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A comprehensive round-up of the latest business news covering all sectors within the Isle of Man’s diverse and dynamic business environment. STANDARD BANK ISLE OF MAN REVEALS STRONG HALF-YEAR RESULTS Standard Bank Offshore Group, which has a key offi ce in the Isle of Man, as well as in Jersey, and Mauritius along with representative offi ces in London and South Africa, has issued an upbeat set of results for half-year 2019, reflecting an encouraging year for the business. H eadline Earnings (the primary measure of earnings after tax and other adjustments) saw an impressive increase of 41.8% to £36.1 million in 2019, while ROE increased from 19.0% to 21.4% versus prior year and Assets Under Management grew by 27.1% to £2.4bn. Standard Bank Offshore Group is owned by Standard Bank Group, the largest bank in Africa by assets. The positive results are mirrored by a strong set of interim results also announced at Group level with Headline Earnings at R13.4 billion, up 6% on the first half of 2018. Dividend per share increased too by 6% to 454 cents (1st half, 2018: 430 cents) and ROE was 17.5% (10% rise). Jonathan Peake, Chief Financial Offi cer, said: ‘The interim results are really encouraging, and we’re pleased to see strong continued growth year- on-year. The positive figures are testament to the hard work put in by our teams across the globe delivering first-class service and products to our clients, helping the bank to surpass planned strategies and goals.’ Chris Till, CEO of Standard Bank Isle of Man, added: ‘At Standard Bank’s core is our continued goal to drive Africa’s growth, and the commitment to serving our clients, many of whom have a strong connection to the continent, and this is reflected in another strong set of results. ‘Although the global vision looks towards Africa, the performance seen so far this year will also benefit the Isle of Man, where Standard Bank Offshore Group has proudly operated for more than 25 years and continues to expand its operations.’ IOD ISLE OF MAN REFLECTS ON UK COUNTERPART’S LATEST BREXIT SURVEY The Isle of Man branch of the Institute of Directors has been reflecting on the latest Brexit survey commissioned by its UK counterpart, which reports that start-up founders are defying the economic gloom. T he UK poll of almost 1000 members of the IoD’s start-up community showed that the majority had managed to grow over the past year, with 13 per cent at least doubling their turnover, but also found concerns about the potential for a disorderly Brexit at the end of the month. Half of the entrepreneurs questioned thought no deal would be negative for their organisation, against only 10% who judged it would be positive. Company founders were also twice as likely to find the prospect of no deal more worrying than a further extension. Brexit was generally considered more of a threat than an opportunity, though many felt it was both, while survey respondents were in favour of maintaining a close economic relationship with the EU in future. Findings included: • 59 per cent of respondents had seen turnover increase over the past year. • After UK economic conditions, Brexit concerns were the top factor having a negative impact on respondents’ organisations (37 per cent), ahead of business taxation (23 per cent) and global economic conditions (20 per cent). • 34 per cent felt Brexit was more of a threat than an opportunity to their business, while 15 per cent felt the opposite; 39 per cent felt it was both. • 55 per cent felt staying in the Single Market would be better for their organisation compared with 13 per cent who thought leaving would be more beneficial. Reflecting on the findings, IoD Isle of Man branch chair Jennifer Houghton said: ‘in recent decades the Isle of Man has grown adept at adapting to change and challenge, all the more so in the face of a new, post-Brexit economic landscape.  While we recognise and share some of the concerns expressed by our UK counterparts, we’re encouraged that a good number of not only start-up but also established businesses in the Isle of Man are alert to the opportunities Brexit could present to innovate, become more entrepreneurial and reach out to new global markets. In this we welcome the support and direction offered by the Isle of Man Government and its close monitoring of Westminster’s Brexit negotiations.’ | 5