNION

The SRB: the single resolution authority for the Banking Union

The SRM is one of the pillars of the Banking Union, alongside the SSM (see Figure 2). As of November 2014, the SSM is the

new system of banking supervision in the Banking Union, comprising the European Central Bank (ECB) and national supervisory

authorities of the participating Member States (National Competent Authorities). Under the SRM, centralised decision-making

power in respect of resolution has been entrusted to the SRB, which derives its powers from both the BRRD and the SRMR.

In force from January 2015, the Single Resolution

Mechanism (SRM) is the new system of bank resolution

comprising the Single Resolution Board (SRB) and

National Resolution Authorities of the participating

Member States of the Banking Union (NRAs) (see

Figure 1). The SRM constitutes one of the pillars of the

Banking Union. It complements the Single Supervisory

Mechanism (SSM), the unified system of banking

supervision in the Banking Union. The SSM and the

SRM aim to ensure the banking system in the Banking

Union is safer.

The SRM's mission is to ensure an orderly resolution of

failing banks and banking groups (hereafter ’banks’),

with minimum impact on the real economy and public

finances of the participating Member States of the

Banking Union. Responsibilities are allocated among

the SRB and the NRAs, as set out in the SRM Regulation

(SRMR). The role of the SRB and the NRAs is not limited

to crisis situations, but is primarily focused on planning

and preparatory measures, such as drawing up

resolution plans, setting appropriate levels of Minimum

Requirements for own funds and Eligible Liabilities

(MREL), and addressing impediments to resolvability.

A resolution plan comprises a comprehensive

description of credible and feasible resolution actions

which the SRM may implement if a bank meets the

conditions for resolution.

Preparing and adopting resolution schemes

Upon the determination by the ‘extended’ Executive

Session of the SRB that a bank meets the conditions

for resolution, the SRB will adopt a resolution scheme,

determining the application of the relevant resolution

tools and, if necessary, the use of the SRF. Where the

resolution action involves the use of the SRF or the

granting of State aid, the resolution scheme can only

be adopted after the EC has adopted a positive or

conditional decision concerning the compatibility of

such aid with the internal market. Relevant NRAs are

closely involved in the preparation and adoption of

a resolution scheme. The IRTs prepare the resolution

schemes.

In general, the ‘extended’ Executive Session of the

SRB adopts a resolution scheme and places a bank

under resolution. However, if over €5 billion of the

SRF (or €10 billion of liquidity support) is to be used,

the resolution scheme prepared by the ‘extended’

Executive Session is deemed to be adopted, unless,

within three hours after submission of the draft resolution

scheme, at least one member of the Plenary Session

calls a meeting of the Plenary Session. In the latter

case, the Plenary Session will decide on the resolution

scheme. If more than €5 billion of the SRF is used in any

rolling 12-month period, the Plenary Session evaluates

the application of the resolution tools and provides

guidance which the Executive Session must follow in

subsequent resolution decisions.

• Consultation of the Resolution College members

and joint decision process with the relevant

resolution authorities of EU subsidiaries

• Draft resolution plan

• Submit resolution plan, including MREL, to ECB/

NCAs for consultation

• Submit resolution plan and MREL to ‘extended’

Executive Session for preliminary endorsement

• Submit resolution plan and MREL to ‘extended’

Executive Session for final approval

• Communicate outcome resolution planning

process and MREL to bank

• Resolution plans: preparation and adoption

process where a Resolution College is required

THE SINGLE RESOLUTION MECHANISM

Once the SRB has adopted a resolution scheme, it

sends the scheme to the EC. The scheme may only

enter into force if no objection is expressed by the EC

or the Council of the European Union within a period

of 24 hours. If the EC endorses the scheme, it enters into

force. However, if the EC objects to certain aspects of

the scheme, the SRB shall modify it accordingly, after

which is approved and enters into force. Alternatively,

the EC can propose to the Council of the European

Union that it objects to the scheme either because

there is no public interest, or to require a material

modification to the use of the SRF. If the Council of the

European Union objects to the scheme because it is

not in the public interest, the bank will be wound up in

an orderly manner in accordance with the applicable

national law. If the Council of the European Union

approves the modification to the use of the SRF, the

SRB modifies the scheme accordingly, after which it is

approved and enters into force. If the Council of the

European Union rejects the EC’s proposal, the scheme

enters into force in its original form.

All this is foreseen to take place within very tight

deadlines in order to allow resolution of a failing bank

over a weekend (see below).

Cooperation with resolution authorities of nonparticipating

Member States

For banks headquartered in the Banking Union and

with one or more subsidiaries or significant branches

in one or more non-participating Member States,

or vice-versa, Resolution Colleges bring the SRB

and the relevant resolution authorities together to

discuss and agree on resolution planning and other

resolution matters. Depending on where the bank is

headquartered, the SRB or the resolution authority of

a non-participating Member State is the so-called

Group-Level Resolution Authority (GLRA). The way in

which Resolution Colleges are expected to work and

the interaction among the members of the Resolution

Colleges is defined in the Commission Delegated

Regulation 2016/1075.

The SRB works in close cooperation with NRAs to

accomplish its tasks. One of its key tasks is to draft

resolution plans for the banks. The purpose of resolution

planning is to gain a comprehensive understanding of

the banks, to identify and address any impediments

to their resolvability, and to be prepared for their

resolution, if needed. Resolution planning requires a

considerable amount of information and analysis, also

from the banks, as they are best placed to provide

information on their own structure and functioning. This

publication describes, in general terms, the information

required for resolution planning and the structure and

process to draft a resolution plan. Resolution planning

is an ongoing process. Over time, resolution plans will

become more detailed and sophisticated. This also

implies that in the period to come, the requirement for

banks to address impediments to their resolvability and

to meet their MREL (quantity, quality, and location) will

become more concrete.

In case of questions, comments, or suggestions

regarding this publication, please contact the SRB

through SRB-INFO@srb.europa.eu. MBR

Credits: Single Resolution Board

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

26


Malta Business Review

MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

27


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: SRB INTERVIEW

Single Resolution Board

(SRB) Chair, Elke König Interview with the Malta Business Review - By Martin Vella

Dr Elke König is Chair of the SRB, being

responsible for the management of the

organisation, the work of the Board, the

budget, all staff, and the Executive and

Plenary sessions of the Board. The General

Counsel, the Policy Coordination and International

Relations Unit, the Communications

office and the Internal Audit function

report directly to her.

She was President of the German Federal

Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt

für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht

(BaFin) from 2012 until 2015. After

qualifying in business administration and

obtaining a doctorate, Dr König spent

many years working for companies in the

financial and insurance sector. From 1980

to 1990, she worked for KPMG Deutsche

Treuhandgesellschaft in Cologne, auditing

and advising insurance undertakings, from

1986 as a holder of a special statutory

authority (Prokuristin) and from 1988 as a

director and partner. From 1990 to 2002,

Dr König was a member of the senior management

of the Munich Re Group (Head of

Accounting); she then moved to Hannover

Rückversicherung AG as Chief Financial

Officer. From 2010 to the end of 2011, Dr

König was a member of the International

Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in

London. Dr König was also a representative

of the Supervisory Board of the Single

Supervisory Mechanism.

MBR: Ten (10) years after the crisis: have

banks become truly resolvable and has the

regulatory reaction been sufficient?

EK: Casting our minds back just ten years,

the insufficiency of pre-crisis regulation is

clear. The lack of an effective resolution

regime meant that authorities were not able

to manage the failures of systemics banks

effectively. In particular, the existence of

banks deemed ‘too big to fail’ meant that

ordinary people, through their governments,

were left to foot the bill when things

went wrong.

The EU now has a bank resolution regime.

This regime was implemented in the Bank

Recovery and Resolution Directive and the

Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation

(SRMR). The SRMR created a new agency in

charge of resolution, the SRB.

Our day-to-day work is to proactively ensure

that banks are resolvable, in line with the

objectives set out in European legislation.

But bank resolution is a journey, and there is

much to be done before we reach our final

goal. The reforms – those that took place

and those that are still in the legislative process

taken together - are probably sufficient

and will be effective; but implementation of

these reforms is not yet complete.

Moreover, it is not only up to the authorities

to enhance the system. Banks themselves

must adjust their procedures and perhaps

even their business models to align to the

new regulatory framework. Only working together,

can banks and the authorities make

resolvability a reality, and deliver financial

stability to Europe.

I think we should also start perceiving the

concept of “resolution”, at some point, as a

common good or in the interest of everyone

– that is for the taxpayers but as well

as contributing to financial stability instead

of being “just” an additional burden to the

industry. After all, the public, and more

particularly the markets, should respect and

reflect that the banks which are resolvable

should be better priced compared to the

ones which are not.

MBR: What has really changed, what have

we learnt and where will the world go?

EK: Avoiding the mistakes that led to the

Banking Crisis is central to our work. One

lesson we have learned from the 2008 crisis

is that banks are often global in life and

national in death. In Europe, the high level

of interdependence across Member States’

banking systems meant that a coordinated

solution was needed to manage bank failure.

In effect, the aim of the Banking Union

is to enable the authorities to manage the

failure of banks, so that even in death banks

are dealt with from a European perspective.

A core element of the regulatory response

has been the establishment of the Single

Resolution Fund, which today stands at

€24.9 billion and will be built up to 1% of

covered deposits. The taxpayer has contributed

- and will contribute - nothing to this

fund. Instead, it is entirely funded by banks.

Implementing the agreed upon Common

Backstop for the Fund is also critical. This

will give markets the confidence that resolution

will work even for large, complex banks,

and reduce stress on the financial system in

the event of a bank failure.

Beyond the backstop, it remains fundamental

to press ahead and complete the Banking

Union’s third and final pillar through the

development of the European Deposit Insurance

Scheme. For the proper functioning of

a Banking Union, there should be no difference

in the strength of protection available

to depositors in each individual Member

State, and a failure should not fall on the

national public coffers.

MBR: Within five years of the advent of

the Crisis, the policy debate across Europe

on tackling it focused on demand management

and monetary policy. Despite

German reluctance, public investment was

an important and undeniable policy goal.

But given that different countries needed

different treatments, how difficult is it to

agree on one common policy and have a

sound legislation in place?

EK: This is a question for the Co-legislators

to answer.

From the SRB’s perspective, it is worth mentioning

that the Banking Union has created a

European authority for supervision and resolution

and – of course – a single rulebook.

The direct application of the SRMR as a

regulation is an important first step. The

agreement on a Harmonised Creditor

Hierarchy will help because an aligned

creditor hierarchy across Member States

will improve market transparency, help with

the pricing of instruments and enhance the

implementation of resolution tools.

However, the SRM framework for resolution

is faced with 19 or more different insolvency

procedures. In some Member States,

insolvency proceedings are well established,

28


SPECIAL FEATURE: SRB INTERVIEW

Malta Business Review

while in others, the procedures are unclear

and have long, uncertain timeframes. A

clear and transparent process is absolutely

essential for markets to help creditors to

understand the potential risks and to inform

the price-setting and funding to the banks.

MBR: How has the banking system been

made stronger and more resilient to avoid

cases like these and similar crisis of unassailable

debt, when problems of insufficient

public investment – and problems

with the Stability and Growth Pact – have

persisted?

EK: Since the crisis the regulatory framework

has strengthened significantly. All SRB

banking groups will be covered by a resolution

plan in 2019. Our tasks will increasingly

focus on tailoring resolution strategies to a

bank’s structure and business model, and

identifying and addressing impediments to

resolvability – such as lack of proper management

into systems.

"From a resolution

perspective,

blockchain plays

no important role

at the moment.

