Category: Regulation

ArticlesCash ManagementFX and PaymentLegalStock Markets

Keeping your Payment options open, by Anderson Zaks

EPOS, MobilePOS, Pin on Glass, Pin on Mobile – there’s a lot to choose from for today’s merchant. Adina Ahmed, Chief Technology Officer at Anderson Zaks explains some of the latest options.

“In many emerging economies, people are by-passing traditional bank and card accounts altogether and adopting mobile payments”

Mobile phones have revolutionalised the way we live today. The way we communicate, watch TV and other online entertainment, and, the way we shop. The next obvious step, is the way that we manage our money and pay for goods and services. But these days, it isn’t just settling the bill in a restaurant, or buying something enticing in the sales, with contactless people are paying for their morning coffee, and with PSD2 and the associated deregulation, they will soon be able to make direct payments to each other. In many emerging economies, people are by-passing traditional bank and card accounts altogether and adopting mobile payments in much the same way that they have missed out broadband landlines – it’s a whole layer of infrastructure that they simply don’t need. 

The payment market in China is a prime example where most people don’t have a credit or debit card, or plastic of any kind. They have leapfrogged straight to mobile apps and user friendly ecosystems that seamlessly blend social media, ecommerce, payment and other finance functions. Consumers in China now rarely carry a wallet or cash, and even buskers display a QR code so that people can leave tips. 

Consumers in the UK, particularly younger people that are now coming into the workplace (millennials) expect to pay for everything contactless, many don’t carry cash. This presents a problem for the smaller retailer or merchant. How do they take payments without a full blown EPOS system? There are a whole range of options now opening up to merchants in the UK, and as evidenced in China, they don’t need a heavy IT implementation with all its associated costs, nor are they tied into long contracts with banks or card providers. 

PIN on Glass (POG) solutions are already available in the UK. As the name suggests, PIN on Glass has evolved from the traditional PIN pad so that merchants can now use a touchscreen device to capture the PIN. There are a range of versatile devices, referred to as SmartPOS, that have been designed for this very purpose. Typically run on Android, they have additional security features baked in, a scanner for bar codes and QR codes, and can print receipts. The beauty of these devices is that they can run with a user-friendly app, enabling smaller merchants to operate using the device as a standalone solution, without the need to have a full blown EPOS solution.

These purpose built POG terminals connect directly to a bank, to accept payment. They are sleek and modern, and the apps that run on them are intuitive and easy to use for both staff and the consumer. The devices run with all current card technologies including swipe and contactless, providing an all in one solution so that the merchant doesn’t need a computer in the shop or at whatever location they need to take payments. 

For independent software vendors (ISV), POG devices enable them to migrate their existing POS solutions to a smaller, portable device, opening up the market to much smaller merchants than they might have otherwise targeted. 

At Anderson Zaks we are already working with several ISVs to incorporate our payment platform into their PIN on Glass solution. 

pros assist
AccountancyArticles

Not Just Your Accountants, But an Extension to Your Business!

Not Just Your Accountants, But an Extension to Your Business!

Pros Assist consists of a gifted team of qualified practicing members of the Institute of Financial Accountants, notably headed by the Director and Senior Financial Accountant, Alom Rouf. We profiled the firm and Alom to discover more about the innovative services that they provide to their clients.

With over 15 years of experience in private practice, advising sole traders and partnership clients alike, Alom leads the Pros Assist team in offering clients expert advice on a diverse range of business support, including guidance on business planning and funding, advising on project viability, as well as all matters relating to taxation and profit.

With such a diverse team, it enables Pros Assist to provide their clients with selection of specialist services which include; SME business advice, personal & corporate tax planning, financial analysis, company incorporation, bookkeeping & accounting and company secretarial & treasury to name just a few.

Throughout the years, Alom has gained a vast amount of experience in evaluating sole trader and partnership clients, to assess whether they would be better off incorporating. In addition to this, he advises clients on how to extract profits in the most tax efficient way. Also, Alom provides clients with a diverse range of business support, advising on project viability, business planning and funding. As the face of Pros Assist, Alom is a very professional, friendly, and approachable accountant.

The team pride themselves in being dedicated to their clients, ensuring all professional needs are taken care of to the highest standard. All members of staff are highly qualified with up-to-date training, as well as regulated by the Institute of Financial Accountants; to ensure that clients can be rest assured that they are in good hands.

One of the USPs at Pros Assist, is the proactive approach which they take in making themselves available at the client’s convenience. The team understand that SME business owners often work round the clock, so they make themselves available with ease of communication via, emails,
texts, and even social media. The teams mobile contact details are made available to the clients ensuring the highest level of care 24/7.

As for the firm’s three core strengths, these are:

• Flexibility: We make ourselves available when you are available 

• Reliability: All our staff are qualified and professionally trained with several years of experience. 

• Affordability: We work on a Fixed Fee basis, so what we quote you in the beginning is exactly what we charge you in the end.

Pros Assist specialise in business start-ups and looking after owner managed businesses. The firm offers all levels of financial assistance – whether you are looking to form your own company and don’t know where to begin, or you have some experience and want to make some changes, or if you simply require an all-round accountant to deal with all your business affairs.

Looking ahead to what the future holds for the firm, Alom and the team at Pros Assist will continue to provide their award-winning excellent advice and guidance to their clients, helping them to get their business off the ground and established in the industry.

 

Contact: Alom Rouf

Company: Pros Assist Highstone House, 165 High Street Hertfordshire, Barnet, EN5 5SU, UK

Telephone: 020 3697 0878

Web Address: www.prosassist.com

SteelEye MiFID II
Global Compliance

Reflecting on six months of MiFID II

Reflecting on six months of MiFID II

By Matt Smith, SteelEye

The financial services industry is in the throes of a new era. In January, the biggest overhaul of its operations in the past decade was implemented – the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or MiFID II for short. MiFID II had those in the industry working overtime last Christmas as they scrambled to become compliant for deadline day, but major Exchanges failing to implement the regulation on time, postponement of dark pool caps and reigning confusion meant that, for many, January 3 failed to have the impact that was expected.

In the six or so months that followed, the industry has continued to adapt to this shifting landscape and new elements of the regulation have trickled in. Below, Matt Smith, CEO of compliance tech and data analytics firm SteelEye, explains what’s been happening on the ground since ‘the day of the MiFID’ and what we can expect to see in the future.

 

Best execution

Firms’ best execution requirements under MiFID II are far from over. Regulators have consistently cited execution quality as fundamental to the integrity of the market and, accordingly, MiFID II’s best execution requirements are extensive.

The first of these, RTS28, was implemented on April 30 and required firms to publicly disclose their order routing practices for clients across all asset classes in human and machine-readable reports. This was followed soon after by RTS27, which hit firms on June 30 and requires quarterly best execution reports detailing the ‘sufficient steps’ that have been taken to achieve the best possible results for clients when executing orders. This required the capturing of a remarkable amount of data, a process aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in the industry.

But experts believe it will still be a while longer before the data generated under these reports is sufficiently detailed and consistent enough to have a significant impact on trading behaviour. There have also been problems among firms unsure of what exactly to include in the reports, with many calling for regulators to issue more detailed guidance. Perhaps the next quarterly disclosures under RTS27, due in September, will make bigger waves.

 

Research unbundling

MiFID II’s unbundling rules have, so far, been the most controversial. Under these new rules, firms need to make explicit payments for investment research in order to prove that they are not being induced to trade – meaning free research is no more.

This created a number of hurdles for buy and sell-side firms, which set about creating frameworks to evaluate the materials they produce, distribute and consume in order to understand whether or not it now needs to be paid for under MiFID II. Currently the impact on the market is unclear, but there has been early evidence of an increase in M&A activity as providers tie up their services to expand sector coverage, and the more frequent use of tech to maximise existing research platforms.

The FCA has already announced a review into the application of these new unbundling rules. This is somewhat unsurprising, given that firms were issued with no guidance on how they should negotiate and price their research under MiFID II.

 

Dark pool transparency

One of the major focuses of MiFID II was to force equity trading back onto public stock markets by reducing the use of dark pools in favour of lit book trading venues. Early evidence suggests that the share of trading on lit exchanges hasn’t risen since January, still comprising around 50% of all trades.

But, price swings have fallen, as have trading volumes in dark pools. Additionally, the LSE’s total lit order book ADV rose to £6.2bn in the first quarter of 2018 – the exchange’s highest quarterly performance in a decade. This indicates that MiFID II’s impact on transparency has been mixed. While the overall proportion of trades executed in the dark versus lit venues hasn’t changed significantly, the proportion of LIS trades is higher.

It’s also necessary to factor in the delayed implementation of these new dark pool caps, which were postponed from January to March – meaning their full impact may not yet have been shown, and Q1 summaries will not necessarily illustrate what is currently happening on the ground. We may have to wait longer still to see whether the industry has seen the light, or will continue to operate in the dark.

 

Systematic internalisers

Despite the January rush, systematic internalisers (SIs) haven’t yet been fully implemented under MiFID II. This was due to come in September, by which point any firm labelled as an SI would have to comply with their new obligations, but ESMA announced in July a further delay to the new rules.

Now, derivatives have until March to comply with the requirements and ESMA will not publish its calculations for derivatives until February due to ongoing issues with incomplete and inadequate data. This isn’t a let-off for the entire industry, though; instead of publishing all the rules, ESMA is focusing on completeness for a select number of asset classes and delaying others. Equity, equity-like and bond instruments will still have to be compliant by September 1.

 

Going forward

If MiFID II has proven anything, it’s that compliance is, more than ever, an evolving process not a one-off event. In the coming weeks, months and years MiFID II will remain an ongoing challenge for firms and strategic and operational flexibility will be needed if they are to flourish.

MiFID II absolutely has the potential to have a significant and positive impact on the industry. But collaborative partnerships, innovation and further guidance from regulators are critical to this impact being realised. In July a formal complaint was lodged against the FCA for its silence on MiFID II, and undoubtedly for those firms making the right efforts to comply with the new rules this lack of clarity is frustrating.

 

There is hope in the industry that, once clarification is provided and regulation requirements are gradually met, focus will shift from merely complying, to embracing the opportunities provided by MiFID II’s new framework. As the dust settles and uncertainty fades, a more transparent, competitive and trustworthy industry should, hopefully, emerge. 

gdpr
Global ComplianceRegulation

Debunking Five Crucial GDPR Misconceptions

There’s now less than a month to go until the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, and yet research shows that many businesses are still struggling to understand what they need to do. Worse still, many remain unaware of the full extent of the legal implications of non-compliance – whether deliberate or accidental. A YouGov poll in March found that 72% of British adults hadn’t even heard of the regulation, whilst a study by Crowd Research Partners carried out in April found that just 7% of companies worldwide were ‘fully prepared’ for GDPR’s arrival.

These figures should be cause for concern, since GDPR represents a huge change in the way in which every business uses, manages and protects personal data. It enshrines the sanctity of personal data ownership with the individual, with businesses merely the custodians. And as Jan Phillip Albrecht LL.M, Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of its Civil Liberties, Home Affairs and Justice Committee wrote in 2016: “It is paramount to understand how GDPR will change not only the European data protection laws but nothing less than the whole world as we know it.”

With this in mind, here are the five most common myths about GDPR, and some steps you can take to ensure you’re on the way to being geared up for the change.

This isn’t just about the EU

One of the biggest misconceptions about GDPR seems to be that it’s only an issue for companies physically based in the EU. This is not the case. GDPR essentially applies to any business anywhere in the world wanting to sell products and services to EU customers, or monitor their behaviour using personal data. In other words, if you’re based in Dubai wanting to do business with a customer in Germany, then GDPR – or equivalent standards – still apply.

It’s not as simple as following the rules

One of the reasons why GDPR is causing a certain amount of angst – amongst those who have, in fact, heard of it – is that it is principle-based regulation, which means that judgement will be based on whether data has been processed in accordance with designated principles, rather than hard and fast rules. If a company is investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), then the ICO will look at whether ‘effective’ consent has been obtained by the data’s owner and whether that data is deemed ‘current’. This leaves the door open for interpretation, which would be entirely at the ICO’s discretion and involve a legal-based assessment. This means there’s a big job for the legal profession in helping businesses understand and act on their responsibilities.

It’s about more than just compliance

The other source of confusion in all of this is that many companies have assumed that this is a compliance, or even a technical issue, which can simply be left to the relevant team to deal with. The problem is that GDPR is so all-encompassing that any individual handling data in an organisation will undoubtedly require training to understand the regulatory demands and what to do in order to comply. It also means assessing processes for handling a serious data breach and examining every contract – with employees and subcontractors – to ensure that they are GDPR compliant. For some companies, it may also mean hiring a dedicated data protection officer or at the least gaining specialist legal advice on their current practice and system.

