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Volume 8 NÂş 2

IN THIS ISSUE: B2B looks forward to 2011 John Bassadone: The interview Airlines: New route boosts trafďŹ c Maritime: Engine of the economy The Quarterly Magazine of the Chamber of Commerce

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Gibraltar Day in London

The recent Gibraltar Day in London was once again a huge success with the customary lunch being held this year at the Drapers Hall in order to accommodate more people. The lunch was fully subscribed. The event is an excellent platform for Gibraltar’s business community to be able to network with UK-based businesses and promote ourselves to a wider audience. The Chamber would like to thank Jimmy Tipping and his team for organising this very useful event.

Cross border relations

Investors welcome

Events across the border continue to mystify us here at the Chamber. Having offered the hand of friendship to the Mayor, we just don’t understand the logic that has been employed by our neighbours in recent months. As we have always said, and indeed have proven – the Fletcher Report being one instance – we need to work together for mutual benefit. It is not too late for La Linea to salvage something from its current sorry state: a speedy conclusion to the access on the La Linea side of the new air terminal will create new jobs for Linenses and further enhance business and trade, which will be of benefit to all parties. This has to be a better alternative than continually putting out the begging bowl.

The economic slowdown has continued elsewhere in Europe and recent weeks have seen renewed pressure on the euro and selected euro-based economies. In sharp contrast Gibraltar has continued to attract new entrants to the local economy across several sectors: one new hotel aimed at the business traveller, a new online gaming firm specialising in mobile gaming applications and a new air route to Liverpool among others. What all these announcements show is the continued confidence by investors in Gibraltar as a place to do business. The Chamber welcomes all new companies to Gibraltar as well as those already established here who are investing to expand their businesses. Against a continuing tough economic environment however, there is no room for complacency. Nevertheless we should walk with a spring in our step, take a little pride in what has been achieved and be grateful for those firms and individuals who have helped bring this about.

Customary practices

Following on from our recent survey at the land frontier, the Chamber would like to clarify that people are free to shop wherever they like, whether it’s in the UK or in Spain; where they shop and what they buy is a matter of personal choice. The Chamber has no issue with people purchasing goods from outside Gibraltar – even though shopping locally boosts our economy – the only thing we have highlighted is that if people bring goods into Gibraltar they should declare them and pay

the relevant duty, just as local traders do when they bring goods into Gibraltar which are then sold in the community. The revenue losses, coupled with the significant reputational risk for Gibraltar, are simply not worth considering. Similarly, Customs are present at the land frontier to uphold the law and they must be seen to be doing this as robustly as is possible.


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In this issue FOREWORD page 3

Gibraltar Day in London

page 3

Cross border relations

page 3

Investors welcome

page 3

Customary practices

page 3

Chamber festive wish


John Bassadone – The Interview

page 10

Maritime – optimism for 2011

page 13

Tax & Finance Centre outlook

page 15

Airline Update – Liverpool from March 2011

PUBLISHER Copywrite Publishing



New food standards for Gibraltar

page 17

Social media – a powerful weapon in your communications arsenal




The alternative to smoking

page 20

GiBi new bikes for Gibraltar

page 21

Argus Malta buyout

page 22

Local support helps secure World Trade Center deal for Gibraltar

page 23

GII gains CII accreditation

page 25

Argus Insurance sponsors the Gibraltar National team and the Junior League Cup

page 25

The Sir Joshua Hassan Lectures

page 26

Winter is here. Exclusive skiing offer for Chamber members

page 27

Insurers and business attracted by new tax rate

page 27

Local insurance company acquires international business in Spain and Portugal

page 28

Is your IT system vunerable? Improve your Networks Security

page 29

Hassans once again delighted to be ranked in Tier No 1

page 29

EFPG elected members of Society of Pension Consultants


Hassans’ lawyers admitted to BVI Bar

page 31

Norwich and Peterborough estate agents move back to Cannon Lane under new ownership

page 33

European Financial Planning Group move to new town centre location

page 34

Hassans new recruits

page 34

Barclays Premier League trophy visits the Rock

page 34

Is our Library fit for purpose?

David Slater

DESIGN Copywrite Advertising 9, Cooperage Lane PO Box 935, Gibraltar Tel: 200 41700, Fax: 200 77649 Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce PO Box 29, Watergate House Casemates, Gibraltar Edward Macquisten Chief Executive Tel: 200 78376 Fax: 200 78403 B2B is published by Copywrite Publishing for the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce four times per annum. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce or the publishers.


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John Bassadone – The Interview when he left school at 15 and donned a wetsuit. His father had set up a commercial diving company, specialising in underwater hull cleaning and ship maintenance with John and his brothers Gigi and Jimmy. The young Mr Bassadone first stepped into the sea as a commercial diver in the harbour basin close to the old port viaduct, not far from where his office is now. “I went straight from school into a diving suit,” he said. “That was tough. There was no soft landing at all. I learnt the hard way.” It was physical, demanding work, but it taught Mr Bassadone some valuable lessons. He was one more in a team of seasoned, professional divers – “there were no favours for being the boss’s son” – and he developed close working relationships, learning to trust the people on whom his life depended when he was submerged. He also learnt about the shipping industry from the bottom up, literally.

John Bassadone

From his spacious office in the Europort building, John Bassadone, chairman of the Gibunco Group, enjoys a panoramic view of the Bay of Gibraltar and the strait beyond. Against the backdrop of Morocco’s Rif mountains, he can monitor the comings and goings of the world’s merchant fleet, the tens thousands of ships that sail through this vital maritime chokepoint every year. Mr Bassadone is in the business of selling oil to ships, and each vessel he sees from his window represents a potential customer. At its core, the model is simple. Ships, like cars, run on fuel. Occasionally, they have to stop to fill up. Gibraltar, with minimum deviation from some of the world’s most important east/west and north/south trade routes, offers a geographically strategic point at which to refuel. In industry parlance, the trade is known as bunkering. If the Strait of

By the age of 20, a young man starting to think about settling down and raising a family, he was looking for ways to expand the business and, at the same time, introduce greater stability into his life. Diving remained the company’s main business, but there were ventures too into shore-side civil engineering work, mainly for the Ministry of Defence. The company built sea defences and repaired quayside walls inside the naval base. Somewhere along the way it also built the jetty in Camp Bay, which is still there today. There was a landmark moment too, in the shape of a business partnership with an international underwater hull cleaning company called SCAMP, then owned by US oil major I went straight Gibraltar is a maritime Exxon. At first Gibunco motorway, then the Rock was a SCAMP from school into is its prime service subcontractor, but it was station. It is this a relationship that a diving suit. straightforward equation deepened quickly. “That that lies at the heart of got us involved in a much Gibunco’s success. Over bigger way and allowed the past decade, Gibraltar has become us to approach larger customers and do the premier bunkering hub in the western more,” Mr Bassadone said. “It was always a Mediterranean, one of the most important matter of marketing. We would go to all the refuelling stops for vessels worldwide. shipping exhibitions and network, meeting Last year, the Rock’s handful of bunker people and making contacts, always trying to operators supplied nearly 5m tonnes of work on that basis. Our customers were fuel. To understand the growth, barely two shipowners and we were always trying to decades ago the total market for bunker fuel look at what we could do for them.” hardly scratched 200,000 tonnes. It was Mr Bassadone’s entrance into this business that The relationship matured and culminated in provided the boost to the market, injecting Mr Bassadone purchasing the SCAMP it with aggressive competition that has led business from Exxon. Overnight, the to exponential growth since the early ‘90s. Gibraltar-based company had acquired a major international presence with The foundations for Mr Bassadone’s success representative offices in ports around the in this business were laid decades earlier, globe. These days SCAMP, which remains


