The 3a Global network welcomes new member on board: 3a Gibraltar

The following is an interview with Marc X. Ellul, managing director at Ellul & Co., 3a Gibraltar. The interview was conducted by 3a Global’s marketing team led by Ray de Bono of

Marc X. Ellul

Managing Director Ellul & Co.
3a Gibraltar

About 3a’s Gibraltar representatives:

Established in 1973, 3a Global newest member is one of Gibraltar’s leading law firms, Ellul & Co. Ellul & Co, are well-respected both locally and internationally, and have built a trusted reputation for providing practical and effective legal solutions. This firm’s practice areas include: Fintech (Blockchain, ICOs & Cryptocurrency), Corporate & Commercial work, Company Management, Admiralty & Shipping, Yacht Registration, Ship Registration, Yacht & Ship Financing, Gibraltar Residence, Funds, Trusts, Property & Conveyancing, Notarial Service, Wills & Probate, Family Law, Employment, Litigation and in advising small businesses.

About Gibraltar:

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of Spain. It has an area of 6.7km2 (2.6 sq mi) and is bordered to the north by Spain. There are some 30,000 inhabitants and the economy is dominated by four main sectors: financial services, online gambling, shipping,and tourism, which includes duty-free retail sales to visitors.

The Interview:

Q1. Your firm has a long standing reputation in Gibraltar; it enjoys a diverse client base, ranging from private individuals to major international companies, banks and businesses. How do you see 3a Global membership further strengthening your office’s business reach?

In business, you quickly realise that you cannot do everything on your own. I have found that my firm has benefitted from cooperating with other professionals both locally and internationally. 3a has a network of trusted and quality professionals across a range of jurisdictions that can all help to support each other.

Different members have their own specialist areas of expertise which member firms can tap into. This helps all of us improve and provide a better service to our clients.

As a part of 3a, we have the opportunity to learn about each firm’d area of expertise which will give us the confidence to work together with other members and to refer our clients. All of this makes 3a network members stronger and better able to help our clients.

Q2. With Gibraltar geopolitics – being part of the UK yet having its own constitution and taxation system - one cannot but raise the question of Brexit during such an interview; are you expecting any downturns in some sectors as a result of this development?

The truth is that we do not expect any significant impact, if at all. Our Government conducted a study late last year in this regard and found that 92% of our financial
services and gaming business was directly with the UK. We already have political agreement with the UK Government to have a common market between the UK and Gibraltar so this 92% of business is secure.

Our common market with the UK will not depend upon any Brexit deal. In the event of a “hard” Brexit where EU financial services firms could not passport their services
into the UK and vice versa, Gibraltar could become a gateway into the UK market. It could even benefit our economy.

In fact, we have already seen a Maltese insurance company moving its operations to Gibraltar because its customers are UK-based and they want guaranteed access to
the UK market. It is also true that we have seen a Gibraltar insurance company moving to Gibraltar because it has mainly EU customers and wants to guarantee
access to the EU.

So the net effect of “hard” Brexit for Gibraltar could well be neutral or, at worst, very small.

Q3. How well placed is Gibraltar to sustain the repercussions of the UK’s departure from the EU?

Gibraltar is very well-placed. Our agreement to with the UK Government to have a common market between Gibraltar and the UK guarantees, at least, 92% of our financial services and gaming business.

Gibraltar has also been very quick to embrace blockchain business and is already one of the world leaders in the crypto space. Gibraltar was the first place in the world to introduce a comprehensive framework to regulate any blockchain business. This has been in effect since 2nd January 2018 and we currently have several businesses going through the regulatory process. Several crypto exchanges, for example, have applied for licenses, including big names like EToro, Coinfloor and CEX. We will also be the first jurisdiction to introduce legislation to regulate token sales (ICOs). These are expected by the end of June 2018.

The Brexit point is that none of the crypto- and blockchain-related work depends upon us being in the EU and we are not passporting any services.

The interest in Gibraltar in this area is phenomenal. My firm is representing two crypto exchanges which are applying for licenses and have already conducted several token sales. One of the most high profile ones done by us is which is owned by the co-founder of (a top 15 cryptocurrency). The Gibraltar Company, Proximax Limited, has conducted a Gibraltar law compliant token sale (adhering to very high standards and full AML on contributors) through my firm.

