9th Annual Capital Link CSR Forum «Investments, Extroversion & Social Responsibility: Pillars for Sustainable Development»

Awards, Conferences, Seminars, Forums, Corporate Social Responsibility, Events — By on July 5, 2019 at 11:03 AM

Marianna Politopoulou and Jeremy Downward

9th Annual Capital Link CSR Forum «Investments, Extroversion & Social Responsibility: Pillars for Sustainable Development»

Tuesday 25th of June 2019, Athens Hilton Hotel 

July 3nd, 2019 – The 9th Annual Capital Link CSR Forum titled «Investments, Extroversion & Social Responsibility: Pillars for Sustainable Development», took place in Athens, on Tuesday 25th of June 2019, at Hilton Athens Hotel under the Auspices of the Municipality of the City of Athens.

With the participation of 40 companies, many distinguished speakers and large public attendance, the Capital Link CSR Forum was a great success. For the last nine years the Forum is regarded as a key platform combining rich educational and informational content with unique marketing and networking opportunities. The Forum focused on sustainable development and showcased the social responsibility initiatives that, in combination with innovation and extroversion, contribute to building a better future for Greece.

The Forum aimed to showcase the ways in which Greek businesses can grow both in Greece and abroad and that through the implementation of investment and social programs they contribute substantially to creating a healthy economy and a positive environment for the society. Emphasis was given on investments with an international profile, the opportunities emerging from alternative and innovative investment ventures, while examples of leading companies that operate aiming to sustainable development and consistently support the improvement of citizens’ lives, were also featured. Amidst the current social and economic crisis, it was shown that Greece’s growth and prosperity are directly related to the growth and success of the businesses, which is also dependent on investing to innovation, extroversion and social responsibility.

SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

From the business side, the Forum aimed to highlight the initiatives and projects by Greek and international corporations and organizations that support new ventures, small and medium-sized enterprises. Our main objective was to share success strategies and stories and highlight the key business factors, resources and support mechanisms that can lead companies to open up to global competitiveness and success.

SUPPORTING SOCIETY

From the social side, the Forum offered the opportunity to about 100 NGOs from all over Greece, to showcase and communicate their projects, needs and objectives by exhibiting their material in a separately reserved space where the NGO representatives can meet and interact with the Forum participants. It is very important that with Capital Link’s globalized profile, their promotion will be wide, including the Greek Community and the Finance community abroad.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Nicolas Bornozis, President, Capital Link Inc., stated: “I am delighted and proud that this Forum is taking place for the 9th consecutive year, its main focus being corporate social responsibility, investments and extroversion. The conference combines business initiatives and innovation with the social side. Our goal is to highlight the conditions that are necessary for the generation of opportunities for local economies, for small and medium-sized businesses, for young entrepreneurs but also for big investments, with responsibility, respect for the environment and long-term view.

I would like to thank our sponsors, the more than 100 NGOs that presented their work, our supporters, distinguished speakers and all the attendees of the Forum who contributed to the realization of the conference and this year’s success.”

PANEL & PRESENTATIONS TOPICS

The contribution of Greek diaspora to the development of the Greek economy – Mrs. Katerina Panagopoulos, H.E. Ambassador, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Hellenism of Diaspora.

Presentation: Investments & Exports – Review & Outlook

The section remarks were made by Mr. Grigoris Stergioulis, President & CEO, ENTERPRISE GREECE.

Mr. Stergioulis, reported on Greece’s economic outlook, the development of recent macroeconomic indicators, the current policy priorities vis-à-vis the improvement of the business and investment environment, the track record for Foreign Direct Investments and Exports over the last few years, outlining selected major ongoing FDI projects, now deployed in Greece. He continued with an overview of the strategic investment sectors promoted by Enterprise Greece through its outreach program, and provided an introduction to the value-adding services available to international and Greek business community, by EG.

Panel Discussion: Investments that have a significant impact to the economy and to the society

Moderator: Mr. Giorgos Skrimizeas, CEO, Nortus Investments Inc., President, Hellenic Management Association

Panelists:

  • Michael Vlastarakis, General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communication, EUROBANK Group
  • Athanasios Kefalas, Chairman & CEO, IMERYS GREECE S.A.
  • Sotirios Theofanis, President & CEO, ThPA S.A.
  • Nektarios Demenopoulos, Deputy Manager PR, IR & Company Announcements – Port of Piraeus, PPA S.A.
  • George Xiradakis, President, International Propeller Club, Founder & Managing Director, XRTC BUSINESS CONSULTANTS Ltd

Mr. Giorgos Skrimizeas, CEO, Nortus Investments Inc., President EEDE, stated: “Investments with a social impact are a relatively new market which is rapidly developing. We have moved past the notion of philanthropy and have reached a stage where such an investment is linked to sustainable development.

Organizations and enterprises that historically had philanthropic sensibilities now use investment models with the combined goals of financial and social development. On the other hand, businesses and investors that had the increase in sales and revenue as their only criteria, now include the reduction of social or environmental risks in their strategic planning.

International banks such as UBS, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and more, have participated in socially impactful investments for years, transferring funds, aiming to achieve comparable returns to their other, regular investments.

Measuring an investment’s social value is now part of the evaluation model for the strategic planning regarding socially impactful investments.

