SWITZERLAND NO LONGER WORLD’S BANKING HUB
Switzerland, the world’s largest offshore financial centre of yore, is losing its jazz and mojo for some multinational firms. With international regulators cranking up scrutiny of the industry, profit margins are tapering off. Gopichand Hinduja, the eldest among three Indian billionaire siblings based out of London, says it is his belief that Switzerland’s importance as a global banking hub would tend to shrink, with increased tax transparency. People are now looking for new options in the Gulf countries and other havens to place their assets. According to Gopichand, people are now exploring the newer havens, as Switzerland seems to have failed in maintaining it’s pre-eminent position of importance in the private banking sector. The no- questions-asked Swiss banks are now being increasingly questioned thanks to the newly emerging system of bank-data exchange between Governments. Coming from no less a person than Gopichand Hinduja, co-owner of the Hinduja Group, a globe-spanning industrial conglomerate active in the domains of automobiles, finance, media and energy just to mention a few, this statement does have some substance and will be taken seriously across the board by international business moguls.
INDIAN-BORN BRITISH MP IS NEW UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE
Reading West MP Alok Sharma has been appointed as Under Secretary of State at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with responsibility for Asia and Pacific. Sharma is a qualified chartered accountant, and has worked as a corporate finance advisory holding senior roles based out of London, Stockholm and Frankfurt before taking to politics. He is currently a governor of a local primary school in Reading and also the Vice Chairman for BME communities and Co-Chairman of Conservative Friends of India. Following his appointment Alok Sharma said: “I am honoured to have been appointed by the Prime Minister as Minister for Asia and the Pacific, hugely important parts of the world that are crucial for the UK’s prosperity and security. Britain is a truly great country and I will work tirelessly to ensure we continue to thrive and prosper on the world stage … and I look forward to working closely with my new colleagues and counterparts across Asia and the Pacific, with particular focus on strengthening commercial ties, increasing investment opportunities in both directions and promoting human rights in the region.”
GOPIO SEEKS VOTING RIGHTS AND RAJYA SABHA SEATS FOR NRIS
An international convention of people of Indian-origin in the US has demanded voting rights for Indian citizens living outside India and Rajya Sabha seats for NRIs. “The Election Commission of India should finalize the procedure for electronic voting before the next general elections take place in India,” the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) said in a resolution passed during its annual convention in New York that took place last month. “There are 10 million NRIs who have no representation in the decision making process in the country of their citizenship,” it said. “We urge the Government of India to nominate a few prominent NRIs as members of the Rajya Sabha to reinforce and further integrate bonds between India and the overseas Indian community,” Over 200 delegates from 20 countries participated in convention. Noting that while many NRIs want to support their alma maters, set up schools and colleges in their villages and towns, and support social and environmental causes, they face major hurdles in doing so. “The clearance process through the Home Ministry is time consuming and needs to be streamlined, made more efficient,” it said.
DR. KINSHUK NAMED US UNIVERSITY DEAN
Indian-American professor Dr. Kinshuk, who goes by a single name and who possesses a diverse set of academic expertise in the field of science and technology, has been named the Dean of the University of North Texas College of Information in the US. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from University of Rajasthan, a masters in mechanical computer aided engineering from Strathclyde University in Scotland, and a doctoral degree from England. Before taking the charge as the Dean, he has served as an associate dean at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada, where he helped lead the Faculty of Science and Technology. Prior to this, he has served as a director in the School of Computing and Information Systems. Kinshuk also served as Industrial Research Chair in Adaptivity and Personalisation in Informatics for the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada. Finley Graves, Provost and Vice President for academic affairs at UNT, states that: “Dr Kinshuk brings with him great leadership and research experience. We look forward to his working with our faculty to articulate a clear vision for the future of the College of Information.” Kinshuk will start his new position from August 15. “I’m really looking forward to joining such a progressive university and my esteemed new colleagues. I know the College of Information has high expectations and I hope to meet them and raise those even more,” says Kinshuk.
GULF BUSINESS CARD DIRECTORY RELEASED IN OMAN
The Gulf Business Card Directory, a unique product of Doha-based advertising and event Management Company ‘Mediaplus,’ was released at a glittering function held at Muscat. Suroor Rahman, the MD of TOPAD Advertising, released the directory by handing over a copy to Mustafa Keethadath, the director of Kerala-based ‘Happy Homes.’ Addressing a packed crowd at the ceremony, Mediaplus CEO Amanulla Vadakkangara explained the idea of the business card directory and observed that it was effective and useful in connecting people on a large scale. The Gulf Business Card Directory has become one of the most sought after tool for developing intra-gulf businesses especially in the SME sector. The whole directory is available online at www.gbcdonline.com. A mobile application launched earlier this year has increased the scope of this publication. The directory facilitates the business community to interact among themselves for concluding mutually rewarding deals, and contains the business cards of both individuals and establishments that can be a ready reference of all leading business concerns in the region.
PIO PLEDGES US$ 1 Mn TO TRUMP
Indian-Americans largely lean towards the Democratic Party, but there are always exceptions like Shalabh ‘Shalli’ Kumar, an Ambala-born Indian-American Punjabi industrialist from Chicago. After creating a stir some years ago by putting together a trip for US lawmakers to meet Narendra Modi when he was persona non-grata in Washington, Kumar has made a splash at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland by pledging a US$ 1.1 million contribution to the Trump campaign.
DR RAMI RANGER HONORED
UK based NRI BUSINESSMAN Dr. Rami Ranger, CBE, received an honorary doctorate from the University of West London at their annual graduation ceremony held at the iconic grounds of Wembley Stadium on the 21st of July 2016. He was given this honour in recognition of his services to business, philanthropy and promotion of social cohesion in Britain. The doctorate was conferred upon him by the Chancellor Laurence Geller, CBE, and Vice Chancellor Professor Peter John of the University of West London.