CX Financia is a highly-focused financial services support company that gives personalized attention to each client. We offer customized business and investor services to corporations and high-net-worth individuals from around the world. Professional to the core, we know and understand that international business is constantly evolving and reinventing itself – as are the methodologies, regulations and idiosyncrasies of the global financial industry.
At CX Financia, we know how to navigate the myriad of ever-changing rules and regulations to deliver optimized solutions to people and organizations while continuing to minimize financial liability and risk, and enhance confidentiality.
Our strengths come from a background in international accountancy, auditing, banking and stock market operations; our experience is industry-relevant and compliance-aware. And we are your single point of contact, which means that we bring real value.
We excel in offering services tailored to the needs of regulated entities in full compliance with regulators across multiple jurisdictions such as CySEC, FSA, Bafin, AMF, and SEC, providing turnkey solutions for European Markets.
Director - Xenia Neophytou
Xenia has extensive hands-on experience in all aspects of compliance, regulatory requirements and legislation, with 10+ years in positions such as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Financial Controller in reputable Cypriot Financial Services Firms as well as being a member in a number of Committees and Board or Directors. Xenia holds a BSc in Accountancy from the University of East Anglia, is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA), a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC), a Licenced Mediator in financial disputes and a holder of an Advanced Level Licence from Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission. With her background in the financial sector and with her accumulated experience and knowledge, Xenia is the ideal advisory expert for incorporation of companies, license acquisition and license maintenance. Xenia is also our resident Anti-Money-Laundering and Compliance specialist.
Resident Expert - Christos Christou
Christos brings in a wealth of experience in financial services and accounting services, with 20+ years of experience and holder of positions such as Chief Financial Officer, Broker/Advisor and Financial Director and Internal Auditor. Christos graduated from University of East Anglia in UK with 1st Class Honours, is a CSE Licensed Stock Broker, a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a holder of Professional Competence of Supervisors and Employees of Banks and Investment Firms Certificate from the Ministry of Finance Cyprus. Moreover, Christos also participates in high tech start-up hedge fund projects in Cyprus assisting with fund sett-up, stock trading, financial analysis, feasibility studies and strategy formulation, making him our resident expert for Business Analysis and Strategic Decision Making with specialization in Accounting Consultation.
Resident Expert - Petros Hadjipetrou
Petros comes from a background in various industries and positions, combined with his strong knowledge in Information Technology brings a unique perspective of “outside the box” thinking in business consulting. Petros holds a Master in Business Administration, Bachelor in Management Information Systems, Advanced Level Licence from Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission and Higher LCCI Accounting. His work experience include Head of Brokerage/Dealing, Database Administrator and IT Structure Consultant on project basis. Petros is the ideal adviser for IT Solutions and Structuring.
Legal Associate - Kleanthis Demosthenous
For over 20 years, Kelanthis has advised and represented a number of reputable Cypriot Financial Institutions and has vast experience advising clients on complex reorganisations and restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, investments and debt portfolio sales. His skills span a wide array of corporate matters, no matter how complex, interdisciplinary, cross-border, highly regulated, or unique. Kleanthis graduated University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Law and is a member of Cyprus Bar Association making him our resident legal advisor expert.
Interview with Games Changers
Xenia Neophytou is the founding member and director of CX Financia, a renowned financial services consultancy firm in Cyprus that delivers an exclusive range of tailored solutions to corporations and high-net-worth individuals across the globe. Her extensive background in the financial services sector and accumulated know-how over the course of her career has established Xenia as a sought-after advisory expert for the incorporation of companies, license acquisition and license maintenance.
You have a very long and eminent career in the financial services sector in Cyprus, predating the Forex boom. Can you tell the readers how the business environment has evolved?
With over 20 years in various high-level roles in this industry, I have seen a number of exciting changes take place. At the start, Cyprus was regarded as a small island in the Mediterranean, famous as a tourist destination and offshore bank account jurisdiction. Following EU accession, combined with a then corporate tax of just 10%, Cyprus quickly became a sought-after destination by investors from Russia, the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe looking to establish head offices here, while conducting their business in their home countries.
Over time, Cyprus also came to be considered a solution for small or start-up retail Forex firms wanting to acquire licenses in what was a comparatively inexpensive regulatory framework, with low operating costs, attracting many large firms to the island such as Metaquotes and Leverate. Today, the forex industry in Cyprus has evolved to become a fully comprehensive, self-sustaining ecosystem. CySEC has contributed significantly to this evolution by assisting the industry to expand, turning Cyprus into a global forex hub, all the while implementing strong regulatory measures. Fully fledged business and financial sectors mean that Cyprus is able to meet the demands of all aspects of the FX industry, eliminating the need for businesses to seek assistance from abroad. Cypriot brokers can obtain liquidity, technology, platforms, digital marketing, human talent, legal services, data retention automation, training and education services from service providers in Cyprus. This is a testament to the potential of the Cyprus financial services infrastructure.
