London derivatives brokers were in Gibraltar on a fact-finding mission recently with a view to establishing a presence on the Rock. The move follows on from the success of Trafalgar Financial Futures, which established operations in Gibraltar last year.

The news of Trafalgar's success spread among London traders and First Continental, a big player in the 'short end' of the Liffe market, also recently set up a trading operation in Gibraltar. A further player has already obtained a licence and other applications are currently begin considered by the local regulator, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.

Trafalgar commenced trading on Eurex, the German/Swiss financial futures exchange, in August 1999 after a rigorous vetting process by BaWe, the German regulator. The firm now also trades cash stocks and bonds on Xetra, and earlier this year commenced derivatives trading on Liffe Connect.

Gibraltar was the first offshore centre to receive authorisation to trade on the London International Financial Futures Exchange, and it is envisaged that Gibraltar will have its own Eurex node in the future.

Trafalgar's Ahmed Hamdi explained that although speedwise there is no particular advantage to having a node, from a marketing point of view it is definitely a plus as it will speed up the application process for new traders setting up on the Rock.

Mr Hamdi stressed that electronic trading from Gib was made possible by the flexibility and technical expertise of Lucio Randall and his team at Gibtel. "What’s amazing about Gibraltar is Gibtel," said Mr Hamdi. "They've been fantastic."

The successful establishment of derivatives traders on the Rock is but one example of Gibraltar's ability to host and service electronic-conduit business and augurs well for future e-commerce activity.

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