It is with great pleasure that I have accepted your invitation to join you in celebrating Windsor’s Silver Anniversary, its 25th year anniversary since it was first established.
This anniversary is very unique to me since I have the privilege of being a personal friend with the founder of Windsor, Mr Nicolas Abuitah, as well as his family, for over 30 years. I consider this to be a privilege since Mr Abuitah’s family is a true and genuine friend of Cyprus and has a long-standing valuable contribution both at a societal and an economic level.
At the same time, our friendship extended to the professional field, since I had the honour to be the lawyer of Windsor when back in 1988 it established a financial services firm in Cyprus. I consider this to be an honour since Windsor was the first ever company to establish a financial services firm in Cyprus.
The Abuaitahs were the first to realize the dynamics of the financial services industry in Cyprus and the competitive advantages Cyprus offered to foreign investors; such as, its diversified open-market economy, its highly-educated workforce, its strategic location at the crossroads of the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, its well-developed infrastructure and its favourable tax regime.
Still today, even after so many years, Cyprus retains unique characteristics of expertise and advantages in the service industry, which, in addition to the above-mentioned attributes, have been enhanced by its EU membership, its fully internationally harmonized tax and legal system, the conclusion of almost 50 double tax treaties and its most competitive corporate tax rate at 12.5%.
With this opportunity, I would like to stress that at the heart of the Government’s strategy for economic recovery during the current economic challenges that Cyprus is facing, is the pursuance of Foreign Direct Investment. To this end, all steps are being taken to ensure that a more effective and business-friendly environment is facilitated.
In this respect, I am pleased to note that a thousand new companies were actually registered in Cyprus in November, reinforcing the expectations of stakeholders in the international services sector that the situation is improving and that Cyprus is capable of addressing its current challenges as thoroughly, as effectively and as promptly as possible.
You need to have plenty of passion and ambition to set up a business. You also need to have the energy, dynamism and determination to succeed. The Abuaitah’s certainly had all this and more. Through Windsor’s evolution, they have proven that they can succeed and overcome any obstacles and challenges along the way.
From being the pioneers who have established the first financial services firm on the island, to raising the bar for the investment firms in Cyprus and enticing many others to follow suit and to introducing innovations that have driven transformations across the financial services industry in Cyprus.
Indeed, from what we have also seen from the video clips tonight, Windsor’s growth and impact on the financial industry in Cyprus has exceeded expectations. I am truly impressed with Windsor Brokers’ evolution and how a foreign company has grown steadily over the past 25 years to become a successful international firm based in Cyprus. I have no doubt that the next 25 years to follow will be marked by even greater success and growth.
While we reflect upon Windsor’s many achievements and milestones, I am sure that these could not have been made possible without Windsor’s loyal and committed workforce. The Windsor team members are indeed very lucky to be part of this family and to be following its strong principles and moral values.
Most importantly, Windsor is renowned and recognized for its ethics and integrity.
Before concluding, I would like to praise Windsor’s long-standing tireless efforts, hard work and contribution to our collective efforts for economic growth, through, amongst others, promoting Cyprus as a highly-competitive destination for foreign investors and attracting international business interests.
We greatly appreciate and value your support and I have no doubt that we will deepen even further our on-going and mutually reinforcing cooperation, for the future prosperity of Cyprus, its economy and its people.
Concluding, I thank you once again for inviting me to this event and I wish to you all health, happiness and prosperity.
Dear Mr. President, First Lady, Former President, Ministers, Members of the House of Representatives, Ambassadors, Mayor, distinguished guests, associates and friends of Windsor.
Dear fellow directors of Windsor and dear staff members and of course the Abuaitahs who traveled a long distance to be here with us tonight. Thanks to God, we are here today to celebrate 25 years of success.
Yes, thanks to the Almighty and thanks to the hard work of Windsor’s Team and the great support and advice from the directors and shareholders, not to forget the understanding and support of our family members and beloved ones.
We really appreciate this moment in our history and we are indeed very proud of our accomplishments because very few investment firms managed to survive the events of the past 25 years, particularly the last 5 years.
We have seen many investment firms that were established and dissolved during these 25 years and we are therefore very thankful that we are one of the few that, not only survived and overcame all challenges but actually steadily progressed during these years to become a leading investment firm; and the largest in Cyprus in terms of capital and reserves among a large number of investment firms that offer Forex and OTC financial instruments.
Well, rather than going on and on to tell you the story of Windsor, I will stop for now as our great marketing team prepared a short video for this special occasion. As we all know, a picture tells a thousand words and we therefore want to share this video with you at this point. Enjoy!
