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Global experts discuss ‘Trends and future of Funds Distribution’

Following an introduction by Moderator of the Session Petros Mavrommatis, Board Member, Head of Asset Management Services, KPMG, a panel discussion began on the Global Distribution / Cross-Border Distribution Stage at the 9th International Funds Summit & Expo discussed ‘Trends and the future of Funds Distribution.’

The panel was made up of Thomas Tilley, Senior Economist, EFAMA, Belgium, Kambis Kohansal Vajargah, Head of Startup-Services, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Austria, Sophocles Parapanos, Board Advisor, Swissquote Capital Markets Ltd, and Edward Glyn, Managing Director, Head of Global Markets, Calastone UK.

The main points of the discussion focused on Fixed Income, Equities, Private Equity, Alternatives, ‘How technology is transforming distribution,’ ‘The Digital Client,’ ‘Retail Investors: What do retail investors want?’ and ‘Institutional Investors (and family offices): What do institutional investors want?.’

Joining the Summit online, Tilley said that cross-border fund shares domiciled in the EU had steadily grown. Funds held outside the EU, including Asia and South America, meanwhile, had also grown, he added.

Among other things, Tilley also looked at the main fund owners in the EU, who noted the largest group was made up of Insurers and Pension Funds.

He also noted that Cyprus was a country with a large percentage of deposits, among the highest in Europe.

In his closing statement, he underlined the importance of financial literacy for investors.

Vajargah asked the audience to consider the larger amounts being dedicated to startup funding across Europe in 2022, something he partly attributed to investors’ fear of missing out. He mentioned that things were different this year, with fewer funds going in this direction.

According to the expert, SMEs may not realise that the criteria for access to bank loans would be changing which was where private equity would come in. He said that SMEs could learn from startups in this aspect.

“Cyprus positioning itself in between Asia and Europe,” and the country’s strong startup culture indicated that Cyprus could be playing a major role in this.

In his closing statements, he said it was the new generation that would be leading the way.

Parapanos focused his address on how things could be moved to the next level. He started off with the many attractions of Cyprus for foreign investors from CySEC legislation to the country’s legal system, a high-level of professionals available to staff the growth. “We are on the crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Middle East and we have good connectivity,” he added, noting that the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) could also not be forgotten and was anticipated to play a larger role again in the future.

Parapanos also noted the lifestyle benefits Cyprus offers.

“We have established that it is good to be established here,” he said, asking what more could be done to attract more investment.

He said that ways to attract more Assets Under Management (AUMs) were required.

Parapanos also noted that new Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations at banks were welcomed but that care had to be taken to ensure entities were not unnecessarily turned away.

On how to bring new investors in, Parapanos suggested that specific groups had to be targeted and incentives provided to investors, fund managers and others, to do business in Cyprus.

A focus on geography was also necessary, he suggested, saying that areas of activity and related offerings could be expanded.

In his closing statement, Parapanos said a more aggressive approach to bringing in new investors was important.

On his part, Glyn said that the biggest change he had seen in the industry in his 20 years of experience was the change to the economic supply chain between asset managers and distributors and security services providers.

Now some of the stakeholders were bypassing others to reach the client directly, he noted.

Glyn also shared that he had invested 1500 pounds over 21 years ago in the five of the major asset management companies. It is now worth 160,30 pounds, he said, illustrating that investment was not always the way to go as things currently stood and that he was working to change this.

In his closing statement, Glyn suggested that Cyprus had huge potential. He also said that the mutual fund industry would not survive if it stayed the same. He suggested that Cyprus could lead the way when it came to new token and digitalised investments.

KPMG and Swissquote Bank SA were Gold Sponsors of The Global Distribution/ Cross-Border Distribution Stage.

The panel discussion was followed by Closing Remarks by the Chairperson of the Summit Andreas Yiasemides, President, Cyprus Investment Funds Association (CIFA)/ Partner, Clients & Markets Leader and In charge of Fund Services, PwC Cyprus.

A networking cocktail closed the Summit’s first day.

The 9th International Funds Summit & Expo welcomes leading fund managers and fund administration specialists from across the world to discuss the evolving regulatory and increasingly competitive landscape in the global asset management sector.

Taking place on 23-24 October at the Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, in Limassol, the summit has a packed agenda, with key topics including an overview of investment vehicles and asset classes, asset management and financial stability, as well as cross-border distribution.

There will also be an extensive discussion around sustainable investing, which is key when it comes to investing nowadays, as well as FintTech and RegTech in the investment funds industry. The latter will also be discussed in depth, with a special emphasis on managing funds in the AI era and the use of technology to optimise investments.

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