A Gibraltar delegation promoted the Rock's burgeoning captive insurance management services at a major European conference and exhibition on 23-25 May. The biennial Risk Management & Risk Financing Conference is held in Luxembourg, a fortress city described in its tourist literature as 'le Gibraltar du Nord' - the Gibraltar of the North.
The event, dubbed 'Luxembourg Rendez-Vous' is considered a must for European insurance practitioners as witnessed by the attendance of around 300 delegates, and the participation of numerous insurance-related companies and six jurisdictions (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Malta, Labuan and Gibraltar) at the exhibition which runs concurrently with the conference.
Stands are allocated on a 'first-come-first-served-basis' and the Gibraltar Finance Centre, which had promptly reserved its site two years ago at the conclusion of the last event, occupied a prime location by the main entrance to the auditorium. "This presented the ideal opportunity to meet the conference delegates as they went to and from the conference, and to present to them the advantages that the Gibraltar finance centre has to offer," said Finance Centre Director James Tipping.
Mr Tipping led the Gibraltar delegation, which also comprised Jim Costin, Insurance Supervisor at the Financial Services Commission, and Guy Canessa, Finance Centre Liaison Officer. Two representatives from the private sector also participated: Penny Murray-White of Caledonian Insurance Management Services & SINSER, and Kieran Williamson of BDO Fidecs Insurance Management Services.
"The timing of the conference was just right as Gibraltar is at last able to sell passporting," said Kieran Williamson. "Captive managers and tax planners in other jurisdictions sat up and took notice of what Gibraltar has to offer." The steady stream of visitors to the Gibraltar Finance Centre stand intensified on the afternoon of the second day after a completely unsolicited testimonial from a leading international firm of accountants during the 'European Captive Tax Round-up' session.
"The speaker not only mentioned Gibraltar's favourable tax regime but gave equal weight to our sound regulatory regime and ability to write direct insurance business into Europe," Jim Costin commented. "The recent good news putting our passporting right beyond doubt helped enormously."
KPMG London-based tax partner Siân Hill also highlighted the future development of Gibraltar's captive market. Although Gibraltar already has a very successful cell captive called Euroguard, which has 14 active cells, established under common law, delegates visiting the Gibraltar stand expressed interest in the forthcoming protected cell company legislation which will expand the options available.
"It was certainly a very worthwhile exercise," said James Tipping. "We made a large number of contacts which we shall naturally be following up and, in fact, have already booked the same site to promote Gibraltar again at the next Luxembourg Rendez-Vous in two years' time."
Penny Murray-White said this was the third time she had participated in the biennial conference. "Without a doubt there was noticeably more interest in Gibraltar this time than ever before, which put us on a level footing with our strong competitors," she affirmed. "It was quite obvious that having such a good presence at this conference so soon after the confirmation of our EU passporting right, together with our fiscal benefits, was very attractive to attending 'buyers' in the market."
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