Gibraltar Business Podcast

S4. E2. Louis Montegriffo, Co Founder BMI Group

March 28, 2023 David Revagliatte Season 4 Episode 2
S4. E2. Louis Montegriffo, Co Founder BMI Group
Gibraltar Business Podcast
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Gibraltar Business Podcast
S4. E2. Louis Montegriffo, Co Founder BMI Group
Mar 28, 2023 Season 4 Episode 2
David Revagliatte

David Revagliatte meets Louis Montegriffo, co-founder and Managing Director of BMI Group Estate Agents. In this episode, we dive deep into Gibraltar's property market and address key issues.  Louis will share his insights on the recent price rises, the constant uncertainty facing the market, and the boom in studio apartments in Gibraltar. 

Since 1998, Louis has led BMI Group to become a leader in Gibraltar's property sector. Its development consultancy arm has advised and assisted in approx. 50% of all new projects since 2001. 

Thanks for listening to the Gibraltar Business Podcast by the GFSB! Follow us on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook!

Show Notes Transcript

David Revagliatte meets Louis Montegriffo, co-founder and Managing Director of BMI Group Estate Agents. In this episode, we dive deep into Gibraltar's property market and address key issues.  Louis will share his insights on the recent price rises, the constant uncertainty facing the market, and the boom in studio apartments in Gibraltar. 

Since 1998, Louis has led BMI Group to become a leader in Gibraltar's property sector. Its development consultancy arm has advised and assisted in approx. 50% of all new projects since 2001. 

Thanks for listening to the Gibraltar Business Podcast by the GFSB! Follow us on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook!

Host: For the benefit of our listeners, can you tell us how you started the company?

Louis: Well, it goes back a long way to 1996 when I first came back to Gibraltar after finishing studying and spending some time traveling, mainly in South America. The intention was to come back really to earn a little bit of money and travel again, the reality was I fell into the property sector very quickly. At the time, the property sector was very small in Gibraltar, very few properties available to sell. The market was insignificant by comparison to what it is today. Rates per square meter, and we'll talk about that later on, obviously were substantially less et cetera. Nevertheless, I got into finding a job within a new startup real estate company, which actually today doesn't exist anymore, and it went extremely well very, very quickly.

At the time, I think I was around 23, 24 years old, and things I think panned out far better than I ever expected them to be. I never had an intention, or there was never a plan from my perspective to become an estate agent or get involved in the property market. I really didn't know at that stage what to do. I just finished studying, I traveled, lots of ideas, but really nothing concrete to go for. Thankfully, this turned up. I think if there's one thing historically in my life that [unintelligible 00:01:46] and I have been good at, I suppose is communication and talking. Not necessarily that I knew I would be good at selling, but I think communication was a big part of, if you like, the success, if one could call it that, that I had. Property was something that I did enjoy and liked.

Very shortly after starting to work for this new setup, I was approached by my now longstanding partners to set up a new estate agency, which was about a year, a year and a half into when I first started working. It was at the age of 24, 25, a difficult decision to take and develop a new business of which I would be essentially a founding partner of, but set up and drive forward. That actually happened in 19-- And I can tell you actually, in April 8th, 1998, when we first opened doors, if you like, for BMI Property Matters Limited, which is commonly known as BMI Group, and I guess the rest is history. The reality was that I fell into it very quickly as a new business owner, other than the fact I'd been doing property for a while.

I was very lucky, I suppose, at the time in those days where there were very few estate agents, and the property sector was really just starting to create itself, really driven by the economy. If you go back to 1996/97, the economy really was very, very small, if I'm not mistaken, probably worth in the region of around 300 million, as opposed to the numbers now which I think are probably 3.1, 3.2 billion, so lucky in that I was able to grow with what was the beginnings of an economy.

The election of 1996, I believe, saw a new government. I think they essentially focused primarily on the changing face of Gibraltar from an MoD-driven sector with tourism and shipping in tow, to essentially what became a vibrant financial services, e-gaming economy, also amplified and driven by tourism and shipping which is there as well. Yes, very lucky from that perspective, and that really was the beginnings of my history and my walk in life, so to speak.

