Panama, October 12, 2018. Morgan & Morgan was the only Panamanian law firm ranked in the first version of the “Top Companies with the Best Corporate Reputation in Panama”. Likewise, Juan David Morgan G., CEO of the company, and Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez, partner of the firm, were selected within the “Top Corporate Leaders”, as part of the 100 businessmen and executives with the best professional reputation in the country.
The study was prepared by Merco, the most important corporate monitor in Latin America and Spain, presented by Summa Magazine and verified by KPMG. The drafting process used a multi-stakeholder approach in which 1,098 surveys were conducted to different sources of information, addressing aspects of the companies such as: commercial proposal, current and potential customers, ability to attract talent, support for the development of society, among others.
The ranking is available here.
Panama, October 15, 2018. Morgan & Morgan represented Engie Solar in the sale of its ownership in PanamaSolar2, S.A., to Latin Renewables Infrastructure Funds managed by Real Infrastructure Capital Partners.
Engie Solar through its subsidiaries Solairedirect Global Operations and Solairedirect Panama designed, procured, developed and built a photovoltaic power plant “Pocri” with an installed capacity of 16MW located in the Province of Cocle, Republic of Panama, owned and operated by PanamaSolar2, S.A.
PanamaSolar2, S.A., won a public bid for the sale of photovoltaic energy to all three distribution companies operating in Panama, for the supply of electricity to the national market. Even though the power plant is still undergoing operational tests, it is already generating and supplying renewable energy through the national grid.
Stamped Visas for nationals from Cuba, China, India, Dominican Republic and Venezuela will have a term for up to 5 years
Executive Decree No. 611 of October 11, 2018.
As of October 12, 2018, the Stamped Visa of Multiple Entries will be issued for up to five (5) years for the nationals of the Republic of Cuba, People’s Republic of China, Republic of India, Dominican Republic and Republic of Venezuela.
- The National Immigration Authority has confirmed that the maximum time of stay allowed is 30 days.
- Previously, this visa was granted for up to three (3) years, according to the verified criteria of the officials from the National Immigration Authority and the National Security Council.
This Executive Decree became effective as of October 12th, 2018.
In the framework of a globalized world and social networks that are established as a measure of possible interest of economic, social and political groups, data protection regulations become more relevant. In fact, the European Union through the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 27, 2016, establishes mandatory requirements, as of May 25, 2018, on regard to data protection, and which also apply to individuals in charge of the processing of data who are outside the European Union but who handle personal data of interested parties residing in the European Union.
In the case of Panama, our greatest protection is directly established through our Constitution, mainly in articles 42 to 44. These articles establish the regulatory framework in which the criterion that must be met is the consent of the owner of the personal data to obtain, process and store them. Additionally, it allows them to have access to that information in order to update or delete it from the respective database. The habeas data action is established in these articles to guarantee the right of access to personal information.
How does this affect companies?
For labor purposes, our Labor Code establishes the obligation for the employer to keep a record with information of the workers; this record is subject to inspection by the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development. The worker in accordance with the constitutional protection has the right to access, update and amend that information, as appropriate.
Based on the regulatory framework and principles established in the Constitution, in case of the local practice, personal data protection has been included in special laws that regulate them depending on the specialization of the matter or business. Special laws such as the following, all of which follow in general terms the constitutional principles:
- Law 51 of July 22, 2008, as amended, which defines and regulates electronic documents and electronic signatures and the provision of data storage services for documents and certification of electronic signatures and adopts other provisions for the development of electronic commerce;
- Law 51 of September 18, 2009, as amended, that dictates rules for the storage, protection and provision of data of telecommunications services users and adopts other provisions;
- Law 24 of May 22, 2002, as amended, which regulates the information service on the credit history of consumers or clients;
- Executive Decree 52 of April 30, 2008, which adopts the single text of Decree Law 9 of February 26, 1998, as amended, and which regulates the banking regime and the Superintendency of Banks;
- Law 68 of November 20, 2003, as amended, which regulates the rights and obligations of patients, in terms of information and free and informed decision;
- Law 81 of December 31, 2009, which protects the rights of users of credit cards and other financing cards; and
- Law 33 of April 25, 2013, as amended, which creates the National Authority of Transparency and Access to Information.
Remarkably, there is no express prohibition in Panama regarding the movement of personal data outside Panama. Existing laws have a more focused approach to the administration and processing of information and its storage. In this sense, there is the General Directorate of Electronic Commerce of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, which regulates data storage service providers, an entity that regulates the protection of data that must be followed by businesses and imposes the obligation to maintain security measures and protection of information.
I would like to conclude by mentioning that to date, there is a Personal Data Protection Bill that has been submitted to the National Assembly, being the second attempt this year to pass a national law that compiles the regulation on this matter.
