The ongoing interest from investment funds, even during the pandemic, to register and operate in Cyprus is proof positive the country has become a viable and attractive European destination for Fund managers and sector-specific consultants.
This was the main conclusion drawn from the Cyprus Investment Funds Association (CIFA) Annual General Meeting, which took place on Monday 15, February. Even though the Meeting was held digitally due to the pandemic, it garnered the interest of CIFA members and beyond. It’s worth noting that due to the sector’s strong growth in the past few years, the Association has now more than 370 legal and natural members.
As the CIFA president Andreas Yiasemides mentioned during his speech, the efforts to promote the sector abroad continued throughout 2020, even under the unprecedented conditions, and it appears that Cyprus has become in practice a destination of choice for investment funds. In 2020, licensing applications to the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) continued to increase. The Commission’s Vise-Chairman George Theocharides mentioned in his opening remarks that some 50 applications from investment funds are currently pending approval by the Supervisory Authority. He also noted the Commission is studying several approaches that will improve oversight and enhance transparency, making the country even more attractive to investors.
The arrival of investment funds in Cyprus entails multiple benefits for the economy, like increase in tax revenue, creating highly-specialised new jobs and attracting high-income foreign executives. As Kyriakos Iordanou, General Manager of the Institute of Certified Chartered Accountants of Cyprus, remarked, the investment funds sector is at the forefront of the Cyprus economy, and the goal is to strengthen the sector even further through the cooperation of the two Associations.
The importance of the sector in attracting new investments in the country was also highlighted by Invest Cyprus CEO George Campanellas, who noted that investment funds are one of the three pillars of the organisation’s focus, in a bid to attract foreign direct investments and international organisations to move their operations in the country.
Zenon Papaphilippou, a member of the CFA Society Cyprus Board of Directors, explained that the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two organisations seeks to foster professionalism in the sector and implement high ethical standards across all investment professions.
Yiasemides explained that the Board of Directors and the technical committees of the Association, taking advantage of this particular period, worked on a technocratic level to improve the sector’s regulatory and tax framework. As a result, important regulations are expected to be implemented in 2021, making the country an even more attractive destination. What is more, the CIFA president emphasised the close cooperation of the Association with CySEC and Invest Cyprus, as well as with important associations in the Investment Funds sector abroad, like the European Fund & Asset Management Association (EFAMA) and the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).
Yiasemides voiced optimism investment funds will soon become one of the most important pillars of the Cyprus economy, given that every stakeholder from the private and public sector and the Supervisory Authorities keep working sensibly and professionally.
On behalf of Cyprus Investment Funds Association