LONDON, Feb. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, TIGA, the trade association representing the video games industry, has published a new report calling for the establishment of a UK Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF) to support the growth of the sector. Powering Up: A Video Games Investment Fund (February 2021) analyses industry survey data, international comparisons, and economic modelling to outline the case for a VGIF.
Difficulty accessing capital has consistently been one of the top factors holding back many games developers in the UK. UK games studios often find it difficult raise capital for growth. This finance gap means that many small, start-up and innovative companies struggle to scale up and are vulnerable to closure or collapse.
The VGIF would address this funding gap by providing funding of between £75,000 and £500,000 to games developers nationwide. Funding between £75,000 and £100,000 would be delivered as grants while allocations above £100,000 would require companies to match pound for pound to ensure that games companies find new investment from other sources.
A survey of 45 independent and publisher development studios conducted in October 2020 found that:
- The top impediments to games studio growth were seen as access to finance and market saturation.
- Access to finance in general (whether equity, debt or government funding), was cited by 50 per cent of indie studio respondents as a barrier to their growth.
- 82% of studios see positive benefits to a VGIF and only 18% would not apply.
- Creation of original IP, company stability and headcount growth were the top 3 benefits.
The report calculates that the VGIF, costing an aggregate £26.5m over 5 years, would yield a net contribution to HM Treasury of £45 million (i.e. a 170 per cent return on investment) and would benefit the UK’s games industry and wider economy yielding the following impacts:
- 441 new full-time development roles would be created between 2021 and 2025.
- 806 new development support roles would be created between 2021 and 2025.
- £78 million in additional investment by studios between 2021 and 2025.
- £72m million in additional tax receipts to HM Treasury would be generated between 2021 and 2025.
- £174 million in additional GDP would be generated between 2021 and 2025.
The Government has stated that it is ‘looking closely’ at TIGA’s proposals for a VGIF. On 2 February 2021, the Minister for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage MP, answered a written question on TIGA’s proposal, noting that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is looking into the idea of creating a new, large-scale video games investment fund.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA said:
“The UK video games industry is one of the sectors that the UK Government should aim to promote over the coming months and years. It is a high-skilled, high-tech, and export focused industry. Our sector has the potential to support employment and growth throughout the UK, with clusters of games development from Brighton to Dundee and 80 per cent of the workforce based outside of London.”
“Difficulty accessing capital has consistently been the top factor holding back many games developers in the UK. This is why TIGA has called for the Government to introduce a Video Games Investment Fund to support the long-term growth of the video games industry. This initiative, alongside the improvement of Video Games Tax Relief, would allow the continued success and growth of the tech industry for years to come.”
TIGA is the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry. For more information visit: www.tiga.org
For more information on TIGA’s proposal for a Video Games Investment Fund, see: https://tiga.org/policy-and-public-affairs/video-games-investment-fund
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Blockchain Or Cryptocurrency Fraudulent Investment Schemes – Technology – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts
Blockchain or Cryptocurrency Fraud – Cryptocurrency Fraudulent
The advent of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies has
resulted in sudden fortunes for more than a few individuals. At the
same time, the technology and economics of the cryptocurrency space
are confusing and not well understood by the general public. This
creates an opportunity for scammers to exploit the public with a
path to riches whose credibility is difficult to evaluate.
Apart from outright scams, our clients have also informed us of
companies operating in the cryptocurrency space which have
incorrectly requested funds on the basis of Canadian income tax or
anti-money laundering compliance requirements. In addition to
scams, investors in cryptocurrency need to be aware that the
companies that they deal with may not understand Canadian tax or
anti-money laundering compliance requirements.
Clients of our firm have received a request of this nature from
Continental Marketing Czech Republic s.r.o., a company holding
itself out as offering cryptocurrency investment services and
operating under the name Nittrex. The clients had an account with
Nittrex which was used for an investment strategy which involved
buying and selling cryptocurrency based on Nittrex’s advice.
The investment strategy was explained as being cryptocurrency
arbitrage transactions. According to the client’s statements
from Nittrex, this investment strategy was extremely profitable.
When the clients attempted to make their first significant
withdrawal of funds from the account, Nittrex informed them that
they needed to make a substantial payment into an escrow wallet set
up by Nittrex on account of the taxes that would be owing to the
Canada Revenue Agency for Canadian income tax. Nittrex stated that
this was required by anti-money laundering regulations and Canadian
tax law. Our clients were also told that paying CRA themselves was
not an option.