Technology is no panacea

Likewise, GDPR is not something that can be ‘fixed’ with technology. A lot of people have mistakenly assumed that GDPR is only concerned with extreme data hacking cases, but the regulation imposes draconian sanctions for a range of other breaches, too. For example, if consent of use has not been properly obtained, or the data is not processed as set out in the regulations, then serious penalties, including hefty fines, could be on the cards. There are also some data breach risks that simply cannot be fixed by technology, for example a staff indiscretion or mistake such as leaving confidential information in a public place. What’s more, GDPR forbids reliance on automated decision making, as typically seen when loan companies refuse customers based purely on an automated credit score. The point is that this regulation demands that companies take a holistic and intelligent approach to the treatment of personal data – it’s not a question of picking and choosing the bits you want to adopt or relying on your systems to do the job for you.

This isn’t just another overhead

It’s hard to overstate the risk of getting this wrong – the potential fines are on a level we’ve never seen before in data protection. Certain infringements are subject to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of worldwide annual turnover – whichever is higher. Severe breaches also run the risk of class actions. But the fines only tell part of the story. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal wiped around £25 billion off the social media platform’s value in the first 24 hours after the story broke and the reputational fallout continues. Businesses simply cannot afford the reputational damage that could be wrought by such a significant change.

Not sure if you’re in breach of GDPR regulations? Take the GDPR quiz to test your resilience.

Four things you should do straight away:

1. Review your processes for data breach notification, security and risk assessment.
2. Ask yourself whether the data you handle could be anonymised.
3. Review your contracts for GDPR compliance.
4. Consider hiring a data protection officer or seeking specialist legal advice.

http://www.bestcriminaldefencebarrister.co.uk/ 

3EAccounting
AccountancyRegulation

A Sneak Peek into the Success Story of 3E Accounting

A Sneak Peek into the Success Story of 3E Accounting

3E Accounting Pte. Ltd. stands out as one of the leading service providers, especially in Singapore Companies Registration and Corporate Secretarial Services, with its one-stop solution that covers all of its client’s accounting and regulatory requirements. We spoke to Managing Director, Lawrence Chai, to gain an insight into the firm’s impressive success.

Throughout Singapore, many people are looking for a reliable services provider who can fulfil their accounting, taxation, secretarial, immigration, human resources, payroll, legal, marketing and other compliance need. Located in Novena, 3E Accounting makes the cut as one of the leaders in these cost-effective professional solutions for startups and small- to medium-sized firms with their principle: efficiency, effectiveness and economy.

The professional team at 3E Accounting, which comprises highly experienced and expert professionals in Singapore’s financial, tax, corporate and regulatory milieu, is one of the important reasons that factorised the success of the company.

The husband and wife team, who are also the founders of 3E Accounting, Lawrence Chai and Stephanie Chua are the driving force behind the continuous success that 3E Accounting achieves. Before starting up 3E Accounting, the pair worked for an audit firm where work-life balance was not an important part of the workplace culture. When they were expecting their first child in 2011, the thought of having more family time prompted them to start their accounting firm.

Another key factor was that they both noticed the discrepancy in services at some other firms in Singapore. Many accounting companies are offering overpriced financial services which not many people can afford. Drawing on their combined years of experience in the industry, both Lawrence and Stephanie were confident that they could start an accounting firm that offers financial services at affordable price.

“We started everything from scratch. I assumed the role of Managing Director, while Stephanie assumed the role of Director. It might sound incredible that a small firm started in 2011with two staff and limited clients would have penetrated the market (high, medium and low segment) at such an incredibly fast rate. Yet, we did it!”

“As of now, we are proud to say that 3E Accounting is currently one of the leading service providers in Singapore that supports entrepreneurs to start their business with our one-stop solutions.” said Lawrence. Having built the company from scratch, Lawrence clearly has a goal in mind and he outlines the vision of the firm, detailing what techniques will be used in order for staff to hit their targets and achieve the overall mission, something he is clearly excited about. 3E Accounting is not just a normal accounting firm, but a one-stop solution provider that offers all the services under one roof. The diversity in services shows that 3E Accounting is truly the one-stop solution services provider in Singapore.

In addition to this, expanding the geographic footprint of the business to the whole world has always been one of its core goal. 3E Accounting expanded into Malaysia in 2014, and it is currently the leading services provider in Malaysia. In 2016, 3E Accounting started its own international accounting network: 3E Accounting International network, which is managed by 3E Accounting International. It’s expanding and growing fast with 54 countries, 86 offices and 1,300 staff worldwide today. The “Best Home-grown Global Accounting Network” award was the important milestone as it endorsed the reputation of the international network.

Lawrence goes into a bit more detail about the accounting network.

“We are the Accounting Alliance that consists of top international accounting firms across the globe. 3E Accounting International accounting network only recognises accountancy companies or global corporate service providers with strong professional backgrounds and product knowledge. Our Accounting Alliance members will embrace a service culture that emphasises efficiency and effectiveness through personal touch, swift response times, reliability and innovative thinking. We work together within the global framework provided by the international alliance of global accounting firms, where most of our member firms can provide integrated one-stop solution services and international accounting services to our clients.”

Capitalising on its global success, 3E Accounting has also garnered a reputation for being a tech savvy accounting firm. It has also recently become the first accounting firm to implement the revolutionary double robotic technology. The adaptation of the emerging robotics technology in the workplace provides a flexible working environment for staff. Besides, this technology also enables the firm’s valuable workers to contribute and communicate with other team members, regardless of the geographical barriers.

Moreover, 3E Accounting is well aware of the urgency of employing software or online tools in today’s business world, and Lawrence and Stephanie understand how this can benefit all companies in the long run. Therefore, specialists in 3E Accounting will take the initiative to introduce suitable software or tool that suits their customer’s business. In relation to this, 3E Accounting is now a Xero Certified Advisor, providing Xero Cloud Accounting Software in Singapore on valuable business and tax advice that assists our client’s in setting up Xero software. Furthermore, 3E Accounting is also a QuickBooks ProAdvisors that provides QuickBooks Online Services in Singapore to our clients, as well as deep product knowledge and a stellar client service.

On top of that, 3E Accounting value talents more than anyone else does. They believe that solving the hardest problems requires the best people. “We think that the best people will be drawn to
the opportunity to work on the hardest problems and that’s where we build our firm around that belief.” The large pool of professionals in 3E Accounting is one of the notable reasons that the firm outperforms its peers. There is a right mix and number of accredited and experienced professionals in the team, such as a registered qualified accountant, qualified secretaries, a qualified tax agent and a qualified GST agent, along with a qualified HR personnel, and lastly a qualified immigration consultant. Besides, they have a strong network with professionals and specialists from different fields, who they can refer their client to for help, that consists of good lawyers, bankers, fintech companies, auditors, software vendors, property agents, insurance agents and many more. The strong network and resources are a kind of assurance to clients that they can get any required assistance when they come to 3E Accounting.

3E Accounting put client interests ahead of the firm’s. To ensure that clients are able to have an input into the firm’s operations, 3E Accounting uses its complaints system as a customer whistleblowing charter, because the firm believes that customers’ views count and should be acted upon. Their almost 100% customer satisfaction score vouches their reputation. Every complaint is personally handled by Lawrence and is taken with incredibly seriousness, and dealt with the utmost urgency. The team are committed to responding to clients within 24 hours, and the management are always monitoring the system to ensure all staff adhere to the principle.

As a leading player in the finance industry, Lawrence gives us his views on the state of the industry at present, and explains what major challenges the company and the industry face. He then goes on to describe how 3E Accounting stays ahead of emerging developments within the industry.

“Fundamentally, the major challenge that we are facing now is the adaptation of technology by accounting firms and how to transform the business to be future-ready. For 3E Accounting, we incorporate technology into our workplace and stay updated on all new developments. We adopt technology and get ourselves ready for the future, as we have migrated most of our services to the cloud as well as a hybrid IT environment with physical servers and cloud based servers.

“We have strong banking relationships with our banking counterpart – OCBC Bank. 3E Accounting has been recognised as an OCBC Platinum Partner in 2017 in Malaysia. This is not an ordinary recognition and we are one of the few companies to get it,” Internally, it is vital that all of Lawrence’s employees are working towards the same mission and heading the same direction.

He explains how he cultivates the good internal culture within the firm, ensuring that staff can provide the very best service to its clients. “Honestly, I am proud to say that we have a family-oriented working environment at 3E Accounting. We started 3E Accounting when we were expecting our first child, and that is the
main reason that we were inspired to be the best employers in a leading firm that promotes a good work-life balance in accounting industry. The company offers employees a flexible working arrangement, allowing employees to take leave at any time to take care of their family. With our family-oriented culture, we are able to attract majority of the staff force of more than 90% female for the past five years. At 3E Accounting, we wanted to make a difference.”

“Another thing worth mentioning is we have a low staff turnover rate and high staff retention rate. We do not find it difficult to get talent and we can attract talent to join us easily. Furthermore, we focus on staff professional growth. We provide opportunities and chances to our staff to grow and learn. For example, we trained our administration staff to become immigration consultant, human resource personnel as well as compliance officers. We focus on the capability and experiences rather than just certificate itself.” On 28 November 2016, the team was honoured to have the Senior Minister of State, Mrs Josephine Teo, to visit its headquarter office in Singapore. During the visit, Mrs Teo got to know the good employment practices that have been adopted by 3E Accounting, as well as the technology that the firm has used to enhance work productivity. This aspired the firm to continue to cultivate the work life balance culture.

3E Accounting’s efforts pay off with awards and recognitions. On 1 November 2017, 3E Accounting PLT and 3E Accounting Pte. Ltd were both honoured to be awarded separately, the Best Company Registration Specialist of the Year 2017/2018 in Malaysia and Singapore respectively. 3E Accounting was also listed as the Top 30 Accounting Firms in Singapore, as well as being featured in Singapore Business Review’s Magazine for January 2016 issue. This global growth, together with awards and recognition from some of the world’s leading industry experts, highlights 3E Accounting’s ongoing prosperity.

Ultimately, the current management and organisation of 3E Accounting demonstrates the future of accounting firm. The team always work hard to retain its position as the leading services provider. “Our mission is to help our clients make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements in their businesses. We believe we will be successful if our clients are successful. Also, we aim to be the world’s leading corporate service provider, offering services beyond excellence. Lastly, we strive to help SMEs, not because we want to make profits, but because we want to see the SMEs to grow with us”

 

Contact: Lawrence Chai

Address: 51 Goldhill Plaza #07-10/11 Singapore, 308900

Phone: +65 66909262

Website: www.3ecpa.com.sg

CMA Demands Greater Transparency from Legal Service Providers
LegalRegulation

CMA Demands Greater Transparency from Legal Service Providers

Obtaining the right service at good value can therefore be challenging as consumers can face wide variations in the cost of similar services. They can also struggle to find enough information to help them identify their legal need in the first place.

The CMA has set out a package of measures which challenges providers and regulators to help customers better navigate the market and get value for money. These changes have been drawn up after discussions with key stakeholders, including the 8 frontline legal regulators, and will be overseen by the Legal Services Board, which will report regularly on progress. These include:

A requirement on providers to display information on price, service, redress and regulatory status to help potential customers. This would include publishing pricing information for particular services online (only 17% of firms do so at present).

Revamping and promoting the existing Legal Choices website to be a starting point for customers needing help, information and guidance on how to navigate the market and purchase services.

Facilitating the development of comparison sites and other intermediaries to allow customers to compare providers in one place by making data already collected by regulators available. At present only 22% of people compare the services on offer before appointing a lawyer.

Encouraging legal service providers to engage with feedback and review platforms to ensure that customers can benefit from the experience of others before making their choice.

Recommending that the Ministry of Justice looks at whether to extend protection from existing redress schemes to customers using ‘unauthorised’ providers.

In addition, as part of the study, the CMA considered the impact of legal services regulation on competition. The CMA found that whilst the current system is not a major barrier, it may not be sustainable in the long term. In particular, the framework is not sufficiently flexible to apply proportionate risk-based regulation which reflects differences across legal services which could harm competition.

The CMA is therefore also recommending that the Ministry of Justice reviews the current framework to make it more flexible and targeted at protecting consumers in areas where it is most needed.

