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Editorial Comment
“Emerging” international finance centre
Support for Gibraltar’s developing investment strategy will be reinforced by the latest Global Financial Centres Index, published by Z/Yen Partners in London that saw Gibraltar’s
finance centre gaining a higher recognition ranking among worldwide business professionals.
A six-month analysis published in September noted that while there had been an overall drop in confidence amongst the leading world finance centres, by contrast the European ‘island’ centres did well, including The Rock described as an “emerging international [finance centre] contender”.
With so much talk of Brexit and its effects on Gibraltar, it’s pleasing to learn that another, completely different avenue of business for the finance centre is on the verge of opening up. China’s “one belt, one road” economic ambition is a massive strategic initiative that extends the country’s influence throughout much of the world. Gibraltar would welcome a piece of that commercial input!
As locals have said, it only needs a comparatively small amount of fresh Chinese business, primarily in aspects of insurance, but also potentially in construction and, maybe, with finance, to make a big difference to the community (as we report in this edition).
For example, involvement of Beijing Engineering and Construction from Manchester could provide competition to local construction companies - including State-owned Gibraltar Joinery & Building Services (GJBS) – bidding for the government’s, ambitious 1,500+ ‘affordable’ homes project.
Chinese investment in projects could also be of help to inject new life
into schemes, such as transforming the large area of East Side reclaimed land into a multi-use development, which has twice been proposed in the last 12 years, as yet without result.
But positively, Gibraltar’s premier remote gambling companies, in particular, must have been encouraged at end-September by the apparent softening in approach to the operation of the frontier by Spain’s foreign minister, Snr Alfonso Dastis, who reportedly said his country would neither “go to war [over the Rock] or close the border” post-Brexit.
The gaming sector employs over 3,500 people – some two-thirds of whom cross the border daily to work - and is said to account for a quarter of the jurisdiction’s £2bn economy. Despite the prospect of Brexit creating uncertainty over the continued ability to maintain unfettered access to Europe through “passporting” of services, the biggest single issue for the gaming companies is the physical requirement for a free-flowing border.
In the last year, there has been a rash of consolidations with bwin acquired by GVC, Gala and Ladbrokes merging, and Unibet acquiring 32Red and Stan James – all bringing more jobs to Gibraltar. Unlike other jurisdictions that are seeing big losses in licensees and staff, the overall trend in Gibraltar remains positive, in part because of strong, uncompromising regulation that seems to be the envy of much of the rest of the world.
By contrast, the UK Gambling Commission has licenced 150 remote operators, two-thirds of which are not in the UK and it is not feasible for them to be supervised, which adds to the body’s revenue but defeats the object of providing good consumer protection. As Gibraltar’s gambling regulator points out, having close relationships with operators is key.
Ray Spencer
Published by Gibraltar International Publications Ltd. 21 Bell Lane PMB 104, PO Box 561 Gibraltar
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© 2017 Gibraltar International Publications Ltd.
4	Gibraltar International
News	p6
China expected to make inroads on The Rock
Regulation	p8
DLT: regulation, applications and token sales 101
Insurance	p10
Prospecting for business set to pan out
FinTech	p14
Gibraltar gears up for DLT and Blockchain
Nov/Dec/Jan 2017/18
Volume 23/Number 4
Profile	p16
Having close relationships key to former cop’s successful Gibraltar gambling regulation
Management	p20
Higher costs fail to deter company formation and use of trusts
Pensions	p25
Planning for your retirement
Business	p26
Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses (GFSB)
Business round up	p28

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