Repaving the ancient Silk Routes

China’s Belt and Road (B&R) initiative is a global connectivity program focused on infrastructure development across East and Central Asia, the subcontinent, Africa and Europe. It goes beyond roads and ports, to include airports, power plants, pipelines, waste and water management facilities and telecommunications. These are supported by extensive ecosystems, providing opportunities for international professional and project management expertise.

Demand for global expertise

B&R projects are open to all countries beyond the 65 developing nations along the 6 economic corridors. It will have an impact on a population of about 4.4 billion and one third of the global economy. The size and complexity of B&R projects means that enterprises from both China and along the B&R will seek to partner with foreign companies which have globally recognized skills and capabilities, as well as experience in managing complex international engagements.

However, identifying the right B&R project and preparing for success raises a number of complex questions:

What are the risks associated with B&R projects?

  • Geopolitical risks: Changes in political regimes or in bilateral relations between countries involved in B&R during a project’s lifespan.
  • Funding risks: Funding gaps and host countries’ varied ability to repay loans, exacerbated by higher capital and debt service ratios of B&R projects.
  • Operational risks: A lack of experience in delivering and managing complex transnational projects, leading to delays and cost overruns.

How do I evaluate which B&R project to be involved in?

  • Commercial viability assessment: Conduct realistic economic modelling to establish the business case viability of a B&R project.
  • Review maturity of the infrastructure ecosystem: Assess the maturity and future plans of the surrounding infrastructure.
  • Establish a portfolio fit: Evaluate how the proposed B&R project complements the company’s existing infrastructure portfolio and overall growth objectives.

Which factors will help me position for success?

  • Contingency strategies: Establish contingency plans to manage short term disruptions and plan for lengthy project lifespans.
  • Align with governments: Build strong and respected relationships with local authorities and align with national interests in order to effectively navigate political pressure points.
  • Establish trusted partnerships: Work with local companies with proven track records and established connections with key local stakeholders.
  • Adopt a risk-sharing approach: Establish trust among all stakeholders to dilute the burden of shouldering potential risks.

 


Contact:

Felix Sutter
Assurance Partner
Tel. +41 58 792 2820
felix.sutter@ch.pwc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/daviddellea/

IFRS News June 2017

Our latest IFRS News contains some information about
IFRS 17, the leases lab, demistifying IFRS 9 for corporates, IFRIC rejections and more.

20 years in the making: IFRS 17 has
finally been issued.

Gail Tucker, Global Insurance Accounting leader, walks through the main elements of the new standards.

Read more

The Leases Lab

IFRS 16 brings significant changes to accounting for lessees, but what about lessors? Can Professor Lee Singh and his assistant Derek Carmichael help you separate the truth from the fiction? Let’s experiment!

Read more

Scene 3, Take 1: Demistifying IFRS 9 for corporates: Good news for
financial liabilities

Nitassha Somai, Financial Instruments expert, works through one of the biggest impacts of IFRS 9 on corporates.

Read more

IFRIC Rejections Supplement – IAS 36

Paul Shepherd of Accounting Consulting Services examines the practical implications of IFRIC rejections (NIFRICs) related to IAS 36.

Read more

The IFRS 15 Mole

PwC revenue specialists investigate how to account for warranties under IFRS 15.

Suspects: Warranties – are they distinct?
Incident description: Sellers often provide customers with warranties, a type of guarantee that the seller will replace or repair a product that becomes defective within a particular time period. The nature and terms of such agreements vary across entities, industries, products and/or contracts.

Read more

Cannon Street Press

  • IFRIC Interpretation Ratification
  • Amendments to IAS 28 – Long-term interests in associates and joint ventures
  • Research projects: Goodwill and impairment

Read more

Read the latest issue on IFRS News from May 2017

Read more

In brief – A look at current
financial reporting issues

  • FASB to permit adoption of new hedging guidance
    at issuance, expected in Q3:

    PwC In brief US2017-17
    Read more
  • PCAOB issues proposals on auditing estimates
    and using specialists:
    PwC In brief US2017-16
    Read more
  • PCAOB adopts new standard enhancing
    auditor reporting:
    PwC In brief US2017-15
    Read more

 

Poland removes Liechtenstein from its black list

On 9 June 2017 the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein issued a press release stating that Liechtenstein has been removed from the Polish black list of low-tax countries.

Removing Liechtenstein from the black list is a consequence of the signing of the agreement between Liechtenstein and the EU Member States to exchange information on tax matters automatically and upon request. This agreement is in force since 1 January 2016.