Host: You talked there about very transformational times. I think in a few of the episodes, a few of the people that we've spoken to over the last few seasons have talked about that period in Gibraltar history where a lot of things became easier and a lot of opportunity existed. Going back to-- You mentioned you were a young man at the time. How did it feel for you at the time?

Louis: Nerve-wracking. I'm not sure if I care to admit the fact that on weekends, I'd probably weep on occasion at the stress of setting up a new business at a young age for starters, very much on my own. At the time, I think it was just myself and one or two other staff. Yes, exciting and-- Difficult, exciting, but I think we worked through it over a period of a year or two. Gibraltar was changing, I think we know now, but at the time, there were massive changes. We were coming out of a difficult period in GIB between the early '90s and mid-'90s with an economy, if you like, that we didn't particularly want Gibraltar to be driven by, and it was difficult to forecast how we would do.

I remember my father when I first came back to Gibraltar, historically seeing what GIB had gone through politically and economically, actually asking, "Why are you coming back? Is there really a future for you in Gibraltar?" Thankfully, I think a lot of my generation, and thankfully, a lot of very, very highly qualified politicians, lawyers, accountants, people in the sector saw big opportunities in GIB. We saw that transition come about slowly initially, but then very quickly, I think post '98, '99 into 2000s, into 2001, 2002, when really we saw the main uplift, but they were uncertain times.

One of the things I think that we go back to now-- Maybe even in those days, people knew, but I think it's certainly relevant to bring up now, today, then, and in the future, is our language, our legal system, our geographic location. We sometimes underestimate the value of all of that and why that has helped in our, I think, continued success over the past 25 years. In fact, this year we celebrate 25 years of BMI, but I'd also like to think that over that period of time, that success has been driven by some of the qualities that we've got that maybe we don't think about and don't care to understand are massively valuable to people coming from the outside and looking at Gibraltar as a jurisdiction or a place to live in.

Host: You mentioned 25 years, again, that's kind of-- In business, it's a huge-- Sorry.

Louis: Yes, it's a long time.

Host: No, no, sorry. Going back to 25 years in business is a huge achievement. What inspires you now? Going back to-- You started the business as a young man, there was a lot of opportunity, a lot of excitement, a lot of work I'm sure to set that up. Forward to now and how you're feeling now, what motivates you?

Louis: God, that's a difficult question actually. What motivates me? I think what motivates me is a continuation on [unintelligible 00:08:24]. I've had these questions before where you get asked, where would you like to be and where would you like to see the company in 5, 10, 15 years' time? I think our view of this business has always been to make sure that we provide good service, good advice. We tend to be low-key, so without using the word "boutique-style estate agency," that's really what I'd like to have people see BMI as. We're not a chest-beating estate agent, so to speak. I think we've developed many high-profile but low-key high-value clients, family offices, private clients, and I think they value our confidence, our advice, and our guidance. What inspires me, I think really the continuation of what's been successful already.

Do I have aspirations of making BMI a massive franchise estate agency as well? Look, never say never, but I think I'm very, very comfortable with what we've achieved. Yes, 25 years is a long time insofar as working and doing the same thing. I think we've been lucky to have been involved in many different aspects of property, not just the selling of the property, but obviously, property management. I think we're one of the largest property managers in Gibraltar with over 200 properties that we manage for individual clients and portfolio clients as well. We've been very fortunate to be involved in advising a number of developers in Gibraltar in the past 20, 25 years, mainly high-value developments. That has brought us a great deal of business, of course, and we've met a great many clients who've been involved in those developments, so there are many different aspects that we've got involved in.

We've advised an array of clients, of institutions, of establishments, and I think if there's one thing that inspires me and makes me happy is I think reputation, and how people will see and see BMI insofar as a business and a business that they can trust in. Estate agency isn't an industry where people tend to use the word trust a lot, and [crosstalk]--

Host: I was going to bring this up actually.

Louis: There is reputation there, so I think fundamentally, we like to think of ourselves as a place and a business that people can trust in insofar as guidance and advice goes within our property sector and the advice that we give within those areas.

Host: Louis, bringing the conversation back to our current day today and how the industry is seen, what types of properties are in the highest demand at the moment?

