21 October 2013

The 5th Professional Services Conference

“Cyprus’ potential has not changed, despite the setbacks connected to the bailout”.

The Conference took place in Nicosia on 18th of September aimed to bring together all the Professionals of the international business sector to devise, agree and commit to a strategy to re-establish the reputation of Cyprus as an International Business Center.The main focus of the 5th Professional Services conference were on 2 issues: the future of Cyprus as an International Business Centre and the future of the Cypriot professional services, as well as analysis of the key matters, such as the ways in which the services sector can face the challenges and remain competitive, and how the reputation of Cyprus as an international financial services centre can be restored and further enhanced. The conference highlighted that, despite the setbacks connected to the bailout, Cyprus’ potential remains intact and with hard work and joint efforts, the professional services sector shall continue to be Cyprus’ main driver for economic growth.

Cyprus, for the past 15 to 20 years, has been the main center for professional services in the Eastern Mediterranean, linking Europe, North Africa, and Middle East. The financial and business services sector has been a main driver of the economy and source of employment for the past few decades and, with traditional industries in decline and some years to wait before Cyprus’ energy resources can be commercially exploited, it has to be the main driver of islands’ economy recovery.

The advantage of Cyprus as a jurisdiction over its direct competitors – Malta, Luxemburg, and Ireland – has to do with:

  • Low corporate tax rate (despite the proposed increase)
  • Highly developed and efficient network of double tax treaties
  • Excellent human capital with highly-educated professionals working in the field of law, accounting (audit and taxation), as well as other corporate services
  • Corporate income tax exemption for capital gains and dividends
  • No withholding tax on interest payments and dividends
  • Number of other benefits and advantages

Cyprus success in business services has been built on the robust and transparent legal system based on Anglo-Saxon law, an accounting and bookkeeping sector which adheres to international standards and the comprehensive banking and financial services. Since it is clear that the banking sector is to be scaled down Cyprus professionals shall have to find other means of meeting the international clients’ needs in this last regard. There are no rigid requirements as to where Cyprus companies, trusts or other entities should maintain their bank accounts, and it is perfectly feasible for them to operate bank accounts with any bank in Cyprus or, indeed, elsewhere.

The Cyprus Government in partnership with the professionals are taking measures to protect the sector during this difficult period for Cyprus, and at the same time devise and implement a strategy to develop it. The conference gathered leading legal and tax professionals of the international business sector not only from Cyprus but also from other parts of the world, including the US, Russia and Ukraine.

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