The claims made by Nittrex are false. As described below, this
is not how Canadian tax or anti-money laundering law operates.
There is almost never a requirement to make a payment on account of
Canadian income tax to a private company or individual. Demands of
this nature are a sign of fraud and you should exercise extreme
caution in dealing with the company or person making this type of
demand. We do not know whether in particular Nittrex merely does
not understand Canadian tax and anti-money laundering compliance
but information given to our clients was wrong.
Fraud in the Cryptocurrency Context – Cryptocurrency Fraudulent
One classic scam, called a Ponzi scheme, is to solicit funds
from investors, send regular false reports of outsized profits to
solicit additional funds, and then disappear with the funds
received before too many investors try to withdraw their money. In
the blockchain or cryptocurrency context, scammers can ask you to
transfer Bitcoin to you so they can use your capital for a highly
profitable cryptocurrency trading strategy. This type of approach
has many advantages for scammers.
One problem is that in most cases transfers of Bitcoin or other
cryptocurrencies are effectively irreversible. Once you have
transferred Bitcoin to scammers, there is no mechanism available to
reverse the transaction. In the ordinary financial system it is
sometimes possible to reverse fraudulent or unintended transactions
after the fact (e.g. credit card charge backs). Similarly,
Governments are not able to intervene directly to reverse
transactions on blockchain ledgers.
Another advantage is that since the general public knows that
some individuals have genuinely become wealthy almost overnight
with cryptocurrency investments. This makes it easier for a member
of the public to believe the reports of outsized profits sent to
them by the scammers are correct. Once you have provided funds to a
scammer purporting to be running a cryptocurrency investment
strategy, you will likely have no way to directly verify the
performance of the alleged investments.
Canadian Tax Payment & Withholding – Cryptocurrency
Fraudulent Investment Schemes
Our firm has been retained by clients who as investors are being
told that they need to pay Canadian income tax to their purported
cryptocurrency investment managers in order to withdraw
cryptocurrency from their accounts. This is a red flag because it
involves neither paying taxes to CRA directly nor witholding by the
investment manager. If you pay a private entity on account of your
Canadian income taxes you will not get credit for that amount from
the Canada Revenue Agency and you may not be able to retrieve the
amount from the private entity. On reciept of such a request you
should consult with an expert Canadian tax lawyer before sending any
Canadians normally pay income tax through one of two different
methods. First is by paying CRA directly. The second is through
witholding by the entity paying out the income (e.g. an employer
witholding income tax from an employee’s salary). The first
method is the default and used in essentially all cases except when
the second method applies.
The witholding method is used only in a relatively small number
of types of situations. When the witholding method applies, the
withholder will provide a statement of some kind to the recipient
of the income showing the amount withheld. The withholder will then
remit the amount withheld to the CRA. The taxpayer who had the
amount withheld will be credited with having paid a corresponding
amount. In the event that the total amount withheld from a taxpayer
exceeds the taxpayer’s amount owing, the CRA will send the
taxpayer a refund. This witholding only applies to a relatively
small number types of situations in the Canadian tax system, most
- Employers witholding from payment of salary, wages or
employment benefits to their employees;
- Financial institutions witholding from RRSPs withdrawals;
- Payors witholding from payments of rent, interest, dividends or
certain other types of passive income to non-residents;
- Witholding from fees or commissions charged by a non-resident
rendering services in Canada; and
- Witholding from proceeds of sale paid to a non-resident selling
Canadian real estate, Canadian resource properties, or timber
In most legitimate cryptocurrency investment scenarios, none of
the above witholding mechanisms will be involved. There are some
exceptions however, such as investing in securities designed to
give investors cryptocurrency exposure through an RRSP. If you are
in doubt regarding your situation, consult an expert Toronto tax
Canadian Anti-Money Laundering Law – Cryptocurrency Fraudulent
Our firm has been retained by clients who have received requests
for funds incorrectly justified on the basis of anti-money
laundering law and regulations. Demands for additional money on the
grounds of Canadian anti-money laundering law are a fraud red flag
as these demands are not contrary to how Canadian anti-money
laundering law operates. If you have received such a demand, you
should seek out legal advice from an experienced Canadian tax
lawyer. You may not be able to recover funds transferred in
response to such a demand.
