Gibraltar – Rock solid jurisdiction for fintech firms
Gibraltar is nothing if not highly motivated in its efforts to become a significant international player in the world of fintech, blockchain technology and the cryptospace. The world’s first jurisdiction to take a serious yet progressive approach to regulation of the sector, it stands alongside Switzerland as a leading jurisdiction for start-ups and entrepreneurs to establish and operate their companies.
Gibraltar’s compact size helps, but in essence, it is the open-minded attitude of government officials, regulators and the professionals involved in this space that creates the perfect environment for entrepreneurs to set up or expand their businesses. As Chuck Shotton of Inveniam Capital put it when he spoke at GibFin 2018, Gibraltar’s Fintech Conference back in February: “We have everyone in the room that we need to set up business.”
He was referring to the fact that he was sharing a physical space with over 200 professionals and entrepreneurs at the Sunborn Hotel where the conference took place. Among these, as Shotton proceeded to point out, were representatives of Gibraltar’s Financial Services Commission, the jurisdiction’s regulator, investors, tech experts, entrepreneurs, lawyers, accountants, recruitment consultants, property consultants, government officials and among these, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister and Minister for Finance. In short, everyone a company would need to speak to in order to set up business in Gibraltar. And in the wake of Gibraltar’s DLT regulations, which came into force in January, and just as the regulators were in the process of setting up the regulation of ICOs, the Conference not only drew attention, but brought businesses lining up to establish themselves in Gibraltar.
There seems to be unanimity of opinion throughout the sector that the right regulatory framework is essential so that consumer and investor confidence is generated, and for innovation and growth to be stimulated in a way that protects consumers rather than stifled by the regulations. With the experience of successfully regulating and attracting online gaming businesses, Gibraltar is now clearly demonstrating a positive energy and a positive attitude to blockchain technology and the cryptospace. This makes Gibraltar particularly appealing to entrepreneurs and startups. “Gibraltar,” said Simon Pearson of B21, “is ten steps forward from the rest of the world in this space.”
Gibraltar’s message to the rest of the world was expressed in no uncertain terms by Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, at the Conference. “Gibraltar has positioned itself as an innovative and forward-looking jurisdiction…we have a hugely successful track record demonstrated by the strength and quality inherent in our gaming community; we demonstrated global leadership by creating and delivering the DLT framework in January 2018, the first in the world.” In his address, Minister for Finance, Mr. Isola pointed out, Gibraltar will be looking for sustainable business models, transparency and accountability insisting on a company’s “mind and management” being based in Gibraltar. Siân Jones and William Gracia of the GFSC discussed their aim to regulate in a way which will create a framework that can evolve as the industry grows and the technology develops, building confidence in consumer protection by filtering out the sector’s “bad players”. As Mr. Picardo put it: “Our regulator will maintain the highest standards; no soft or light touch is accepted here.”
The energy Gibraltar has been putting into getting its message across to the rest of the world shows no sign of abating, with Gibraltar’s Government and numerous firms of local professionals sending representatives across the globe to events such as Consensus 2018. This means that companies everywhere can understand that good players are welcome in Gibraltar, where they can thrive in an environment determined to get the balance of regulation and incentive just right.