Rachel Merelie, Acting Executive Director for Markets and Mergers, said:

You might not need a lawyer very often but when you do it will often be at a crucial point in your life – whether that’s buying a property, resolving a dispute or getting expert advice on financial and employment matters. So the transparency, affordability and accessibility shortcomings we have identified are a real concern.

Consumers who are equipped with the information they need to assess the services on offer and choose the best deal for them, will not just benefit personally but will also help drive competition, quality and innovation across the whole market. That means a better outcome for everyone and, importantly, fewer people will be discouraged from seeking the help they need.

Around £11–£12 billion a year is spent by consumers on legal services in England and Wales in the area covered by the study – including commercial law, employment law, family law, conveyancing, wills and probate.

The CMA has recommended that frontline regulators work with consumer and small business groups – including the Legal Services Consumer Panel, Citizens Advice, Which?, and the Federation of Small Businesses – to deliver this improved transparency on price and quality as well as clearer guidance on buying legal services.

The CMA has pledged to re-evaluate progress and the impact of the recommendations in 3 years’ time and intervene further if progress is not satisfactory.

Further information relating to the study is available on the case page and the CMA has also published a 60-second summary on the findings.

Compliant E-Invoicing Now Available in Brazil
AccountancyRegulation

Compliant E-Invoicing Now Available in Brazil

 

OB10, the global e-Invoicing network that is part of Tungsten Corporation plc, now delivers compliant e-Invoicing in Brazil through its partnership with Comprova, an officially accredited Brazilian certification service provider and digital signature platform.

Brazil is a leader in e-Invoicing with a government mandate and market accustomed to automated invoice technology. In addition to complying with the complexity of tax and e-Invoicing regulations, companies are looking to streamline their invoice processing. The strategic alliance with Comprova enables OB10 to meet the demands of its customers, and deliver compliant e-Invoicing and straight-through processing to businesses operating in Brazil.

“We are delighted to add Brazil to our list of compliant countries and offer unparalleled e-Invoicing services to the biggest market in Latin America,” says Edmund Truell, Group CEO, Tungsten Corporation. “Brazil represents a huge and lucrative opportunity for our customers, many of whom are ready to start transacting with their Brazilian suppliers immediately. We are focused on giving our clients what they want to help them reduce costs and simplify their invoice processing.”

“As the first organisation to offer legal proof for electronic transactions in Brazil, Comprova is thrilled to partner with OB10, one of the world’s leading providers of invoice automation solutions,” says Marcos Nader, President at Comprova. “Combing our local expertise with OB10’s trading network and global customer base will enable even more companies to do business in Brazil and capitalise from the benefits of e-Invoicing.”

THe.MiS Attorneys -at-Law
LegalRegulation

THe.MiS Attorneys -at-Law

Our goal is to help our clients assert their rights and empower them during the whole legal process. Throughout this process, we build up a professional and close relationship with our clients, which we view as our partners. As well as litigating on individual cases, we provide general company and compliance advice to both Taiwanese and foreign corporate clients.

As an internationally focussed firm, we provide legal services in Chinese, English, Japanese and French. As a boutique law firm, we believe that our stature enables us to provide a more personalised service for our clients.

Ethics are the core of everything we do, and our associates and staff are fully aware of the value of their role as counsel and companion to our clients we assist by providing legal service. The main concern of our firm is human rights, especially gender equality. This is the reason why our partners are all activists in human rights movement in Taiwan, such as the movement for women’s rights, the movement for migrants’ rights and the abolition of the death penalty.

We take great pride in the fact that we are a female owned law firm, and believe all three of our partners bring their own unique set of skills to the firm. We all practice three distinct styles, have three different personalities, but at the same time share the same passion for gender equality and human rights issues.

Over the years, we have developed a network with other law firms, with ties in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. Furthermore, we are hoping to work with other law firms in other country in Asia Pacific area and other continents in the field of International family law in the near future.

Company: THe.MiS Attorneys-at-law
Email: [email protected]
Web Address www.themislaw.com.tw
Address: 10F, No.123, XinSheng S. Road, Sec.1, Taipei 106, TAIWAN
Telephone: +886-2-8771-8611
Fax: +886-2-8771-9181

Qtrade Financial Group
AccountancyRegulation

Qtrade Financial Group

Most Innovative Finance Team – Canada & Online Brokerage Firm of the Year – Qtrade Investor

At its core, the corporate accounting team at Qtrade is tasked with the responsibility of capturing and disseminating financial information arising from financial transactions. Beyond this is the opportunity to separate ourselves from the other accounting teams and become the best performing team!

The corporate accounting team has certainly evolved over the last several years and together with the reporting & analytics team, the finance department has embraced the choice to deliver outstanding service and be a top performer.
In order to deliver at that top-tier level, the work starts at the hiring stage, continues at the training and development stage and simply continues on after that. It simply never ends! The financial services industry is constantly changing, and technology continues to evolve and improve, becoming readily available to those equipped to quickly identify and put into use. Qtrade Finance attracts, hires and retains staff that can consistently deliver on these demands.

In total, Qtrade Financial Group is comprised of several operating entities offering comprehensive solutions all along the wealth continuum. As a result, a certain level of complexity arises requiring the corporate accounting team to focus on internal as well as external stakeholders or users of our services and output. These stakeholders or users include shareholders and management and department heads, our ever-growing list of partners, industry regulatory bodies and associations and external auditors.

Generally speaking, the corporate accounting team is organised in such a way to align a team member to one or more corporate entities while at the same time taking into consideration the aforementioned stakeholders and users. Functions which tend to permeate across all entities (for example – payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable) are, however, assigned to specific members of the team. Building a strong, cohesive and effective team requires improvements in workflow and processes and integrating financial information capture and reporting.

One of the most pivotal moments in our success today was the decision to invest in an ERP system in 2012, which paved the way for the capturing of financial information at broader and deeper levels. The initial vision of providing granular details for internal and external use forced us to build a framework around flexibility and scale. For example, the combining of all the Qtrade entities into a ‘singular entity’ within the ERP system proved to be the turning point for what was to come. Though not revolutionary, this multi-entity-management concept gave us the opportunity to introduce a shared-services model that quickly paid dividends.

With Qtrade having such a fully integrated suite of product offerings, the shared-services model became an obvious necessity. Building upon a stronger foundation, the focus quickly turned to the reporting of information. What good is the information captured if it is not used to achieve the ultimate goal of accelerating and maximising profit?
In tandem with the ERP system, the development of our proprietary finance database brought our financial reporting to a whole new level.

Expectations within the team and from elsewhere were raised. Senior management needed to understand the financial levers of the company and the key performance indicators in order to make informed decisions on resources. Partners also looked to us to report useful financial information in a timely manner.

As you can imagine, the financial services industry is laden with transactional information. Working with our IT department and reporting and analytics teams, we set out to define and organise all the information already captured within the core operational systems into usable data sets for populating the newly created finance database.
Integrating internal and external reporting was starting to come together.

For example, we utilise a 5 segment, 17-character alpha-numeric string in our general ledger account numbering to provide not only flexibility and scale but to offer the ability to bring reporting and analytics to the forefront. We have the ability to report and analyse by division, department, expense type, and even by partner or any other category. Bringing together the ERP setup with the data sets in the finance database, we were able to efficiently marry the requirements of internal users while also meeting the demands of external users. One early by-product of this integrated process was the ability to auto-generate a monthly journal entry comprising of 800 plus lines for seamless upload into the ERP system.

It soon became very clear very quickly that we needed to streamline processes, and where possible make use of technology to automate. As a result, we could spend less time keying in entries and more time on analysing information and communicating the findings.

Looking towards 2017 and beyond, the corporate accounting team at Qtrade is poised to take on greater challenges. We continue to work closely with our reporting and analytics team to further strengthen our department’s ability to meet and exceed expectations. Perhaps we will also reach out to our finance counterparts at the partner level and offer them a monthly automated set of journal entries, to go along with their existing reports. Regardless of what challenges may lie ahead, we have the infrastructure, we have the tools and more importantly we have the people to move towards even greater success

Name: Shayne Kong
Company: Qtrade Financial Group
Email: [email protected]

Defining good Corporate Governance
Corporate GovernanceRegulation

Defining good Corporate Governance

How would you define corporate governance and why is it important today?

Corporate governance refers to check and balance mechanism to assure the best interest of company (firm) is upheld by all decision makers effectively – especially at the board, senior management and (controlling) shareholders – which would become the foundation of all corporate decisions and actions in fulfilling their corporate mission-vision toward triple bottom line objectives (Profit/Economic Value, People/Social Value, and Planet/Environmental Value).

What in your view does corporate governance bring to the industry?

It would bring tremendous positive effect to the ‘responsible’ industry who really care about their sustainability and continuation of civilization, welfare, and commonwealth.

How does your company implement it?

We assure the corporate governance is implemented across several layers:
• Cultural;
• Process;
• Structure.

Cultural means that Good corporate governance principles become the values that people believed in, starting from the shareholders, board members and executives. There have been conscious efforts made to assure those values become the working fundamental assumptions on every key decision making process. Whereas, positive artefacts have also been encouraged to recognize and award positive and ethical behaviours at all levels.

Process means to consider/recognize/ explicitly the principles of good corporate governance as guiding principles, consistently applied in all company’s business process for example treating fairly our minority shareholders, treating fairly our suppliers/employees, putting transparency at its best to the investors/shareholders via transparent corporate reporting, assuring accountability is crystal clear at every level of business processes, and embedding corporate social responsibility at our strategy and key business process such as using environmental friendly papers, reducing carbon footprint in our production process, and so on.

Structure means overall organization structure follows the principles of having check and balances starting from the Board level through the composition of their executive and non-executive directors, the existence of relevant boards’ committee, the existence of internal oversight/assurance roles, and how do they engage their external auditors and stakeholders at large through whistle blower system (which is run by trustworthy external independent party). Organization structure encourage people take up their accountability clearly and no ambiguity.

How does corporate governance affect tax legislation and cross border planning?

Albeit the tax legislation and regulation which are different from one country to another, the principles of corporate governance are universal. Therefore, it might affect some structural related issues but remain universal at underlying and fundamental aspects to promote transparency, accountability, responsibility and fairness.

What are some of the recent trends and developments in how to implement good corporate governance practices?

In my view, the trends and developments in how to implement good corporate governance practices are pretty much different from one region to other region, for example Africa Sub-Sahara who focuses on getting more international investors to the region, and therefore they emphasize on adopting and practicing more transparency but still not much on accountability, social responsibility and fairness. It might also be a case for Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, and some eastern European countries. In other regions, the challenges might have already shifted to other focuses, for example South East Asia which are now strengthening their regional corporate governance platform where many large corporations have already put their feet to become regional/international players rather than local, and therefore placing good corporate governance practices even higher than before.

Nevertheless, one common thing applied across continent and regional economic cooperations remain, i.e. the need of better board members (composition, evaluation) and the urgency of enterprise risk management good practices at the board level which require higher practices of risk governance – how do they address the uncertainties, enhance the organization’s capability to exploit opportunities whilst dealing effectively with the risks associated in pursuing their strategic/operational/compliance objectives.

What support is available to businesses looking to implement new governance statutes or looking to respond to allegations of wrong doing?

We work with the local Institute of Directors, National Committee on Governance, Consulting firms, Risk Management Associations, and with IFC-World Bank in many developing countries. To a certain extent, we could also ask some helps from academicians of respectable universities.

Company: Dr. Antonius Alijoyo ERMCP, CERG.
Web Address: www.crmsindonesia.org
www.erm-academy.org
Telephone: 62-813-1559-8888

AI Global Media
Global ComplianceRegulation

AI Global Media, Publishers of Wealth & Finance Magazine have Become CPD members.

In short, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities.

CPD combines different methodologies of learning, such as training workshops, conferences and events, e-learning, best practice techniques and ideas sharing, all focused on helping individuals to improve through access to effective professional development.

Engaging in CPD activities ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete; allowing individuals to continually ‘up-skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves, regardless of occupation, age or educational level.

Commenting on the fantastic news, Kathryn Hall, Director at AI Global Media said:

“We are very pleased to make this announcement. Over the coming months we will be publishing articles on our website and in our publications from which we feel our subscribers will gain great insight and as such will be able to gain CPD hours from reading. AI Global Media is committed to providing insightful, useful and intuitive news and announcements for our readers, allowing them to further develop within their specialist fields.”