Thanks to the EU reforms, the SRB is now

equipped with a number of tools that help

us enhance the stability of the banking sector.

A key tool to achieve resolvability is, and

will continue to be, MREL. Through setting

MREL targets, the SRB ensures that banks

have a healthy amount of loss absorbing

capacity, so that resources are available to

enable the effective application of resolution

tools when banks fail. In this way, the

SRB makes sure that banks have appropriate

buffers to deal with shocks and are thus

more secure.

In 2018, we have set binding MREL targets

at consolidated level for the most important

banking groups, while informative targets

have been communicated to the remaining

banks. 2019 will see sizeable progress in the

definition of MREL requirements, including

the location of MREL.

MBR: Ten years from the crisis, we are

now talking of new technology, such as

Blockchain, cryptocurrency and Bitcoin,

with the Maltese PM stating recently that:

“Blockchain is the technology of trust”.

Does the SRB share this view, what are

your comments and how will the SRB

recommend to set up a regulatory function

within the EU to monitor countries who

are harnessing this technology, within an

EU legal operational framework?

EK: Our objective is to create a safe and

stable financial market. New technologies

can play a role in this, but risks and opportunities

should be appropriately assessed

by the industry and by regulators. From a

resolution perspective, blockchain plays no

important role at the moment.

MBR: What stage of development has

the European Deposit Guarantee Scheme

reached?

EK: Although we have unfortunately seen

limited progress in the last year, the SRB

strongly believes that EDIS as the third

pillar of the Banking Union must become a

reality as soon as possible. Having unified

supervision and resolution, harmonising

the protection of depositors is a logical step

with obvious benefits to financial stability.

The Commission communication last year

offered new approaches to unlock progress

on EDIS. Following that communication, we

would strongly welcome a more pragmatic

attitude towards finding an agreement on

EDIS, so that the deadlock in the discussion

can be broken. We hope that the Commission’s

suggestion of a targeted AQR to assess

NPLs and Level III assets as a precondition

to sharing credit risk in EDIS will address the

concerns of stakeholders.

MBR: No part of the financial sector will

remain unregulated! Governments and

parliaments declared the end of “light

touch” regulation… they promised that

complex financial products will not be

traded anymore in the shadows. And last

but not least, no more bank bail outs!

Now in 2018, the implemented financial

regulation have hardly changed the way

banks, investors, or speculators operate.

Worse, new financial risks and financial

market instability have created new crises.

Under these circumstances, how should

we modify our approach, as well as have

a robust regulatory agenda and financial

guidelines/legislation?

EK: I am not sure I follow your line of

argument. Financial stability has tangibly

increased since the last crisis and regulation

has moved in a sensible direction.

Now it is paramount to avoid weakening

the standards already agreed. The last few

years have seen a material enhancement of

regulation in response to the crisis.

Yet when memories fade, there is a distinct

threat that we forget the significance of the

regulatory systems put in place. That means

that at this point the authorities should take

advantage of positive market conditions to

push forward with finalising reforms. This

will further strengthen the Banking Union

through both risk-reduction and risk-sharing

measures, ensuring the authorities are able

to manage future bank failures without the

use of taxpayer funds.

This holds true for the industry too: They

know the topics that need to be addressed

from “capital” to “NPL” to “obstacles to

resolvability”, thus they too should push

forward in these areas. There is no reason to

wait. After all, ‘Let’s make hay while the sun

is shining’. And if the industry does not take

the necessary steps of its own accord, we

will have to make them.

In regards to new risks, it is important for

the authorities to monitor developments

in the market and adapt the framework,

where necessary, to account for these risks.

An important area for future development

are Central Counterparties, which have

grown ever more important since the crisis.

The SRB has an interest in the development

of an effective CCP resolution framework

because many of the banks under our remit

are clearing members of these CCPs and

are therefore exposed to their tail-risk. CCPs

should be robust with appropriate recovery

and resolution regimes, and we welcome

the ongoing work on the Commission in this

area. MBR

Credits: Single Resolution Board

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

29


Malta Business Review

30


Malta Business Review

www.maltabusinessreview.net

31


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: SINGLE RESOLUTION BOARD

SINGLE RESOLUTION BOARD

The SRB was established by Regulation (EU) No 806/2014 (the Single Resolution

Mechanism Regulation (SRMR)), and began operating as an independent EU

agency on 1 January 2015. It assumed its full legal mandate for resolution planning

and adopting all decisions relating to resolution on 1 January 2016.

The SRB’s mission is to ensure an

orderly resolution of failing banks

with minimum impact on the real

economy, the financial system,

and the public finances of the

participating Member States and

beyond.

The SRB is the central resolution authority

within the Banking Union. Together with the

NRAs of participating Member States, it forms

the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM). The

SRB works in close cooperation with 19 NRAs,

the European Commission, the European

Central Bank (ECB) and the EBA, as well as

national competent authorities (NCAs).

The role of the SRB is proactive: rather

than waiting for resolution cases to manage,

the SRB focuses on resolution planning and

enhancing resolvability in close cooperation

with NRAs. The SRB drafts and adopts

resolution plans for the banks under its remit

and regularly updates these plans. In this

context, the SRB determines the preferred

resolution strategy for a bank; this strategy

sets out the resolution tools and powers to

be applied in the event of resolution and sets

the MREL. Should a bank within the SRB’s

remit be failing or likely to fail, and also fulfil

the other criteria for resolution, the SRB will

draft and adopt a resolution scheme and the

relevant NRAs will implement the resolution

accordingly. In addition to resolution planning

and decisions for significant institutions

through a so-called, the SRB also performs

an oversight function with regard to LSIs.

The SRB is also in charge of the industryfunded

SRF, which was established to provide

ancillary financing to ensure the effective

application of resolution schemes.

The SRB’s values: the SRB strives to be a

trusted and respected resolution authority

with a strong resolution capacity in the

SRM, thus avoiding future bail-outs. The

SRB aims to be a centre of expertise in bank

resolution. Its three values are (i) Excellence

in Resolution, (ii) Integrity and (iii) EU spirit.

EXCELLENCE IN RESOLUTION } Reference

Authority } Skilled workforce } Resilience EU.

THE SRB’S MAIN MEDIUM-TERM

OBJECTIVES

The SRB’s priority is to achieve resolvability

in the Banking Union and to strengthen its

resolution readiness, that is, its ability to draft

and adopt a resolution decision at any point

in time should an SRB bank be failing or likely

to fail, and to meet the other conditions for

resolution. To achieve this, the SRB, together

with national resolution authorities (NRAs),

drafts resolution plans and prepares, within

a given timeframe, a resolution strategy

designed to best meet resolution objectives.

Taking a three-year perspective, the SRB

will continue to implement its mission to

ensure an orderly resolution of failing banks

with minimum impact on the real economy,

the financial system and public finances.

To achieve this, the SRB has defined the

following five strategic areas of operation in

which progress is to be accomplished:

> Strengthening resolvability for SRB entities

and less significant institutions (LSIs);

> Fostering a robust resolution framework;

> Preparing and carrying out effective crisis

management;

> Operationalising the Single Resolution

Fund (SRF);

> Establishing a lean and efficient

organisation. MBR

Source: SRB/Replanning

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

32


COMPANY FOCUS

Malta Business Review

Leaders in Operational Risk Management

SHIELD provides services by skilled and

experienced Consultants in various areas

of Risk Management, now also serving the

marine industry.

Operational risk management is at the forefront

of organisational resilience in today’s

world, and SHIELD have always led from

the front. The Managing Directors of three

companies, John Schembri from SHIELD

Consultants; Joe Gabriele from RISE and Joe

Small from Gorton Consultancy, Scotland,

have teamed up to offer specialist ORM

services to the marine industry. By joining

forces and utilising Malta as a hub location,

SHIELD Marine is able to reach out into

extended markets within Europe, across

MENA and even beyond.

Today’s maritime industry is acutely aware

of the risks their operations can pose to

society, the economy and the environment.

We aim to extend SHIELD’s expertise and

systems into the marine world in order

to manage and control theses risks in an

efficient and cost-effective manner. These

systems are applicable to national authorities,

shipping companies and ports and

include risk assessment and management,

contingency planning and the coordination

of response activities. MBR

Joe Gabriele, John Schembri and Joe Small

www.maltabusinessreview.net

33


Malta Business Review

SPECIAL FEATURE: SINGLE RESOLUTION BOARD

The Common Backstop:

how it will strengthen

the Single Resolution

Fund

Single Resolution Board Article

by SRB Vice Chair, Timo Löyttyniemi

The Common Backstop to the

Single Resolution Fund was

agreed in principle by Member

States in 2013 and will enhance

the credibility of the resolution

framework in the Banking Union.

The ESM was agreed as the

provider of the Common Backstop

by the Euro Summit in June 2018.

The Common Backstop would be

available only as a last resort and,

in case of use, it would be repaid

by the Banking Sector.

It is important that the Common

Backstop’s design provides for

rapid and effect decision-making

by the ESM and aligns to the

resolution objectives. Overcomplexity

should be avoided.

Introduction

One of the biggest changes demanded by

policy makers and politicians in the wake

of the financial crisis ten years ago was to

address the moral hazard of “too-big-tofail”

banks and find a way to deal with failing

systemic banks without widespread spill-over

effects to the financial system, the economy

and public finances, and without the taxpayer

having to foot the bill. In Europe, there was

clear agreement that the bail-outs of the last

decade, with the use of public funds, had to

be consigned to history. Thus, the principle

of “resolving” systemically important banks

with a “bail-in” instead of a “bail-out” was

put into legislation and can now be applied in

practice[1]. This term covers the way we deal

with failing banks today.

Creation of the Banking Union

In the EU, new rules on the recovery and

resolution of banks were agreed. For the

Banking Union, the Single Supervisory

Mechanism (SSM) and the Single Resolution

Mechanism (SRM) have been established,

with the Single Resolution Board (SRB)

created as the supranational resolution

34


SPECIAL FEATURE: SINGLE RESOLUTION BOARD

Malta Business Review

authority in the Banking Union. The Banking

Union currently covers the 19 Eurozone

countries, but it is also open to other Member

States of the EU.

Importantly, different resolution tools

were created to address bank failures,

and the Single Resolution Fund (SRF) was

created to ensure the effective application

of resolution actions by the SRB, where

necessary and subject to strict criteria. The

SRF is funded through ex-ante contributions

(i.e. contributions collected annually in

advance) from the banking sector, ensuring

that the cost of failures will be borne by

existing creditors and the banking sector.

The SRF now holds 24.9bn euro and it is

being built up over a period of 8 years to

1% of covered deposits (an amount close to

60bn euro based on recent projections)[2].

To further strengthen the Banking Union,

Member States agreed in 2013, and further

in 2016 to develop a Common Backstop (the

“Backstop”) to the SRF which should become

operational by the latest at the end of the

transitional period, i.e. end 2023.

Why is the Backstop so important?

Market confidence in a time of crisis

is key. For credibility, the existence

of a Backstop to the SRF is crucial,

in particular for situations where

the SRF might not be able to provide

sufficient funds or those financial

means are not readily available. It is

to be used only as a last resort and

it will ensure the SRB will always

have access to sufficient funds to

address even a severe systemic crisis

and thereby secure financial stability

when this is most needed. Indeed,

the Backstop’s very existence would

boost confidence in markets in a

time of crisis, and therefore the need

to actually use such a Backstop could

be greatly reduced. The Backstop

also ensures a level playing field with

other jurisdictions that already have

put in place a similar mechanism.

Recently, the Euro Area Member

States agreed that the Backstop

would be provided by the European

Stability Mechanism (‘ESM’), for

which the size would be aligned to

the target level of the SRF.

