On February 7, Santa Purgaile, Head of FCMC addressed AmCham members on recent developments in the financial sector. Substantial work has been done to restore the reputation of the Latvian financial sector, however, much remains to be done to support the sector, including developing capital markets and introducing new technologies. Among key FCMC tasks is communication, both international and local, to minimize negative impact on investors willing to do business in Latvia.
AmCham members met the new LIAA Director to hear his priorities and discuss topic of increasing trade with the U.S. Priority sectors for investment attraction to Latvia include: GBS, Smart Materials, Life Sciences, Smart City development. On the topic of attracting foreign talent, AmCham members were pleased to learn that LIAA is directing its resources in producing a new relocation guide to help attract foreign and remigrant talent.
90 members and guests enjoyed the new production of THE QUEEN OF SPADES by Pyotr Tchaikovsky along with a kick-off reception at the Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga, an insightful lecture about the opera and its composer by CEO of GroGlass, Sasha Kelberg and a small reception at the Red Hall of the opera house during the first intermission.
A trophy cup and great prizes went to the team of the US Embassy with the highest combined score, 1009 pts. The runner-up team, combined of several players from companies Gateway & Partners and Task Analytics, collected the second highest score of 991 pts. The Best Player of the tournament was Ģirts Ķēbers of Lursoft IT with a combined score of 377 pts. The runner-up was Mike Ritchie of the US Embassy with 331 pts. Mike also was the first to hit three strikes in a row. Overall 72 participants in 18 teams joined the Joint Bowling Tournament at the Pepsi Center. Congratulations to the winners!
The Pink Train Foundation is a charity raising funds so that women diagnosed with breast cancer in Latvia can receive professional, psychological support and physiotherapy. The Foundation's objectives also include the organization of experience exchange for nursing and other staff working with breast cancer patients, as well as issuing informative materials to those women affected by the disease. We warmly welcome them to the Chamber!
Forma Pro Films, one of the leading film production companies in the Baltic Region, has recently joined the Chamber as a Small Business member. Forma Pro Films works in coproduction with American, European and Russian companies and it is the first and the only company in Latvia to produce a full-length Hollywood Emmy awarded feature with USD 8 mln budget.
Over the past few years, AmCham has followed closely the transformation of Latvia's financial sector and commends the recent positive evaluation of the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the significant progress achieved in improving Latvia's capacity to investigate and prevent financial crimes. We will continue our ongoing cooperation with the FCMC, the financial sector and other partners to seek solutions that mitigate the negative impact on access to banking services for both existing and potential foreign investors and make Latvia attractive for high value-added investments.
On February 18, the Government of Latvia made a historic decision to support reforms in the governance of higher education institutions. The conceptual report, developed by the Ministry of Education, is aimed at introducing a more transparent governance model with separate decision-making and executive roles. The new model is believed to improve the quality and increase internationalization of higher education. AmCham has strongly supported the efforts of the Ministry and will continue to support positive change.
According to the survey among members, more than 70% of respondents admitted having encountered difficulties with their corporate bank accounts while 30% had difficulties with personal accounts, including opening of salary accounts for employees from the 3rd countries. The member experience was discussed with the Head of FCMC and will also be discussed with our member banks.
Members of the AmCham Labor Force work group discussed plans for 2020. Among priorities will remain attracting talent and promoting upskilling and lifelong learning. An event on the topic of diversity and inclusion in the workplace will be organized this year. If you'd like to join the group, please contact the office!
The AmCham Healthcare work group members gathered for the first meeting of the year to continue work to improve the healthcare system. The working group discussed its current projects: workshop to improve the Oncology data registry, planning of the data-driven healthcare conference in cooperation with MoH and NHS, and a proposal to support a project on value-based healthcare by professor Civjāne from the University of Latvia.
FICIL elected new Board Members on February 21: Valts Kārkliņš, Bite Latvija; Zlata Elksniņa-Zaščirinska, PwC Latvia; Gunta Jēkabsone, Circle K Latvia; Māris Gruzniņš, Schwenk Latvia and Ilze Zoltnere, Luminor Latvia. 3 Board members will continue their work as part of the FICIL Executive Board - Ints Krasts, SEB Latvia; Iain Kennedy, BALTA and Arnis Sauka, SSE Riga.
On February 7, BITS education presented their new education platform with useful information about the top Latvian universities and where students from around the world share their stories on why they choose Riga over Munich, Tallinn or Stockholm. BITS is supported by our members Accenture, Cognizant, Riga Business School and SAF Tehnika.
According to CBRE Riga Office Marketview, last year marks the highest construction activity since 2009. In total, 7 office buildings were commissioned in 2019 adding to the office stock of ca. 53,400 sq m of modern office premises Business Garden Rīga, Akropole Offices and the final phase of and Henrihs (Jaunā Teika). Among new business centers of 2019 are Mežaparks Offices, Telegraph offices and Red Line offices.
Welcome to our newsletter. This month we met with the Chair of FCMC and the new Director of LIAA. We hosted our highly popular Opera Night and the Joint Bowling Tournament together with the Norwegian Chamber. We are now getting ready for the Annual General Meeting on March 12th, and encourage your participation, which is very important for the Chamber's future. We have prepared a lot of exciting opportunities for you in the coming month, and we hope to see you at an AmCham event soon!