 

Title Here

2016 Asia Pacific Legal Guide
LegalRegulation

2016 Asia Pacific Legal Guide

The Firm’s tagline is: passionate, committed and reliable. It is passionate about assisting the legal needs of its clients and committed to deliver the best outcome for them. It is reliable because it values the trust of its clients and put their needs and interest as first priority. Rosetini & Partners is committed to providing quality legal service with a high degree of attention to its clients. It is the firm’s objective to understand the clients’ needs and assist them in an efficient and effective manner to achieve their goals and conclude their transactions.

General Corporate Matters

Concerning general corporate matters, the Firm offers legal assistance in relation to the presence and operations of companies doing business in Indonesia by providing advice on the relevant regulations with respect to the business activities of those companies.

Banking & Finance

The Firm also has experience in providing legal services in the areas of banking and finance. In the area of banking, it can assist in drafting loan agreements, security documents and other banking transaction documents, either representing the lender or the borrower. The Firm also provides advice on banking law and regulations.

Foreign Direct Investment

The Firm assists its clients in realizing their goals to develop their business in Indonesia starting from helping the clients to prepare the best possible scheme of transactions for their investment in Indonesia considering the legal environment.

Mergers & Acquisitions

In acquisition transactions it has represented the acquirers, as well as the sellers. It assists its clients with their corporate approval and government approval requirements in the merger process. The Firm also assists in the structuring of transactions for its clients, so that they will have the most beneficial structure and still comply with prevailing laws. It also performs the due diligence, prepare the transaction documents and provide assistance in procuring the local regulatory approvals.

Restructuring

The Firm has represented both borrowers and lenders in certain loan restructurings. It provides advice and prepares necessary documents related to the restructuring transaction.

Clients

The Firm’s clients are mostly foreign companies that are doing business in Indonesia. Many of its clients are companies or subsidiaries of companies from Japan. It also has clients from other countries, among others USA, Germany and Singapore.

Indonesia’s economy has been going through different phases because of the economic and political situation. Many laws and regulations have been changed following the dynamics in the economic development and political situation both domestically or by the influence of other countries and global trends.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance for companies that are doing business in Indonesia to obtain professional legal advice which will provide them with understanding and knowledge about the Indonesian legal system and practice.

With the experience of its lawyers and their professional integrity, the firm ensures that its clients are provided with quality legal services. The Firm is aiming for a long term and mutually beneficial relationship with its clients.

The Firm believes that with its passion, experience, commitment, dedication and professionalism it will be able to continue providing legal assistance as required by its clients and contributing to the success of their business in Indonesia.

Company: ROSETINI &PARTNERS
Name: Rosetini Ibrahim (Managing Partner)
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.rosetini.co.id
Address: Office 8, 18th-19th Floor, SCBD Lot 28
Jl. Jenderal Sudirman Kav.52-53,
Jakarta 12190
Indonesia
Telephone: +6221 2933 3618

2016 Asia Pacific Legal Guide
LegalRegulation

2016 Asia Pacific Legal Guide

At our firm, we cover the broad areas of patents, trademarks, licensing, and litigation. Within these fields, we provide ancillary specialist expertise, such as advanced IP searches, evaluations of technology, and portfolio management. All of these services combined allow us to meet our clients’ demands with respect to protecting their IP both domestically and abroad. As such, our IP protection capabilities cover over 50 patent jurisdictions and 160 for trademarks.

Since the inception of our firm 34 years ago, we have grown to become one of the leading IP firms in Korea. We take pride in this achievement and continue to reflect the high standards demanded by our clients into our work. By establishing innovative partnerships internally and externally, we are able to provide efficient and effective IP services, and more importantly, we continue to push our boundaries so that we can adjust our expertise and services with the changing times.

We believe that there are a number reasons behind our position as leaders in our industry. Our main strengths currently lie in patent and trademark prosecution work, and we are repeatedly recognised as one of the leading firms for prosecution in Korea by reputable IP publishing companies. In total, we file and prosecute more than 4,000 patent and 2,000 trademark applications annually before the Korean Intellectual Property Office for both domestic and international clients. Moreover, we also manage more than 3,000 corresponding patent and 1,000 trademark applications entrusted to overseas associates.

Furthermore, we have one of the largest groupings of IP professionals in the country, all of whom provide services in IP filing, prosecution, litigation, due diligence, licensing, IP search and valuation, alternate dispute resolution, etc. Not only are they highly educated, but they also have diverse backgrounds, both in terms of technical expertise and international experience. As we believe our professionals are our greatest assets, we try to encourage their development by providing them with new educational experiences (i.e., sending attorneys to the US and China) and organising IP seminars for them on a regular basis. As such, we are confident that when approached by new clients or working with existing ones, our professionals can always provide them with friendly up-to-date legal information and the most cost-effective strategies to protect their IP. Due to this nurturing environment, our retention rates are consistently high.

In terms of our clients, our domestic and international clients range from corporations, research and development institutions, academics, and individuals. As the vast majority of our professionals are multilingual, we are able to communicate with our clients in Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese, which makes it easier for our clients to reach out to us. We have found that we have been able to expand our clientele through referrals, legal service bids, government contracts, advertisements, etc.

As for my personal background, I am an attorney-at-law with a background in telecommunications and electrical engineering. I represent clients by providing them with legal advice on infringement and enforcement matters, as well as undertaking legal work regarding licensing and litigation. Due to the growing IP needs of our clients, YOU ME’s legal services have increased over the past few years, and to meet this increasing demand, we have a range of attorneys-at-law with technical backgrounds from the US and Korea who work closely alongside our IP attorneys. This unique aspect of our services reassures our clients and means we can provide them with a vast spectrum of one-stop services.

Looking back on 2015, YOU ME Patent & Law Firm had a tremendous year. During this time, our firm grew steadily from 7 to 10%, and for 2016, we plan to further diversify our services to cater for the international and domestic markets. In addition, we plan to increase our involvement and representation with respect to the Chinese market and Chinese companies. 

Company: YOU ME Patent & Law Firm
Name: David Hunjoon Kim, Attorney-at-Law
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.youme.com
Address: Seolim Building, 115 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu,
Seoul 06134, Korea
Telephone: 82-2-3458-0101

2016 Asia Pacific Legal Guide
LegalRegulation

2016 Asia Pacific Legal Guide

We are one of South India’s largest law firms, with a principal office in Bangalore and branch offices in Chennai, Hyderabad and New Delhi. Moreover, we have exclusive affiliate relationships with law firms and lawyers in areas such as Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat, Chandigarh, Allahabad, Kolkatta, Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore and Kochi. In terms of the services we provide, our main areas of practice are in banking, project finance, corporate restructuring and bankruptcy, to name a few.

Our firm has grown alongside Bangalore, and the city was not a big city 35 years ago. It has now become the educational capital of India, with the biggest number of engineering, medical and law schools in the country. During the pre-liberalisation era, the availability of technocrats and its salubrious climate saw the establishment of major public sector undertakings. For example, the Indian Space Research Organisation has its headquarters in Bangalore and our firm has been very closely associated with it since the early eighties. This created a strong technology law practice and helped the firm to be a major player in the intellectual property and technology law areas.

During the mid-eighties, the firm helped in setting up India’s first Venture Capital Fund – TDICI. It was also associated with several venture capital funds and banking and non-banking finance companies. In this environment, hand holding start-ups during the nineties was a niche area in the information technology industry. Furthermore, as the city grew and expanded, the firm advised on several major real estate transactions. Post-liberalisation, the firm has been advising several PE and VC funds, and the firm is very well known in its litigation practice, especially in the fields of corporate litigation and banking.

Flashing forward to today, the legal industry in India is flooded. Thousands of lawyers pass out of law schools each year and many of them start their own firms or individual practices, sadly without much experience and at low cost. This is where the more established professionals stand out, and the lesser experienced learn some pretty harsh lessons. At Thiru & Thiru, we have a unique blend of rich experience and energetic youth.

Looking beyond India, the overall industrial growth in Asia-Pacific is stunted and this has made an impact on the legal industry too. While litigation is on the rise, transactions have fallen sharply. Moreover, non-litigation practice in our opinion may not be as encouraging as it was in the past. When looking at particular sectors, infrastructure is a very promising area which India is pressing to grow in, and non-conventional energy has gained momentum. Generally speaking, any industry that grows in direct proportion with the population is a sure winner here. Healthcare, agriculture, essential consumer durables, food, two wheelers and education are areas that will see a good growth.

In terms of our culture, honesty and sincerity to the client are our mantras. It is our duty to keep the client well informed; disclose the positives as well as the negative issues while counselling and ensure that clients are not forced to take a decision, instead guide the client to logical analysis of the issues involved. The advice should be sound and well-reasoned, and we give utmost importance to confidentiality and ethical values.

At our firm, every client is important to us and every work done by an associate is always reviewed in detail by a partner. Partners are easily accessible, and clients’ calls and queries are promptly answered within 14 working hours. We have a policy not to say “no” to our clients, and try our best to find an answer or at least provide alternatives.

When it comes to hiring new staff, we hire lawyers who are knowledgeable, willing to learn, and having an appropriate team spirit attitude. We have been lucky with the staff we have taken on, and we provide a great opportunity to learn from the combined experience of our partners which is about 266 years who imbibe the values to our young associates.

Moreover, the firm is a knowledge centre, and we strongly encourage learning. In this environment, the seniors mentor the juniors, and we believe that any up to date knowledge helps the client ultimately. Additionally, the firm takes pride in having promoted India’s first finishing school for lawyers “The Marquis Diamond Finishing School”. This helps the members of the firm to keep themselves abreast with the changes in the industrial, technological, socio- economic arenas. With all of these attributes in mind, we are confident that our company will continue to grow in the future. Furthermore, Indian industries are gradually becoming multinational, and our clients have been constantly requesting us to open offices abroad. Very soon we will be opening our office in Dubai, and will bring many more exciting opportunities to our company.

Company: Thiru &Thiru
Name: Mr. THIRUVENGADAM B C
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.thiruandthiru.com
Address: #31, Nandidurg Raod, Thiru &
Thiru Chambers,
Jayamahal, Bangalore 560046, India.
Telephone: 91 2343 03024 /05 /06

Overview of UAE’s new Commercial Companies Law
LegalRegulation

Overview of UAE’s new Commercial Companies Law

Although the New Law maintains the cornerstones of the Old Law, it introduces some fundamental provisions that must be observed carefully by existing companies and investors in the UAE. All commercial companies operating in the UAE are required to adjust their positions in compliance with the provisions of the New Law within a maximum period of one year from the Effective Date.

The New Law eliminated two of the seven forms of commercial companies that may be registered in the UAE, namely Joint Venture Companies and Share Commandite Companies. Any company that does not adopt one of the remaining five forms will be null and void and the parties contracting in the name of such companies will be personally and jointly liable for any and all of the liabilities deriving from such contracting.

The main provisions relating to Limited Liability Companies (the “LLCs”) in the Old Law are maintained by the New Law. However, the New Law makes several positive changes which can be summarized as follows:

– An LLC can be incorporated in the UAE now by one natural Emirati shareholder;

– The pledge of an LLC’s shares is now expressly permitted under the New Law;

– A shareholder intending to sell his shares in an LLC is obliged to disclose the name of the intended purchaser of the shares, as well as the terms of the purchase to the other shareholders;

– The shareholders can now nominate managers for an LLC without any limitations;

– The statutory required notice period for general meetings has been reduced to only 15 days; and

– The statutory quorum required for general meetings has been increased from 50% to 75%.

– The New Law has also made key changes to the provisions affecting Joint Stock Companies (the “JSCs”), these include the following:

– The minimum founding partners required for Private Joint Stock Companies have been reduced from 3 to 2 and from 10 to 5 for Public Joint Stock Companies;

– The minimum and the maximum limits for the subscription of the founders of a Public Joint Stock Company have been increased to 30% and 70% respectively;

– The Securities and Commodities Authority in the UAE has been given the right to issue a resolution to regulate the mechanism of subscription in new shares on the basis of book building;

– The cap on the number of board members of JSCs has been reduced from 15 members to only 11;

– The minimum notice required for convening a general assembly meeting has been reduced from 21 days to 15 days;

– The minimum share capital required has been increased from AED 2 Million to AED 5 Million for Private Joint Stock Companies and from AED 10 Million to 30 Million for Public Joint Stock Companies;

– The shareholders’ pre-emption rights can now be sold to other shareholders or to third parties;

– The New Law gave the UAE’s Cabinet the right to issue a resolution determining and regulating other classes of shares issuable by Public Joint Stock Companies;

– Public Joint Stock Companies are now prohibited from providing any of its shareholders with financial assistance to enable them to hold any shares, bonds or Sukuk issued by the company;

– A JSC company may increase its share capital by the entry of a strategic shareholder in consideration of the technical, operational or marketing support that such shareholder may extend to the company; and- The appointment of JSCs’ auditors have been capped at only 3 consecutive years.