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John Bassadone - Interview – continued Mr Bassadone said. “I wanted to go out there and sell what Gibraltar had to offer. We couldn’t just sit there and wait for people to come to us. We had to go out and sell.” Unknowingly, Mr Bassadone was laying the ground work for his future venture into oil. He was working his SCAMP network, building up knowledge of the shipping industry and establishing close working relationships with ship owners around the world. Out of the blue, he received a call from a Spain-based oil company. “I don’t know where this came from, but they came to me because they wanted to set up bunkering in Gibraltar,” he said. That call was followed by another contact from a rival oil company in Spain, Cepsa. The business was appealing. There were tens of thousands of ships sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar, but the Rock’s bunkering market was small. There was obvious room for growth. With two offers on the table, Mr Bassadone had a choice to make. “The second option was the best because they had a refinery next door,” he said, smiling. “It was a very easy decision.”

part of the Gibunco Group, operates from some 280 locations around the world. Through this network of agents, Mr Bassadone was able to pitch his services directly to shipowners and their technical staff, in terms that they understood. The agents spoke the language of shipping and knew what shipowners were after. Back in Gibraltar, Mr Bassadone also began to tweak the product, shaping it to meet the demands of his customers. “I decided to do packages, with all the costs included in one price,” he said. “That was a marketing tactic that we started using. It was about making it easier for the customer and making sure there were no hidden costs.” In order to maximise on this strategy, Gibunco obtained a ship agency licence, enabling it to streamline all the elements associated with a port call in Gibraltar. The move represented a seismic shift in a world governed by long-established traditions, where change often came slowly. “The old school way of doing things was to sit around and wait for the phone to ring,”


The meeting led to the formation of Cepsa (Gibraltar), a 50/50 venture between Gibunco and Cepsa. At the time the Spanish company, which is now owned by the French oil major Total and the Abu Dhabi investment company IPIC, had only recently started in the bunker sector. As they found their feet during the first two years in operation, staff at Cepsa (Gibraltar) relied on Madrid for sales. Traders in Madrid would close the contracts and Gibraltar organised the supply of fuel, delivered straight from the Cepsa refinery in the Campo de Gibraltar to ships at anchor in Gibraltar waters. But Mr Bassadone saw an opportunity to capitalise on his knowledge of the shipping industry and his contacts. “By that point, I was totally focused on this,” he said. “I was thinking that, with all the experience we had with shipowners through SCAMP and all the other areas of business, it seemed a bit limiting to be dependant on this other company. I thought we had a contribution to make to Cepsa (Gibraltar) in terms of marketing.” An agreement was hammered out with Cepsa under which all bunker in Gibraltar would be supplied by Cepsa (Gibraltar) in the port of Gibraltar. It was an arrangement that worked and remains in place to this day. Mr Bassadone brought new ideas to the bunkering business too. He tailored his all-in package to shipowners calling for bunkers, but he also pioneered a new approach to credit insurance that has since been adopted

by many players in the industry. In essence, bunker suppliers act like a bank for shipowners, providing credit on large fuel sales that can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. “We all know what the shipowner industry is,” he said. “Its got its highs, its got its lows. You’ve got to survive through both of them.” In order to do this, from the outset he negotiated credit insurance for all his company’s sales. “We started early on and we’ve stayed with the same insurer in doing this business, so the cost of covering your credit risk is quite low,” he said. “That gave us a lot of strength.” His team chose carefully who to do business with, but the insurance provided an additional safeguard. “It was important to have that parachute. It was a cost that looked substantial at the time, but I knew it was very critical. It gives comfort to banks when you raise large amounts of cash to move these big volumes.” By the late ‘90s, Mr Bassadone was on the move again and set up his own wholly-owned bunkering company, Peninsula Petroleum. He put his son John at the helm of the new business and together they got down to work. Over a decade later, Peninsula is now a major player in the bunkering world with annual sales in excess of six million tonnes. The company is active in the supply of bunkers and lubricants in the ports of Gibraltar, Ceuta, Canary Islands and Panama, and is an active worldwide trader too. It has offices in London, Gibraltar, Geneva, Tønsberg, Athens, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo and Montevideo. “My son John has managed to build a fantastic team around him,” he said. “It’s all down to people. John is very aggressive and outgoing when it comes to business, but he’s also very affable. Our main asset is teamwork.” Gibunco and its related companies are involved at all stages in the bunkering chain. The group’s staff buys and sells cargoes of fuel, organises and coordinates delivery to ships, operates a fleet of cutting-edge double-hull bunker tankers able to deliver fuel safely and efficiently. It is about ensuring control and quality throughout the supply chain. Mr Bassadone concedes that his is a hands-on management style, that his company bears his personal hallmark at every level. But he also believes in trusting his staff and allowing them room to manoeuvre and forge their own paths based on their knowledge and experience. “The most important thing about a business is the people that work in that business,” he said. “The guy who knows how to do everything doesn’t exist. You need to know how to delegate and let people do their own thing.

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But at the same time you need to stay on top of things.” The focus on people is essential to any business but, given its international nature, is perhaps more so in the shipping world. Throughout a two-hour interview, Mr Bassadone refers to this time and again. He uses phrases like “face to face” and “eye to eye” when he describes his business dealings, underscoring the need to press flesh and get to know his customers. “It’s a big industry, but it’s also small in terms of the people you know,” he said. “We’ve had that from the start. We’ve been talking to these guys for years.” Although shipping has been the mainstay of its business, Gibunco has also been involved in major property deals in Gibraltar over the years, first through Gibraltar Homes and now through the Montagu Group. Mr Bassadone was a driving force in the land reclamation schemes that transformed housing and office capacity in Gibraltar following the opening of the border. He has always worked closely with the government of the day but refuses to discuss politics or his own personal views

on social or economic issues. “I don’t talk about politics,” he said. “I’m not a person who talks publicly about this. I’m not political in that way. Sometimes it’s difficult, because occasionally things happen in Gibraltar that you don’t like and you know the background to it. But you suffer that inside.” All he would say was that “tiny Gibraltar”, despite the endless griping and sniping from one side or other, had managed incredible achievements over the years. The Rock and its small population, he said, had an enviable stock of talent in many varied fields. Gibunco, for all its international scope, would always have Gibraltar as its base, he added. So what has been the secret of Mr Bassadone’s success over the years? He does not hesitate in answering. “You’ve got to start at the bottom level and work your way up, and to do that you need to seek knowledge and learn along the way,” he said. “You need to understand that you’ll depend on people. Who are they? How do they think? What do they need? How can I do this better than my competitor? It’s all

about learning, both the good and bad, and trying to keep as much of the good as possible.” He also believes in a cautious approach to growth, one that assesses the potential risks and weighs them against the benefits. Flexibility, too, is a key ingredient. “You’ve got to set a target and go for it, but on the way you must be ready to shift if you have to,” he said. “You’ve got to be brave in decisions, you’ve got to take decisions, but you also have to be cautious. And you’ve got to learn, because nothing ever comes out to be the way you thought it would be. You start on a mission, it changes along the way, but eventually you end up with what you want. You cannot be rigid. You have to have flexibility.” To hammer home that last point, he recounts how his young grandson is a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, the children’s programme about a blue steam train called Thomas and his adventures on the rail tracks. “I’m not Thomas the Tank Engine, stuck on a line,” Mr Bassadone said. “My grandson loves Thomas the Tank Engine, but he’ll learn in time”.


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Maritime – optimism for 2011

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of our growing economy

As the world’s economies reeled in the midst of the global downturn last year, Gibraltar took a different turn: where other countries were reporting rising deficits, the Rock came back with 5% growth in the financial year ending March 31, 2010. Shipping has played a key part in that economic resilience together with other key sectors including financial services, e-gaming and tourism. The port, Chief Minister Peter Caruana said earlier this year, represents “major engine of our growing economy.” Gibraltar, the main bunkering port in the western Mediterranean, supplied record volumes of fuel last year, while other areas of maritime business reported good results too. The downturn in the freight markets, for instance, kept Gibraltar’s specialist lawyers busy with admiralty cases, with many owners capitalising on Gibraltar’s reputation for resolving complex cases swiftly and efficiently.


