Beyond Brexit - Time to Act

With little time remaining until the UK leaves the EU, how should you prepare for Brexit, and what opportunities are there for your business?

As the political, legal and indeed business implications of Brexit continue to be debated the uncertainty continues as the final outcome of the deal cannot be predicted.

Brexit

"With only a few months away from the deadline to finalise negotiations between the EU and the UK, the uncertainty of what Brexit deal will be agreed, or if one will be agreed at all, remains as strong as ever. Given the latest developments, the need for action from those businesses that have not made up their contingency plans is critical especially if they need to retain access to their EU client base.

In PwC Cyprus, we stand ready to help you in the process; we are committed in assisting our clients and providing support whenever needed. Our dedicated Brexit team, fully connected with our global network, is ready to support you with strategic, operational and technical insights to help in your scenario planning and development of the right solution tailored to your needs.

Over the coming months our clients need stability and an environment where they can rely on to grow their business. Cyprus as an international financial services jurisdiction, is a market that can accommodate your business needs and provide a compelling part of your Brexit solution."

Evgenios Evgeniou - CEO - PwC Cyprus 

 

Brexit

"The ongoing Brexit discussions and negotiations continue to create both uncertainty as well as opportunities to businesses which need to respond to the new tougher economic environment being created within Europe and Britain.

Access to markets, passporting and people issues are only some of the most important considerations that companies need to take into account as they are preparing for the implications of Brexit. Such considerations become even more important for companies which provide financial services (banks, insurers, asset managers and investment firms) as there are restrictions when it comes to providing services to ‘third countries’.

PwC Cyprus is working closely with the PwC Network to provide our clients specialised assistance in considering the Brexit implications, analysing them and providing solutions as to what possible contingent plans can be put in place to ensure there is minimum disruption to business. With our close to 1000 people and expertise in all areas of strategy, taxation, financial reporting, relocation and setting up, we are already assisting our clients to help them build their alternative platforms enabling them to retain access to their EU customers and address people issues.

Starting to prepare now will ensure you take advantage of the opportunities that can arise but at the same time mitigate the risks that come along with the uncertainty of a Brexit deal that at this time remains largely undetermined.

What our clients need is stability. Solid plans of change and a new way of co-operation between Europe and UK. Cyprus, a common law jurisdiction with very close ties in working closely with the UK and with a long experience as a centre of international financial services can be an important and affordable medium for the new way of working together with the UK.  

We stand ready to assist you in the process of finding the best path of change or creating a new opportunity and welcome your questions and open dialogue on this."

Stelios Constantinou - Partner - Head of Industries - In charge of Financial Services

 

 

Brexit Tax

The Cyprus - UK new double tax treaty: A business enabler post BREXIT

"The new treaty - which is essentially effective from 2019 - provides for ZERO WHT rates on payments of dividends (with some exceptions), interest and royalties between the two countries, ensuring that the benefits which existed as a result of the application of EU Directives remain or in some cases are improved."

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Possible implications of Brexit on Indirect tax

"The consequences Brexit will have for Cyprus (and any other EU member state) trading with the UK mainly depends on whether the UK Government manages to secure a deal with the EU before it leaves the EU (on 29 March 2019). Although the UK is currently negotiating with the EU for the establishment of a free trade area for goods (maintaining a common rulebook for goods between the UK and the EU), in case it does not, it would mean that the free circulation of goods between the UK and EU would cease. Therefore, UK business will likely have to apply customs, excise and VAT procedures to goods traded with the EU while businesses in the EU will have to apply customs, excise and VAT procedures to goods they receive from the UK.

For companies with a business presence in the UK it is essential to closely monitor the Brexit negotiation process, as there will be a variety of impacts. It is therefore vital that companies are ready and prepared to face the changes ahead to minimize their effect on their businesses as much as possible."

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Marios Andreou, Partner, Head of International Markets/ In charge of Tax Advisory 

Timeline - Time to Act 

Over the coming months our clients need stability and an environment where they can rely on to grow their business. Cyprus as an international financial services jurisdiction, is a market that can accommodate your business needs and provide a compelling part of your Brexit solution.

 

 

Click on the image to download the detailed timeline: 

Explore our Insights

Banking

The EU Banking industry is stil recovering from the financial crisis with ongoing restructuring work and the UK leaving the EU comes at a challenging time for the sector.

This means that the potential upheavals that could result from Brexit include more challenges for the whole of the banking industry as well as its stakeholders.

Brexit is expected to result in a significant disruption as banks, clients, market infrastructure and regulators simultaneously carry out their plans to prepare for the UK's departure from the EU.