How do you see Cyprus developing in the next 3-5 years? What are the major sectors that you believe are providing the best opportunities for growth here?
An incentive driven agenda for regulatory and legislative reform is doing much to maximise Cyprus’ reputation as a domicile for global investment funds and asset management companies, increasing growth prospects of this sector significantly. Other key drivers for growth are the diverse investment opportunities in Cyprus, particularly in the real estate and property development sector, with encouraging prospects in the energy sector as well. The Limassol Marina project for instance, is typical of the bold moves taken recently to draw visitors and investment to the island. Several high-end real estate developments are also underway, evidencing the country’s improving economy. Moreover, another avenue for growth in Cyprus, with massive potential to contribute to the country’s economy, is the expanding maritime sector, with global shipping companies looking to Cyprus for establishing presence. It will also be interesting to see the economic impact of the upcoming, new multi-million-euro casino resort project falling within the scope of the recently introduced gaming industry, with expectations being high.
In saying this, I believe the drive against harmful tax practices, increased regulation and transparency will result in increased competition between international business centers, which in turn will increase the need to become more proactive in attracting new business. Companies and corporations will need to enhance their presence in the jurisdictions they utilise by transferring people and functions to those locations. Our challenge and, opportunity will be to provide those businesses with all right reasons for choosing Cyprus. Those reasons will be more so on costs, quality of service and efficiency, rather than tax reasons, as was traditionally the case. In this regard, Cyprus has an advantage due to its relatively low cost of living and its huge pool of highly qualified professionals, not to mention that it is a great place to live and relocate to. If we invest in infrastructure and improve the efficiency of our government sector, then I am confident that Cyprus will continue to grow as an international business center with a positive impact on the economy as a whole.
What is the Cyprus government doing to differentiate the island from other jurisdictions as a global investment hub?
There is no doubt that incentives introduced by the Cyprus government to entice foreign investment here have been successful over the last three years. The current regulatory regime governing Cyprus’ financial services sector is doing much by way of innovative reforms and incentives to achieve the island’s ambition of becoming a leading international financial centre. This includes moves such as improving the tax environment, and also the granting of Permanent Residency Permits and Citizenship which has attracted foreign companies and investors to the island. The significant number of multinational companies and international banking units already operating in Cyprus is proof of this. Further, Cyprus’ legal framework is particularly strong, due in part to mandatory compliance with EU regulations. Cyprus has put in place all necessary mechanisms for the prevention and suppression of money laundering and terrorist financing activities. However, in order to create long-term sustainable growth, our government needs to become more client-centric, by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, improving efficiency, and investing in new technologies
Was it hard to step away from working for someone to start CX Financia?
The idea of starting something of my own never crossed my mind when I set off on my career path more than two decades ago. Over time however, I realised my entrepreneurial spirit was looking for the right opportunity to take flight. It was in 2015 that I decided to change course, and set off to pursue something of my own. Joining forces with a group of professional associates, financial and business experts in their own right, we began offering an exclusive mix of services to clientele in Cyprus and abroad. Today, we are renowned for our accomplishments within the industry. These include the design of pioneering fund structures, the structuring and procurement of investment licenses, the provision of innovative financial consultancy services to diverse Boards of companies, and the delivery of sought-after seminars and trainings of teams on matters such a Governance, AML/CFT, and Compliance and Risk Management.
I know of many brands who used your services to establish their company. What keeps your name at the top of the list when it comes to selecting a service provider?
Our team has helped structure, and has achieved, a significant portfolio of licenses with a 100% success rate. This include Brokerage (STP & DMA), Asset-Management, Advisory, Market Maker, Underwriter, Forex, Structured Products, MTF, Group Structures, amongst others. Further, our team is comprised of an outstanding group of diligent, self-motivated individuals who are driven by the challenge of solving problems, and finding a solution, no matter the difficulty. We deliver a client-centric service, which is enhanced by consistent channels of communication, trust and respect. We are able to take on innovative projects which others are scared to handle, thereby attracting pioneering assignments through which we gain first-hand know-how of new market trends, and remain ahead of the industry.
Cyprus is at the forefront of Blockchain innovation and implementation. How is CX Financia embracing the technology and its application in the business sector?
We are proud to be an active member of the Cyprus Blockchain community which actively seeks ways to advance this new technology and its potential since its inception. The community is growing in strength, as evident from a number of successful blockchain events held on the island, which have attracted the attention of many international blockchain enthusiasts. Cyprus is also home to the number one university in blockchain education in the world, the University of Nicosia.
