Brexodus? UK’s loss is Malta’s gain.

November 15th 2018 turned out to be somewhat of a Rubicon moment for Theresa May.  After a late Cabinet session to roll out the Brexit “deal”, there came a day of major political upheaval.  A number of her Cabinet chose to resign and yet, despite many commentators claiming she would follow suit, she stood firm.

As things stand, the only certain thing is uncertainty.  The markets are jittery and many businesses are now looking for a bolt hole in which they can relocate within the EU.

Malta is proving to be an extremely popular choice for British citizens and companies looking for such relocation.  With its cosmopolitan culture, excellent climate and accommodating legislative framework it’s easy to understand why 704 British nationals have made residency applications in the first 10 months of 2018.

Affinity offers a full suite of services for both the Maltese Individual Investor Programme (“IIP”) and the Malta Residence & Visa Programme (“MRVP”)

Full details of this can be found on our web page here.

A very British (i.e. rainy) summers day…..

With Storm Ali bearing down on the North West of England, I was lucky to actually escape the Isle of Man on Wednesday. Reaching Manchester on the first leg of the trip it became evident that Ronaldsway had since succumbed to Ali and was closed to all flight traffic, something we refer to as “Island life”..

Onward then to Southampton to visit the Show for the first time in two years.  The Captain wasn’t very upbeat about the weather for our arrival and he was proven right.  As we bounced towards the runway it was apparent that even in Southampton it was blowing a bit of a “hoolie”.

As the taxi pulled up outside the Grand Harbour Hotel, the  first thing I noticed was the absence of the usual Sunseeker model sat on the roundabout.  That was a bit of a sign of things to come.

On entering the Show, it did seem somewhat flat.  This could have been down to the weather, the rain now coming horizontally at this point, or that the Show had been on for a good few days already so had perhaps started to wrap up. Alas myself and the other enthusiasts zipped up our jackets, donned our waterproof loafers and braced the elements.

In terms of manufacturers, the usual big British players were there with Princess and Sunseeker representing the motor side, Oyster and Gunfleet on the sail side.  On the subject of Oyster it was good to see them back with a strong team presence after their recent travails.  Things do look bright for them, which was in stark contrast to the increasingly leaden skies above!

It was also interesting to note that Sunseeker’s usual looming behemoth of a stand was much more subtle this time around.  All of their yachts were on the water from what I could see.  This could have been the same last year of course as I wasn’t there; but it was a big change from the last time I had been down.

Two main topics kept cropping up as I spoke with people; Brexit and Malta leasing.  I was much more informed on the latter as opposed to the former but does anyone really know what is happening with Brexit? What is clear is that the fall out from a hard Brexit will have a significant impact on the domestic yachting industry both in terms of sales and construction/refit.

After a lot of dockwalking, I damply headed off away from the Show to shelter from the gales .

Next stop, Monaco; hopefully with slightly better weather.

Down the rabbit hole…….

It was with some degree of trepidation that I attended my first ever e-gaming event as part of the Affinity team.  iGB Live is an amalgamation of three previous events, the iGaming Super Show, EiG and Amsterdam Affiliate Conference.  It took place at the RAI Arena in Amsterdam from the 17th – 20th July 2018.

As a seasoned boat show attendee, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect given the fast paced nature of the gaming industry, but being on the IOM E Gaming stand I felt I was in good hands.  I was accompanied by my colleague Alex Gardner who proved invaluable in guiding me through this brave new world.

The stand we were on was tucked away in one of the corners of the arena, away from most the hullaballoo of the big gaming company stands; and was probably better placed for that.  It allowed us to have some good discussions with potential clients and also the other stand partners.  As well as ourselves, there were stand partners representing payment platform providers, Datacentres, VAT/Tax advisors as well as the IOM GSC.  This provided a one stop shop of advice for potential license holders and really proved how the Isle of Man is well positioned as a centre of excellence for this industry.

Walking around the arena in awe I never ceased to be amazed at the variety of ways that the exhibitors tried to stand out of the crowd.  The usual big hitters were in attendance, with one exhibitor’s Ice Cream truck a highlight for me personally!  There were performers that stretched the imagination, transformer robots and endless food, drink and freebie giveaways.  I was a long way from the sensibilities of dock walking at the Monaco Yacht Show!

