The smaller finance centres of the world,and Gibraltar ranks amongst them, are extremely competitive. There are more than are needed and, in the post credit crunch world, there is even less financial services business to go around. Finding an edge is important but it is more important to meet the minimum requirement that is expected of them. We meet many but not all. We constantly pretend to ourselves that we are the best. If we were we would be the biggest: that is far from the truth.
Two areas that need attention are, efficiency and the court system.
Gibraltar has major competitors that roll out the carpet and give a speedy and great welcome to potential investors. Gibraltar fails at this. Gibraltar needs to become not only more welcoming but also more efficient. The resources that Government provide to what is a major contributor to the economy are insufficient. This should be improved. Gibraltar will reap the benefits.
As to the courts, whilst they work well (and it could be a lot better) at a domestic level, there is no doubt that for international financial and commercial disputes they are not as efficient as is needed. This is not down to the quality but to the quantity of judges and registry staff. It is not enough.
The word in London amongst influential members of the legal profession, including Queens Counsel, is that if you have business in Gibraltar write into your contracts an "arbitration in London" clause. This does little for our reputation and even less for our economy: not only does it stop international financial and commercial business setting up in Gibraltar, in the first place, but it also means that lucrative dispute resolution business is lost to London.
It is neither difficult or expensive to put these things right. The huge benefits will quickly far outweigh the cost. Why, then, the reticence to make the investment?