CX Financia’s interest in blockchain technologies was a natural progression. We have formed strategic alliances with blockchain IT experts, successfully marrying technology with regulation, creating a complete offering. What separates us from our competition however, is our “project assessment”. Prior to engaging with any client, we assess the proposed project and blockchain compatibility taking into account a variety of aspects: technology, regulations, and company formation. Only if the project passes our assessment, do we meet with the client to formulate a plan, and set up targets and milestones.
How do you see Blockchain technologies impacting broader service offerings, such as healthcare?
In recent years, blockchain technology has evolved far beyond bitcoin and is now being tested in a broad range of business and financial applications. However, blockchain technology is still emerging and has not yet been proven at enterprise scale, which is a fundamental challenge to blockchain’s transformative potential. The most promising applications exist in the transfer of value or assets between parties. It is currently cumbersome, expensive and requires one or more centralized organizations.
In the healthcare system for instance, medical records are not easily accessible currently. A person can visit a number of specialists, be it a dentist to a heart surgeon, but this means having a number of records allocated in different locations, or with different levels of access. Blockchain offers the potential of consolidating those records under one ledger, making them readily available for your doctor. This speeds up the diagnostic process exponentially and eliminates miscommunication errors, improving healthcare management overall. Of course, a complex system such as this requires several years of planning, designing and testing. A simpler application is the digitization of consumer products, tracking the origin and history of transactions, ensuring their quality.
Your company is also involved in the provision of consulting services for the establishment and operation of Alternate Investment Funds. How do you see this sector as an opportunity for significant growth in Cyprus?
The Fund industry is facing exponential growth, due mainly to the appeal of moving away from a bank-dominated financial system to more diverse sources of financing. Cyprus is gaining a reputation as an emerging financial services sector with highly favorable social and demographic trends. Cyprus’ legal infrastructure and tax regime also offer great incentive, in that they allow for easy re-domiciliation of funds and fund managers, from offshore to onshore, or from non-EU to EU. Moreover, various tax exemption incentives and/or tax reductions on investment income and transactions on securities also exist. The prospects of hosting non EU funds or small-to-medium size fund managers provides valuable opportunities for growth. Cyprus based AIFMs can offer fund hosting services to selective third country investment managers by offering a platform to run their funds on, including all supporting administration services.
How can CX Financia help a potential client navigate the intricacies of the AIF industry in Cyprus?
Our team has helped structure and successfully licensed a significant number of Fund Managers & Funds. We have also established advantageous collaborations between Fund Initiators, Fund Managers, Administrator, Auditors, Lawyers, Directors and Depositories, allowing for successful Infrastructure management. All projects are undertaken by our staff members, who are licensed and qualified Executives.
How will the recent amendment to Alternative Investment Funds legislation boost the Cypriot funds industry?
Recent regulatory developments like the introduction of new products and fund structures, e.g. limited partnerships with legal personality, registered AIFs not requiring regulatory authorization and sub-threshold AIFM’s “Mini-Managers”, evidence the efforts of both the industry and the government in establishing Cyprus as a financial center in the Mediterranean. These joint, coordinated efforts provide a framework similar to that of Europe’s main investment fund hubs like Luxembourg, Ireland and Malta, and opens the market to the registration of new types of funds.
As someone who is nationally regarded as a leading entrepreneur, what tips would you give for someone who is looking to open up their own company?
I would like to emphasize that while running your own business in an incredibly rewarding endeavor, it does come with it certain challenges that one cannot dismiss. Firstly, your schedule will extend beyond the normal 9-5 and become all-consuming so time management and finding balance is of the essence. Secondly, generating an immediate profit is not a given, so make sure you either have the budget to support your business for the first six months at least, which includes your day-to-day living expenses, or have an alternative source of income for a certain period of time. Thirdly, know that client’s won’t necessarily be knocking at your door. You will need to find them, and then earn them. Initially, as you launch your business, you will have to spend the majority of your time attracting new clients. This mean attending dinners, lunches, conferences, and other networking events. Promoting your business will need to be consistent, this is critical.
In saying all of this, owning your own business means you’ll have the flexibility to operate it the way you choose. I’m able to wake up early or work late into the night, and still be there for my family and friends. You are also able to dictate the culture of your company. You can create the work environment you’ve always wanted, but just make sure the work gets done in a timely manner. Owning and operating a business also gives you the ability to get things done as quickly as you need them to. You’re the boss so no more bureaucratic waiting around to take an important strategic decision, or asking your superior to act upon a trivial matter. You just make a decision and then act.