The Gibraltar ship register also continued to improve on its already-enviable reputation as a quality register, and has now set its eye on the market for mega yachts. In recent years, the Gibraltar Government has targeted significant investment in the maritime sector, reflecting its growing importance in Gibraltar’s economy. In the port, the shift from a cumbersome government department to a leaner, more flexible and commercially-focused Gibraltar Port Authority was finalised last year with a new staff agreement. There are still issues to be ironed out – as evidenced by recent labour unrest – but in broad terms, the shift has opened the way for important organisational changes to improve staff prospects and, by extension, the efficient running of the port. A new vessel traffic monitoring system has been installed and will enable tight control over vessel movements in Gibraltar waters.

The port has also raised its tariffs whilst maintaining its competitive advantage. The tariff revision combined with strong performances, accommodating arrested vessels, ship-to-ship transfers and bunkering saw income move from £2m in 2008-09 to £5.1m in 2009-10, with recurrent expenditure at £3.4m. Bunkering, the mainstay of port business here, proved resilient in the face of the global economic slowdown last year, with suppliers delivering record volumes. Operators in Gibraltar delivered nearly 4.7m tonnes of bunker fuel during 2009, a sharp 12% increase from the 4.2m tonnes delivered in 2008. Now, with neighbouring ports in Algeciras and Tangier toughening the competition in this region, port managers on the Rock are planning a major change to the sector in order to increase capacity. The Government of Gibraltar has confirmed plans to allow ships to refuel at anchorage on the east side

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of the Rock, a move that will enable suppliers to further boost volumes. “It is the Government’s intention, subject to the outcome of any Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] that may be required, to allow operations under strictly-controlled conditions to place at the Eastern anchorage site,” said Joe Holliday, minister for enterprise, development, technology and transport. Gibraltar currently has 12 vessel slots on the west side of the Rock. Opening up the east side anchorage for bunkering operations will add up to ten more slots, depending on vessel size. “In simple terms, opening up the east side will allow us to service more ships,” Captain Peter Hall, the Captain of the Port of Gibraltar, told the maritime newspaper Lloyd’s List in October. “We already have a competitive edge in terms of cost. If we can increase capacity and improve the service we can offer, then that will help us to maintain that edge.” An EIA should be completed by the end of this year, taking into account the ecology of the area and factors such as weather and tidal movements. Initially operations will only be allowed during daylight and under suitable weather conditions. Bunkering operation anywhere in Gibraltar waters can be suspended by the port if weather conditions are bad. Some trials have already been carried out and further ones are planned before routine operations start. Each vessel is equipped with counter-pollution equipment and an oil pollution response vessel is stationed nearby throughout. The start of bunkering operations on the east side is dependent on the installation of the Gibraltar port’s new vessel traffic monitoring system, which will enable the Gibraltar Port Authority to closely monitor and control all vessel movement in Gibraltar waters. The VTS will enable port managers to better control vessels within Gibraltar waters but also, because of its extended range, to coordinate arrivals to maximise the use of limited bunkering slots. “It will give us complete coverage around the Rock and also lifts the horizon for arriving vessels,” Capt Hall said. “That will allow us to plan more efficiently.” An integrated web-based system will also enable the electronic transfer of vessel data from ships and agents to the port authority itself, further reducing the administrative workload.


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Tax & Finance Centre outlook

Photo © DM Parody (

Gibraltar’s new tax rules are already starting to attract new business, even before they are fully implemented. The new taxation regime is designed to ensure the continued international competitiveness of the Rock’s finance centre. The key element of the new Income Tax Act is a reduction in company tax from 22% to 10% as from January, 2011. The new framework replaces the tax exempt regime, which Gibraltar has phased out following pressure from the European Union. It ends all distinction between “onshore” and “offshore” business. Together with the tax information exchange agreements being entered into by the government – coupled to Gibraltar’s full integration in the EU and compliance with EU financial services regulation, money laundering and co-operation rules – the new Tax Act completes Gibraltar’s 14-year transition from tax haven to mainstream European financial services centre. “Thousands of local jobs, much government revenue and thus our public services, depend on Gibraltar having an internationally competitive tax system,” said Chief Minister Peter Caruana. “Many previously tax exempt banks, insurance, investment, gaming and other companies will begin to pay profit tax in Gibraltar for the first time on the same basis as all other

companies. These companies are vital to our economy and to the social prosperity of all of us in Gibraltar.” The new regime comes at a time of global economic downturn, with governments around the world toughening up on taxation in the face of public spending austerity. In practical terms, this means fiscal authorities around the globe are looking at ways to increase tax revenues and ensure citizens pay their fair share. For corporations and wealthy individuals alike, it means they will have to pay closer attention to how their tax affairs are structured. “It’s people waking up to the fact that they’ve got to take tax seriously,” says Mike Nicholls, managing director of both Chesterton estate agents and MN Associates, a consultancy firm. “Countries around the world are going bust and every chancellor wants money.” Gibraltar, with its attractive new fiscal regime, is fast becoming a favoured jurisdiction for businesses and fiscal nomads looking for well-regulated, legitimate ways of reducing their tax bills. The appeal is further bolstered by its success in dynamic sectors including funds, insurance and e-gaming. And success in the finance centre has a knock-on impact in town. “All our sales [to individuals] are tax-led sales,” continues Mr Nicholls. “They don’t have a tax address and this is what they’re looking for.”

Mike Nicholls originally came to Gibraltar to work in a senior role on the team that developed Ocean Village. He eventually settled here and saw a gap in the market that would allow him to move on. He bought the local franchise of the well-known UK estate agent Chesterton last year and hasn’t looked back since. These days, he focuses on finding residential and business properties for the incoming wealthy and corporate markets, working closely with Gibraltar’s law and accountancy firms. Based on anecdotal evidence from the Chesterton database, Mr Nicholls said Gibraltar’s fiscal regime is proving increasingly attractive in both segments. The 10% corporate tax rate, in particular, holds great promise: “As a headline rate, it is beyond fantastic,” he says. “It’s a really good selling point; for those of us selling Gibraltar as a jurisdiction, it really couldn’t be a better marketing tool.” For evidence that it works, look no further than the gaming sector. In the past month, a number of major e-gaming companies have announced that they are moving all or part of their operations to Gibraltar. And where there are new companies arriving, there’s the knock-on demand for office space resulting in opportunities in other areas of the economy – from retail to entertainment.


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Airline Update – Liverpool from March 2011

This is great news for Gibraltar, as it opens up Gibraltar to a whole new regional market in and around Liverpool,

The winter airline schedules came into force on Sunday 31st October and the three airlines serving Gibraltar have duly introduced changes – albeit limited – to their operations. British Airways’ (BA) now well established single daily flight operation continues, arriving from London Heathrow just before noon, departing an hour later. The Gib flights, along with those from Málaga use Terminal 3 at Heathrow rather than the perhaps more ‘swanky’ facilities available at the newer Terminal 5. With an arrival time of 2.35pm in London, the BA flight allows connections to a number of medium and long haul destinations. For its weekday operation, easyJet (EZY) has retimed its single daily flight from London Gatwick (LGW) to arrive in Gib at 10.50am with departure scheduled just 30 minutes later. For those passengers looking to take flights to other destinations from London’s second airport, the much earlier arrival time

of 1.10pm makes the task much easier. Saturday’s flight is due on the ground in Gib between 1pm and 1.35pm with Sunday’s a little later – from 3.50pm to 4.35pm.