Picture Caption: Strategically located between Africa and Europe, at the straights that lead from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean, Gibraltar is a long held British possession with an exciting economy.

Q4. Are you one of those who sees Brexit as an opportunity for Gibraltar’s economy?

We never wanted Brexit in Gibraltar and we voted by 96% to remain. Nevertheless, we are where we are and we have managed to create opportunities for ourselves. I think it would have been better to remain in the EU but we will continue to do well and I suspect even better due to 92% of our high level business with the UK being secured and the positive impact of our world leading crypto-friendly laws.

Q5. Family law and Succession Planning are major subjects for 3a Global; with over 70% of Europe’s businesses (especially in 3a member states) being family-owned, this sector is poised for growth challenges and further sophistication. Where do you see Ellul & Co bridging its talent with that of the 3a network in places like Malta, Cyprus and the Czech Republic?

We can offer the whole Gibraltar product range, which includes Trusts, Purpose Trusts and low tax residence for high net worth individuals.

Q6. A number of 3a Global members, notably Malta, are seeing an increase in enquiries about Fintech – Blockchain‚ Token Sales (ICOs) & Crypto currencies; Ellul & Co. are already well versed in these areas. How do you see your affiliation with 3a Global helping in this regard?

We can help 3a members with our knowledge and expertise and also in bringing blockchain businesses to Gibraltar. We were the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce a comprehensive framework to regulate blockchain businesses. Gibraltar has an international reputational for being a world class place to locate your regulated DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) business.

You can learn more from our firm’s Fintech brochure:

“Apart from our good lifestyle, weather and excellent regulation, this easy connectivity makes us an attractive location to relocate to and we have been very successful in attracting talent in the gaming sector”

Marc Ellul
3a Gibraltar

Q7. One of the most difficult challenges affecting small professional firms (SPFs) in Europe right now is recruitment; it is hard to find qualified talent. This lack of HR is a pain that affects growth. Being based in Gibraltar, with a small population, how do you manage where talent is concerned? How do you see that your firm’s 3a Global membership can help you in this regard?

We do have difficulties in this area, but no more than anywhere else. We have been remarkably successful in attracting talent in the gaming sector. We have world-class gaming companies in Gibraltar including the likes of William Hill, Bet 365, Ladbrokes, BWin, and others. Although Gibraltar is small we are connected to Europe via a land frontier with Spain. Apart from our good lifestyle, weather and excellent regulation, this easy connectivity makes us an attractive location to relocate to and we have been very successful in attracting talent in the gaming sector, for example.

Having said that, some firms do not always find it easy to recruit the right people. This can leave some gaps in knowledge and services. Having access to the 3a network will allow us access to centres of knowledge and excellence throughout the group which is an absolute positive and a fantastic resource for member firms. You cannot underestimate the value of being able to work with and refer clients to specialist and trusted colleagues.

Q8. Gaming is a strong sector in Gibraltar as it is in Cyprus and Malta; what are Gibraltar’s strengths in this sector? How do you see Ellul & Co. growing in this respect through its 3a’s membership in this regard?

We are different in Gibraltar in that our Government took the decision many years ago to only license the top well-established operators. We also decided to have very high standards of regulation. The policy has paid dividends with Gibraltar being recognised as the premier gaming jurisdiction.

The downside of this policy is that it is practically impossible to obtain a license for a gaming startup whereas Malta, for example, does welcome quality startups in this area.

We can assist established gaming clients of 3a members to become licensed in Gibraltar. On the other hand, enquiries for startup gaming companies can be referred to Mala, for example, as they are unlikely to be granted a license in Gibraltar.

Q9. What's in it for 3a Gibraltar?

There are different types of 3a Global memberships and 3a Gibraltar opted to retain its own brand identity while aligning itself weigh the network on all other levels. As 3a Gibraltar’s representatives, Ellul & Co. will benefit from the 3a Global’s knowledge sharing facilities as well 3a’s extensive communications, like social media and email marketing. Ellul & Co. will now start sharing in the business opportunities generated by the 3a Global network, facilitating not only knowledge but also skills and talent sharing across the various European members.

Watch this space for more updates about 3a Gibraltar.

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News Details

Last Updated
30th of May 2018 01:42 PM

Jonathan Galea