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Virgin Voyages Drops Anchor

New cruise company Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady has made an inaugural call to Gibraltar. She will be calling in at the Port 5 times this year.

Minister for Tourism, the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP, had been in conversation with Virgin Voyages in the lead up to the visit, with the pandemic delaying the start.

The vessel was greeted by a water salute on its arrival to the Gibraltar Port and departed later on that day to its next port of call in Malaga.

With 110,000 gross tonnage and measuring 278 metres long, this adult only cruise ship has a maximum capacity of 2,860 passengers across its 17 decks. On this occasion, the Valiant Lady carried 753 passengers and 1086 crew.

Minister Daryanani was invited on board the ship by Captain Aris Medina Morales where they both engaged in the traditional exchange of plaque ceremony.

Minister for Tourism, Vijay Daryanani, commented, “As always, this is great news for Gibraltar PLC. It is important that we attract the new cruise companies to our port. We have been working very hard for this to happen and hopefully there will be more new companies to follow.

Virgin Voyages is an exciting entrant to the cruise market and are already making positive news so we are delighted that they will be calling at our port this year. I met with them last month in Miami and we look forward to building a fruitful relationship with them for the benefit of all”.


Chamber’s vat red line

Gibraltar’s Chamber of Commerce has reiterated its profound opposition to any introduction of VAT as part of any Brexit Treaty.

Recently-elected Chamber President Mr. John Isola responded to a question on the possible introduction of VAT in Gibraltar during an interview on the GBC, in the context of the ongoing discussions between the UK, on behalf of Gibraltar and the EU.

The Chamber’s position on the introduction of VAT in Gibraltar remains unchanged. The introduction of VAT is a red line for the Chamber as it would not be in Gibraltar’s interests and would make the economy less competitive. This follows wide consultation with the Chamber’s members in the sectors that would be affected by such a move.

In his GBC interview, the Chamber President highlighted the need for local businesses to be flexible in general terms for the good of the economy and the community overall; but this would be in the context of, and depend upon, what the terms of any treaty might be.


easyJet Dispels Stereotypes

Gibraltar stalwart easyJet has launched a new recruitment campaign which sees children re-enact scenes from classic 80’s film Top Gun, in a bid to dispel stereotypes around aviation jobs.

The parody promo aims to tackle prevailing gender stereotypes of pilots, with lead roles Maverick and Goose played by seven year-old Rei Diec and nine year-old Olivia Joohee-Ridington.

The campaign is part of the airline’s nextGen easyJet commitment to championing greater diversity and inclusivity.

easyJet has launched a Europe-wide campaign to tackle job stereotypes and inspire more young people to consider a career in aviation, including encouraging more girls to become pilots.

Shot at London Luton Airport, with a cast of children of easyJet staff aged between seven and 12, the film recreated some of Top Gun’s most iconic moments, including Tom Cruise’s motorbike scene, the classroom, and the infamous ‘It’s time to buzz the tower’ scene.

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UBIBET

Kindred Group plc, ultimate owner of local firm 32Red, has signed a two years extension of its partnership with the world’s best chess player, Magnus Carlsen through its flagship brand Unibet.

The Group also extends its sponsorship of Offerspill, Norway’s largest chess club. Both sponsorships will promote and support Kindred’s long-term ambition to reach zero per cent revenue from harmful gambling by 2023.

“We see great potential in engaging the best chess player of all time, and the world’s highest-ranked chess player, as a global ambassador in the fight to combat problem gambling,” said Nils Andén, Chief Commercial Officer, Kindred Group. “It is also natural for us to involve Offerspill, Norway’s largest chess club in our work. This partnership is an important contribution to raising awareness of chess as an exciting global sport, while also engaging in the local community in Norway.”

“Just as I have set a hair-raising goal of becoming the first chess player in the world to reach 2,900 rating points, Kindred, as the first global gambling operator, has set itself an ambition of zero revenue from customers with harmful gambling behaviour. This is an ambition I would like to contribute to achieving and a message I am happy to support,” says Magnus Carlsen, five-time World Champion.

“In top sports, it is about pushing the boundaries, but at the same time, you have to know your limitations and know when to stop. The same thing is important when gambling; you need to stay in control and know when to stop,” added Carlsen.

