By Ahmet Abdulaziz…….
Daily News of Life and times in North Cyprus goes around the world
We receive a lot of very interesting and informative news and we are sharing with our readers news from Creditwest Bank of the introduction of the ground breaking new “LOCAL PAY” payment system which you can read about below.
By Margaret Sheard ….
Having read Trevor’s Tips, in cyprusscene.com, in which he referred to the property income tax payment system which has been changed, I was hoping that maybe something may have been sorted out and the previous system would now be working again.
Creditwest Bank, which operates almost for a quarter of a century in Northern Cyprus, has increased its paid-in capital from 9.123.322.- TL to 100 Million TL, which indicates a growth of more than 10 times.
Dr. Süleyman Erol, who successfully carried out the General Manager duty for more than 10 years, handed over the mandate to Mazher Zaheer.
According to the statement made by Creditwest Bank, Mazher Zaheer began his banking career in 1997 as a Treasury and Foreign Operations specialist at Creditwest Bank, and since 2008, he has held different roles as Deputy General Manager responsible for Treasury and International Banking, Marketing, IT and Subsidiaries.
Since 2006, Dr. Süleyman Erol has been serving as executive manager at Altınbaş Holding and after 10 years as General Manager of Creditwest Bank, he will continue his career as Altınbaş Holding Finance Group President and will be responsible for all finance investments of the Holding in Ukraine, Turkey and Cyprus.
Mazher Zaheer was born in Pakistan in 1975 and after his graduation from the International Business Department of the American University of International Studies in 1996, he completed his master’s degree in the Department of Banking and Finance at Girne American University in 1998. Mazher Zaheer began his career in Creditwest Bank under the umbrella of Altınbaş Holding in 1997 as a Treasury and Foreign Operations specialist and as a result of his success, in 2008 he was appointed as Deputy General Manager of Treasury and Foreign Operations. Mazher Zaheer has more than 15 years of experience in treasury, foreign operations and capital markets and has served as Deputy General Manager in different departments of the bank.
Commenting on the subject, Mazher Zaheer stated that Creditwest Bank is an institution that always invests in its employees and leads them in their career paths. Zaheer also underlined the positive effects of having specialized and educated employees and being an innovative, open-minded and pragmatic bank with the largest capital amongst private banks in Cyprus.
He added that their core energy source consists of the determination and creativity of the employees who work consciously, honestly and patiently while investing in human resources and technologies and who do not give up their ultimate goal of superior quality and are eager to improve.
As a co-founder of expat banking, he reiterated the clear importance of expat banking for Creditwest Bank with the aim of continuing to welcome more expat clients and further enhance the products on offer. Also, with a growing number of dedicated associates and expat banking branches located throughout Northern Cyprus, Creditwest continues to improve and tailor its services to support the needs of current customers and welcome new clients choosing to base themselves in the TRNC.
Mazher Zaheer also stated that the bank’s experience and knowledge of their customers’ needs and expectations are unrivalled. This allows them to identify solutions and develop fast, efficient and high quality products and services within a growing distribution network. Creditwest can draw upon new partnership arrangements with other local businesses to provide a more complete and diverse service to its customers. Whilst the bank continues to develop and innovate to sustain profitability in a highly competitive market, ethics, social responsibility and customer satisfaction remains at the very heart of Creditwest Bank’s mission.
On Wednesday 14th December, Near East Bank held a Christmas Soirée for their expat customers at the Park Palace Hotel in Kyrenia. The Bank had decided this year not to hold the event at their Karaoğlanoğlu Branch and their choice of venue for 2016 was excellent.
We thought about the days long ago in the UK when banking was more personal and you could visit the Branch Manager and join him in his office to discuss your finances etc. Chris recalled a cinema advertisement for a bank where the Bank Manager would step out from the wardrobe, promoting the personal touch. Here in North Cyprus we can still enjoy the personal touch where you are made very welcome and often invited into the Manager’s office and offered tea or coffee and sit and have a chat.
