By Stelios Orphanides
Cyprus’s financial sector could take advantage of opportunities created by the decision of British voters to leave the European Union, the director of a banking business group said.
“There will be changes, that’s for certain,” Michalis Kammas, director general of the Association of Cyprus Banks said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Whether there will be deterioration, that’s uncertain. When difficulties emerge, opportunities also arise”.
In a similar fashion, the chairman of DISY Averof Neophytou said on his Twitter account on Tuesday that Cyprus “instead of grumbling, which should see how to take advantage of possible opportunities from Brexit because the preconditions are there”. Neophytou was reacting to public statements by opposition politicians accusing the government for not doing enough to protect Cyprus from the effects of Brexit.
On Monday, the Guardian said that London may lose up to 100,000 jobs in its financial sector should banks implement their Brexit contingency plans. Hungary’s government is already preparing unspecified incentives to attract British business which may decide to leave the UK following the Brexit vote on Thursday. The Cyprus Business Mail understands that while the Cypriot government has no intention of offering incentives to UK-based companies that will seek to transfer their business or headquarters out of the UK, it will not discourage them from settling in Cyprus.
“We need to be careful in the messages we are sending,” Kammas continued and listed Cyprus’s advantages which, he said, include legal and accounting services based on common law, “good human capital” and the island’s geographic position and EU membership.
“Cyprus has a lot to offer,” including its ship management sector and a “robust banking system,” he said. “We need to give all probabilities a serious thought. We need to be proactive”.