Kenneth Farrugia

BOV CEO Kenneth Farrugia expresses his optimism, albeit cautiously, “for a better fiscal year (fy) 2023.”

Speaking to MaltaCEOs.mt, Mr Farrugia acknowledged that “looking back at the events that have taken centre stage this year, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has heightened a number of business concerns, not to mention the plight of those involved in this war.”

On the other hand, the concerns related to the pandemic, which were still quite strong at the beginning of the year, have now somewhat dissipated and seem to be more manageable. “Within this context and a macro-economic perspective, Malta’s economic performance has overall been a positive one, tourism, which is an important economic enabler has overall recovered, and unemployment is well contained, if not presenting a problem insofar as the availability for the workforce,” the CEO added.

Mr Farrugia believes that “2023 will bring about a number of opportunities in the credit financing and investment services business” adding that next year “will also mark a shift in our digital proposition as more customers are experiencing the ease of using digital channels to self-service their day-to-day banking requirements.”

“During the course of next year, sustainability and the importance of ESG considerations will increasingly permeate business, operational, and investment decisions,” the BOV CEO recognised.

In relation to the bank’s priorities as we move into 2023, he affirmed that “priorities will remain anchored around the use of data to drive business and operational decisions, digitalisation, and ESG to ensure the Bank is a sustainable, compliant and secure one.”

Asked whether challenges facing the international banking and finance sector have made their way to the island, the CEO stated that “the scenario abroad is no different to that prevalent in Malta in view of the impact that an international economic slowdown will invariably have on the country’s economic performance.”

“Undoubtedly the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a number of business and operational challenges,” he stated adding that “these were compounded by the advent of the Russia-Ukraine war which brought about a significant disruption in the global supply chain, inflationary pressures and a higher interest rate environment.”

One of the main ways in which companies will continue to strive come 2023 is by remaining resilient and this “requires careful consideration of investment decisions, intensifying initiatives to sustain revenue as well as ongoing monitoring of operational costs and cash flows.” However, the general outlook on the coming year is a much more positive one when compared to the last couple of Christmases we have had.

“Bar the known-unknowns such as the direction of travel of inflation and interest rates, one remains cautiously optimistic for a better FY 2023,” Mr Farrugia, in fact, concluded.

Featured Image:

Photo by Bernard Polidano

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