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MW 13 September 2017

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maltatoday, WEDNESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2017 11 Business Today Tel: 2131 2344 Your Local Partner for Credit Risk Management Solutions Supporting you all the way Sant: EU and UK need good relationshpi after Brexit Former Prime Minister and Mal- tese MEP Alfred Sant said that it is the interest of both the EU and the UK to come to some deal and have a good working relationship after Brexit. Sant was interviewed in Brussels by Channel 4 on the recent revelations on the UK government migration plan which will end the free movement of labour immediately after Brexit and introduce restrictions to deter all but highly-skilled EU workers. Sant remarked that the tone of the British proposals will harden the position of some member states, especially in Eastern Europe, which initially would have been quite sympatethic to Brexit. "On the other hand both sides stand to lose and gain. The Germans and the French stand to gain from the financial services that the British will be losing. And in terms of hard trade, goods trade – both sides stand to lose and gain. Each side will be making its calculations to go forward. At the moment it looks like Europe is making these calculations as a block, which it is, but when the time comes for the details there will be different perspectives as well." When quizzed about the concept of having the UK restrict immigration during a transitional period and at the same time enjoying all the current trade benefits, Sant said that this is new territory. "The UK is going to try to get the best bargain while the Europeans will restrict that and get themselves the best bargain. So really there is no kind of defining point at this point in time. Both sides are making their negotiation points in detail. They will have to come out with crunch detail decisions that will reflect their mutual strength." The Maltese MEP said the UK is trying to get freedom of movement restrictions and yet enjoy the other three freedoms enjoyed by EU membership. "It might not get its way on this one but on the other hand there are other things up for discussion like the financial settlement, like Ireland, like all the other points that relate to the financial services, security and terrorism. So decisions cannot be taken on one chapter without going into detail on other chapters. At this stage you can't rule anything out because negotiations in Europe are carried out during long mid- night discussions where at the end there is some kind of solution that is a mish-mash of different positions." "A final question as a former Prime Minister, what do you make of the British tactics in these negotiations so far," the Channel 4 journalist asked the Maltese MEP. "They remind me of the tactics that used to be carried out by Malta back in the 1970s with the British on the use of the military base on the island," Sant said. "You start from a strong position then you negotiate down the line." Thinking without the box at EY attractiveness event EY's Annual Attractiveness Event on foreign direct investment has become the national benchmark in the fi eld. Now into its second decade, attracting all the top stakeholders in the public and private sectors to the podium, seminal speakers from around the globe, vibrant breakout sessions and with over 600 participating delegates, EY's national conference is the place to be to network and feel the coun- try's economic and fi nancial pulse. To be held on 25 October at the Intercontinental Arena Conference Centre, the theme of this year's conference is Thinking without the box: Disruption, Technology and FDI. As the theme indicates, this year will explore how government and businesses need to intelligently harness the power of disruptive innovation and technologies – so that Malta will be a disruptor, not one of the disrupted. The speakers' line- up of around 60 from all four corners of the globe includes Kate Adie, eminent broadcaster and ex-BBC journalist, Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Leader and Keith Strier, EY Global Technology Sector Digital Leader and Artificial Intelligence Leader for the Americas, and many more. The conference also showcases the results of an EY Malta survey carried out amongst foreign firms and investors already operating in Malta. The survey results and post-event report are subsequently distributed globally and showcases Malta as a forward looking investment destination. This survey has become the benchmark consulted by prospective investors around the world. This year's breakout sessions have been designed to generate the maximum amount of debate, ideas generation and identification of solutions. The breakout sessions themes are Moving people and things, Turning promises to reality: Fintech, blockchain and more, A population of €3 million, Start me up, From Brexit to Maltentry, iGaming: market disruption – staying ahead of the game, Across the sea: a new economy for Gozo, Life beyond technology. The event is supported by HSBC Bank Malta, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, GO plc, Malta Gaming Authority, Studio Seven, Mizzi Motors, Bank of Valletta, InterContinental Malta, IBM, BMIT, Malta Enterprise, Malta Stock Exchange, Times of Malta, Finance Malta, Malta Industrial Parks, Malta Investment Management, the Malta Independent, Malta Public Transport, Express Trailers, BMW, Muscat Motors, Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, M.Demajo, Malta Freeport Corporation and ICON Studios. Early registration is highly recommended by visiting Banking sector in Malta maintains buoyant trend The banking sector in Malta remains very well capitalised, highly liquid and profi t- able, and has continued to make a signifi - cant contribution to the local economy. This emerges from a recent statement is- sued by the Malta Bankers' Association (MBA). Total Assets The seven "core domestic banks", which have the strongest ties with the domestic economy, had a combined balance sheet total of € 21.3 billion at the end of 2016 (2015: € 19.7 billion), representing 215% of GDP, a ratio which is well within the EU average. Total assets of all the Association's 27 member banks stood at € 44.5 billion. Customer Deposits Customer deposits with the "core domestic banks" maintained their upward trend, increasing by a further 8% to reach a record € 17.7 billion (2015: € 16.4 billion). Total deposits with all the banks now stand at € 24.3 billion. Commenting on these statistics, Mr James Bonello, the MBA's Secretary General, said that "With a loan-to-deposit ratio of around 60%, banks have more than excess liquidity to support the development and growth of the Maltese economy by providing credit facilities to households and businesses". Loans and Advances to Customers Mr Bonello added that the "core domestic banks" remain committed to ensure the proper financing of the economy, despite the new and more restrictive regulatory regime which was put in place following the 2008 global financial crisis, from which Maltese banks emerged unscathed. During 2016, credit provided by these banks increased by 2.9% and stood at € 9.63 at the year- end (2015: € 9.38 billion). Mr Bonello pointed out that "this increase is net of substantial loan repayments effected during the year, partly through normally agreed repayment programmes and partly also through the proceeds of bond issues launched on the market by corporate clients". He also remarked that new economic sectors such as e-gaming and I.T. are not too capital intensive, and as such do not require high levels of financing as may be the case with other established sectors. Employment, Wages, Dividends and Taxation The direct contribution of the banking sector to the local economy remains significant, as can be gauged from the 2016 figures below: • Full time bank employees - 4,376 • Payrol - €171.5 million • Taxation on profits - €99.7 million • Dividends paid to resident shareholders - €54.9 million Alfred Sant

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