However, accurate measurements remain a challenge, as does the creation of a wide network, legal, sociopolitical and in terms of infrastructure. A network that will provide general guidelines for social investments while guaranteeing an environment that will nurture their development and implementation.”

Mr. Michael Vlastarakis, General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communication, EUROBANK Group, stated: “Before I present our start-up ecosystem, egg (enter, go, grow), I would like to mention two countries, Greece and Israel, with many similarities, such as their size, climate, and population, but also chaotic differences concerning our subject today, as Israel is the 2nd country worldwide in terms of the number of start-ups. In 2013, Eurobank, seeking to further develop the sector in Greece, created an incubator with platforms for the creation and the evolution of start-up companies. So far, egg has collaborated with more than 700 young businessmen and 100 enterprises. Our goal is to incentivize extroversion and innovation.”

Mr. Athanasios Kefalas, Chairman & CEO, IMERYS GREECE S.A., stated: “IMERYS is the global leader of specialty minerals solutions with a resilient and profitable business. Corporate Social Responsibility is an integral part of its strategy, caring about employees, equal opportunities, their safety and work conditions. We are actively reducing our environmental footprint and have set an ambitious CO2 emission reduction target of 41% by 2030.

CSR is of paramount importance for the upstream part of our business when Imerys is backwards integrated and operates its own mines. Lately environmental and social expectations vis à vis mining operators have been on the rise. Imerys not only acknowledges this trend but proactively act upon it ensuring that our social license to operate is a long-term competitive advantage.

Μilos is a case study of a balanced growth of tourism and mining industry.”

Mr. Sotirios Theofanis, President & CEO, ThPA S.A., stated: “The Speech will deal with the Investment Plan of ThPA SA and its importance not only for the development policy of the Port of Thessaloniki, but also for the development of business initiatives in Northern Greece, but also in the Balkans and SE Europe, with particular emphasis on the Logistics, Freight Transportation, and Industry.

The scale of the expansion project of the Container terminal allows servicing Mainliner Services Container Vessels.”

Mr. Nektarios Demenopoulos, Deputy Manager PR, IR & Company Announcements – Port of Piraeus, PPA S.A., stated: “For 2018, PPA S.A.’s financial and social impact is calculated, based on the company’s data, as follows:

  • As a whole, PPA S.A.’s economic added value is 0,4% of the GDP. More specifically, € 18,3 million were paid in taxes and € 14,3 in insurance contributions.
  • € 49 million spent to 1.272 local and national suppliers.
  • € 426 thousand invested in Corporate Responsibility actions.
  • The Port of Piraeus has created 1016 direct jobs, 1903 indirect jobs and 1190 induced jobs. More than € 4,2 million were invested to secure healthcare and security for our employees.
  • € 1.800.000 invested in services aiming to protect the environment.” 

Mr. George XiradakisPresident, International Propeller Club, Founder & Managing Director, XRTC BUSINESS CONSULTANTS Ltd, stated: “We can’t have corporate social responsibility without social responsibility itself. As a candidate in the European elections, I was constantly advised not to mention my relations with ship owners or bankers, as those are triggering words. The truth is that people naturally want to create and share – there are few exceptions. We need to share our success story, the values of prosperity, dignity, excellence, and be proud of the maritime sector in Greece. This is where we should indeed return as a country: To the primary sector, to our beloved seas.”

Panel Discussion: Ιnnovation, extroversion and job openings: the transformational impact of Greek start-ups on Greek economy

Moderator: Mr. Alexandros Nousias, Country Director, Greece – Envolve Entrepreneurship

Panelists:

  • Christos Spatharakis, Co-Founder & CEO, Ferryhopper
  • Liana Gouta, Co-Founder, BookingClinic
  • Stefanos Katsibas, Co-Founder & CEO, MyJobNow
  • Yiannis Imelos, Co-Founder & CEO, CollegeLink

Mr. Alexandros Nousias, Country Director of Envolve Entrepreneurship in Greece, stressed in his speech: «Through Envolve, the organization I am part of for the last 7 years, which I also represent today, I have personally witnessed the impact created in the Greek economy by the booming startup ecosystem. In 2012, the organization was founded while the startup community was still in its infancy, and ever since we have experienced the significant progress of the quality of business plans we receive and the degree of extroversion. We are proud of the success of the Greek startups, whether winners of the Envolve Award Greece or not, as most of them utilize innovation as a competitive advantage and contribute in reversing brain-drain and the creation of job opportunities.”

Mr. Christos Spatharakis, Co-Founder & CEO, Ferryhopper, stated: “Our idea came about while travelling the Greek islands, and realizing that there are no applications offering solutions for travelling indirectly or to multiple destinations. Emphasizing on online reservations, e-tickets and facilitation of touristic trips, we have begun our expansion to Italy, Spain, as well as the rest of Europe in 2020. Start-up companies can offer perspective and evolution opportunities.”

