HBA-UK participated at the Economist 2018 Cyprus Forum at the London Stock Exchange

The Economist Events presented their 3rd annual event, entitled “Cyprus: Interweaving extroversion with aspiration”, which took place at the London Stock Exchange on the 5th of December 2018.

Cyprus has made significant progress towards improving its business environment, restoring the competitiveness of its economy and attracting foreign investment. Nevertheless, the Cypriot banking system is still facing a high ratio of NPLs, while the energy exploration process in the region has recently triggered geopolitical tension, in relation to Turkey’s claims. A major challenge is also Brexit and its implications with regards to the UK-EU relations.

The Chairman of the Hellenic Bankers Association – UK (HBA-UK), Louis Loizou, participated as a commentator at the panel “Turning Cyprus into a Thriving Business Hub: Financing Investment in Cyprus”.

The other panel participants were Andreas Yiasemides, Vice-Chairman of the BoD, Cyprus Investment Funds Association (CIFA), Partner, in charge of Fund Services, PwC; Demetra Kalogerou, Chairwoman, Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission; and Kyriacos Kokkinos, Board Member, Invest Cyprus, and National Council for Research and Innovation.

During the discussion, Louis Loizou reiterated that the Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) are suitable vehicles for financing investments in Cyprus given their multiple significant advantages. Then, he commented on the integration of capital markets in Cyprus and the pivotal role that the Cyprus Stock Exchange can play as a marketplace for raising external funding for Cypriot firms in the form of equity and bonds.

Besides, he commented that according to a recent survey conducted by the European Investment Bank, firms based in Cyprus are more optimistic about the future than firms in the EU; however, Cypriot firms are underinvesting in R&D, when compared to their EU counterparts. Finally, he mentioned that initiatives like the establishment of National Council for Research and Innovation are steps towards the right direction of increasing investments into R&D.