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Cyprus must focus on marketing to grab the share of lucrative sector – Theo Phanos, London based Cypriot fund manager
Theo Phanos, director of Trafalger Asset Management and profiled in the UK section of Greek Rich List magazine – told the Cyprus Weekly last week that Cyprus has a good chance of getting a slice of the investment fund management pie, provided it moves ahead with intense marketing abroad.
In an interview with the Cyprus Weekly he said “Cyprus could get some market share of the investment fund management industry without a doubt Malta has achieved that. I think Cyprus should be in a much stronger position.
“It will take a long time before we can compete with Ireland and Luxembourg because they have been doing this for 20 years, but I think it’s feasible,” said Theo, director of Trafalgar Asset
He was speaking on the sidelines of a round table discussion in Nicosia on the prospects of Cyprus as an investment fund management centre, organised by the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA).
“Cyprus has to do a lot of marketing. Other countries who are trying to achieve the same, such as Luxembourg, Ireland and Malta are very proactive in sending delegations to locations like London and elsewhere.
Cyprus needs to explain the infrastructure it offers, the benefits, different permits and the various elements that go towards establishing a fund management business.”
He believes Cyprus has the infrastructure, but it is a matter of bringing it together and doing a lot of marketing “and doing it quickly because this is an important time for the fund management industry with a new EU directive that is being voted on in Parliament at this time.”
The discussion dealt with asset management broadly and a number of speakers identified some sub-sectors of asset management that would be suitable for Cyprus, he added.
“Sub-sectors such as the domiciling of funds, the custody of funds, the administration of funds, rather than the actual management of the funds themselves which is a very difficult objective to achieve.
“That would probably continue to take place in bigger countries like the UK, France and Germany. But the domicile can be in Cyprus rather than Ireland, Luxembourg and other locations.”
Phanos believes that Cyprus needs to have clear objectives and to communicate what’s available to foreign investors and foreign fund management companies.
“Most of the elements are in place in Cyprus and there can be certain refinements, maybe to taxation and to obtaining approvals and so on. I think there can be some changes, which are not that difficult, and beyond that it’s actually communicating to people that Cyprus actually offers these possibilities for domicile administration and so on.
“To a large extent, it’s a communication exercise and clearly to communicate well you need to have the resources, empower people and spend money.”
“I think Cyprus has done very well in other areas as an offshore business centre, as it focused on certain target markets like Russian businesses and Greek businesses which were low-hanging fruit for Cyprus.
“It was easy to get the offshore business. Now, the next target is a tougher project. It means competing with Malta, Luxembourg, Ireland and other locations for the domicile administration of fund management businesses.
“It is tougher and I think the focus has been elsewhere over the years,” he said.
Source: Demetra Molyva, The Cyprus Weekly