Ms. Liana Gouta, Co-Founder, BookingClinic, stated: “BookingClinic.com is a global platform that serves the patient who needs a treatment at a Clinic, offering reliable and transparent information on medical staff, services and total treatment cost. BookingClinic.com brings innovation and extroversion to the health ecosystem, offering new digital services to patients who save time, money and easy access to Clinics within their country or abroad. Clinics attract patients through a new path while they earn a place οn the global medical tourism map. During the last years, the Greek health system has been enormously impacted, while a significant number of medical doctors has left the country. So, there is an urgent need for modernization, transparency, new digital services and exploiting the opportunities offered by online access to new markets.”

Mr. Stefanos Katsibas, Co-Founder & CEO, MyJobNow, stated: “MyJobNow is a mobile-first blue-collar hiring marketplace. Within a year, MyJobNow’s team grew to 16 talented people and via the platform, more than 15.000 people have found a job!”

Mr. Yiannis Imelos, Co-Founder & CEO, CollegeLink, stated: “In recent years, technology is becoming an increasingly important aspect of our everyday lives. Utilizing technology for our own benefit is a frequently talked subject, and at this point, we can surely say that technology creates numerous benefits for almost every business industry. The services sector for example, has been transformed by new technologies, both in terms of more efficient processes and improved offered service. There is large worldwide demand for people that are capable of understanding and using such technologies, and this is the area that we must emphasize on. Other than their education, we should also focus on creating opportunities for these people. Allow them to grow their business ventures here, but also envision a career that covers their personal and professional aspirations, while staying in Greece!”

Top Greek companies & their social responsibility profile

Presentation: There is no Planet B: #ZeroPlastic@OTE Group

The section remarks were made by Mrs. Deppie Tzimea, Executive Director Corporate Communications, OTE Group.

The Corporate Communications Executive Director of OTE Group Mrs Deppie Tzimea, during her speech at the 9th Annual Capital Link CSR Forum, highlighted the significant role of the environment over OTE Group’s Sustainability Growth Strategy. She also stressed out the need for everyone to adopt a more sustainable way to operate in order to ensure better lives for future generations.

“We must learn how to cover our needs without putting the future of next generations at risk; to operate in a sustainable way. This responsibility does not lie only to nations and national institutions. It lies to all of us; the citizens, the businesses, each one of us individually. What would be the benefit from targeting economic goals or any other performances if our planet has an expiration date? There is no planet B!”, stated the Corporate Communications Executive Director of OTE Group.

Mrs. Tzimea referred particularly to OTE Group’s initiative to reduce single-use plastic waste, such as bottles, glasses and bags, at Group’s buildings and retail stores. By implementing these measures, the company is expected to minimize its environmental footprint by generating 3.7 million less plastic waste per year. At the same time, OTE Group implements an extensive recycling program -with separation at source- in 22 buildings, which are accessed by the 80% of Group’s employees. Only in 2018, 94.5 tons of waste were recycled.

Presentation: The contribution of entrepreneurship to local societies

The section remarks were made by Ms. Rania Soulaki, Group CSR Director, Hellenic Petroleum S.A, who said that modern local communities – municipalities are not that different from the city states of ancient times. They are autonomous and self-sufficient administrative and economic regions, which, with the cooperation and support of the business community, can create development opportunities and prosperous conditions for their residents.

Presentation: Hellenic post: 2 centuries of contribution to the Greek society

The section remarks were made by Mr. Lazaros Lazaridis, Director Corporate Communications, ELTA – Hellenic Post, who stated that: “The Hellenic Post, during the last two centuries, has become synonymous with the country’s development, as an integral part of everyday life, bringing remote places together.

In order to honor its commitment to people’s needs over time, ELTA puts its large network to use by adopting a series of human-centered actions.

Here are some examples: Whenever needed, we support fire and earthquake victims, offering the possibility to send free help to the affected areas.

We strongly support NGOs for children and families, allocating revenue from Christmas stamps sales.

We maintain a long collaboration with the Journalist’s union of Athens daily newspapers (ΕΣΗΕΑ) for basic necessities parcel delivery to families of the unemployed in the media sector.

We support our own people by offering free medical exams, reduced prices for cultural events etc.

We support the educational program created by the SmokeFreeGreece initiative, sending notebooks with antismoking messages to children in schools all over the country.

All the above examples – and many more – are proof that the Hellenic Post, over the last two centuries, has consistently offered community services, which are trusted and sought after by Greek citizens.”

Presentation: Pharmaceuticals: value added investment with positive economic & social impact

The section remarks were made by Ms. Fotini Bampanara, Country Head of Communications, Novartis Hellas, who stated: “At Novartis, social responsibility is centered around two pillars that fall in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals: a) Extending access to healthcare and b) Promoting responsible business practices. We run the largest clinical research program in the country, benefiting more than 2.200 patients. Trough specialized support programs, we stand by our patients and attach special importance to raising awareness for serious diseases. In SROI studies we carried through, we saw that Novartis created 2 euros in social value for every 1 euro invested in such initiatives. Responsible business activity is expressed through constantly training our staff and incentivizing our integrity/transparency culture in the way we operate. Through our program ‘Open Wings’ we wanted to offer solutions for youth unemployment; 200 young people in 5 cities participated, with 17% of them finding a job afterwards.”