The removal from the Polish black list further contributes to strengthening Liechtenstein as a business location. In particular, it helps Liechtenstein based companies in the areas of transfer pricing documentation and controlled-foreign-company regulation. Liechtenstein based companies no longer automatically fall within the scope of these anti-abuse rules. Thus, anti-abuse rules only apply if the specific preconditions based on Polish legislation are fulfilled.

Contacts

Martin_Meyer_09723
Martin Meyer
PwC | Director
Office: +41 58 792 42 96
Mobile: +41 79 348 36 13
Email
PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH
Austrasse 52 | Postfach | FL-9490 Vaduz

 

 

Bieri_Ralph_70735
Ralph Bieri
PwC | Senior Manager
Office: +41 58 792 72 76
Mobile: +41 79 643 14 37
Email
PricewaterhouseCoopers AG
Vadianstrasse 25a | Neumarkt 5 | 9001 St. Gallen

Mandatory disclosure rules for intermediaries proposed by the European Commission

On 21 June 2017, the European Commission (EC) adopted a proposal for a Council Directive on the mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to so called “reportable cross-border arrangements”. The proposal accordingly provides for mandatory disclosure of cross-border arrangements by intermediaries or taxpayers to the tax authorities and mandating automatic exchange of this information among Member States. Its stated objective is to enhance transparency, reduce uncertainty over beneficial ownership and dissuade intermediaries from designing, marketing and implementing harmful tax structures.

Mandatory disclosure for cross-border arrangements

The proposal applies to cross-border arrangements, i.e. an arrangement or series of arrangements in either more than one Member State or a Member State and a third country.

Such arrangements become reportable by intermediaries (or in certain cases by the taxpayers themselves), if they bear at least one of certain generic or specific features (called “hallmarks” and including but not limited to the conversion of income into lower-taxed revenue streams, deductible cross-border payments between related parties where the recipient is resident in a zero or low tax jurisdiction, situations where the intermediary is entitled to receive a fee fixed by reference to e.g. the amount of tax advantage derived, the use of jurisdictions with weak regimes of enforcement of anti-money laundering legislation for identifying the beneficial ownership of legal entities et al).

An intermediary is any person being responsible vis-à-vis the taxpayer for designing, marketing, organising or managing the implementation of the tax aspects of a cross-border arrangement. An intermediary may also be a person who directly or indirectly provides material aid or advice with respect to any of the above activities. Intermediaries are covered by this proposal if incorporated/governed by the laws/resident/registered in an EU Member State.

Next steps

Timing-wise, Member States will need to take the necessary measures to require intermediaries and taxpayers to file information on reportable cross-border transactions that were implemented between the date of the formal adoption of the proposal by the Council and 31 December 2018. The provisions of the proposed measure are set to apply as per 1 January 2019 with the first information being disclosed by the end of the first quarter of 2019 (being 31 March 2019).

The Commission’s proposal will now be sent to the Council and the European Parliament. The Directive needs to be formally adopted by the Council by unanimous vote, after consultation of the European Parliament.

For more detailed information, please refer to the PwC Newsalert from our EUDTG network.

The future of sports sponsorship: what are tomorrow’s winning strategies?

A few weeks ago, the executive director of an international sports federation bluntly told me that while I see the industry growth as ongoing, that was not what he was experiencing: “In fact”, he told me, “it’s getting much tougher to get sponsors and deal values are flat if not decreasing.” I hear this viewpoint more and more, especially among those involved in the sponsorship of second- or third-tier sports.

Over the past decades, the development of sports sponsorship has been driven by brands’ ability to reach the masses via linear TV distribution and associate with the values of the specific sport and its athletes for effective activation. As a result, multinational brands have been flocking to global events, as have national brands with local events. Only a few brands – with Red Bull leading the way – have been able to take sponsorship to another level, seeking direct access to content by sponsoring athletes and creating own events, often outside the framework of traditional sports.

What is happening today? With the rise of the mobile, millennial consumer, the priorities of brands engaging with sports are changing significantly. There are three main drivers behind this change:

1. Millennials interact with brands very differently, with authenticity and identity being top of their agenda. While exposure through mass media continues to be important, brands now have to consider a wide variety of factors to ensure that their sponsorship decisions result in authentic engagement across multiple dimensions.

2. Millennials are active consumers seeking high levels of engagement, often becoming the broadcasters themselves. User-generated content is leading and shaping opinions. Brands are capturing this by treating millennials not only as consumers, but also as content creators.

