A look back at the PMI event: Creating high-performing teams for your projects, February 8

Lively exchange, interesting topics and inspiring conversations at the event held by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and PwC Switzerland

Human capital research has given us some interesting insights over the last 30 years. Did you know, for example, that undermined motivation probably has a larger effect on productivity and quality than any other factor? And that after motivation, probably the largest influencer of productivity is the individual capabilities of members of a team or the working relationships among them? These and other facts have been discussed yesterday at the event on the subject “Creating high-performing teams for your projects”.

The interactive presentation has drawn on experience with building high-performing teams for IT projects, nationally and internationally. Attendees got insights into how to build teams that make the grade, what roles need to be included, and what factors influence behaviour and motivation.

We would like to say thank you to all attendees, colleagues, PMI and especially to our speaker Maarten Broekhuizen, senior manager in the Transformation Assurance division at PwC Netherlands, and would be delighted to have the pleasure of your company again soon.

About the next event: Artificial Intelligence & Project Management: Beyond human imagination!

Around 200 years ago the industrial revolution changed society for good. Today another revolution is under way, with potentially even farther-reaching consequences.

Artificial intelligence (AI) in industry, experts are predicting, will change everything about the way we produce, manufacture and deliver. Cognitive computing, machine learning, natural language processing – different terms have emerged as the technology has progressed in recent years. What they all encapsulate is the idea that machines could one day be taught to learn how to adapt by themselves, rather than having to be spoon-fed every instruction for every eventuality. Now, according to many, that day has arrived. AI will change the world.

Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM (CEST)
Location: Geneva, Switzerland.

Registration

Contact

Marc Lahmann
Director and Leader Transformation Assurance
+41 58 792 27 99
marc.lahmann@ch.pwc.com

Manuel Probst
Senior Manager Transformation Assurance
+41 58 792 27 62
manuel.probst@ch.pwc.com

 

Disclose 27, Focus piece 1: High-Performing Teams

Disclose – PwC’s online magazine

«It takes people, digital technologies and trust to achieve top performance.»

Reading our latest issue of Disclose (disclose.pwc.ch/27/) you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush as we investigate a topic with particularly close connections to sport: high-performing organisations.

Focus piece 1 gives you an insight into the topic High-Performing Teams:

High-Performing Teams: Teams bring out the best in everyone

If you want to make the pace you have to set yourself high standards and give your very best performance. Many business leaders wonder if it’s possible to achieve this with their current crew. We believe it is. There’s more to a good team than the abilities of its individual members. By building trust, bringing people closer together, introducing and promoting a healthy culture of debate, and ensuring that everyone clearly recognises the common objective and the contribution they can make towards it, you can exploit this potential – and harness the power of high-performing teams for the benefit of your business.

Read more about the topic High-Performing Teams.

Contact

Charles Donkor
Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Schweiz
charles.donkor@ch.pwc.com
Tel. +41 58 792 45 54

Successful Transactions with PwC

07/02/2018

PwC Corporate Finance advises Thommen-Furler AG (“TFAG”) on the acquisition of alcosuisse ag (“alcosuisse”) from the Swiss government.

Zurich | On January 31, 2018, the Federal Council decided to sell alcosuisse ag, the former profit centre of the Swiss Alcohol Board and sole importer of ethanol products, to TFAG. PwC acted as lead advisor to TFAG throughout the buy-side process.

With the sale to TFAG, the Swiss government completes another important stage of the partial revision of the Alcohol Act, which started on January 1, 2017 by the transformation of alcosuisse from a profit centre to a limited company. The transaction is expected to be completed in mid-2018. Until the next stage in the revision process of the Act – the liberalisation of the ethanol market on January 1, 2019 – the monopoly for the importation of ethanol will remain unchanged and the buyer is not allowed to generate any profit until then.

For more than 100 years, alcosuisse has been providing the Swiss economy with high-quality ethanol products in over 50 different grades at cost-covering prices. With processing facilities in Delémont (JU) and Schachen (LU) and c. 38 FTEs, alcosuisse supplies over 1’500 Swiss-based customers with ethanol products.

TFAG, headquartered in Rüti bei Büren (BE), is specialised in the distribution of chemicals and lubricants, environmental technology, and the disposal and recycling of industrial and hazardous waste. With c. 250 employees, the medium-sized company generates revenues in excess of CHF 120 Mio. and operates branches in Ziefen (BL) and La-Chaux-de-Fonds (NE).

