Gold News interview of E & G ECONOMIDES LLC Chairwoman, Eleana Economides
Eleana Economides, Chairwoman of E & G ECONOMIDES LLC has recently been interviewed by Gold News, the premiere Cyprus all-English business portal.
During the interview, Eleana made reference to the post-banking crisis era and how the firm has managed to not only survive the crisis but to expand its operations against the odds.
See below the full interview or click here to access it on the Gold News portal:
Eleana Economides: The Only Way is Forward
Eleana Economides is Chairwoman of E & G Economides LLC, a rapidly expanding law firm based in Limassol with affiliated offices in Moscow. Poised and with the ability to always see the positive side of any situation, she and Directors George Economides and Melina Dionysiou make up the confident and dynamic trio that successfully steered the firm through the banking crisis. Last year alone, seven more advocates joined the team and today, with a team of 14 advocates, E & G Economides LLC continues to grow and expand its areas of practice.
Eleana is upbeat about the prospects of Cyprus and remains rather unfazed by the banking crisis and its side effects. “With every crisis there are opportunities and a time to self-reflect, to take a step back and consolidate,” she says. “Cyprus has done some of that, though not enough and we still have a long way to go. Nothing will be handed to us on a silver platter. Let us hope that the lessons learnt will serve as beacons for carving out a strong and sustainable path for the future.”
I met with Eleana Economides at the firm’s office in Limassol, housed in a modern glass building in the heart of the island’s business centre. I was pleasantly surprised by the abundance of greenery throughout the building. Large plants tower over the verandas on every floor of the four-storey office complex, lending an air of tranquillity and positive ambience.
Eleana, a young advocate with a friendly demeanour and a winning smile, is not one to shy away from a challenge. Asked how the firm faired following the 2013 crisis, she describes it as having turned the status quo upside down. “It placed a bulls-eye on our backs. Cyprus’ deficiencies and in some cases, eroded practices, were suddenly in the public domain. It was as if a curtain was raised and all the elephants in the room were exposed for everyone to see.”
Nonetheless, she continues, the firm never lost its focus and confidence in what Cyprus has to offer. “We concentrated on our core areas and continued offering the best possible service to our clients,” she explains, noting that last year the firm took on seven specialised advocates, further expanding its areas of practice and considerably reinforcing existing ones.
“What it boiled down to, as far as dealing with clients following the banking crisis was concerned, was the firmly established interpersonal relationships already in place and the strong bond between the firm and its clients,” Eleana tells me. “Rather than being carried away by the media circus, they turned to us for reassurance and guidance; instead of deserting Cyprus in a hurry, they trusted our advice and remained steadfast. Achieving that level of trust is a result of the long-term relationships, which we have spent years forging. Our clients' response to the crisis was just a confirmation of all we had hoped for; that a state of sincere trust and mutual respect exists.”
She admits that some of the firm’s clients were “shell-shocked” by events but says that the effect on its associates was much smaller. A large portion of E & G Economides’ practice involves handling clients jointly with law firms around the globe and these engagements often involve international commercial and corporate transactions such as corporate governance issues, including joint ventures and shareholders’ agreements, all forms of mergers (including cross-border mergers) and acquisitions, major corporate restructurings, legal due diligences (vendor or buyer) and the issuance of legal opinions within the context of financing, refinancing and security transactions. The firm also assists frequently on Intellectual Property matters, including legal and equitable assignments of IP rights, licensing and other issues.
Apart from traditional corporate and commercial transactional work, the firm has recently advised in relation to a number of international banking and finance and capital markets transactions (involving UK AIM listed companies), as well as providing extensive regulatory and financial services advice to one of the UK’s key investment management companies. The firm’s private client practice has also experienced growth with wills drafting and probate and administration work being in particular demand amongst the firm’s high net worth clients.
Regarding her present concerns about Cyprus, Eleana Economides offers a long list: “We have to restore faith in our banking system and get past the internal squabbles which, quite frankly, are not doing our case any favours. Increasing competitiveness must become a priority and remain an ongoing objective. Modernising the shipping tax, updating to the CIT laws, expanding the Double Tax Treaty network, developing the financial sector, dealing with the evolution of the PRP and citizenship programmes, ensuring compliance with global standards… these are all areas that need constant updating and reinforcement to ensure that we remain one step ahead of our competitors”.
In response to how the firm benefits from being associated with the Totalserve Group, Eleana states: “The Totalserve Group is one of the largest and most reputable service providers in Cyprus and has 13 offices in 11 countries. Totalserve is a preferred associate and our mutual aim is to channel our combined expertise into a comprehensive spectrum of services and ensure that all our clients’ needs are being met. The dynamic created from the mutual trust and years of cooperation ultimately benefits our shared clients who enjoy a holistic approach to their entire suite of needs and objectives”.
And what does the future hold for the firm? Eleana Economides is happy with the fact that it has succeeded in sustaining –and even exceeding–its pre-crisis rate of growth. “The regulatory environment both in Cyprus and abroad is changing at a fast pace and the real challenge is to remain abreast of such developments and pre-empt any effects on our own and our clients' affairs,” she says, adding that, “Above all, we shall remain loyal to our unwavering commitment towards our clients to exceed their expectations.”