The primary statute implementing Canadian anti-money laundering
law is the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist
Financing Act (PCMLTFA). This statute is administered by the
Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
The primary approach taken by Proceeds of Crime (Money
Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to combat money
laundering is to impose record keeping and reporting requirements
on financial service providers and other persons or entities that
engage in businesses, professions or activities that are
susceptible to being used for money laundering. Regulated entities
are required to run a compliance program, implement “know your
client” protocols, keep records, and report certain types of
FINTRAC monitors entities regulated by the Proceeds of Crime
(Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to ensure
compliance. It also receives and analyses the reports sent by those
entities. When appropriate the Financial Transactions and Reports
Analysis Centre of Canada interfaces with law enforcement and other
government agencies which may then take further action in
None of these activities would require additional payment on
behalf of a cryptocurrency investor to someone purportedly running
a cryptocurrency investment service.
Entities which operate money services businesses are also
required to register with FINTRAC, and this registry is searchable
by the public on the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis
Centre of Canada’s website. A money services business is a
business that offers at least one of the following services to the
- foreign exchange dealing,
- remitting or transferring funds,
- issuing or redeeming money order or similar negotiable
- dealing in virtual currency.
This means if you are a Canadian using some form of intermediary
to purchase cryptocurrency, that intermediary should be registered.
If that intermediary is not registered, it is cause for extreme
caution. Nittrex is not registered with FINTRAC as of the
publication of this article despite allegedly operating a platform
which allows for Canadians to buy and sell virtual currencies.
Pro Tax Tips – Cryptocurrency Fraudulent Investment
Beware of investment opportunities with the following red flags
- promises of high returns with low risk,
- the investment is only available for purchase for a short
period of time,
- the investment promoter uses high pressure sales tactics,
- the investment is described as normally only being offered to
an exclusive group (e.g. normally only to the very wealthy),
- the investment promoter is not registered to sell
The website of the Canadian Securities Administrators offers a
national registration search that is helpful for verifying whether
a promoter is registered.
If you are ever requested to make a payment to someone other
than the Canada Revenue Agency on account of Canadian income taxes,
you should consult an experienced Canadian tax lawyer to verify
that the request is genuine. It is almost certainly not a valid
If you suffer losses due to a cryptocurrency related fraudulent
investment scheme, you may be able to claim a loss for Canadian
income tax purposes that will help offset your other Canadian
income tax liability. Canadians who have been defrauded should also
report the fraud to the government through the Canadian Anti-Fraud
Centre and through the RCMP.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
European telcos cash in on tower assets as high-cost 5G investment looms – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Isla Binnie and Supantha Mukherjee
MADRID/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – European telecoms firms are cashing in on the money-making power of masts, as tower companies line up to pay multi-billion dollar price tags for antennas buzzing with ever more data ahead of the advent of 5G.
Faced with straitened revenue growth and stubbornly high debt built up during the last network upgrade, telecoms companies are relishing the quick cash injections they can get from selling these portfolios, or future income from spin-offs.
Upgrading networks, including towers, for 5G – which promises an age of self-driving cars and brain surgery performed at a distance – will soak up some $890 billion between 2020 and 2025, the GSMA industry body says.
European operators are increasingly willing to exploit assets to help finance those build-outs. While selling towers outright brings piles of cash, many are also looking to create separate tower units or launch joint ventures with independent companies as a way to keep a chunk of potential future growth.
So far this year, Vodafone has lined up its towers business for the European sector’s biggest listing since 2014, while Orange created a separate towers unit.
Independent tower companies have proved hungry to buy, snapping up more than 14 billion euros ($16.9 billion) worth of assets so far this year to access the steady, inflation-linked returns antenna-topped towers generate.
But around 66% of sites in Europe are still wholly or partially owned by phone companies, Barclays estimates, compared with less than 10% in the United States. “The market is unlocking,” said Julian Plumstead, Chief Executive for Europe at American Tower, which bought more than 30,000 towers from Spain’s Telefonica in January.
Compared to the United States, Plumstead told Reuters, “We are still in the early to middle ages of our industrial development, but looking forward I think the trend will continue and possibly accelerate.”
In cases where operators and tower companies have signed joint ventures, the tower companies say they usually have the option to buy out the operators after a number of years.