Presentation: “Acting to Protect”

The section remarks were made by Ms. Christina Akouri, Communications & Sustainability Manager, Papastratos CMC S.A., who stated: “Doing business responsibly is not only reflected in operations and the workplace, but also in the company’s behavior and means of support towards society. Collaboration and synergies between the State, the private sector and civil society about battling social problems are necessary. At Papastratos, for every one of our initiatives, be it for the homeless, the unemployed, prevention and protection from natural disasters, or sexual harassment, we strategically choose and cultivate fruitful and effective partnerships with reliable organizations offering substantial solutions.”

Presentation: DnA And Investments

  • George Tsopelas, Managing Director, McKinsey & Company
  • Eleutherios Charalampous, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company

Mr. George Tsopelas, Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, stated that: “Greece’s real and sustainable growth is only possible through investments which in turn are made attractive from the application of DnA (Digital & Analytics) across production, commercial and other managerial practices.”

Mr. Eleutherios Charalampous, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company, stated: “Digital maturity crosses through all facets of a company, from its strategic planning to its everyday challenges. In Digital Analytics we went from the era of data collection, to that of human resources, and now to the next level of productivity, with reduced cost and increased connectivity, which is adopted in concepts such as the internet of things and is developing at a rapid rate.”

Panel Discussion: Investing in Greece & Greek investment funds

Moderator: Mr. Evangelos Lakatzis, Partner Saplegal    

Panelists:

  • Iossif Papadogiannis, Chief Investment Officer, Alphatrust
  • Nicos Koulis, Vice President & CEO,DECA Investments
  • Eleni Bathianaki, Associate Partner, EOS Capital Partners
  • Sotirios Papantonopoulos – Mantopoulos, Partner, Uni.fund
  • Takis Solomos, Founding Partner, First Athens Corporate Finance
  • Athanssios Kalekos, Managing Partner, Odyssey Venture Partners
  • Constantinos Mavros, General Partner, Velocity Partners Venture Capital

Mr. Evangelos Lakatzis, Partner Saplegal, stated that: “The panel discussion emphasized on the necessity of, not only large, but also, smaller scale investments. In parallel, the panel highlighted the way venture capital and private equity funds can influence the mentality of the business community. Furthermore, a series of factors, both in macroeconomic or investment criteria level, were mentioned that may increase the chances of a successful investment. Lastly, the speakers proceed to an analysis of the status in the technological sector, as well as, the Greek capital market potential contribution to growth.”

Mr. Iossif Papadogiannis, Chief Investment Officer, Alphatrust, stressed the importance of private investments to the Greek economy.

The limited ability of the Greek banking system to provide funding, he said, makes the domestic equity market indispensable not only for attracting foreign investors but also for channeling domestic savings into business investments.

He also noted that as the Greek economy is enjoying the third year of economic recovery, selective investments in healthy Greek companies with positive fundamentals could be profitable, provided that the macroeconomic data will continue improving and new investment friendly policies will create a more favorable environment for entrepreneurship in the country.

Mr. Nicos Koulis, Vice President & CEO, DECA Investments, stated that: “The idea behind the creation of Diorama Investments was to identify companies which have the potential to become successful internationally. We provide not only much needed capital but also operating help in a variety of areas. The end effect will be to enable these companies generate wealth for their shareholders, good jobs for their employees and become examples for an outward looking Greek economy.”

Ms. Eleni Bathianaki, Associate Partner, EOS Capital Partners, stated: “Besides capital, a Private Equity Fund’s investment in a business constitutes a major contribution for its strategical evolution and development.

Our role as an investor is multifaceted, going beyond capital structure betterment. It expands, for instance, in strategic planning, adding value concerning the company’s positioning and evolution in the market, its internationalization, networking with relative bodies and players domestically and aboard, as well as adopting the best corporate governance practices.

Undoubtedly, a businessman’s capability to see his company evolve under this light leads to the creation of strategic alliances that offer the necessary funds even when a bank loan is available.”

Mr. Sotirios Papantonopoulos – Mantopoulos, Partner, Uni.fund, stated: “Investing in the early stages of a business is less about capital and more about knowledge, know-how, and imagination. We are funding experiments, taking a risk. But, in the case of success, it wouldn’t be just our economy that would change, but our way of life as a whole.”

Mr. Takis SolomosFounding Partner, First Athens Corporate Finance, stated: “The tools that impact the operations of an investor are the country’s legislation, the offered motives, and the exit-liquidation of the investment. Regarding the first two, recently there have been steps towards the right direction, even though there is still a lot to be done. The problem concerns the eventual exit, which is in direct correlation with the situation of the Greek stock market.”

Mr. Athanassios Kalekos, Managing Partner, Odyssey Venture Partners, contrasted the role of large corporations versus early stage startups in the development of the country. He observed how investments in very early stage companies require longer time to mature and produce returns. Investments by large, traditional corporations create many new jobs, and produce immediate results. It would be logical to question the usefulness of early stage investing in startups in the development of the country and the exit from the crisis of the economy. He noted however how we need to understand early stage investing is focused on startups developing innovative products, services, and business models. These startups have the ability to grow much faster than traditional businesses, and offer wealth creation opportunities for their founders, employees, and investors. They typically need more highly educated employees and can contribute in the reversal of the ”brain drain” wave of the past few years.