Fiscally-neutral for the taxpayer

The Backstop will be provided by the ESM in

form of a credit line and its design will ensure

that last resort funding will be available for

the SRF. The Backstop will not be a burden

on the public purse, because in the medium

term the banking sector will cover the cost of

any Backstop use, via contributions collected

afterwards (via ex-post contributions)

ensuring fiscal neutrality.

How should the Backstop function?

"Backstop’s

very existence

would boost

confidence in

markets in a

time of crisis

and therefore

the need

to actually

use such a

Backstop could

be greatly

reduced.

Access to the Backstop should be aligned

with the rules for the use of the SRF to take

full advantage of synergies with the existing

framework. The SRM Regulation already sets

out a series of conditions, which materially

limit the risk to which the SRF and thereby the

Backstop could be exposed. A contribution

from the SRF to recapitalisation may only

be made under two key conditions: the bailin

of at least 8% of total liabilities including

own funds (TLOF), and a contribution of

a maximum of 5% of TLOF. Furthermore,

the use of the SRF would be assessed by

the Commission to ensure it complies with

State aid rules. Additional conditions are

not needed to protect taxpayers. To meet

these objectives, the SRB, as an independent

European Union Agency, works closely with

the National Resolution Authorities (NRAs),

the Commission and the SSM.

Before the SRB adopts a resolution scheme

involving use of the Backstop, it needs

confirmation from the ESM that funds from

the Backstop would be provided. The use of

the SRF and thus also the Backstop by the

SRB would always have to be included in

the resolution scheme. Clarity around the

framework is therefore necessary for the SRB

to ensure that it will have an understanding of

whether it will be able to access the Backstop

for a given resolution case. Furthermore,

particularly in a crisis situation, the possibility

for conflicts between the SRB and the ESM on

questions related to the resolution scheme

have to be reduced to a minimum, not only

in view of time constraints, but also to allow

the SRB to perform its tasks as the resolution

authority in the Banking Union, ensuring an

orderly resolution in the interest of financial

stability and managing a mutualised fund

provided for by all banks of the Banking

Union.

State of Play

Discussions are ongoing on the end state

of the Backstop, but consideration has

also been given to an early introduction

of the Backstop before 2023. For the SRB,

it is important that any early introduction

avoids an over-complicated interaction with

the current non-mutualised arrangements.

Therefore, if Member States wish to press

ahead and implement the Backstop early,

then it might be considered to bring forward

the full mutualisation of the SRF once the

vast majority of funds are mutualised.

Conclusions

Implementing the Backstop and moving

towards completion of the Banking Union

will further enhance the credibility of the

SRB as the resolution authority in the

Banking Union. The Backstop will further

strengthen the SRB’s resolution actions to

ensure financial stability, and minimise the

damage that a failing bank could cause to the

financial system and the economy overall. It

is important that we push ahead and make

progress on the Backstop, ensuring it is welldesigned,

credible and ready to be called into

action as a last resort should the need arise.

[1] In a bail-out the bank would receive support

from external parties, whereas in a bail-in the

bank’s creditors would be written down and

converted into capital in order to recapitalise the

bank.

[2] In order to provide sufficient firepower already

from the start of the SRF, the participating Member

States of the Banking Union have signed bilateral

bridge financing agreements in form of national

credit lines with the SRB, covering the respective

national compartment within the SRF during the

transitional period, until the SRF is fully mutualised

by 1 January 2024. MBR

Credits: Single Resolution Board

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

35


Malta Business Review

FOCUS: SHIELD CONSULTANTS LTD

EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO

POWER THEIR GOALS

The group 1-2-1 interview is a different breed in the interviewing profession. It’s kind of like

a real-life version of that reality show “The Apprentice” (without Donald Trump). The reality

of going through such a non-traditional interviewing format is unnerving for many executives.

But despite the fact that group 1-2-1 interviews rattle many candidates, SHIELD Consultants

employers found them appealing. To embrace the group 1-2-1 interview process, we discover

how SHIELD Consultants Ltd really differentiate itself and stands out from the rest, giving us an

insight as to what’s unique about their Company.

Frangelica Schembri – Personal

Assistant to the CEO

You are the first PA to the CEO

at SHIELD. What excites you

about this position and what

improvements do you plan to

bring to SHIELD?

Every high-performing Executive needs a

strong and committed Personal Assistant. Being

a Personal Assistant requires competence,

high organisational skills and sound common

sense. It is also a highly multi-tasking role

which, for me personally, offers the flexibility

to plan my own workload, effectively enabling

me to manage work duties nicely with my

family commitments. At SHIELD, as long as

the job gets done and I am helping both the

CEO and the team to be more effective and

Frangelica Schembri

efficient in their roles – well, that is my

objective. Besides the position entails working

closely with SHIELD’s decision makers, meeting

a wide variety of people in the process, which

is highly rewarding in itself.

SHIELD Consultants enjoys a great reputation

in the industry and I believe that there is

always room for improvement. Therefore, by

helping the Management Team to keep upto-

date with the day-to-day running of the

Company, whilst also improving our abilities

to be more efficient, to meet deadlines and

to keep client satisfaction at its best – that is

the sort of challenge I like to take on. Working

together as a team towards SHIELD’s success.

John Cutajar – Superintendent

of Operations

SHIELD has appointed you

as its first Superintendent of

Operations. What exactly does

this role involve and what

improvements do you plan to

bring to SHIELD?

This is a new role within SHIELD, in which my

responsibility is to manage the operations

assigned to all our consultants to ensure that

they meet contractual quality and performance

criteria. SHIELD is very committed to meet

customer expectations by driving value and

my role involves diverse aspects.

I shall, for instance, ensure that all Assignment

Programs are executed properly, efficiently,

safely and in accordance with the SHIELD

Quality Management System, internal

Guidelines, specific client needs and National

Health & Safety regulations as applicable. In

practice, I will ensure that all SHIELD work sites

John Cutajar

are managed by our consultants in accordance

with the industry standards and that all

mandatory Certifications are maintained up

to date. I intend to work hard to the team’s

optimize operational performance, leading by

example and lending my extensive experiences

towards practical and timely completion of

assignments, at a high quality.

Christopher Lightfoot – Head of

Operational Planning

SHIELD has appointed you as

its first Head of Operational

Planning. What exactly does

this role involve and what

improvements do you plan to

bring to SHIELD?

This new role showcases a real determination

towards the improvement of all SHIELD

36


FOCUS: SHIELD CONSULTANTS LTD

Malta Business Review

catered for in order to be able to either

prevent or respond to an emergency.

SHIELD has now established itself in the fire

safety and emergency management fields

and has been providing related services such

as fire risk assessments, strategy reports,

refining and consulting on proposed building

plans, as well as providing specialist training

courses to clients. My main focus now, will

be to develop these services further and to

improve outputs, particularly on STORM,

SHIELD’s unique online risk management

platform which is enabling us to reach out to

businesses beyond Malta and even beyond

Europe.

Christopher Lightfoot

services. The role itself demands a full

understanding of SHIELD’s commitments,

both current and future, enabling us as a

company to grow in an efficient manner, whilst

ensuring we have the internal capabilities and

resources to do so. Project tracking, business

development, sustainability and accurate

utilisation are vital elements of any business,

and as part of my role, I intend on developing

the required systems and functions within

SHIELD that will allow our expansion in a

controlled and sustainable manner.

Kimberly Cachia – STORM

Programmer

You have recently joined SHIELD

as a programmer on its unique

software solutions. Why did you

choose to join SHIELD and tell

us what excites you about your

new job.

Since I started my new venture at SHIELD, I

have had the opportunity to look at software

development from a different perspective.

Rather than creating applications for normal

daily tasks, we create software that helps

assess and calculate risks for various instances

depending on the clients needs and threats.

Throughout 2019 and beyond, it is my mission

to make all SHIELD activities completely

traceable. In order to be a successful business

today, we must have a complete and accurate

picture of where we are at any point in time,

so, SHIELD will continue to develop the

procedures and systems that will enable us

to provide the best service possible to our

expanding client base.

Andre Muscat – Head of Fire

Safety and Emergency Response

SHIELD has appointed you as

its first Head of Fire Safety and

Emergency Response. What

exactly does this role involve

and what improvements do you

plan to bring to SHIELD?

SHIELD is a well renowned company in the

security consultancy sector. In Malta, SHIELD

caters for significantly big local companies

and although their needs vary quite radically,

when it comes to risk assessment, the team

is highly skilled in giving the best consultancy.

Kimberly Cachia

Working with SHIELD will surely be a huge

step in my career as they have clients from

different countries around the world with

different ideas and points of view which will

surely broaden my knowledge in this industry.

MBR

The new role involves complete oversight

over fire prevention or other related hazards

that could result in a major incident, whether

within a building or facility, causing imminent

danger to the lives of people within and

extensive property damage or destruction. It

also involves making sure that the required

procedures, equipment and training are

Andre Muscat

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

37


Malta Business Review

INVEST

3DZ - Toly Group: Case Study

How Toly Group

uses 3D printing

The main advantage of 3D technology is the

flexibility to test new product variants at a

relatively low cost and at the high speed required

by current market standards.

Toly uses 3D printing during the research and

development phase , where current designs and

mechanisms are tested. Then, 3D printers are used

in the innovation and conceptualisation phases to

The collaboration between the company and

3DZ has been very positive. It is said that the

experience was excellent, from shipment to

installation, calibration and training. The technical

and logistical staff was very helpful and patiently

answered all questions.

When asked if the machine fleet will be expanded,

the company replied that it would consider a

machine with alternative possibilities for printing

material such as the Projet 3600 or higher. This

would help for example to further develop the

moulding of their inserts.

The company

Toly Group was founded in the early 1970s by Dr.

Zoly Gatesy in the UK, shortly afterwards moved to

Malta with 40 employees and in 1975 specialised

in the cosmetics industry.

Toly still remains in Malta with its Corporate Offices

and Innovation Centre that serve the entire group

worldwide. The group has production plants

in Malta, China and Korea, as well as sales and

marketing offices in the UK, USA, France, Belgium,

Italy, Hong Kong, Korea and Brazil, with over 1,000

employees.

Over the years the company has successfully

diversified into providing high-quality packaging

solutions for the make-up, skin care and fragrance

sectors.

In recent years, it has adopted 3D printing

technology, achieving significant advantages in

terms of time and cost. MBR

From the words of the testimony of Engineer David

James Sciberras, we discover that the company

uses 3D printing to create prototypes of different

variants of its products in order to determine

the shape and operation with its customers, plus

models are made to present the new designs.

Toly has a variety of small desktop FDM machines

used for fast prototypes. The last one purchased

was the Projet 2500 Plus by 3D Systems. Engineer

explains that printers are constantly in operation in

the company.

improve new concepts. And the company also

uses 3D printing during the design phase to ensure

that any changes do not adversely affect the final

assembly of production. Finally, technology is also

used to demonstrate new concepts to potential

customers.

3D printing is evolving at a surprising pace, with

new technologies and concepts announced weekly

to improve speed and quality. Toly is anxious to

capitalise on actual production technology to

further improve market speed.

38


BRANDING

Malta Business Review

Meeting Customer Needs and Wants

By George Carol

Daniele Ramella Pollone, Digital Marketing Manager, 3DZ Franchising Limited

MBR: When you assumed the leadership role at

3dz during its turnaround, what opportunities

were you able to take advantage of in leading its

evolution?

DRP: 3DZ was born as a startup and spent two

years structured as a startup. 2015 is a turning

point year and has begun to take a leading role

in the 3D printing market. The technologies in

continuous evolution and high technical skills and

sales, have allowed 3DZ to grow very quickly. We

specialise mainly in the sale of 3D printers, but

also 3D scanners and 3D software. In addition to

providing consulting and 3D printing services and

training courses.