The PwC team

M&A Lead Advisory
Sascha Beer, Partner
Marco Tremonte, Director, Engagement Leader
Andreas X. Müller, Senior Consultant

Financial Due Diligence
Nico Psarras, Partner
Patrick Amstutz, Director
Vincent Lüscher, Manager
Daniel Lötscher, Consultant

Tax Due Diligence
Marcel Angehrn, Director

Pension Due Diligence
Roger Ehrensberger, Senior Manager
Andreas Schuler, Consultant

U.S. tax reform includes important information reporting and withholding changes

The 2017 tax reform and reconciliation act (the Act), enacted on December 22, 2017, makes important changes to information reporting and withholding tax rules, including:

  • A change in the backup withholding rate from 28% to 24%;
  • A new federal tax withholding requirement relating to certain transfers of partnership interests;
  • New reporting requirements relating to:
    • the sale of certain life insurance contracts, and
    • the receipt of fines, penalties, and other amounts from certain taxpayers; and
  • Changes to various non-payroll withholding tax rates that are tied to individual and corporate income tax rates.

Observations: Taxpayers may need to implement changes immediately to their policies and procedures to conform to the new rules. Also, taxpayers reorganizing or restructuring in light of US tax reform should consider the impact the tax reform changes have on their tax withholding and reporting profile. Restructuring could cause changes in the source of income being paid or the status of a taxpayer (e.g., from non-US payor to US payor, or vice versa). Taxpayers should determine whether they are subject to new or additional tax withholding or information reporting obligations as a result of restructuring efforts due to US tax reform.

For more information on these updates, please see our recently published Tax Insight.

EU and the OECD considering TRACE / withholding tax simplification

On 30 January 2018, the European Commission held a public session to discuss the code of conduct issued by the Commission in late 2017 regarding increasing the efficiency of withholding tax (“WHT”) procedures. The code of conduct contains a list of measures for E.U. Member States to consider in terms of simplifying WHT procedures as regarding cross border income such as dividends, interest, and royalties. The code is a non-binding document which allows for voluntary commitment by E.U. Member States.

The measures considered includes, inter alia, (1) increased digitalization of WHT procedures, (2) provisions of refunds in a short period, and (3) relief at source. The tax relief at source suggestion includes the use of “authorized information agents and withholding agents” to facilitate the verification of entitlement to treaty relief, provision of pooled withholding tax rate information, and reporting of relevant information.

Such a tax relief at source solution resembles the OECD’s Treaty Relief and Compliance Enhancement (“TRACE”) project which started in 2009. TRACE envisages the use of Authorised Intermediaries to facilitate a more efficient and simpler application of treaty relief on cross border investments in a similar manner to the U.S. Qualified Intermediary regime. Although TRACE has not been implemented in any country as of yet, we understand that it may be reactivated soon especially given the work done at European Commission level in terms of the WHT topic.

Please refer to the following link for access to the European Commission Code of Conduct.

Contact

Bruno Hollenstein
Partner, Operational Tax
+41 58 792 43 72
bruno.hollenstein@ch.pwc.com

Fit for Growth: or what financial services leaders striving to grow and prosper can learn from wise gardeners

Smart businesspeople, like good gardeners, realise that you have to cut back to stay strong and stimulate growth. On 1 February, a select group of financial industry leaders came to our event on Strategy&’s Fit for Growth* approach to find out how some of the world’s leading organisations have learned how to compete and flourish by pruning intelligently and channelling their resources into the strongest and most vital parts of their operation – and how they could apply this know-how to their own business.

Business leaders are actually more like commercial fruit growers than amateur gardeners: there’s a lot more at stake if your whole survival depends on making the right choices. You have to prune back to survive and compete, but if you cut back too much or in the wrong places you can destroy the whole basis of your growth and livelihood. Strategy&’s Fit for Growth framework documents some spectacular examples of companies that have got cost-cutting wrong and gone under as a result.

But the people who came to the event on Fit for Growth (FFG) were more interested in stories of how to get it right. After a welcome by Daniel Diemers, Utz Helmuth and Torsten Eistert briefly introduced the FFG methodology. On the basis of decades of helping some of the world’s leading organisations to cut costs intelligently and invest in profitability, Strategy& – PwC’s strategy consulting arm – has come up with a highly effective approach called Fit for Growth. The idea of Fit for Growth is to make deliberate, holistic choices that will enable you to

  • focus on your unique differentiating capabilities
  • align your cost structure around ‘good’ and ‘bad’ costs and redistribute costs to make room for investment in differentiation and innovation
  • harness artificial intelligence and other digital technologies to help you achieve these goals.

The event continued with a keynote speech by PwC’s European Data & Analytics Advisory Leader, Christian Kirschniak, on how data analytics and artificial intelligence can fit into the Fit for Growth approach and help businesses achieve these goals.

Participants went away with some new and valuable insights into how to compete and succeed in an increasingly competitive climate – how to tread the line between cutting back too much and destroying your organisation’s vitality, and assessing your strengths so that you can prune wisely for growth and continued profitability.

*Fit for Growth is a registered service mark of PwC Strategy& LLC in the United States.

