Hassans, the leading law firm in Gibraltar, has spoken out in support of the jurisdiction's attractiveness as an alternative ILS jurisdiction in Europe following the Gibraltar Government announcement in March that Gibraltar has set its sights on the Insurance Linked Securities market.
Hassans assisted with the drafting of Gibraltar's Insurance Companies (Special Purpose Vehicles) Regulations 2009 which is the principal legislation for ILS structures. It was also involved in drafting the Protected Cell Companies and insurance legislation and has helped to set up the majority of Gibraltar insurance companies over the last 10 years, including protected cell companies.
Nigel Feetham, a senior partner of Hassans said:
"Bermuda are the undisputed leaders in ILS but Gibraltar is focusing on the European segment of the market and in many ways this will complement Bermuda's own ISL offering. Gibraltar is part of the European Union, has implemented all the relevant Directives in insurance and securities laws and will appeal to a certain insurance and investor base which might be seeking an alternative EU domicile. The ILS structure, although new in Gibraltar, includes features of other transactions already approved by the relevant authorities in Gibraltar. Further, Gibraltar has some of the biggest and most prestigious names carrying on insurance business in the territory. These names already serve as a very significant seal of endorsement for Gibraltar in terms of wider marketing."
Special purpose vehicles have been a common feature of the market in Gibraltar over many years. Gibraltar's unique attraction in this space was its EU domicile and institutional investors seeking to buy EU paper. This offered Gibraltar a significant advantage over non-EU domiciles. An additional attraction was (and still is) that Gibraltar offers all the security of an English legal system, including appeals in the Privy Council.
Yvonne Chu, partner within the firm's Financial Services team, on the firm's growth plans in the arena state:
"Hassans have an existing infrastructure in place to service the ILS market and are no newcomer to this industry in terms of the work we have previously done for many institutional clients, over many years. We are looking forward to working closely with the local insurance management sector to help foster growth. Our professional insight in both capital markets and insurance structuring allows us to provide our clients with a unique offering. We are very excited about the interest shown so far by investors, reinsurers and financial institutions."
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