The New Law introduces several new penalties which all companies and their management operating in the UAE should consider and observe. These include a daily penalty of AED 2,000 on any company that fails to amend its Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association in compliance with the provisions of the New Law within one year from the Effective Date.

There are almost two months left before the expiry of the period granted for existing companies to comply with the provisions of the New Law and any company that fails to achieve that, may be considered as dissolved.

Authored by Mojahed Al Sebae, www.galadarilaw.com

Homebuyers save Hundreds of Millions from Stamp Duty Reform
LegalRegulation

Homebuyers save Hundreds of Millions from Stamp Duty Reform

Transactions levels at the top end of the market remained constant under the new regime and stamp duty receipts from homes costing more than £1 million went up by 15% across the year.

In December 2014 the government reformed the residential stamp duty system, changing it from a ‘slab’ to a ‘slice’ structure and reducing stamp duty for 98% of people who pay it.

New analysis released by HMRC shows that the benefits of this reform have been felt across the country, with homebuyers saving an estimated total of:

– £24 million in the North East or £900 for the average house
– £90 million in the North West or £700 for the average house
– £74 million in the East Midlands or £500 for the average house
– £131 million the South West or £4,800 for the average house
– £38 million in Wales or £800 for the average house

The Chancellor George Osborne said:

“In 2014 I cut stamp duty and already three-quarters of a million home-buyers across the country have benefitted. The overwhelming number of home-buyers – 98% – are saving money thanks to our reform, which has done away with the unfair old system that meant increases being imposed on those paying just a pound over the threshold.

“These figures show that the benefits are being felt across the country. It’s a fair, workable, lasting reform to the taxation of housing.

“I am determined that this government will continue to take bold action to support a home-owning democracy.

Under the old slab system, homebuyers would have paid stamp duty at a single rate on the entire property price. With the new system, home buyers only pay the rate of tax on the part of the property price within each tax band.

The news coincides with new analysis from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finding that the reform has “reduced distortions and is a step in the right direction. The IMF commented on the impact of the Stamp Duty reforms as part of its annual Article IV consultation with the UK.

European Commission Adopts Position on Portugal's 2016 Draft Budgetary Plan
Global ComplianceRegulation

European Commission Adopts Position on Portugal’s 2016 Draft Budgetary Plan

In the context of elections on 4 October 2015, Portugal did not submit a DBP on time by 15 October, but only on 22 January 2016. A preliminary analysis identified a serious risk of non-compliance with budgetary policy obligations and, in line with the rules, the Commission asked the Portuguese government to clarify outstanding issues.

Taking into account a) the Draft Budgetary Plan, b) further structural consolidation measures announced by Portugal on 5 February as well as c) additional information regarding the 2015 baseline, the structural effort planned by the Portuguese authorities for 2016 is now estimated to be between 0.1% and 0.2% of GDP.

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, commented:

“Following intense technical and political contacts, the Commission did not have to request a revised draft budgetary plan from the Portuguese authorities. Nevertheless, the government’s plans are at risk of non-compliance with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact. The Portuguese Government is invited to take the necessary steps to ensure that the 2016 budget is compliant. In spring, the Commission will reassess Portugal’s compliance with its obligations under the Stability and Growth Pact, including under the Excessive Deficit Procedure.”

Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said:

“This is a good outcome for all concerned: Portugal, the Commission and the euro area. Without having had to request a revised draft budgetary plan, a constructive dialogue has led to additional measures worth up to €845 million, which will help safeguard the soundness of Portugal’s public finances. The reassuring message to investors today is: the EU’s fiscal framework is robust and the Commission welcomes Portugal’s reaffirmed commitment to it. At the same time, the risk of non-compliance remains and we will continue to monitor developments in the coming months as part of the ongoing Excessive Deficit Procedure.”

Portugal has been in the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact since December 2009 and was asked to correct its excessive deficit by 2015, i.e. to bring the deficit to below 3% of GDP by 2015. For 2016, the Council recommended that Portugal make a fiscal adjustment of 0.6% of GDP towards the medium-term objective. According to Portugal’s DBP and the Commission’s winter forecast, the general government deficit is expected to have been 4.2% in 2015.
Source: European Union.

Setting up a Business in the UAE
LegalRegulation

Setting up a Business in the UAE

About James Berry & Associates
Our services range from businesses entering into the country and establishing legal status, to setting up a business, advising on corporate transactions, or concluding employment arrangements, right through to advising clients of need in their personal affairs.

Our associates are legal professionals with qualifications obtained from various international jurisdictions. As a result, their training and experience enables them to provide a high standard of advice and legal expertise in every case.

What differentiates us is that, apart from being knowledgeable in the law, and experienced in advising on transactions, we recognise that what ultimately matters to our clients is the outcome. As such, we make it our business to set and manage realistic expectations.

Drawing on our years of experience and highly trained lawyers, we provide our clients with clear and practical advice on all their legal issues in a friendly and accessible way. We provide legal advice for businesses through our Corporate/Commercial department and for people personally through our Private Client department

In our region, there is a wide range of options is available to individuals and to international companies who are looking to establish a business presence. This ranges from companies incorporated under the Commercial Companies Law to companies incorporated within the Free Zones. The incorporation team at James Berry & Associates provides professional and personalised assistance to clients. We assist our clients in setting up and maintaining in good standing companies incorporated in Dubai, Sharjah and/or Abu Dhabi.

Furthermore, we assist our clients with registrations such as limited liability companies, branches and representative offices of non-UAE companies, professional licenses, professional associations, non-profit organisations and/or business forums as well as free zone companies.

Alongside these services, we also work with offshore companies incorporated within UAE Free Zones and/or within other offshore locations. We are registered offshore agents and are therefore fully authorised to assist you in the setting up of offshore companies in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. We also incorporate offshore companies in other popular offshore locations outside the UAE.

With offices located on Sheikh Zayed Road, James Berry & Associates provides clients with central and accessible offices to meet our associates.

Company: James Berry & Associates
Email :[email protected]
Web: www.jamesberrylaw.com
Address: 304, API World Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road
P. O. Box 52294, Dubai, UAE
Telephone :+ 971(4)3317552
Fax :+ 971(4)3317553

Arbitrator of the Month
LegalRegulation

Arbitrator of the Month

One of the key components to arbitration in corporate cases is understanding the facts of business life. This is emphasised by famous English maritime arbitrator, Cedric Barclay, who used to say: “To be a really good maritime arbitrator, one must have gone through a £3mn loss in a shipping downturn, withstood the loss, and made £5mn in the following upturn.” It was a caricature, and if the test were to be applied not many of the international arbitrators most busy today would remain in business. But, as with all caricatures, it contained a core of truth: breadth of actual business experience is paramount to understanding the facts of a case.

Allow me to recount a memory which I believe proves that having business experience by proxy only may not be enough.

It was the case of a joint venture for a large industrial project which had turned sour. My co-arbitrators and I were interrogating the claimant’s main witness, a flamboyant, tycoon-type executive. At issue was whether the defendant, one of the venture partners, had discharged its obligation to sell the output. One of my co-arbitrators, a reputable professor who was also senior partner of his law firm and sitting on boards of various companies, was insisting in his questions that the defendant had actually performed sales, the adequacy of the sales prices being for him a totally different issue. Looking at him in disbelief, the witness bent over and simply said: “Mr. Arbitrator, any fool can sell a dollar for ninety-nine cents.”

Experiences such as this have shaped my careers as an arbitrator. I am also fortunate to have had direct business experience with two major multinational corporations, Nestlé of Switzerland and Cargill of the United States. These experiences have enabled me to become an efficient arbitrator, and I draw on my vast experience in every case I undertake.

Monitoring the integrity of the arbitral process is another a key factor in arbitration, which can involve protecting witnesses.

An example of this can be found in an arbitral tribunal I chaired last year in Paris which included two Middle Eastern firms and one German company. A Middle East witness was called by the German defendant, and although he had arrived in Paris for the hearing, refused to appear as he had received death threats for him and his family back home should he testify, delivered to his hotel in Paris.

As soon as we were informed of this, we took a proactive approach to protecting the witness and ensuring the continuity of the trial. We immediately asked the parties to confirm in writing that they had no part in this, which they did. We
advised the arbitral institution, but they had no clues. Calling the police was obviously not an option, as the witness had immediately left Paris and flown back home. The only weapon we had was drawing adverse inference from these
events and we used it. The integrity of the arbitral process was endangered there, and it was our duty to protect it, which I feel we achieved.

Contact Details

Contact Name: Jacques Werner

Company: Werner & Associés

Address: rue du Rhône 13

Case postale 5134

Geneva

CH-1211

Geneva

Switzerland 

E-mail: [email protected]

Website, with detailed biography: www.ggaf.ch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arbitrator of the Month
LegalRegulation

Arbitrator of the Month

“Since the firm was launched in 2013 it has more than doubled in size. When we opened our doors in 2013 we were regarded as an arbitration boutique, today, our clients are asking more and more for us to defend them in commercial litigation, in particular high-profile cases and international disputes” Jean-Georges Betto explains.

Financial performance
“In our first year we doubled our turnover, the second year we were up another 25%” enthuses Betto when asked about the firm’s financial performance this year. He goes on to explain the reasons for their success:

“In the current economic environment we are extremely proud of these results that are more and rarer today. The success of our firm is partially down to the partner’s willingness to take risks, to step out and launch the firm, to dedicate all of their time and energy to this project. We also have a unique approach to invoicing which is much appreciated by our clients, instead of billing by the hour, which can often mean that proceedings costs can skyrocket over time, we sit down with our client at the beginning of the case, evaluate the work required to handle the case and agree on a flat fee for the whole proceeding.

“This means that our clients have a clear view from the get-go, which helps them manage their finances, and our firm shares with them the risks of an unexpected increase in costs, which builds trusting relationships with our clients.”

Recent developments
With an optimistic outlook set for the future, “over this past year we welcomed a new partner, Julien Fouret, a leading specialist in international investment arbitration and public international law, widening our scope of legal expertise and once again offering our clients a more comprehensive service” Betto explains when asked what his company is doing to capitalise on this as well as sustain their success.

“We also welcomed a new Portuguese speaking associate Marie-Claire Da Silva Rosa in order to strengthen our lusophone team and our outreach in the Brazilian Market, in which we are already present as we have the advantage of having one of the rare Parisian practitioners (Thierry Tomasi) who can litigate in the Portuguese language. We have also made our stamp on the French speaking African market, representing French blue chip companies in disputes opposing them with African States which has recently had a lot of media attention, and also the Republic of Gabon in a dispute against the Chinese-owned petrol giant Addax Petroleum (Sinopec Group)” he adds.

Of course, when working in an industry that is constantly evolving measures do need to be taken to ensure that a firm is at the forefront of any emerging developments. Jean-Georges Betto lifts the lid on how this applied to the company betto seraglini, “as a ‘start-up’ firm we knew from the get-go that we were going to have to do everything to implant ourselves in the market as one of the go-to firms in matters of international arbitration and commercial litigation” he explains.

“How were we going to do this? Since the launch of the firm we have always tried to ensure that the firm is always visible, this is to say high presence on social media platforms, a focus on communication and getting information about our firm out there and last but not least with the creation of an association entitled ‘cabinets de croissance’ which roughly means ‘firms on the grow’. This Think-tank aims to bring together several specialised boutique business law firms with the aim of sharing our knowledge and experience, in particular with future entrepreneurs, and lobbying the Paris Bar authorities in order to make sure that the needs and concerns of this new generation of firms is addressed at all levels” he adds.

2016 and beyond
“Law firms today are more than ever, a people industry. This means that we invest heavily in the people we work with” Betto emphaises. Developing this pearl of wisdom, he adds: “We aim to keep our partner/ associate ratio low as we feel this is the best way to teach our associates as well as motivate them, we invest enormously in our associates, who we pay as would any large anglo-saxon firm even though we have a much smaller effective, as well as our support staff and we believe that internal promotion is the best way to construct a solid and dedicated team”.

At the close of 2013, the partners, associates and employees of betto seraglini announced the creation of the betto seraglini for International Justice Fund. “This Fonds de dotation fights to allow access for societies most vulnerable, to international justice and protection of fundamental rights by educating and representing victims” Betto explains. “Thanks to the mobilisation of its team betto seraglini for International Justice develops not only its own projects and also supports existing organisations in order to work hand in hand with human rights NGOs and be part of a more global approach” he concludes.

