~ Based on PwC’s latest Aviation Comparative Jurisdiction Report, Focusing on the wide UAE Double Tax Treaty Network
The strength and role of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) as a strategic hub for aircraft financing and leasing has been endorsed and corroborated by PwC in the newly published Aviation Comparative Jurisdiction Report (the “Aviation Report”). ADGM, the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, worked with PwC to analyse the wide and expanding Double Tax Treaty (DTT) network that ADGM companies conducting aircraft finance and leasing activities from ADGM would have access to. The extensive analysis compares the UAE DTT network and corporate tax positioning to the traditional global hubs for aviation finance, namely Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Cayman Islands.
Based on the report, the UAE has an extensive network of tax treaties, with 83 in force and a further 32 in various stages of negotiation, signature or ratification. The UAE has a wider network than the comparison jurisdictions and clear comparative advantages with particularly strong coverage in Central Asia and Africa as well as especially strong treaties with the burgeoning aviation markets of India and Indonesia. The commercial case for aircraft financing and leasing businesses to be based and established in Abu Dhabi Global Market is compelling.
MrDhaher Bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, Chief Executive Officer of the Registration Authority, commented: “The Middle East has a vibrant aviation landscape with expanding airports and growing fleets to address global demand well into the next decade. The aviation industry is one of the key economic sectors of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. As an IFC, ADGM continues to actively support and facilitate the industry’s demand for efficient financing and leasing arrangements for our domestic airlines. International players can tap on ADGM’s proven platform as their launch pad into the region’s fast-growing economies and access the exciting business opportunities and growth.”
Middle East is Central to the World’s Fastest Growing Aviation Markets over the next 20 years
Over the next 20 years Asia, the Middle East and Africa are forecast to be the highest growth aviation markets, with Abu Dhabi centrally positioned to these markets. The UAE is also noted to have impressive aviation credentials, with two of the world’s top airlines and a further two ambitious low-cost carriers. With aircraft debt and leasing funds emerging as an attractive and better-understood asset class, Abu Dhabi, with its abundance of wealth, also presents an attractive market to raise capital.
As an established broad-based IFC, ADGM is well prepared to support the aviation industry and aviation financing community in achieving their business strategies and growth plans for the Middle East and wider region. It has an attractive and robust ecosystem comprising world-class business infrastructure, comprehensive suite of corporate tools and direct access to global professional services, such as leading international law firms and accounting agencies that have anchored their offices at ADGM.
ADGM is an Innovative & Highly Attractive Jurisdiction for Structuring Global Transactions
In catering to the exacting needs of the aviation industry, ADGM has put in place a modern and responsive jurisdiction that continuously presents innovative solutions and financing structures for businesses to realise their plans. International aviation finance businesses, including lessors, banks, advisory firms, recognise the strategic advantages of incorporating their regional presence in ADGM to be closer to their regional clients and business opportunities. With a highly competitive special purpose vehicle (SPV) regime, benchmarked against the world’s leading jurisdictions, ADGM also serves as an attractive domicile for the structuring of aircraft transactions (with the first aviation leasing transactions successfully concluded).
ADGM – Influencing & Transforming the Aviation Financing Industry in the Region
In addition to a wide and favourable DTT network, ADGM registered companies benefit from ADGM’s full English common law environment, zero-percent corporate tax exemption until 2063, no foreign ownership restrictions, no limits on repatriation of profits and no withholding taxes, as well as access to our independent courts and financial services regulator. ADGM has been actively developing a thriving community of businesses and professional services to serve the local and regional markets in the aviation finance and leasing sector.
ADGM as the Regional Hub Aviation Financing & Leasing
ADGM is committed to becoming an aviation financing and leasing hub in this region. The PwC report aims to enable companies and investors to identify clear opportunities that can enhance the operational and tax efficiency of their businesses in the aviation finance industry. The industry can continue to rely on ADGM’s established platform to expand its global presence as ADGM seeks to continue to engage and work closely with our community of firms to improve business conditions and access to opportunities.
To share a more in-depth understanding of ADGM’s aviation platform and services, ADGM will be meeting international aviation leaders and industry players at the upcoming annual Aviation Economies Growth Frontier Industry Conferences in Dubai, Hong Kong and Dublin.
The report is available on this link.
U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller
WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.
Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.
“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.
Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.
While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.
“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”
Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.
“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.
“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”
The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.
“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.
She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.
Gorman’s books are both due out in September.
Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape
By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD
Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.
As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.
As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?
Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world
No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.
In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.
Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.
The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses
Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.
Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.
The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.
As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.
But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.
A digital world post-COVID
Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.
There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.
Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.
Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.
Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says
LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.
“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.
The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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