What is evident is that this is an ever changing industry.  There were a number of interesting “Dragons’ Den” style pitches in an open forum event, particularly looking at using Blockchain technology in a gaming/gambling environment.

From a company perspective we obtained a good number of leads which we are now following up.  We are continuing to develop our e-gaming and cryptocurrency offerings both on the Isle of Man and in Malta.

The next event for us of this nature is ICE London which is on the 5-7 February 2019 at Excel.  I’m told this one is bigger and wilder than iGB!

In the meantime it’s back to more familiar territory for me with the Southampton and Monaco Yacht Shows in September.  I’ll have fond memories of Amsterdam though, and look forward to continuing on my e-gaming journey with Affinity.

EIG, The Brandenberg Gate and Check Point Charlie…..

Late October/Early November has become one of my favourite times of the year over the last three years, which is slightly unusual bearing in mind how inclement the weather can be on the Isle of Man that time of year….

The reason for the “love” of EIG is two fold, firstly it is in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Europe, and secondly outside of the annual trip to ICE, one of the leading gaming events on the calendar so it has a great deal to offer.

In terms of the show this year, I took a different tack on my approach of the past, and went for a shorter trip and walked the show to ensure maximum use of the time. The things I particularly like about EIG is that by being organised before I go, I can get round the operators in good time and due to our strength of brand and capability in the industry we get really strong traction.

The time spent taking this approach this year, was even more beneficial in that the show was quieter. However, the quality of attendee high due to the higher cost of attendance (something other shows could learn from).

It is the last EIG before the show amalgamates with AAC and the supershow. From a personal perspective this show has gone out on a high and whilst I will miss the architectural beauty of Berlin next autumn, the new version of the show will be one I very much look forward to…

Andrew Morgan, Director


Monaco Yacht Show, 6 shows in and STILL a conundrum….

Having just returned from another Monaco yacht show, I arrived at the office trying to answer the question as to what the show had provided this year versus previous years and whether it had added value for the business, plus what would we do differently in future….quite a conundrum for the start of an autumnal week in the Isle of Man…..

By way of background, I attended my first show in 2003 had a gap until 2011 and only missed 2016 as I was “on a break” from the industry, so by my basic arithmetic 6 shows! Does this make me a “seasoned “attendee? I will leave that decision to the reader.

In short, the answer to the question as to whether the show adds value, clearly has to be yes. We are already quoting for business from the show, and have a whole host of follow ups from meetings and catch up with friends and clients e.g. this was a good show!!

The question I ask myself more and more at Monaco is, how many deals are done at the show and how many are done in the (many) bars and restaurants outside the gates of the show, and I do think this dynamic has changed in the last 10 years, and was more and more evident this year having had a break in 2016.

Without question, the show is a great one. The sheer visual “feast” of eye catching content takes time to take in, even for the most seasoned attendee and to walk around the yachts is still a joy this many years on. At every show I take time on the first day just to walk around  and take it in….a time I always look forward to and enjoy every year more than the previous one.

What I would say about the actual show, is that more and more it is a B2B show and a show to catch up with industry, and whilst this is of vital importance a two tiered approach is needed when arriving in Monaco, in that the “team” needs to be active in the show and make sure we see as many people as possible (always helped by hosting a stand).Outside of the show, it is more imperative than ever to spend preparation time ensuring the diary is busy catching up with your clients and intermediaries as this is where your revenue will come from. The meetings need to be discreet, appropriately prepared for and an approach of quality over quantity as the underlying mantra as the days of clients wishing to be “seen” at the show are in my view of the past e.g. sticking on your eye catching suit, just to be seen around the yachts is no longer the “done thing”.

With a senior leadership team of the quality Affinity have, I have every confidence we have done this two tiered approach well. The wider team worked the stand hard ( thanks all!), worn out the shoe leather on the docks( less warm than usual, which was welcome) and the directors did the discreet client led work away from the stand.

The “brave” amongst the industry could see the Monaco show more as a backdrop to the actual work and take the challenge that less time at the stands is were the “cream” is at….brave but makes sense sitting here post show….

One thing we will not die from at Affinity is a lack of bravery, so I am confident we are in a good place having returned to the autumnal Isle of Man.

One to think about as part of the Monaco conundrum!

Paul Swindale


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