Thursday, 14 January 2010

Finance Centre - but not the Best!

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?

9 comments:

  1. This Government has done a tremendous amount of work for the sector in particular the finance centre. We should be grateful for their efforts and hardwor

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  2. That is right but there is more to be done ... that is all that this blog says ... lets get everything right ...its not difficult others have.

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  3. In what manner has the court system need to change so that outsiders no longer deem it necessary to include the 'arbitration in London' clause?

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  4. The answer is in the blog; "This is not down to the quality but to the quantity of judges and registry staff". The refurbishment of existing courts and building of new courts will resolve physical lack of space. There is a need to ensure that the necessary number and quality of human resources are made available.

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  5. I can detect someone here is being too polite...

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  6. What do you mean by 'I can detect someone here is being too polite'. Obviously you know something I don't. Please expand on this point

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  7. Agreed, what is it that is too polite?

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  8. Gosh Llanito World ... you must be a lawyer!

    If everyone here comments as anonymous its going to get really confusing

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  9. Credit where credit is due. The foundation and initial growth of the finance centre was built by lawyers. The catalyst continues to be lawyers, although it has grown sufficiently to have inherent natural growth. Efficiency in all areas is necessary for its success; as it matures there will be greater need for dispute resolution. This is the experience of other more mature centres. The court system is part of that resolution infrastructure: without efficiency and sophistication in the court system the integrity of the finance centre will be compromised and Gibraltar's economy will suffer causing adverse repercussion to a much wider circle than just the legal profession. Let us leave such petty jealousies to one side and be more mature and considerate of all those employed in the finance centre and its ability to absorb those Gibraltarians who are increasingly improving their academic and professional qualifications. This must be the ambition of any sophisticated society especially Gibraltar's that so properly and generously funds further education to a degree no longer seen in most countries.

    Comments, whether anonymous or not, are most welcome. There is so much need for free comment in Gibraltar that the "free" press so much avoids or is so stilted in its propagandist way.

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