To even the casual observer it’s clear that the schedule on Monday, Chester area of the Wednesday and Friday United Kingdom. provides the airport terminal with something of a logistical nightmare. On these days, between 10.50am and noon, no Citing healthy demand, Monarch Airlines fewer than four flights are due to arrive, with (ZB) introduced some additional flights three also scheduled to depart within this to its Luton (LTN) and Manchester (MAN) short time frame. This scheduling headache schedules during September and October. will provide considerable challenges for With the onset of the new timetable, these airlines, airport staff and passengers alike – extra flights have disappeared. Flights to not to mention the effect on traffic in town Manchester will operate three times a week, and at the frontier! on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with arrival in the UK at 1.50pm. Luton will see At the end of last month easyJet six flights a week with no service on announced that they would be introducing Saturdays. With the exception of the Sunday a new service from Liverpool to Gibraltar, flight – which operates into Gibraltar in the operating 3 days a week. This is great news early evening – the schedule on all other for Gibraltar, as it opens up Gibraltar to a days is standardised: flights are due to whole new regional market in and around arrive on the Rock at 11.10am and depart Liverpool, North Wales and the Chester just before noon. area of the United Kingdom.

North Wales and the


Chamber News

New food standards for Gibraltar

‘Grading at a Glance’ is a Food Standards Agency approved hygiene scheme used by local authorities in the UK due to be adopted by Gibraltar in the New Year. The aim of the scheme is to allow consumers to make informed choices about the places where they eat and purchase food. Premises participating will be given a hygiene rating or score that reflects the findings of an inspection carried out by Environmental Health Officers. These officers will look at standards of food safety and hygiene, structure of the premises, cleaning operations, compliance with a written Food Safety Management System and staff training. The scheme is voluntary and there’s no charge to join or participate. A star rating system will score an establishment on a scale of 0 to 5. Those achieving good results can display their rating for the public to see. Premises that comply with minimum legal requirements will probably achieve a 3-star rating in the first instance whilst those places that go above and beyond to improve their standards in both training and food management systems will be able to progress on to a 4- or 5-star rating. Premises are not obliged to display

their star rating unless they want to, but it goes without saying that those with a high score have seen an increase in footfall and revenues as a result of an increased consumer confidence in them. Gibraltar will be the first place outside the UK to participate in ‘Grading at a Glance’. All the information regarding a premises’ score will be publicly available at the Environmental Agency website www. The scheme has many benefits to both customers and

participating establishments alike and will undoubtedly enhance our tourist product. It’s hoped that by February 2011 the first group of establishments will be participating in the scheme. An information pack will be sent out to all catering organised premises in the near future and a seminar will be organised if the need arises. For any further queries about the scheme please contact either Charles Zammit or Brioni Turner at the Environmental Agency on 200 70620 or

Social media – a powerful weapon in your communications arsenal

Different types of social media have been around since the early days of the internet. Today, social media – or social networking as it’s also known – performs a vital marketing function used by savvy companies to communicate effectively, and more importantly relatively inexpensively, with their customers. One critical difference between social media and conventional media (say advertising or direct mail) apart from the obvious cost benefits, is the fact that using the internet and email offers the possibility of a two-way communication flow between business and consumer. At its best it can be highly interactive: information is communicated swiftly back to the company and the company can respond accordingly. Done correctly, this ease of communication can help develop an enduring customer loyalty to a company’s

brand as well as alerting the company to changing trends and preferences. Companies not fully engaged in social media activities are perhaps ignoring a substantial market opportunity. Those who don’t adapt to such changes may be more inclined not to survive. Businesses wishing to dip their toe in the social media water could start with a corporate blog. However, the content must be good quality and cater carefully for its target audience. A blog has flexibility and mobility and planned properly will enhance your firm’s Google rating. Other social media like Facebook and Twitter need greater planning to become a part of a company’s overall marketing plan.

by experts from workITgibraltar. The seminar is designed to be a step-by-step guide to using social media for the benefit of your business. The seminar will be free to Chamber members who are up to date with their subscriptions and places will be reserved on a first come first served basis. A circular notice and email will be sent to members early in the New Year confirming the venue. Contact the Chamber at for more information or to reserve your place.

On Wednesday January 19th, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce will be running an Introduction to Social Media seminar, hosted


Business Briefs

The alternative to smoking

For Mark Williams, smoking and kite surfing did not go hand in hand. He had puffed on cigarettes for 15 years and it was affecting his active lifestyle. He wanted an alternative. He found it online in the form of electronic cigarettes, but he was quickly disappointed. The products he ordered were overpriced, poorly made or, worse still, both. Rather than pick up his packet of Marlboro Lights again, he took a somewhat different tack. He set out to develop his own products. Eighteen months later, Mr Williams is the managing director of a Gibraltarbased company rapidly stamping its mark on the emerging market for alternatives to tobacco. Total Cigarettes was born out of a personal need to find a well-priced product that worked. Developing the e-cigarette has been a personal experience for Mr Williams. “What I’m doing is finding a product that’s ideal for myself,” he told B2B. “Everything that I do is basically what I wanted to see when I first came across them 18 months ago.” So what is an e-cigarette? Total Cigarettes describes its products as premium quality nicotine inhalers, commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes or e-cigs. Each cigarette is comprised of a battery, a heating element and a cartridge that holds a liquid solution containing nicotine. When you take a draw on e-cig, the atomizer heats the nicotine liquid which provides a vaporized solution that closely resembles smoke when exhaled. There is no tobacco, smoke or combustion involved in its operation and you do not exhale second-hand smoke, which ea where means it can be used in areas traditional cigarettes cannot

be smoked. Electronic cigarettes can openly be used in airports around the world such as Gatwick and Gibraltar airport, where Total Cigarettes products are sold in the departure lounge and bar. Although some people use these cigarettes to quit smoking tobacco, this is not what they are designed for. “This product is an alternative to smoking,” Mr Williams said. The Total Cigarettes product range includes nicotine-free cartridges that allow users to ‘smoke’ without having to worry about addiction. As a former smoker, Mr Williams knows what a smoker wants in an alternative product. He jokes, for example, about the different degrees of “throat hit” that each version of his e-cigs provides. The cigarettes and associated accessories are made in the Far East in factories handpicked by Mr Williams and his team. For Total Cigarettes, Gibraltar has provided something of a learning curve and helped Mr Williams to understand what people want from his product. “You’d think an item such as this would fail instantly in Gibraltar, where there is a culture of smoking and cigarettes are cheap,” he told us. In fact, quite the reverse happened and, largely through word of mouth, interest in the product grew locally.

Total Cigarettes are now sold at discounted prices in a number of outlets in Gibraltar, including pharmacies. “Gibraltar has become a fantastic base for market research.” There are, of course, some people who are not convinced by e-cigarettes. This includes health authorities in a handful of countries who are concerned at the lack of long-term scientific research into e-cigarettes and how they deliver nicotine into the system. Mr Williams acknowledges these concerns and believes that e-cigarettes will likely be regulated in the future. He would welcome that and in some respects is already looking ahead. Unlike some of its competitors, for example, Total Cigarettes has clear warnings on its products to keep them out of reach of children. Mr Williams believes people should know exactly what they are consuming. But he is also vaguely puzzled by smokers who express health concerns about e-cigs. “The majority of doctors would agree that if there is a choice between smoking a real cigarette or an e-cigarette, it’s going to be the e-cigarette,” he said.

This product is an alternative to smoking


Business Briefs

GiBi new bikes for Gibraltar

A new cycle hire scheme that could revolutionise personal transport in Gibraltar.

London’s doing it, Barcelona has had it for years. Soon Gib will be joining these cities in being home to a cycle hire scheme, which could potentially help to alleviate our traffic problems or at least make some short journeys from A to B easier and cheaper. It’s simple really. There are 132 cycles at 15 stations around the Rock. You subscribe approximately £30 per annum and are issued with a membership card, which you swipe at the cycle docking station to get your bike, use it for half an hour for free and for any extra half an hour pay a small fee, yet to be determined. So, pick it up at station A, drop it off at station B, swipe the card when you pick up and drop off and that’s it. Any extra time over the allotted free half an hour is charged to you via your membership account. The scheme has been earmarked for Gibraltar to promote a healthier lifestyle, weaning us off using the car for short journeys, saving on parking and alleviating traffic nightmares. It also goes without saying that it’s a much greener option than the car.