Mr. Konstantinos Mavros, Co-Founder & Partner – Velocity.Partners Venture Capital, stated: “Greece today offers important investment opportunities, many of them in the country’s emerging technological ecosystem. Technology is the catalyst for the fast, global development of up-and-coming companies, while we see businesses that can make it outside of Greece and find future large investors, which is both important and promising. Greek technology business now contributes more to the GDP than traditional sectors such as olive oil, and it is believed that we will get to see major global breakthroughs start in Greece in the years to come. Digital convergence at a global level and the further development of our technology ecosystem is the only way forward.”

Presentation: Banks, economy and development

The section remarks were made by Mr. George Handjinicolaou, Non – Executive Chairman of the Board, Piraeus Bank & Hellenic Bank Association, who stated: “Corporate social responsibility, with contribution not only in the economy but towards society’s needs as well, changes radically due to the massive engagement that is required in order to protect the environment. Climate change is here, and its consequences reach all countries. Banks will play a key role to achieve sustainability, since they are the main channel for financing and resource allocation.”

Panel Discussion: NPLS, as an investment & growth opportunity

Moderator: Mr. Tassos Iossifidis, Partner, EY

Panelists:

  • Elias Malandris, Finance & Acquisitions Director, South East Europe Region, B2Kapital
  • Theofilos Chatzopoulos, Business Development Director, CEPAL Hellas
  • Costas Karagiannis, Operating Partner, Apollo Management
  • Tassos Panoussis, General Manager, Retail NPLs Eurobank & CEO Eurobank FPS
  • Theodoros Athanasopoulos, Executive General Manager NPLs Wholesale Banking, ALPHA BANK
  • George Christopoulos, Senior Advisor, CEO’s Office, PIRAEUS BANK

Mr. Tassos Iossifidis, Partner, EY, stated: “The subject of dealing with non-performing loans could not be absent from today’s agenda. It is an important challenge in the Greek economy’s efforts to come out of the crisis and maintain sustainable growth rates, which, if handled correctly, could liberate important capital than could in turn be invested in healthy Greek companies.”

Mr. Elias Malandris, Finance & Acquisitions Director, South East Europe Region, B2Kapital, stated: “In order to evaluate portfolios we estimate the projected revenue and the cost during their servicing. It is a competitive environment; the servicing cost in Greece is high due to the lack of information, regarding the borrowers’ assets for example, issues that are already solved abroad, digitally. It is therefore important to develop IT solutions.

Mr. Theofilos Chatzopoulos, Business Development Director, CEPAL Hellas, stated: “The servicing market’s landscape will be determined by how many will be willing to invest and produce complete management and strategy systems. This process has already begun, with data, organization, systems and procedures constantly evolving. The real estate market remains a challenge, particularly due to the high demands posed by the legislative framework around property transfers.”

Mr. Costas Karagiannis, Operating Partner, Apollo Management, stated: “The Greek market is still attractive, having passed a crucial point a couple of years ago, including the real estate market. There is potential, the macroeconomic data are a source of optimism. A more active banking sector, which would finance housing and offer credit, would be helpful. Naturally the portfolio’s quality will eventually drop, so finding the right balance will be of great importance.”

Mr. Tassos Panoussis referred to the structural change that will be brought to the Greek market and the economy by the Greek banks’ commitment to reduce Non Performing Exposures (NPEs) by over 50 billion euros in the next 3 years, a gigantic project to be implemented mainly by Loan Management Enterprises. The largest proportion (around 30 billion euros) will come through sales and securitizations creating thus a secondary loan market that will approach 55 billion euros in the coming years. The efficient management of these loans will have a series of positive consequences on the economy:

  • It will enable, via sustainable solutions, thousands of Greek households to recover financially and re-establish a normal relationship with the banking system.
  • It will contribute positively on the development of healthy companies while identifying those that need to be liquidated as their maintenance distorts competition.
  • It will give a boost to the economy through Foreign Direct Investment in Greek assets while it will strengthen the Greek real estate market where a significant increase in investment is expected either for purchases, repairs or upgrades of those buildings.

Mr. Theodoros Athanasopoulos, Executive General Manager NPLs Wholesale Banking, ALPHA BANK, stated: “The Greek NPL Market is currently under transformation. Following the introduction of the new legislation regarding NPL Sales and servicers in 2015, we witnessed a first transformational phase in 2016 and 2017 with the first servicers being licensed by Bank of Greece and the first NPL portfolio sales taking place in the market. As a result in 2018 NPL Portfolio sales accounted for 46% of the overall net reduction in the Greek Banking system.

Given the increased size of sales in the NPE reduction mix and as such the introduction of investors in the market, the need of Greek Banks for operational cost right sizing and balance sheet management the importance of the servicing market in Greece is gradually becoming of extreme importance for the market.

The successful operation of servicers will be coming mainly from their focus on delivering the agreed with their clients (i.e. banks and investors) business plans given that this will be their core business, their ability to introduce knowhow especially with the migration of more advanced IT systems and analytics and more automated decision making that will be assisted from more transparent pricing of portfolios post market transactions and of course incentive schemes offered to their personnel.

Servicers are not expected to manage their portfolios in a discretionary way, but they will be following the business plans agreed with their clients.  The two biggest challenges for the servicing industry going forward will be the operation into two parallel and completely different models i.e.