Financial Conduct Authority Chief Executive Appointed
AccountancyRegulation

Financial Conduct Authority Chief Executive Appointed

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, commented:

“Andrew Bailey is the outstanding candidate to be the next Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, and I am delighted that he has agreed to lead it.

“We have cast the net far and wide for this crucial appointment and, having led the Bank of England’s response to the financial crisis, Andrew is simply the most respected, most experienced and most qualified person in the world to do the job.

“His appointment is an important next step in the establishment of the FCA as a strong regulator, independent of government and industry.

“The government is determined that the financial sector operates to the highest standards. Anyone who has dealt with Andrew knows he will be tough but fair, and understands the flaws and merits of the sector better than anyone.

“Simply, I am confident that he will ensure that our financial services industry is the best regulated in the world.

“He has already done a superb job at the Prudential Regulation Authority; where he has shown how effective he is as a leader, able to build strong relationships and use his fine judgment to steer the PRA through its formative years.

“I would also like to thank Tracey McDermott for the excellent job she has done in leading the FCA in this interim period. Her experience, dedication and professionalism have been greatly appreciated.”
Chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority, John Griffiths-Jones added:

“I am delighted that Andrew has been appointed as the new Chief Executive. He brings unrivalled regulatory experience, a proven track record and an excellent reputation in the UK and internationally. Having been an FCA Board member since 2013 he has been fully engaged with all the regulatory issues that we have faced in recent years and in setting our strategy for the future.

“I look forward to working with Andrew. He has done a great job at the PRA and he will build on the work the FCA has done over the last three years as a strong, independent regulator.

“I would also like to thank Tracey McDermott for the excellent job she has been doing as the Acting CEO and for agreeing to remain in post until Andrew starts.”

The government has also announced the appointments of Ruth Kelly, Bradley Fried, Baroness Hogg, and Tom Wright as Non-Executive Directors of the FCA today.

Businesses Could face £2
LegalRegulation

Businesses Could face £2,675 Foreign Worker Recruitment Charge

Emma warns the bill for recruiting employees from overseas could soon hit a record £2,675 – or more.

Emma says: “If the UK removes the current exemptions for EEA nationals and ceases to be a signatory to the Treaties which enshrine the rights of free movement in the EU, companies would likely need to navigate Tier 2 of the Points Based System to recruit from the EU. This can quickly become a very expensive exercise.

“Under Tier 2, an employer needs a sponsor’s licence which carries a one-off cost of £1,476. For each employee, they also need a Certificate of Sponsorship which carries a fee of £199. The employee needs to apply for their visa but often the employer meets this cost to which currently stands at £575 for entry clearance and £664 for leave to remain.

“The Immigration Act 2016 imposes an Immigration Skills Charge which was due to be introduced in April 2017. I anticipate that this could now be brought forward. The proposal is for businesses that recruit from overseas to pay a charge of £1,000, or £364 for small business, for every employee when they apply for entry clearance or leave to remain. They would usually pay the charge twice in the lifetime of a person’s leave under Tier 2.

“When you add up the sums, the immediate cost of taking on an overseas worker could soon be a staggering £3,250 per employee or more – and that doesn’t even take into account the cost of recruitment, legal fees and regulatory administrative costs.”

The dedicated Immigration section on Simpson Millar’s website has seen a 1,100% increase in enquiries since the Brexit vote was announced on 24th June, driven by a 290% increase in unique visitors. “Our website stats are a clear indication of just how many people and businesses are concerned about the implications of Brexit. It is the law of inevitability. I suspect we will see a record number of residence card and permanent residence card applications this summer – many from people who never thought they would need it.”

Simpson Millar holds weekly drop-in clinics in Manchester and Leeds which saw three times as many people attend as normal in the week following Brexit.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there are currently over 2 million non-UK nationals from EU countries working in Britain.

A breakdown of the potential costs for employers is as follows:
Sponsor’s licence £1,476
Certificate of Sponsorship £199
Potential Immigration Skills Charge £1,000 (£364 for SMEs)
TOTAL £2,675 (£2,039 for SMEs)

Visa costs sometimes met by employers
Entry clearance £575
Leave to remain £664

Mediator of the Month - Globis
Global ComplianceRegulation

Mediator of the Month – Globis

Workplace and employment mediation is coming of age. More organisations are using it to resolve workplace conflict than ever before, an increase that is due to organisations’ desires to seek more effective, less time-consuming and less costly methods of conflict resolution within the workplace. The reason for this change in approach to conflict resolution, and the increase in conflict resolution methods per se, is the rise in workplace conflict. The causes of this, as we shall see in this book, are both multifaceted and complex, but what is very clear to the outside observer is that the current system of workplace conflict resolution in
this country is broken.

The employment tribunal, the mainstay of workplace conflict resolution, has been with us over half a century, and despite reforms along the way it is now recognised by many, myself included, as an analogue process in a digital world. It is too black and white in a world where complex grey areas exist, especially where human beings are at the centre. Workplace conflict is not always about wrong and right, about the innocent and the guilty, and certainly not about who can afford the best lawyer. Too often the ‘resolution’ aspect of conflict resolution is ignored, but this is something that forms the core of mediation. Mediation aims to resolve conflict quickly, fairly and cheaply, something that is of benefit to both the individual and any organisation that values its time, money and reputation.

Most organisations now recognise that conflict is a part of working life, but surprisingly few are equipped to deal with it quickly and effectively or even acknowledge its effect. In my book, Difficult Conversations – 10 Steps to Becoming a Tackler Not a Dodger, I liken difficult conversations to small fires that can burn out of control if not dealt with quickly, and the presence of an effective conflict management policy is similar to this—if conflict is not dealt with swiftly and effectively it can spread across teams and departments, causing damage that can only truly be realised when the fire is finally extinguished. Even then, embers of resentment can burn long afterwards. This is where mediation comes into its own, taking days or even on some occasions only hours to halt a conflict in its tracks and get all the parties concerned back to focusing on their jobs, not the conflict that has arisen because of them. Conflict can in fact be strategically managed fairly easily, and organisations that recognise this will benefit over organisations that have not, or will not, embrace the concept. We have seen similar developments in other fields, for example coaching, which reached maturity in the UK some years ago and has successfully ironed out issues associated with issues such as accreditation and supervision. It is my belief that mediation is likely to follow a similar path.

As mediation in the workplace matures, there will be a need to learn from our experiences with it and review how the profession develops in practice. Using mediation to resolve conflicts in the workplace is still a relatively new concept (despite mediation first being used by the ancient Greeks), and there is always an opportunity to improve the experience those involved in conflict situations undergo as they find their path to peace and reconciliation. I am very confident however that the future of conflict resolution in the workplace is through flexible practices such as mediation rather than one-dimensional tribunals.

Thousands of people have benefitted from being users of mediation services, but unlike employment tribunals they are confidential in nature, meaning that we are unlikely to hear of many successes. A book like this helps draw attention to the positivity of mediation and its advantages for both individual organisations and communities. Like other fields such as art and science, developments in mediation occur as a result of new discoveries, developments which are even more likely as its use grows and diversifies.

About the book

The book incorporates a number of themes and is split broadly into two parts, exploring a number of themes. First, I felt it important to set the book in some context in terms of the British workplace. To this end I look at the history of the British workplace and discuss how it has changed from the days of the industrial revolution to today’s multicultural, dynamic workplace, paying particular attention to how and why these changes have wrought a rise in workplace conflict.

Next I examine the business case for mediation in dealing with conflict in the workplace compared to the existing forms of conflict resolution. I realise that busy HR professionals and CEOs want evidence of how mediation can benefit their bottom line, and here I offer evidence from various sources to detail how conflict costs businesses more than they realise and why mediation is a sound economic platform on which to build an effective conflict resolution programme.

Following this I discuss the power of storytelling in mediation. Some of you reading this will already be well aware that storytelling is the premise upon which many a mediation session is based, as everyone involved within them has a story to tell (something that employment tribunals do not generally engage in). The mediation process flushes out many stories of hurt, disbelief, justification and clarification, stories that can be vital to understanding the core reasons behind a conflict and that may have otherwise gone unheard.

The second part of the book focuses on the practical application of mediation as a method of conflict resolution within a workplace, the different ways to go about implementing it and best practice in regards to running it, drawing on my extensive experience as a mediator. This includes, at the end, a toolkit containing advice, templates and other documents that I use daily within my mediation work, providing you with everything you need to get started with your own in-house mediation strategy.

Each chapter is followed by a case study drawn from real life experiences. This is something I believe is very important in getting across both the various turns a mediation session can take and the power inherent within it to not only resolve a conflict but also cleanse and heal emotional wounds, allowing previously combative individuals to work effectively with each other once more. These case studies are, of course, all anonymous, and in them I try to draw a balance between the dynamics of the parties, triggers that caused the conflict and eventually prompt a requirement mediation, the impact the cases had on me as mediator and the learning that can be drawn from those in the mediation industry. There are also a number of brief case studies interspersed throughout the remaining parts of the book to illustrate certain points. In providing these case studies I recognise that I make myself vulnerable as I write openly about my experiences, including my failures and points for learning. I do not suggest for a moment that I have all the knowledge or answers, partly because the thrill of mediation is that when you think you’ve seen everything something comes along that knocks you for six! We are, after all, dealing with human beings. Like others I seek to continue to learn throughout my life, something that applies very strongly to my work in this field. All I can do, as all any mediator can do, is simply reflect on my ten years of mediation experience and use this experience to assist those with a shared interest in this field.

If you have read this far I am going to assume that you have at least a passing interest in mediation and its suitability in dealing with workplace conflict. Perhaps you are an independent mediator, organisation, commentator or government official. I have written this book with the intention of making a small contribution to demystify the concept of mediation and highlight its advantage as a commercial, pragmatic tool. If I increase your awareness of mediation within the workplace and leave you viewing it in a more positive light than you had before reading, then I will have achieved my purpose. I hope you enjoy the book.

About
Clive Lewis is a Business Psychologist, specialising in employee and industrial relations. He is the UK’s most published writer on the topic of mediation in the workplace. He is the founding director of Globis Mediation Group.

Company: Globis Ltd
Name: Clive Lewis OBE DL
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.globis.co.uk
Address: 1 Wheatstone Court, Waterwells Business Park, Quedgeley,
Gloucester GL2 2AQ.
Telephone: 0330 100 0809

New EU Rules on Financial Benchmarks
LegalRegulation

New EU Rules on Financial Benchmarks

The European Commission welcomes last night’s agreement between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on a Regulation of financial benchmarks.

The new rules were first proposed by the Commission in September 2013 in the wake of the alleged manipulation of various benchmarks which were to the clear detriment of consumers and companies throughout the EU. Following last night’s preliminary political agreement, the EU is setting a leading standard globally.

A benchmark is an index or indicator used to price financial instruments and financial contracts or to measure the performance of an investment fund. Yesterday’s agreement will improve the governance of such benchmarks produced and used in the EU in financial instruments such as bonds, shares, futures and swaps. The new rules are also directly relevant for consumers as benchmarks determine the level of mortgage payments of millions of households in the EU.

The new rules will reduce the risk of manipulation by ensuring that benchmark providers in the EU have prior authorisation and are subject to proper supervision.

Jonathan Hill, EU Commissioner responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said “Benchmarks are critical for the functioning of our financial markets. Manipulating benchmarks amounts to stealing from investors and consumers and undermines confidence in markets. Today’s agreement will help to rebuild confidence in financial markets in the European Union”.

In the financial industry, benchmarks are calculated from a representative set of data or information and determine the prices of many (highly leveraged) derivatives. Examples include: the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) (both benchmarks for interbank interest rates); oil price assessments; and stock market indices.

The proposed regulation will now be subject to a vote by the European Parliament.

The Commission proposed new standards for benchmarks in September 2013 in the wake of the alleged manipulation of various benchmarks including inter-bank offered rates (EURIBOR, LIBOR, etc.), benchmarks for foreign exchange (FX) and commodities including gold, silver, oil and biofuels.

The regulation will implement and is in line with the principles agreed at international level by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in 2012 and 2013. The Council agreed on a negotiating mandate for that proposal in February 2015.

The Regulation will contribute to the accuracy and integrity of benchmarks used in financial instruments and financial contracts by:

– ensuring that benchmark administrators are subject to prior authorisation and supervision depending on the type of benchmark (e.g. commodity or interest-rate benchmarks);

– improving their governance (e.g. management of conflicts of interest) and requiring greater transparency on how a benchmark is produced;

– ensuring the appropriate supervision of critical benchmarks, such as EURIBOR/LIBOR, the failure of which might create risks for market participants and for the functioning and integrity of markets.