In 2014, Unibet was the first gambling operator to introduce odds on chess, at the same time as Magnus Carlsen defended his World Cup title for the first time.


Minister for Tourism, the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP, recently hosted a Gibraltar marketing event in Edinburgh.

To coincide with the launch of the summer schedule of the EasyJet flight to Edinburgh, travel agents and the local Scottish press gathered to listen to what Gibraltar had to offer.

The Minister addressed the guests and spoke of the success story during COVID-19 and how we had managed to make Gibraltar a safe destination for travel. He also showcased the tourism product in Gibraltar and all the different things one could do when visiting.

Minister Daryanani, said, “It was important to organise this event. The Edinburgh route is still in its infancy so EasyJet and I decided that it would help promote the route. It has created a lot of interest with many travel agents now intending to push Gibraltar as a city break. We live in an extremely competitive market and these bespoke marketing events is the way forward”.


Instech London

Gibraltar Finance participated in the InsTech London event “From MGA to Full Stack Insurer” at the Steel Yard in the City of London in late March. 

Gibraltar Finance was represented by Senior Executive, Michael Ashton, who presented on “What you need to know about becoming a Gibraltar insurer”. Mr. Ashton was supported by Tim Haynes, Senior Executive, who works for Gibraltar Finance from its London Office.

The bluechip event was attended by over 200 insurance and insurtech professionals. InsTech London, which was founded in 2015, identifies and promotes the use of the best technology, data and analytics within insurance and risk-management around the world. It has a network of over 20,000 people who work for insurers, brokers, consultants, investors and technology companies from start-ups to established global enterprises.

Minister for Digital and Financial Services, Albert Isola MP, commented, “To date the only two UK insurtechs to have established their own insurance companies have both done so in Gibraltar. Over the past 20 years Gibraltar’s financial services regulator, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC), has authorised many new insurance start-ups and in more recent years fintech start-ups including DLT providers, a digital bank and other technology led businesses.

“Gibraltar has unique access to the United Kingdom’s financial services market. When combined with the experience of both insurance start-ups and financial technology start-ups this creates a compelling proposition for insurtechs to consider Gibraltar as a home for their underwriting platforms.

“We expect to support more established insurtechs as they plan to incorporate their own insurance companies but also earlier stage insurtechs wishing to establish managing general agents (MGAs) in Gibraltar.”


DUAL FUNDS LAUNCHED

HM Government of Gibraltar has introduced new legislation that establishes a dual funds regime for Experienced Investor Funds (“EIFs”).

Gibraltar is now in the position to maintain its long established AIFMD compliant funds management regime (which has direct access to the United Kingdom) whilst also providing the option for certain EIFs to opt out, safely, of this regime when targeting global audiences. In addition, the new legislation (which consists of two sets of amending regulations) also enhances and strengthens the EIF legislation.

Albert Isola, Minister for Digital and Financial Services said, “This is yet another example of the public/private sector partnership which brings together the Minister for Financial Services, the Gibraltar funds and investments association and the regulator; in developing new product lines that are fit for today’s sophisticated global investors.”

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London Taxis Over The Frontier

A sight more associated with being distinctly British has made inroads to life over the Frontier. The heritage of LEVC began in 1908 when the first dedicated black cab was specially designed and commissioned for use in London. With its unmistakable silhouette and classic design cues, this iconic British vehicle has defined the company for over a century.  In 2018, LEVC introduced its latest taxi model, the electric TX. TX is world’s cleanest, most advanced taxi ever, powered by LEVC’s revolutionary eCity technology. 

LEVC has opened new dealer franchises in Bilbao, Malaga and Valencia, taking the total to 5.

Joerg Hofmann, LEVC CEO, explained, “In April 2021, the Spanish government stepped up a gear, introducing a range of measures, including financial initiatives, to promote rapid growth in the EV sector by aiming to place five million EVs on Spain’s roads by 2030.”

LEVC’s new EV vehicles aim to eliminate range anxiety with the taxi offering a pure electric range of 64 miles (103km), backed up by the reassurance of a totally electric driven range of up to 318 miles (512 km).

