Hon. Albert Isola M.P. - Minister for Digital and Financial Services of Gibraltar
Our Government has pledged to showcase Gibraltar as a jurisdiction that is open for business. With this goal in mind, we launched the #ThinkGibraltar campaign in September in an effort to raise awareness of and attract new businesses to the Rock. The dynamic campaign culminated in a series of five productive financial services events held across London last week, from Tuesday 5th to Thursday 7th November.
The #ThinkGibraltar events reflect a sense of optimism, particularly as we head into uncertain times. I am confident in Gibraltar’s strong economy, advanced regulation, infrastructure, and close links with the UK. Throughout the week, I was delighted to welcome representatives from our four main financial services industries: Insurance, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), Funds, and Private Clients and to have many of them joining our panel sessions at our workshops.
Starting off the week was the main event on Tuesday — the Financial Services Lunch — held in the majestic Guildhall. Bringing together leaders from business, politics, and industry, the lunch was a networking opportunity for members of Gibraltar’s vibrant financial services sector. We were fortunate to welcome Lord Callanan, Member of the House of Lords & Minister of State, who provided attendees with an insight into Gibraltar’s unique relationship with the UK, which is guaranteed to continue for the foreseeable future.
Financial services provide a backbone for Gibraltar’s diversified economy, and the lunch provided the ideal platform to communicate our position as a financial centre of choice. I took the opportunity to share how Gibraltar’s close relationships between professionals, government agencies and departments, and the regulator, creates the perfect environment to support business formation and initiatives. In addition, we have a regulator renowned for its thoroughness, its accessibility, and its professional expertise across the financial services sector, providing international links, networks, and underpinning a modern, vibrant business environment.
On Wednesday, myself and the Gibraltar Finance team made our way to the Funds & Asset Managers’ Breakfast in Pall Mall, where we showcased Gibraltar as a popular jurisdiction for the establishment of investment funds and their managers. We have had a landmark year celebrating the Gibraltar Funds & Investments Association’s 20th anniversary, which is a tremendous achievement. Diala Minott (Paul Hastings) delivered the keynote and an informative panel session followed highlighting the traditional benefits of our structures as well as their modern and innovative uses with investments in blockchain.
Later in the day we hosted a Private Clients and Family Offices’ seminar and reception. Once again, I was delighted to have Filippo Noseda (Mischcon de Reya) leading with a keynote just prior to an excellent panel of the finest Gibraltar based practitioners showcasing the underlying strengths of Gibraltar’s proposition in these areas.
Our excitement about the future continues to grow, in particular with having continued access to the UK in a single seamless market.
We finished out a busy week on Thursday with events focusing on the Insurance and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) sectors. The Insurance event was hosted on the rooftop of the iconic Gherkin building in the heart of the London Insurance market. Insurance continues to be a thriving sector for our economy, and I believe that the passporting arrangements between Gibraltar and the United Kingdom will create new opportunities for this sector. Huw Evans (ABI) and James Armstrong (Admiral) provided interesting keynotes and the panel of industry and regulatory experts that followed brought the successful event to a close.
Gibraltar’s purpose-built Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) regulatory framework continues to reap benefits, welcoming quality projects to our shores. Recently, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) awarded DLT licences to a number of platforms bringing the total number of licensees to 13 with a further 10 at that “in principle” stage towards the final stages of the regulatory process. We continue to insist on quality firms who are looking for regulatory certainty to support their long term and sustainable business plans. The evening seminar and reception saw a panel moderated by Paul Gordon (Coinscrum) and including representatives of 5 leading firms in the blockchain/crypto world. The event was hosted at the innovation hub which is Level 39 in Canary Wharf.
The #ThinkGibraltar campaign comes at a unique time in our history, one which not only brings opportunities, but also poses challenges, all of which I am confident we will overcome. I have every reason to believe we will continue to grow and make new friends, developing a business environment that facilitates innovation, as now more than ever, Gibraltar is open for business.