  • the model that they need to develop for Banks as clients which will be focusing on NPE reduction in an “EBA friendly” manner skewed to net curings and
  • the more traditional model of the global servicing industry focusing on cash in an attempt to deliver results for the investor industry and the Banks as holders of senior notes of securitizations.”

Mr. George Christopoulos, Senior Advisor, CEO’s Office, PIRAEUS BANK, stated: “The ways to reduce the current number of 80 billion in non-performing loans, according to the targets set at a European level, are sales and restructuring. The evolution of the economy will be the catalyst for future progress, as will the real estate market and knowing what foreign investors are interested by and looking for.

Panel Discussion: New sources of finance for Greece’s new era of development and growth

Moderator: Mr. Gregory Pelecanos, Senior Partner, Ballas, Pelecanos & Associates L.P.C.

Panelists:

  • Elpida Koutsoumpi, Loan Officer, European Investment Bank
  • Aristotelis Spiliotis, Secretary General, Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB)
  • Petros Doukas, President Capital Partners SA – Investment Banking Advisors, Mayor-elect of The City of Sparta, former Vice Minister of Economy & Finance

Mr. Gregory Pelecanos, Senior Partner, Ballas, Pelecanos & Associates L.P.C., presented his panel emphasizing that “Excessive borrowing and consequent heavy debt prior to the crisis, and the reduction in bank credit during the crisis, created the need to cover finance and investment needs through novel financial tools dispersed on the basis of respective novel criteria fit for the particular purpose served by these tools. Private equity/ Venture capital undertook a large role in specific sectors such as shipping, innovation (e.g. the pharma market) and start ups (essential tech start ups) and by necessity involves the investor’s participation in the business. Project finance needs to approve a project, a viable business plan, bankability and close monitoring of progress to release funds. Even term loans apply stricter criteria, need to approve the purpose of the financing, and involve closer cooperation between lender and borrower. These new tolls necessitate a cultural change on behalf of both financier and company, such as on the one hand that the investor has to be convinced to invest (therefore companies have to develop bankable projects, with viable business plans and adopt a technocratic approach) and on the other hand that closer monitoring and cooperation between lender and borrower is now required.”

Mrs. Elpida Koutsoumpi, Loan Officer for Corporate Lending in the Investment Team for Greece of the European Investment Bank, in her speech mentioned: “The EIB, the Bank of the EU, has been active in Greece consistently since 1963. In early 2016 the Bank strengthened its representation on the ground, by creating the “Investment Team for Greece”, in order to contribute to the country’s recovery from the financial and economic crisis. The current EIB exposure to Greece amounts to EUR 18bn, 10% of the country’s GDP and three times the EU average.  EIB financing in Greece caters to a wide range of beneficiaries: public sector entities, sovereign and government authorities, but also private companies both indirectly via partner banks and directly for eligible investment plans exceeding EUR 15m.”

Mr. Aristotelis Spiliotis, Secretary General of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, used the example of BSTDB to illustrate how Multilateral Development Banks contribute towards mobilizing additional resources to support the sustainable development goals.

–     BSTDB’s assistance to Greece increased dramatically in the aftermath of the financial crisis, when private sector investment collapsed. Over the past 4 years, the share of Greece in BSTDB’s portfolio increased from under 5% to nearly 15%.

–     As a development bank, BSTDB actively supported key Greek industries and employers, including OTE, Energean Oil and Gas, Hellenic Petroleum, Aegean Airlines, modernization of 14 regional airports (by Fraport consortium).

–     The total amount of approved financing in Greece exceeded EUR 500 million and the pipeline of operations under preparation amounts to another EUR 850 million, including the sectors of manufacturing, transportation, energy, power transmission infrastructure, etc. “

–     The new BSTDB’s Strategy for the period of 2019-2022 specifically focuses on greater involvement in the public sector operations to support infrastructure development in the transport, energy and municipal sector.

–     To support larger scale infrastructure projects, the Bank has increased its financing limits to EUR 160 million for a single operation in the public sector and up to 80 million for private sector projects.

–     For the regional infrastructure development, BSTDB cooperates with major international development banks, such as EIB, EBRD, ADB, and other to forge synergies and increase developmental effectiveness of operations.

Mr. Petros Doukas, President Capital Partners SA – Investment Banking Advisors, Mayor-elect of The City of Sparta, former Vice Minister of Economy & Finance, stated: “Bank loans still represent about 70% of the economy. However, the lack of capital leads to the restriction of finance to the very best, not the masses, who could be forced to look for funding abroad. Banks still maintain large personnel and many branches; they could use some heavy cost cutting, but don’t seem willing to do that. Concerning Sparta’s future, the first problem we need to face is population decline, which is intrinsically connected to the career perspectives of the youth. To create those, we will turn to tourism and agricultural development.”