The downsides of the scheme are the lack of cycle lanes in Gib and the traffic, so as with all cycling, the government recommends that a helmet should be worn at all times.

Business Briefs

Argus Malta buyout companies do not operate and the legal and insurance traditions are English. The focus is on finding acquisitions that fit into that mould. Argus is not trying to “notch up conquests” but rather acquire profitable businesses that meet the needs and expectations of both shareholders and staff, Mr Simons said. “We’re not hell bent on moving into territory after territory, but we do keep our eyes open,” he told B2B. From a growth perspective, Malta provides good scope for Argus. GDP per capita in Malta is lower than in other EU jurisdictions, which means people there have less to spend and, by extension, spend less on insurance than in other European countries. But income is increasing as Malta shifts to a new economic model in which financial services play a key role. For the insurance sector, it means there is room to grow.

In a landmark deal for the Rock’s insurance sector, a Gibraltarbased insurer has bought a business in rival EU jurisdiction Malta. Argus Insurance Company (Europe) has bought its long-time Malta agent Fogg Insurance Agencies for an undisclosed sum. The newly-acquired business in Valetta employs 22 staff and will now report to the Gibraltar office. To ensure that there is proper coordination between the two, Andy Baker, the Gibraltar-based head of Argus in Europe, will keep tabs on both offices and divide his time between the Rock and Malta. The acquisition is part of the Argus group’s international growth strategy and will open doors for staff in both locations to jointly develop their professional knowledge and experience.“Small communities, small markets need to look outside themselves for opportunities,” said Gerald Simons, Argus’ Bermuda-based president and chief executive. “This acquisition is something

Small communities, small markets need to look outside themselves for opportunities

that provides opportunities for the sharing of knowledge and expertise.”

“They have quite an aggressive plan to increase the financial services contribution to the economy,” Mrs Nicoll said. Mr Simons added: “Malta has a relatively low penetration of insurance. The Maltese spend about a third of what the typical EU resident would spend on insurance, so there are opportunities there. We see the potential in Malta, but we also see the growth that’s occurring here in our Gibraltar office. If we could replicate the success that we’ve had here over the last five years in Malta, we will satisfy all the parties involved.” In the medium term there will be some changes to the Malta operation, not least new premises for the business. Managers will also look for opportunities to find improved efficiencies – new computer systems will be rolled out in due course, for example – and there will also be opportunities for growth through training and professional advancement.

Mr Simons was speaking in Gibraltar following a visit to Malta to meet with regulators and insurance executives. He was accompanied by Argus chairman Sheila Nicoll. Mr Simons said that Argus recognised that it was important to diversify globally beyond the head office and operations in Bermuda.

Mr Baker said the group was already running an exchange programme whereby “best of breed” workers from head office in Bermuda and from Gibraltar were doing week-long stints in Malta and passing on knowledge, experience and skills to staff there. Likewise, workers from the Malta office are spending time here and in other Argus offices to learn about the business and pass on ideas that could benefit the group as a whole.

The insurer looks to expand into similar jurisdictions, small markets where larger

Exciting developments not only for Argus but for Gibralar as a whole.


Business Briefs

Local support helps secure World Trade Center deal for Gibraltar

An application to establish the World Trade Center (WTC) Gibraltar was approved by the WTC at the outset of the Association’s Annual General Assembly in China, making it the 335th licence to be awarded across the globe to develop international trade.

In a statement issued from Beijing, Butcher said: “The WTCA has a rigorous policy on accepting new members and requires to be satisfied on the credibility and business standing of applicants and their implementation plans, before granting any licences.”

The unanimous vote by WTC members in favour came after close scrutiny of the credentials and development plans submitted by Greg Butcher, the entrepreneur behind the large-scale mixed use Ocean Village project.

However, the building’s proposed 3,000 m2 single floor area is the largest available in the jurisdiction, which presents a key benefit for local firms now operating from split locations, as well as newcomers attracted by Gibraltar’s new low 10 per cent headline rate of corporation tax.

Letters of support for the WTC project that will help put Gibraltar’s financial and business centre on the world stage came from more than 30 leading companies – banks, insurers, trust and accountancy firms – as well as trade associations and the Minister for Development, Joe Holliday.


Butcher’s company Fairhomes Ltd., already has outline planning permission for the development at Marina Bay and “we are now working up detailed specifications to include features – such as meeting rooms, club lounges, video conferencing and other business services – which has led to some

layout alterations”, explained WTC Gibraltar development director, Brian Stevendale. WTC Gibraltar will form part of an expanded Ocean Village, which already has 30,000 m2 of offices, 408 apartments in three towers, 10,000 m2 of restaurants, casino and other leisure activities, as well as 336 berths from 12 m to 50+ m long for superyachts.

Business Briefs

GII gains CII accreditation

The Gibraltar Insurance Institute [GII] has been accepted as an affiliate institute of the Chartered Insurance Institute [CII], in a move that will enhance the local sector’s international reputation and strengthen the scope for professionals here to build on their skills and knowledge. The CII is the premier professional organisation for those working in the insurance and financial services industry. It has 90,000 members and has been at the forefront in setting professional standards for the insurance industry for over a century, promoting higher standards of competence and integrity through the provision of relevant qualifications for employees at all levels and across all sectors. “We believe we’re the first [new affiliate institute] for 30 years, so it’s a big thing for the CII,” said Andy Baker, president of the GII and chief executive of Argus Insurance in Gibraltar. “For Gibraltar it’s a real coup because it gives us official CII status. It’s another external recognition of the professionalism of the market.” The GII’s new status also means that it can draw on the resources of the CII for the benefit of the local insurance sector. This sector has grown exponentially over the past decade. In 2000 there were just 13 licensed insurers operating from the Rock. By 2009 that figure had risen to 63 companies, active in various areas of the insurance business ranging from general insurance to protected cell companies. Gibraltar’s influence in key markets including the UK has also expanded, as illustrated by the fact that 9% of UK car insurance is underwritten from the Rock. “Gibraltar really punches above its weight,” Mr Baker said. “It handles £2bn of insurance premiums, most of which is written back in the UK.”

was engaged in the role expected of it, including education. But the project quickly gained traction and, three years later, the GII now has 150 members, 100 of whom are also members of the CII. The remaining 50 are social members. In all, 34 local companies are represented in the institute. There are over 300 insurance professionals working in Gibraltar’s financial sector, so there is still room to grow. The GII is a dynamic organisation and its council oversees a busy calendar of training and social events.“We see our primary function as being to coordinate and run a series of professional training events,” Mr Baker said. This is aimed at both student members, providing help for them to gain their qualifications, but also for working members who need to continuously develop their skills and knowledge to keep up with market trends and legislative changes. The second function is to further the aims of the CII, hence the move to become part of its worldwide membership. In general terms, this is about enhancing the reputation and professionalism of the global insurance sector. “One of aims is to raise the image and professionalism of the Gibraltar market, and that will come with qualifications, professional training and interaction both with the finance centre and other institutes worldwide,” Mr Baker continued. Another function of the GII is to provide a forum for insurance professionals to interact. Some of the insurance companies in Gibraltar are run by small teams who might otherwise not have an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues active in the same sector. The GII runs a very varied

programme of events that includes a mix of both professional and social activities. It organises business breakfasts and lunches where specialists, often external speakers from others areas of the finance sector, give briefings on topical subjects. “We always aim to have high-quality, high-grade speakers,” Mr Baker said. There are also workshops and training courses run by UK firms tailored to the syllabus of the CII exams. Running these courses under the umbrella of the GII allows small firms who might otherwise to be able to afford it to access top-notch training for their staff. “We feel there is a real appetite here for professionalism, for professional qualifications,” Mr Baker said. “We’ve got an interesting mix of people. At any one of our events, you’ve the senior people at the companies, but you’ve also got a hardcore of students.” As from next year, the GII will also take steps to showcase the insurance sector to students at local schools, mainly through participation in the careers fair. While other finance-related professions such as law and accountancy attract many youngsters, few thinking of following a career in insurance. “Nobody automatically comes into insurance here,” Mr Baker said. “They go away to college, come back, they apply to be an accountant or a lawyer, but we haven’t got any graduate trainees [in insurance] in Gibraltar.” “So that’s one of our initiatives, attracting professional trainees. They can come in at A-level, they can come in as graduates.” The GII looks forward to welcoming more members both young and old going forward.

