Interview with the renowned business man, founder of ForexTime Ltd (FXTM), President of the Board of Directors and shareholder of Alpari
Eurokerdos is attempting today to present the Cyprus economy not through a Cypriot’s eye but through the eyes of foreign investors that operate in the country. Let’s not forget that decisions taken from these businessmen will affect segments of our economy at a great extent. A well-known business man, Mr. Andrey Dashin, acknowledges the difficulties and the challenges that are ahead, but he is confident that things will gradually improve, the banking system will recover and the Russian businessmen will remain in Cyprus. He doesn’t foresee an exit from the Eurozone and identifies areas that can offer investment opportunities. Of course Andrey Dashin also talks about the scope of work and objectives of ForexTime Ltd (FXTM).
EUROKERDOS: The deal between Cyprus and the Troika seriously affected the banking sector and had a negative impact on Cyprus as a reliable, trustworthy financial and business center. In your opinion, how will Cyprus overcome its present troubles?
ANDREY DASHIN:The past few months have been difficult for Cyprus but most of the damage done and panic created has been a result of the rumors surrounding the haircut and the uncertainty as to why it was so harsh. Needless to say that at present and in the near future, Cyprus will struggle, but with patience and the correct steps taken by the Cyprus government and the country’s financial authorities, the island will recover in time. Cyprus still has much to offer in its financial sector and should focus its energy in the right fields to regain strength. In the future, with a smaller albeit stronger banking sector, Cyprus will rise above its current troubles. We must however realize that this will not happen overnight and that patience and wisdom is required to see the country through.
EUROKERDOS: Russia is a key market for business and tourism in Cyprus. How do you explain this Russian interest in Cyprus?
ANDREY DASHIN: Business people can think deeper when it comes to investments and they can see the wider picture that Cyprus has to offer, not only in terms of business but also when it comes to areas like cultural or even religious connections. I’ve had discussions with many of my fellow countrymen here in Cyprus and we all agree that we are going to stay here because even though there are other countries with a favorable taxation system, considering a move to these other countries is not feasible in so many other perspectives. Cypriots and Russians have much in common and have deep rooted relations; cultural, political, social and religious.
EUROKERDOS: As a Russian businessman, how do you respond to the allegations of money laundering and tax evasion in Cyprus?
ANDREY DASHIN: I believe that audit firms have already clarified this particular issue. Cyprus is following all the necessary anti-money laundering procedures. I don’t believe that it was ever a money laundering nation nor do I believe in these discussions that Cyprus is a harbor for Russian money. I don’t believe that we Russians have any privileged treatment here in Cyprus, so I will disregard these accusations as a mass media pass.
EUROKERDOS: How did the Russian business community react to the restrictions on capital movement and the bank-related measures?
ANDREY DASHIN: Again, I don’t believe that the Russian reaction to this news was any different to anyone else’s. I believe that everybody was quite nervous when we heard the news for the first time and our nervousness was based on the uncertainty surrounding the haircut and restrictions. In fact, the only way I can see a difference in Russian reaction is in the fact that Russians are actually more used to these types of disasters and financial crises because we’ve had so many of our own in Russia, so if anything I believe that we reacted even more calmly.
EUROKERDOS: Do you think Cyprus is edging towards a Euro exit?
ANDREY DASHIN: I don’t believe that Cyprus is going in this direction; neither do I believe in these conspiracy theories that the European Union is pushing Cyprus to exit the euro just to test what will happen. It is in nobody’s interest to see Cyprus out of Europe or the euro. I personally believe that Cyprus is going to stay in the euro and I believe that the Cyprus government is fully aware of how crucial this is.
EUROKERDOS: What is the strongest argument for staying inside the single currency in your opinion?
ANDREY DASHIN: This is a very difficult topic to cover because one can never be 100% sure of what will happen, all I can say is that I do not believe in half measures. If Cyprus is a member of the European Union, then Cyprus should have the same currency and follow the same procedures as all other EU countries. I also feel that right now Cyprus is not strong enough to return to its own currency.
EUROKERDOS: Following the success of your first company Alpari, you launched Forex Time. Which are FXTM’s objectives and priorities? In which ways has FXTM contributed to the field of online forex trading?
ANDREY DASHIN: FXTM’s main objective and priority is to establish itself as the face of innovation in the forex industry and to optimize the traditional forex services to the greatest degree. We will achieve this by transforming and improving existing products and services and introducing ones that have never been seen in forex before. So far FXTM has contributed to the field of online forex trading by offering the first officially certified Islamic ‘Amanah’ accounts which have been awarded “Most Innovative Product” at the Mena Awards 2013. The company is also soon launching its own version of PAMM accounts which will take the industry by pleasant surprise.
EUROKERDOS: Is it true that there is an increase in demand for personnel in the forex sector?
ANDREY DASHIN: We all understand that Cyprus probably has the most favorable environment for the forex industry and that means that more and more forex companies are going to come to Cyprus. Demand for personnel is going to increase but I’m not too sure how big an increase there will be because many companies tend to bring their own people from around the world. We must also keep in mind that even big brands establishing a presence here in Cyprus are not going to create that many payrolls because they will not start with a big staff, they’re likely to start with 10,20,30 people. But long term, I believe that if CySEC is going to follow the same path and stick to the same regulation, Cyprus is going to become an even bigger forex hub and forex industry taxes are going to be quite a substantial addition to the Cyprus budget.
EUROKERDOS: Given your long experience in business, which sectors of the economy of Cyprus are providing opportunities for investment? What advice would you give to potential investors?
ANDREY DASHIN: I still believe in financial services in Cyprus. I think that Cyprus is positioned perfectly in the crossroads of the EU and the Arabic world and so the easiest way for Cyprus to attract investors is through the financial services sector. When it comes to other areas like tourism and gas exploration, there is still a lot of uncertainty. For tourism to develop it needs huge investments and right now we do not have any big names here in Cyprus in the hotel industry. My advice to potential investors would be very simple. Be calm and be patient. The financial services sector is still strong and appealing and fortunately for us, at least based on my experience in Cyprus, the Cyprus financial authorities make mature and clever steps from a regulatory point of view, which gives me assurance that we are going to have a stable regulatory environment here in Cyprus. I believe that Cyprus is going to overcome this hardship and will one day emerge stronger. Unfortunately the banking sector is going to be much smaller, but it will probably be healthier and more stable.
EUROKERDOS: How do you see Cyprus developing in the next few years? What are the prospects?
ANDREY DASHIN: The next few years are going to be very tough, we need to face this. I don’t see any tangible improvement for another 3-5 years. We need to understand that Cyprus has been hit hard and it requires time and persistence to get back on its feet. I believe that 3-5 years’ time is a reasonable period for recovery. Business people don’t think within short timeframes, we think more long term – 10,15, even 20 years ahead, because we do not only invest money when we create companies but we also become dedicated to particular countries, we bring our families; it’s more than an investment for us. No Russian business entities I know of are leaving Cyprus. Of course, it was a sad experience for everybody who lost money and some Russians were quite bitter about the haircut, but they still want to be here and sustain a healthy business and have their families here. 3-5 years may sound like a long period but believe me it’s not big considering what happened in Cyprus and how badly the island was hit. The Cyprus government just needs to have enough stamina, persistence and integrity to make mature and persistent steps in the right direction.
Note: The content in this interview comprises personal opinions and ideas and should not be interpreted as investment advice.