And Brexit transformation programmes are likely to be broad, with myriad activites needing to be delivered. These include restructuring legal entities; designing new ways of operating and transacting; gaining regulatory approvalsl; connecting to new market infrastructure providers - such as exchanges and central clearing facilities who themselves may be undergoing a similar transformation process - moving staff into new premises; and drawing up new contractual arrangements with suppliers. 

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Insurance

The impact of Brexit on the insurance sector in the UK and Cyprus

Brexit has caused significant challenges that may impact the future of the sector and in particular how UK market players can continue to service EU markets.

The nature and extent of this impact is unclear at this time. For a sector practised in risk management, reducing this uncertainty is essential. It is up to UK insurers to find the best ways to service their clients and hence continue to grow their businesses. Following Brexit, insurers will need to continue servicing cross border insurance contracts written prior to Brexit. This applies to both EU 27 insurers that passported into the UK (inbound firms) and vice versa (outbound firms).

The UK is an important base for accessing the EU market for non-EU headquartered financial services institutions. These companies are examining how to safeguard this treasured access that enables them to provide services across the 28-member EU market. If the right to passport solutions is withdrawn, UK insurers with European businesses will need to structure their businesses differently.  It may also be necessary for insurance companies using third country passporting through the UK to restructure their activities. Another option for UK insurers would potentially be to transform their UK business into a branch of a new EEA company.  This would have the benefits of a more efficient capital structure whilst continuing to house operations in the UK.

Cyprus can support UK providers seeking continuity of access to EU markets in selected insurance sectors and also offers valuable options to complement insurers’ international strategies. Cyprus

i) has high levels of insurance expertise;

ii) has a culture of professionalism in financial services, including accountants, lawyers and actuaries whose professional qualifications are derived from UK institutions;

iii) Has a legal framework largely founded on the fundamental principles of the English Common Law;

iv) Has broad use and acceptance of the English language;

v) Has a similar working model in place as the one in place in the UK as it pertains to the liaison between the Superintendent of Insurance and regulated entities;

vi) Solvency II regime fully adopted and in place;

vii) IFRS reporting applying to all insurance companies (as opposed to any ‘’local’’ GAAP) 

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Funds

The result of the UK’s referendum has already led to considerable market turbulence, with Brexit likely to result in a significant upheaval as funds and fund managers start to implement their strategies in preparation for the UK’s departure from the EU. Brexit transformation programmes are likely to be broad with activities ranging from restructuring legal entities and designing new ways of operating. This creates a number of challenges for UK-based fund managers. 

Brexit could lead to  funds established in the UK becoming automatically  “third country” funds and UK-based fund managers “third country” managers, for the purposes of the AIFMD meaning that they may no longer be able to market funds to EU investors based on EU ‘passporting’ arrangements. Fund managers should, therefore, look at other alternatives that will enable them to continue to have access to the EU market. Cyprus could be the domicile of choice for UK fund managers reassessing their business models in light of Brexit. Cyprus can provide practical solutions to ensure they retain their access to the EU market whilst at the same time enabling them to take advantage of significant tax breaks and benefits available to them. 

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Investment Firms

What are the implications for UK businessses providing Investment Services in the EU?

The European Union's vision for a single market in financial services is that entities providing investment management services authorised by their local EU competent authority, may provide investment services in any other member state by establishing a local branch or by providing the services cross-border without the need of a separate authorisation (EU passport).

Assuming that the UK proceeds with leaving the European Union, the UK based firms providing investment management services will not be subject to European regulations (e.g. MiFID II, AIFMD, UCITS) anymore. This means that these entities may potentially loose their passporting rights, revoking their access across the Euopean Union to provide their services.

Businesses based in the UK who currently provide investment management services in the European Union should consider obtaining an authorisation by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission to operate as a Cyprus Investment Firm (CIF), an Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) or a UCITS Management Company. This will enable these entities to continue doing business with their clients within the European Union after Brexit.  

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Walking the tightrope to an agreement

With one year to go until the UK leaves the European Union (EU), the finer details of Brexit are starting to be known. In our latest Brexit Update we look at what can be learned from the process so far and what can we expect of the end game. How should businesses prepare? And is there still a risk that no agreement will be reached after all?

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Contact us

Stelios Constantinou

Partner, Assurance, Head of Industries, In charge of Financial Services , PwC Cyprus

Tel: +357-25555190

Vassilios Vrachimis

Partner, Assurance, In charge of Banking , PwC Cyprus

Tel: +357-22555128

Andreas Yiasemides

Partner, In charge of Fund Services, PwC Cyprus

Tel: +357-22555035

George C Lambrou

Partner, Advisory, In charge of Investment Firms, PwC Cyprus

Tel: +357-22555728

Marios Andreou

Partner - Head of International Markets / In charge of Tax Advisory, PwC Cyprus

Tel: +357-22555266

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