Many of the banks who have expat clientele hold a Christmas Soirée for their customers and we were delighted to receive an invitation from Near East Bank. We arrived at the hotel to be greeted by Naci Karanlık who has now moved on to a new role within the Banking Group and we found a large number of people in a very nice room where there was a vast array of food and drinks to tempt the guests. There were also 2 Turkish Cypriot ladies in traditional dress making fresh pancakes with various fillings.
We spoke with Enver Haskasap from Near East Group who is also associated with the NEU Drift Team and Soner (Sonny) Soybaflı who is a fairly new member of the Bank dealing with Expatriate Customer Service, plus other members of the Bank Group, including Bahar Gűdenoğlu who is now the Manager of the Karaoğlanoğlu Branch. We did not know a lot of the guests but did spot John Wyn Roberts and Nick Vye and one or two other familiar faces.
After speaking with some of the Near East personnel we have met previously and some of the new members we made our way to sample some of the delicious canapés and hot food which had been provided, there were 2 short speeches and then some live background music to enjoy as well.
The Park Palace Hotel is very nice, situated on the outskirts of Kyrenia and within walking distance of the town and it looked very Christmassy with the colourful lights decorating the outside of the building. Nacı told us that one of his staff had been given the task of arranging the event and she had made an excellent job of it, in conjunction with the hotel, with many very nice features.
All in all this was a very pleasant couple of hours and we would like to thank Near East Bank Group for their hospitality.
Figen Kaymak would like to invite all Creditwest Customers to join her and the Creditwest team for a seasonal get together and drinks at the Di Figero Restaurant, Karaoglanoglu on Friday 16th December between 3 pm and 7 pm.
To help make the seasonal spirit tingle, Cyprusscene will be donating a few pennies from this old man’s hat. Ho ho ho.
On behalf of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, it is indeed an honour for me to address such a distinguished audience. I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to The Economist for the excellent organization and to John Georgoulas for giving me and President Pilides the opportunity to take part on this second consecutive year.
“World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.” These words of Robert Schuman in his declaration made whilst laying the foundation of today’s European Union have never been more valid than now; not only for the EU itself; but also for the settlement process of the long standing Cyprus conflict.
Indeed, Europe has never faced so many serious challenges simultaneously. Slowing economies, financial inequality and unemployment, along with an unprecedented refugee crisis, not to mention the global security threat of terror, led to deep anxieties and fear amongst the citizens of Europe. This resulted in the rise of nationalism, which has been successfully capitalizing on divisive concepts of nativism, virulent nationalism, xenophobia and protectionism…
Increasingly, we are witnessing the growing support for calls to close the borders, ban immigration and revolts against economic openness. These are developments leading to a serious cause for concern as they are presenting an existential threat to the hard-earned post war liberal European values.
What should be done about it?
The discontented citizens do have legitimate concerns about the consequences of globalization such as immigration and security threat; and these concerns must be addressed. However, much of the criticism on the EU is misguided by deliberately downplaying its benefits and by overseeing the genuine causes.
The solution is not to dismantle the Union, nor is it to stop free trade; but to undertake the necessary reforms to make the EU more operational. Viable and sustainable solutions to these multi dimensional challenges can only be found by increasing the bond and cooperation amongst the member states.
In regards to free trade, which enables broad opportunities and prosperity across the world ; the right approach is to tackle the concerns of those losing out from it by adopting the appropriate policies.
Ever since the founding of the EU, member states have been benefiting enormously from the fundamental freedoms. Peace, democracy, prosperity and the world’s largest single market created should not be allowed to be taken for granted and must be promoted to the European citizens. The EU together with its values and principles must be protected irrespective of any cost. This is indispensable not only for the prosperity and security of Europe but for those of the world too.
Much is at stake also, if the ongoing efforts to end the Cyprus Conflict fail once again, continuation of the status quo will deprive our Island and the entire vicinity of its full economic potential, defying the fundamental motives of globalisation; not to mention those of the EU. It will lead to the rise of nationalism and populism on the Island and exacerbate instability by letting the energy reserves aggravate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The two Leaders have been engaged in intensive negotiations for the last 18 months and have made significant progress. Whilst encouraging convergences on the majority of issues have been reached, there are still divergences on some others which are highly sensitive to both Communities. Nevertheless, the current momentum must be sustained and the remaining time must be utilized to find a common ground along our shared commitment.