MBR: What value does 3dz provide to investors?

DRP: A very strong marketing presence (website,

social media, events, DEM) in several European

countries, mainly focused in Italy, Spain and Frena

and an extremely competent and structured sales

channel. Today, selling 3d printers is extremely

complicated and not affordable for everyone, both

in terms of specific skills, financial, but especially in

terms of focused sales network.

MBR: What have been the keys to 3dz’s product

innovation and consistent growth?

DRP: An in-depth knowledge of the territory and

of the real applications on additive manufacturing.

We are focusing heavily on growth sectors such as:

jewellery, dental, mechanical and automation.

MBR: How has technology impacted the industry

and will advances in technology change the

workforce for the future?

DRP: Additive manufacturing technologies are

changing different production processes and

are rapidly moving companies from "analog" to

"digital" and on-demand production. Today's

market demands more and more customized

products, and lower production numbers. The

key to surviving and remaining competitive in the

market is 3D printing.

MBR: How is 3dz continuing to foster innovation

within the firm and for clients?

DRP: Through the development of new production

solutions that will reduce production times,

production costs and offer the flexibility to innovate

the products of the end customers. The 3D

printers we resell as HP, 3D Systems or Markforged

are revolutionizing every manufacturing company

in the world. This process takes place only through

partners such as 3DZ, a company that brings the

technology directly into the company ensuring

expertise in the sales phase, more especially in

the after-sales phase, with certified technicians,

present on the territory and ready to meet the

needs of customers. MBR

"The key to surviving

and remaining

competitive in the

market is 3D printing.

All righrs reserved - copyright 2018

www.maltabusinessreview.net

39


Malta Business Review

ICT

Microsoft and BMIT Reach New Strategic

Partnership To Further Support Local

Business

By James Vella Clark

Microsoft Azure products will become more

accessible to local businesses following a

strategic partnership between Microsoft and

BMIT Technologies, which incorporates BMIT

Limited and Kinetix Solutions Limited. This

partnership will enable a host of new services

to customers, including the possibility to

purchase Microsoft’s Azure services directly

from BMIT.

The formal announcement of the strategic

partnership was made yesterday, Monday

26th November, during a workshop event

organised by Microsoft for several gaming

companies in collaboration with the Malta

Gaming Authority and EY.

“The strategic partnership is the positive

outcome of our discussions between

Microsoft and BMIT, always with the scope of

bringing together Microsoft as a worldwide

leader in Cloud Services and BMIT, whom

we consider as one of Malta’s leading IT and

Cloud Managed Services Provider, perfectly

able and equipped to drive cloud-based

innovation amongst Maltese businesses,”

said Peggy Antonakou, Microsoft’s CEO for

Greece, Cyprus and Malta.

Expressing his satisfaction at this important

development, Christian Sammut, CEO of

BMIT added that this strategic partnership

will create additional synergies between BMIT

Technologies and Microsoft. “We already

enable a good number of organisations

"Our agreement with

BMIT forms part of

this commitment to

work and collaborate

closely with trusted and

responsible partners so

that they can apply the

right technologies that

help the community

achieve economic and

social prosperity.

by leveraging our local infrastructure and

our expertise to deliver a variety of cloudbased

scenarios including Public, Private and

Hybrid Cloud infrastructure and productivity

solutions. This closer collaboration will

take such efforts to a new level, allowing

us to deliver a broader range of emerging

technologies based on Microsoft Azure and

Microsoft Office 365 to both our Maltabased

and international customers”.

“Our agreement with BMIT forms part of this

commitment to work and collaborate closely

with trusted and responsible partners so that

they can apply the right technologies that

help the community achieve economic and

social prosperity,” added Peggy Antonakou.

MBR

Creditline: Corporate Identities

MBR

40


David Attenborough:

'The collapse of our civilizations is on the horizon'

Renowned nature broadcaster David

Attenborough has told world leaders that

climate change could lead to collapse of

civilizations, and much of the natural world.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the

COP24 UN climate conference, in Katowice,

Poland, Attenborough called climate change

"our greatest threat in thousands of years."

CLIMATE CHANGE

Malta Business Review

By Mark Tutton

In the weeks leading up to the event, the

UN asked people to send their thoughts on

climate change. Attenborough was there to

represent the public, by taking the "People's

Seat" at the conference.

He said: "The world's people have spoken.

Their message is clear. Time is running out.

They want you -- the decision makers -- to

act now.

"Leaders of the world you must lead," he

added. "The continuation of our civilizations

and the natural world on which we depend

is in your hands."

Sir David Attenborough at #COP24:

"If we don’t take #ClimateAction, the

collapse of our civilisations and the

extinction of much of the natural world is on

the horizon." #TakeYourSeat

Twitter Ads info and privacy

In an interview from the conference with

CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Attenborough

spoke about the damage humans have

inflicted on the planet.

"We have overrun it in a way that is

unprecedented," he said. "No other creature

in the world has had the effect on the planet

that the human species has, and so we

ought to be aware of what we've done and

recognize the responsibility that we now

Attenborough's dire warning on climate change

have in our hands."

Asked about the United States, which

President Trump has said will leave the Paris

Agreement, Attenborough pleaded for the

US to remain committed to fighting climate

change.

"Please join the rest of the world," he

implored. "The entire rest of the world is

united in trying to take action on this. The

United States is a very, very powerful voice.

Please, please, join us." MBR

Creditline: Mark Tutton, CNN; UN Climate

Change@UNFCCC

www.maltabusinessreview.net

41


Malta Business Review

CREDIT RATING

PUBLIC FINANCE

Scope assigns Malta first-time credit rating of A+ with Stable Outlook

Euro area membership, high economic growth, prudent fiscal management and strong external position are

credit strengths. Elevated contingent liabilities, unfavourable demographics, external vulnerabilities and

regulatory shortcomings remain challenges.

Scope Ratings GmbH has today assigned

the Republic of Malta a first-time A+ longterm

issuer and senior unsecured local- and

foreign-currency rating, along with a shortterm

issuer rating of S-1+ in both local and

foreign currency. All Outlooks are Stable.

Rating drivers

Scope’s first-time assignment of Malta’s

A+ rating reflects the country’s euro area

membership, high economic growth,

prudent fiscal management and strong

external position. The rating is challenged

by contingent liabilities, unfavourable

demographics, external vulnerabilities, and

regulatory shortcomings of the financial

sector.

Malta has shown buoyant growth rates

during the recent decade with an Malta

has shown buoyant growth rates during the

recent decade with an average expansion

of 4.3% since 2007, outperforming the

EU average behind only Ireland. The main

drivers of Malta’s growing economy are

high service exports (tourism, transport and

gaming), and robust private consumption.

For 2018 and 2019, Scope anticipates annual

growth to reach 5.4% and 5% respectively

on the back of record-low unemployment

of 4%, strong employment growth due

to migration and recovering investment,

especially on the housing market. Growth

is expected to continue to be driven by

private consumption and higher investment,

whereas the external sector provides less

support compared to previous years.

"Growth is expected to

continue to be driven

by private consumption

and higher investment,

whereas the external

sector provides less

support compared to

previous years.

The A+ rating is further underpinned by

Malta’s strengthened fiscal framework,

together with a combination of faster fiscal

consolidation, low interest payments and

stronger GDP growth. The government

has achieved consistent fiscal surpluses,

supported by a broadening tax base,

reflecting better monitoring compliance

and increasing female labour participation.

Expenditures are below the euro area

average but have picked up recently. Capital

expenditures have increased strongly due

to the acquisition of landing rights from

Air Malta. Going forward, the Maltese

government targets a general fiscal surplus

of 1.3% of GDP for 2019, net of revenues

from the Individual Investment Program (IIP)

and including gross fixed capital formation of

3.5% of GDP. Fiscal expenditures in 2019 are

expected to decline slightly from 38.4% to

37.8% of GDP, based on the one-time capital

transfer to Air Malta in 2018 (EUR 57mn).

Malta’s strong fiscal performance has led

to a steady decline in its debt to GDP ratio

from 2012 onwards, falling below the 60%

Maastricht threshold in 2015. The last two

years brought a further decline by almost 8

percentage points, thanks to exceptionally

strong growth and a slightly positive fiscal

balance. For 2018, government projections

foresee a decline of the debt to GDP ratio to

46.9%, equal to 4 percentage points. Going

forward, the government expects another

3 percentage points decline towards 2019

by assuming that the primary surplus of

2.7% exceeds interest rate expenditure

(1.5%) and stock-flow adjustment (1.6% of

GDP). Our baseline scenario, in line with the

IMF forecast, foresees a continued, albeit

less pronounced decline in debt over the

projection horizon to around 30% of GDP,

supported by positive primary balances and

high growth.

Malta’s A+ rating is further supported by

the economy’s robust external sector.

Continuous current account surpluses led

to a net international investment position of

62.6% at year-end 2017. This development

is dominated by a boost in services exports,

comprising transport, tourism and gaming.

Although the country shows a negative

balance on goods exports, the quality of

exported manufacturing goods is above the

EU average with 40% of the export value

related to top quality. Going forward, we

expect Malta to retain its current account

surplus, albeit with lower surpluses towards

2019 but supported by rising import shares

and its role as a financial centre.

42


CREDIT RATING

Malta Business Review

Despite the relative strengths of Malta’s

rating, challenges remain. Malta’s rapidly

declining public debt ratio is still facing

additional burden from elevated contingent

liabilities of 9.6% of GDP (in 2017),

resulting from financially weak stateowned

enterprises (SOEs). These risks

have decreased in line with higher growth

but remain a credit risk over the forecast

horizon.

Over the medium-term term, the country

also faces supply side constraints, induced

by the tighter labour market. Although the

government initiated reforms of the labour

market to reduce low skill attainment among

young people and low tertiary education,

the economy still faces a large gender

employment gap and educational outcomes

remain closely linked to socio-economic

background. Infrastructure investment is

projected to increase strongly with higher

absorption of EU funds and expected

investment in health-related projects.

With only 0.5m inhabitants, Malta’s small

open economy remains especially vulnerable

to external shocks, in particular with its

reliance on the export of business-cycle

relevant services. Also, Malta is vulnerable

to policy harmonisation risks and changes in

EU corporate tax law. Finally, infrastructure

bottlenecks and skills shortages are expected

to weigh on the country's long-term growth

potential.

Malta’s economic strength is partly related

to a booming gaming sector and large

revenues from the IIP, which attracts

foreigners who seek European citizenship.

Financial inflows are more than tenfold

the country’s GDP, thereby remaining a

source of uncertainty despite being mostly

decoupled from domestic economic

activity. Despite the implementation of

several Anti-Money Laundering Directives

to improve due diligence and transparency,

the European Commission asked the

government to take a stand on anti-money

laundering measures following allegations

related to Pilatus Bank whose banking

license was revoked in November 2018

by the European Central Bank. In July,

the European Banking Authority (EBA)

pointed out that the measures taken by the

Maltese Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit

were not sufficient to satisfy the identified

shortcomings, requesting further action to

comply with the Anti-Money Laundering

(AML) and Countering Terrorism Financing

Directive (CFT). The Maltese authorities

have responded by launching the AML/CFT

Strategy, which includes an improvement

of the supervisory framework and an

increase of resources to strengthen legal

enforcement. Scope recognizes that the

"The Stable Outlook

reflects Scope's

assessment that the risks

faced by Malta remain

balanced at this stage.

recent events have no likely impact on public

finances but may affect Malta’s reputation

of an emerging financial centre.

