‘No dwindling, no crumbling’, says Isola on Brexit business impact
The Minister for Financial Services Albert Isola has rejected any suggestion that the number of financial service firms in Gibraltar is “dwindling” as a result of Brexit, even while acknowledging that leaving the EU will have an impact.
In a recent question and answer session of Parliament Mr Isola said a small number of firms had to foreseeably make alternative arrangements due to the loss of access to the single market.
But he said Gibraltar has adapted its offering and will “work twice as hard” to target further business from the UK.
In answer to GSD questions Mr Isola predicated his answer by underscoring that the Government had secured the “extraordinary and unique” facility of access into the UK for the Rock’s financial service firms.
“This is quite incredible when you come and meet people from other countries around the world who would kill to have that sort of access,” he said.
He said that 92% of Gibraltar’s financial service business is conducted with the UK and the remaining 8% of firms that did rely on access to the European Union have had to make alternative arrangements.
“What has happened between 2016 and today is those firms that are impacted upon by Brexit and will lose access to the single market like they will in the UK had to make alternative arrangements.”
“It would be irresponsible in the extreme if they haven’t,” he said.
Asked about the “dwindling” presence of these firms in Gibraltar, Mr Isola denied this was the case even as he conceded there had been consequences of Brexit.
He said: “There is no dwindling and there is no crumbling but there have been consequences of Brexit, of course there have, let’s not hide from the reality it has impacted some of our businesses.”
“Is there going to be less [businesses] than the ones before, absolutely.”
“We have to work twice as hard to ensure that we get more business from the UK, our natural market, to more than make up for that 8%.”
In this regard he highlighted the Government’s business development campaign – Think business, think Gibraltar – which launched in London at the end of last year.
The campaign aims to increase awareness of and attract new businesses to Gibraltar. It sees personnel from Gibraltar Finance travel monthly to the capital city targeting fund managers, law, accounting and insurance firms.