The Turks and Caicos Islands – Beautiful by Nature

Written by Henry Martin. Posted in Finance

The Turks and Caicos Islands (the TCI), a British Overseas Territory located in the Caribbean, southeast of the Bahamas, has managed to achieve and sustain a high-end low impact, accessible, secure, tranquil, luxury tourism offer through a focus on managing growth sustainably. In part, this is thanks to policy and regulation which has worked to limit the height of buildings, preserve the unique and delicate ecosystems, and ensure that Belongers benefit from FDI. 

Recent years have seen an impressive growth in tourist numbers visiting the islands, such that the international airport has been redeveloped to accommodate this increase. Yet, the focus has remained on targeting the high-end, high-spending demographic to ensure the TCI remains free from the ravages that can be wrought by a mass market tourism proposition, a path many Caribbean nations have taken in the past and lived to regret, as they see before them a devastated natural environment and seafronts peppered with monstrous carbuncles. 

Cross Border Investments

Written by Henry Martin. Posted in Finance

Interview with Harvesh Seegolam -Chief Executive FSPA

CEO Insight: What informs the move to transition Mauritius into a front-office focused IFC, to what extent has this ambition been realised to date?

Mauritius has over 2 decades of experience as a centre facilitating cross border investments in key regional markets. Our focus is to further build on this experience and move towards high-value added activities in our financial sector, thus graduating Mauritius into a front-office focused International Financial Centre (IFC).

This is also reflected in the new segments of activities that are being encouraged in our IFC through the introduction of a whole new suite of bespoke financial products targeting multinational corporations and global firms, international insurance operators, private banks, investment banks, fund and asset managers, international law firms, FINTECH companies, market makers and High Net Worth Individuals.

The South Pacific Bridge to Financial Security

Written by Tamatoa Jonassen. Posted in Finance

 

Known for its innovative international trusts, the Cook Islands is ideal for wealth and succession planning for sophisticated high net-worth individuals seeking financial security.

When experienced offshore wealth planners look for a jurisdiction to establish wealth planning structures that will secure their client’s assets, they look at the Cook Islands. Given its location, background, and legislation, it is not surprising that the Cook Islands is on the list of top recommended jurisdictions for effective wealth planning.

Although by some standards the Cook Islands is considered remote, located 2,854 miles South of Hawaii and 3,232 miles to the north-east of New Zealand, being physically remote but digitally accessible is an advantage in wealth protection regimes. Approximately halfway between Hong Kong and New York, but on the opposite side of the globe from London, the Cook Islands offers an attractive time zone to bridge Asia and the Americas.

International Finance Centres: A Force for Good

Written by Henry Martin. Posted in Finance

CEO Insight sets the record straight as to the inherent force for good credentials of International Finance Centres, and showcases those jurisdictions with the best propositions.

Investments and vehicles emanating from International Finance Centres (IFCs), particularly small island IFCs, continue to play an essential role in any managed wealth portfolio; a role that is about much more than simply offering tax mitigation opportunities. Despite being subjected in recent years to unprecedented scrutiny and increased compliance criteria, given the precarious state of the global economy and subsequent prevailing regulatory winds of the day, as G8 politicians seek out scapegoats in their lust for votes, it is no exaggeration to say that these jurisdictions continue to play a pivotal role in the ongoing renaissance of the global economy, not least since they act as essential conduits for FDI elsewhere.

Blockchain and the Network

Written by Patricia Cullen. Posted in Finance

 A lot of people in the global tech community are getting very excited about something called “the blockchain”, and see it as the real power behind the Bitcoin throne. If you don't know what it is, you're not alone, but know that its applications are predicted to be many and profound. In short, the blockchain is an ever-growing decentralised and permission-less public database ledger of each and every bitcoin transaction conducted since its inception. With each computer, or “node” connected to the bitcoin network having a copy of the blockchain, it serves as permanent proof of what's gone before it, detailing addresses and values.


The Not So Gold Vicenza

Written by Patricia Cullen. Posted in Finance

From the Alps to the Adriatic Sea, small family-run businesses, mid-sized companies and the most cutting-edge international players choose the Veneto region in Italy to set up base. With superb art, food and style, Vicenza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a city in the productive heartland of the North East, ranking third among the Italian provinces in terms of export. Though there are only approximately 120,000 residents in Vicenza, it is one of Italy's wealthiest cities after Turin and Milan, and the local economy has gained significant market share both in Italy and abroad. Formerly overlooked in favour of nearby Venice, Vicenza boasts a turnover of €90 billion, a volume of exports of almost €15 billion and is a worthy destination in its own right. This may all seem picture perfect but all is not what it seems as there are real fears that events in Italy may trigger a broader financial crisis.

