A few kilometres could make the difference between continued growth and a spell of economic Doldrums for Gibraltar’s insurers and other financial services firms in a post-Brexit world.
That’s the distance, as the crow flies, between Gibraltar’s business hub and the commercial office blocks of La Linea, to which companies could re-domicile their registered offices to beat any EU withdrawal of passporting rights.
If Britain fails to reach agreement on a deal to remain part of the EU single market in next March’s divorce settlement with Brussels, both the UK’s and Gibraltar’s financial services sectors will lose their right to ‘passport’ services into the EU.
Companies with profitable business in the EU or which undertake most – if not all – of their business in Europe, need a solution to continue trading post-Brexit.
For Gibraltar at least, setting up a Spanish counterpart or moving registered offices across the border while continuing to use Gibraltar staff and expertise in a ‘back-office’ role, could prove a valuable option.
Such steps have been mooted by Nigel Feetham, a senior partner at international law firm Hassans and a leading expert on protected cell insurance who has spent much of the past year seeking post-Brexit solutions for the firm’s clients.
As well as several visits to Malta and Luxembourg – among the potential jurisdictions for Gibraltar insurers to re-domicile in a two-way swop – he has combed legal and regulatory aspects of possible scenarios when the UK-EU divorce becomes final.
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