Gibraltar will not embark on a “bonfire of regulations” as it prepares to leave the European Union, the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said as he declared that the Rock’s “digital generation” was ready for post-Brexit trade with the world.
Mr Picardo made the comments while addressing a City forum of insurance professionals during a lightning visit to London last Friday.
“We do not believe that ‘bargain basement’ business models will attract the quality businesses that we welcome in Gibraltar,” he said.
The Chief Minister spent the weekend in Gibraltar but flew back to the capital city this morning along with the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia for a further round of Brexit talks.
Last week Mr Picardo also met with Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Robin Walker, from the Department for Exiting the European Union.
In his address to City professionals later that day Mr Picardo set out the Rock’s current economic model and the potential to initiate a new round of insurance growth in Gibraltar despite the challenges of Brexit.
“We have seen more licence applications to the Gibraltar Financial Services since the Brexit referendum than we ever had in a similar 18 month period,” Mr Picardo said adding that the same is said in respect to online gaming.
“Coupled with Gibraltar’s position as a leading global hub for Fintech and InsurTech, we believe we are well placed to face the challenges of the future.”
He highlighted how Gibraltar recently became the first jurisdiction in the world to regulate Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology and said the Government have already received tens of applications for licensing in this space.
“In the future, we believe that having had first mover advantage will be a key part of the success we anticipate in this field also,” he explained.
“So today Gibraltar is a digital financial services hub.”
“It is not a place to hide,” he said in respect of Gibraltar’s regulatory standards.
Gibraltar, Mr Picardo said, must and does operate to the same standards as all other EU countries.
This includes robust and professional regulation and equivalent standards as the UK.
“That is not going to change as we leave the EU,” Mr Picardo said.
Mr Picardo said Gibraltar will only welcome businesses whose reputation for quality and customer protection matters as much to them as Gibraltar’s reputation matters to Gibraltar.
He further vowed to maintain equivalence of regulatory outcomes with the United Kingdom.
“It is right that we should have at least as high a standard of customer protection as the United Kingdom.”
“That has been the key to our outstanding success in the online gaming space in which we are recognised as the toughest international regulator of this business.”
“As we will be in the DLT / BlockChain field also.”
In a statement the Gibraltar Government confirmed that a further round of meetings will take place tomorrow.
The meetings will cover a full range of issues and are expected to include discussions with different UK Government departments at official and ministerial level.
The come as the UK and the EU prepare to commence phase two of the Brexit negotiations.
The UK Government is also e meeting with individual EU governments – including Spain – to discuss specific issues relating to the UK’s departure from the bloc.