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The BeNeLux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) seems so similar to Germany that a lot of people assume there are no cultural differences. We advise companies and individuals from the BeNeLux and Germany with their business operations abroad and realised that the cultural differences are bigger than once thought. A lot of issues could arise from these differences. As soon as you figure what they are, most of the time you can solve any issues, or as a client of ours said, the perfect business is a mix between the pragmatism and thinking-out-of-a-box approach of the BeNeLux and the hard working and structuredness approach.

I suppose other countries are only interested in cash while we in Germany are the only ones with morals (laughs). As I said before, Saudi Arabia and Germany were very close, but this has changed recently. In Germany, the rules around best practice are fairly strict compared to most countries and human rights have become an important issue. But you have to remember that this also works to an investor's favour. These strict rules protect businesses against malpractice that you often find in other countries.

In Germany, UBO is very big and due diligence is now far more detailed with questions about the political systems in the MENA region. For example, we used to be a very big business partner with Saudi Arabia, but in the past few months relations have dropped because of the human rights issues. As a consequence, there may well be problems for German investors into many of those countries in the region.

The supply chain in companies always receives special attention in times of crisis. Companies should keep a permanent eye on their relationship with their suppliers and constantly evaluate and, where necessary, adapt their purchasing and logistics - the supply chain.

Islamic finance and classical western finance systems are much different; however, there are more and more ways that both work hand in hand together and Islamic finance principles are becoming increasingly popular for sustainable investments, especially in times of crisis. The examples in Germany show that the two systems do not contradict each other either. URS BREITSPRECHER writes.

Since the global pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, working from home has become established. Of course, working from home has long been known for individual employees. However, it was far from becoming standard. As recently as 2016, Marissa Mayer was still forcing Yahoo employees to be present in the office - after all, she was the CEO of an internet icon from whom one should expect innovative, digitally supported work. The standard rule was no different at many other companies, whether in the tech industry or not. At most, employees in the field or from parts of the IT department stayed away from the office.


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