UK Economy Trapping Working Capital
AccountancyRegulation

UK Economy Trapping Working Capital

Newresearch commissioned by American International Group, Inc. and PrimeRevenue indicates thatlimited access to working capital finance and inflexible payment terms are having an adverse impact on UK business.

The YouGov poll of UK businesses that provide goods or services to large organisations found that 17% of their revenue is currently tied up in invoices with non-standard payment terms, suggesting that around £29bn is being withheld from UK plc. Over three quarters (77%) of companies have been asked to accept longer payment terms, with 28% saying the issue has increased in the past year.

Businesses reported that on average 20% of their customers insist on terms longer than the norm. This can have a significant impact on business operations with respondents saying extended payments affect cash flow (55%), require additional administration (33%) and strain client relationships (29%).

And the risk of not providing extended payment terms can be costly. One in five respondents (20%) report
that they have lost business after denying customers longer payment terms.

With these business risks in mind AIG and Prime Revenue today launched a new supply chain finance offering for mid-market, non-investment grade companies that could free up significant funding for UK businesses.

Supply Chain Finance from PrimeRevenue and AIG is the product of a partnership between a leading global insurer and the largest working capital finance platform in the world. The solution provides funds that enable suppliers to take early payment less a small discount, while enabling buyers to standardise and potentially lengthen their payment terms. This provides low cost access to working capital on both sides of the transaction.

Until now, supply chain finance platforms have been limited to supporting the largest, investment grade businesses. Supply Chain Finance from PrimeRevenue and AIG is able to cater to the thousands of mid-market, non-investment grade companies, by providing financing with the credit risk insured by AIG’s market-leading trade credit insurance.

“The inability to get access to low cost working capital can affect our clients and is holding back thousands of very well run businesses. Ultimately, it can have a significant impact on the economy as a whole,” commented Neil Ross, Regional Manager EMEA Trade Credit, AIG.

Ross continued, “Leading publicly-rated companies can borrow quickly and with favourable terms to take advantage of
emergent market opportunities. Now, by combining PrimeRevenue’s market-leading platform with AIG’s Trade Credit underwriting experience we’re able to extend this advantage to many more businesses.”

The ongoing financing requirement will be organised by PrimeRevenue Capital Management, by providing investment access to banks as well as non-bank entities such as insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds and capital market investors looking for stable returns. The offering will be rolled out to other European countries and the United States in coming months.

Rob Barnes, Founder, PrimeRevenue, said: “PrimeRevenue has been serving the supply chain finance market for over a decade, with over $120bn flowing through our system in the last 12 months. We have seen first-hand the benefits that this approach can bring to businesses through unlocking cash flow and working capital to fund day-to-day operations and investment for the future. Our partnership with AIG means that these benefits are now available to a broader market of buyers and their suppliers.”

 

 

Opus Bank Announces Further Expansion of Its Merchant Bank
Corporate GovernanceRegulation

Opus Bank Announces Further Expansion of Its Merchant Bank

Opus Bank has announced that Paul E. Kacik has joined Opus as Managing Director, Head of Healthcare Investment Banking within Opus’ Merchant Banking division. Mr. Kacik, a 24-year investment banking veteran, is responsible for providing M&A advisory services, debt and equity capital solutions, and other strategic advisory services to healthcare providers and practitioners.

Stephen H. Gordon, Founding Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Opus Bank, stated, “Over the years, banks have become exceedingly product focused and have failed to effectively provide broader and more sophisticated client centric solutions, including access to alternative sources of capital, M&A and other strategic advisory solutions. The addition of Paul joining our Merchant Banking division enables Opus to integrate our niche Healthcare Banking focus with complimentary investment banking expertise, better positioning Opus to provide a comprehensive and customized financial and strategic solution for those within the healthcare industry.”

Dale Cheney, Senior Managing Director, Head of the Merchant Banking division, stated, “We are pleased that Paul has joined Opus to lead our Healthcare Investment Banking efforts. He is a highly-talented and experienced investment banking professional whose background complements our merchant banking model of providing a comprehensive and integrated principal investing and advisory solution to middle-market companies.”

Mr. Kacik joins Opus’ Merchant Banking division from Duff & Phelps Securities, LLC in Los Angeles, where he served as Managing Director – Healthcare Investment Banking and was responsible for the origination and execution of middle-market Healthcare M&A transactions. From 2009 and following its acquisition by DA Davidson & Co. in 2011, Mr. Kacik served as Managing Director – Head of Healthcare Investment Banking with McGladrey Capital Markets, LLC where he led the national healthcare investment banking practice and was responsible for the oversight of all origination and execution efforts in the healthcare sector. From 2004 and following its acquisition by Wells Fargo Securities in 2006, Mr. Kacik served as Senior Vice President – Head of Healthcare Investment Banking with Barrington Associates, where he was responsible for originating and executing corporate finance transactions, including buy and sell-side M&A, equity and debt fundraising, and private equity recapitalizations. Earlier in his career, Mr. Kacik served in banking and finance roles with Smith Barney, Solomon International, LP, and Technomark. LTD. Mr. Kacik holds a B.S. from the University of Southern California and an M.B.A. from the Sir John Cass Business School – City University, London, England.

EU Finalises Proposal for Investment Protection and Court System for TTIP
Global ComplianceRegulation

EU Finalises Proposal for Investment Protection and Court System for TTIP

The European Commission has finalised its new and reformed approach on investment protection and investment dispute resolution for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This follows another round of extensive consultations with the Council and the European Parliament. The proposal for the Investment Court System has been formally transmitted to the United States and has been made public.

The final text includes all the key elements of the Commission’s proposal of 16 September, which aims at safeguarding the right to regulate and create a court-like system with an appeal mechanism based on clearly defined rules, with qualified judges and transparent proceedings. The proposal also includes additional improvements on access to the new system by small and medium sized companies.

The new system would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in TTIP and in all ongoing and future EU trade and investment negotiations.

“Today marks the end of a long internal process in the EU to develop a modern approach on investment protection and dispute resolution for TTIP and beyond,” said Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. “This is the result of far-reaching consultations and debates with Member States, the European Parliament, stakeholders and citizens. This approach will allow the EU to take a global role on the path of reform, to create an international court based on public trust.”

Since the publication of the Commission’s initial proposal, the text was circulated extensively for consultation to ensure broad endorsement of its main innovative elements, notably amongst co-legislators: EU Member States and the European Parliament.

These elements refer in particular to the strengthening of the right to regulate through a new article, the establishment of a new system for resolving disputes – ‘the Investment Court System’ –, and the creation of an appeal mechanism to correct errors and ensure consistency.

One of the changes made to the 16 September proposal is an additional improvement for small and medium-sized enterprises that would benefit from faster proceedings and would enjoy privileged treatment in comparison with large multinational companies.

EU Commission Considers Completion of the Banking Union
Global ComplianceRegulation

EU Commission Considers Completion of the Banking Union

This debate is an indispensable part of achieving a full and deep Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and in particular about bringing forward a proposal for a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS).

The recent Five Presidents’ Report set out a number of steps to further strengthen EMU. One of them is to move towards guaranteeing deposits at the European level with a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). EDIS would mark an important step forward in terms of reinforcing financial stability by reducing the link between banks and sovereigns, and it would enhance confidence by protecting citizens’ deposits at the European level, independent of their bank’s location in the union. It would be based on a system of reinsurance, as a first step.

The Commission’s proposal, which will be made on 24 November, will be accompanied by a Communication which will set out other concrete measures to further reduce risks in the financial system.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said: “Financial stability is a precondition for economic growth and convergence. We need to complete Banking Union as one of the pillars of a resilient and dynamic Economic and Monetary Union. Today’s discussion in the Commission demonstrates our commitment to propose first steps towards an EU Deposit Insurance Scheme already this year. In parallel, we will work on further reducing risks in the banking sector.”

Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “Everyone agrees that there is unfinished business on the Banking Union. Alongside supervision and resolution, we need an effective system for deposit guarantees. By gradually developing that at the European level, we can reinforce the confidence that depositors have in their banks, and further weaken the link between banks and their sovereigns.”

Financial stability and the confidence of citizens are indispensable preconditions for economic growth. A proposal for EDIS, as suggested by the Five Presidents’ Report, would consist of a reinsurance of national Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS) as a first step, moving towards a full European system of deposit guarantees in the longer term. While national DGS are already in place and provide for the protection of EUR 100.000 per person/per account per bank, they are not backed by a common European scheme.

EDIS would help to reinforce depositor confidence in banks across the Banking Union. Pressure on banks would be reduced and the loop between banks and Member States would be further weakened by helping to ensure that all national DGS would have sufficient funds available to weather periods of high stress.

The Commission emphasises the need for all Member States to implement fully the agreed rules of the Banking Union. On 24 November, together with the EDIS proposal, the Commission will also present concrete ideas about how risks can be further reduced in the financial system in general and in the Banking Union, in particular.

Bank of America Expands National Community Advisory Council
Corporate GovernanceRegulation

Bank of America Expands National Community Advisory Council

The National Community Advisory Council (NCAC), a diverse group of nonprofit and private-sector leaders convened by Bank of America, recognizes its 10th anniversary with the addition of five new members representing environment and sustainability expertise. Meeting this week in Washington, D.C., the group of senior consumer, community and academic leaders gathers twice a year to advise the bank on critical issues impacting society.

Formed in 2005, NCAC initially provided guidance on the bank’s community development lending and investment activities. While continuing its focus on community development and consumer policy issues, the council’s concentration has evolved into a broader focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and performance.

As part of the broad portfolio of climate change goals and transformative finance initiatives the bank has engaged with several leading environmental organizations. This led to an increased focus and expansion of environmental NCAC membership, which now includes:
• Armond Cohen, executive director, Clean Air Task Force
• Rick Fedrizzi, founding chairman and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council
• Bob Perciasepe, president, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)
• Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute
• Mark Tercek, president and CEO, The Nature Conservancy

Another recent addition to the NCAC roster is Jane Nelson, a globally recognized leader in the CSR arena who currently serves as director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative.

“Our members challenge us and collaborate with us to strengthen the impact of our collective work in the communities we serve, and we welcome new voices around the table to further that goal,” said Andrew Plepler, Corporate Social Responsibility executive, Bank of America, and NCAC chair. “We are proud that what started out as a conversation about community development has evolved into a decade of engagement on some of the biggest issues facing society.”

This week’s meeting will provide an opportunity for NCAC members and bank executives to sit down together and engage in meaningful dialogue on a broad range of topics, including neighborhood stabilization efforts around affordable housing, the state of civil rights, and environmental sustainability issues. These meetings are meant to address important topics and open the lines of communication between NCAC members and the bank on the state of the economy and how these collaborative efforts can lead to meaningful solutions.

“Bank of America has long set a high bar for social responsibility programs that enhance the communities they serve,” said Rick Fedrizzi, founding chairman and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council. “I’m honored to be part of its National Community Advisory Council, and look forward to serving with such an exceptional group.”

The six new members join a seasoned group comprised of nationally recognized consumer advocates, academic leaders, civil rights leaders, and community development and environmental experts

Scepter Partners Backs Former CEO of Santos with $5.1 Billion
Corporate GovernanceRegulation

Scepter Partners Backs Former CEO of Santos with $5.1 Billion

 Scepter Partners, a standing syndicate of ultra-high net worth individuals and sovereign investors, confirms that on 20 October 2015 it made a non‐binding indicative proposal (“Indicative Proposal”) to acquire 100% of Santos Limited (“Santos”), a significant independent oil and gas company in Australia.

The offer was at A$6.88 (US$4.97) per share in cash by way of a scheme of arrangement subject to a range of market‐standard conditions which equates to a market value of equity of A$7.1 billion (US$ 5.1 billion).

The Indicative Proposal, if implemented, would deliver the following to Santos’ shareholders:

26% premium to Santos’ closing price on 19 October, being the last trading day before the proposal was submitted.
38% premium to Santos’ 1-month volume weighted average (VWAP) price up to 19 October.
40% premium to the VWAP since 21 August 2015 which was the date on which Santos announced its strategic review.
John Ellice-Flint led Santos management to create over A$8 billion (US$5.8 billion) of value while the company was under his stewardship from December 2000 to June 2008. Mr. Ellice-Flint is widely regarded as one of the foremost oil and gas executives in Australasia.