Whilst the main onus of reaching a comprehensive settlement lies upon the two leaders, in the end it will be the two Communities who will make peace and hopefully make it last. Countries have an average 40% risk of return to conflict within the immediate decade after a peace agreement is reached. Therefore, this very challenging task cannot be left to be shouldered by politicians alone. The involvement and support of the civil society is absolutely imperative too.
Furthermore considering that the driving force of this process is predominantly economic prospects, the intersection of business and politics needs to become more increasingly developed under the direction of the two Chambers.
The primary means of global peace-promotion by business leaders is through economic development and community building. Mindful of this, we have been striving to promote economic cooperation under the prevailing state of affairs, aiming to erode the negative effects of the status quo by improving everyday living conditions and by making the economic benefits of partnership visible…
Three specific areas where I believe the two Chambers can and should deliver more;
Persistent cooperation with the Leaders towards the realization of the pending confidence building measures, such as the interoperability of mobile phone operators, the crossing of Turkish Cypriot commercial vehicles to the South, broadening of intra-island trade and the finalisation of the PDO registration of Hellim/Halloumi.
The Chambers should open a more effective channel of communication with the two Leaders and their negotiating teams. The aim of this would be to influence the required legal and regulatory framework, to become in sufficient command of the agreement to objectively prepare the business communities, and to be in a position to encourage our leaders to find a common ground on the divergences.
The Turkish Cypriot Community will not go through the typical accession negotiation process, thus the task of preparing the Turkish Cypriot economy will necessitate a tailor made procedure. In addition to the European financial aid and technical tools , KEBE’s support and assistance in the preparation of the private sector to the Acquis, will no doubt be instrumental.
Ladies and gentlemen,
All stakeholders concerned need to demonstrate their visionary and constructive leadership to empathize, compromise and take courageous steps forward to a just and viable settlement. This is a historic responsibility that we owe to our country, our people and younger generations.
As late Shimon Perez said in 2013, there are two things that cannot be made without closing your eyes,: “love and peace. If you try to make them with open eyes, you won’t get anywhere.”
Thank you for your attention; I look forward to listening to your comments and taking your questions.
This speech was made at the Hilton Park Nicosia Hotel, Nicosia, Cyprus on 1st November 2016 by Fikri Toros the President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.
We recently published an article “Investors Post Retirement Abandoned by Pensions Industry” (click here to view) and we have received the following letter from Scott Kennedy of FMA – Astute Financial Management Associates Ltd which we have replicated below for the benefit of our UK expat readers wherever they may be.
Effective retirement planning is more important than it ever has been as a result of pension freedom changes and an ageing population. It is absolutely essential that people have at least a basic plan in place in terms of how they will fund themselves in later life. There are an awful lot of people out there that do have a basic idea or a concept in their mind, but what they haven’t necessarily done is taken it to the level of detail below, so it’s more of an aspiration rather than a reality.
In light of this, there are three potential investment dilemmas that investors could find themselves getting caught up in if they don’t act soon.
Now versus the future
In a lot of cases, people opt for what will give them a smaller reward they can reap the benefits from immediately, rather than employ patience and receive a greater reward over the longer run. This is a particularly serious problem in today’s society due to life expectancy increasing as people find themselves in better health when they are older.
People need to look at retirement as they might have done 20 or 30 years beforehand when they were discussing how they might be able to afford a house or a wedding, for instance. That same concept that people use up to the point of retirement is something they simply need to continue to employ on an ongoing basis.
Before pension freedoms were introduced, clients only had limited options as to how their pension savings could be used to provide income throughout retirement. Now though, many more factors have to be taken into account including life expectancy, future inflation and future spending patterns. This is particularly prevalent for Expats living in Turkey, as inflation is a major concern and can have a huge impact on your living expenses and future spending power.
