“It will be difficult to forget that first Friday after the referendum result: markets plunging, communities divided, the mainstream media in sensationalist overdrive, ordinary people at best confused, at worst, gripped by a sense of real panic. For Gibraltarians and others who live and work here, to a man and woman, we all, in an instant, had precisely the same thought: What will Spain do next?
The intervening weeks have allowed the raw emotions and sensations of that day to become dulled, and the fact of Brexit to come, perhaps naively, to seem as unimpactful as it will be inevitable. But it’s really only a lull – perhaps a long one but a lull nonetheless – before the legislative, regulatory, commercial and lifestyle storm that potentially lies ahead for the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and the rest of the European Union. We need to see how the interaction between the grand old powers of Europe plays out during that time before we can truly assess the impact of this decision.
The Monday after Brexit I came into the office after a weekend of unparalleled mulling, called all the staff together and asked a simple question: Which of your clients will be impacted, directly or indirectly, by Brexit? After some humming and hawing, the answer was just as simple: zero; and then there was an immediate palpable sense of breath being drawn and released. For Abacus, at least for now and for any future under Brexit that is foreseeable, it’s impact will hopefully be negligible.
For sure, there are many other challenges for our business to come to terms with in a global context (CRS, FATCA and the like) but it was pleasing to note that, hopefully hubris aside, Brexit isn’t one of them. Whatever the outcomes, I’m certain we’ll be able to call on a deep, atavistic instinct that has allowed us not merely to survive but to flourish.
Whether the French, Germans, Luxembourgers and others like it or not, we are all Brexiteers now. It will be one interesting ride.”