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NEOCLEOUS HOUSE, 195 MAKARIOS III AVENUE, 1-5TH, LIMASSOL, CY-3030, CYPRUS
Tel:
Work +357 25 11 0110
Fax:
Fax +357 25 11 0001
Email:
Web:
www.neo.law

Elias Neocleous, Managing Partner

Elias Neocleous, Managing Partner of Elias Neocleous & Co LLC, on the Cyprus legal landscape and factors shaping the future

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Elias Neocleous & Co LLC from your competitors?

Our size: we are the biggest law firm in Cyprus, as regards the number of professionals. Due to this fact, we have the staff strength and depth of resources required to take on large multinational assignments at short notice and complete them to the highest standard. As a result, we can meet any deadlines, however demanding, without adversely affecting service to other clients.

But the benefits of our size do not stop there; this also allows our staff to specialize in their chosen field. The firm is truly departmentalised and equipped with the necessary information technology and knowledge management infrastructure to deal with the pressing demands of today's multinational work. This privilege, together with our in-depth knowledge and experience of local or cross-border transactions allows us to match the levels of service offered by the world's major legal centres.

Our staff receive ongoing training and support to keep pace with developments in both the local and global markets and we are supported by the latest technology to ensure efficiency of service. Our lawyers have the mindset of the international legal professionals; we use remote access and other technology to serve our clients no matter where in Europe or the world they are located, greatly augmenting capabilities to meet client’s expectations and needs.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

If we have to name a few practices and sectors, these would definitely include financial services and funds, tax, the non-performing loans by credit institutions (NPLs) and energy. More specifically:

As regards the financial services and funds: The plethora of EU initiatives regulating the fields of financial services has also deeply impacted the local legislation, which is constantly updated to align with the demands of EU regulations and/or directives. From the developments of MiFID II to those of the new Securitization Regulation or the Prospectus Regulation, our teams have been monitoring updates and proactively assisting our clients with their regulatory requirements and the practicalities of facing these new demands. I believe that these will continue in the next 12 months, as regulatory compliance and risk management is high in the agenda of their internal operations.

Turning to the collective investments and their managers, the new Cyprus regime that was introduced last summer has positively impacted on the registration of new alternative investment funds and we see an increasing demand for the authorization of such structures. We firmly believe that there is a great potential of growth for the Cyprus funds industry which we expect to continue in the coming months.

As regards tax: Given the rapid implementation of international initiatives enacting the ongoing agenda of the OECD on the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and of the EU’s ATAD and rules to avoid hybrid mismatches as well as the emphasis on transfer pricing rules, we see our Corporate and Commercial and Tax practices and departments expanding significantly during the course of the next 12 months. We have adopted a proactive approach to assist our clients to identify their tax and corporate structures which may no longer be compliant or best practice in this ever-changing tax environment, and we work closely with our clients to adjust their corporate structures and to stay ahead of these changes.

As regards the NPLs: This cross-departmental sector has drawn the attention of our clients from different angles: on the one hand, our litigation teams act on mandates from borrowers or lenders with regards to disputes or enforcement over the underlying assets of NPLs; on the other hand, our Corporate and Commercial, M&A and Financial Services teams have seen an increase in their advisory and transactional activities assisting clients looking to acquire or invest in the portfolios of NPLs (or their underlying security) by existing structures or new ones, such as the credit acquiring entities recently introduced to tackle this issue. We are confident that this practice will continue to grow over the following months based on the increasing interest by local credit institutions, the regulator and the relevant market players. 

What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Our professionals advising clients have been working closely with IT experts and we streamline and simplify solutions using technology in the delivery of our legal work so that it can be done effectively and cost-efficiently for our clients.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Of course. We are very¬† enthusiastic in adopting technology and embracing the changes. We are currently launching our “Innovation Legal Hub” and we are completing the construction of a state-of-the-art¬† data center in Limassol, which is located right next door to our Head office.

Uniquely for Cyprus, our firm is a pioneer of legal technology and innovation in Cyprus: contrary to the widely held view that technology will adversely impact on the traditional work of lawyers which leads some colleagues to be afraid of technology, we embrace and adopt the tools that technology offers to legal professionals for the benefit of our staff and clients. Access to online legal resources, a highly sophisticated knowledge management and time keeping system, workshops and seminars on integrating AI in the everyday life of a lawyer and recipients of legal services are only few of the examples that are part of our everyday vocabulary here at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC. 

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

At Elias Neocleous & Co LLC we may be located in Cyprus but our mindset is that of an international law firm: we urge our professionals to acquire an outstanding level of sophistication in their area of practice and a business understanding of the clients’ needs which they inevitably demand. For us, a business lawyer can no longer be just a lawyer in the traditional and old-fashioned sense but needs to have a commercial, tax, accounting and investment understanding and approach.

Our people come from, and have gained experience in, a number of countries and are familiar with the operations and demands of a truly globalized business environment. Our clients, usually market leaders in their sectors, are accustomed to the highest-level of legal guidance in their transactions and demand that high level of legal service in their dealings in or through Cyprus. For us being selected as their local advisor is a privilege we do not take lightly: we assign the best people to serve the specific needs of each individual client to ensure they get timely, accurate and cost-efficient advice and assistance.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms - where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

We see ourselves as the ‘firm of the future’ and to this direction we focus all our resources on:

  • Our human capital;
  • Technology;
  • Robust internal control and compliance procedures.

We aim to professionalize the delivery of legal services for the benefit of our clients, partners and staff and create a prosperous firm.

Legal Developments by:
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC

  • Elias Neocleous & Co LLC advised the Zarenkov family in disposal of a 25% stake in Etalon Group PLC

    Elias Neocleous & Co’s Financial Services team assisted the Zarenkov family on Cyprus corporate and financial services law matters in their February 2019 disposal of a 25% shareholding interest in Etalon Group Plc to Sistema PJFC, a publicly-traded diversified holding company. Etalon Group Plc, one of Russia’s largest and longest established development and construction companies,  is a Cyprus public company having Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) traded on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange since 2011. The relevant public announcements on this transaction are available in the website of the London Stock Exchange and of Etalon Group Plc .
    - Elias Neocleous & Co LLC

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