Contact

Utz Helmuth
Strategy&
+41 58 792 3159
utz.helmuth@strategyand.ch.pwc.com

EU Direct Tax Group

The following topics are covered in this issue of EU Tax News:

CJEU Cases

  • Finland – CJEU judgment on the compatibility of the Finnish legislation implementing Article 10(2) of the Merger Directive with EU law
  • Germany – CJEU judgment in Deister Holding and Juhler Holding
  • Germany – CJEU referral of German dividend withholding tax regime in the case of a Canadian pension fund
  • Germany – AG Opinion on the compatibility of German at arm’s length legislation with EU law

National Developments

  • Cyprus – Public consultation on the EU’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Directives (ATAD1 & ATAD2)
  • Finland – Central Tax Board advance ruling on taxation of income from Luxembourg SICAV (UCITS)
  • Finland – Central Tax Board advance ruling on tax treatment of Finnish source real estate income
  • Italy – Final approval of the 2018 Finance Bill
  • Lithuania – Increased investment tax relief measures
  • Spain – Appeal before the Spanish Supreme Court on the rules to eliminate international double taxation

EU Developments

  • EU – ECOFIN Council publishes EU list of third country non-cooperative jurisdictions in tax matters
  • EU – ECOFIN Council Report to the European Council on tax issues
  • EU – European Parliament Recommendation to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA)

Fiscal State aid

  • Italy – Italian Supreme Court decision on recovery of illegal State aid granted to multi-utilities owned by municipalities
  • Netherlands – European Commission opens formal investigation into the Netherlands’ tax treatment of Inter IKEA
  • United Kingdom – European Commission publishes detailed opening decision regarding its State aid investigation into the financing income exemption within the UK’s CFC regime

Read the full newsletter

This bi-monthly newsletter is prepared by members of PwC’s pan-European EU Direct Tax Group (EUDTG) network.

To receive this newsletter and our newsalerts automatically and free of charge, please send an e-mail to: eudtg@nl.pwc.com with “subscription EU Tax News”. For previous editions of PwC’s EU Tax News see: www.pwc.com/eudtg

Contact Us

Armin Marti
Partner Tax & Legal Services, Leader Tax Policy
+41 58 792 43 43
armin.marti@ch.pwc.com

EMEA Webcast: EMEA ITS US Tax Reform Series – Practical Guidance for European Multinationals – Episode 4: State tax implications of federal tax reform

State tax implications of federal tax reform

Wednesday, 7 February 2018, 4.00 – 5.00 pm CET

While US tax reform is focused on measures at federal level, it will lead to a diverse and wide-ranging number of state tax implications as a result of how/whether states conform to the federal Internal Revenue Code provisions. There are accordingly a number of critical elements that have the potential to significantly affect state tax and financial statements, such as deemed repatriation toll charge; interest expense limitations; and the international provisions discussed on our previous calls, namely BEAT, GILTI and FDII.

Episode 4 of our webcast series will therefore look in more detail at the state tax implications, with particular focus on the international measures and the tax accounting implications.

We will be joined by our state tax and tax accounting specialists in order to provide an overview of the key areas you should be considering.

Please follow the link below to register for episode 4 and note that recordings will be available if you register and you cannot join the live session itself.

To register for Episode 4: Click Here

In case you were not able to join our previous episodes and would like to view the recording, find hereafter the required links (you will need to register to watch the recording):

Contact Us

Richard Brunt
Tel.+41 58 792 81 82
richard.brunt@ch.pwc.com

Grasiele Teixeira Neves
Tel.+41 58 792 98 25
grasiele.neves@ch.pwc.com

OECD Publishes Public Comments on Mandatory Disclosure Model

On 18 January 2018, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) published the public comments on the discussion draft on Mandatory Disclosure Rules for Addressing OECD Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) avoidance arrangements and offshore structures (“Discussion Draft”). The OECD had published the Discussion Draft on 11 December 2017, requesting comments from interested parties and stakeholders by 15 January 2018. The Discussion Draft outlined a proposed model requiring mandatory disclosure rules, which ultimately intends to target promoters and service providers with a material involvement in the design, marketing or implementation of CRS avoidance arrangements and opaque offshore structures.

The public comments on the Discussion Draft came from numerous sources, including all of the Big 4 firm networks. In terms of input from Swiss sources, the Swiss Banking Association, Swiss Association of Asset Managers, Association of Swiss Private Banks, and the Swiss Insurance Association all provided comments to the OECD. The general feedback highlights the potential practical difficulties in the application of the model, mainly due to retrospective application of rules and definitions that are too broad at present for practical application. As a next step, the OECD will take these comments into account and present a report on the topic to the G7 Finance Ministers in mid-2018.

Please refer to the link for access to the public comments on the OECD’s Discussion Draft.

Contact

Bruno Hollenstein
Partner, Operational Tax
+41 58 792 43 72
bruno.hollenstein@ch.pwc.com