What to expect: BOV, Malta Chamber and Saxo Bank debate on the future of businesses

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Bank of Valletta together with The Malta Chamber and Saxo Bank recently co-hosted a ‘Blue Sky or Eye of the Storm’ webinar, during which market experts debated the expected outcomes and changes for businesses.

The year 2020 has been a challenging era of changes that is expected to re-shape entire business landscapes. Marisa Xuereb, Deputy President of The Malta Chamber stated that despite the threats brought about by COVID-19, businesses can also benefit from many emerging opportunities. She predicted that the greatest impact will be on labour forces, were employees will be expected to up-skill to match the requirements in a post-COVID environment.

Group Head Macroeconomic Analyst, Christopher Dembik, focused on addressing the idea of a ‘New World’. The analyst from Saxo Bank believes that automation, remote working environments and green initiatives are expected to become the common trends amongst upcoming industries. While addressing potential opportunities, Mr Dembik forecasted that due to a 70% reduction in travel and tourism sectors, the lack of liquidity will have an adverse long-term impact on entities and direct implications on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Bank of Valletta investment experts elaborated on risks and opportunities for local businesses moving forward during these turbulent moments. Steve Ellul from BOV Asset Management claimed that businesses have already stopped and re-thought their strategies, as leading CEOs are re-engineering their business natures. “Not only are we moving towards digitalisation, but this is being done horizontally across diverse sectors” stated Mr Ellul. He remarked that ESG investment will eventually be sought as a profitable venture and not just as an additional cost.

Matthew Farrugia from BOV Wealth Management emphasised how creativity and innovation are crucial for Maltese industries. While liquidity is a problem that businesses are already facing, Mr Farrugia expressed that now may be the time for local businesses to innovate and rejuvenate their portfolios. He concluded that “while Malta is a small country, this can potentially mean that communication on market changes between business leaders can be faster and more efficient”.