The company aims to continue to increase its export footprint, with a  strategy to move from 90% domestic sales to 60% export by 2024.”


NEWSENGINE LAUNCH

A new take on the Blockchain phenomenon has launched, mixing the security of the distributed ledger with free-of-censorship news and reporting.

NewsEngine will focus exclusively on factual and thorough perspectives of current affairs, while rewarding all parties involved.

Its founder, Teemu Airamo, said, “Our mission is to create news content that is both empowering for its readers, as well as representative of the integrity of its writers. We aspire to become the most trusted and democratic news alternative to mainstream media.”

“Simply put, writers produce and submit content, which is inspectedfor accuracy by a randomised set of reviewers on the network. Articles deemed acceptable enough will be published to the network and made available to readers. We aim to be the first line in defence against so-called ‘fake news’.

“You could describe it as the Wikipedia for the moment, where everyone wins.”

For more information, contact
newsengine@protonmail.com


Money laundering fine

The Office of Fair Trading has issued a £7,000 financial penalty to local real estate agent.

The financial penalty was issued owing to the identification of various breaches and deficiencies in the manner the business implements its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations.

The Breaches and deficiencies were identified as part of the OFT’s ongoing AML/CFT supervisory activities that involve carrying out regular onsite visits of its regulated entities at their premises on a risk-based approach. This allows the OFT to observe the implementation of AML/CFT processes, procedures and controls and to review AML/CFT records. 

Since November 2021 the OFT has carried out 12 onsite visits and issued 12 action plans and 4 warning notices in relation to between £400 and £4000 worth of financial penalties in addition to the financial penalty referred to above.

The OFT’s exercises its role as a supervisory body under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2015, to ensure that real estate agents and high value good dealers in Gibraltar comply with their AML/CFT obligations.

For more information about the OFT’s AML/CFT role please visit: https://www.oft.gov.gi/aml-cft 

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Sir Bob Neill MP Visits The Rock

The Chair of the Gibraltar Group in Parliament Sir Bob Neill MP recently met the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister at No 6 Convent Place. He was accompanied by UK Representative Dominique Searle.

This provided an opportunity for Sir Bob to be updated on the ongoing negotiations for the future relationship of Gibraltar with the European Union and other matters of importance.

The meeting took place following the latest public health guidance.

The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said, “It is great to be able to see Sir Bob back on the Rock as the COVID pandemic starts to recede and travel becomes easier.

He is the staunchest supporter of the rights of the People of Gibraltar and, apart from that, also a dear friend of Gibraltar who has the ability to understand the complexity of the some of the issues we face and advocate powerfully alongside us in Westminster on any and all matters.

The fact that he is a highly regarded member of the governing party lends credibility to any argument he puts forward and that is to our collective benefit! I was therefore very pleased to welcome Sir Bob back to Gibraltar after such a long, COVID induced, absence.”


BID LAUNCH FINALISED 

The Minister for Business, Hon Vijay Daryanani, has met with the Business Improvement District (BID) task group to finalise the official launch of the project, which will take place in March.

The discussions focused on how the BID would be launched, the legal requirements and what events were being planned during this first year.

Minister Daryanani commented, “Hopefully we are now starting to come out of the pandemic and it couldn’t be a better time to relaunch Gibraltar as a tourist destination. Our businesses have suffered immensely and are looking for a respite from these difficult times. The BID project will bring life to the town centre for tourists and locals alike.

We need to keep people in Main Street and the surrounds. This will bring optimism and confidence to our small business sector and I am excited to be working with this energetic and enthusiast task force team to help them bring them the much needed success they deserve.”

Find out more online: 

mainstreetbid.com

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GFSB BUSINESS INNOVATION AWARD

The GFSB has announced the opening of applications for next years (2022) GFSB Business Innovation Award sponsored by Gibtelecom. The online application form can be found on their website and needs to be submitted before Monday 31st January 2022.

Recent winners have included Crucial Compliance, EBike Gibraltar, Hempassion and Buytickets.gi who all demonstrated how businesses in Gibraltar are agile and great at innovating to succeed. This year could see even more innovative businesses apply, due to the challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit.

The partnership with Gibtelecom, the sponsor of this award since its inception, is also continuing and they’ll provide the winner an amazing prize of £2,000 worth of IT and communications equipment.