3. Media consumption is also changing, with growing fragmentation across channels and devices. Consumption of linear TV is giving way to digital consumption, which is reinforced by the proliferation of the types of media that can be consumed on demand (e.g. highlights, data/statistics, behind the scenes content, personal posts of athletes and fans). Brands can now choose from a plethora of channels to drive their messages home.

How does this change in priorities translate into concrete sponsorship opportunities? We will increasingly see three clusters of sponsors:

1. Those that (can afford to) secure big-ticket sponsorship deals will continue to push for the mass exposure delivered by global premium events, while in parallel demanding for increased integration within the property, acquiring special rights to access content and drive engagement. Their campaigns will be fully CRM-enabled, highly dynamic and targeting fans with the right content, through the right channels, at the right time.

2. Those that have typically been engaged with second-tier properties will increase their demands on rights owners. They will demand guarantees or negotiate variable compensation models depending on exposure, which will be difficult to provide as linear programming continues to dwindle. They will also require increased digital reach across channels as well as ready-to-use activation strategies and content, facilitating their engagement with fans.

3. Those that opt out of sponsoring traditional events, as Red Bull did decades ago already. These brands will consider the opportunities presented by the decreasing costs of producing engaging, authentic content (e.g. via a GoPro or even an iPhone camera), striking the right “storytelling” tone by building relationships with a new set of digitally native opinion leaders (athletes, teams, bloggers, etc.), and the ability to segment and reach their audience directly via social media channels.

What does this mean for sports properties and event organisers?

Premium sports properties and events will continue to thrive as they continue to deliver mass audiences through linear TV. Nevertheless, they will also have to evolve their media distribution strategy to maintain the edge over the long term, considering the current transition from linear TV to digital/mobile/OTT solutions. This will require a more professional and analytical approach to distribution, with bespoke commercial strategies and implementation that no longer fits into the box of traditional agency-style media rights sales.

Second- to third-tier properties, however, will be under growing pressure, requiring a greater effort to develop effective strategies. Various options present themselves:

• Adopting a niche strategy that aims to fully dominate a specific target audience across geographies. This will require event organisers and governing bodies to make hard choices by focussing resources on fewer and clearer segments, tailoring event formats to their selected target audiences. To boost such a strategy, we expect properties to strive for greater control on activation rights related to athletes and teams.

• Placing their bets on geographical expansion, most particularly towards Asia, with public investments and infrastructure developments acting as a compounding force. Such strategies will be a high risk, high returns exercise, as they will require a significant effort in developing sports participation at a grassroots level before an effective commercial strategy can bear fruit.

• Developing partnership strategies with other properties to increase critical mass and boost synergies. By transforming their fragmented single-sport events into a coherent multi-sport festival, these properties will engage with host cities, spectators and media followers with a broader proposition.

To conclude, irrespective of the strategy adopted, properties and sports will have to change their approach to content management across the board. Simply producing engaging, linear content, even if live, will no longer be sufficient to keep the attention of increasingly demanding audiences. For brands, it will be essential to refocus attention on building a strong, coherent and authentic brand identity. This will require a greater ability to gain more control and access of the core assets of the sport: athletes and teams, their personalities, their stories and their values. Ultimately, that is what sports sponsorship is increasingly all about.

Contacts:

David Dellea
Advisory Director
Tel. +41 58 792 2406
david.dellea@ch.pwc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/daviddellea/

Lefteris Coroyannakis
Senior Associate
Tel. +41 58 792 1578
lefteris.coroyannakis@ch.pwc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lefterry/

“2016 Chief Digital Officer” study – digital responsibility is growing

In its latest “2016 Chief Digital Officer” study, Strategy& investigates who is responsible for overseeing digitization within companies. The findings show that a third of Swiss management bodies delegate this task to a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), particularly in the financial industry. The profiles of CDOs vary – but not their role.

The aim of the “2016 Chief Digital Officer” study conducted by Strategy& is to establish who is in charge of the digital transformation in the 2,500 largest listed companies in the world (including 49 in Switzerland). The term CDO refers to senior executives entrusted with the digitization strategy of their company. The evaluation clearly shows that: The Chief Digital Officer is taking the C-suite by storm. Whereas in 2015, 6% of study participants employed a CDO; in 2016 the number had already risen to 19%. 60% of the CDOs questioned were appointed between 2015 and 2016. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) have the highest CDO density in the world, and the strongest growth (+30%) in the role. Switzerland is ranked fifth in Europe with 33%.

The Swiss financial services industry has clearly recognized the signs of the times, and is deploying the relevant management skills to ensure the consistent implementation of a digital strategy. The financial sector has the highest proportion of CDOs in Switzerland: insurance companies lead the way with 67%, followed by banks with 50%. They are digitizing not only their customer activities, but also their internal processes.