This means some are gradually relinquishing these unlikely trophies in stages. Telefonica netted more than $9 billion with the sale to American Tower of sites it had already hived off into a separate unit in 2016.
“We fully understand the interest of the operators in going for this two-stage approach,” Cellnex Deputy Chief Executive Alex Mestre told Reuters. “There is revalorization of the asset … and the operators can seize that.”
Plumstead said American Tower had managed to beef up its portfolio – from an admittedly low base – in Europe this year despite restrictions on movement.
“Getting people into the field has not been as easy… but we’ve built more towers this year than in Europe last year and we’ll plan to do the same again this year.” Towers are prized assets partly because contracts to use them are like an “infinite marriage” in which operators pay steady rates for decades, in the words of one industry expert.
Shares of both American Tower and Cellnex touched record highs last year during the pandemic after more than doubling and more than tripling respectively in value in the last half decade.
TOWERING OVER EUROPE
Deal-making has been concentrated in Western Europe until now, but regional leader Cellnex and American Tower, whose buy from Telefonica increased its presence in Europe sevenfold, are both now looking further east and in Scandinavia.
“We are looking at a wider geographic scope,” Cellnex’s Mestre said. “We have started also in the Nordics, we have started in Poland and in all those areas in our core geographies where we believe there are still a lot of towers yet to be outsourced.”
Almost all European operators are now discussing what they should do with their tower assets, industry executives say.
High multiples paid for recent deals have piqued their interest. American Tower paid Telefonica around 30x its tower unit’s most recent core earnings for the assets, according to analysts at Moody’s.
Operators willing to part with their towers have commanded average valuations 22.1 times higher than the assets’ core earnings since mid-2018, Moody’s also said. Cellnex clinched the lowest price among recent deals, paying 16x earnings for a portfolio from Poland’s Play last October.
“If you conclude that it’s not really a competitive advantage to own the towers, then you should dispose of them because the multiple arbitrage is high,” said Nikos Stathopoulos, chairman of mobile operator United Group, which owns 6,000 towers in Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia.
Sweden’s Telia is also considering wringing money out of its more than 9,000 towers by partnering with external investors, a spokeswoman told Reuters, while Telenor is also aiming to generate value from its tower portfolio, a representative said.
($1 = 0.8314 euros)
(Reporting by Isla Binnie in Madrid and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Jan Harvey)
Socially Responsible Investment at the Heart of CIP Saint Lucia Covid-19 Relief Bond innovation – Financial Post
CASTRIES, St Lucia — In the light of the global socio-economic challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, countries around the world are being pushed to innovate in an effort to move their economies forward. CIP Saint Lucia is no exception, with awareness of the pragmatic need for modernization coupled with its understanding of the needs of prospective investors, driving its innovative COVID-19 Relief Bond option under the Saint Lucia Citizenship Investment Programme.
Nestor Alfred, CEO of CIP Saint Lucia commented, “We are all about sustainability and longevity. Our market leading governance and due diligence is at the heart of our offer to our investors – the value of their investment will remain stable and grow steadily. Just as importantly, lifelong enhanced mobility is their guaranteed yield.”
However, there is more to this story than the standard investment migration offering to global investors of enhanced mobility and hedging volatility. Through the COVID-19 Relief Bond option, CIP Saint Lucia found an innovative solution that created a “win-win” for investors and Saint Lucians.
- By creating a new bond offering, investors inject $250,000/300,000 with varying holding periods onto the sovereign balance sheet, thereby creating enhanced autonomy for Saint Lucia against the current challenging economic dynamic.
- Due to the investment structure, the COVID-19 Relief Bond offering is particularly attractive to families. Fully endorsed by the government and therefore very low risk, the coupon will be repaid after 5/6/7 years depending on the tenor selected – creating a favourable long term value proposition compared to the donation or real estate options.
Nestor concludes, “The CIP Saint Lucia COVID-19 Relief Bond is arguably the only socially responsible investing (SRI) option in the investment migration industry. Our innovative investment structure means that investors can support a developing economy and sovereign state in a time of need. But this isn’t charity, this is a sophisticated investment choice that creates value for Saint Lucia, Saint Lucians and investors alike.
Saint Lucia gains from a sustainable liquidity source. Investors gain a value catalyst for enhanced global mobility, and lifelong yield and the bond pricing. It’s a real win, win – which in the time of COVID is pretty rare.”
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