Danny Hook, Enterprise Director at Gibtelecom said, “We are proud to have been the GFSB’s Innovation Award partner for many years. Each year we are impressed with how local small businesses adapt and come up with creative solutions to push their businesses to the next level, as well as with how they’ve developed different technologies and processes to help them succeed in their business ventures. It is a great platform to showcase some of the local business talents, which there is plenty of in Gibraltar.”

Eran Shay GFSB Board member and one of the judges added, “Innovation is the lifeblood of business and as Steve Jobs once said ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower’.  The GFSB strives to help businesses succeed and there is no better way to do it than by promoting innovation. So if your place is amongst leaders, make sure to enter the Business Innovation Awards.”


Cross Frontier Group Update 

For the Cross Frontier Group, the news of the prolonging of the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar until the first quarter of next year also means that the climate of uncertainty in which workers and companies on both sides of the Border find themselves is also extended.

In this regard, the Cross Frontier Group has wanted to urge the negotiators to conclude the agreement by the new date that has been set and that the Agreement encompasses the demands of this Group, in its capacity as a representative of civil society of both territories.

In the last month, the Cross Frontier Group has written to all of the parties involved in this negotiation asking them for a satisfactory agreement that provides the area with stability in our relations and which in turn serves to further enhance our economies and the well-being of our citizens.

The business and trade union organizations that make up the Group have thanked the Foreign Minister of Spain and the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom for extending the memorandums until the signing of the new agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

“We are aware of the complexity of the treaty that is to be signed and the framework in which the negotiating process is taking place; but we want to be reasonably optimistic insofar as agreements have already been signed by the parties which set out the key elements which will sustain the new framework of future relations ” concluded the spokespersons of the CFG.


MS IONA CALL

The Minister for Business and Tourism, the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP, welcomed MS Iona to the port of Gibraltar.

MS Iona is the new flagship of P&O Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation PLC. It is one of the largest cruise ships, with a capacity of 5200 passengers and 1800 crew, to operate for them and it’s also one of their first LNG powered vessels. On this occasion it is carrying 2484 passengers and 1657 crew on board.

Minister Daryanani, who engaged in the traditional exchange of gifts, said “I am delighted to welcome MS Iona to Gibraltar. Carnival Corporation and P&O are one of the more important cruise companies in the world and we welcome them with open arms. IONA is the floating city example of the direction cruise ships are moving in. It is also great to see this new cruise ship visit our Port as it is LNG powered. The introduction of LNG is a major development that supports our environmental goals and decarbonisation pathway. We enjoy a very good working relationship with them and in November I met with Mr David Dingle CBE, the Chairman of Carnival UK to discuss how we can increase calls to Gibraltar. I will continue working with their itinerary planners to make sure that Gibraltar is included in future cruises.”

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Tax Residency App Launch

A new tax residency app called Ovrnite has been launched in Gibraltar to help residents comply with their fiscal obligations arising under the recently passed Tax Treaty with Spain.

Under the new rules, Gibraltar tax residents have to ensure that they comply with the requirements for establishing Gibraltar tax residency, i.e. being present in Gibraltar for 183 days per year.

A spokesperson for Ovrnite commented, “keeping an accurate track of where you spend your days and nights is an extremely important aspect of establishing or maintaining tax residency in Gibraltar and/or avoid tax residency in Spain – this is a common feature of tax residency rules in most jurisdictions.  The cross-border lifestyle led by many people that call Gibraltar home, means that we have to be careful to comply with these rules – particularly as “a day” constitutes any time spent in a country – not just a full day.  Ovrnite assists Gibraltar tax residents by automatically keeping track of days and nights spent in Gibraltar, Spain and elsewhere”.

Ovrnite also contains a “Schengen Area Tracker” which assists British citizens to keep track of time spent within the Schengen Area.  Under current rules, this is capped to 90 days in every 180 days inside the Schengen Area.

The app is available for download in the App Store for iOS devices, and on Google Play.


Meeting With Foreign Secretary

The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo QC MP met with the Foreign Secretary Rt Hon Liz Truss MP during a recent trip to London. He was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia CMG MP and the Attorney General Michael Llamas QC CMG.

