By Guy Canessa

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Peter Montegriffo, will be leading a finance centre delegation to five major UK cities from Monday 24 to Friday 28 May 1999. Mr Montegriffo will make presentations to professional and financial advisers in each of the five cities.

The roadshow will commence in Edinburgh and work its way down to Birmingham via Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds.

In addition to company and trust services, the Gibraltar delegation will be promoting the many new developments on the Rock under the banner, 'New Business Opportunities in Gibraltar'. These developments include the improved tax regime for high-net-worth retirees, the booming market for expatriates in the region, passporting of insurance services in Europe and stamp duty, VAT and other corporate tax-planning opportunities.

Finance Centre Director Anthony Fisher commented: "Gibraltar has a comprehensive international business infrastructure. Gibraltar is proud of its achievements but recognises that not everyone is aware of just how solid the Rock is for business. In recent years the Gibraltar Government has put into place one of the most admired regulatory regimes of any international financial centre."

A letter from Mr Fisher invites intermediaries to find out why Gibraltar...

  • enjoyed an excellent year for new incorporations and trust business
  • enjoyed a record year for registering retirees as high-net-worth individuals
  • has been described as the most exciting new centre for captive insurance business
  • is seeing record numbers of Swiss portfolio managers set up operations here
  • is being chosen as the domicile through which some of the largest multinationals in the world are organising their groups
  • saw its banking sector grow by 15 per cent last year
  • is part of a region being described as 'the Florida of Europe'

The UK roadshow has already caught the attention of the international press. The 6 May issue of Post Magazine Insurance Week carries a piece under the headline 'Rock 'n' road', and in Spain, the daily La Tribuna carried a prominent article under the headline, 'Promocion de servicios financieros en el Reino Unido' in its 9 May edition.

Peter Montegriffo explained that the forthcoming UK roadshow is one of a series of promotional efforts following from the survey results undertaken on the industry about a year ago. "The UK has always been a major market for Gibraltar," he said. "We thought we had to go back to the UK, in particular the north of the UK, to target work which could be brought to Gibraltar. So it's very much part and parcel of a very big effort that we're making over these two to three months to raise Gibraltar's profile in financial services."

The Minister explained that because so much of the previous contact has been with London, it was thought useful to go outside to the provinces, specifically the north to see what business can be drummed up there.

"Let it be said that there are a lot of existing contacts with northern firms generally," he commented. "There are institutional contacts, for instance the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Newcastle Building Society. But quite apart from that, a lot of accountants and lawyers have professional contacts with the north.

"Therefore we are taking the message to an area that already has an exposure to Gibraltar, but where we think there is much more work to be done."

The Minister pointed out that many of the businessmen who have retired to this part of the world, the Florida of Europe, and conduct their financial affairs via Gibraltar made their money in the industrial north. "Remember that a lot of the private-client wealth that Gibraltar can help to manage comes from places like the north," he affirmed.

As regards high-net-worth individuals Mr Montegriffo said that the existing regime which has been in place for a number of years has been quite successful. "But there are various improvements we think are necessary," he added. "We are about to introduce those improvements. We will certainly use this opportunity in the UK to promote that programme and hopefully attract more retirees of that high-income category to Gibraltar."

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