The GII was established to help bring together professionals in the insurance sector and provide a support network for training, professional development and networking. From the outset, the idea was to establish an institute in Gibraltar that would be formally linked to the CII. Mr Baker and his colleagues contacted the CII and asked what criteria and rules should be followed in setting up an institute in Gibraltar. The requirements were quite strict and included a minimum of 100 members and three years’ of financial accounts and proof that the local institute



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Business Briefs

Argus Insurance sponsors the Gibraltar National team and the Junior League Cup

Argus Insurance are proud to be the new sponsors of the Gibraltar National team and the Argus Junior Cup tournament in a deal worth up to £6,000 for the GFA. The sponsorship is all part of Argus and sister company WestMed’s continuing commitment to community projects, which lie at the heart of life in Gibraltar. As Chief Executive Tyrone Montovio says, “it goes without saying that companies should strive to give something

back to the community they work amongst. Argus not only wants to offer the best insurance solutions to our customers, we also want to give something back to them via our different community projects and charitable donations; we see this as a crucially important part of our business ethos and we hope to build on this work and this commitment through other projects we are looking at around Gibraltar.” WestMed already sponsor the Lincoln Junior team.

The sponsorship of the national team began auspiciously with the win in this summer tournament over La Balona. The Argus Junior Cup season is set to start in December. Argus also make regular charitable donations to St Martin’s School and headmistress Angela Lukas says that she appreciates wholeheartedly the help and support Argus give to her pupils. Without their help many pieces of specialist equipment just couldn’t be bought.

The Sir Joshua Hassan Lectures

A new series of lectures are launched in memory of the law firm’s illustrious founder.

Michael Howard of Lympne QC, a particularly apposite choice as he shares Sir Joshua’s history of law and political service.

James Levy QC, Hassans’ Senior Partner welcomed more than 100 guests to the Rock Hotel on October 20th to enjoy the inaugural Sir Joshua Hassan Lecture delivered by Michael Howard, former leader of the Conservative party.

James Levy began the evening’s speeches with anecdotes about Sir Joshua with particular reference to his love of the Gibraltar people. Next up was Michael Nahon, Sir Joshua’s son-in-law and Associate at Hassans, who gave a moving tribute to his father-in-law. Finally Lord Howard, accompanied by his wife Lady Sandra, shared his memories of the man who was “loved and respected in his professional, public and personal life”.

The lecture, in memory of Mr Levy’s uncle Sir Joshua – Gibraltar’s longest-serving Chief Minister and founder of the eponymous law firm – was delivered by The Rt Hon Lord


Business Briefs

Winter is here Exclusive skiing offer for Chamber members

Mountain Exposure, the leading operator of luxury chalets and apartments in Zermatt and Saas Fee, Switzerland was founded by four passionate skiers in 2006. With its head office in Zermatt, it currently employs 25 people in season. The company specialises in five-star catered and staffed chalets and penthouses. Each chalet sleeps between six and twelve people, these beautiful properties combine the benefits of one’s own exclusive space with the convenience of private staff so you can dedicate yourself to enjoying as relaxing or as active a holiday as you wish. Each property has its own gourmet chef, a host and a dedicated concierge. The pricing offers smart value for money in this category. All-inclusive prices are on a half-board basis, including cooked breakfast, tea, dinner, champagne, wines and an open bar. This year Mountain Exposure has secured the services of Michelin-starred chef Gerry Kirwan for a second season in its flagship property The Lodge. Gerry will produce gourmet dinners and breakfasts for groups of up to ten until the end of the season in April 2011. There is no other Michelin-starred chef in Zermatt. Kirwan, who, along with his wife Ann, forms a chef and host team,


comments: “We love it here in Zermatt; we are passionate about food and skiing and there is no better resort for both.” Gerry is now Executive Chef, leading our team of six world-class chefs in Zermatt and Saas Fee. Kirwan won the coveted star when he ran The Commons Restaurant in Dublin in 1993. He subsequently had his own Michelinrated restaurant in Athlone and has since worked at Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork. For those not wanting full service, Mountain Exposure also has a selection of chic and stylish self-catered properties. All guests benefit from an experienced team of concierges and resort guides who provide assistance for everything from restaurant reservations to baby-sitting.

To enjoy a luxurious holiday in Zermatt or Saas Fee this winter season please call 0845 425 2001 or email or visit for further information. As an exclusive offer, members of Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce can enjoy a fantastic offer for reservations made before the 6th of January 2011 as follows: 15% discount on our chalets in Saas Fee during 2011 (not valid for reservations in the week of the 20th - 27th February and the 3rd -10th April 2011) and a 10% discount on our chalets in Zermatt during 2011 (not valid for reservations in the week of the 20th - 27th February and the 3rd - 10th April 2011) Reference number: chgibw2011.

Business Briefs

Insurers and business attracted by new tax rate But Quinn appealed to the territory’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) to ensure that the forthcoming Solvency II legislation is not used to create a common, ‘one fits all’ approach to insurance company solvency measurements. The FSC’s strength was in knowing its client base well, and “there is a distinct difference between a regulator’s knowledge of companies in a large country with an enormous insurance market and what goes on in a smaller jurisdiction like Gibraltar”, he said.

Major multinational businesses continue to be interested in establishing insurance companies on the Rock bringing fresh revenue and jobs to the jurisdiction. They are attracted by the jurisdiction’s new 10 per cent headline rate of Corporation Tax – down from 22 per cent now. That places Gibraltar “firmly at the forefront of potential business leader’s thoughts on jurisdiction of choice”, Steve Quinn, Quest Group chairman, assured Chief Minister Peter Caruana and more than 80 guests at the opening of new offices in Ocean Village (on Wednesday 8th September). A change to Gibraltar’s draft 2010 Tax Act now means that even after the ending of Tax Exempt Companies status, interest on income arising from insurance premiums will continue to be excluded from tax calculations for all insurers, he noted. Effectively, that provides a potential further reduction in the 10 per cent Corporation Tax charge, reported Quinn, who

established Quest six years ago with accountant wife Liz and some other management staff shareholders. Now the firm claims to be the jurisdiction’s largest insurance manager of third party direct writing insurers – what he calls “proper insurance companies” – with a 25 per cent market share. “We believed in the economic success story Gibraltar had become”, Quinn declared, adding: “Now in 2010 that position has been further enhanced and we want to see more of the same”. In 2004 Quest began with one client: five of the 10 insurance companies it now handles were at the opening. Revealing a projected 20 per cent growth in business, a benchmark the company has set for itself in each year since inception, made possible by the new Grand Ocean Plaza offices, he said “overseas insurers can become established more quickly and generally at less cost in Gibraltar, compared to the usual UK experience”.

Gibraltar’s competitive edge would be blunted “by regulating all insurers across the Continent in the same way”, Quinn warned. There was also the potential for Gibraltar to become the home to billions of pounds of insurance premiums and many new jobs if the UK keeps to previous undertakings to ensure British insurers can transfer their businesses to the territory. The UK government has signalled previously that it would rectify a legislative omission that currently prevents insurers relocating their business base and portfolios to Gibraltar, when they can freely do so anywhere else in the European Economic Area (EEA). Quinn appealed to Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Peter Caruana, to help ensure the end of an anomaly in the UK Financial Services and Markets Act that fails to refer specifically to Gibraltar and take account of its special status within the EU. It would be “Gibraltar’s greatest opportunity for further sustained and sensible growth” since the advent of ‘passporting’, he told guests.