The meeting with the Foreign Secretary was positive and it provided an opportunity to review a number of questions including the ongoing negotiations with the EU for a treaty on the future relationship of Gibraltar.

The Chief Minister had been due to meet the Foreign Secretary during the last Conservative Party conference, which he was then unable to attend after testing positive for COVID-19.

Mr Picardo and Dr Garcia arrived in London for a series of meetings and contacts dealing with the UK/EU negotiations.

The Chief Minister said of the visit, “It was great to have a chance to meet in person with Foreign Secretary Truss. We have worked very well together in her time as President of the Board of Trade and have spoken already since she took over from Dominic Raab at the FCDO. Today was a chance to meet face to face and progress our work together on the important issue of the positive, ongoing UK/EU negotiation.”


CROSS FRONTIER 

GROUP MEETING

In a meeting held by the Cross Frontier Group, María del Mar Sanchez took on the Presidency, Julian Risso the Vice Presidency and Manuel Triano the role of Secretary.

The Presidency and Spanish spokesperson lies with the Confederacion de Empresarios de Cadiz, represented by Maria del Mar Sanchez. The Vice- Presidency and Gibraltar spokesperson has been assigned to the GGCA, represented by Julian Risso, whilst Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), represented by Manuel Triano, assumes the role of Secretary.

Additionally, the organisations that compose the Cross Frontier Group accepted the application of the La Linea business organisation, AADELL, to join the group as a full member.

The organisations that make up the Cross Frontier Group shared their concern about the negotiations of the post-Brexit Agreement.

The trade union and business organisations were unanimous in expressing their concern regarding the progress in respect of Gibraltar. They appealed to all the parties involved to lay a framework that meets the needs, aspirations and concerns of the citizens and businesses in the whole area.

As such, iIt was agreed that a letter would be drafted and addressed to all the parties in the negotiation process, namely the European Union, the British Government, the Government of Spain and the HM Government of Gibraltar.

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Gibraltar Insurance Conference

Minister Isola gave the welcome address at an insurance conference held in Gibraltar Finance’s offices early this month, called “The future of road transport; an insurance perspective”.

The conference was co-hosted by Gibraltar Finance, the Gibraltar Insurance Association and UK law firm Weightmans LLP and attended by around 100 insurance professionals.

The keynote speaker was Edmondo Orlotti, a director at Hewlett Packard Enterprises based in Milan, who spoke about artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles and their impact on motor insurance. London barrister, James Todd QC, presented on how the introduction of autonomous vehicles will start to impact motor insurance liability claims – and who will be liable.

Albert Isola MP, Gibraltar’s Minister for Digital and Financial Services noted, “We have seen how the introduction of new technology within the motor industry in recent years has started to transform both motor vehicles and the driving experience with a range of safety features such as automatic emergency braking and stability controls systems being implemented. The development of autonomous vehicles is well advanced but we were told today that it will probably be at least ten years before their mass adoption. This is a topic of great interest and importance to Gibraltar’s motor insurance sector and we welcomed the opportunity to co-host today’s conference.

“The conference also covered e-mobility and the rapid increase in the number of e-Scooters worldwide. HM Government of Gibraltar published a Command Paper on e-Scooters in 2020. New legislation is expected shortly to provide a legal framework to ensure this new method of transport, which is well suited to a small country like Gibraltar, develops as safely as possible for all road users.”

Elaine Chapman, Partner at Weightmans LLP and Conference Chair added, “It was a privilege and a pleasure to co-host the event today in conjunction with Gibraltar Finance and the Gibraltar Insurance Association. We look forward to working with insurers and others in relation to the issues and challenges discussed today, and helping them through what will be the biggest revolution in motor insurance in many years.”


PASSPORT STAMPING

HMGoG will reportedly continue to raise the passport stamping of blue Gibraltar Civilian Registration Card holders at the Frontier. It has already made clear in public that it is not satisfied with the situation and that it would like to see a resolution of this matter.

The default position on Gibraltar’s departure from the European Union and the end of the transition was the stamping of all UK passports, in line with the requirements of the Schengen Border Code. This means the stamping of all passports both on the way in, and again on the way out. This is in order to keep count of the 90 in 180 day visa-free entitlement period in Schengen for UK passport holders.

