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Editorial Comment
Investment bright, but more newcomers needed
There appears to be an undoubted air of optimism in the main economic sectors of Gibraltar; or it could be that people are trying to look on the bright side of life. In the last quarter there has been progress with a raft of retail,
office and residential projects in Gibraltar, demonstrating it is argued, the commitment by investors to the continued economic success of the jurisdiction despite uncertainty caused by the prospect of having to leave the EU after the UK’s Brexit vote last year.
Some had no choice but to carry on with confidence having already started their development. Greg Butcher, the serial Gibraltar investor and responsible for the large Ocean Village, mixed use residential, office, retail and marina project, has just opened the world’s 65th World Trade Center (WTC) on adjacent land. It sets a new standard for office accommodation in Gibraltar with two large back-up generators, flexibly-placed high speed fibre optic internet connections, seven large lifts, and significant first-time touches – an integral Costa Coffee and even a crèche!
Many take their hats off to him for realising his decade-long dream of a location to encourage new business both to promote and locate in the jurisdiction; and Butcher claims there is demand for more WTC space and even for a conference hall.
With £45m invested, Butcher has to remain buoyant. Just like those retailers investing in new Main Street ventures: International Franchises Ltd had no trouble convincing Debenhams that The Rock was good
business; Trends’ new £4.5m fashion store project had three local banks wanting to provide loans.
But there is apparently no shortage of mortgage money from banks – and a lot is needed to satisfy purchase of the circa 2,000 apartments said to be coming on stream this year and next. Two blocks at Ocean Village account for 250 units sold, mostly to locals and many for investment, within days at prices up to £450,000; 1,000 are shared ownership.
It is not the same story however, for most business, where availability of funds remains generally tight. Particularly so, if your interest is in the emerging area of internet blockchain and crypto currencies, where most lenders seem unwilling to back initiatives that might on the one hand greatly improve transactions security and on the other, radically alter their business modus operandi. It’s something the government needs to get to grips with, before any ground-breaking regulation being developed can take effect.
No-one knows for sure why the £1.1bn Bluewater mixed use development on Gibraltar’s east side – described as “the territory’s largest single inward investment” - has not progressed – at least 18 months after it was expected to do so. Nor why no details have been revealed on another mixed-use development at a central site known as Rooke by the London firm that was awarded it by government in October 2015. There is only speculation that lack of funding and/or uncertainty increased by Brexit has prompted the pause.
Overall though, the investment picture for the moment, seems bright.
Ray Spencer
Published by Gibraltar International Publications Ltd. 21 Bell Lane PMB 104, PO Box 561 Gibraltar
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4	Gibraltar International
News	p6
New office space snapped up prompts surplus fears
Banking	p8
Shifting Gears
Financial Technology	p10
An understanding watchdog makes for a ‘go-to’ place for new Fintech business
Tax	p16
The Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
Feb/March/April 2017
Volume 23/Number 1
Banking	p18
Digital era growth to balance reduced cash handling
Financial Technology	p22
Fintech: revolutionary innovation in financial services
Cyber crime	p25
Tackling internet break-ins involves all
Insurance p26
Gibraltar Insurance Institute launches Fast Track CERT CII Programme
Business round up	p28

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