The chief executive officer for Barclays Wealth & Investment Management in India was recently invited to Gibraltar for an insightful panel discussion on the subject of enhancing trade links with India.
Satya Bansal, the Mumbai-based CEO, was the guest of honour at the event hosted by Barclays in Gibraltar, held at the Garrison Library.
The panel discussion was facilitated by Dominique Searle, editor at the Gibraltar Chronicle and Mr Bansal was joined by panelists, the Hon Joe Bossano, Minister for Enterprise, Training and Employment; Subash Malkani, Vice President and Finance Director at Finsbury Trust; and Peter Montegriffo, Partner at Hassans.
The aim of the event was to enable industry experts to share their knowledge and experiences and to discuss mutual business opportunities between India and Gibraltar, followed by refreshments and Indian entertainment while guests mixed and networked.
Mr Bansal told B2B India is unique to the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as it is the only country which was a member of the Commonwealth and whose parliamentary and court proceedings are carried out in English.
Minister Bossano recently attended conferences in Brazil, China and India, and is due to visit Russia in the near future.
He said: “[The government’s] view is that it is this group of countries which are going to be the leading countries in the future – the growth in activity and creation of wealth will come from there.
“We can see the possibility of attracting investments and high net-worth individuals to use Gibraltar as a stepping stone for European Markets.”
Mr Bansal considers education as the driving force which will keep the Indian economy growing, and is the key to attracting global investors to India.
Mr Bansal added: “The biggest asset for India is its talent pool.”
The past 10 years have seen an increase in investments in India to improve infrastructure. The introduction of a new investment channel referred to as Qualified Foreign Investors (QFI) launched by the Indian government has eased additional investments in Indian equities and debt instruments from foreign investors, and there are already several companies in Gibraltar with links in India.
Mr Montegriffo said Gibraltar entities might be able to work in India through philanthropic bodies, and money that is generated in Gibraltar could be spent in India. He also called for Gibraltar to be used as a hub for businesses.
He said: “Given that we are English-speaking, common law based and share historical links with the UK, we are an excellent alternative for the holding and structuring of wealth and succession arrangements for successful Indian families.”
Mr Malkani said more has to be done to make investors aware of Gibraltar alongside other centres such as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
Following the event, Mr Bansal said: “There are two things we need to consider here, and that is wealthy Indian families investing in Gibraltar as a gateway to Europe; and the other is having people of Indian origin living in Gibraltar investing in India.
“Of course, this event has helped open the doors of communication between India and Gibraltar.”
The event was deemed a great success and a fantastic opportunity for Barclays to give clients an insight into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Franco Cassar, Country Manager for Barclays in Gibraltar, said: “First of all, I’d like to say a big thank you to the panelists for getting involved; and Satya for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit Gibraltar. The discussion was thought-provoking and insightful, and this was a great event for our clients looking towards the BRIC countries for trade links.”
Barclays Gibraltar would like to thank clients for attending the event; the panelists and Vikram Nagrani for their involvement; the staff and management at the Garrison Library; Sound Reinforcement; Laziz; Chocolahhh…; and Mehek’s Dance Group for providing the entertainment.