As part of the measures in place while a new treaty on the future relationship of Gibraltar with the EU is concluded, Spain unilaterally volunteered that they would not stamp the passports of those who hold a red Gibraltar identity card or a blue Gibraltar Civilian Registration card.

However, following new procedures governing the entry of EU nationals into the United Kingdom itself, the passports of the holders of blue civilian registration cards started to be stamped at the border on entry to and exit from Schengen. Given what the default position actually is, it is clear that this limits what the United Kingdom or Gibraltar can actually do.

The stamping of all UK passports in and out of the Schengen Area would also be the default position in the event of no agreement on the future relationship of Gibraltar with the EU.

In other words, what is happening now to blue civilian registration card holders will happen to all Gibraltar residents and Gibraltarians, regardless of status and colour of ID or Civilian Registration Cards.


 World Travel Market

Gibraltar exhibited at the World Travel Market (WTM) that took place in London between the 1st and 3rd of November.

WTM is the leading global conference for the international travel industry and is an excellent opportunity for tourism representatives to meet and conduct business.

Gibraltar had a stand which showcased the Rock’s tourism product and was also used to springboard meetings with industry executives during the event. The stand was managed by Tracey Poggio of the London Office.

Speaking before the event, Minister for Tourism, the Hon Vijay Daryanani MP said, “I look forward to attending WTM. Our presence at this conference highlights the importance the Government gives to Tourism. I have a list of people who want to meet with me and discuss business possibilities, this shows the interest that exists in our jurisdiction.

We have had a good summer with overnight visitors from the U.K. and I want this to be the norm. I want our hotels to be full every summer. We will continue working with the airlines to increase capacity and hopefully look at new routes. As we come out of the pandemic, Gibraltar has to be proactive in selling the destination. This industry is extremely competitive. It needs to be continuously reminded of Gibraltar and what we have to offer, more so in the U.K.”

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DELOITTE STAFF SHUFFLE

Deloitte has announced seven senior promotions in the Gibraltar office.

Vickram Khatwani and Alexander Miller have been promoted to Director and Colin Bensadon becomes an Associate Director. The strengthening of the leadership team follows Reshma Bhambhwani’s recent promotion to Managing Partner of Deloitte in Gibraltar. 

Further promotions include Cassandra Felices and Gerard Fitzgerald to Senior Managers and Karl Pardo and Jonathan Caruana will become Managers, all effective from 1 September. 

Vickram’s role as Director and country tax lead gives him responsibility for leading a team providing compliance, advisory, global employment, and cross-border tax services to a diverse range of clients. Most recently, Vickram supported the launch of Deloitte’s Immigration service line to assist clients with international presence. Vickram also continues to be an active member of the Tax Faculty of the Gibraltar Society of Accountants. 

Alexander is responsible for leading the Gibraltar side of Deloitte’s Islands & Gibraltar Advisory and Assurance Group as well as financial assurance across the jurisdictions. He has a dedicated, growing team who provide local financial assurance, internal audit, regulatory and advisory work. Alexander will also continue leading Deloitte’s insurance proposition in Gibraltar.  

Colin is responsible for delivering external audit engagements to financial services and other local companies. He has led Deloitte Gibraltar’s audit quality programme for some time now, and his new role will include assisting with leading the audit team alongside Gibraltar Managing Partner Reshma Bhambhwani. 

Reshma said, “We are really pleased to celebrate these individuals’ well-deserved promotions. 2021 has already seen our team move into larger premises and our Gibraltar office recently joined forces with the Channel Islands and Isle of Man which, like these promotions, further strengthens our capabilities. 

“At Deloitte, we believe in nurturing our people and supporting them to achieve their best potential. Many congratulations to all.”

Picture: L-R – Director, Alexander Miller; Managing Partner of Deloitte in Gibraltar, Reshma Bhambhwani; Associate Director, Colin Bensadon; Director, Vickram Khatwani


MANAGEMENT CHANGES AT ADVANTAGE INSURANCE

Advantage is an established Gibraltar-based insurer, authorised to underwrite private motor and home insurance in the United Kingdom. With over 3m customers, it’s one of the largest insurers in Gibraltar and part of the overall Hastings Insurance Group.

