When it comes to Cyprus, you have to know people. It's a personal relationship. Despite the many difficulties the EU jurisdictions go through, Cyprus remains a reliable and effective partner. We always work not with the country, but with the person. Our guest today, Yulia Iosifidou, head of Russia and CIS at Totalserve Group, the oldest asset management company in Cyprus, leads the way in all matters relating to Cyprus.
The jurisdiction of Cyprus is historically preferred by CIS clients and has many attractive solutions, making it a convenient jurisdiction. Could you describe who your typical client is today?
Cyprus has indeed been and remains the preferred gateway for investments and transactions to and from many CIS countries – particularly Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Moreover, Cyprus continues to offer practical and efficient solutions for doing business in Europe. In addition to the excellent double tax treaties between Cyprus and most CIS countries, the island offers the most attractive legal and tax elements, including one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in Europe at 12.5%.
Today our clients are not only large holdings and corporations, which historically occupy an important niche in the business life of Cyprus, but also individuals who, besides the wonderful climate, cannot help but be attracted by the possibility of profitable investments, acquisition of tax residency as well as residence permits in our island.
What are the most popular services on the Cyprus market today?
In addition to the “corporate product”, which is historically the “hallmark” of consulting services, Cyprus Trusts have become very popular. Recently, Cyprus has become a very popular trust jurisdiction. Cyprus International Trusts are used, in particular, by wealthy individuals from the CIS countries in order to effectively protect family assets, as well as to plan inheritance matters. Just to solve these issues, a Cyprus Trust is an extremely convenient, flexible and cost-effective tool from the point of view of maintenance.
Equally important amongst the new trends is that Cyprus has become an attractive location for the actual conduct of business and residence of beneficiaries and their families, as well as for key employees of companies. In addition to ‘standard’ services such as company formation, bank accounts, tax planning, accounting and auditing, we offer a full package of services for the selection of offices or residences, legal arrangements for employees, payment of salaries and related social security contributions, quick processing of tax residency or residency permits for the whole family. Coming to us, the client can get a full range of services “turnkey”.
Of course, it is important to note that Cyprus has a significant advantage in the cost of setting up and maintaining various economic elements, compared to other leading EU jurisdictions.
In addition to clients from Russia and CIS countries, what other countries do you work with?
With offices and staff across the globe and our long-standing professional relationships, we pride ourselves on actively serving and assisting professionals and clients from all over the world – without being geographically confined to any one particular region.
In addition to CIS clients, we have many clients from South Africa, the Middle East, Great Britain, Poland, Greece and other countries. We also actively work with partner companies in other countries – Switzerland, UK, Russia, Hong Kong, and the British Isles, which gives us the opportunity to successfully solve clients’ problems and build effective economic structures and relationships.
We are always open to fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation.
Is it true that potential delays in paperwork and bureaucratic procedures can be significantly reduced in Cyprus with personal contact and a long-standing good business relationship?
In principle, I completely agree with this statement. Totalserve Group has been in the international professional services arena for almost 50 years, which translates into long term professional relationships with various institutions and leading Cyprus banks. Of course, having a personal and trusting relationship and a full understanding of the client’s affairs on a case-by-case basis contributes to greater efficiency and timely satisfaction of the client’s needs. For example, you must have heard that in recent years it has become very difficult to open accounts in Cypriot banks both for individuals and corporate entities. As we have been professional partners of leading Cypriot banks for a decade, we know and understand the nuances of this process which allows us to successfully help our clients with this task.
Do you personally apply such long-term effective business relationships?
Totalserve Group has always built long-term and trusting relationships with its clients and professional partners. This is one of the main factors in making our Group the leading professional services provider in Cyprus and having clients who have been working with us for decades. I have been personally involved in the industry for 15 years and certainly over the years many clients and business partners have passed into the category of good friends. I am sure that for most professionals in our industry, good trusting relationships with clients and partners are the key to many years of successful work and fruitful cooperation.
Can you be a single center for solving all the issues of the client in his corporate matters?
We really are such a single center. Our Group consists of a number of companies specializing in different areas and fully regulated in their field. In addition to the main company (Totalserve Management Limited), which primarily offers corporate, fiduciary and tax advisory services, there is a professional trust firm (Totalserve Trustees Limited) and a law firm (E&G Economides LLC). In addition, we work closely with a leading accounting firm, as well as other professional firms in Cyprus and abroad, which enables us to deal efficiently and quickly with the various tasks of our clients.
Apart from the fact that it is convenient for clients to solve various business issues in one place in their native language, it is also attractive for them from an economic point of view, as it enables us to conduct a flexible pricing policy and individual approach.
In conclusion, I would like to say that Cyprus really is a ‘convenient’ jurisdiction for CIS clients because we understand and respect their culture, mentality and business style which, combined with our deep understanding of their business and client needs, gives us the opportunity to provide high quality professional services on a personalised basis.