UK Market Access
The United Kingdom and Gibraltar Governments have agreed to reciprocal market access for UK and Gibraltar financial services firms. These are unique arrangements not available to any other Overseas Territory, Crown Dependency or Third Country.
The 31 December 2020 marked the end of the 11 month EU Transition Period after which the UK and Gibraltar would no longer need to adhere to the EU’s laws and institutions. Until 31 December 2020, Gibraltar’s passporting rights had derived from EU legislation and relevant UK laws enacted.
In preparation for Brexit the UK Government issued a Statutory Instrument (SI) in early 2019 setting out the temporary post-Brexit arrangements for Gibraltar’s ongoing passporting arrangements in financial services into the UK. When Brexit was in effect deferred by the introduction of the EU Transition Period to 31 December 2020 a further SI was issued by the UK Government.
During 2020 detailed discussions about Gibraltar permanent market access arrangements were held and included in the UK’s Financial Services Bill 2020 published towards the end of 2020. These permanent market access arrangements are widely referred to as the Gibraltar Authorisation Regime (GAR). In April 2021 the UK’s Financial Services Act 2021 gained royal assent and Chapter 22 “Regulated activities and Gibraltar” sets out the GAR.
The UK Government has delegated the introduction of the GAR to HM Treasury and the current estimated timeline is that the GAR will come into force in 2024.
As the GAR is not yet in force a further SI will need to be issued by the UK Government in late 2021. This process is explained on the Bank of England website which states that the current SI “can be further extended until such time as the permanent arrangements of the Gibraltar Authorisation Regime are in place”.
The Government of Gibraltar passed legislation in December 2020 to allow UK financial services firms to continue to passport into Gibraltar from 1 January 2021.