Thank you to our marketing team for preparing it.
We are proud to announce that despite the challenges faced in 2013 due to the financial crisis in Cyprus and the political unrest in the neighboring countries, where we have a large client base; Windsor has managed to deliver better financial results in 2013 than in 2012.
What we did is simply accept the facts surrounding us, we rolled our sleeves and we adopted, what we call, the Fast Track policy to accommodate such new challenges.
Success from our point of view, however, is not only about making money, but rather about surviving any bad times and flourishing during the better ones, to remain fruitful for the many generations ahead, just like an olive tree.
I have chosen to refer to the olive tree tonight, as we are all very familiar with it and can relate to it as a symbol for Life, Peace, Faith, and Heritage but more importantly the olive tree that is so familiar to us here in Cyprus as well as in my home country Palestine, is the symbol for Eternity, Strength, Resistance and Determination, Regeneration and Growth.
At Windsor, we have made sure that we lay a strong foundation, a strong base with deep roots that can survive the bad times. We thought of the worst and then hoped for the best, we focused on how to manage our risks, be innovative and on building a strong team that is professional but most of all that is loyal and engaged.
I have to mention that the majority of our employees had no experience in our industry and have been developed throughout their years of employment with us and I am very happy to state that many of them have grown rapidly in their roles at Windsor and other financial firms. In actual fact the majority of Windsor’s current managers have started from junior positions and climbed up the ladder. Today there is hardly any investment firm in Cyprus that does not employ a graduate from Windsor.
Mr. President, I believe we should also obtain a license for providing education in the financial sector.
Windsor started in 1988 with only two employees . Today, 120 members of staff constitute Windsor’s workforce in Cyprus and internationally. We started with the amount of CYP 10,000 as capital and today we take pride in having around $40 million as capital reserve with a capital adequacy ratio above 30%.
We have built our own state of the art building premises, our corporate headquarters, “The Windsor Business Center” located in a prominent location in Limassol, designed to accommodate a financial firm with the latest technology needs and providing all the comforts required by its staff members.
Windsor has innovated and created many of the standards that are used in our industry, from the introduction of simplified account statement to our contribution in the development of the most popular online trading system in the world and finally in 2013 we are the creators of the idea and methodology of a totally innovative trading method ‘GWAZY’, which has already received two awards for creativity and innovation within the first two months of its launch.
Walt Disney once stated: “You can dream, create and build the best place in the world but it takes people to make that dream a reality!” Behind Windsor is a great team whose members live and work as a family. Working together as a family is the foundation of our success at Windsor.
Whereas most businesses refuse to employ members of the same family in their workforce, Windsor team is made up of two generations of the same family, we have a number of husbands and wives, parents and children, and it is worth mentioning that in actual fact, we have 7 members of the same direct family working at Windsor. What we have here is a phenomenon in business and the way we deal with each other as colleagues is reflected in the way we deal with our clients.
Many of our employees have been with us for a long time. On this special occasion we would like to honor the employees of Windsor who have been engaged and loyal to the company for 10 years and over.
May I also ask our colleagues who have been with us for 5 years and more to stand up please? Thank you for being loyal and engaged and I hope to see you stand here in the coming years.
I will not say anything more about the past, as I would like to briefly talk about the future of Windsor and our industry. This year, we expect more new regulations, particularly in relation to “The European Market Infrastructure Regulation” (EMIR). There will be changes in capital requirements and new regulations relating to clearing as well as risk management and reporting requirements.
The impact of implementing EMIR for Investment Firms, specifically Forex brokers, is likely to be similar to the aftermath of the Dodd Frank regulation in USA, which was introduced in 2010. In fact, since the implementation of the said regulation (Dodd Frank), the number of US FX brokers has dropped from well over 100 firms down to 10 brokers! For a big number of firms, the consequences were bad: We have seen many mergers and takeovers and for some others they were catastrophic as they had to shut down.
At Windsor, we have been proactively preparing for this by maintaining our capital reserves as high as possible in order to meet the requirements of EMIR and the administration costs that the new regulations will imply.
Windsor has strong foundation with deep roots. We have an experienced professional team that is loyal and engaged and we are here to stay and grow for many generations ahead, just like the olive tree.
Before I step down from this stage, there is one thing I have been looking forward to doing for a long time; on behalf of the shareholders, directors and employees of Windsor we would like to honor my colleague, boss, mentor, father and founder of Windsor, Mr. Nicolas Abuaitah.
I would greatly appreciate if our President, together with my brother Issa, would hand over a symbolic present that we have for him on this special occasion.