Having recently announced his retirement, the Advantage MD Steve Hazzard will step down from the Board of Directors at the start of October. Steve’s retirement together with the continued growth and success of Advantage Insurance Company, as one of Gibraltar’s leading Insurers, has meant a number of new senior appointments in the firm.

Steve Mumford has been promoted to Managing Director and the company also welcomes two new Executive Directors to the Board, Craig Wilson & Kevin Borrett. Craig has been with Advantage for 4 years – latterly as Head of Management Reporting & Planning – and Kevin for 5 years heading up the Risk Management & Compliance functions. These changes come into effect from 1st October.

Commenting on the changes, outgoing MD Steve Hazzard said “The new appointments are a good examples of career progression and the calibre of talent we have in our business”.

He went on to say, “since being established in Gibraltar in 2002, Advantage has grown into one of the biggest Financial Services firms on the Rock with an enviable reputation for its professionalism and standards. The company is tremendously proud not just with our links to other businesses, but also our engagement with local charities and other organisations”.


EUROPA STORMERS SPONSOR

Local rugby outfit Europa Stormers has announced a new sponsor to the club, to help further the game on the Rock.

Pressto Gibraltar joins the roster of rugby-supporting businesses both as an official sponsor and official dry cleaning partner.

Pressto will look after the teams’ kits for the upcoming season, and will also see Pressto’s logo appear on match day shorts & training kit.

Julian Cabedo, marketing & business development manager at Pressto said, “Pressto’s Laundry and Dry Cleaning are very happy to be sponsoring Europa Stormers for their 2021 season – it was an excellent fit between our two brands, one of Gibraltar’s top amateur rugby teams with a tremendous following and our top quality express laundry services, keeping their kits clean, which we all know, in rugby, is no mean feat!”

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Iconic local landmark, the Caleta Hotel, is to be demolished.

In its place, a new Hilton Hotel is to be built, subject to planning permission and finalisation of contracts with the Hilton Corporation. This would mark a second branding foray into the Gibraltar market by a large overseas hotel chain.

It is envisaged that the Caleta will close its doors for the final time at the start of January 2022, with the build timeline for the new structure estimated to be three years.

The Callaghan family, who own and operate the Caleta, has called the moment “bitter-sweet”. There are currently around 70 staff employed at the hotel.

The replacement hotel will seek to double capacity to 120 rooms.


Strait Of Gibraltar Meeting

The local Moroccan community was able to meet with His Excellency Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, Governor of Gibraltar, to discuss issues of concern. Top of the list was the humanitarian crisis arising from the lack of direct sea and air links between Morocco and Gibraltar.

Representing the community was Clive Reed, President of Gibraltar Morocco Association, Steven Marin, Secretary of Gibraltar Morocco Business Association, and Henry Sacramento Patron of Strait of Gibraltar Association.

His Excellency assured his guests that this is now an issue that he intends to pursue.


Crowdcube FIRST

In a first for a Gibraltar business, local crypto firm Digital Asset Management (DAM) successfully launched a capital fundraiser on the industry-leading Crowdcube platform.

This formed part of its Pre-Series A investment round.

DAM was established in 2017 to effectively assist in buying, managing, sending and storing cryptocurrencies and tokens in a regulated environment. The firm is one of 12 DLT licensed and regulated companies in Gibraltar that benefit from the regulatory certainty offered by the DLT regulatory framework. DAM is licensed and regulated to offer crypto OTC (Over-The-Counter) brokerage and custodial services by the GFSC. DAM is also registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK as an EMI (Electronic Money Institution) agency company under Modulr Finance Ltd. 

In January 2018, Gibraltar became the very first jurisdiction across the globe to introduce legislation around Distributed-Ledger-Technology (DLT), and has since asserted its position as a leading blockchain and cryptocurrency hub. 

Commenting on the milestone, the Hon Albert Isola, Minister for Digital and Financial Services, said, “I would like to congratulate Digital Asset Management on the innovative nature they have displayed by reaching this notable milestone. In Gibraltar, we believe innovation and collaboration go hand in hand. DAM’s move to become the first ever Gibraltar-licensed company to raise capital on Crowdcube is representative of this spirit of innovation. I congratulate them on this remarkable achievement which will act as an example to other pioneering Gibraltar start up businesses that access to capital through crowdfunding platforms may also be available to them.” 

