INSIGHTS


Resale of property without title deeds. “Assignment” or “Cancellation”?

When purchasing newly developed property in Cyprus,  it may take years before a proper title deed is issued in the name of the buyer. Consequently, where the original buyer wishes to resell such a property, without a title deed in his name, it cannot be legally effected by way of an outright contract of sale between the original buyer, now as seller,  and the new buyer.  Essentially there are two options in such cases. The first option is the assignment of the rights of the seller, under the existing contract of sale with between the seller and the developer,   to the benefit of the new buyer. The second option is the cancellation of the original contract of sale between the seller and the developer and the entering into a new and identical contract of sale between the new buyer and the developer. This article explores the process, the legal and the practical considerations of the two options.

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CySEC Issues a Circular on Guidelines for Complaints-Handling by Cyprus Investment Firms

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission ("CySEC") issued a circular on 11th September 2019 (the "Circular C338") regarding the reissuance of the guidelines on complaints-handling for the securities and banking sectors issued on 4th of October 2018, which applies to Cyprus Investment Firms ("CIF").

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Playbell & Co. advises LMAX Exchange Group on the acquisition of a Cyprus investment firm

Playbell & Co. advised LMAX Exchange Group on the acquisition of the Cyprus investment firm CB Capital Business Limited. Engagement covered legal and regulatory advisory work in Cyprus, including facilitation of the transaction approval process by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. LMAX Exchange Group is a global, diversified financial services company, which operates multiple institutional execution venues for FX trading. The acquisition is part of the Group’s international expansion strategy which aims to broaden the company’s global presence in order to provide better market access to its clients. Currently, LMAX Exchange Group services clients in over 100 countries from its eleven offices in the UK, US, EU and throughout Asia Pacific. Following the transfer of shares to LMAX Global, the new regulated entity will sit under the LMAX Global brand, as a European legal entity – “LMAX Broker Europe ltd”.

The transaction was led by the firm’s managing partner Varnavas Playbell and head of financial services partner Andrea Stefani.

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Rent Increase in Cyprus. How and when can it be legally imposed

A largely discussed issue over recent times is the ongoing and considerable increase in demand, and consequently in prices, of the rental properties across the island. In connection to existing, long term tenancies, this creates an issue, on the one hand, for the tenants as to whether the landlord can impose an increase on the rental price to match prevailing market rates, and, on the other hand, for the landlords who are stuck with very low rents negotiated years ago  and as to how they can increase the price to match prevailing market rate. This article explores how and when a rent increase can be legally imposed in Cyprus taking into account essential factors such as the distinction between “statutory” all other tenancies.

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Three tier leverage proposed by CySEC for retail clients

On the 30th May 2019 The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC”) issued a consultation paper on the imposition of National Permeant Measures in Relation to the Marketing, Distribution and Sale of Contracts for Differences “CFDs” in line with the European Securities and Markets Authority’s (‘ESMA’) temporary intervention measures – which are due to lapse in July 2019. The measures which are subject of CySEC’s consultation, include..

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Changes to the “Cyprus Investment Program”. New criteria will apply starting from the 15th May 2019 for investors seeking Cyprus citizenship

he Council of Ministers has approved on Wednesday,  13 February 2019 , a number of changes in regards to the popular “Cyprus Investment Programme” by which investors obtain the Cyprus citizenship. The logic behind such changes according to the Minister of Finance, is to target and encourage the creation of an eco-system of business innovation as well as to facilitate the creation of finance for affordable housing through the mandatory contribution to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation whilst such changes also aim to prevent any overgrowth of the real estate sector through such investments. The main changes, are as follows :

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Modernisation of the laws and procedures of the Registrar of Companies

In the context of modernization and reorganization of the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, the Cyprus Parliament has voted a number of amending Laws and Regulations which were published in the Official Gazette of the Republic on the 18th of December 2018. Full digitalisation, amendment of legislation, redesign of the Registrar forms, and revision of fees for the promotion of electronic submission of forms are some of the new characteristics introduced by the new amending Legislation and Regulations aiming at the restructuring of the Department of Registrar of Companies with a view to reduce the time of processing, simplify and expedite the various processes and services provided by the Companies Registrar Department, making it more efficient, and ensure the adequate and timely updating of the register kept by the Companies Registrar and provide high quality services to the public and the business world, which will help attract investment.

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Revised definition of “Shell Companies” by the Central Bank of Cyprus and Practical Solutions to Effective Banking

On the 02 November 2018 the Central Bank of Cyprus issued a circular to all credit institutions under its supervision revising the definition of “shell companies” and the corresponding treatment of such companies under their earlier circular this year dated 14 June 2018.  The rationale and objective of the original circular, said to be orchestrated by foreign correspondent banks, was to combat money laundering and tax evasion facilitated by the use offshore entities. While the underlying objective of the said circular is valid and justifiable, its practical application was viewed by many as a case of destroying  the entire garden for killing some weed.  The arbitrary definition set, ignorant of commercial realities, in combination with extremely risk averse, “check list” approach adopted by Cyprus banks and individual bankers has in practice led to classifying legitimate businesses as “shell companies”  thus treating legitimate, high caliber businessmen as common criminals. This has an extremely adverse effect on Cyprus as an international business center, and basically unwinds what the stakeholders of the professional services industry have for decades tried to achieve, including the government and the banks. This new circular could be said to allow somewhat more flexibility for common sense, without prejudice of course to existing obligations under the anti-money laundering legal and regulatory framework. (...)

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Relaunch of Fast Track Application Process for Cyprus Investment Firms

On the 12th September 2018, The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (“Cysec”) announced its decision to recommence the fast track process for applicants wishing to obtain a licence for Cyprus Investment Firm (“CIF”) in accordance with Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law of 2017 (Law 87 (I)/2017). 

In accordance with the applicable Announcement issued by Cysec on the 2nd November 2015, the indicative time frame for Cysec to respond to all fast track CIF applications is 8 weeks.

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Cyprus Funds made easy! Alterations in the legal framework regulating the Cyprus Funds Industry.

After ratification from the House of Representatives’ plenary session on Tuesday on the 10th of July, the legal and regulatory framework for collective investment funds is remodelled and upgraded, while investors’ rights are protected at the same time. More specifically, the new bills regarding alternative investment funds will boost the fund industry in Cyprus, as new ways for registration of different kind and types of funds in Cyprus which did not exist so far is introduced now providing investors a range of options.

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