Panama, September 25, 2018. Morgan & Morgan and sixteen attorneys of the firm were recognized in the Chambers Latin America 2019, guide of the best lawyers and law firms across 20 countries of Central America, the Caribbean, South America and Mexico.
The firm has been ranked in the first Bands within the areas of Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Corporate/M&A, Dispute Resolution, Energy & Natural Resources, Intellectual Property, Offshore, Projects, Real Estate, Shipping and Shipping Litigation.
Likewise, the publication noted as leaders in their areas attorneys Inocencio Galindo, Francisco Arias, Ramon Varela, Roberto Vidal, Simon Tejeira, Jose Carrizo, Luis Vallarino, Ana Carolina Castillo, Allen Candanedo, Maria Eugenia Brenes, Roberto Lewis, Luis Manzanares, Enrique De Alba, Jazmina Rovi, Juan David Morgan Jr. and Francisco Linares.
One of the clients interviewed stated that “Judging by the results that the firm achieves, I can say that their advice is effective and arrives in a timely manner. I would highlight their availability and technical competence”.
About Morgan & Morgan
With over 80 lawyers and 20 practice areas, Morgan & Morgan is a full service Panamanian law firm, regularly assisting local and foreign corporations from different industries, as well as recognized financial institutions, government agencies and individual clients. Of particular note is our continuous advice for clients involved in all stages of the development of important projects related to energy, water supply, construction, oil, mining, public infrastructure, retail, ports, transportation, among others. Learn more at www.morimor.com.
Panama, September 19, 2018. Jose Carrizo, partner and head of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group of the firm, contributed with the Panama chapter of The Arbitration Review of the Americas 2019, a publication that summarizes relevant issues that help general counsel, arbitrators and private practitioners to avoid the pitfalls and seize the opportunities of international arbitration.
Mr. Carrizo provided a comprehensive analysis of the arbitration system in Panama, its legislation and every aspect that confirms the country as an international and regional center for the resolution of arbitral disputes.
Jose Carrizo is an experienced attorney with ample knowledge in both domestic and international arbitration processes. He has served as arbitrator in the National Arbitration and Mediation (NAM), based in New York. Mr. Carrizo is also a member of the Panama Chapter of the International Arbitration Court of the International Chamber of Commerce.
The guide is available here.
Morgan & Morgan advised the Hitachi, Ltd., Mitsubishi Corporation, and Ansaldo STS, S.p.A. with an Agreement to provide a monorail system for Line 3 of the Metro of Panama
Morgan & Morgan advised the Hitachi, Ltd., Mitsubishi Corporation, and Ansaldo STS, S.p.A., in connection with an Agreement signed with Metro de Panamá, S.A., a corporation 100% owned by the Republic of Panama, regarding the participation of this group of companies that, led by Hitachi, Ltd., shall perform the works of the Nominated Subcontractor under the turn-key contract for the Monorail type Line 3 of the Metro of Panama Project (the Line 3 Project), which will be signed with a Main Contractor selected through a public bidding process under the laws of the Republic of Panama.
The Nominated Subcontractor will be responsible for the design, supply, and putting into operation of the Integrated Operating Systems (SIO) of the Line 3 Project, including Monorail type of Rolling Stock, signaling system, train control based on CBTC technology and communication system, control center, traction power system and low-voltage transformation system, track switches and automatic platform doors, among other responsibilities.
This transaction’s complexity was mainly that the contractual terms and conditions of the Nominated Subcontractor’s contract had to be agreed with Metro de Panama, S.A. as the Project’s Owner, but not as a party of the said contract between the Nominated subcontractor and the Main Contractor. Such terms and conditions, which had to
anticipate the contractual relationship with the resulting Main Contractor of the Line 3 Project bidding process, are to be reflected as part of said bidding process’ bid documents.
The Metro of Panama is the most important public infrastructure project under development in the Republic of Panama and the first of its class in Central America.
BVI, September 11, 2018. One year ago to date, the city of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) was hit by hurricane Irma. The winds of said hurricane flattened the infrastructure and public services of the city, including Morgan & Morgan’s offices in this Island. Sadly, some of coworkers and teammates lost their homes.
Despite that, our organization never stopped providing services to our internal and external clients. Creativity, willingness, the organization and commitment of our people in the BVI took a central role at such difficult times. Our group contributed with a donation of US$15,000, through the International Lawyer’s Association for restoration of electricity; we also contributed with direct donations to our coworkers to help reestablish normalcy in their lives. Our offices were rebuilt almost completely and while the works were ongoing, work was carried on from the house of some of our coworkers and other offices temporarily established. The leadership of Jorge Yu, Kaylinda Richardson and Fanny Evans was invaluable.