There is no typical CDO. Half of Swiss CDOs are members of the Board of Directors, 38% have individual titles such as “Head of Digital”, 6% hold the position of Vice President, and 6% are Directors. Almost two thirds were recruited from within the company. Only 13% of CDOs are currently female. 38% of CDOs held a previous function in marketing, sales or customer service. A third come with technical baggage, while a quarter have a background in consulting, strategy or business development. The importance of technical experience has increased. In 2016, 32% of CDOs originated from the technical sector. This represents more than twice as many as the previous year.

Find out more

Contact

Dr. Daniel Diemers
Partner Financial Services, Strategy&, Schweiz
+41 58 792 3190
daniel.diemers@strategyand.ch.pwc.com

Cooperation between PwC and Noveras Tax Reporting for international Banking Clients

PwC and Noveras Services AG have agreed to cooperate in providing offshore tax reports for banks located in Switzerland and in foreign countries. This cooperation results in the following benefits:

Benefits for Banks:

  • Able to offer truly country-specific, high-quality tax reports to clients
  • No need to build up and maintain tax reporting infrastructure
  • No need to follow tax laws around the world
  • Tax reporting provided even for small numbers of clients
  • Flexible, cost-efficient cooperation

Benefits for Clients:

  • Client receives a high-quality tax report for their offshore account
  • Reports deliver all of the necessary information for client’s tax return in their country
  • Overall lower costs for the client due to saving the expense of local tax support

Statement by the Leaders

  • This unique cooperation ensures several high-quality services (such as highly skilled tax reporting products).
  • The synergy between PwC as leading expert advisor in tax-related topics and a practice-oriented boutique with profound knowledge of wealth management / cross-border banking, IT and international tax law creates a unique market solution.

Find out more

Contact

Dieter Wirth
Partner
+41 58 792 4488
dieter.wirth@ch.pwc.com

Michael Taschner
Senior Manager
+41 58 792 1087
michael.taschner@ch.pwc.com

Swiss Federal Council Adopts Dispatch on AEOI with 41 Jurisdictions

On 16 June 2017, the Swiss Federal Council agreed to adopt the dispatch on the introduction of the Automatic Exchange of Information (“AEOI”) with 41 states and territories. Switzerland will activate the AEOI with each individual state/territory via specific federal decrees within the framework of this dispatch.

This dispatch strengthens Switzerland’s international position, as its AEOI network has extended to most of the G20 and OECD states, in addition to the already existing agreements with 38 states and territories, including all EU member states.

As part of this dispatch, collection of information will begin in 2018 for a first data exchange in 2019. Brazil, China, Liechtenstein, and Russia are notable states included within the list of 41 states and territories.

Please refer to the following link for the Swiss Federal Council’s official media release:

Englishhttps://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/documentation/media-releases.msg-id-67079.html
Germanhttps://www.admin.ch/gov/de/start/dokumentation/medienmitteilungen.msg-id-67079.html

Tax Package 17: Federal Council presents basic parameters of the planned reform

At its meeting on 9 June 2017 the Federal Council confirmed the basic parameters of the planned reform of Swiss corporate taxes, which the Steering Committee sent as a recommendation to the Federal Council and already introduced in a press release on 1 June 2017. The Tax Package 17 (SV 17) has three main objectives: first the aim is to secure Switzerland’s attractive status as a business location. In addition the reform intends, in view of the changed international environment, also to continue to preserve the acceptance of the Swiss tax system. Finally SV 17 is intended to secure sufficient tax revenues at all levels. These objectives are in principle identical with those of Corporate Tax Reform III (CTR III), which was rejected by the Swiss voters on 12 February 2017 with a share of the vote of almost 60%. SV 17 will therefore be more balanced. Compared with CTR III the special rules will be drawn up more restrictively and the interests of the cities and communes will carry more weight.

Continue to read in detail in our current newsletter.

If you have questions, please contact your usual PwC contact person or one of PwC Switzerland´s experts named below.

Contacts

Andreas Staubli
Partner
Leader TLS Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 44 72
Send E-mail
Armin Marti
Partner
Leader CT Schweiz
Tel. +41 58 792 43 43
Send E-mail
Benjamin Koch
Partner
Leader TP and VCT
+41 58 792 43 34
Send E-mail
Daniel Gremaud
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 81 23
Send E-mail
Claude-Alain Barke
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 83 17
Send E-mail
Remo Küttel
Partner
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 68 69
Send E-mail
Laurenz Schneider
Director
Tax & Legal
+41 58 792 59 38
Send E-mail