Local insurance company acquires international business in Spain and Portugal Ibex Insurance Service Ltd have announced the acquisition of the portfolio of clients of Lloyd & Whyte International Ltd a leading UK Insurance Broker. The acquisition expands Ibex’s retail brokerage division adding four more offices to its network. Founded in Gibraltar in 2000, Ibex have grown from a company with a handful of staff to one now employing more than 75

people across Gibraltar, Spain and Portugal. Their focus is on general insurance providing motor, household, travel, marine, pet and medical products.

“This acquisition is of strategic importance to Ibex and gives us a strong foothold in the Portuguese marketplace where we sell not only to the expatriate market but also to the local domestic Portuguese market. Having a physical presence in the country

has been on the cards for some time” Richard Hill, Managing Director of Ibex told B2B.

“Everyone at Ibex is really excited to welcome the Lloyd & Whyte operation and staff to their business. We have worked together for a number of years so this should be an easy integration especially as we firmly believe in the solid business they have built up over the years”.


Business Briefs

Is your IT system vunerable? Improve your Networks Security

Network security is about prevention not cure. Yet, a staggering 85% of network attacks penetrate successfully through vulnerabilities for which patches and updates have already been released. Many small and medium businesses (SMEs) fall into the trap of not taking adequate precautions because they think the threat is highly exaggerated and they do not hold any critical data. While it is true that high profile security breaches involve the unauthorised release of confidential data, the reality is that most systems are not compromised for the data they contain but for other purposes such as being used as zombies in large scale attacks and even to send SPAM. A common misconception is that hackers spend their days typing credentials into log in screens until they guess it right. In fact, most attacks are performed using automated tools which exploit known


vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications. A “dictionary” attack can bombard a password field with thousands of dictionary words at the click of a button. The threats to network security are numerous and relentless; keeping abreast of them is no easy task that requires a thorough approach and in depth technical knowledge. Network security is not available as a single product. Instead it is about combining multiple security elements, such as antivirus products, firewalls, internal policies, etc. into multiple layers of defence. It is critical to secure all possible loopholes – it is no good having a well configured firewall if network account passwords are simple dictionary words. Best security practices involve a combination of both technical controls and logical processes. It is easy for bad

processes to undermine otherwise excellent products and vice versa, good practices can compensate for shortcomings in bad products. At the network level, the following are some of the security elements that form the basis of a good security defence: • Updated and patched systems • An antivirus solution with up-to-date definitions • Properly configured firewall • Use of complex passwords • Intrusion detection systems • Good internal security practices Many SMEs incorrectly believe that good security finishes with installing a firewall and an antivirus product. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. Virus attacks represent only a small part of many other security threats, e.g. malware, insider attacks, reckless web surfing by employees and even multifunctional printers. For example, unless configured properly a networked printer is just another potential route for hackers to get in!

Business Briefs

Hassans once again delighted to be ranked in Tier No 1 border deals; and the quality of their client service not simply those with the most or biggest deals. The guide ranks only corporate and financial law firms at the top of their profession in over 120 jurisdictions, and identifies the individual lawyers with the best track records for advising in each practice area. Hassans notable practitioners mentioned in this particular year are Nigel Feetham, Lewis Baglietto, Fabian Picardo and John Restano. Hassans’ peers told B2B “The firm have led the jurisdiction in many cases, a fine outfit” with another commenting “We see the firm working with some of the biggest players in the market across the globe, they are definitely our biggest rivals.” Clients of Hassans comment “They provide us with excellent work on transactions, whenever we use them. They are always great to have on side and [are] commercially aware,” says one.

Hassans international law firm is once again delighted to be ranked in Tier No 1 in the independent directory, IFLR1000, 2011. Its standalone position further strengthens the firms’ reputation, expertise and quality of service to clients.

Law firm recommendations in the directory are made on the basis of face-to-face and telephone interviews with leading in-house counsel and private-practice lawyers. The highest ranked firms are those perceived by clients and competitors to be the strongest in terms of their capacity for innovation; their ability to advise on complex, cross-

Managing Partner, Javier Chincotta told B2B “This endorsement from our clients via the guide gives us a sense of pride and achievement in a time when the global economy is not at its best. We are thrilled to once again receive the ranking of No.1 in Gibraltar, this not only gives a boost to firm morale, but is also an opportunity to thank our most valued clients who provided feedback and client testimonials for us on an anonymous basis.”

EFPG elected members of Society of Pension Consultants

Local financial advisers European Financial Planning Group have been elected to membership of the prestigious Society of Pensions Consultants. The Society of Pensions Consultants is the representative body for a wide range of providers of advice and services to work-based pension schemes and to their sponsors. The Society’s Members’ profile is a key strength and includes accounting firms, solicitors, life offices, investment houses, investment performance measurers, consultants and

actuaries, independent trustees and external pension administrators. The Society is the only body to focus on the whole range of pension related services across the private pensions sector and through such a wide spread of providers of advice and services. They do not represent any particular type of provision or any one interested body or group. Many thousands of individuals and pension funds use the services of one or more of SPC’s Members, including the overwhelming majority of the 500 largest UK pension funds.



Take a closer look... a vibrant destination that combines the

spirit of the Mediterranean with British Tradition. For information call: GIBRALTAR TOURIST BOARD

UK: +44 (0)20 7836 0777 Gibraltar: +350 20074950

People on the Move

Hassans’ lawyers admitted to BVI Bar

Hassans announces that two of its practitioners, Ian Felice and Richard Buttigieg, have been admitted to the Bar of the British Virgin Islands. At a ceremony held at the BVI Supreme Court on 26th October 2010 before Justice Indra Hariprashad-Charles, Felice and Buttigieg were formally admitted to practise as Barristers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the Territory of the Virgin Islands. This in effect means that both Felice and Buttigieg can advise on all matters relating to BVI law and appear in court in this Caribbean territory. In explaining the background to the decision to seek admission to the BVI Bar, Felice, a Partner in Hassans’ Corporate and Commercial Team, told B2B “For some time now, a number of our clients had intimated to us their desire for Hassans to be able to advise and assist them on BVI matters with the same level of expertise and dedication as we do on their Gibraltar matters. Given the many synergies between BVI and Gibraltar structures and the wide-spread use of BVI trusts and companies in international commercial transactions, it was felt that being able to deliver a BVI service would complement the work currently done by the Corporate and Commercial Team, allowing it the flexibility to assist our clients not just with the Gibraltar angle of the transactions but also now with their BVI structures.”

The admission of Felice and Buttigieg to the BVI Bar increases the number of lawyers at Hassans able to advise on BVI law to four. Tony Provasoli and Fabian Picardo were previously admitted to the BVI Bar in 2003. Managing Partner Javier Chincotta said “We are delighted to announce the Admission of Ian Felice and Richard Buttigieg to the BVI Bar. Hassans is always sensitive to its clients’ needs and there had

been much insistence by a number of our clients that we should increase our ability to service their BVI structures. Ian and Richard have wide experience in international commercial transactions featuring Gibraltar and BVI entities and their Admission to the BVI Bar allows the firm to enhance its client services on these transactions.”

Norwich and Peterborough estate agents move back to Cannon Lane under new ownership

Norwich and Peterborough estate agents have moved back to their old home at Cannon Lane after the business was bought by local Chartered Surveyors Paul Gibson and Nicholas Gale. Now trading as NP estates, the agency will offer a comprehensive residential and commercial property management service alongside the lettings core business. The office in Cannon Lane will be managed by Sheelagh Welsh. Gibson and Gale will

continue to run their independent valuation practices but will work closely with the agency with a view to a full merger within the next 12 months. Samantha Hemingway at the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society who has over-seen the lettings business from the branch in Main Street says that she “is confident that under the new management the business will expand quickly to reach its full potential”.