Core Variable Scorecard

(CVS) and Qualitative

Scorecard (QS)

Scope’s Core Variable Scorecard (CVS),

which is based on the relative rankings of

key sovereign credit fundamentals, provides

an indicative ‘AA’ (‘aa’) rating range for the

Republic of Malta. This indicative rating

range can be adjusted by the Qualitative

Scorecard (QS) by up to three notches

depending on the size of relative credit

strengths or weaknesses versus peers based

on qualitative analysis.

For the Republic of Malta, the QS signalled

credit weaknesses for the following analytical

categories: i) economic policy framework; ii)

macro-economic stability and sustainability;

iii) market access and funding sources; iv)

external debt sustainability; v) vulnerability

to short-term external shocks; vi) recent

events and policy decisions; vii) banking

sector oversight and governance; viii)

financial imbalances and financial fragility.

The combined relative credit strengths and

weaknesses generate a 2-notch negative

adjustment and signal a sovereign rating

of A+ for Malta. A rating committee has

discussed and confirmed these results.

Factoring of Environment,

Social an Governance (ESP)

wScope considers ESG sustainability issues

during the rating process as reflected in its

sovereign methodology. Governance-related

factors are explicitly captured in Scope’s

assessment of ‘Institutional and Political

Risk’, for which Malta scores high according

to the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance

Indicators. Qualitative governance-related

assessments in Scope’s ‘geo-political risk’

category of its QS are assessed as ‘neutral’

compared with Malta’s sovereign peers.

Socially related factors are captured in

Scope’s CVS in Malta’s rapidly growing GDP

per capita (USD 27,326 in 2017) and recordlow

level of unemployment but increasing

old-age dependency ratio. Qualitative

assessments of social factors are reflected

in Scope’s ‘macroeconomic stability and

sustainability’, for which Scope assesses

Malta as ‘weak’. Finally, environmental

factors are considered during the rating

process but did not have an impact on this

rating action.

Outlook and rating - change

drivers

The Stable Outlook reflects Scope’s

assessment that the risks faced by Malta

remain balanced at this stage. The rating

could be downgraded in the event of: i)

a significant slowing of growth; and/or ii)

failure to increase investment spending.

The rating could be upgraded if i) the

government implements structural reforms,

which raise the growth potential; ii) if there

is continued fiscal consolidation; and/or iii)

reforms to strengthen financial supervision

are effectively completed.

Rating committee

The main points discussed were: i) growth

potential; ii) economic policy framework; iii)

macroeconomic stability and sustainability;

iv) fiscal policy framework; v) public debt

sustainability, debt structure and market

access; vi) external debt sustainability and

vulnerabilities; vii) banking sector oversight

and governance; viii) political developments;

and ix) peers.

About Scope Ratings GmbH

Scope Ratings GmbH is part of the Scope Group

with headquarters in Berlin and offices in Frankfurt,

London, Madrid, Milan, Oslo and Paris. As the

leading European credit rating agency, the company

specialises in the analysis and ratings of financial

institutions, corporates, structured finance, project

finance and public finance. Scope Ratings offers a

credit risk analysis that is opinion-driven, forwardlooking

and non-mechanistic, an approach which

adds to a greater diversity of opinions for institutional

investors. Scope Ratings is a credit rating agency

registered in accordance with the EU rating regulation

and operating in the European Union with ECAI status.

MBR

Credits: Bernhard Bartels / Giacomo Barisone

www.maltabusinessreview.net

43


Malta Business Review

EUROPEAN CITIZEN'S PRIZE

Bjorn Formosa & the ALS Foundation

win the 2018 European Citizen's Prize

Mr Bjorn Formosa, founder of ALS Foundation Malta is this year's Laureate of the European Citizen's Prize Malta 2018. Mr

Formosa was nominated by MEP Marlene MIZZI (S&D, MT) and MEP Miriam DALLI (S&D, MT), and received the joint backing

of MEP David CASA, MEP Roberta METSOLA, and MEP Francis ZAMMIT DIMECH (EPP, MT). He was awarded the prize by MPE

Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT) u l-ko-nominaturi tiegħu għal dan il-Premju l-MPE Marlene Mizzi u l-MPE Miriam Dalli (S&D, MT).

"Bjorn has shown what true selflessness, civic

sense, generosity and altruism really mean.

He is an inspiration to us all and is turning

his pain and suffering into an opportunity to

help others. Bjorn definitely deserves to be

honoured with the European Citizen’s Prize."

– MEP Marlene MIZZI (S&D, MT)

"Bjorn Formosa is an example of the values

that all European citizens should have –

altruism, solidarity and determination to

leave a positive mark. Despite his difficulties,

Bjorn managed to turn these difficulties into

something positive. Through funds dedicated

for more research on ALS and funds dedicated

to a residential home for ALS patients, Bjorn

has managed to make a difference in the

lives of ALS sufferers and their relatives. This

is why Bjorn Formosa deserves to receive

the European Citizen’s Prize. I wish Bjorn all

the strength and determination to keep on

working and being the ray of light into ALS

patients’ lives." – MEP Miriam DALLI (S&D,

MT)

"It is our duty - as members of the European

Parliament - to promote invaluable work

done by thousands of Maltese and Gozitan

volunteers. We are delighted that Bjorn won

this award as his hard work in the past years,

even whilst struggling with such a difficult

illness, is an example to us all and we will

continue to do whatever we can to give him

full support in his fundraising and awareness

campaigns." – MEP David CASA, MEP

Roberta METSOLA, MEP Francis ZAMMIT

DIMECH (EPP, MT)

Background:

The European Parliament has been awarding

the European Citizen’s Prize every year since

2008 to projects and initiatives that facilitate

cross-border cooperation or promote mutual

understanding within the EU. The prize,

which has symbolic value, is also intended to

acknowledge the work of those who through

their day-to-day activities promote European

values.

Every Parliament member has the right to

nominate one person or organisation for the

prize and national juries made up of MEPs

rank nominees from their country in order

of preference. The final decision on laureates

is taken by a central jury headed by Vice

wPresident Guillaume.

A central ceremony is held every year in

Brussels for winners of the prize from around

the European Union, at which this year Bjorn

Formosa could not be present due to his

serious health condition. We are proud to

honour him with this award at Europe House

Valletta. MBR

Credit: EU Press/EPO Valletta

Family photo of the European Citizen's Prize 2018 with Vice-President Sylvie Guillaume and President Antonio Tajani

44


SHIREBURN SOFTWARE - 35

YEARS OF TECH INNOVATION

LOTTERIES & GAMING

Malta Business Review

Shireburn Software’s Director Franco Galea

and Managing Director John de Giorgio.

Founded in 1983, as one of the first

local IT training companies in Malta,

Shireburn Software has gradually became

one of the leading software providers

for local businesses. This year marks the

35th anniversary of Shireburn and their

endeavours along the years make them the

success story they are today.

Set up by an aspiring and young John de

Giorgio, the company began to develop its

own software solutions in 1985, providing

software products for freight and accounting,

retail, inventory, payroll and HR. Over the

years Shireburn has strategically researched

unsupported niche business needs and

developed applications aimed at servicing

these needs to facilitate their processes.

In 2001, Shireburn’s Integra for Notes

software went global, earning several

international awards. In 2005 the Shireburn

Business Suite was launched as a multichannel

solution for retail, wholesale,

distribution and payroll, all integrated into

Shireburn’s own accounting and inventory

systems.

As the years went by, their software solutions

became more specific, integrated and

complex. One of their major achievements

is Concessionaire Analyzer+ (CA+), designed

specifically for airports and shopping

malls to strategically manage and increase

concession-based revenue. Last year, CA+

was awarded the Revenue Generation Award

from International Airport Review magazine

and CA Plus Ltd was partly acquired by global

giant Gentrack Group – Veovo.

Over the years, Shireburn took its core

solutions through 4 major technology waves;

the more recent of which was the leap forward

to multi-tenanted, cloud technologies based

principally on Microsoft Azure as a platform.

Moving forward to 2015 the cloud-based

Shireburn Indigo platform was launched,

marking Shireburn’s next generation

of software products. The first product

was Indigo Payroll, winner of the MCA

eBusiness Best B2B Application award,

offering easier and more flexible payroll and

leave administration combining improved

capabilities with lower costs of ownership.

To date, over 41,000 employees are being

managed through the system. The second

addition to the suite is the recently announced

Shireburn Indigo Time & Attendance module,

designed to facilitate rosters, shift-based

schedules and attendance management.

35 years on, Shireburn has grown steadily to

a team of over 60 employees, servicing more

than 1,100 local and international clients.

Learn more about how Shireburn Software

can help your business. Visit www.shireburn.

com/35 MBR

Credits: Shireburn Software Ltd

www.maltabusinessreview.net

45


Malta Business Review

EIT

INNOVATE AND GROW!

MALTA’S INNOVATORS INVITED TO

JOIN THE EIT COMMUNITY

To help power Malta’s innovators, the European Institute of Innovation and

Technology (EIT) is showcasing its innovation cooperation opportunities during

an Awareness Day in Kalkara. This event is being organised together with the

Maltese Council for Science and Technology.

Europe’s future is connected to its power

to innovate. A competitive edge has never

been more important, especially for smaller

Member States. Malta has great potential

to expand its innovation capacity (Malta

Factsheet – European Innovation Scoreboard),

and the EIT stands ready to support

Maltese innovators. That’s the role of the

EIT – to support students, researchers and

entrepreneurs to help them grow their

entrepreneurial skills and their businesses,

creating jobs, and improving the lives of citizens

across Europe. As a global player, the

European Union, through the EIT, is focused

on powering innovators to turn their best

ideas into products, services and jobs for

Europe.

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Executive

Chairman, Malta Council for Science and

Technology remarked: ‘Malta is a resourceful,

determined and ambitious country.

As a small nation continually adapting our

economy to modern challenges, we have

the advantage of being able to change

quickly, to collaborate effectively and to

advance our economy in new directions as

global markets shift. Working closely with

the EIT, Malta’s innovators, and our great

researchers, now have a strong partner to

accelerate new ideas, products and services.

We see this Awareness Day as a stepping

stone to create jobs, growth and a stronger

global reputation.’

Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director, added:

‘The EIT offers a one-stop shop for innovators,

and we want to increase access to

our unique resources and opportunities

in Malta. The EIT focuses on solutions to

global challenges through our six Innovation

Communities that bring together more than

1000 partners from business, education and

research. Our unique innovation model creates

sustainable innovations and accelerates

innovative ideas, which ultimately leads to

job creation and economic growth. Today,

we invite Malta’s innovators to connect and

benefit from access to the EIT, Europe’s

largest innovation community.’

The EIT Awareness Day in Kalkara will showcase

the EIT’s unique innovation model that

sets up dynamic pan-European partnerships

between leading companies, universities

and research labs (programme of the day).

These are called Innovation Communities

and they support entrepreneurs and innovators

in bringing ideas to market, turning

students into entrepreneurs and, most importantly,

stimulating innovation. The EIT’s

six Innovation Communities tackle some

of the most pressing challenges facing our

societies from climate change to sustainable

energy to healthy living and active ageing.

They will present how organisations and innovators

in Malta can join their wide range

of activities to drive innovation.

46


EIT

Malta Business Review

The event will be opened by Jeffrey Pullicino

Orlando, Executive Chairman, Malta Council

for Science and Technology followed by

a video message from Silvio Schembri,

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial

Services, Digital Economy and Innovation.

Members of the EIT Community, together

with innovators that work with the EIT, will

then present their wide range of innovation

support activities.

EIT BACKGROUND: Europe's future is

connected to its power to innovate!

What is the European Institute of

Innovation and Technology (EIT)?

