“The new world of investment screening”

Investment Screening

Academic and legal experts discussed the screening procedures for foreign investors acquiring assets in the EU.

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The CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management & the MSc in Financial Law and International Taxation organized an online masterclass in a series of panel discussions powered by CIBA – Cyprus International Businesses Association in regards to:

“Cyprus agile! The New EU Investment Policy, Trade & Financial Services.”

on the 25th of February 2021

The first session of discussions was dedicated to:

“Brexit Withdrawal agreement & professional education: the impact on the financial industry’s professionals”

Re-designing academic and professional qualifications for accounting, finance, and tax advisors in this landscape is urgently required. Linking those qualifications to new industry sectors attracting genuine investment for the local economy is requested.
Professor Christopher Boris sets the framework. Notable speakers give specific insight on Cyprus’ implementation of the conditionalities provided by the agreement. The topic is broadened by asserting Covid’s influence on two distinguished sectors, the Educational and the Financial Services industry, with a forward-looking glance.

The Background:

  • • Brexit agreement and academic qualifications
    • Brexit agreement and professional qualifications
    • Brexit and trends for the financial services industry in the EU

The influences:

  • Covid & online education: its impact on Cyprus education industry
  • Covid & digitalization: its impact on the advisory industry & investment policy

Key speaker:

Christopher Bovis, Professor of International Business Law at the University of Hull, Visiting Professor in MSc in Financial Law and International Taxation at CIIM, advisor for the UN, European and national governments.

The panelists are prominent experts in the field:

  • Leonidas Paschalides Deputy Secretary-General of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (CCCI), a key factor in the Brexit negotiations
  • Kyriakos Iordanou, General Manager of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC)
  • Laris Vrahimis, former coordinator of lawyers’ qualification and training, Cyprus Legal Counsel, Cyprus Bar Association
  • Professor Yiorgos-Sokratis Smirlis, Chairman of the Cyprus Council of Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications (KYSATS)
  • Christos Theophilou, Tax advisor, Professional qualification provider (Taxand).

Part 1- Christopher Bovis

Professor Christopher Bovis raises awareness about the UK academic and professional qualifications, emphasizing the Legal, Finance, and Accountancy professions under the EU-UK Brexit agreement.

Part 2 – Leonidas Paschalides 

Leonidas Paschalides, Deputy Secretary-General of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (CCCI), shares his experience with the Cyprus partners regarding the options given and challenges driven by Brexit, considering the administrative burden for trade as to custom unions & the new VAT status. Going beyond explores how shipping & the investments fund industry and the education sector in Cyprus may have their part of the stake. The debate explores the Cyprus educational industry’s opportunities targeting EU students, resulting from partnerships with UK actors.

Part 3 – Kyriakos Iordanou

Professional qualification acquired from the UK is no longer automatically equivalent.

Mr. Iordanou, General Manager of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC), discusses the UK’s leadership in the EU’s financial services. Taking back the passport from UK providers may amount to them relocate. Besides, their professional qualification is no more acknowledged as before. Equally, the ACCA’s, organized by SELK, is affected by the non-recognition of the UK professional qualification. Adjustments are to be made within the year. This process goes with upgrading and scaling up to raise competitiveness.

Professor Vrahimis discusses how the UK academic qualifications are to be treated by the Cyprus Legal Counsel. His presentation extends to the treatment of UK professionals as regards litigation and legal advisory. Beyond, Brexit may cut apart the UK from the EU law, but at the same time, online teaching may encourage more and more Cyprus students to opt for UK degrees. He provides his insightful thinking of the legal system is to be influenced by these dynamics.

Part 4 – Yiorgos-Sokratis Smirlis

Professor Smyrlis elaborates on how Brexit affects academic qualification since UK degrees become third-country degrees. The details on how DIPAE and KYSATS are to assess the equivalence process.

In addition, online education is growing in strength in a short period of time, and this may have some repercussions on the local education industry. He deploys the role of the local regulatory authorities on the matter.

Part 5 – Christos Theophilou

The Brexit saga does not end here: The UK finance industry is a leading provider of financial services in Europe, but the question is whether it maintains this position. Is there more space for other regional actors?

COVID has pushed for more digitalization in our business practice; the geographic factor that has been a disadvantage to Cyprus is neutralized. Digitalization is transforming the tax industry – more and more of the earnings flow to the web giants, soon subject to specific tax rules. Consequently, Cyprus’ international tax policy is to seek new tailored services. This needs to consider the “digital-economy,” which will necessitate a drastic revamp of the way we set our Tax structures (e-Commerce, Digital Permanent Establishment).

Mr. Theophilou from Taxand presented the main tax trends, the high-stake challenges for Cyprus collection of taxes, and argued for new holistic tax reform in Cyprus.

Part 6 – Q&A

Q&A session follows. The conclusions are driven by Dr. Eleni Apostolidou, CIIM, Director of MSc in Financial Law and International Taxation.

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FLIT Programme Director

“FLIT is a valuable asset to have under your belt. Earn an MSc that covers both Financial & International Taxation, with specific business practice features in an international environment in Cyprus. Provide sound advice to your clients and efficiently liaise with EU & international business actors. FLIT is an inclusive environment for Cypriots and expatriates in Cyprus. ”

Dr. Eleni Apostolidou
Director of MSc in Financial Law & International Taxation