Last month’s vote for Brexit has brought about a fresh outbreak of apprehension about the European monetary system and Italy may be the next European country to endure an economic crisis. Italian banks are now thought to hold €360bn of non-performing loans and Vicenza is at the epicentre of the Italian banking crisis which could cost citizens hundreds of millions of euros. Vicenza's local bank, Banca Popolare di Vicenza (BPV) one of the banks helped out by the Atalante fund that was fashioned to stop mid-size banks from crumpling, failed in an attempt to raise capital through an IPO earlier this year, culminating in a drop in share prices.

Financial Innovation

Written by Scott Dawson commercial director at Neopay. Posted in Finance

Is the fear of regulation holding back innovation in the financial services sector?

‘Innovation’ has become a buzzword within the financial services industry in recent times. Often used as a slogan for success, it would appear that many consider the notion of innovation to be the be-all and end-all. And yet, it wasn’t too long ago that innovation and its associated risk (particularly in the mortgages and short-term debt sectors), paired with a lack of effective regulation, caused major economic problems right across the globe.

Fast-forward eight years and the UK seems to be in a much healthier position economically – standing as the world’s leading fintech centre, according to an independent report from Ernst and Young (EY) published in February. The UK is making efforts to learn from the mistakes of the past to benefit our growing digital economy. For instance, within the e-money market, the UK implemented the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 which has created clearer and more robust regulations and which may, in part, be responsible for the exponential growth of the UK’s fintech sector.


Financial Sector Distracted by Compliance Burden.

Written by Chris Burke, CEO, Brickendon Consulting. Posted in Finance

Systemic updating of processes required to stay ahead of regulatory change

The UK financial services (FS) sector’s infrastructure is chronically unprepared to deal with the regulatory changes that will come as a result of the country leaving the EU, according to award-winning FS management and technology consultancy Brickendon.

Compliance and regulatory costs have increased dramatically since the financial crisis, in an effort to avoid what can be multibillion-dollar fines – in some cases resulting in an additional $4bn expenditure each year.[1] With the regulatory burden still increasing – the Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB) is expected to increase costs by a further 200pc to 400pc on its implementation in 2019 – systemic modernisation of internal systems is required if these costs are to be managed effectively.


Standing Tall

Written by Henry Martin. Posted in Finance

Headquartered in Athens, Greece, with approximately 19,000 employees in eight countries in southeast Europe, Piraeus Bank Group offers a full range of financial products and services to approximately 6 million customers. 

Piraeus Bank today leads a group of companies covering all financial activities in the Greek market. It possesses particular know-how in the areas of small and medium-sized enterprises, agricultural banking, consumer and mortgage credit, green banking and leasing. These services are offered through a nationwide network of c.700 branches and c.1,800 ATMs and through the innovative electronic banking network of winbank. 

Piraeus has an international presence consisting of 280 branches mainly in southeast Europe. It operates in Romania through Piraeus Bank Romania (120 branches), in Bulgaria through Piraeus Bank Bulgaria (75 branches), in Albania through Tirana Bank (39 branches), in Serbia through Piraeus Bank Beograd (26 branches), in Ukraine through Piraeus Bank ICB (18 branches), and in London and Frankfurt through a branch of Piraeus Bank each.

China‘s Internationalization Initiatives

Written by Dr. Han Chen, CEO of CEINEX. Posted in Finance

In the midst of transitions of Chinas economic driving forces, capital market policies and global market integration one main pillar is the internationalization and promotion of the Renminbi (RMB) in both on- and offshore markets. This objective is especially significant for the international investors’ community, as China’s financial market reforms ultimately allow for better accessibility to the world’s second largest economy, eventually leading up to attractive direct investment opportunities. China is progressively increasing the quota for Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) and RMB QFII and, thereby, broadens both onshore and offshore investment flows. Further liberalization initiatives are under way, allowing Chinese and foreign investors to interact in cross-border asset transactions more fluently.  

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