Presentation: Airports as means of destination development

Mr. Giorgos Vilos, Executive Director Commercial & Business Development, Fraport Greece, stated: “From April of 2017, Fraport Greece has undertaken the upgrade and management of 14 Greek airports. Aiming for the perfect travelling experience and the optimal functioning of these airports, we seek to augment passenger traffic through the attraction of new airlines and flights. Concerning our progress, the airports in Chania, Zakynthos and Kavala are completed, while 2019 marks the completion of works in Aktio, Kefalonia, Mytilene, Rhodes, Samos, and Skiathos. The remaining five airports in Thessaloniki, Corfu, Kos, Mykonos and Santorini will be delivered to the Greek public and international travelers/tourists in 2021. Fraport-Greece, consistent in its engagement towards Greek society, actively supports, in collaboration with local associations, the promotion of the 14 Greek destinations it serves, through targeted Destination Marketing activities. Our vision for the investment in the 14 airports is for them to become a catalyst in the development of Greek tourism, which remains a source of hope and optimism for the country’s future.”

Brief Intervention by Mr. George Patoulis, Regional Governor- elect of Attica

Mr. George Patoulis, President of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece, Mayor of Maroussi and new Governor of Attica Region, stated: “Firstly, I would like to thank you for the invitation to this great conference focusing on extroversion and business practices”, Mr. Patoulis said, and he continued: “The interest around social corporate responsibility, which is closely linked to sustainable growth, is on the rise, as are the expectations from society as a whole towards enterprises and organizations. Investing significantly in the fundamental values of sustainable development will be key in Greece’s future. We must motivate and reward initiatives of progress and evolution, based upon sustainable growth, circular economy, the rise of employment and the reduction of inequalities, in conjunction with the UN’s and the EU’s goals. Local government has an important role to play in these endeavors. We will immediately create a permanent cooperation mechanism of all interested parties.”

Mr. George Patoulis, in his speech he further stated that: “It is a priority of the Local Government to promote a strategic framework of actions and initiatives for the sustainability of our business ecosystem.

Ιn Attica Region, we will proceed directly to the design and structure of a permanent central mechanism for systematic cooperation and partnership among our stakeholders (Local Authorities, State, Civil Society, Organizations, Enterprises, expatriate Hellenism, etc.).

We will create an additional strategic management tool in the hands of the Local Authorities with the core mission to promote Social Innovation, Social Solidarity, Social Cohesion, Extraversion, Responsibility and Sustainable Development.”

“2019 CAPITAL LINK CSR LEADERSHIP AWARDS

The Forum ended with the presentation of the «2019 Capital Link CSR Leadership Awards».

The «Capital Link CSR Leadership Awards» are annually presented to one or more Greek and/or International personalities/companies/organizations for their outstanding contribution to society and for the elevation of Greece and the Greek culture globally.

Previous honorees were: John Calamos, Founder, Chairman & Global CIO – Calamos Investments, John Catsimatides, Chairman & CEO – Red Apple Group, Nicholas Logothetis, Co-Founder & Chairman of the Board – “The Concordia Summit”, Nikos Mouyiaris, Founder & CEO – Mana Products Inc., Dean Metropoulos, Chairman – Metropoulos & Company, Gregorios Stergioulis, CEO -Hellenic Petroleum S.A., Michael Tsamaz, Chairman & CEO – OTE Group, Christos Harpantidis, Chairman & Managing Director – PAPASTRATOS, Theodore Kyriakou, Chairman – Antenna Group.

OFFICIAL AWARDS CEREMONY

This year the International and the Greek «2019 CAPITAL LINK CSR LEADERSHIP AWARD» were presented by  Mrs. Nelly Papahela, Vice – Mayor for Trade, Development and Management of Public Spaces, City of Athens.

Vice Mayor of Athens, Mrs N. Papahela, said: “The private sector’s support and participation in the initiatives of the Athens Municipality, apart from proving CSR’s importance, also emphasize the value of the “ethos” factor in entrepreneurship. Not only because they brought into focus its social sensitivity (something whose mentioning has by now become a cliché), but also because of what, very rightly, Professor Theodosis Tasios said last week, that “ethos generates wealth”.

Greek businesses, during the last ten years, have been tested in the same hard way as the rest of the Greek society, with considerable consequences for their owners and their employees. Many of them did not manage to survive, others had to turn to foreign markets, looking for new opportunities. Those that managed to succeed in it are maybe the luckier ones, staying alive, to the benefit of everybody, including the people working in them.

It is true, though, that without private sector, there can be no CSR and no help for those in need.

Athens would be in a much worse position if the private companies she cooperated with, had not managed to survive and stand by her.”

The Greek “2019 Capital Link CSR Leadership Award” was presented to Ms. Marianna Politopoulou, Chairman and CEO of NN Hellas, for her contribution in the growth of the insurance market, the promotion of social welfare and the development of the Greek economy, through major investments and innovation.

Upon receiving the Greek “Capital Link CSR Leadership Award”, Ms. Politopoulou stated:

“It is a great honor for me to receive this award. This success is not granted to me personally, but to all of us at NN Hellas, who share common vision and values. The implementation of programmes such as “Ideas that Change us”, the activities we organize along with “Junior Achievement Greece”, the Golden Sponsorship of the Hellenic Olympic Team, as well as the other supportive initiatives, prove our substantial contribution to society and the emphasis we give on enhancing youth entrepreneurship. I am very proud that we achieved to experience our core values “Care, Clear, Commit”, while implementing a holistic approach of responsible business operation.”

