Thank you all. I will try to be very quick and to the point.
I heard one of my co-panelists talking about Greece becoming a …., it is a kind of good word after many years of crisis and a very big storm.
I think where we are today it is a very comfortable point to reconsider that Greece is investible again. There is a lot of investors that are sitting in London, Paris, Frankfurt, trying to figure out and understand how to get involved in Greece and how to put their money to work here.
I think on a macro basis Greece has moved from a crisis country to a country with great potential. Now, how do we move and present and attract this capital, I think I am here to maybe show a different view from strategic investors that come to the country on very big, sometimes government supported investment.
And I want to talk about more professional investors, capital providers, funds, that are looking to deploy capital in Greece and support businesses develop whether it is real estate or finance business growth etc.
From a professional investor, you know, stand point what are the hurdles, I think, for Greece to attract the capital. I think they are mainly three, and again I am simplifying but this is really how we would look at it.
I think one is finding local partners, you know, finding channels to invest. I think this is one of the major requirements that after 8 years of crisis I think Greece is lacking today and that needs to be developed.
Two, a scale, scale of projects, scale of size, people who want to deploy resources, attention, capital, need to have projects that worth their time and have enough size for them to be mitigated.
And three, most important as well, a supportive ecosystem. And I am going to explain a bit what I mean.
So first on the local partner side this is more, I think, a private sector effort than a public sector effort. We are continuously looking for partners. I mean private and professional investors funds, capital providers require local partners who come with ideas, with projects they require a local know how, a local expertise, they don’t depend on themselves coming and setting up.
So I think it is going to be an initiative from the private sector in Greece to provide these ideas and to prepare itself for this kind of institutional money, whether it is from a governance point of view, organizational point of view, etc.
On the public sector side in terms of developing that channels to invest I think the government has an obligation to guide entrepreneurs in Greece, look at big themes and give incentives, you know, someone thinking about Brexit how does it impact Greece, are we talking about some kind of outsourcing business, can we attract these businesses to Greece and then give guidance and the incentives to local investors and local entrepreneurs to take advantage of that?
So this is a prerequisite for any fund or any capital that is going to come from abroad. It is very required today to sustain growth in Greece.
Two, I think is scale. Scale is a very important part to get the best quality funding and the best quality capital and the longer term capital.
You want to avoid hot money or avoid people who want to come in for a year or two project and take advantage of the crisis. And for a longer term money and safe money to come to Greece I think you need to offer scale and I am talking, again it is all relative but maybe 10,000-100,000 projects.
Now people tell me here in Greece, it is not only driven by the market size, which a lot of countries, that are very similar in terms of market size to Greece, attract huge amounts of capital. You know, Portugal has been a very big success story, Dubai etc. you have a lot of economies that attract capital to come in to the country and then use the country as well to export services.
And I think Greece has a lot of potentials in terms of human capital and knowhow and knowledge to be able to attract this kind of companies that are based here and then even service the wider region. And it has happened before.
So I think scale is a very important part. And my personal experience has been that the system here resists large scale projects. If five developer build five buildings it is fine, if one develop develops five buildings on its own there is a number of uncertainties that are going …on the project.
As a system I think the government can help by providing support to entrepreneurs who think big and who plan big by giving them, you know, tax incentives or for projects of certain size, supporting their admin, you know, reducing red tape etc., have special committees by the government that follow up on certain projects of certain size, etc.
So there is a lot to be done there, and I think there is a lot of potential.
And my last point and I mean that is clearly a public sector responsibility, it creating the ecosystem for investors to come to Greece and feel comfortable. I mean an amount of legal regulatory questions that are open ended, you know, you start looking at the project and you say, OK, how long is this going to take and is like between 2-3 months, and OK there is a scenario that takes 3 years.
You know, this kind of open ended risks I think need to be addressed by the public sector, government needs to be focused on specific, you know, situations that are very easily addressed and just require some effort and focus.
I think on the ecosystem as well I think there is a very big potential for Greece that is still untapped, which reversing the brain drain that happened during the crisis.
I think also that is where the public sector can, you know, reattract all this extremely competent capabilities that left the country and built amazing experience. And attract them through also tax incentives and support and funding their entrepreneurial projects.
That is my three points, my main messages that capital is there. I think a lot of people are looking to Greece like another Spain, another Ireland, another Portugal, like potential success story the next five years.
And it is really a matter of the Greek system to provide these channels for them to come and deploy their capital.