Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis takes a trip along the River Tees after delivering a speech outlining the UK's ambitions for an implementation period after Brexit, during a visit to PD Ports at Teesport in Teesside, north west England on January 26, 2018.
Brexit minister David Davis sought to reassure eurosceptics on January 26, 2018, that Britain will forge its own path outside the EU, but admitted there were "different views" in the government after a senior colleague advocated close trading ties. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Ian Forsyth
Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis takes a trip along the River Tees after delivering a speech outlining the UK's ambitions for an implementationShow more

UK ministers move to reassure businesses on Brexit



Three UK cabinet ministers promised a speedy agreement on a Brexit transition phase in an open letter to British businesses, seeking to give them certainty over the immediate future.

Britain wants an implementation period of “around two years,” during which the terms of trade with the EU’s other 27 members will remain unchanged, the finance minister, or Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, the Brexit Secretary David Davis and the Business Secretary Greg Clark wrote in the letter, published late on Friday by Mr Davis’ department.

During the transition, Britain will also adhere to EU rules and regulations, and will allow the free movement of EU citizens, who will be allowed to come to Britain to live and work, the ministers wrote. All sectors, “from goods to agriculture to financial services” and all businesses will be able to trade with the EU as they do today, they said.

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Read more:

British economy picked up at end of tough 2017

Many EU governments said to be flexible on Brexit transition extending beyond 2020

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The letter aims to reassure British companies that have repeatedly called for more clarity on the government’s plans for Brexit and a planned transition period that’s scheduled to start in March 2019. The main business lobby groups had wanted the implementation period to be nailed down by the end of last year to allow them the certainty to invest and hire workers, but that deadline slipped. In Friday’s letter, the ministers wrote that they intend to tie down the deal in the first quarter.

“We believe our proposal is closely aligned with the guidelines adopted by EU leaders in December,” the ministers wrote. “Both we and the EU therefore want to agree the detail of the implementation period by the end of March, making good as swiftly as possible on our promise of certainty.”

British and European officials are holding secret discussions on extending the transition period to almost three years, The Daily Telegraph reported, without saying where it got the information. UK officials are concerned that current plans for a two-year period are too short, the newspaper said.

UK voters would like to have another referendum on leaving the EU once the terms of the country's departure are clear, according to a survey by The Guardian newspaper and ICM. Forty-seven per cent of those polled favour a second vote, compared with 34 per cent who oppose it.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

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Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

How will Gen Alpha invest?

Mark Chahwan, co-founder and chief executive of robo-advisory firm Sarwa, forecasts that Generation Alpha (born between 2010 and 2024) will start investing in their teenage years and therefore benefit from compound interest.

“Technology and education should be the main drivers to make this happen, whether it’s investing in a few clicks or their schools/parents stepping up their personal finance education skills,” he adds.

Mr Chahwan says younger generations have a higher capacity to take on risk, but for some their appetite can be more cautious because they are investing for the first time. “Schools still do not teach personal finance and stock market investing, so a lot of the learning journey can feel daunting and intimidating,” he says.

He advises millennials to not always start with an aggressive portfolio even if they can afford to take risks. “We always advise to work your way up to your risk capacity, that way you experience volatility and get used to it. Given the higher risk capacity for the younger generations, stocks are a favourite,” says Mr Chahwan.

Highlighting the role technology has played in encouraging millennials and Gen Z to invest, he says: “They were often excluded, but with lower account minimums ... a customer with $1,000 [Dh3,672] in their account has their money working for them just as hard as the portfolio of a high get-worth individual.”

Ramez Gab Min El Akher

Creator: Ramez Galal

Starring: Ramez Galal

Streaming on: MBC Shahid

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Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

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Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

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The story of Edge

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, established Edge in 2019.

It brought together 25 state-owned and independent companies specialising in weapons systems, cyber protection and electronic warfare.

Edge has an annual revenue of $5 billion and employs more than 12,000 people.

Some of the companies include Nimr, a maker of armoured vehicles, Caracal, which manufactures guns and ammunitions company, Lahab

 

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

The Breadwinner

Director: Nora Twomey

Starring: Saara Chaudry,  Soma Chhaya,  Laara Sadiq 

Three stars

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre, twin-turbo V8

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 582bhp

Torque: 730Nm

Price: Dh649,000

On sale: now 

3 Body Problem

Creators: David Benioff, D B Weiss, Alexander Woo

Starring: Benedict Wong, Jess Hong, Jovan Adepo, Eiza Gonzalez, John Bradley, Alex Sharp

Rating: 3/5

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

History's medical milestones

1799 - First small pox vaccine administered

1846 - First public demonstration of anaesthesia in surgery

1861 - Louis Pasteur published his germ theory which proved that bacteria caused diseases

1895 - Discovery of x-rays

1923 - Heart valve surgery performed successfully for first time

1928 - Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

1953 - Structure of DNA discovered

1952 - First organ transplant - a kidney - takes place 

1954 - Clinical trials of birth control pill

1979 - MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, scanned used to diagnose illness and injury.

1998 - The first adult live-donor liver transplant is carried out

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Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Nomad Homes
Started: 2020
Founders: Helen Chen, Damien Drap, and Dan Piehler
Based: UAE and Europe
Industry: PropTech
Funds raised so far: $44m
Investors: Acrew Capital, 01 Advisors, HighSage Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, Potluck Ventures, Knollwood and several undisclosed hedge funds