People on the Move

European Financial Planning Group move to new town centre location

Local financial adviser firm European Financial Planning Group – EFPG – will soon be moving from their current home in Corral Road to larger, more centrally located, premises at 15, Irish Town. The move is a result of the rapid expansion the company has seen since it commenced its Gibraltar operation in 2004. Paul Garner, Sales Director told B2B that “when we moved into Corral Road we envisaged steady expansion and possibly a move to larger premises within 10 years but such has been our rate of growth that an earlier move has become necessary. The fact that we have been able to secure premises in a great central location with the convenience that this offers to our clients is an additional bonus.” EFPG provides advice to both individuals and companies on all areas of financial planning including life cover, pensions and

investments. Changes in the tax treatment of pension arrangements and the growing need for private pension provision has increased the demand for advice in this area. “Uniquely in Gibraltar we have a specialist team of Pensions Advisers who have an enviable depth of knowledge in this particularly technical area of financial planning.” says EFPG Technical Director Anthony Drew.“ This expertise was recognised earlier this year when EFPG became the first overseas firm to be appointed to the prestigious Society of Pensions Consultants in the UK.” Paul Garner adds that, “we have also seen a greater recognition in Gibraltar of the need to financially protect the dependants of a bread winner should death or serious illness occur... which has resulted in a significant increase in demand for Term Assurance and Critical Illness Cover policies which we are

able to arrange with leading UK life insurance companies at very competitive rates.” Looking to the future, Tom Fraser CEO of EFPG says that the new growth area for EFPG in 2011 will be the provision of investment advice: “We will be tackling this head on and have recruited advisers with expert knowledge in the investments field. EFPG provides a real alternative with our focus on personal service – understanding what our clients really want from their investments and the level of risk (if any) they are willing to take.” EFPG expects to move to its new Irish Town HQ during December and looks forward to welcoming clients both new and current. The website address and main telephone number remain as and 200 49750 respectively. E-mails can be addressed to

Handle with care Confidential payroll services The payroll is often a sensitive and complex area in most companies. Our payroll service ensures confidentiality. We will prepare the payroll, provide payslips, maintain and submit insurance and tax returns and deal with the relevant Government departments. We will review your compliance with the new tax legislation and provide you with specialist advice.

For more information, call Joseph L Caruana or Stephen J Reyes on: Tel: +350 200 41200, Nightline: +350 200 48282, Fax: +350 200 41201 Merchant House, 22/24 John Mackintosh Square, P.O. Box 758, Gibraltar © 2010 Deloitte Limited. Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited


People on the Move

Hassans new recruits

Law firm Hassans welcomed seven new recruits last month, an encouraging sign of growth against the backdrop of a challenging global economic climate. Three trainee solicitors, Harriet Rhoda, Piers Barber and David Borge and four barristers, Albert Agius, Stephen Noguera, Matthew Torres and Joelle Wahnon will work in a variety of departments, including property, litigation, tax, and commercial. Gibraltar’s largest law firm remains committed to its expansion by tapping into the talent available in the local community; all but one of the successful recruits spent time in the firm’s highly popular and

successful ‘Summer Placement Programme’. Hassans was the first outside the UK to be accredited by the Law Society of England and Wales to offer training contracts to aspiring solicitors. As Managing Partner, Javier Chincotta commented: “We are committed to continual professional development and training. Our goal is to recruit exceptionally talented people who will stay with us and who want to become partners in our continuing success story. The new recruits are talented and dedicated and will bring new skills to the firm, which all our clients can benefit from”.

Barclays Premier League trophy visits the Rock

Proudly displaying Chelsea’s colours on its handles the instantly recognisable trophy visited Gibraltar in September under the guard of Liverpool legend Ian Rush. During its four-day tour, the trophy called in at a very excited Rainbow Children’s Ward at St. Bernard’s hospital then wound its way around the Rock via schools and the Junior Football league selections to the Barclays Wealth community day at the Barclays branch on Main Street where a superb £916 was raised for the GBC open day charity. Barclays Wealth clients – as well as taking part in a mini- football tournament at the Victoria Stadium – were also treated to dinner with Ian Rush. There are no reports as to what the trophy had to eat, but B2B hears an excellent time was had by all. picture by Donovan Torres

Did you know? The design of the trophy is based on the theme of the three lions of English football. Two of the lions can be found above the handles on either side of the trophy; then, when the captain of the title winning team raises the trophy – and its gold crown – above his head at the end of the season, he becomes the third lion.

Is our Library fit for purpose? “Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation, as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn”. Reading is, and always will be part of our daily lives; yesterday, today and tomorrow: be it books, newspapers or magazines, be it on-line, at home or on the train, so surely our Library must be fit for purpose?

Spending £50 million on an airport terminal comes with its own pros, cons, fans and critics, but one thing that rankles with a lot of people is whilst money is being spent lavishly on this, and other capital projects, the public library at John Mackintosh Hall languishes in what can only be described as semi-squalid conditions. Leaking roofs go unrepaired. Books – the source of inspiration and joy to so many of us – lie abandoned, unloved and mouldy. Tumbleweed and the valiant library assistant are the only occupants whenever we visit. The situation isn’t just crass, it’s an assault on the rights of a public who are entitled to free and easy


access to information, literature and social interaction. Indeed, everything a library these days should deliver. Library provision is one of the central tenets of a modern society, with its attendant – crucial – work in education and the development of the lives of our youngsters. As we go to press we learn that new computer terminals have been installed. It’s a start, but we hope that someone somewhere – whether it be at the John Mackintosh Trust, at the Ministry of Culture or indeed at No. 6 – has a bigger, grander plan up their sleeves demonstrating just how our library will be made fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Moving our banking to NatWest was a great decision for us.

The Bank's offering and our dedicated relationship team, has provided BFA with

the excellent customer service we were looking for and I would happily recommend them.

Brian Francis, BFA Group

Corporate Banking At NatWest, every one of our financial intermediaries and corporate customers benefit from a dedicated, professional and highly trained relationship manager who works in partnership with our specialist teams across the business. Their role is to gain a genuine understanding of your business and identify the right solutions to suit your needs. To find out how we can help your business, please contact: Marvin Cartwright Head, Corporate & Financial Institutions T: 200 72790 E:

Gerald Rodriguez Director, Treasury & Investor Solutions T: 200 51926 E:

The Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited trading as NatWest (NatWest). Registered Office: P.O. Box 64, Royal Bank House, 71 Bath Street, St. Helier, Jersey JE4 8PJ. Regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. Business address: PO Box 11, 16 Library Place, St Helier, Jersey, JE4 8NH. NatWest is the registered business name of The Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited under the Business Names Registration Act. Gibraltar business address: National Westminster House, PO Box 707, 57 Line Wall Road, Gibraltar. Regulated and authorised by the Financial Services Commission, Gibraltar to undertake Banking and Investment Business from 57 and 55 Line Wall Road and 1 Corral Road, Gibraltar. Our services are not offered to any person in any jurisdiction where their advertisement, offer or sale is restricted or prohibited by law or regulation or where we are not appropriately licensed. NatWest is a member of the Gibraltar Deposit Guarantee Scheme as set out in the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Act 1997 and Deposit Guarantee Scheme (Amendment) Act 2009. Calls may be recorded. Internet e-mails are not necessarily secure as information might be intercepted, lost or destroyed. Please do not e-mail any account or other confidential information.

Built on solid foundations A full service international law firm, offering tailor-made services and advice to help you meet your objectives, since 1982 For further information contact: Portland House Glacis Road PO Box 204 Gibraltar Tel +350 200 78363

B2B Vol.8 No.2  

B2B in Gibraltar

B2B Vol.8 No.2  

B2B in Gibraltar