The EIT was created in 2008 to strengthen

Europe’s ability to innovate. The EIT is a

unique EU initiative, the only one to fully

integrate business, education and research.

The Institute supports the development

of dynamic pan-European partnerships

between leading universities, research labs

and companies. These are called Innovation

Communities and each focuses on a specific

global challenge.

More information: EIT in a nutshell

Infographic

What challenges do the EIT’s Innovation

Communities focus on?

The first six Innovation Communities work

to mitigate and adapt to climate change (EIT

Climate-KIC), create sustainable sources of

energy and increase its supply (EIT InnoEnergy),

accelerate the digital transformation

(EIT Digital), support healthier and longer

living (EIT Health), provide sustainable and

healthier food (EIT Food), and manage our

planet’s raw materials in an efficient, secure

and sustainable way (EIT RawMaterials). Together

with their leading partners, they offer

a wide range of innovation and entrepreneurship

activities. This includes education

courses that combine technical skills with

entrepreneurial ones, business creation and

acceleration services, run innovation driven

research projects.

In December 2018, the EIT will select new

Innovation Communities in the areas of

urban mobility and added value manufacturing.

What has the EIT Community

achieved?

More information: EIT Community

Success Stories

For more information visit eit.europa.eu &

follow the EIT on Twitter @EITeu #EIT-

Community #EUinnovation

For photos from the event: https://www.

flickr.com/photos/eiteu/albums.

Contact:

Caroline Vandenplas - E: caroline.vandenplas@eit.europa.eu

T: +36 1 481 9371

Giselle Calleja | Senior Public Relations

Executive | T: +356 23602173 | E: giselle.

calleja@gov.mt

The EIT – Making Innovation Happen!

Credit: MCST

MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

47


Malta Business Review EDITOR'S CHOICE

“Someday…everything will make perfect

sense” Campaign Spotlight on

Organised by MBR Publications Ltd

Mr John Ripard

Award-winning sportsman, John Ripard is a force

to be reckoned with. Taking the Ripard Group

which was founded in 1901 to the next level by

marrying it with his passion for the sea, it is for

his success at all things aquatic that John Ripard

became so renowned in his own right.

Without a doubt one of the most prominent

yachtsmen in Malta, Mr Ripard sailed for Malta in

the Snipe Class Category in the 1955 Mediterranean

Games in Barcelona, represented Malta at the

World Underwater Fishing Championship in

Portugal in 1959. In the 1960 Olympic Games John

and his brother Paul represented Malta sailing in

the Star Class.

In early 1968 the idea of creating a true offshore

race was born resulting in the now famous Middle

Sea Race. The first Middle Sea Race started with

8 entries on the 30th November 1968 and 8 days

later JOSIAN with skipper John Ripard and his crew

Mr John Ripard and Mr Malcom R Lowell

crossing the finish line to win inaugural Middle Sea

Race, repeating his second win in 1970 on TIKKA

11.

In 1973, he took part in the ‘Giraglia’ and later

the ‘Campionato d’Inverno’ in Genova winning his

class in both these regattas with ‘Tikka 11’ again.

In 1980, he was elected international judge by

the International Yacht Racing Union. After the

United States of America lost the America’s Cup

to Australia, Mr Ripard was appointed Chairman of

the Race Committee whose responsibility it was to

conduct the over 200 races required to determine

who would race against ‘the Defender’ by winning

the Louis Vuitton Trophy, the preamble to the

1987 America’s Cup for which he was appointed

alternate judge. After this first involvement in the

America’s Cup, Mr Ripard was appointed a member

of the International Juries for the 1988, 1992, and

1995 Cups held in San Diego. Soon to follow was

an appointment to the International Jury of the

sailing events of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, held

in Savannah. These unforgettable experiences

took him all over the globe and in 1992 he was

honoured by receiving Ġieħ ir-Repubblika, the

medal for contributions to the republic.

Following several years as Commodore, today,

he is the president of the Royal Malta Yacht

Club. John Ripard is extremely representative of

all the values which underpin Edwards Lowell's

'Someday’ campaign: he is a man who has

persevered and succeeded. He has capitalised on

the opportunities that have presented themselves

to him thought-out his career. The link between

John Ripard and Edwards Lowell was made even

stronger thanks to the Middle Sea Race which

has become synonymous with the Rolex brand.

Conceived in 1968, the Middle Sea Race was

brought to life thanks to the intrepid spirit of John

Ripard, his brother Paul, Jimmy White and Alan

Green. Their daring spirit has continued to live on

for the last fifty years and it is because of it that the

Rolex Middle Sea Race attracts hundreds of sailors

each year from all parts of the world. His passion

and vision have forged a road for all those who

dare to be bold and think big. MBR

Mr John Ripard

Mr John Ripard and Mr Malcom R Lowell in conversation

Creditline: Edwards Lowell

48


PUBLIC AUDIT

Malta Business Review

JOINT SEMINAR ORGANISED BY THE NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE AND THE EUROPEAN

COURT OF AUDITORS ON THE THEME ‘PUBLIC AUDIT IN THE DIGITAL AGE’

The National Audit Office (NAO), in

collaboration with the European Court of

Auditors (ECA), organised another joint

seminar with the theme ‘Public Audit in

the Digital Age’. In his opening address,

Auditor General Charles Deguara highlighted

the fact that due to rapid considerable

technological changes, particularly in such

areas as blockchain and artificial intelligence,

auditors simply have no other option but to

adapt, experiment in all sorts of areas, and

constantly innovate. In his keynote speech,

‘Technology is Driving Change in Audit’,

Leo Brincat, the Maltese Member within

the ECA, said that technology – including

blockchain – is expected to be amongst the

main catalysts of change in the sphere of

auditing. He emphasised that innovative

auditing will necessitate new tools; in this

context, he referred, amongst others, to

the benefits that big data and analytics can

offer even to public entities. Whilst wishing

all participants the best of luck in their

professional assignments, he emphasised

that auditing has no option but to adapt to

the digital era, because ultimately the future

of auditing, as well as that of the auditors

themselves, is at stake.

This was followed by a presentation by

Spyridon Pilos, Principal Manager in the

Directorate of Information, Workplace and

Innovation within the ECA, with the title

‘Preparing for Data-driven Auditing’. It was

then the turn of Noel Camilleri, Deputy

Auditor General, to give an extensive

overview of the new initiative taken up by

the NAO, namely ‘Integrating Data Analytics

in Auditing’. He highlighted the various

measures undertaken so far to eventually

introduce this new methodology. Mark

Rogerson, Spokesperson for the ECA,

then gave a presentation on ‘Media in the

Digital Age’. The seminar was concluded

by a presentation made by Joyce Dimech,

Permanent Secretary (Strategy and

Implementation) within the Office of the

Prime Minister regarding ‘A digital Public

Administration for a Service of Excellence’.

She was representing the Principal

Permanent Secretary who could not attend

due to another unavoidable commitment.

This seminar was attended by various

Members of the Public Accounts Committee,

Permanent Secretaries and Chief Information

Officers across the public service, and staff

from the National Audit Office as well as

senior officials from the Internal Audit and

Investigations Department. Considering

the theme chosen for this year’s seminar,

the CEO and other senior officials of the

Malta Information Technology Agency also

participated in this event. MBR

Credits/Photos: DOI/NAO

www.maltabusinessreview.net

49


Malta Business Review

GENDER PAY GAP

GENDER PAY GAP

“The existence of a gender pay gap stops

us from having an inclusive economy, and

creates another barrier to the fair distribution

of wealth” – President Coleiro Preca

President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

presided over the launch of an awareness

video about the gender pay gap, coordinated

and produced by the President’s Foundation

for the Wellbeing of Society. This video is

the direct result of a conference which the

foundation organised earlier this year.

Having brought the issue of the gender

pay gap to the fore during her speech on

Republic Day in 2016, the President noted

that both major political parties represented

in Parliament have committed themselves,

through their electoral manifestos, to address

this important concern.

“I hope that this video will further explain our

concern about the gender pay gap, as up till

now, there is still some confusion between

the issue of equal pay and the gender pay

gap”

the Icelandic Parliament, who legislated the

very first gender pay gap law.

“The gender pay gap does not only create

gender inequality during working age, but it

also directly affects the pensions of retired

women”

According to data from the World Economic

Forum, the gender pay gap is one of the

factors that is making one third of women

poorer, when compared to men, when they

reach the age of retirement. On a national

level, the President said that indicators are

telling us that the gender pay gap in Malta

currently stands at 11%.

"The gender pay gap does not

only create gender inequality

during working age, but

it also directly affects the

pensions of retired women.

President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

from the Department of Labour Studies, we

know that women, in comparison to men,

are employed less often and are engaged in

lower-paid sectors”, the President stated. This

same research tells us that women work, on

average, 6 hours longer per week than men,

but they are paid for fewer hours, and they

face more difficulties to achieve promotions.

The President said that in order to make

a long-term and sustainable change, she

believes that we must follow the United

Nations’ Agenda 2030 and its seventeen

Sustainable Development Goals – a mandate

that our country is ascribed to, and must

achieve. In particular, SDG 5 specifically

targets the need for gender equality, and for

the empowerment of women and girls, as

part of Malta’s commitment to a future of

equality, equity and justice for all.

President Coleiro Preca stated that equal

pay is already covered by legislation, while

the gender pay gap is not. She said that

the conference which was organised by the

Foundation earlier this year had received

the support of diverse stakeholders, many

of whom were also present for the launch

of the video. These included the Centre for

Labour Studies at the University of Malta; the

National Statistics Office; the National Trade

Union Forum; EMPOWER – the Platform of

Organisations for Women; Ernst and Young

Malta; and the former Minister for Equality in

“However, this does not account for variation

by industry”

President Coleiro Preca said that the gap

between women and men working in the

financial and insurance sector is a staggering

28.3%, and the gap between women and

men involved in professional, scientific, and

technical activities is 23.1%.

“We must acknowledge the fact that the

gender pay gap in Malta has almost tripled

over four years, from 4.5% in 2014 to 11%

in 2018. Furthermore, according to research

“I am convinced that all of us believe that the

socio-economic empowerment of women

will not only benefit women as an intrinsic

part to achieve our rightful dignity”

The President said that the socio-economic

empowerment of women will contribute

to the holistic wellbeing of our families, our

communities and our societies as a whole,

and further stated that “our efforts to

achieve full gender equality and equity in the

economic sectors of our country will reflect

our underlying commitment to promote

universal human rights and fundamental

freedoms, as women’s rights are human

rights.”

President Coleiro Preca encouraged

Parliament to take up the issue of the

gender pay gap to ensure that it is effectively

addressed, and urged our authorities, private

sector, and civil society to go to the next

level of achieving full gender equality, by

working to close the gender pay gap through

awareness and legislations, for the benefit

of all women but also in the best interest of

the girls and young women who will join the

Maltese workforce in the future. MBR

Credits/Photos: Office of the President

50


CSR: Business,

Journalism and

Society

“The media has a valuable contribution to

make to share information about CSR endeavours”

CSR

Malta Business Review

President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

delivered the opening speech at a conference

organised by Fundazzjoni Tumas Fenech together

with the President’s Foundation for the

Wellbeing of Society, entitled ‘CSR: Business,

Journalism and Society’, at San Anton Palace.

The President said that during sessions of consultation

held by the Foundation with diverse

NGOs, many of these organisation expressed

concerns that their activities were not being

given sufficient media coverage, and that they

could not afford to employ public relations

specialists as part of their team, further

stating her belief that “we must do more to

motivate media representatives to respond to

these concerns.”

