30 May Specialist Panel on the future of the Investment Services Sector in Cyprus.
Representatives from the majority of Cyprus Investment Firms participated in an event organised by the two largest Advisory Groups in the sector, K.Treppides & Co and MAP S.Platis, titled Is Cyprus capable of remaining the leading jurisdiction for financial services in EU?.
About 250 people listened to the Directors of both consultancy specialists offer their insights on the future of this important sector for Cyprus Economy which represents over 4% of the GDP and offers employment to over 10.000 staff in all levels of employment. Furthermore, opening the event were Mr Andreas Andreou, vice-chairman of CySEC, and Dr Andreas Charalambous on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance that provided their thoughts on the role of the government and the regulator in maintaining the strong position of Cyprus as one of the most important hubs in Europian Union for this sector.
Mr Andreou, as the representative from securities market regulator, stated that CySEC “strongly believes that the adequate provision of investment services is based on ensuring rigorous investor protection. The industry’s support for such efforts will help preserve the integrity of the market and assist Cyprus in strengthening its position as a robust and reliable jurisdiction for financial services in the European Union. On our part, we believe that CySEC has the experience, the determination and the people to make the difference and push toward the further upgrading & development of the securities sector.”
Mr Charalambous mentioned that the Ministry notes “that the pieces are put into place to make Cyprus a leading jurisdiction for the provision of financial services in the EU. For this to be achieved government and private sector efforts have to be maintained and enhanced, with the development of quality products and services, having a medium and longer term perspective”.
From K.Treppides & Co, Managing Partner Mr Marios Cosma talked about the difficulties the sector is facing, like various barriers of entry, the ever changing regulatory environment, technological red-tapes, the need for education, and the diminishing trust between the regulated entities, the regulators, the business consultants and the clients. He went on that the way to fix this is to reintroduce investor confidence by building top-down trust structures, starting from the regulators and the consultants in the sector. To achieve this, Mr Cosma continued, Cyprus needs to develop a compliance culture that will ensure that mistakes of the past will not be repeated.
For MAP S.Platis, General Manager Mr Demetris Taxitaris commented on the role that the Investment Services sector played in stabilising and supporting the economy of Cyprus and contributing in its recovery in recent years. With an estimated contribution to about 4% of GDP, this is a sector that requires the support of the regulators to ensure that the reasons that brought international investors to the island will persist for the foreseeable future. Due to the vast number of upcoming regulations that will affect the sector, he maintained that the role of consultants and advisors like K.Treppides and MAP S.Platis is more important than ever in ensuring the safe transition of the sector to the new regulatory realm.
Mr Marios Siathas, General Manager of the European Institute of Management and Finance (EIMF) organising this event, emphasised on the importance of specialised training and education for all participants in the sector, ensuring a well versed and professional workforce with strong knowledge of the current and upcoming regulations, as well as the mistakes of the past to ensure they are not repeated. Finally, he reiterated the EIMF’s continuous support for the sector, having catered for the majority of the training needs of the market.
Finally, all speakers emphasised that it is recognised and generally accepted that the financial services, especially the Investment Firms and the foreign investors who have trusted Cyprus by choice, have demonstrated exceptional resilience during the crisis of 2013 and have supported, assisted and contributed to the turnaround of the Cyprus Economy. For this reason all parties have an obligation to ensure that Cyprus remains the leading financial jurisdiction in the European Union and beyond.