With Gibraltar’s core values of regulation, reputation, and speed to market at the foundation of its efforts within the blockchain industry, Gibraltar is globally renowned for its commitment to creating a sustainable and secure regulatory framework for blockchain, as well as being one of the leading proponents in the advancement of the technology. 

Commenting on the announcement, DAM’s CEO, Sam Buxton, said, ‘‘Our first four years have been a successful grind and we are now well positioned for the next four years to be game changing for the company. We would like to thank Gibraltar and the GFSC for their continued support, and look forward to further establishing our collaborative relationship with them in the future.”

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BRITISH AIRWAYS TRAVEL HEAT MAP

British Airways customers can now check the travel restrictions and entry requirements of any destination the airline flies to on a new interactive map on ba.com.

The new page is in partnership with global tech company Sherpa, who has developed an online tool that provides travellers with the latest travel rules for inbound and outbound destinations. This tool brings together the latest information for over 100 countries, providing thousands of sources, and using millions of data points to stay up to date. The map, that the airline plans to further integrate into ba.com, will also help customers understand what is needed for their return the UK.

Visitors to the page will be able to explore the globe to see what travel restrictions each country has in place before booking a trip, searching visually by traffic light colour or by typing in their choice of destination. There is also a tab which allows customers to indicate whether or not they are vaccinated, which will adjust the results.

Jack Smith, British Airways’ Head of Digital said, “We know that travel in this new Covid era can feel overwhelming for our customers, and our job is to make their lives as straightforward as possible. This new tool, which has been tried and is trusted by our joint business partner, American Airlines, will help people navigate the differing entry requirements, to allow for a smooth booking and travel experience.”


GIBEXIT

Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar was at pains to praise UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP’s rejection of the European Union’s recently publicised position on Gibraltar.

It comes as the Foreign Secretary met his Spanish counterpart, Jose Manuel Albare, for the first time.

Both tweeted positively after the meeting, although some of Snr Albares language was slightly ambiguous.

They committed to the New Year’s Eve Agreement and recognised the potential treaty between the UK and the EU in relation to Gibraltar would be beneficial. HMGoG stressed this would be not just for the Campo de Gibraltar, but also for Gibraltar itself.

They went on to comment that the Government and people of Gibraltar would never accept a treaty that in any way resembled the mandate issued by the EU.

The Chief Minister said, “The Government of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom are entirely at one on this issue. I am very grateful to the Foreign Secretary for having set out so clearly the position of the UK, which is wholly aligned with us.

“No one should believe that we would ever be prepared to accept the things set out in the EU’s draft negotiating mandate. We will not even be prepared to accept things that are close to that.

“Gibraltar remains fully committed to the New Year’s Eve Agreement. The United Kingdom has already said they remain fully committed also.

“But the notion that Spanish law enforcement officers might be present on our land, at our port or airport, is one that the Government or the people of Gibraltar will not accept. That is not something that can be finessed or negotiated. That is a non-negotiable red line.”


BUDGET NEWS

The headline announcement in this year’s budget for businesses was the news that the headline rate of corporation tax is to increase from 10% to 12.5%. This matches the rate currently in use in the Republic of Ireland, and is also closer to the minimum of 15% agreed by the world’s leading economies.

However, there were a number of capital allowances that were also introduced. The current limit of £30,000 for plant and machinery is to be raised to £60,000 or 50% of the expenditure incurred. Computer equipment also gets a bit of a leg up – up from the current limit of £50,000 to £100,000.

Also revealed was an increase in deductions for improvements to the EPC rating of a property and allowances for solar heating installations.

In addition, marketing has attracted an additional allowance for costs, where the Income Tax office has agreed validity of such costs. This amounts to 50%.

(This means there’s never been a better time to get in touch with Insight regarding marketing your business or service in the Rock’s longest running magazine:
 hello@gibraltarinsight.com or 222 51308).

Further information and how it could affect your own tax position is best sought from a tax professional.

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