EU passporting right now 'unassailable'

Gibraltar will be participating in Luxembourg Rendez-Vous 2000, a biennial event considered to be one of Europe's major insurance conferences.

The Gibraltar Finance Centre (GFC), and Euroguard, one of the Rock's cell captive success stories, will have their own stands at the exhibition which runs concurrently with the conference. Other exhibitors this year will include States of Jersey, Guernsey Financial Services Commission, Isle of Man Insurance and Pensions Authority and Malta Financial Services Centre as well as many of the top players from the private sector.

"It is extremely important that we market ourselves in conferences such as this as Gibraltar has a great story to tell," said GFC Assistant Director Claire Kelly-Federico who manned the Gib stand at the last Luxembourg Rendez-Vous. "There were many enquiries at the Gibraltar stand last time and we were also able to attract several new participants to Gibraltar's own insurance conference."

The 7th Risk Management and Risk Financing Conference ('Luxembourg Rendezs-Vous') will take place on 23-25 May, and the 3rd Gibraltar Offshore Insurance Conference has been scheduled for 22-23 February 2001.

Chris Johnson of European Insurance Management Services (EIMS) said that prior to Gibraltar's participation in the Luxembourg event two years ago, Gib had been absent from the list of domiciles mentioned in such conferences. "Now Gibraltar is definitely part of the club," he affirmed. "We're high up the list of domiciles."

Gibraltar now ranks sixth in a 'league table' of European domiciles compiled by EIMS, which uniquely counts each active cell of protected cell companies as an individual captive.

The recent unblocking of the EU passporting issue through the so-called 'postboxing' arrangement has given a renewed impetus to the Rock's marketing drive. Mr Johnson says the local insurance industry's right to access the European single market is now "unassailable".

"We are delighted that agreement has been reached," he commented. "We have a number of clients who had insurance projects on ice pending clarification of this important question, and we now look forward to progressing them."

And Kieran Williamson of BDO Fidecs Insurance Management Ltd confirmed that two of his clients are also progressing plans to establish captives on the Rock.

In his recently-released Chairman's Report, Paul Savignon of the Association of Gibraltar Insurers and Managers (AGIM), highlighted the fact that international enquiries were "pouring in" to the finance centre generally. "The snowball effect is beginning to occur and Gibraltar has the resources to take full advantage of the profile that is being created."

In the insurance sector specifically there has been much activity, said Mr Savignon, drawing attention to the establishment in Gibraltar of a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norwich Union and the development of Professional Insurance "as well as the large number of projects AGIM members have in hand in the captive and alternative markets field".

The AGIM Chairman looked forward to seeing the insurance sector moving onto a new plane of development in the new millennium, and the breakthrough on passporting looks likely to make this a reality.

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