Mr. Ellice‐Flint would serve as Executive Chairman of the privatized Santos should any Indicative Proposal ultimately succeed. Mr. Ellice‐Flint commented, “Our vision is to build Santos into an Asian oil and gas leader, based in South Australia, harnessing the skills and experience of the Santos workforce.”

With offices in New York and representative offices in London and Beijing, Scepter was founded by financier Rayo Withanage to acquire large assets with a focus in natural resources, infrastructure, real estate and media and telecommunications. Scepter’s global merchant banking activities are led by natural resources investment banking veteran Anthony J. Steains and his former Blackstone Asia Advisory Partners team.

Mr. Steains commented, “Scepter considers that this Indicative Proposal, if implemented, would provide Santos shareholders with an attractive premium and the certainty of cash in the face of significant future uncertainty. Scepter’s plan would be to build and grow a significant oil and gas business that advanced the presence of Australian companies in Asia.”

As a principal investor, Scepter is supported by the discretionary assets of a core syndicate of investors who have combined resources to invest in large transactions globally. Scepter is represented in this transaction by Highbury Partnership and Gilbert & Tobin. For more information, please visit www.scepterpartners.com.

Main Changes Regarding Buy-to-Let Taxes and How It Will Affect Landlords
LegalRegulation

Main Changes Regarding Buy-to-Let Taxes and How It Will Affect Landlords

The biggest shake up to landlord tax rules is the amendment to the interest only mortgage payment on a buy to let property and how this is offset against your tax bill. There shouldn’t be any change to how basic rate tax payers and mortgage free properties are taxed, the change is only applicable to high rate tax payers. Beware, if you are a basic rate tax payer and your rental income pushes you into the higher rate tax bracket, these changes will also affect you!
Currently higher rate tax payers pay 40% tax on the rental income over and above the interest only mortgage payment. E.g. £1,000 per month rent with a £400 per month interest only mortgage payment means that you will pay 40% tax on the £600 per month difference. You are given full tax relief on the £400 per month interest only payment so do not have to pay any tax on this and just pay tax on the profit. Makes sense.

With the new changes high rate tax payers will no longer be able to claim full tax relief on the interest only payment and will only be able to claim tax relief up to the basic rate of 20%. Therefore if we use the same scenario: £1,000 per month rent and a £400 per month interest only mortgage payment this now means you will pay 40% tax on the £600 profit and 20% tax on the £400 per month mortgage payment. This is an increase in this example of £2,400 a year.
In the current climate of low interest mortgage rates this is certainly a blow as it will mean higher rate tax payers paying more tax and making less profit on their portfolios. However, what should worry landlords are the consequences when interest rates start to rise.

A rise in interest rates equals a rise in tax!
Under the new rules, interest rates don’t need to rise that much to make buy to lets costly for landlords. As an example let’s say a landlord owns a property valued at £250,000 with an outstanding mortgage of £187,500 (75%). They charge £1,000 per month in rent and have a current interest only mortgage payment of £400 per month. Under the new system they will receive £600 per month income and pay tax of £320 per month. So they will make a net profit after tax of £280pm. If the interest rate on the mortgage rises to just 4.80% they will be paying £750 per month in mortgage interest payments and making a profit of £250 per month. Under the new tax scheme they will also be paying tax of £250 per month. Therefore the net profit from the property will be zero. If interest rates rose to 6.40% this landlord would be charging £1,000 per month rent, paying £1,000 interest and still be charged £200 per month tax from HMRC.

If a landlord reaches the point where they are making no profit from the rent, are spending time managing it and possibly even making a loss on it, the it is understandable that a landlord will consider two things; Firstly, they may look to increase the rent. This is a likely scenario and it seems grossly unfair that the new tax changes could ultimately have a detrimental effect on the tenants themselves. Secondly, the landlord will look to sell the property. Again, this will involve notice being given to tenants and will create a very unstable environment for many tenants who thought they had a long term let agreed as the properties which have long term tenants are more likely to be sold first as these tenants generally have fewer rent reviews and therefore these properties will become unsustainable for the landlords first.

What’s likely to happen as a result of the new tax?
The expected effect of this tax then will be that more property will come on to the market but only from those landlords that are hitting a higher rate of tax due to personal income (as well as a bit from rental income) these are the landlords that were only really in the BTL game for capital growth (“It’s my pension”) and who have perhaps found themselves enjoying the extra few hundred pounds a month income, it is probably they that will be selling their buy to let houses and flats as the profit margins become less attractive. We have already spoken to several property landlords who will be instructing agents to sale their property.

Those landlords (sometimes referred to as accidental landlords) selling up will bring more property on to the market for first time buyers and home movers and could see property price inflation easing in certain areas of the UK. This scenario would be a good result for First Time Buyers who are currently up against other FTB’s as well as property investors. It is worth remembering that landlord mortgages are not subject to the same regulation as residential owner occupier mortgages. BTL landlords can have a Buy to let mortgage up to 85% on an interest only basis making the monthly payments much less than a regulated mortgage which at 85% must be on a capital and interest basis.

For the landlord with only a couple of properties and not earning above the higher rate tax bracket or the property developer that is offsetting costs through refurbishment expenses that doesn’t pay higher rate tax or indeed the wealthy landlord with no mortgages anyway then it will be business as usual. The other tax changes to how much you can offset for wear and tear will have some affect but is not a game changer. So it would seem that the real likely result will be that where one type of landlord sell’s up, a different type of landlord will come along with a desire to buy up that same property.

Watch out Brussels is coming!
Whilst on the subject of the different types of landlords now is a good time to mention the European led Mortgage Credit Directive which comes into effect in March 2016. The new regulation will regulate some buy to let’s. The legislation will differentiate between 2 types of BTL. They may be referred to as either an ‘Investment Property Loan’ or a ‘Consumer Buy To Let loan’.

The accidental landlord that has perhaps been unable to sale their house and who has instead re-mortgaged it to a buy to let will fall under the consumer BTL category and will be subject to new guidance overseen by the FCA. This guidance could see lenders checking affordability for the buy to let using personal income or only lending where there is sufficient savings in place to cover 3 months’ rent in the event of a rental void. Those clients with existing buy to lets or those buying a property specifically to let it out will fall under the Investment Property Loans and will be subject to less scrutiny!

In summary the Buy to let market as we know it is changing and interference from Europe and its blanket policies is changing the face of Buy to let.

Budget Blues
Corporate GovernanceRegulation

Budget Blues

The investment organisation has announced that the newly announced budget will make life difficult for customers and businesses alike and its success depends heavily on whether businesses will be able to rise to the challenge, according to their summer forecast.

Against a background of tax rises and a sharp squeeze on welfare spending, reconciling the Chancellor’s fiscal goals with maintaining healthy growth in the economy will require businesses to step up their investment and export plans, according to the firm. They also suggested that if this did not occur then the adjustment will have to come through slower growth and imports.

The club’s forecast predicts that companies will respond positively to the Chancellor’s challenge. Business investment is
expected to accelerate to 7.4% in 2016, from 5.1% this year, and 7.1% in 2017. An improvement in the UK’s overseas investment income and exports of services will also provide some of the room needed for the Chancellor’s budget surplus and help to rebalance the economy away from the consumer spending-led growth prevalent this year. However, investment and exports are unlikely to extend far enough to prevent growth slowing over the next few years. As a result the EY ITEM Club expects GDP growth to reach 2.7% for 2015 and 2016 before it slows to 2.4% in 2017 and 2018.

The Chancellor’s plans for the UK economy are serious gamble which could go either way, according to Peter Spencer, Chief Economic Advisor to the EY ITEM Club.

‘The Chancellor has thrown down the gauntlet to businesses in a risky strategy that will require them to rise to the challenge and respond positively to his Budget announcements. Companies will have to invest in plant and skills to boost productivity and allow them to pay higher wages. However, we expect this strategy to be only partially successful and we are likely to see growth and imports slow down as well.’

Mark Gregory, EY’s Chief Economist, added in his comments that the living wage could potentially cause major problems for businesses.

‘Businesses will have to dust down their export and investment plans and increase spending and borrowing levels. As labour is becoming more expensive, following the Chancellor’s announcement for the introduction of a living wage, investment levels should increase. This could be the time for businesses to consider investing in technology as a way to reduce labour costs.’

Banks to Invest Heavily to Comply with Reforms
Global ComplianceRegulation

Banks to Invest Heavily to Comply with Reforms

56% of the finical institutions which participated in the Accenture 2015 Global Structural Reform Study, including banks, insurers and capital markets firms, are expecting to invest at least $200 million on projects which will overhaul how they do business, in order to comply with the global structural reform legislation. Nearly a third expect to spend over double that amount, $500 million, over the course of the year.

The new regulations were introduced to re-shape financial services institutions and make them more resilient following the issues they faced during the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Steve Culp, Senior Global Managing Director for Accenture Finance and Risk Services, emphasised the vast scale of these reformsand the impact they will have on the industry.

‘Over the past five years, many firms have struggled to keep pace with the multitude of regulatory, conduct and compliance related issues. Their responses have been fragmented and they have made significant investments in people, process and tools to remediate.

Looking ahead, the financial services landscape will continue to be re-written, given the cumulative impact of global structural reform, especially for internationally active banks and insurers. Those with a clear and connected global implementation plan in place will be best positioned to get the most from their investments.’

The financial industry as a whole is confident that they are prepared for the reforms, with 60% of the survey’s participants stating that they are ‘well prepared’ and a further 35% claiming to be ‘extremely well prepared’ to become compliant with the changing structural regulations.

Samantha Regan, a Managing Director in Accenture Finance and Risk Services and the lead of the Regulation and Compliance practice, was keen to highlight the importance of taking the reforms seriously but also using attitude to bring about a positive outcome to the situation.

‘Financial institutions cannot afford to adopt a wait-and-see approach in their response to the challenges presented by GSR. They need to tackle structural reform with the same bold, strategic thinking that they are using for other industry challenges. First movers can potentially turn this challenge into a competitive advantage with clients and customers drawn to firms with clear business strategies.’

Queen's Speech Announces Enterprise Bill
LegalRegulation

Queen’s Speech Announces Enterprise Bill

“The announcement in the Queen’s Speech today introducing a new Enterprise Bill – giving additional support to SMEs to settle payment disputes – ought to be welcomed by businesses across the UK. To have this Bill included in the speech should give hope to many struggling businesses that the government is serious about the need to protect SMEs and bring an end to the issue of late payments.

The current payment terms that many suppliers in the UK are subjected to mean that goods delivered today wouldn’t need to be paid for until long after summer is over; a practice that isn’t sustainable, but it is a reality that, until now, SMEs have had very little power to change. The implementation of a Small Business Conciliation Service should protect SMEs against larger and more powerful entities, and should reduce the number of SMEs that fold due to intense cashflow problems.

Whilst acknowledgment in the Queen’s speech has symbolic importance, businesses have been waiting for support from Government to tackle this issue for a long time, so will be watching the progression of this Bill with care and limited expectation.

In the meantime, there are options available that cover the gap between work completed and money in the bank. It’s therefore important for firms to thoroughly review their options and make use of any free financial advice that their own financial partners and suppliers can offer before pressure from large customers impacts their growth or operations.”

Olgiers: Global Offshore and Legal Advice Relevant to Tax
LegalRegulation

Olgiers: Global Offshore and Legal Advice Relevant to Tax

Ogier has launched a cross-jurisdictional Tax team in response to requirements from corporate clients, their advisers and trustees.

Having advised financial institutions, multinational corporates, funds and asset managers on offshore and legal advice relevant to tax for many years, the firm has now drawn together a team of partners with specific tax expertise.

‘Our tax team is global, reflecting the fact that many of our clients operate in more than one jurisdiction,’ said Jersey based partner Chris Byrne. ‘The depth and breadth of our knowledge ensures that we are able to support our clients’ business needs by providing access to lawyers who understand tax issues across our global network of offices.’
Ogier is the only offshore law firm with a Luxembourg capability and Luxembourg partner Caroline Bormans is a recognised tax expert.

The other team members are:
BVI – Simon Schilder
Cayman – David Cooney
Guernsey – Marcus Leese
Hong Kong – Nathan Powell
Jersey – Chris Byrne 

Ogier’s Tax team will primarily work with tax departments at onshore law firms and with clients direct on all aspects of cross-border advisory and transactional tax matters. It will not provide tax structuring advice or offer the type of tax compliance services offered by accountancy firms

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For further information please contact:
Kate Kirk
E: [email protected] or
T:+44 1534 753842