The International “2019 Capital Link CSR Leadership Award” was presented to “The Hellenic Initiative” (THI) for its continuous support towards economic recovery and development of entrepreneurship.    Mr. Peter Poulos, Executive Director of THI, introduced Mr. Jeremy Downward, member of the BOD of THI; Executive Director – Aristeus Financial Services Ltd., who received the award on behalf of THI.

Mr. Peter Poulos, Executive Director of THI, stated: “On behalf of the board of directors and everyone at THI I thank you all, and in particular Nikos and Olga Bornozi for being with us in this endeavor since day one. It all started in a meeting with president Clinton and prominent members of the Greek diaspora who wanted to help the country during the financial crisis. Today we have distributed 15 million euros on the ground.”

Mr. Jeremy Downward, member of the BOD of THI; Executive Director – Aristeus Financial Services Ltd., stated:

“Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I am greatly honored to receive this award from Capital Link and join the great company of my predecessors. Our mantra, our core belief when we started was: ‘If not now, when? If not us, then who?’ Through our international presence we have brought together the Greek diaspora and philhellenes like me in a way that’s never been done so far. We have been active both with direct philanthropies and through supporting economic development thanks to internships and helping launch start-ups. Lastly, I would like to thank our local partners, in Greece and Cyprus, for being active and overcoming all odds.”

PARTICIPATING COMPANIES: 

Alpha Bank • Alphatrust • Apollo Management International LLP • B2 Kapital • BookingClinic • Capital Partners SA • Cepal Hellas • CollegeLink • Deca Investments • Enterprise Greece • Envolve Entrepreneurship • EOS Capital Partners • European Investment Bank (ΕΙΒ) • ΕΥ • Ferryhopper • First Athens Corporate Finance • Fraport Greece • Friesland Campina • ICAP • Imerys Greece S.A. • LIBRA Group • McKinsey & Company • MyJobNow • NN Hellas • Nortus Investments Inc. • Novartis • Odyssey Venture Partners • International Propeller Club, USA • THI • Uni.fund • Velocity Partners Venture Capital • A.S. Papadimitriou & Partners • Gefyra Α.Ε. • Hellenic Petroleum • ELTA • Ballas, Pelecanos & Associates L.P.C. • ThPA S.A. • Port of Piraeus, PPA S.A. • Eurobank Group • OTE Group • Papastratos CMC S.A. • Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) • Piraeus Bank

THE FORUM WAS ORGANISED:

UNDER THE AUSPICES: Municipality of the City of Athens

GLOBAL GOLD SPONSOR: EY

LEAD SPONSORS: ΝΝ Hellas • Hellenic Petroleum • Libra Group • OTE Group

GRAND SPONSORS: Alpha Bank • A.S. Papadimitriou & Partners

SPONSORS: Deca Investments • Enterprise Greece • Imerys • Ballas, Pelecanos & Associates L.P.C. • ThPA S.A. – The Port of Thessaloniki

SUPPORTING SPONSORS: FrieslandCampina / ΝΟΥΝΟΥ • Icap • Gefyra Α.Ε.

FORUM SUPPORTERS: Alphatrust • Apollo Management International LLP • B2Kapital • Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) • Booking Clinic • Cepal Hellas • College Link • Elikonos Capital Partners • ELTA • EOS Capital Partners • European Investment Bank (ΕΙΒ) • Ferryhopper • Fraport Greece • MyJobNow • Odyssey Venture Partners • Papastratos CMC S.A. • Uni.fund • Velocity Partners

COFFEE BREAK SPONSORS: Illy Iperespresso – Machine & Capsule – Kafea Terra Food & Drinks • Papadopoulos

MUSIC BY: Menelaos Kanakis http://kanakismenelaos.com/

SUPPORTING ORGANISATIONS: Action Finance Initiative (AFI) • BCA • DEREE • Endeavor Greece • Envolve Enterpreneurship Global • ICC Hellas – International Chamber of Commerce • Orange Grove • Propeller Club • Response • The Association Of Greek Alumni Of American Universities • The Home Project • ΕΕDΕ – Hellenic Management Association • Hellenic Union of Mediators • Hellenic Bank Association • Hellenic Mediation & Arbitration Center (ΕλλΚΔΔ) • Hellenic Employment & Workplace Mediation Center (ΕλλΚΕΔ) • CCI France Grece – CCIFG • ΕΕΑΕ – Enosi Asfaliston • Hellenic Fund and Asset Management Association • HAPSc – Hellenic Association of Political Scientists • Ηelmepa • Kallipateira – Panhellenic Women’s Sports Association • University of Piraeus • SAKA • SED – Hellenic Investors Association • SELPE – H.R.B.A. The Association of Business and Retail Sales of Greece • Association of S.A. & Limited Liability Companies • SEODI – Association of Greek Financial Officers

MEDIA PARTNERS: ANT1 • Athina 9.84 • AllAboutShipping.co.uk • Banking News • Building Green Magazine • Efimeris Dimoprasion & Pleistiriasmon • OIkonomiki Epitheorisi – Business File • epixeiro.gr • Εθνικός Κήρυξ – The National Herald • TradeWinds • Greek Law Digest • Greek Reporter • Hellas Journal By Mignatiou.com • Peiraias Kanali Ena 90.4 FM • Kathimerini • Nextdeal.gr • World Energy News

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