President Coleiro Preca said that the media

has “the important role to be a catalyst for

education, information, and an objective and

inclusive voice, especially on delicate and sensitive

matters,” adding that the media, “as the

fourth estate of democracy must maintain an

ethical perspective which respects the dignity

of all the members of society, at all times.”

The President said that, in this way, the media

will be strengthening it own professional standards.

“Corporate social responsibility has the

ability to create constructive links between

the private sector and society.” President

Coleiro Preca stated that the role of the media

is necessary, to give visibility to this important

two-way communication process. The President

said that it is for this reason that corporations,

civil society, and the media have a duty

to collaborate with one another, and stated

that this collaboration will inspire others to

follow their example of social responsibility.

The media, the President said, can also act as

a social conscience, by reminding corporations

about the need to give back to society and

to look beyond profits, by incorporating the

principles of social justice in their work.

President Coleiro Preca said that CSR Strategies

will be even more effective when they

are linked with the mandate of the United

Nations’ Agenda 2030 and its seventeen

President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

Sustainable Development Goals. The President

urged the private sector to continue taking up

CSR initiatives which are inspired by Agenda

2030, by adopting the SDGs as part of their

proactive approach to development and

sustainability. “I am equally convinced that

the Maltese media has an equally powerful

contribution to make, by working alongside

businesses and civil society organisations,

to give the SDGs the necessary visibility,”

President Coleiro Preca said. On concluding,

the President stated that this united effort will

empower the Maltese Islands to achieve our

global responsibility: to effectively address

inequalities and ot end all forms of discrimination;

to stop the degradation of our environment;

and to safeguard the full inclusion and

the active participation of each and every

member of our society. MBR

CREDITS/Photos: OPR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

51


Malta Business Review

EEA

European Accessibility Act:

Parliament and Council negotiators strike a deal

By Isabel Teixeira Nadkarni

· Smartphones, ticketing

machines, banking and

transport services to be

more accessible

· Infrastructure surrounding

those services is also

expected to become

progressively more

accessible (ramps,

staircases, etc)

· 80 million people in the EU

are affected by a disability

Key products and services,

like smartphones, ticketing

machines and banking

services, will have to be

made more accessible to

people with disabilities.

The new directive, provisionally agreed

by Parliament and Council negotiators on

Thursday, aims to improve the daily lives of

people with disabilities and to encourage

businesses to innovate with more accessible

products and services.

Around 80 million people in the EU live with a

disability to some degree. Due to the ageing

of the population, this figure is expected to

increase to 120 million by 2020.

Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE,

DK), Internal Market Committee

rapporteur who led the talks, said: “These

long-awaited rules will make a big difference

not only to the millions of citizens with

disabilities, but also to lot more people, such

as elderly persons. Now a disabled person

will be able to use self-service machines

and everyday products such as computers,

phones and e-books.

“For European businesses, the European

Accessibility Act will present more

opportunities, since we were able to

include public procurement in the Act and

to introduce provisions that will unburden

microenterprises. We have struck the right

balance! Consumers with disabilities now will

have greater access to the digital economy,

and innovation will still be possible”.

More accessible products

and services

The “European Accessibility Act” (EAA) sets

out requirements to make a number of

products and services more accessible. The

list includes, amongst others:

· ticketing and check-in

machines,

· ATMs and other payment

terminals,

· PCs and operating systems,

· smartphones, tablets and

TV equipment,

· consumer banking

services,

· e-books and dedicated

software,

· e-commerce,

· air, bus, rail and

waterborne passenger

transport services,

including real-time travel

information.

The EAA will outline what needs to be

accessible, but will not impose detailed

technical solutions as to how to make it

accessible, thus allowing for innovation.

All goods and services complying with the

accessibility requirements would benefit

from free circulation on the internal market.

“Built environment” where

the service is provided

Accessibility requirements, for example with

regard to ramps, doors, public toilets and

staircases, currently vary across EU countries.

In order to make the built environment

“continuously and progressively more

accessible” to disabled persons, member

states are encouraged to align their diverging

requirements as much as possible. The

co-legislators introduced a review clause

requiring the Commission to assess the

situation five years after the application of

the directive.

Special provisions for

micro-enterprises

Micro-enterprises that provide services

are exempted from the directive and those

providing products will be exempted from

some obligations to avoid imposing a

“disproportionate burden” on them. Member

states will have to provide guidelines and tools

to micro-enterprises in order to facilitate the

implementation of this legislation.

Next steps

The provisional agreement now needs to

be confirmed by the EU member states’

ambassadors (COREPER) and by Parliament’s

Internal Market Committee. The draft

directive will then be put to a final vote by

the full Parliament in an upcoming plenary

session and submitted for approval to the EU

Council of Ministers. MBR

Credit: John Schranz, Press Office/EP

52


GAMING

Malta Business Review

Betsoft Gaming Joins Stategic Content

Partnership with Scandinavian Powerhouse

Equinox Dynamic

Solidifying its presence in Scandinavian and

German markets, Betsoft Gaming has signed

a strategic content agreement with Equinox

Dynamic, specific to its Nordicasino operation.

As with many recent Betsoft partnerships,

Equinox Dynamic (hereafter “Equinox”)

will integrate every title from the content

provider’s high-profile Slots3TM series. This

includes established player favourites, and

new innovations such as the revolutionary Max

Quest: Wrath of Ra.

Equinox owns six casino brands: Nordicasino,

and its sister operations Reeltastic, OrientXpress,

Superlines, Spintropolis and La Fiesta Casino. As

one of the newest entrants to the Scandinavian

powerhouse’s stable of brands, Nordicasino

has recently celebrated its first birthday, and its

parent company is proud of the considerable

success the casino has seen – becoming firmly

established in its core markets in record time.

“Across all of its brands, Equinox pursues

excellence in customer service, support, and

the selection of high-quality games available

to its players,” explains Annamaria Anastasi,

marketing Director for Betsoft. “As a firmly

established presence in Scandinavia and

throughout Europe, Betsoft was in a strong

position to be able to provide precisely what

Nordicasino needed: a comprehensive library

of cinematic content, available in the right

regulated markets.”

The agreement also establishes a pipeline for

the integration of further Betsoft content over

time, with Nordicasino predicting an enduring

partnership between the two companies.

“When we canvassed for the best content the

international iGaming market had to offer, we

kept coming back to Betsoft,” says Arik Weiss,

"Betsoft Gaming

develops innovative

casino games for

desktop and mobile.

It's portfolio of more

than 190 RNG titles

reaches players

through partnerships

with many of the

iGaming industry's

leading operators.

Equinox’s Chief Marketing Officer. “The blend

of quality and quantity they offer is unmatched

anywhere else, and we expect our partnership

to remain fruitful for many years to come.

About Betsoft Gaming:

Betsoft Gaming develops innovative casino

games for desktop and mobile. Its portfolio

of more than 190 RNG titles reaches players

through partnerships with many of the

iGaming industry’s leading operators. Under

the SLOTS3TM banner, Betsoft is elevating

players’ expectations; these cinematic slots

blend rapid, gratifying gameplay with an audiovisual

excellence more typical of movies and

videogames.

An early entrant to mobile gaming, Betsoft

launched the ToGoTM collection in 2012.

More recently, Betsoft revealed the ShiftTM

environment, which supports truly crossplatform

development at the same time as

increasing performance, drastically reducing file

size and streamlining integration.

Casino Manager, Betsoft’s comprehensive backoffice

platform, rolls reporting, management,

marketing, promotion, and administration into

a single compelling package.

Betsoft has held a Class 4 license with the Malta

Gaming Authority since 2014. The company’s

games and RNG are both independently

certified in more than 15 different regulated

markets, including Italy, Germany, and Romania.

Contact sales@betsoft.com or visit www.

betsoft.com for general information and

enquiries. For press and marketing enquiries,

email press@betsoft.com. MBR

Creditline: Betsoft

www.maltabusinessreview.net

53


Malta Business Review

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

Walking In The Rain

By Antoine Bonello

Some people walk in the rain others just get

wet, this famous phrase describes precisely

the difference between a good and a bad

roofer.

Just recently we heard on the news of an

unqualified roofer who was sentenced to

pay damages and a hefty fine by the Judge

for bad waterproofing works. This person

is not a member of this association and

we also condemn his unethical behaviour.

Unfortunately it is a sad reality linked to lack

of knowledge, cheap labour and products.

Almost all roofs in Malta are nowadays

constructed with iron and poured concrete,

hopefully a proper waterproofing system

is implemented on top of it together with

some form of insulation. Afterwards a 10cm

thick concrete slab with power float finish

is made to seal it completely. Concrete

requires a great deal of maintenance to

keep it from leaking. The root problem is

that concrete is porous and retains moisture.

Water dampness flows from top bottom and

through openings and cracks which are the

result of expansions due to hot temperatures.

It is often observed that small plants grow

inside the joints and other openings. This

is a clear indication of water intake that is

surely affecting the strength of the concrete

slab. Without any form of waterproofing

beneath the slab, moisture and polluted

atmosphere containing sulphate and

carbon reaches the concrete roof structure,

resulting in corrosion of steel. The Volume

of corroded steel increases by more than

three times its original volume resulting in

spalling concrete. This can be very dangerous

if it happens in your bedroom while you are

sleeping.

To avoid the ingress of rain water, moisture

and aggressive environment in concrete

surface it is imperative to make the outer

surface impervious by coating with suitable

resin membrane preferably with thermal

properties which could seal all the pores,

crevices, hair cracks etc. The waterproofing

compound should be resistant to

atmospheric temperature, aggressive

environment, and to the effect of ultra violet

rays. It should also be flexible enough to

withstand the expansion and contraction

of structures and resistant to normal

abrasion. But before we implement any type

of waterproofing we must make sure that an

elastic triangular fillet made of polymer resin

is applied around the perimeter of the roof

and in all the corners, thus facilitating water

exit and better seal the areas which are more

sensible to structural movements. Next is

the sealing of joints, there are two types of

joints, static and active joints. The first is one

is manmade and is meant to avoid cracks

during concrete shrinkage while the second

is the result of two separate concrete screeds

adjacent to each other. Both of them must

be treated with elastic materials, do not fill

or seal with ridged materials like cements

as they are not meant to stand stress and

will crack soon after. The implementation

of a polymer resin inside the openings is

also recommend in this case due to its UV

resistance and elasticity.

wThe Primer is what we take for granted and

think that we can do without. Many even

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

The primer prevents the flaking and peeling

of membrane. A good primer bonds cement

dust and provides a strong surface over

which the membrane is applied. The latest

generation of primers now have biocide.

This helps to kill microspores and other

microorganisms that can regrow beneath the

membrane and detach it.

In industrial point of view, there are many

commercially available waterproofing

materials used for different purposes.

However, the suitability and the

performance of each and every product

are yet doubtful. Many products imported

in Malta are not made to withstand our harsh

hot climate. They simply fail after a year or

two. Avoid plastics, acrylic, latex and cement

based, they are either too rigid or lack UV

resistance. Bitumen carpet membranes are

out of the question. It is now considered old

school that creates heat intake and open

from seams when subject to movements.

A very interesting waterproofing product

is NAICI THERMAL REFLEX. It is a resin

membrane with micro fibres able to reduce

90% of heat intake inside buildings. It also

increases the efficiency of solar panels and

provides an effective solution all year round.

Very soon we will be celebrating Christmas,

it is considered the most beautiful time of

the year. It is worth to be spent with family

and friends and definitely not repairing any

water leakages. Therefore make sure that

any waterproofing works are carried out

by skilful people affiliated with the Malta

Professional Waterproofing and Resin

Flooring Association and in possession of

the INSTALLERS Card. Improper works by

unaccountable or unethical persons can

lead to a serious of unwanted damages that

will ruin your Christmas spirit. Resulting in

endless court cases that can take years and

prove fruitless.

