The present time offered a great opportunity to think about investing in Greece, said Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman of Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor Carla Harris, in Greece to deliver a keynote speech for Linkage Greece, during an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Friday.
“Any time you have had a country go through any type of recession and they have sort of found their way back to a recovery, it’s a great time, I think, to be thinking about investing in the country,” she said.
The current mood among investors, especially in the US, was “cautiously optimistic,” Harris said, while adding that “it’s a broad thing about the markets, not just about the Greek market.”
Talking about her visit to Greece, she said it had been encouraging and inspiring: “I had the opportunity to meet with the Ambassador [Geoffrey Pyatt] yesterday and he was very bullish on recovery and made a great case for it. I’ve enjoyed all the people that I’ve met and also people have been quite optimistic, actually.”
Asked if she had any tips to offer on what Greek businesses should focus on, Harris agreed that innovation “is the dominant competitive parameter for all companies around the globe.”
“I do think that companies should be thinking about how to innovate not only today…[about] what that might look like five years from now, 10 years from now, what does the company look like in the eyes of millenials today and what it might look like as those millenials continue to evolve. That is certainly an areas that I think everybody should be thinking about, no matter what industry you are in,” she said.
Harris was in Athens at the invitation of Linkage Greece, which asked her to give a speech on “The Pearls of Leadership” to an audience of about 500 people at the Athens Concert Hall on Friday morning, recounting her experiences on Wall Street. Harris, who is also a gospel recording artist and author, concluded her speech with a gospel song accompanied by the audience, as is her custom.
In addition to her current role at Morgan Stanley, she was Chair of the Morgan Stanley Foundation from 2005 to 2014, she sits on the boards of several community organizations and was appointed to chair the National Women’s Business Council by U.S. President Barack Obama in August 2013.
Greece offers tax breaks
The Greek government is offering tax-breaks to companies promoting innovation and research. A joint ministerial decision was recently published in the government’s gazzette offering another significant institutional tool for the support of innovative enterprises through tax breaks offered for spending on research equipment and scientific tools.
This decision, combined with a tax code, envisages that spending related with amortization of equipment used for research projects will be deducted from gross revenues of enterprises, raised by 30 pct. Additionally, the criteria of characterizing these spending are expanded, while clear and more favourable measures are introduced for innovative enterprises, adding amortizations both for buildings and operating spending.
Costas Fotakis, deputy Minister of Research and Innovation, commenting on the decision said: “These incentives contribute to the government’s central aim to create a new development model based on the knowledge economy”.
China shows interest
in Greek investments
There is high investment activity and specific actions have already been made in this direction, the secretary general for International Economic Relations of the Foreign Ministry Giorgos Tsipras said on Friday in an interview with the Athens Macedonian News Agency’s radio station Praktoreio 104.9 FM.
“It’s a dynamic that we did not have 6-7 years ago,” he explained adding that “it will be later reflected on the society.”
He underlined however that unemployment rate that has already been significantly reduced.
Tsipras noted that in the previous years Greece was solely looking to the West, but now the interest has also turned to the East.
“The country that shows the main interest for investments in Greece is China and this will become even more apparent in the next period. However, EU member states and the US still play an important role,” he stressed.
Greece sells three-month
T-bills at lower cost
Greece on Wednesday successfully auctioned a three-month Treasury bill issue raising 812.5 million euros from the market. A Finance ministry announcement said that bids submitted totaled 1.154 billion euros, 1.85 times more than the asked sum of 625 million euros, while the interest rate of the issue fell to 2.3 pct, significantly lower compared with the interest rate of 2.70 pct in the previous auction of same issue last month. The ministry said that in last month’s auction bids submitted were 1.30 times more than the asked sum.