12° Nicosia,
21 April, 2024

Deloitte Cyprus CEO on 65 years, challenges, and future strategies

Pieris Markou, the CEO of Deloitte Cyprus, talks in an interview with ''K'' about the latest disclosures of the ''consortium'' of ICIJ journalists and ''Cyprus Confidential''

Panayiotis Rougalas

Panayiotis Rougalas

Deloitte Cyprus celebrates 65 years of presence on the island, playing a major role in the financial affairs of the state. Its 65th year finds it at a pivotal point for the professional services sector, experiencing world-historical changes amidst wars, pandemics and revelations about the sector in its entirety, yet Deloitte Cyprus reports high gross revenues of €51.1 million for the financial year 2023.

Deloitte Cyprus' contribution to government revenues amounts to €16.5 million for the current year and at its "helm" is Mr Pieris Markou. The CEO of Deloitte Cyprus talks in an interview with "K" about the latest disclosures of the "consortium" of ICIJ journalists, "Cyprus Confidential", gives his take on the character that a Single Supervisory Authority should have and gives a "taste" for the next moves of Deloitte Cyprus in terms of services offered.

In the interview he granted, Mr. Markou feels proud to be at the head of the company that was founded in 1958 as a small audit firm and has grown today into one of the largest service providers in Cyprus.

Q: To what extent do you think the latest Cyprus Confidential publication has affected Cyprus' image?

A: In recent years Cyprus and more specifically the professional services sector has suffered a huge wound starting with the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures, and now the conflict in Israel. At the same time, we have had the discrediting of the Passport program and the various ratings on corruption and transparency, which unfortunately Cyprus remains low on.

Certainly, the latest ICIJ publications with Cyprus Confidential do not help the whole effort that is being made by both the government, the various bodies and the private sector regarding our industry, who in my view are making a huge effort to restore the perception of our country. I think we have a lot to do, and what is paramount is to 'tidy up our house' as a country and to communicate that. We should take these actions and make changes that will highlight our country, such as the introduction of a new, independent national financial services authority, the passing of the law on the screening of foreign direct investment on the basis of the European Union's Foreign Direct Investment Screening Directive, to give some examples, but there are many others.

Q: Have you already felt some shocks?

A: As Deloitte, we are not concerned about this development other than the impact on the overall image of Cyprus and how this could potentially affect the decisions of foreign investors and how they use Cyprus in their strategic investments. As Deloitte, since the start of the war in Ukraine and with the support of our international network, we have had a policy of "pens down", which in essence meant "stop any work you are doing for the client", and this was for any client that was either involved in work in Russia or was of Russian interests. At the same time, there was a detailed "consultation" in order to make a decision on whether or not to continue to serve the client concerned based on very strict criteria set by Deloitte globally.

The 14 Points

Q: Do you agree with the creation of a Supervisory Authority that is being discussed? What form should it take in your opinion?

A: Considering the ongoing changes in the international landscape and the reputational challenges faced by Cyprus, we lend our support to the government's proposal to establish a single authority for supervising sanctions implementation. After a thorough examination and observing practices in more advanced financial sectors abroad, we have recommended to the government a comprehensive supra-coverage mechanism for the entire financial sector. This mechanism aims to oversee both money laundering and sanctions implementation issues. We propose the establishment of a new, independent national financial services authority (of the Financial Services Authority type) responsible for 14 functions:

1. Introducing and amending legislation on anti-money laundering, sanctions, and related areas.
2. Serving as a direct point of contact for external authorities, international evaluation agencies, the press, and other organizations.
3. Coordinating international assessments (e.g., Moneyval, IMF, EU, OECD).
4. Preparing the National Risk Assessment (NRSA) project for the country.
5. Transposing EU Directives and Regulations into domestic law.
6. Ensuring compliance of all sectoral supervisory authorities with legislation and regulatory responsibilities.
7. Implementing up-to-date risk assessment systems, relevant typologies, and standards.
8. Encouraging individual authorities to implement similar monitoring and disciplinary procedures.
9. Providing coordination, guidance, and assistance to sectoral supervisory authorities.
10. Offering clarifications and explanations on challenging areas related to sanctions and anti-money laundering.
11. Handling the reception and evaluation of potential complaints against financial services firms.
12. Exercising control and enforcement measures over firms that do not comply with required obligations.
13. Conducting investigations into problematic cases and initiating ex officio criminal prosecution where warranted.
14. Building confidence and credibility among foreign investors and international authorities.

With these recommendations, individual supervisors would retain their current functions but report to a central coordinating body.

65 Years of Presence

Q: Deloitte's 65th anniversary in Cyprus and finds you at the helm. How do you feel?

A: This year marks the 65th anniversary of Deloitte's dynamic and continuous presence since the founding of Chrysanthou & Christoforou in 1958, evolving into today's Deloitte. I am honored to lead a business that started as a small audit firm by visionaries Mr. Christodoulos Chrysanthou and Mr. Michalakis Christoforou. Today, it stands as one of the largest service providers in Cyprus. The success is attributed to the people of Deloitte, diligently offering services with the professionalism and ethos that define our company. Since its inception, Deloitte has maintained the values of ethos, integrity, and quality set by its founders, even as it has grown into a multi-dimensional professional services organization.


Q: What are Deloitte's next moves in terms of service offerings? Are you preparing some new innovations?

A: In the current landscape, adaptability and responsiveness to changes and developments are more critical than ever. Our world is in constant flux, and the ability to grow and evolve has become imperative. Deloitte's distinctive edge lies in our agility, turning challenges into opportunities even amidst turbulence, and our commitment to developing and delivering the best services.

Recognizing the necessity for digital transformation early on, we understand that the future of our services revolves around technology, data, and talent. Over recent years, we have actively pursued a strategy emphasizing agility and technological advancement in our client services. Our goal is to enhance business performance, integrate technology, and accomplish our digital transformation.

We anticipate that this strategic focus on agility and technology will not only help us navigate the future but also enable us to adapt to emerging demands.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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