54


BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION

Malta Business Review

Professional Waterproofing and Resin

Flooring Association visit our website on

www.maltawaterproofing.com or call on

27477647 MBR

Creditline: The Resin & Membrane Centre

The Malta Waterproofing and Resin Flooring

Association provide technical knowledge and

professional formation to all Maltese installers

who wish to improve their workmanship or

start a carrier in the waterproofing business.

The Association also assists its members

by providing the services of a profession

advisor when facing challenging situations

or other difficulties during their works.

The Association also provides its qualified

members the Certified Installers Card. This

is done to reassure the general public that

the person is able to carry out the requested

job at its best. All this is being made possible

thanks to the Resin and Membrane Centre

and NAICI International Academy. For

further information with regards the Malta

www.maltabusinessreview.net

55


Malta Business Review

EU: BREXIT

BREXIT: ENSURING A SMOOTH

TRANSITION FOR CAR PRODUCERS AND

SAFETY ON THE ROADS

· Car producers that have obtained a UK type

approval will require a new EU one

· EU safety and quality standards to be maintained

· Application for new approvals should be made

before the UK leaves the EU

Manufacturers who

obtained a UK type

approval for their cars will

be able to apply for new

EU 27 approvals to retain

access to the European

Union’s market.

The draft law voted on in the Internal Market and

Consumer Protection Committee on Monday

addresses the legal uncertainty for automotive

producers with UK type-approvals.

By Isabel Teixeira Nadkarni

EU rules on vehicle type-approval, which

establish safety, environmental and production

requirements, require that manufacturers

obtain type approval from one of the national

authorising bodies. These EU type-approval rules

will cease to apply in the UK when the country

leaves the European Union. This means that all

manufacturers that have obtained a UK typeapproval

for their cars will now require a new

one granted by an approval authority in one of

the EU27 member states, including for types

already in production. This will affect producers

established within the EU member states other

than the UK, if they hold a UK approval.

The draft regulation covers motor vehicles,

as well as systems, components and separate

technical units intended for those vehicles. It

sets out the conditions for obtaining an EU typeapproval

and its effects on the placing on the

market, registration or entry into service of such

products.

The proposal would allow recognition of tests

previously carried out by a UK type-approval

authority, whilst also providing EU type-approval

authorities with the possibility to request new

testing. One of the objectives is to maintain

the safety and quality standards of the EU,

with particular attention to the safety and

environmental performance of vehicles.

The committee’s amendments clarify when

and what powers and obligations the EU typeapproval

authority will take on from the UK one.

The changes proposed also ensure that there

will be a market surveillance authority covering

those vehicles.

The role attributed to type-approval authorities

does not end when a vehicle is placed on the

market, but extends to in-service conformity

checks, repair and maintenance information and

potential recalls.

Quote

Marlene Mizzi (S&D, MT), Internal Market

Committee rapporteur, said: “Given the current

political scenario concerning the withdrawal

of the UK from the EU, manufacturers and

consumers need certainty where type

approvals for vehicles are concerned, to avoid

unnecessarily disrupting this important industry.

Manufacturers shall now be provided with the

required period and legal framework to continue

trading within the EU”.

“In our parliamentary text, we have sought to

protect the industry, the consumer and the

European standards. It provides for proactivity

and a smooth transition. We look forward to

what can be achieved and to implement this

regulation in a timely manner, considering the

time sensitivity of this file."

Next steps

This vote gives Parliament’s team, led by Ms Mizzi,

a mandate to start negotiations with Council to

reach an agreement on the final regulation. The

mandate, approved in committee by 29 votes

in favour, none against and one abstention, still

needs to be given a green light in November’s

plenary session before negotiations can formally

start.

The application for the EU type-approval should

be made before the UK leaves the EU. The

withdrawal date is set for the 30 March 2019.

It can only be changed if a ratified withdrawal

agreement specifies otherwise. MBR

All rights reserved - Copyright 2018

56


CORPORATE

Malta Business Review

MEDIA RELEASE

FIMBank Supports Pink October Campaign

FIMBank has supported breast cancer awareness

through Pink October donation initiatives. Over

the past weeks, employees of the Bank have

been encouraged to purchase Pink October

ribbons and trolley coin keychains. The money

collected will be used to aid the Action for Breast

Cancer Foundation, a voluntary organisation

that is campaigning for a quality assured service

in order to diagnose and treat breast cancer in

Malta.

“As a Malta-based financial institution, we are

determined to contribute to the wellbeing of

the local community by providing our input

to this initiative. Awareness and appropriate

action are critical for the survival of diagnosed

breast cancer patients. We are pleased to do

our part alongside other organisations who

are donating. Such activities dovetail with the

Bank’s mission and values. As breast cancer is

the most common form of cancer and accounts

for the largest number of cancer-related deaths

in women in Europe, FIMBank continues to

emphasise the importance of awareness and

regular check-ups. Such screening has also been

included in our employees’ health benefits.” said

Christine Coleiro, Group Chief Human Resources

Officer at FIMBank.

Such donations allow the Foundation to continue

building on the remarkable work undertaken

thus far. The Foundation uses such donations

to organise awareness programmes for both

individuals and health care professionals,

to strengthen everyone's awareness on the

dangers of cancer and its repercussions.

For more information about FIMBank plc, please

visit www.fimbank.com.

For further information please contact:

Jason Zammit, Head of Marketing &

Administration, FIMBank plc MBR

Creditline: FIMBank

The MGA publishes a survey to better understand

existing skills gap in the gaming industry

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), through its

Information Unit, has conducted a survey among

its licensed remote gaming operators in order

to obtain a better understanding of the existing

skills gap in the gaming industry. The survey was

conducted during the first quarter of 2018, and its

analysis was carried out for each job category, level

and firm size.

The following are the key highlights from this

survey:

• A total of 781 unfilled positions have been

reported by the remote gaming companies in

Malta as at the end of 2017;

• Unfilled job vacancies are primarily in the

game operation and development category

at the operational level, presenting significant

potential for the local educational system to

contribute in addressing the issues of job

vacancies in skills that are specific to the

gaming industry in Malta;

• According to the survey results, 57% of

respondents consider the lack of appropriate

skills, in terms of either work experience or

qualifications, as the main cause of unfilled

vacancies;

• The sourcing of experienced talent from

other firms in Malta is practised by over 60%

of surveyed firms; the majority of operators

recruited workers already employed by other

firms in the online sector (37%) or in other

industries (24%);

• The recruitment of workers immediately after

the completion of their formal education

was reported by 15% of firms, confirming

the potentially stronger role which could be

played by educational institutions; and;

• Various initiatives are undertaken by the

gaming companies to address the skill

shortage in the industry with majority of

firms (55%) organising in-house training for

their employees or investing in overseas

training (21%).

Over the past months, several policy efforts have

been made to address this skills gap. In fact, in

November 2017, the European Gaming Institute

of Malta (EGIM) was launched following an

agreement signed between the MGA and MCAST.

This strategic initiative aims to increase the talent

pool in the gaming industry and create more long

term careers for both local and foreign students.

Educational programmes through EGIM started

being offered as from October 2018.

A full copy of the survey can be downloaded from:

https://www.mga.org.mt/wp-content/

uploads/Skills-gap-affecting-the-remotegaming-industry-in-Malta.pdf

Credit: Malta Gaming Authority

MBR

www.maltabusinessreview.net

57


Malta Business Review

NEWSMAKERS

Malta ratifies the EU-Japan

Strategic Partnership Agreement

The relationship between the European

Union and Japan is based upon longstanding

cooperation and shared fundamental values

and principles such as democracy, the rule

of law, human rights, good governance and a

market-based economy – benefits to citizens

in both Europe and Japan. As an EU member

state, Malta also shares this sentiment and

these values.

As the first ever bilateral framework

agreement between the EU and Japan, the

Strategic Partnership Agreement greatly

strengthens the overall partnership by

promoting political and sectoral cooperation

and joint actions on issues of common

interest—including on regional and global

challenges—notably cybercrime, disaster

management, energy security, climate

change and ageing populations, amongst

others.

On 31st October 2018, Minister for Foreign

Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela,

on behalf of Malta, signed the ratification

agreement of the EU-Japan Strategic

Partnership Agreement which had been

signed in Tokyo on 17 July 2018 between the

High Representative of the European Union

for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and

Vice-President of the European Commission

Federica Mogherini and the Minister of

Foreign Affairs of Japan Tarō Kōno.

sources, and, in the interim, fossil fuels with

a lower carbon footprint. Of course, the

chosen energy mix is very much country

specific, and reflects access to indigenous

resources, security of supply considerations

and cost implications,” he added. “One could

be tempted to state that today’s citizens are

victims of their own success. The industrial

MBR

9th International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development

Microsoft Appoints New

Enterprise Commercial Director

for Greece, Cyprus and Malta

Microsoft Hellas: Aiming to the

optimization of customers’ experience

The agreement concerns remits which

cover the EU’s and member states’ shared

competence and therefore, it requires the

ratification of all EU member states before

it enters into force. The agreement will

enter into force after the General Secretariat

of the Council of the European Union is

notified through diplomatic channels of the

completion of the internal procedures by

member states. MBR

Source: DOI

Malta actively supporting the

development of cost effective

renewable energy sources

Minister for Energy and Water Management

Joe Mizzi said that Malta is actively supporting

the development of cost effective renewable

energy sources, but has also invested heavily

to switch power generation from oil to

natural gas. “This approach will ensure that

new, cost effective technologies come on the

market in time to meet emission reduction

targets whilst sustaining growth and

modernization,” he said whilst addressing

the 9th International Forum on Energy for

Sustainable Development, in Kiev, Ukraine.

Minister Mizzi explained that following the

ratification of this international commitment,

there has been a strong sense of engagement

from the EU Member States cementing the

need to increase integration of renewable

energy into the system, improve energy

efficiency whilst at the same time supporting

research and innovation in low-carbon and

clean energy technologies. “I firmly believe

that the modernization of our economies can

go hand in hand with the climate agenda. An

effective energy transition can be sustainable,

whereby fossil fuels are gradually replaced

by a mix of renewable and nuclear energy

revolution would not have happened without

access to fossil fuels and the technologies

which developed around their extraction,

processing, transportation and conversion.

For the past two hundred years, we saw the

standard of living of several areas around the

globe improve – driven by fossil energy. But

this has left significant side effects, which

could jeopardise all that we have strived for,

and even put at risk entire communities.

This we need to face together. We also

have the unique opportunity to assist those

communities who were at the fringes of the

industrial revolution to also improve their

quality of life without having to resort to fossil

fuels, but rather move directly to alternative

energy sources.”

Minister Mizzi concluded his intervention

during the Ministerial conference by stating

that we must keep the global citizen at the

centre of our actions. “This is not just about

the depletion of fossil fuel resources, but

rather our commitment towards future

generations and our obligation to leave a

better place to live in.” MBR

Credit: DOI

Oriented to serving the highest-potential

businesses, but also the Public Sector,

Microsoft Hellas proceeds to organizational

changes. The teams of the Public Sector

and of Enterprise Commercial join forces,

under the leadership of Mr. Theodosis

Michalopoulos, who until recently held the

position of Enterprise Commercial Director

of Microsoft for Greece, Cyprus and Malta.

From his new role, as the Enterprise

Commercial and Public Sector Director in

Microsoft for Greece, Cyprus and Malta,

Theodosis Michalopoulos is expected to

contribute to the more efficient operation of

the company and to the digital transformation

of its customers. MBR

Credit: Corporate Identites

Theodosis Michalopoulos

58

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines