A market place for the business community






MBR interviews Felipe Navarro

López de Chicheri, CEO of

MAPFRE Middlesea p.06


Interview with Brando Benifei,

who discusses the current political

crisis in Italy p.10



MBR speaks with the CEO and

co-founder of the firm, Adrian Kreter p.14



Interview with Antonio Camilleri,

Managing Director of Antonio’s

Barbershop p.24


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Together we thrive

Malta Business Review


Issue 54




SolutionsHub COO Nick Wright shares his thoughts about

the increased pressure on regulators to take a closer look at




Lee Hills, CEO of SolutionsHub. im. is the Isle of Man’s leading

authority in crypto and blockchain business and gambling




MBR interviews Felipe Navarro López de Chicheri,

CEO of MAPFRE Middlesea.





Chris Cini, Legal Director at Equiom Malta, discusses the

yachting industry from a client perspective.



An interesting analysis on how Adrian Delia and his

followers are likely to bring the very thing they all want

to avoid.



Interview with Brando Benifei, an Italian politician who has

served in the European Parliament since 2014.

10 14




MBR speaks with the CEO and co-founder of the firm,

Adrian Kreter, who gives us his perspective on the world

of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.



Interview with Antonio Camilleri, Managing Director of

Antonio’s Barbershop, pioneer of the Barber Shop

concept in Malta.




24 42



Six out of 10 investors are now actively seeking to move

assets out of Britain as a perfect storm looks set to hit

the UK economy.




A Brexit deal now appears to be offset by volatile global

financial markets, meaning investors should revise their




Natalie Clarkson on sharing our experiences.




Malta Business Review


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Jacopo Barigazzi; George Carol; Natalie Clarkson;

Chris Cini; Jay Croft, Lauryn Duncan; Lee Hills;

Brandon Miller; Sheena McKenzie; Zoya

Sheftalovich; Nick Wright


CNN; DOI; Edwards Lowell & Co; European

Parliament Information Office in Malta; European

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Communication/Press Office; European Research

Council; GOPAcom/ESP/EC; HSBC; LinkedIn;


Politico Playbook; PTV Group; Taylor & Francis

Group; Virgin


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– Mark Twain


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

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Recently, Britain hosted a global conference on media freedom,

where the police threatened British journalists with possible criminal

action if they publish leaked government documents.

The move - which triggered outrage from members of the media and

senior politicians - is akin to something a Chinese, Turkish or Saudi

police force would do. Not one from a country that is supposed

to triumph democracy, a free press and free speech. In Malta,

journalists are also threatened with criminal action, at times even

if they report factual stories or cover cases of corruption or sleaze.

I am not saying the media is above the law and of course journalists should face

prosecution if they commit a crime. However, the ability to report on matters judged to

be in the public interest is a vital power and one that reinforces the right and freedom to

accurate information in a liberal and digital society. Inducing a veiled clampdown on press

freedom, through though unopposed legislation is certainly not the right approach and

manner, and is only one way to control freedom of speech, and gagging sources which

expose wrongdoing.

But it would send a dangerous chill through newsrooms if the police attempt to use

any adverse legislative measures to file charges against the journalist who received the

information and the newspaper or media that published it - having presumably deemed

publication to be in the public interest.

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary and a champion of press freedom, wrote on Twitter

supporting the media even though publication of the Darroch memos “damaged UK/US

relations and cost a loyal ambassador his job”. He said: “I defend to the hilt the right of

the press to publish those leaks if they receive them and judge them to be in the public

interest: that is their job.”

Boris Johnson, a former journalist who is now the British Prime Minister, also rode in

behind the right to publish. “It is the duty of media organisations to bring new and

interesting facts into the public domain. That is what they are there for.”

But the right to a free press comes with responsibility, especially when information

is being used as a weapon by hostile foreign powers to harm other countries. It is a

delicate balancing act and perhaps the need for a free and unrestricted press should

reign supreme regardless. Therefore, any official curbing of media freedoms by the state

should be resisted.

Free, independent and pluralistic media based on freedom of information and expression

is a core element of any functioning democracy. Freedom of the media is in fact essential

for the protection of all other human rights. Instances of torture, discrimination,

corruption or misuse of power many times have come to light because of the work of

investigative journalists. Making the facts known to the public is often the first, essential

step to start redressing human rights violations and hold governments accountable.

Worrying signals of repression and violations of media freedom can be observed in a

number of European states. Different forms of control and pressure over the variety and

content of media hamper their independence and pluralism. Cases of journalists who are

deprived of their liberty because of their work continue to occur. Cases of harassment,

intimidation, violence - and even murder - have been documented.

There should be a wider discussion on this issue and a genuine consensus reached in

order support initiatives aimed at strengthening media professionalism and ethical

journalism and the establishment of self-regulatory mechanisms.

Wishing you a good read.

Martin Vella


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:



Malta Business Review






By Martin Vella

MBR interviews Felipe Navarro López de

Chicheri, CEO of MAPFRE Middlesea who

has been at the helm of the company for

the past four years to find out about his

experiences in Malta

MBR: What can you tell us about your

personal experience of living in Malta

over the past four years?

NLC: From a personal perspective our

stay in Malta is proving to be a great

experience for our family. The change of

culture and surrounding- it’s been for us

the opportunity to go out of our comfort

zone and our neighbourhood in Madrid. I

feel to have grown immensely as a family:

the children acquired a new language, we

all have a more international mind and our

areas of interest are broader since we are

much more open minded. Malta is a perfect

country to have such an experience: the

country is welcoming, the Maltese culture

is close to the Spanish since we are sharing

much of our Mediterranean history and,

finally, the climate is another good asset

(even if some winters are surprisingly

humid and colder than expected).

MBR: What drives you on a daily basis

and is the main motivating factor?

NLC: Being the CEO of MAPFRE in Malta

is a thrilling experience that is helping me

to grow as a person and as a professional.

The good days are much more usual that

the bad ones, and I still find the right

push every morning that makes me to

look forward for the daily challenges with

enthusiasm and optimism. Since I arrived,

to Malta, I had the goal to transform of our

company is all the different aspects: HR,

IT, Technical and financial performance.

We have the responsibility to manage

the biggest company in the local market

and we strive to set our standards in the

high. Our shareholders deserve the best

performance of this company but I don’t

want to forget the other stakeholders:

We were the first insurance

company to launch a new

channel of communication

utilizing artificial intelligence.

Employees that need to be treated with

dignity and respect as a key element of

the value chain; Providers with whom

the company has to have a balanced

relationship helping them to grow and

to raise the standards; Customers that

have to be in the center of our activity

and perceived as the most important

motivation; and finally the society in

general that needs to perceive MAPFRE in

Malta as a partner and good citizen that

contributes to the common wellbeing.

MBR: What would you consider to be the

most important achievements registered

at MAPFRE Middlesea over these years?

NLC: The Company strived tirelessly to

improve services and ensure the best

possible relationships with clients whilst

maintaining a healthy financial position and

good return to its shareholders. We were

the first insurance company to launch a

new channel of communication utilizing

artificial intelligence, which improved our

service to clients by offering more options

on how to reach us. We continued offering

innovative products and benefits to our

clients. The roadside and home emergency

assistance services are available 24/7 to our

clients. We are the only insurance company

on the island which rewards customers

through a loyalty programme, which offers

customers discounts from several outlets.

We continued working on our IT systems to

improve efficiency and delivery of services.



Malta Business Review

MBR: MAPFRE is a global brand and

winner of Best Workplace in many

countries. What reasons would you

attribute to this recognition?

NLC: MAPFRE over the past years has

been working in a new direction, having

an organisation which is more flexible,

collaborative, transparent and agile, giving

more flexibility in terms of working-times

in order to enable our employees to

manage their time better. We have also

worked on technological mobility to create

a workplace which is moving towards more

remote working from any place and at any

time. We know that the most important

thing is no longer the actual presence of

the employee. It’s a completely different

culture, trust-based and results driven

where the mutual commitment, trust and

flexibility are vital. In addition to these

flexible measures, MAPFRE also provides

other employees’ perks such as health

insurance and pensions plan.

MBR: Recently MAPFRE Middlesea

launched a chat bot for clients' use, which

utilises Artificial Intelligence. Can you

give us some insight into this new tool?

NLC: Chatbot Emma has been designed to

address a number of customer queries 24

hours a day, seven days a week. Emma is

capable of addressing queries pertaining

to insurance quotes, claims, complaints,

contact information, and even queries

regarding the company’s benefits such as

MAPFRE Assist and their ‘Insure and Save’

Loyalty Scheme. The use of AI has enabled

MAPFRE Middlesea to place greater

importance towards more complicated

matters, while Emma is able to address the

simpler tasks and queries at hand.

Even though the introduction of AI marks

the beginning of an innovative digital

approach to customer engagement for

MAPFRE Middlesea, going forward, the

company will continue to place readilyavailable

customer support at the forefront

of their business practices in order to

ensure timely resolutions as well as

customer satisfaction for their clientele.

MBR: Why does MAPFRE Group rank

among the top 10 companies that

focus their efforts on Corporate Social


NLC: The Group seeks to put into practice

CSR principles on a daily basis with its

own employees helping on the initiatives

supported by the company. MAPFRE is fully

committed to sustainable development

in the countries in which it operates,

supporting its social and economic

progress. The Volunteering Corporate

Programme and, in particular, Fundación

Innovation and service delivery are the focus

of MAPFRE Middlesea. We ensure that we

deliver the best service in the most convenient

way to our client, which is one of the reasons we

invested on AI to ensure a 24/7 service to

our customers.

MAPFRE, are essential assets in achieving

this goal. In the past decade, Fundación

MAPFRE has invested 500 million euros in

projects targeting society in 30 countries,

which have benefited more than 100

million people.

Last year, Fundación MAPFRE brought to

Malta a major exhibition of Picasso&Miró

on the occasion of Valletta being the

European Capital of Culture. The exhibition

was a great success and it was visited by

over 70,000 people.

MBR: How is MAPFRE Middlesea widening

service offerings and making its business

more service-oriented?

NLC: We offer reliable products at

competitive prices (not necessarily the

cheapest but good value for money). At the

same time, we continue being innovative

with new product offers. We have

synergies with MAPFRE Assist in order to

ensure quality delivery on the emergency

services and our customers are extremely

satisfied with the services provided by

MAPFRE Assist.

Innovation and service delivery are the

focus of MAPFRE Middlesea. We ensure

that we deliver the best service in the most

convenient way to our client, which is one

of the reasons we invested on AI to ensure

a 24/7service to our customers.

MBR: What will the main focus of your

work at MAPFRE Middlesea be in the near


NLC: I will continue being a catalyst for

innovative solutions that safeguard people,

with products to protect their property and

savings, and that secure their future. My

aim is to provide close support to clients

whenever and wherever they need us, this

is core to our mission and I will strive to

make sure that we will continue delivering

an excellent service. My main priority

areas are to nurture our employees’

talent to deliver the best possible service

by excellence in technical and operational

management and never losing focus on

the client. I believe that only by putting

the client as the center of our activities

we will deliver profitable growth to our

shareholders. MBR

Editor’s Note

Mr Navarro López de Chicheri

holds a degree in Economics from

the Universidad Computense de

Madrid and an MBA from the

Universidad de Alcalá de Henares

in Spain. He joined the MAPFRE

Group in 2002.



Malta Business Review


Delia and his followers

have generally seemed

more interested in

controlling the machinery

of the Nationalist Party

than in seeking office.

PN Leader Adrian Delia – most unpopular opposition leader after two years in recent decades


Intransigent Party

By George Carol

The intransigence of the Nationalist

Party counsellors and the

intransigence of its leader, in their

attitude, they are actually more

likely to bring about the very thing that

they want to avoid.

Firstly, the intransigence of the leader of

the Opposition to step down for various

reasons already highlighted by MBR is

betraying both his party and the country.

It was meant to be the Nationalist Party

that devoted this summer to a long, postelectoral

mortem on a humbling and

disastrous defeat and divisive leadership

contest. Yet somehow, in another twist to

the extraordinary political drama of recent

weeks, it is the Nationalist Party that faces

this crisis of introversion.

The Nationalist Party’s decline is a

parable of political bad decisions,

mismanagement, infighting, self-greed,

pride and vulnerability, the brittleness of

its own past success. Thirty years ago I

interviewed the late President Dr Guido

Demarco just following Labour’s sixteen

year tenure in Government. His objective

was to gain huge tracts of the political

spectrum, especially by appealing to

disenchanted Labour and Mintoffian

voters. “I can’t believe that if you are a

One-Nation PN looking at Labour this

week,” he said, “and then turning your

attention to the Nationalist Party next

week, that you can have any doubt where

you are better off.”

Fast forward to 2019, (New) Labour

sweeping to power with yet another

record landslide victory. Compare and

contrast Gonzi’s expansionist confidence in

2006 to Delia’s position in 2019. Far from

declaring an end of ‘politics of division’ and

feebly calling on detractors to join reform,

the Nationalist Party is now retreating into

a soggy little bivouac. Instead of appealing

to those who do not traditionally vote

PN, it is defending a shrinking electoral

base and also attempting to limit the

damage. Without a change of leadership

– and course – the party will struggle to

keep the 30 seats it presently holds in

the 2022 general election (and is already

expected to suffer losses as a result of the

party’s intransigence to open its doors, restructure,

re-build and attract). Next stop,


How to explain this slump? Ideology has a

lot to do with it, in spite of the insistence

by mutinous MPs that it is all about

“competence”. The election of Delia this

year completed the transformation of the

Nationalist Party from a centrist Christian

democratic force to a radical grassroots

anti-democracy with no apparent

commitment to building a broad electoral

coalition, or to reconcile aspiration with

compassion and honesty. Indeed, Delia and

his followers have generally seemed more

interested in controlling the machinery

of the Nationalist Party than in seeking

office. This reflects a poverty of ambition,

certainly, but it positions them in a battle

over the PN’s nature that has lasted more

than a century.

Indeed, nobody knows better than the

former PN General Secretary, Dr Louis

Galea, how hard it is to drag the party from

one of its bouts of self-indulgence back

into the realm of responsible politics. By

refusing to resign — in spite of his MPs’

dissent, in spite of polling data suggesting

that he is by far the most unpopular

Opposition leader after two years in recent

decades — Delia is treating the PN as a

fiefdom rather than a precious trust. He is

betraying the very party history by which

he claims to be so moved.

As a veteran of the Fenech Adami-Gonzi

era put it to me: “I do wonder if the PN is

slowly dying.” His thesis was that the party

had fulfilled its historic mission, was now

bumping against the walls of redemption

and transformation like a zombie, and

that a new social democratic force would

emerge to take its place in its own time:

not a split, but a phoenix.

This is a bleak prospect, to say the least,

for those who need a PN government now.

The party may yet step back from the lip

of the abyss. But what struck me most

forcefully about the veteran’s prophecy

was its sheer plausibility. Only six years

since it left office, it is no longer absurd to

speak of the death of the PN. MBR

Ref: https://www.standard.co.uk/



Years at the Forefront

of Global Trade

Malta Business Review


I’m optimistic that a

new government, if well

assembled, could be

something that in the

Council unblocks the




Unblocking the standstill

Conte’s record

If Giuseppe Conte, the PM of the 5Stars-

League government, remains in office and

a new 5Stars-PD government holds on until

the end of its term, he would go down

as one of Italy’s longest-serving prime

ministers. That’s quite an achievement for

a lawyer who was a virtual unknown until

last summer.

Conte will be instrumental in convincing

reluctant 5Stars members to vote in favor

of the would-be tie-up with the PD on the

populist party’s Rousseau digital polling

platform. That’s a problem for the PD,

which wants a complete break with the

current government and thus has refused

to green-light a Conte prime ministership.

But the situation has evolved, according to

Brando Benifei, head of the PD delegation

in the European Parliament, and now

“I believe everything is possible,” the

33-year-old told Playbook. That said, the

chances of a PD-5Stars tie-up are still just

“50 percent.”

Competition’s on

Benifei said the previous government’s

ambition of getting the competition

portfolio remains intact. “It’s clear that Italy

has the political weight to get an important

position … it would then be natural to have

a key portfolio like competition and, to get

it, we need a government that is able to

regain authority — the old government

would have pushed us in a marginal role,”

Benifei said. Competition remains one of

Italy’s coveted portfolios, “but there are

also others — it’s something that has to be

discussed also with the president-elect,” he

said, but declined to reveal what they are

“because we are in a very delicate phase.”

Hope for asylum breakthrough

The Dublin reform of asylum rules is stuck

and diplomats expect it to regain momentum

only during the German presidency in the

second half of next year. With the League

in power, Italy had teamed up with Hungary

and Poland, which are against the reforms.

Budapest and Warsaw “are adversaries of

the Italian interest to build a more shared,

more collective management of migration

fluxes,” Benifei said, and thereby “I’m

optimistic that a new government, if well

assembled, could be something that in the

Council unblocks the standstill.”

A change of government also raises hopes

that Operation Sophia, the anti-smuggling

naval operation in the Mediterranean that

is currently blocked from using its vessels

after League leader and Italian Interior

Minister Matteo Salvini threatened to pull

Rome out of it, could soon set sail again.

The expectation is also that Rome will stop

harassing NGOs that rescue migrants in

the Med. “I believe these are all legitimate

expectations,” Benifei said, pointing to the

fact the PD has linked the formation of a

new government to a different approach

on these matters.

No pressure

Italian media reported the PD faced strong

pressure from EU governments and from

the Catholic Church to agree to team up

with the 5Stars and leave the Euroskeptic,

pro-Russia League behind. But Benifei

denied that: “I have had no pressure and

certainly this is not the ground on which

the PD took its decision.” MBR


Jacopo Barigazzi, Zoya Sheftalovich;

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The idea of combining the words Light and Sound

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Malta Business Review




Strategy Execution

n Successful risk management strategy has positioned the bank to

manage the range of risks facing the financial system, supporting

growth in profitability.

n Next phase growth actions gaining momentum with notable

progress in retail banking delivering record new customer

acquisition and home loan performance.

n Commercial Banking has stabilised following completion of risk

management actions. Outlook remains more challenging than

in retail. Quarter of a billion euro business fund launched to

accelerate revenue development.

n Good progress on cost management in the first half of the year.

n Strong capital position with dividend payout ratio sustained at 30%.

Financial Performance

n Reported profit before tax of €20.9m for the six months ended

30 June 2019, an increase of €4.8m or 30% compared with the

same period last year. 2019 results benefited from the non reoccurrence

of a significant expected credit loss taken in 2018.

n Common equity tier 1 capital ratio of 16.2% as at 30 June

2019, up from 14.6% at the end of 2018 well above regulatory


n Recommended gross interim dividend of 1.7 cents per share (1.1

cents per share net of tax).

n Cost efficiency ratio improved to 73% for the six months ended

30 June 2019 from 74% for the same period in 2018.

n Return on equity of 5.8% for the six months ended 30 June 2019,

compared with 6.1% for the same period in 2018.

n Net loans and advances to customers were €3,183m, up €73m

compared with 31 December 2018.

n Customer deposits of €4,850m at 30 June 2019, down €38m

compared with 31 December 2018.

n The advances to deposits liquidity ratio increased from 64% at

31 December 2018 to 66%.

All three main business lines, Retail Banking and Wealth

Management, Commercial Banking and Global Markets, continued

to be profitable during the six-month period under review.

Andrew Beane, Director and Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Bank

Malta p.l.c., said: “These are a good set of results as the bank

emerges from implementation of its successful risk management

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

Strategically we are now focused

on delivery of world-class customer

service to support growth.

strategy with increasing momentum. Strategically we are now

focused on delivery of world-class customer service to support


Progress in retail banking is ahead of expectations with significant

market share gains achieved in new customer acquisition and

home loans without increasing risk appetite. Retail Banking will

also benefit from a number of digital innovations the bank will

launch in the second half of the year.

Following completion of significant risk management actions,

Commercial Banking has now stabilised and the performance of

our Insurance company improved. Both of these divisions require

further work to increase profitability and are a strategic focus for

the Board. We have launched a quarter of a billion euro lending

fund to signal to the market that our commercial division has

returned to a growth focus.”

Continued on page 47


Malta Business Review



Malta Business Review


I have never been scared

of taking calculated risks

and chances.

Great opportunities lie in

niches and areas where

others are scared to take

the risk.

MBR: Can you tell us your story, the

reasons which prompted you to move

to Malta and decided to invest and

live here, and what excited you about

assuming your current role?

AK: I have travelled many times to Malta

before. I was always excited when coming

here. During the last years Malta has

been experiencing continuous growth

numbers and achieving excellent results

mostly in the financial services sphere.

Malta has always been a more business

focused jurisdiction. It’s a great place for

a start-up.

MBR: What can you tell us about the

two companies which you founded -

Arringo Ltd and Instacoins Ltd, and did

you always have the entrepreneurial

spirit and the desire to build your own


AK: I have never been scared of taking

calculated risks and chances. Great

opportunities lie in niches and areas

where others are scared to take the risk.




By George Carol

Instacoins Limited is a decentralized platform that issues

stable Bitcoin currencies backed with crypto. MBR spoke

with the CEO and co-founder of the firm, Adrian Kreter,

to learn more about the project and also his perspective

on the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

This is especially true with Instacoins Ltd.

I was one of the first to think and develop

a business in the blockchain Island. Back

then it seemed to me like a no brainer.

MBR: What do you think is the situation

with regards to Cryptocurrency regulation

in Malta, and what are the

main opportunities and challenges for a

Start-up company like Instacoins Ltd in

the current environment?

AK: There is still big uncertainty

regarding the situation post transitory

period. Furthermore, the biggest hurdle

we encountered from the outset was

the banking sector. In fact, it is close

to impossible for any cryptocurrency

company to find a decent and competitive

banking solution on the island. This is a

big let-down and challenge considering

Malta is supposed to be offering the

whole package as the blockchain Island.



Malta Business Review

MBR: What opportunity did you see

for Arringo Ltd and Instacoins Ltd, and

what was your vision for creating both


AK: Instacoins’ mission is to become

a universal fiat - crypto, crypto - fiat

gateway. We made already a lot of

progress on the fiat - crypto side. Now,

we have to tackle the other side of the


Arringo is growing extremely rapidly

and I hope it will reach 1000 employees

by 2022. Both companies have now

well geared up and are in business

development stage of expansion and


MBR: Are your client base primarily

large global multinationals, gaming

and are you targeting governments

or are you also focused on small- and

medium-sized businesses?

AK: We don’t work with gaming at all.

Arringo’s clients are financial services

companies. Instacoins has clients

worldwide and a global exposure. Finally,

we don’t work with any governments yet.

MBR: Is it difficult to maintain culture

when you are growing so rapidly and

how important is it to keep culture at

the heart of the company?

AK: Culture is extremely important.

In both companies, through the

management, we want to create a

culture where all tiers of employees

must be incredibly self-critical and they

don’t get comfortable with short-term

success. It is vital to involve employees

as much as possible and to create a

corporate identity. The bigger you grow

the more difficult it gets but we are

trying to generate a tight bond inside the

companies via team building events as

an example.

MBR: Are you concerned about the

potential negative impacts of AI and

what are your views about AI?:

AK: I am not concerned about AI at all. It

creates big opportunities and should be


MBR: What are the main skills that

young entrepreneurs should have to

succeed in today’s economy and what

type of platform do you view the

forthcoming prestigious Malta’s Best

Entrepreneur Awards 2019?

AK: In my opinion this depends on

the sector but IT is one of the most

important skills in today’s time. The list

of nominated companies of the Malta’s

Best Entrepreneur Awards shows mainly

heavily IT focused companies. That is

already a big clue per se.

MBR: Are you are very committed to

philanthropy? What has made this so

important to you and do the skills that

made you a successful business leader

translate to your philanthropic efforts?

AK: At the moment both companies are

still very young so my focus lays there.

Still, we understand the importance of

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

With this in mind, myself together with

my team we have partnered with a

series of local non-profit agencies to

help different strata of society. During

2018 we have created a CSR Team and

partnered with two different agencies.

We have organised a series of charity

events such as a cake bake sale to raise

funds for both. They were a complete


n AAA Malta

n St Patrick Orphanage Sliema

The CSR team is continuously working to

find new partners that needs our help.

MBR: Can you reveal what is in the

pipeline for Instacoins Ltd in the near

future and if he has any other plan for

new companies and investments in


AK: Instacoins will in the near future

launch a crypto Mastercard with which

you can hold your balance in Crypto and

benefit from the rally and exchange on

demand to EUR USD or GBP without

having to pay any fx fees. A great feature

for travellers and a further sign of the

various useful applications of crypto. We

have also other projects in the pipeline.

2019 will be an exciting year! MBR

Instacoins will in the near

future launch a crypto

Mastercard with which you

can hold your balance in

Crypto and benefit from

the rally and exchange on

demand to EUR USD or

GBP without having to pay

any fx fees.



Malta Business Review




Ecommerce revenues in the EU are growing by 14% each year.

Consumers in Malta are most likely to purchase online from other EU countries.

Consumers in Turkey are least likely to purchase online from other EU countries.

In the UK, 34% of consumers made online purchases from sellers in the EU in 2018.

Per an article by minutehack.com, ecommerce revenues in

the EU are growing by 14% each year, with consumers

more likely to buy from a company within their own

country. Subsequently, inter-country sales across the EU

continue to fall behind in-country sales.

However, British ecommerce retailer OnBuy.com has discovered

there are some EU countries that are more likely to buy online

from other EU sellers; with generous levels of cross-border online

sales recorded in 2018.

To achieve their analysis, OnBuy explored data delivered by the

Ecommercefoundation.org in the 2019 ‘European Ecommerce

Report’ and pulled together the countries in Europe most – and

least – likely to buy from other EU sellers.

OnBuy discovered, in the beautiful archipelago that is Malta, 89%

of consumers made online purchases from other EU countries in

2018 – the highest rate of every country analysed. This can be

compared to a fewer 62% of Maltese shoppers who made online

purchases from rest-of-the-world sellers in 2018.

Other countries with similarly high rates include Cyprus (83%),

Luxembourg (82%) and Austria (81%.) Strikingly, just 18% of

Austrians made online purchases from rest-of-the-world sellers in

2018, presenting one of the biggest disparities in how consumers

in this region shop online.

Over in Western Europe, 64% of Belgians made online purchases

from other EU countries in 2018, placing Belgium as the country

6 th most likely to buy from other EU sellers. Followed by Ireland

(60%), Finland (52%) and Portugal (51%.)

Rounding off the top 10 countries most likely to buy from EU

sellers is Denmark and Spain.

In Denmark, almost half (49%) of Scandinavian shoppers made

online purchases from other EU countries in 2018. Moving across

to Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, 48% of Spanish shoppers made

online purchases from other EU countries in 2018.

Comparably, consumers in Greece are buying far less from other

EU sellers. In 2018, just over one third (35%) of Greek consumers

made online purchases from other EU countries.

This can be compared to a fewer 19% of Greek shoppers who

made online purchases from rest-of-the-world sellers in 2018.

Other countries with similarly low rates include the UK (34%),

Montenegro (28%) and Germany (24%.) Interestingly, in

Montenegro, a whopping 77% of Montenegrins made online

purchases from rest-of-the-world sellers in 2018, presenting a big

disparity in how consumers in this region shop online.

In the Czech Republic, 19% of Czechs made online purchases from

other EU countries in 2018, placing the country 6 th least likely to

buy from other EU sellers. Followed by North Macedonia (18%),

Romania (13%) and Poland (12%.)

Rounding off the top 10 countries least likely to buy from EU

sellers is Serbia and Turkey. In Serbia, just 8% of Serbian shoppers

made online purchases from other EU countries in 2018. Moving

further into Eastern Europe, just 7% of Turkish shoppers made

online purchases from other EU countries in 2018 – the lowest

rate of every country analysed.

Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com, comments:

“In today’s climate, it’s more important than ever to keep business

inclusive. Europe is a vast market, with every country holding

businesses which should not be hidden behind closed borders. By

keeping our borders open, we welcome consumers and traders to

make the most of the potential the European market holds – and

we encourage the rest-of-the-world to do the same. But we must

ensure we put the right procedures in place to make buying and

selling as safe and straightforward as possible.” MBR

Credit: www.onbuy.com



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Working Town Events is hosting the

‘Blockchain & AI: Where are they taking us?’

conference in October


new conference organised by Working Town Events on

10 and 11 October promises to explore the worlds of

Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) by engaging

with active practitioners in the fields.

‘Blockchain & AI: Where are they taking us?’ will feature a number

of expert speakers who will discuss the impact these innovative

technologies are having, and may yet have, on the world. While

debating the various current and future applications of Blockchain

and AI, the conference will also look at the relevant legal

frameworks, particularly regarding Malta.

“We are delighted to be hosting the ‘Blockchain & AI: Where are

they taking us?’ conference,” says Mark Azzopardi from Working

Town Events. “Blockchain and AI are set to change our lives – but

what do we know about these technologies and what can we

expect their impact to be? Have they already had a profound and

irreversible effect? This useful and enjoyable conference hopes

to answer these questions and more, for those looking to deliver

services related to these sectors as well as those who just wish to

learn the basics.”

The two-day event will include talks, forums and panel discussions

with experts including Helen Burrows, Aviya Arika, Soulla Louca,

Godfrey Baldacchino, Joseph Anthony Debono, Claudia Borg,

Gordon Pace, Stephanie Fabri, David Galea, Philip Maurice Mifsud,

Luis Pallares, Abigail Mamo, Béatrice Collet, Denise De Gaetano,

Luis Pallares, Helga Pizzuto, Mark Mallia, Darren Parkin, François

Grech, Leonard Bonello, Malcolm Falzon, Ian Gauci, Damian

Mifsud and James Muscat Azzopardi. It will be compered by

business journalist and PR strategist Jo Caruana.

‘Blockchain & AI: Where are they taking us?’

will feature a number of expert speakers

who will discuss the impact these innovative

technologies are having, and may yet have,

on the world.

Working Town Events is an Azure Rock Partners brand and it will

host the conference in media and PR partnership with Blockchain

Island Magazine, Zeta, Meta Luminor, the Academy of Business

Leaders, Write Me Anything, and Coin Rivet. The event is also

accredited by the Malta Institute of Accountants for 8.25 hours

of Professional Development in terms of the Accountancy Board’s

CPE Scheme. MBR

‘Blockchain & AI: Where are they taking us?’ will be held on

Thursday 10 and Friday 11 October 2019 at Villa Bologna,

Attard. Tickets are priced at €300 excluding VAT, or €225

excluding VAT for members of certain relevant organisations.

More information, registration and ticketing details may be

found online at www.workingtown.com/events or at www.



Malta Business Review



















+356 21230295 | +356 240507

+356 99876312










Malta Business Review


The choice of services found

in the eSeller platform

gives businesses the ability

to reach a global target

audience and deliver their

products to consumers in

Malta or abroad.

MaltaPost outlines eSeller

success for online retailers

MaltaPost’s recently unveiled eSeller platform for business has given local companies

the chance to substantially boost their online sales, with some indicating that their

international orders have doubled, if not tripled, since the facility was introduced.

The platform offers services primarily designed to help

businesses overcome the logistical challenges of sending

goods overseas, and it was crafted with SMEs in mind,

although some larger companies are also benefiting,

Charles Cilia, MaltaPost plc’s Head of Logistics and e-Commerce

Services said.

“The choice of services found in the eSeller platform gives

businesses the ability to reach a global target audience and deliver

their products to consumers in Malta or abroad,” explained Mr

Cilia. “It uses a harmonised system that facilities the process of

delivering products to their customers, both locally and abroad,

without them worrying about how much they are sending and

how often.”

This extremely convenient service uses a labelling system

that reduces the time for companies to label each product.

Beyond that, all of the related administrative tasks can be

carried out online from each business’ base or office, using the

MaltaPost dashboard. Once any product is ready for delivery,

the company can simply drops its items at a post office in bulk,

or order a courier pick-up at a time to suit its needs. Pick-up

fees remain the same whether there is one or more packages

to be collected, and MaltaPost handles everything from the

pick-up point onwards, while keeping the sender in the loop


Among the businesses successfully using eSeller is Mdina Glass, a

company set up in 1968 as Malta’s first glass making company that

produces a wide array of glassware and decorative items made of

glass, and sells them locally and abroad.

Agreeing that eSeller has helped with their international trade too,

Mark Warner, Marketing Manager for Mdina Glass, explained that

the service has been both cost-effective and logistically sensible.

“Tourists often come into our shops and see things they like but

won’t be able to take back with them because of size or weight

restrictions, so a good postal service is vital to us,” he said. “Plus,

our e-commerce site ships across the world too, so it’s equally

important that we know how much things are going to cost to ship

and how long they will take to reach their destination.”

Mr Warner explained that, in the past, Mdina Glass’ logistics team

would pack a number of items and have them on standby, before

asking their driver to take them to the post office in Rabat or to

the MaltaPost headquarters in Qormi. This meant that a number

of people needed to be involved. “We would even cause a backlog

in the post office when we got there with our 20-or-so boxes,”

Mr Warner said. “Now, we just let our contact at MaltaPost know

when we have packages to be picked up, and they courier them

for us. This means our driver is free to do other things, while

the packages get on their way far quicker than they would have

in the past, and we even have the tracking numbers in-hand

immediately,” he asserted.

“With all of this in mind, we have certainly found eSeller to be very

well streamlined, and it has improved both our efficiency and our

international profitability. We now feel very confident about sending

shipments all over the world – safe in the knowledge that they will

arrive in good condition, for a reasonable amount of money, and in a

predictable amount of time. We would highly recommend it to other

businesses eager to boost their international output,” he added. MBR

For more information visit www.maltapost.com/eseller



Malta Business Review










Malta Business Review






The FIMBank Group has announced

a pre-tax profit of USD9.6 million

for the first six months of 2019,

an increase of 38 per cent on the

USD7.0 million registered during the same

period in 2018. These figures emerge from

the publication of the Group’s Interim

Financial Statements for 2019, which were

approved at a meeting of its Board of

Directors, on the 8 th August 2019.

At 30 th June 2019, Total Consolidated

Assets stood at USD1.77 billion, down by

5 per cent when compared to the USD1.87

billion reported at end-2018. Total

Consolidated Liabilities stood at USD1.48

billion, or 7 per cent less than the USD1.59

billion reported at end 2018. On the other

hand, deposits from corporate and retail

clients increased by USD65 million.

During the period under review, the

Group’s net operating income saw a

marginal decrease of 2 per cent, from

USD28.3 million to USD27.8 million. Net

interest income increased by 19 per cent

to USD16.0 million, as improvements in

the liability structure of the Group offset

the reduction in interest income resulting

from lower asset levels.

Due to the Group maintaining adequate

coverage on non-performing exposures

identified in 2018, net impairment charges

for the first six months of 2019 amounted

to USD0.6 million, compared to the USD2.1

million charged in 2018. In the current

year, net impairments are inclusive of the

successful recovery of a fully provided

exposure, amounting to USD3.0 million.

Commenting on the financial results,

FIMBank Group CEO Murali Subramanian

stated that the strong performance

registered during the first half of 2019 was a

further reflection of FIMBank’s risk-balanced

business model transformation. He

explained that the Group has “successfully

completed a de-risking exercise of its main

portfolios, aimed at strengthening its varied

exposures across the different products and

geographical presences, thereby reducing

concentrations, and ensuring sustained

growth in the years to come. This has led

to a short-term reduction in the size of

the balance sheet, as key portfolios have

readjusted their client and market profile,

refining structuring and increasing risk


FIMBank Group Chairman Dr John C. Grech

expressed the satisfaction of the Board with

the results of the first half of 2019. He stated

that FIMBank’s positive performance, which

has now extended into its fourth year, comes

in the context of a “critically important

transformation of the underlying portfolios

of the Group during this period, the result

of which places FIMBank in a position of

strength, as it makes its business model

fundamentals even more attractive.” Dr

Grech commented that FIMBank’s expertise

in structuring transactions across the traderelated

product portfolio, together with the

ability of its people to pursue and maintain

the building of business partnerships with

the Bank’s diverse client base, remained key

to FIMBank’s reputation.

The FIMBank Chairman stated that while

the return to asset growth would be a

priority going forward, “we will remain

vigilant on risk, controls and governance

in order to ensure that the expansion of

the business is executed in a sustainable

way.” He explained that FIMBank “has

sufficient business pipeline, funding, and

resource structures in place to support this

path. Under the leadership of CEO Murali

We will remain vigilant

on risk, controls and

governance in order

to ensure that the

expansion of the

business is executed

in a sustainable way.

Subramanian and his management team,

with the right mix of talent and focus on

client delivery, and operating within a

risk-balanced approach, we are confident

of FIMBank’s ability to generate higher

value and returns for the benefit of all


Meanwhile, FIMBank’s Board of Directors

will not be recommending an interim

dividend for the period under review.

For more information about FIMBank plc,

please visit www.fimbank.com MBR



Malta Business Review



Quality, reliability and service

are not just words to us.


21382876 / 79476491 www.audiomalta.com info@audiomalta.com fb.com/audiomalta

www.maltabusinessreview.net 23

Malta Business Review


Passion and dedication, it’s not what

you do but how passionate you are

about what you are doing and keep

striving to be the very best.


George Carol

Have you ever wonder what it is like to be the owner of an Old School Barbershop?

Well Antonio Camilleri, Managing Director of Antonio’s Barbershop, is the

one you should learn from. Not only do his staff get to work for themselves in

this constant growth trade, they get to revive an old tradition while serving

upscale clientele with professionally-trained employees, all with the support

of the latest technology, proven operating philosophy, and an experienced

management team at the client’s disposal.

In this brief interview, Mr. Camilleri was asked a series of questions pertaining

to his work atmosphere, personal goals, and personal thoughts about his


MBR: Can you run our readers through

your beginnings as one of the pioneers

and trade leader that brought the

‘Barbershop’ concept and how you

always wanted to put your ‘stamp’ on

Antonio’s Barbershop?

AC: My initial vocation was to be a chef,

following my father’s footsteps into the

catering industry. Working nights and away

from my family was taking the toll, so I

decided to follow my grandfather’s trade

as he was a barber in the NAVY. I moved to

the UK to train and become a certified level

4 Old School Barber and trainer, while also

opening a Barbershop in Leicester. Once

I was established and well experienced, I

decided to move back to Malta and open

the very first Old School Barbershop in

Malta, founding what is now the most

respectful barbershop in the island.

MBR: What, in your own opinion, would

make another successful in this position

and what skills do you need to work long


AC: Passion and dedication, it’s not what

you do but how passionate you are about

what you are doing and keep striving to be

the very best. Long hours come with the

job, but when you are meeting people time

flies and before you know it the day is over.

MBR: In its current state and with

consumers turning to lower cost

barbershop competition, have your

business felt a slowdown?

AC: Honestly? No. We cater to a niche

audience, in today’s day and age not

everybody can afford to spend 1/2hours

waiting for their turn, as time is money. Our

strategy is appointment based, making our

in-time appointment what differentiate us

from the competition thus enabling the

majority of our barbers to be regularly

fully booked. The easiest way to tell if a

barbershop is worth its salt is to see how

difficult it is to get an appointment there.

MBR: What does your company do to

retain existing customers?

AC: The primary strategy is customer care

and service with a smile. I am honoured

that each barber that works with me can

build a relationship with each client and

become their confidante and friend.

MBR: Why is it significant to have barbering

awards in Malta and how do these awards

highlight the diversity of barbers and

show there is room for everybody in the


AC: The award can be of a stimulus for other

barbers to up their game, and ultimately

influence improvement in the industry. For

me it’s more for my personal satisfaction

to be recognized for the hard work and the

impact I have made through my work and

charity towards the local community. I feel

that through my small business I managed

to employ 20 individuals and create a

nice working environment, thus crafting a

relaxed atmosphere for all our clientele.

‘Barbering is an art, not just a service’. MBR



Malta Business Review

est. 2006

More than just a haircut...

Antonio's barbershop

21 Triq Birbal, Ħal Balzan

Franks Gentlemen Essentials

Level 2, The Plaza, Bisazza Str, Sliema

+356 9937 4443

w w w . a n t o n i o s b a r b e r . c o m



Malta Business Review





The introduction of Facebook Libra has

increased the pressure on regulators to take a

closer look at cryptocurrencies, according to

SolutionsHub COO Nick Wright.

The Financial Conduct Authority has moved to

“provide clarity” on crypto with the publication of

its latest guidelines on cryptoassets.

Mr Wright is a director at SolutionsHub, a company

specialising in blockchain regulation and licensing. He said

the latest FCA update was a sign that digital technology is

increasingly being taken seriously by the authorities.

He said: “My personal opinion is that the recent

announcement by Facebook regarding the introduction of

Libra is putting pressure on regulators to examine, review

and form positions on their own appetite to regulate (or

not) digital assets and tokens.

“There is an argument to say that the additional clarity

offered by the UK FCA should be considered as an acceptance

that digital assets are here to stay and that regulation will

at some point try to adapt to market sentiment and new


The team at SolutionsHub offer unrivalled expertise in

blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation and licensing

– book a consultation to discover how your business

capitalise on the power of blockchain

When is a token not a token?

Christopher Woolard, executive director of Strategy and

Competition at the FCA, said the guidance “will help clarify

which cryptoasset activities fall inside our regulatory


The latest guidance (PS19/22) deems Bitcoin and Etherum

‘exchange’ tokens, meaning they do not fall within the FCA’s

remit. However, other forms of tokens do.

Mr Wright said: “While Bitcoin and Ethereum have been

classified as ‘exchange tokens’, and therefore outside their

remit and scope, other digital tokens/assets have not been

so lucky.

“Security and utility tokens will be captured and regulated

in some form with the former considered ‘digital assets

that provide rights and obligations akin to shares or debt


“The issuance of utility tokens, depending on their nature

and structure, may meet the definition of e-money in certain

circumstances. These tokens will also likely fall under the

umbrella of the European Union’s 5 th AML Directive which

is being merged into UKL law in the latter stages of 2019.

“PS19/22 also provides recommendations for wallet

providers, exchanges and trading platforms and that

an updated e-money token category, falling within the

E-Money Regulations, should be created.

“Despite the recent publication of PS19/22 the UK FCA

have already conceded that further clarity will be required

for actors and operators within the sector so as to ensure

that regulations are clear and that no laws are being

contravened.” MBR



Malta Business Review





ICOs – Initial Coin Offerings

The original flagship of blockchain funding

was an ICO.

An ICO is a concept of crowdfunding

cryptocurrency and blockchain companies

and projects. ICO stands for Initial Coin

Offering, (sometimes referred to as a

“token-generation event” or “crowdsale”).

An ICO involves a company creating its

own cryptographic tokens and selling them

in exchange for cryptocurrencies with a

purpose of funding the development of

technologies and/or operations. It usually

releases a certain number of cryptotokens

and then sells those tokens to its

intended audience, most commonly in

exchange for Bitcoin, or Ether. As a result,

the company gains capital to fund product

development, expansion and marketing

and the purchasers get access to services

at a discount, or preferential rate to


There are parallels between the concepts

of Initial Public Offering and an ICO.

However, there are several key differences,

the most meaningful of which is that an

IPO involves selling equity in a company,

whereas an ICO is usually the sale of “utility

tokens”, equating to a discount on goods

or services, although often purchased for

high-risk, high-reward speculation.

Within an ICO, the instigating party will

establish a smart-contract (an immutable

piece of code that is published publicly

online) and those willing to participate

will send BTC, or ETH and receive a token.

That token can denote anything (generally

royalty rights, equity, shareholding,

voting rights, or rights to a product, or

service). IPOs are sophisticated fundraising

mechanisms, heavily regulated and limit

participation to a relatively small number

of parties. They require significant

independent review, engagement of legal

firms and other professional parties.

They also carry severe consequences in

the case of non-compliance. Conversely,

ICOs were new and largely untouched by

government regulation during the peak of

their popularity. This meant any project

could launch an ICO, at any time, with little

preparation, and any person could take part

in it and contribute their money. However,

following the 2018 crypto market crash

and subsequent bear market, ICOs have

become very unpopular, with the average

size of ICO and percentage of successful

ICOs falling dramatically.

This is unlikely to change, at least until

there is significant liquidity in the alt-coin

(alternatives to Bitcoin and Ethereum)

market. Even with a buoyant alt-coin

market and significantly restricted supply

of utility tokens, it is difficult to see

many projects offering the immediate

widespread adoption required to underpin

the token price long-term. So, as with any

startup, it is those who have spent funds

wisely, delivered usable products, made

meaningful partnerships and gathered a

sticky userbase, that will survive and thrive


STOs – Securities Token Offerings

Overlapping the fall in ICOs, securities

token offerings (STOs) ballooned.

These offer securities represented by

cryptographic tokens.

STOs are much more akin to an IPO than

an ICO, as they often represent partial,

or full shareholder rights. I would argue

that STOs are a natural evolution for a

sector seeing the bottom fall out of tokens

with commonly limited, or no, pegged

value, but also with the steady influx of

sophisticated and institutional investors

engaging with blockchain startups. Seeing

the opportunity in blockchain technology,

these investors are looking to support

the right projects, but demand similar

protections to those they are used to in

traditional funding rounds.

There has been a slower uptake in STOs,

but this is inevitable when one considers

that launching an STO requires finding a

permissive jurisdiction and engaging a full

suite of professional advisors. However, these

factors also have the natural by-product of

weeding out the weaker propositions, and

those solely interested in raising as much

capital as they can, with limited realistic

chance of delivering value for all parties.

IEOs – Initial Exchange Offerings

However dressed, an Initial Exchange

Offering is an ICO, but with the swap for

BTC or ETH made on exchanges.

The advantage to purchasers is assurance

regarding a market for their tokens,

rather than trying to arrange listing on an

exchange with reasonable volumes post-

Continued on page 28



Malta Business Review


Continued from page 27

The truest answer to why

Bitcoin has seen such

a resurgence is quite

possibly the simplest;

sentiment. The general

consensus is that the

bear market is over and

this consensus is driving

positive sentiment.

ICO. Unfortunately, many have not learnt

from the lessons of ICOs being susceptible

of the same business risks as any startup.

I recently saw a LinkedIn video from

industry “experts” promoting a funding

model called the “IEO Ladder”. Essentially,

they are advising potential clients pay

them $300,000 to IEO a limited amount

of tokens on a small exchange, then use

the profits to IEO mass tokens on a large


Don’t get suckered in. If your interest

is solely in high-risk/reward investing,

participating in IEOs can be excellent

potential revenue stream while preparing

for the Bitcoin halving (when the reward

to Bitcoin miners is cut in half every four

years), but if your interest is in supporting a

project long-term, or receiving discounts on

future services, then an IEO may not be for

you. This said, some of the more reputable

exchanges are offering protections of

proper due diligence and feasibility studies

on projects and experience-based advisory

on the token economics, that can prove

extremely beneficial. Unfortunately, many

are simply interested in taking a high

percentage of the crypto raised with little

concern for their users.

As with doing due diligence on ICO’s,

one should ensure they do not take an

IEO listing as proof of project validity.

Instead, do due diligence on the project,

tokenomics, the exchange, the exchange

IEO eligibility criteria and the related fees.

State Of The Market

So, what’s it like out there today?

Clarity regarding regulation is providing

confidence for all parties, as is the

development of regulatory frameworks

where there were previously none.

Investor hope has certainly returned,

but the appetite and profile of investor

has changed significantly. In 2017 we

saw new investors flood into the market.

These were individuals attracted by the

astronomic rise in Bitcoin, Ethereum and

the plethora of alt-coins. Most of these altcoins

were new exchange listings from only

recently finished initial coin offerings and

pumping significantly, especially through

the fourth quarter of 2017. Unlike initial

public offerings, access to ICOs and trading

was largely unrestricted and anybody with

an interest could join.

This influx of new capital served to swell

the markets, but in the subsequent crash

and bear market, many got caught holding

illiquid tokens, or saw their BTC holdings

slash in value. It is important to remember

the real use case for crypto is low-cost,

(near) instant, borderless transactions

and we are closer than ever to the critical

mass and development of the technology

to make this a reality. Large financial

institutions making significant moves into

the space is extremely positive, as is on/

off ramps becoming more accessible, a

clearing bank happy with crypto entering

the market, multi-chain technology more

reliable and the overall UX of purchasing,

storing and transferring crypto much

better than ever before.

However, the truest answer to why

Bitcoin has seen such a resurgence is

quite possibly the simplest; sentiment.

The general consensus is that the bear

market is over and this consensus is driving

positive sentiment.

For the Bitcoin purists, 2019 may be a

year solely focused on preparation for the

Bitcoin halving in 2020, an event which

sees the reward for Bitcoin miners reduced

to 50% of what it used to be. Every time

this has happened it has had a positive

impact on the price.

From a broader perspective, it is an exciting

time with the emergence of blockchain,

internet of things, artificial intelligence

and augmented reality. It is especially

heartening to see how widely blockchain

technology is accepted for its properties of

efficiency and transparency. MBR

Lee Hills is CEO of SolutionsHub.

im. Based in Douglas, it is the

Isle of Man’s leading authority in

crypto and blockchain business and

gambling licensing.



Malta Business Review


TO HIT $15,000 AS



The devaluation of China’s currency that is rattling global financial markets has

revealed that Bitcoin is now becoming a safe haven asset.

The analysis from the CEO of one of the world’s

largest independent financial advisory organisations

comes as investors piled into the Bitcoin and other

cryptocurrencies this week amid growing trade

tensions between the U.S. and China.

The Chinese renminbi fell to under 7 to the U.S. dollar on

Monday – the lowest in more than a decade – igniting drops

in stocks and emerging market currencies and driving a rally

in government bonds.

Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group,

notes: “The world’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, jumped

10 per cent as global stocks were rocked by the devaluation of

China’s yuan as the trade war with the U.S. intensifies.

“This is not a coincidence. It reveals that consensus is growing

that Bitcoin is becoming a flight-to-safety asset during times

of market uncertainty.

“Bitcoin is currently realising its reputation as a form of digital

gold. Up to now, gold has been known as the ultimate safehaven

asset, but Bitcoin - which shares its key characteristics

of being a store of value and scarcity – could potentially

dethrone gold in the future as the world becomes increasingly


He continues: “With the Trump administration now officially

labelling China a currency manipulator, escalating the tensions

between the world’s two largest currencies economies,

investors are set to continue to pile in to decentralized, nonsovereign,

secure currencies, such as Bitcoin to protect them

from the turmoil taking place in traditional markets.

“The legitimate risks posed by the continuing trade dispute,

China’s currency devaluation and other geopolitical issues,

such as Brexit and its far-reaching associated challenges, will

lead an increasing number of institutional and retail investors

to diversify their portfolios and hedge against those risks by

investing in crypto assets.

“This will drive the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

higher. Under the current circumstances, I believe the Bitcoin

price could hit $15,000 within weeks.” MBR

Cryptocurrencies are now almost

universally regarded as the future of

money – but what has become clear is

that they are increasingly regarded a safe

haven in the present.



Malta Business Review

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Malta Business Review TALKING POINT

The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, meets with Russian president

By Bertrand Venard

In November 2018, a former national treasurer of Venezuela

was sentenced in the United States to 10 years in prison for

taking more than $1 billion in bribes. Rather than the usual

lone fraudster ending behind bars, this case is an example of

the effect of corruption on a democracy, when the elites think

only of putting cash in their pockets and threaten the population

when reforms are demanded. Indeed, in recent years, corruption

have skyrocketed in Venezuela and at the same time, democracy

became a myth, with increasing signs of tyranny every day. Is this

something specific to Venezuela’s situation, or is there something

inherent in corruption that can kill democracy?

Venezuela is not alone in simultaneously seeing increased rates of

corruption and decreased democracy. Transparency International’s

2018 Corruption Perception Index clearly shows the magnitude of the

phenomena – the least-corrupt countries have all had a long exposure

to democracy. At the top of the ranking is Denmark, followed other

strong democracies: New Zealand (2), Finland (3), Singapore (3),

Sweden (3), Switzerland (3) or Norway (7). At the extreme opposite,

the most corrupted nations are Somalia (rank 180), Syria (178), South

Sudan (178), Yemen (177), North Korea (176), Sudan (172), Guinea

Bissau (172), Equatorial Guinea (172), Afghanistan (172), Libya (170),

Burundi (170), Venezuela (168) and Iraq (168).

The situation is so bad in these most corrupted countries that their

populations face a combination of insecurity, resource shortage, a

weak and even absent state, poor infrastructures, declining health

and low-quality education.



2018 corruption

perception index.

Darker colours rank

as more corrupt.

Vladimir Putin in 2015. In the 2018 Transparency International report,

Venezuela ranks 168 and Russia ranks 138. The least-corrupt country in the

world is Denmark, followed by strong democracies such as New Zealand,

Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

services since bribes – the most common form of corruption –

lead to misallocation of resources, the decision makers being

more interested to get the higher level of bribes, not to make the

best decision. To make the matter worst, corruption also increases

the cost of public services. As a result, the corrupted countries

have fewer investments and become poorer.

Culture of democracy to its minimum

In addition, the increased corruption leads to a declining trust in elites

and the state. In a country with high corruption levels, the population

has no confidence in their politicians and civil servants. With suspicion

and even fears of elites, the population can’t invest itself in voting,

being involved in the civil society or participating to the public debates.

As the result, the culture of democracy begins to crumble.

Finally, the worst case is the capture of the state, which can lead to a

complete tyranny. For example, when the population of Venezuela

started to demand reforms after years of economic decline and rising

corruption, the response of the elites has been the imprisonment of

opponents, physical threats, and isolation to the world.

Thus, the latest corruption index should be a warning sign to pay

attention to dramatic effects of corruption on the core functioning

of democracies. In addition to Venezuela, other cases include

Guatemala, Turkey, Hungary and even in the United States. These

and others show that democracy is a jewel that needs continuous


Credit: The Conversation, Audentia Business School

Corruption as the abuse of power for private gains

Several reasons explain why corruption is so grievously damages

a democratic system. As a principle, when the elites are highly

corrupted, they are not really concern with the rest of the

population, or even their country. Indeed, corruption is usually

defined as the abuse of power for private gains against the public

good. Corruption breaks the link between collective decision making

and people’s power to influence decisions (normally through votes

and participation), this very link that defines democracy.

Furthermore, for a country to be a democracy, a minimum of

public services is necessary. Without good education, health and

a measure of security, the participation of people to the political

debates is minimum. Clearly, corruption implies poor public

Editor’s Note

Bertrand Venard,

Professor, Audenci

Bertrand Venard, professor at Audencia (France) and the

University of Oxford (UK) is conducting several research projects

about frauds such as cybersecurity and corruption. He is doing

a major research project about cybersecurity behaviour, funded

by the European Union (Project Number: 792137). He received

funding from Anti-Corruption Commission of Bhutan. Indeed, he

directed two major research projects to fight corruption in the

mining industry and human resource management in the civil

services of Bhutan.



Malta Business Review


is melting



By Sheena McKenzie, CNN Reporter

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Free-floating ice floats jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during

unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland.

Extreme heat bowled over Europe in July, smashing records in its wake. Now, the heatwave

that started in the Sahara has rolled into Greenland – where more records are expected to

crumble in the coming days.

That means the heatwave is now Greenland’s problem,

right? Not quite. When records fall in Greenland, it’s

everyone’s problem. Greenland is home to the world’s

second-largest ice sheet. And when it melts significantly –

as it is expected to do this year – there are knock-on effects for sea

levels and weather across the globe.

Greenland’s ice sheet usually melts during the summer. This year,

it started melting earlier, in May, and July’s heatwave is expected

to accelerate the melt. The country’s mammoth ice sheet rises

3,000 meters above sea level. Forecasters predict that its summit

will be particularly warm, at just below zero degrees. “It’s a very

warm temperature for that altitude,” said Ruth Mottram, climate

scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute.

Now 2019 could come close to the record-setting year of 2012,

said Jason Box, professor and ice climatologist at the Geological

Survey of Denmark and Greenland. During that “melty year,”

he said, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 450 million metric tons – the

equivalent of more than 14,000 tons of ice lost per second.

Global effects

What happens in Greenland will be felt across the world. Box said

that this year’s melt is flooding the North Atlantic with freshwater,

which could affect the weather in northwestern Europe. The

result could be stronger storms, he added, citing flooding in the

UK in 2015 and 2016. “Whatever happens in Greenland radiates

its impact down,” he said.

During a year like 2012 or 2019, water produced by Greenland’s

ice sheet adds more than one millimeter to global sea levels,

according to Box. But countries in the tropics could see a rise of

two millimeters or more, he said.

Extreme is the new norm

It will still be some time before the full “meltiness” of 2019 is

measured. But it’s already poised to rival the proportions of 2012

– and we haven’t even reached the end of summer.

In July alone, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 160 billion tons of

ice, according to Clare Nullis, spokeswoman for the UN World

Meteorological Organisation. That’s roughly the equivalent of 64

million Olympic-sized swimming pools.

One of the most remarkable things about the 2019 heatwave is

not just the number of records it broke across Europe – but the

margin by which it did so, she said.

“Normally when you get a temperature record broken, it’s by a

fraction of a degree,” said Nullis. “What we saw was records being

broken by two, three, four degrees – it was absolutely incredible.”

And it’s not just the heat that’s breaking records. Last year,

Greenland experienced it’s coldest year in decades, said Box.

According to Nullis, intense heatwaves such as the one bringing

up temperatures in Greenland “carry the signature of manmade

climate change.” It’s a view shared by a group of European

scientists, including scholars at the University of Oxford, who

earlier this month concluded in an analysis published in World

Weather Attribution that recent French heatwaves had been

made five times more likely because of climate change.

The researchers also said that the world is “very likely” to see more

extreme heatwaves in the future due to climate change. MBR

CNN's Isabelle Gerretsen contributed to this report.

People cool off next to the fountains at the Louvre Museum in

Paris on Wednesday, July 24.

Vehicles in a flood caused by rising sea levels on a highway in

Central Java, Indonesia on February 2.



Malta Business Review







By Brandon Miller and Jay Croft, CNN

New climate change report issues stark warning. Governments

around the world must take “rapid, far-reaching and

unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid

disastrous levels of global warming, says a stark new report

from the global scientific authority on climate change.

The report issued by the UN

Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change (IPCC), says

the planet will reach the crucial

threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7

degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial

levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the

risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods

and food shortages for hundreds of millions

of people. The date, which falls well within

the lifetime of many people alive today, is

based on current levels of greenhouse gas


The planet is already two-thirds of the way

there, with global temperatures having

warmed about 1 degree C. Avoiding going

even higher will require significant action

in the next few years.

“This is concerning because we know there

are so many more problems if we exceed 1.5

degrees C global warming, including more

heatwaves and hot summers, greater sea

level rise, and, for many parts of the world,

worse droughts and rainfall extremes,”

Andrew King, a lecturer in climate science

at the University of Melbourne, said in a


Global net emissions of carbon dioxide

would need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels

by 2030 and reach “net zero” around 2050

in order to keep the warming around 1.5

degrees C.

Sea ice is seen from NASA’s Operation IceBridge research aircraft off the northwest coast of

Greenland. Scientists say the Arctic has been one of the regions hardest hit by climate change.

Lowering emissions to this degree,

while technically possible, would require

widespread changes in energy, industry,

buildings, transportation and cities, the

report says. “The window on keeping

global warming below 1.5 degrees C is

closing rapidly and the current emissions

pledges made by signatories to the Paris

Agreement do not add up to us achieving

that goal,” added King.

Consequences of past inaction

The report makes it clear that climate

change is already happening -- and what

comes next could be even worse, unless

urgent international political action is taken.

“One of the key messages that comes out

very strongly from this report is that we

are already seeing the consequences of 1

degree C of global warming through more

extreme weather, rising sea levels and

diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other

changes,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of

IPCC Working Group I.

Even if warming is kept at or just below 1.5

degrees C, the impacts will be widespread

and significant. Temperatures during

summer heatwaves, such as those just

experienced across Europe this summer,

can be expected to increase by 3 degrees C

says the report. More frequent or intense



Malta Business Review

droughts, such as the one that nearly ran

the taps dry in Cape Town, South Africa,

as well as more frequent extreme rainfall

events such as hurricanes Harvey and

Florence in the United States, are also

pointed to as expectations as we reach

the warming threshold. Coral reefs will

also be drastically affected, with between

70 and 90% expected to die off, including

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Countries in the southern hemisphere

will be among the worse off, the report

said, “projected to experience the largest

impacts on economic growth due to

climate change should global warming


The report underlines how even the

smallest increase in the base target would

worsen the impact of recent natural

disasters. “Every extra bit of warming

matters, especially since warming of 1.5

degrees C or higher increases the risk

associated with long-lasting or irreversible

changes, such as the loss of some

ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-

Chair of IPCC Working Group II. The report

cites specific examples of how impacts of

global warming would be lessened with

the 1.5 degrees C increase, compared to

the 2 degrees C increase:

n Global sea levels would rise 10 cm lower

by 2100. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean

This chart from the IPCC shows how global temperatures would respond to a sudden and drastic

reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Even with immediate action, global temps will still overshoot

the goal, but could reduce back to the target over time.

free of sea ice in summer would be once per

century, instead of at least once per decade.

n Coral reefs would decline by 70% to 90%

instead of being almost completely wiped out.

‘Possible with the laws of

chemistry and physics’

Monday’s report is three years in the making

and is a direct result of the 2015 Paris

Climate Agreement. In the Paris accord,

197 countries agreed to the goal of holding

global temperatures “well below” 2 degrees

C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue

efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees C.

The United States was initially in the

agreement, but President Donald Trump

pulled the country out a year and half later,

claiming it was unfair to the country. To limit

global warming to 1.5 degree C is “possible

within the laws of chemistry and physics,”

said Jim Skea, co-chair of IPCC Working

Group III. “But doing so would require

unprecedented changes.” “International

cooperation is absolutely imperative to limit

emissions and therefore global warming and

its impacts, as well as coordinating effective

and widespread adaptation and mitigation,”

said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, a fellow at

the Climate Change Research Center at the

University of New South Wales. “The next

few years will be critical in the evolution of

these efforts.”

One key issue will be negative emissions,

large scale carbon-scrubbing technologies

that can reduce the amount in the

atmosphere and act to counter continued

pollution. According to the report, there

are two main ways of removing carbon

from the atmosphere: increasing natural

processes that already do this, and

experimental carbon storage or removal

technologies. However, all methods “are

at different stages of development and

some are more conceptual than others,

as they have not been tested at scale,”

the report warned. They will also require

considerable political engagement globally,

as will reducing the amount of carbon being

emitted. Despite the report’s dire warnings,

there is no indication such cooperation will

be doable, particularly given the Trump

administration’s stance on this issue.

“Today the world’s leading scientific experts

collectively reinforced what mother nature

has made clear -- that we need to undergo

an urgent and rapid transformation to a

global clean energy economy,” former US

Vice President Al Gore said.

“Unfortunately, the Trump administration

has become a rogue outlier in its

shortsighted attempt to prop up the

dirty fossil fuel industries of the past. The

administration is in direct conflict with

American businesses, states, cities and

citizens leading the transformation.” MBR

Courtesy: CNN/Weather Report



Malta Business Review





As the 2019 Monaco Yacht Show – a premier event on the yachting calendar – approaches,

Chris Cini, Legal Director at Equiom Malta, examines the industry from a client perspective

by looking at five challenges yacht owners and captains face.

1. Complexity

The whole set up of owning a yacht can be complicated. It’s about

knowing who to contact for advice, who to trust and who to use

for the various components to ensure a smooth operation.

2. Taxes

The environment around taxes, VAT and customs is continuously

changing and it is vitally important to keep up to date with all

changes to manage any tax liabilities.

3. Crewing and social security

Paying national insurance contributions for yacht crew is

becoming more demanding, as different countries seek to impose

localised regulations. You have to know your obligations, when to

pay and where it is required.

4. Finance

The ability to obtain finance to purchase a yacht is becoming

very challenging. Yacht owners need to ensure that the relevant

security for the loan-to-value (LTV) is in place and the choice of

jurisdiction for yacht ownership is favourable from a compliance

and risk perspective.

5. Security

Security is becoming an increasing risk for owners and ensuring

protection and privacy on board is often something overlooked.

The considerations when owning and operating a yacht are

numerous and constantly changing. That is why it is advisable

to engage a trusted provider who will pro-actively advise on and

deal with any challenges on your behalf, making for a smoother


If you have any concerns about the challenges you or your clients

might be facing in relation to owning and operating a yacht,

contact Chris on chriscini@equiomgroup.com or +356 2226 0610

or if you happen to be visiting the Monaco Yacht Show later this

month, arrange to meet with Chris at the show. MBR


Chris Cini,

Legal Director at

Equiom Malta




is to keep clients


MBR Publications Limited are at the forefront of leading business publications and

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corporate executives on a nationwide basis


We are the team behind the Malta

Business Review, MainSail, Sunday Trends

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work for all the business community in

the Maltese Islands to come together

to share ideas, create and innovate.

Currently our publications each has

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Malta Business Review


Introducing LED signage

to your establishment

Digital Signage


It has been identified that when it comes to hardware one

must give importance to the location of where the screen

will be set up as finally the purpose of digital signage is to

communicate the right message, at at the right place, at the

right time. However, being able to communicate the message

requires a software that gives the user the ability to create and

refresh content to keep it relevant, engaging and informative.

There are three main software components to any given solution

which we’ll be exploring into more detail below:

1. Software that resides on a media player (or inside a display)

2. Content management/distribution software

3. Device management software and content creation software

Media Player Software

This plays back media files, utilising both the CPU and GPU on

the computer the software resides on. Different media players

support various types of media through codecs, which decode

digital files such as images, videos, web pages and IPTV screens,

and presents them visually on digital signs.

Content Management and Distribution Software

Content management system (CMS) companies typically offer the

ability of a User Interface (UI), which allows users to upload and

organise content, organise the content into a playback schedule

(such as identifying the time when certain adverts would be aired

on various screens placed around your establishments), create

rules and conditions around playback, and distribute the content

to a media player or groups of media players.

Device Management Software

Uploading, managing and distributing content is only one part of

running a digital signage network. If you’re looking at deploying

multiple screens across various locations, it will be critical to

your success to be able to manage the network remotely. The

best device management platforms are very powerful tools that

collect information on the devices, report that data and are able

to take action.

n The successful download and playback of media assets, gathering

the playback data from media player software

n Checking on the health status of the media player: free disk

space, memory usage, temperature, network status, etc.

n Check on the status of the screen the media player is either

attached to or embedded in

n Capturing screenshots of what a media player is playing to

ensure everything is working as expected

n Updating components of the system: software updates for

media players and firmware updates for screens

n Taking action against information on the network, for example

turning the screen on and off, rebooting the device, etc.

n Create alerts around information on the network through email


n Content Creation Software

In next month’s issue we will be expanding on how one should

manage the content that is to be showcased on the digital

signage screens. MBR

About the Company

Mark Vella, Managing Director and Owner of Powerhouse Audiovisuals and Events is one of the

pioneers of Malta’s exciting events sector.

Powerhouse are specialists in Digital signage, would be able to provide you with either the screen of

your choice and/or also content management – just get in touch with us at by sending us an email on

info@powerhousemalta.com or by giving us a call on +356 7949 9432



Job Details



Candidates must conduct a number of jobs, typically in an office setting. They type reports, maintain office records

and invoicing, and may handle accounts payable. They are also responsible for scheduling meetings and maintaining

work calendars for colleagues in the office. They answer phones and help coordinate requests for supervisors. The

candidate must also handle day-to-day management of the office, including maintaining office supply levels, having

familiarity with light hardware maintenance (such as installing new toner in copiers and printers), and arranging for

any necessary repairs to office equipment.

SAGE familiar & qualified in accountancy. High school diploma or GCE, and several years of work experience in a

similar position is typically necessary.

The Accounts & Administrative Executive will be required to be fluent in all common office software applications,

and they must possess the ability to work quickly and skillfully with word processors, spreadsheets, and database



• Perform a wide range of complex secretarial and administrative duties.

• Assist the Administrative Director with special projects, event planning and activities.

• Screen and channel incoming calls and visitors to the Administrative Director’s Office.

• Schedule all correspondence and necessary documents for the Administrative Director’s action.

• Schedule appointments and meetings for the Administrative Director.

• Must have a valid driving licence and preferably own a car

• Must be qualified up to A-Level standard

Contact Martin Vella:



Tel: 2149 7814;

Mob: 9926 0162/9940 6743/ 9926 0164

Malta Business Review




Malta Business Review











Malta Business Review


British PM Boris Johnson





Six out of 10 investors are now actively seeking to move

assets out of Britain as a perfect storm looks set to hit the

UK economy, reveals a new poll.

The survey of more than 740 clients

carried out by deVere Group, one

of the world’s largest independent

financial advisory organisations,

which has $12bn under advisement, comes

as the pound plunged to its lowest level

for a decade late on Sunday amid growing

fears the UK is heading for a no-deal Brexit.

It also follows Monday’s report by the

Office for National Statistics (ONS) that

finds the outlook for the general economic

situation for the year ahead is worse than

at any point since the final quarter of 2011.

Nigel Green, the CEO and founder of

deVere Group, notes: “There is a legitimate

and growing sense amongst those who

were polled that in order to build and

safeguard wealth, assets should be moved

outside of the UK.

“It comes amid a slew of negative official

data and public sentiment regarding

Britain’s economic outlook over the next

few years. Clients have expressed that

they feel there’s a closing ‘window of

opportunity’ to transfer their UK-based

financial assets within the next few


He continues: “Investors are seeing a

perfect storm brewing: the UK’s slowing

economy, weak global economic growth,

the pound at a 10 year-low, the increasing

possibility of an interest rate cut and the

risk of a no-deal Brexit pushing the UK into

a recession.

“Increasingly they’re now actively looking

to take action to mitigate the risks to

their wealth – as well as benefitting from

the opportunities – through established,

international financial planning solutions.”

It’s not just individuals and families. It has

been widely reported that firms in the City

of London alone have already committed

to moving many billions out of the UK

to prepare for Brexit – and this figure is

expected to increase with many leaving

details of their plans unpublished until the

Brexit deadline on October 31.

Last month, Nigel Green noted: “There is no

end in sight to the embattled British pound’s

plight with both the current Prime Minister

Boris Johnson and the leader of the official

opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

promoting policies that will deliver fresh –

and serious – blows to the currency.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “The poll

underscores that the UK is no longer an

attractive place for investors. “The UK

is now at a critical point – perhaps the

most critical since the global crash. Many

are simply not prepared to risk their

wealth and are considering international

options.” MBR



Malta Business Review

Instacoins Ltd is thrilled

to announce that

it is now a registered

entity with U.S. FinCEN!

Instacoins Ltd, a cryptocurrency brokerage based in Malta, has

recently announced its registration with the United States

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is the

U.S. Bureau that combats domestic and international money

laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes.

Instacoins Ltd has registered with FinCEN as a money transmitter

business in July 2019 with registration number 31000150701616.

The company, which has been operational for almost a year, is

looking to be one of the first service providers to be regulated

under the Virtual Financial Assets Act in Malta and has submitted

an application to the Malta Financial Services Authority to be

categorised under a Class 3 Licence.

In a statement, Instacoins Ltd CEO Jean Paul Bonnici said, “Our

mission is that of making virtual currencies accessible. Instacoins

Ltd provides a secure platform for consumers to easily buy bitcoin

via their credit or debit card or through bank wires. The registration

with FinCEN was a mandatory step in making our operations more

transparent and in line with current regulation”. MBR

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Malta Business Review





As part of its major partnership with World

Rugby TM , TUDOR is the official timekeeper for Rugby

World Cup 2019, which will take place in Japan

from 20 September to 2 November. Rugby is an

uncompromising sport with noble values, a sport for

the bold, a true reflection of the spirit that has driven

this watchmaking brand since its inception.

With 30 strapping players

on the field each battling

to score a try against their

opponents, rugby is the

ultimate team sport. Requiring speed,

power and daring, it also demands excellent

team spirit. Faced with increasingly wellorganised

defences, direct contact is not

always the right approach, which is where

a more free-flowing style comes into its

own. And although the sport has become

professionalised over the past 20 years, it

has lost none of its authenticity. Whether

in terms of respect for your opponent

or for the referee, both on and off the

pitch, rugby has managed to maintain its

tradition of teamwork and camaraderie.

It was these noble values and the sport’s

robust image, which together reflect the

uncompromising watchmaking philosophy

that has defined TUDOR since 1926, that led

the Swiss brand to join forces with World

Rugby in 2017 as part of its #BornToDare

campaign. In addition to the men’s and

women’s Rugby World Cup TM and World

Cup Sevens, TUDOR also supports the

annual U20 World Cups, which provide an

international platform to the sport’s future

stars. TUDOR has also partnered with

World Rugby Awards, which recognise the

season’s best teams, players and officials

every year. This year, they will be held in

Yokohama City on 3 November, the day

after the final of Rugby World Cup 2019.

Finally, TUDOR supports the Rugby Hall of

Fame, an institution established in the town

of Rugby, in the UK, where the sport was

born in the 1820s, celebrating those who

have contributed towards its reputation.

Another Rugby World Cup for

TUDOR’S ambassadors?

For the very first time, the 9 th edition of

Rugby World Cup – the world’s third largest

sporting event, held every four years – will

take place in Asia. The sport, already well

established in Japan, has seen rapid growth

since the unexpected success of its national

team at the last Rugby World Cup in 2015.

This September, 20 teams will compete for

the title of Rugby World Cup 2019 Champion,

with TUDOR as official timekeeper.

The competing teams include the famous

All Blacks, proudly representing New

Zealand as three-time World Champions

(1987, 2011, 2015), and looking to lift

the Webb Ellis Cup again. The All Blacks

are TUDOR ambassadors and enjoy a

reputation that goes far beyond the limits

of rugby. The Haka, an extraordinary

traditional Māori challenge by which they

honour their opponents before a match,

only adds to their legendary status. They

remain one of the most successful teams of

all time in any sport, with a win-rate of over

75%. Their collective strength and bold

free-flowing style make them contenders

again this year, but at Rugby World Cup

2019, anything could happen: every week

is different, and the gap between nations

narrows a little more each year.

Referees on TUDOR time

This year’s Rugby World Cup 2019 referees

will be able to count on the robustness and

precision of TUDOR chronographs to keep

time during their matches. A special edition

of the Black Bay Chrono model has been

produced for the event to be used by all 23

Rugby World Cup 2019 match officials. This

high-performance chronograph powered

by the Manufacture Calibre MT5813, with

a column wheel, silicon balance spring

and a 70-hour power reserve, will be fitted

exceptionally with a black rubber strap

for greater comfort in action. It will also

feature a commemorative engraving on the

back. What’s more, the player substitution

boards used by referees will display the

TUDOR crest, symbolising the extraordinary

robustness of the brand’s watches.


TUDOR is a Swiss-made watch brand, offering

mechanical watches with sophisticated style,

superior quality and unique value for money.

The origins of the TUDOR brand date back to

1926, when ‘The TUDOR’ was first registered

on behalf of the founder of Rolex, Hans

Wilsdorf. He created the Montres TUDOR

SA Company in 1946 to offer watches with

the quality and dependability of a Rolex,

at a more accessible price point. Over the

course of history, TUDOR watches became

the choice of daring individuals worldwide

on land, ice, in the air and underwater. Today,

the TUDOR collection includes flagship

lines such as Black Bay, Pelagos, Glamour

and 1926. Since 2015, TUDOR has offered

exclusive mechanical Manufacture Calibres

with varied functions.

About World Rugby

World Rugby’s mission is to promote rugby

and its character-building values across

the world, in order to grow and strengthen

the sport for everyone. The global rugby

community boasts 9.1 million players

and 338 million fans, connected through

121 national member federations in six

regions. MBR

All Blacks, winners of the

Rugby World Cup 2015

valletta - T. +356 21 24 7447

st. julian’s - T. +356 21 38 4503

info@elcol.com - www.elcol.com

Japan vs South Africa, Rugby World Cup 2015



Malta Business Review




An Isle of Man-based cryptocurrency security expert is

calling for action after another hacking scandal saw

32m dollars stolen from an exchange.

Japan-based Bitpoint, which allows users to buy currencies

including Bitcoin, was reportedly forced to halt trading after

irregular activity was spotted earlier this month. It is not

the first time crypto exchange users have lost their money,

with Binance being targeted by hackers earlier this year and

QuadrigaCX collapsing after the death of its chief executive meant

no one was able to access the stored funds. (Binance is a global

cryptocurrency exchange that provides a platform for trading

more than 100 cryptocurrencies.)

Justin Short, co-founder of MetaVault – a fully insured ’digital

asset custodian’, based in Douglas – said crypto users deserve

better protection. He said: ’This kind of event simply should not

be happening at this stage of the industry’s development and

exchanges have too much to gain from continuing to bend the

rules. This kind of news embarrasses professionals in this industry

and delays mainstream adoption and utility. Exchanges don’t make

their money from storing tokens, their interest is in customers

trading them so, sometimes, the security of the tokens they hold

is not a top priority.’

Mr Short believes further controversies are avoidable – and

crypto users have a role to play in affecting change. He said: ’The

good news is that this problem is, right now, completely solvable.

However, customers need to start loudly demanding solutions

by voting with their wallets. Exchanges should strongly consider

using independent cold storage solutions that are fully insured.

Not only does this almost completely eradicate the risk of tokens

going missing but also, in the unlikely event that it does happen, it

means customers are guaranteed to get their funds back – unlike

with so-called ’’self-insured’’ solutions. If crypto is to become

truly mainstream, then controversies involving millions of dollars

vanishing clearly need to stop. It’s time for the industry to get

serious.’ MBR

need to more effectively integrate fighting climate change into

the Bank’s mandate.

MEPs also asked Ms Lagarde how the negative effects, such as extra

low interest rates, stemming from the exceptional measures taken

by the ECB could be mitigated, especially through its quantitative

easing programme, the need to review the ECB’s code of conduct,

the role of the Euro as a reserve currency, and how the ECB’s

decisions can be better explained to the public.

Next ECB president: ECON hearing with Christine Lagarde

Lagarde sets out her stall to

MEPs in Economics and

Monetary Affairs Committee

By John Schranz

Christine Lagarde on Wednesday presented what her

priorities would be for the European Central Bank were

she to be confirmed as its President. Throughout most

of the morning, Ms Lagarde fielded questions from

committee MEPs during a hearing intended to judge her suitability

for the post of President of the European Central Bank (ECB).

There were recurrent questions on whether the ECB should

prioritise its secondary objectives and better integrate

including through a review of its monetary framework, and the

In her replies, Ms Lagarde agreed that it was time to review the

ECB’s monetary framework to address new challenges such as

non-bank lending, fintech, crypto currencies, and climate change.

She stressed that she would champion climate change becoming

a “core concern” for the ECB, given it could pose “macro-critical

risks”. Financing the ecological transition would be something all

economic actors, including the ECB, would need to prioritise.

Ms Lagarde also said that while the ECB’s quantitative easing had

indeed led to certain negative effects, its overall results were

positive and that she saw such a “highly accommodative stance

continuing for a long time”.

Ms Lagarde told MEPs that communicating and explaining

decisions taken to people would be her primary role as future ECB

President. “The ECB needs to understand and explain to people,

not only the markets”, she said.

Next steps

Committee MEPs will vote at 18:00 on whether to recommend

Ms Lagarde or not for the post. After this, a plenary vote on her

suitableness is expected during the session of 16 to 19 September. It

will then be up to the European Council to take the final decision. MBR

Credit: EP/Econo



Malta Business Review




game to fill the entire screen. Players

and operators can get their first spin of

Dragons Lucky 8 right here.

“Dragons Lucky 8 is a fun-packed slots

game with special features aplenty, in

addition to high-class graphics, animation,

audio and navigation. It’s been a busy year

for our team, but we have maintained our

commitment to regularly releasing new

games, ensuring that players and operators

continue to see and experience all that

Wazdan has to offer. We look forward to

more announcements soon,” says Andrzej

Hyla, Head of Sales, at Wazdan.

Keep up to date with the latest Wazdan

news at www.wazdan.com MBR

Wazdan have announced

yet another hit game with

Dragons Lucky 8 making

up the latest slot for

Wazdan players and operators to enjoy.

Dragons Lucky 8 brings together the

greatest fortunes of the East, combining

a dragon-themed adventure, the most

revered creature in Chinese culture, with

the number eight, deemed to bring good

fortune and good luck. The resulting slot

game is a fun-packed play delivering a

multitude of special features combined

with top-notch graphics and animations.

Dragons Lucky 8 is a 6-reel slot with 20

paylines and a fantastical dragon theme

that takes players on a journey into a mystic

realm where dragons roam free. The game

features Wilds, Scatters, Free Spins and

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in Wazdan-powered online casinos with the

MGA, UKGC, SGA and Curacao licences.

Thanks to the Wild Symbol and Scatters

triggering up to 30 Free Spins, the

gameplay of Dragons Lucky 8 is already

wildly entertaining, but it is the Variable

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that ups the thrills to soaring heights.

Completing the game, are the Unique

Wazdan Features that make Wazdan

games so dearly adored. The world’s

first Volatility Levels open up options

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gameplay. Double Screen Mode brings

players back to the feeling of a landbased

slot machine, as the paytable can

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first extending the battery life by up to 40

per cent, and the latter decreasing the

time taken to load the game. The Unique

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players to double their win in an instant,

while Ultra Fast Mode puts the game on

increased speed. Then finally, the latest

addition to the Wazdan Unique Features,

Big Screen Mode, zooms the reels of the


Wazdan is a popular game producer,

developing innovative casino games

that deliver an original, fun and truly

omni-channel player experience.

Offering an extensive game library of

over 110 HLML5 slots, table games

and video poker games, Wazdan is

gaining popularity in the iGaming

market thanks to the great quality of

their games, interesting themes and

engaging gameplay. Wazdan’s game

portfolio consists of such popular

titles as Magic Stars 3, Great Book of

Magic Deluxe, Magic Target Deluxe,

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well as amazing new and upcoming

slot games, including Los Muertos,

Space Spins, Magic Stars 6 and Larry

the Leprechaun amongst others.

Wazdan releases new, exciting titles on

a regular basis and equips them with

Unique Wazdan Features: innovative

Volatility Levels, exciting Unique

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Energy Saving and Double Screen

Modes, Ultra Lite Mode, Ultra Fast

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of European trademarks including

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Volatility Level. Their extensive

portfolio of clients includes some of the

top gaming operations in the industry.

The company is headquartered in

Malta and holds licenses issued by the

MGA, the UKGC, Romanian National

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eGaming, and is certified to offer their

products in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia

and Lithuania. Furthermore, their

games use the RNG certified by the

GLI, which ensures reliable, fair and

secure gameplay.



Malta Business Review

(from left) Emma Nuttall, Chief Financial Officer, John Bonello, Chairman, and Andrew Beane, CEO, HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c.

Continued from page 12

He added: “Progress on costs is encouraging and the bank is

committed to further reduce its cost efficiency ratio over time.

Additionally, HSBC’s signature credit discipline has delivered

further reductions to the risk profile of our portfolio. While

Malta’s economic performance and outlook remain positive, we

are positioning the bank for the long-term economic cycle and

remain cautious in growing exposure to higher risk sectors such as

corporate real estate.

We welcome actions being taken by the local authorities to reform

corporate insolvency practices and augur this be completed

at pace. The bank’s capacity to better use its capital to support

lending into the economy and, if appropriate, higher dividends will

significantly increase once these reforms are concluded.”

Concluding, Andrew Beane said: “Finally, as is the case with all

Domestic Systemically Important Banks in the Single Supervisory

Mechanism, HSBC is in early stage discussions with the European

Central Bank Single Resolution Board to understand the

requirements that will apply for new Required Eligible Liabilities,

commonly known as MREL. MREL is likely to further increase capital

requirements for the sector and the bank intends to provide more

detail with the 2019 annual results as these requirements become


Financial performance: Commentary

Profit attributable to shareholders amounted to €13.6m resulting

in earnings per share of 3.8 cents compared with 4.0 cents in the

first half of 2018. The Board proposes to maintain the current

dividend payout ratio of 30% and recommends an interim gross

dividend of 1.7 cents per share (1.1 cents per share net of tax).

The interim dividend will be paid on 18 September 2019 to

shareholders who are on the bank’s register as at 16 August 2019.

HSBC Life Assurance (Malta) Limited reported a profit before tax

of €2.4m, 39% higher than the same period of 2018. The increase

Progress on costs is encouraging

and the bank is committed to

further reduce its cost efficiency

ratio over time.

was partly driven by positive market movements in 2019 which

were not seen in the first half of 2018. In addition, the insurance

subsidiary registered a 2% increase in premium income, as a result

of the growth in pensions post the launch of the new Employee

Pension Plan to all HSBC Bank Malta employees in December


Financial position and capital

Net loans and advances to customers stood at €3,183m, €73m

higher than at 31 December 2018 with strong growth across the

RBWM mortgage portfolio and marginal growth in the commercial

lending book.

The bank’s financial investments portfolio increased by €53m

to €958m and composed of highly rated securities and is

conservatively positioned with the lowest investment grade of A-.

Customer accounts were €4,850m as at 30 June 2019, €38m or 1%

lower than at 31 December 2018 with increases in Retail deposits

offset by reduction in Commercial Banking deposits. The bank

maintained a healthy advances-to-deposits ratio of 66% and its

liquidity ratios were well in excess of regulatory requirements.

The bank’s common equity tier 1 capital was 16.2% as at 30 June

2019, up from 14.6% at the end of 2018 well above regulatory

requirements. Total capital ratio increased to 18.8% compared to

17.0% at 31 December 2018. MBR



Malta Business Review


Warning for investors:

Hopes for a Brexit deal are

offset by escalating trade war

A Brexit deal now appears more

likely than a U.S.-China trade

de-escalation – but global

financial markets are still to

remain volatile in the near

term, meaning investors should

revise their portfolios.

This is the warning from the CEO

and founder of one of the world’s

largest independent financial

advisory organisations. Nigel Green

comments: “Global financial markets are

likely to fall on Monday and remain highly

volatile in the near-term on geopolitical

headwinds. This means investors should

revise their portfolios to safeguard their

wealth whilst simultaneously taking

advantage of the buying opportunities.”

He continues: “There does seem to be a

glimmer of hope of the UK securing a Brexit

deal with the EU. This is largely due to fears

that a no-deal Brexit will seriously hit EU

economies, many of which are already

on the brink of a recession, including the

largest one – Germany.

“The last thing the EU needs is the UK to

crash out in a no-deal scenario, dragging

down its own vulnerable economies.

As such concessions towards UK Prime

Minister Boris Johnson’s approach

seems increasingly likely.” He goes on

to say: “However, this chink of light in a

major geopolitical issue will be offset by

escalating trade tensions between the U.S.

and China. “The increasing trade dispute

A good fund manager will

help investors seek out

the opportunities that

turbulence creates and

mitigate potential risks

as and when they are


between the world’s two largest economies

is impacting not only their own economies,

but also economies across the world. And

as further tariffs, punitive sanctions on

firms and, possibly, currency devaluations

are likely, the situation can be expected to

create further market turbulence in the


The deVere Group CEO said investors could

also capitalise on the current geopolitical

climate. He noted: “Investors should

embrace some volatility as important

buying opportunities. “Fluctuations can

cause panic-selling and mis-pricing.

Sought-after stocks can then become

cheaper, meaning investors can top up

their portfolios and/or take advantage

of lower entry points. This all typically

results in better returns. “A good fund

manager will help investors seek out the

opportunities that turbulence creates and

mitigate potential risks as and when they

are presented.”

Mr Green concludes: “Investors need

to stay invested, carefully monitor the

geopolitical factors that drive returns,

ensure portfolios are properly diversified

and revise their portfolios where necessary

in order to sidestep the risks and benefit

from the major buying opportunities.”

deVere Group is one of the world’s largest

independent advisors of specialist global

financial solutions to international, local

mass affluent, and high-net-worth clients.

It has a network of more than 70 offices

across the world, over 80,000 clients and

$12bn under advisement. MBR

Twitter: @PriorConsults



Malta Business Review


We often think that what

matters in social life is being

together with others, but

we have found it also really

matters what those people

are doing.


By Natalie Clarkson

get together:

Why group experiences

are important.

Many things are more fun when

experienced with others: celebrating

your team’s win at a football

match, or smashing a pub quiz, for

example. But why else should we

share experiences?


study published in Psychological

Science found that having

incredible experiences like going

on a cruise on your own or roadtripping

solo across America can leave

you feeling left out with others who have

not done those things and even make

you unpopular. According to the report’s

authors: “Extraordinary experiences are

both different from and better than the

experiences that most other people have,

and being both alien and enviable is an

unlikely recipe for popularity.”

So does that mean you should not have

incredible experiences by yourself? Of

course not. It simply means that you will

enjoy them more in the long run if you have

people to share them with. For example,

sitting through someone showing you their

holiday pictures is fairly dull – but if you

were there and share those memories,

you will love seeing all the pictures and

reminiscing over the fun you had.

But the same can be said for more

everyday experiences such as listening

to music or eating a meal. Research has

found that experiences such as these

are more intense when they occur with

other people. “We often think that what

matters in social life is being together with

others, but we have found it also really

matters what those people are doing,” says

psychological scientist and lead researcher

Erica Boothby of Yale University. “When

people are paying attention to the same

pleasant thing, whether the Mona Lisa or a

song on the radio, our research shows that

the experience is much more pleasurable.”

Other research has also found that there’s

a mental health benefit from doing

sports with other people. The benefits of

exercising to help reduce panic attacks or

mood and sleep disorders have been well

publicised. But new research has found that

team sports may be even more beneficial

than other forms of physical activity. Adam

Chekroud, one of the study’s authors,

explains there are biological, cognitive and

social aspects of mental illness. “Some

sports might just be hitting on more of

those elements than other sports. If you

just run on a treadmill for example, it’s

clear that you’re getting that biological

stimulation. But perhaps there are other

elements of depression that you are not

going to be tapping into.”

So if you are looking to benefit from exercise

in more than one way this summer, grab

some friends and hit the park for a game

of football or rounders, or gather your gym

buddies and work out together. MBR

Creditline: Virgin



Malta Business Review


A Courtesy Visit to the Deputy Prime Minister

Maltese Jurisdiction Pioneer in European Medical Cannabis Industry

Dr. Nata Menabde, Executive Director of the World

Health Organisation Office in New York, who, come next

September, will be contesting the post of Regional Director

for the WHO European Region, paid a courtesy visit to Deputy

Prime Minister and Minister for Health Dr. Chris Fearne.

At the forefront of her agenda is the accessibility for all citizens

to appropriate health services and products, including affordable

medicines among others. In this regard, Dr. Chris Fearne referred

to the hard work that our country has done with the establishment

of the Valletta Declaration; as a number of European Union

Presentation of the Cooperative Audit Report

During the 19 th Assembly Meeting of the INTOSAI Working

Group on Environmental Auditing, held in Bangkok on 6 – 9

August 2019, Mr William Peplow (Senior Audit Manager –

National Audit Office, Malta) and Mr Akis Kikas (Senior Principal

Auditor - National Audit Office, Republic of Cyprus) delivered

the presentation on the cooperative audit: ‘Are mechanisms in

place for the designation and effective management of Marine

Protected Areas (MPAs) within the Mediterranean Sea?’ One

hundred and fifty delegates from 49 Supreme Audit Institutions

(SAIs) participated in this assembly meeting.

This cooperative audit based its findings and conclusions on seven

individual national audit reports which were compiled by the SAIs

of Albania, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta, Portugal, and Slovenia.

SAIs Malta and Cyprus coordinated this project.

The focus of this cooperative audit was to determine the extent

to which countries in the Mediterranean region are effectively

conserving marine biodiversity to attain the targets set in national

legislation and international protocols. The audit identified that the

necessary mechanisms for designating and effective management

of MPAs were not always in place to achieve the desired equilibrium

between the sustainability of MPAs and blue growth.

The National Audit Office Malta presented the national and

cooperative audit reports to Parliament on 30 January 2018 and

10 July 2019 respectively. Both reports are available on the NAO’s

portal: www.nao.gov.mt. MBR

Photos (NAO)

member countries are working together to improve access and

affordability of medicines.

The WHO European Regional Committee will be meeting in

Copenhagen, Denmark, between 16 and 19 September. Present

at the meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health

Dr. Chris Fearne is Charmaine Gauci, Superintendent of Public

Health, and Dr. Dennis Vella Baldacchino, Government Chief

Medical Officer. MBR

Courtesy: Ministry for Healthcare

Are mechanisms in place for the designation and effective management of

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within the Mediterranean Sea?




Malta Business Review











Building a business community

where aspirations take flight







Then Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards is

for you. Whether your company is a huge corporation or

a small start-up, if you are headquartered in Malta then

these awards offer you a chance to showcase your success

and raise your profile in front of an audience of media,

politicians and potential investors. The awards celebrate

businesses that combine creativity and innovation with

results, and recognise companies that set new standards

of excellence within their industries.





For more information contact Margaret Brincat:

Mobile: 9940 6743/9919 6510 | E-mail: margaret@mbrpublications.net


Visit our website at www.mbrpublications.com


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