Today, our CEO, Dr. Juan David Morgan G., together with other partners and lawyers of Morgan & Morgan, visited them to tell all, “Thank you for the exemplary commitment, solidarity and teamwork!”
Morgan & Morgan opened its first offices in The Bahamas since 1991. We created MMG (Bahamas) Ltd. as a corporate service and later on, in 1996, founded MMG Bank & Trust Ltd., which started our financial unit´s successful path into the financial service industry.
Our board of directors decide in the mid-90s that The Bahamas was going to be one of our prominent jurisdictions because this sovereign country has become a well-recognized and reputable international financial center, with a modern and robust legislation, governmental supervision oriented towards facilitating business ventures and has an enviable workforce of seasoned and educated professionals.
We have seen its democratically elected governments navigate successfully through the tough times the smaller international financial centers have had to deal with given the shame and blame attitude of certain multinational organizations and communities. The Bahamas has been wise and steadfast in their positions and negotiations fully aware of the negative impact on the financial services industry as a whole a wrong decision might have. We value that at Morgan & Morgan. Also, the fact that we can fly directly several times a week to Nassau, from our headquarters located in Panama City, is also a big reason we feel comfortable with his jurisdiction.
But, what and why do we offer services and products to our clients from The Bahamas?
For myriad of good reasons apart from the gorgeous weather and waters. The Bahamian governments has always been investor friendly and have created a series of incentives that make the island a good venue for a variety of industries such as tourism, financial services, corporate services, insurance, marinas, real estate, among others. The friendly tax environment includes no income tax, no capital gains tax, no estate tax, no withholding tax, no dividend tax and no payroll tax to those who work in the Bahamas. But for a Value Added Tax of 7.5% on some goods and services, tax benefits abound.
We have also seen the creativity and the also the want to fill the markets needs attitude of the regulators. What better example of this is the creation of the SMART Fund legislation. In these times of fiscal compliancy and an international effort to exchange of information, clients must be happy to mitigate their tax burden. Therefore, cost efficient vehicles, that protect assets, help with estate planning and reduce the effective tax rate will be well viewed by clients.
The Bahamas SMART Fund
We´ve recently activated our SMART (Specific Mandate Alternative Regulatory Test) fund license provider MMG Fund Services Ltd. For wealth and tax planning in Brazil, SMART Funds have become a very useful and efficient tool. This vehicle has been promoted with certain success in Brazil by the Bahamian authorities. Brazilian residents are taxed globally, that is on their income anywhere in the world. Most of the financial income obtained outside Brazil is taxed at a rate of 15% except for dividends, which may be taxed at up to 27.5%. For a Brazilian client with a portfolio of ordinary or preferred shares paying dividends frequently, current taxes would reduce investment return dramatically. SMART Funds are an alternative that, on one hand, differ payment of taxes over dividends by capitalizing them and, on the other, upon redemption of the shares from the SMART fund, said income would be taxable at 15% only, producing a 12.5% savings.
There are seven “models” of the SMART fund that investors can choose, but for a private individual or family, the most common model is the SMART fund 4 Model. The features of this SMART fund are:
- No offering memorandum is required – a term sheet is optional, but not mandatory.
- No more than five individual investors.
- Operates as a private investment company.
- Subject to an annual certification to the Securities Commission or Unrestricted Fund Administrator.
- Investors can waive requirement for an annual audit.
- Can have an ISIN Number and Bloomberg Ticker.
As you can see, we at Morgan & Morgan are very comfortable offering products and services and we have a range of seasoned professionals that can help you choose the correct fund structure for your family. Finally, let us congratulate the Bahamas Financial Services Board on their 20th anniversary and thank them for making our job a little bit easier
Panama, August 25, 2018. With the topic “Panamanian Fiscal Regulatory Framework in International Securitization”, Mr. Francisco Arias G., partner in charge of the Securities and Capital Markets practice group of Morgan & Morgan, participated as a speaker in the conference Latest Trends in Asset Securitization: Applications to the Panamanian Market. The event was organized by Flex Funds, a firm specializing in vehicles for worldwide investment.
The seminar was held at the Hilton Hotel in Panama City, and was attended by representatives of financial institutions, investment advisors, asset managers, family businesses, among other local and international professionals.
Other topics were discussed in the activity, such as Perspectives and triggering factors in the mergers and acquisitions sector in Central America, the securitization of assets and their applications and the experiences in the securitization of assets in securities firms in Panama.
About Morgan & Morgan
In the sector of capital markets in Panama, Morgan & Morgan focuses on public and private offerings, some with cross border components. The Securities and Capital Markets team of the firm has been involved in numerous transactions involving several billions of dollars. The firm also have assisted many clients in obtaining various licenses from the Superintendence of Securities Markets, including securities brokerage and investment fund administration.