For a lot of people retirement is not a one-day-in-a-lifetime scenario, it’s an ongoing stage of life except the balance between work and leisure is gradually changing for them. Many Expats retire fit and healthy, and may still need, or even want to work for a period of time because, in its own way, the employment income they generate is retirement income and that salary is helping towards meeting their aspirations.
There is now a growing realisation that the state is not the only means to deliver retirement income going forward, and by itself will not deliver a level of income that will meet the needs of most people. There are of course ways for people to make up any shortfalls in their retirement income via a range of different options. These can include working, saving more and re-budgeting, or even restructuring existing savings to be more tax efficient.
Many pension experts believe the best strategy for ensuring a prosperous and happy retirement over the long term is to enlist the help of an adviser.
Visualising a long-term plan
The second dilemma, is that many clients can find it difficult to visualise how much money they will actually need in retirement and instead focus on how much money they feel they would like.
Although people think about their total savings, including pensions producing an income they want to live on, the reality is that the income people need to live on is based on their consumption.
What are you going to spend? How much you want to spend dictates how much you actually need. If we go back 15 or 20 years when there were a lot of occupational pension schemes around, the aspiration was that people worked for a company for 40 years and when they retired the target income was two-thirds of the income that they earned while working. That was deemed to be comfortable because you had the state pension on top of that and that would make up some, if not all of the difference of pre-retirement earnings.
Research from Old Mutual Wealth shows that a vast majority of clients simply settle for what they know they can achieve financially, rather than making their cash work as hard as possible. The research also found that many clients were guilty of failing to understand the ramifications from small differences in annual income and not making the most of retirement savings plan available to them.
The reality is we’re in much more of a DC [defined contribution] world where you contribute, you make investment decisions and your retirement income is going to be dependent on how much you’ve put in and how well you’ve invested. Some of that is then going to be down to market conditions at the time.
Currently market conditions are not favourable for savers either in the UK or abroad and particularly in Turkey as inflation is higher than local cash deposit rates. This is why it is important for Expats to ask themselves ‘what do we believe our expenditure will be and factor in inflation by around 10% per annum.
Thinking the unthinkable
While many people find it difficult to talk about, the issue of ill health in later life needs to be addressed and the financial implications of residential care are often brushed to one side too. Again this is a particular issue for Expats living in Turkey as they cannot rely on a state healthcare system or the UK NHS as Turkey is outside of the EU. Many Expats are not properly prepared for possible ill health, which remains the biggest risk to your finances in retirement.
We think of long-term retirement income planning as the “retirement smile” – the expenditure curve that begins with higher income needs when individuals are younger and able-bodied wanting to do the things they’ve aspired to during their working life, decreases as they become frailer and increases again when they are in need of long-term care. Because of diseases such as dementia people can be physically fit but mentally unwell, and therefore they’re going to be living a lot longer and care costs will need to be met.
Historically, thoughts of leaving the family home as a legacy for the children has been commonplace. In the future this may not be possible as it may be needed to help fund care costs in one way or another. Not taking these needs into account and using up savings too quickly may in fact have an adverse impact on your children financially as they may have to help to cover care costs.
Out of the three dilemmas, this is the issue that clients are getting more understanding of as many people have already experienced this with their own parents. It may be something that people don’t want to think about though or it could be that their financial situation is much more about living for today and letting tomorrow look after itself.
A lot of people assume that the family will take care of it, but it could be that they aren’t in the position to provide that level of care. I think it’s partly a generational thing and I think it needs to involve conversation across generations within the family as early as possible when planning income needs.
If you would like to find out more information about making better provisions for your retirement please contact us via the links below.
Scott Kennedy Cert PFS
ASTUTE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES LTD
Tel: +9 (0533) 845 7296 +9 (0533 842 3598)
Astute FMA are Independent Financial Advice Consultants & act as Financial Intermediaries ONLY.
We are not a bank, we do not accept deposits and we do not hold clients money.
Astute FMA are fully Licensed to act as Independent Financial Advice Consultants in North Cyprus.
Astute FMA are fully Licensed and Regulated by the TRNC Government. License No: MŞ11504