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Gibraltar continues to grow as a European hub for global e-commerce and finance

Sponsored post: Gibraltar is an exciting British and European success story that shines out in an otherwise gloomy time of political and economic crisis. Peter Howitt.

This year Gibraltar celebrates its 40th year within the European Union. As a European law firm based in Gibraltar we also wish to celebrate Gibraltar’s success and share some key information about doing business.

Gibraltar is a European Jurisdiction of Choice

Gibraltar is fast becoming the jurisdiction of choice for many e-commerce, financial services businesses and investment fund managers that wish to be established within Europe.

Over the last 20 years Gibraltar has seen tremendous advances in development of the economy and the high quality of the regulatory environment here.

The figures speak for themselves…


A Few Surprising Statistics

  • Despite the global downturn, Gibraltar has continued to grow and diversify its economy. Gibraltar's GDP is estimated to have grown by 35% over the last five years and it is ranked in the top 20 in GDP growth globally.


  • Gibraltar has one of the lowest public debt to GDP ratio’s in Europe and the world, a crucial measure of the fiscal health of a jurisdiction that is relevant for investors in these uncertain political and economic times.


  • Gibraltar has been part of the European Union for over 40 years (since 1973) and has implemented all applicable Directives.


  • Gibraltar licensed operators currently supply more than 50% of the UK online gambling market.It is the world’s leading online jurisdiction with over 15 years of experience and home to regulated FTSE and NASDAQ listed companies in the sector.


  • The e-commerce industry also includes a growing e-money and payments sector and Gibraltar is now one of the leading EU jurisdictions for electronic payment companies.


  • Gibraltar insurers have a greater share of the UK motor insurance market than Lloyds of London.


  • Gibraltar has only recently started to focus on the collective investment scheme sector (CIS) and yet already it is one the four main EU jurisdictions of choice and has over 200 funds. The introduction of the Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive allows Gibraltar fund managers to passport across Europe.


  • Gibraltar’s laws are approved for EU law tax and tax transparency purposes. It has also entered into nearly 30 bilateral Tax Exchange Information Agreements. It is expected to enter into bilateral arrangements with the USA with respect to FATCA and with the UK for Son of FATCA.


UK Overseas Territory within the European Union

As a UK Overseas territory within the European Union, multinational businesses can establish themselves in Gibraltar and use it to provide cross-border services throughout Europe, including the ability to rely on the EU financial services  ‘passporting’ regime. The UK relationship provides comfort that Gibraltar will remain politically stable whatever the weather.


English Law & Practice

A major commercial attraction is the practicality and certainty that flow from an English common law and equity legal system.


Diverse & Vibrant Community

Despite a small population of only 30,000 people Gibraltar has a vibrant community that is surprisingly diverse and cosmopolitan for its size – Gibraltar has experienced cross-border experts from around Europe and the world living and working here. The quality of the community and the experience of the people here is the major part of Gibraltar’s success story.


Competitive Tax environment

In addition, Gibraltar has favourable tax systems including competitive corporate tax rates, an attractive structure for cross-border dividend distributions and no capital gains tax or value added tax (VAT).


Gibraltar is a great place to locate your European business and investments Gibraltar continues to be a great place to live in and invest in. Please get in touch if you would like to know more: info@ramparts.eu or +350 200 68450.


Ramparts Profile

Ramparts is a European law firm based in Gibraltar. We specialise in the e-commerce, technology and financial services sectors and transaction management with expertise in cross-border law issues. Our clients include individual entrepreneurs and early stage innovation companies to publicly listed multi-nationals.

Ramparts:  no assumptions, just solutions.*


*We are delighted to announce that in January 2014, we will be joined by a new senior solutions manager, William Rawley (previously Head of Execution and Syndication of the EMEA Corporate Solutions team at Citigroup Global Markets in London). William will be heading up our new Corporate & Finance team.

Peter Howitt is an e-commerce and financial services specialist lawyer and is currently acting as the CEO of the Gibraltar Betting & Gaming Association (www.gbga.gi) and Secretary of Gibraltar E-money Association (www.gema.gi).

Photo: Getty
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Gibraltar and Europe: caught in the slipstream?

The British papers are full of who has the lead in the European in or out campaigns – Guy Clapperton considers the fallout for the smaller territories

Let’s start by acknowledging that there is no clear pattern emerging in the Europe debate, as long as we understand “Europe debate” to mean whether the UK should stay in or leave the European Union. This week alone we’ve seen Boris Johnson “warning Obama off” (as the BBC put it) getting involved in the debated, the same London Mayor and MP having a radio spat with Chuka Umunna involving telling each other to man up and various insults traded as either side accuses the other of scaremongering or making it up as they go along.

Divining who’s going to win is more difficult. The Daily Telegraph reports that “out” has it by a tiny margin but, crucially, the anti-Europe vote is likely to be more motivated so will actually show up on the day, expanding the margin by which it will win. Meanwhile the Times’ daily Red Box email points to Elections Etc. whose research suggests a 58% “remain” vote but with a plus or minus 14% error margin; so somewhere between 44% and 72% will go for staying in the EU. This, readers will note, tells us precisely nothing.

So the outcome, even if there weren’t 100 days in which Presidents and world leaders will offer counsel, claims and counterclaims will be made and the “leave” campaign will eventually decide who the official “leave” group actually is (there are two factions at the moment, doing the best impression of the Monty Python Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea that they can manage), we wouldn’t want to call a snap referendum even if it were to be called this afternoon.

What’s clear is that the outcome will ripple beyond the British mainland’s shores, and the ramifications of an “out” vote are already being felt on Gibraltar. Anyone doubting this should check today’s Times (subscription required), in which the Gibraltarian Chief Minister Fabian Picardo highlights recent Spanish statements about what would happen in the event of a Brexit.

Spain actually caused a few eyebrows to raise and some other people to panic just a little with its recent statements. Essentially the country’s foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, suggested that there would be conversations on the sovereignty of Gibraltar the “day after” an announcement of a British exit, according to the Daily Mail and other reports. He also said (much, much further down the report) that he didn’t want Britain to leave: “God forbid” is the phrase he uses.

He raised the idea of joint sovereignty once again more recently, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle, this time suggesting that if Britain leaves Europe then Gib could do what it nearly did (he says) in 2002 and start transitioning towards Spain. This is an interesting definition of “nearly” when 98.48% of the electorate actually voted not to do so, but remaining British when this might exclude the Rock from Europe would inevitably raise different issues if not a different final outcome.

Outside Gibraltarian interests the effect could be more severe than that. SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made no secret of her wish to make a fresh case for Scottish independence. The once-in-a-generation referendum on this was lost in 2014 but should Britain exit Europe with a majority of Scots clearly demonstrating that they want to stay in, the case becomes stronger (although the collapse of the oil price would blow the original blueprint out of the water).

So we could end up with Scotland as well as Gibraltar wanting to remain in Europe while Britain made its exit. Whether this would be legally possible if both stayed tied to Britain is untested as yet – and with Spain eager to enter talks the day after an exit is agreed but the Gibraltarians implacably opposed to becoming Spanish, the way forward would not be clear.

Guy Clapperton is the freelance journalist who edits the New Statesman’s Gibraltar hub. You can also find him in the Guardian, Computer Business Review and Professional Outsourcing which he edits.