Louis: These things change dramatically, but over the past couple of years, I think what's come through in high demand has been owner-occupier driven properties, so larger properties. Not necessarily just two, three, or four bedrooms, also large one bedrooms, but I think it's a great sign of how the economy is doing. When we've advised developers in what to build, i.e. the segments to look at and the distributions to look at, we've always felt that the safe bet generally for various reasons is to have a mix of one, two, three, and four bedrooms, some studios as well.

Generally, three and four bedroom properties are purchased by people who want to live in them, so by having a percentage of that 40%, 50%, 60%, and if you're successful in doing that, you're really underpinning the quality of the buyers that you're getting and the success of the project because they are people who actually want to buy to live in, and therefore, there's a real market for it.

When you look at the smaller properties, i.e. studios, one bedrooms, two bedrooms, they can sometimes be purchased-- Invariably, when it comes to off-plan as an example, they will be purchased by speculators who will either want to resell or let. There's maybe a little bit more a risk in having too many of those because you're enticing and you are reaching out to speculators that don't really drive the market, so in answer to your question, what I'm very pleased about over the past couple of years, regardless of-- I'm sure we'll talk about prices later and where they are, is that what we have seen is a huge demand in, again as I mentioned, owner-occupier driven properties, the larger properties, because people are buying them to move into them and live in them.

Therefore, that is a good reflection of the economy, because it's not just Gibraltarians, but external expats and international clients coming to buying these properties, and not [unintelligible 00:13:44] using them as an address, but rather, actually spending time in them. Therefore, because they want larger properties, it says a great deal about the economy and how we've developed that, and that's very much the case of late. Many, many years ago, there was a different demand, and it may well have been more of a demand on one bedrooms, two bedrooms because they were cheaper, and for very different reasons within the economic phases that we've gone through. But I think certainly, in a short answer to your question, what we've seen of late where there's been a big demand has been mainly large two, three, and four bedrooms in locations like Kings Wharf, Midtown, et cetera.

Host: It's good to see that the demand for those kinds of properties exists. I think the optics, if you look at some of the developments that are coming up, studio living seems to be one that stood out as a big theme. What's your take on this new investment in studios?

Louis: Well, I may be the odd one out on this one. We took a view four or five years ago to be cautious when it came to advice to our clients who were buyers on studios. Generally, studios when they're off-plan, tend to be purchased by speculators or by to-let investors. Yes, some people buy studios for themselves as owner occupiers, but they tend to be driven by speculators and by to-let investors. There's a place in the market for everything really, particularly within an economy that's doing well, and we've consistently done well economically for 25 years [unintelligible 00:15:34] growth in GDP. My concern four or five years ago with studios was the volume or the amount. The volume that was being built, and who the end user was going to be.

I think where we've got people buying two and three bedrooms, we know generally, these people are moving in. Yes, there are buyers that buy to let, but they're moving into those properties for themselves, and therefore, there's a real demand by a real person wanting to move in and live in that space. With studios, we enter this speculative market from the buy-to-let market, and therefore, you need to look at who the end user is going to be. Studios around the world tend to be the cheap option, and yes they are because they're small from a rate per square, from a price perspective, it's cheaper, but from a rate per square meter perspective, it can be much, much higher because you can--

The end result of a studio being valued at £250,000, which is attractive from a price perspective by comparison to a £1.5 million purchase is there, but at the end of the day, who's going to be living in these spaces? I think they're geared towards people who either want to [unintelligible 00:16:47] just a space in GIB to have. Also, I think it was driven by a market we felt, or that was felt would be in demand for people to be able to work and live in GIB. I think the difficulty there is that if you-- To rent out a studio today is going to cost you between £800 and £1,200 a month. To rent out a three bedroom townhouse in [unintelligible 00:17:19] is going to cost you €800 a month, so people can still live in Spain and work in Gibraltar. Yes, there's a tax element where Gibraltar has bigger tax advantages because it has lower tax than Spain, but ultimately, you balance out that living experience.

We were a bit concerned with volumes. We weren't concerned with, is there a place for studio and a studio market? We were concerned with the volumes being built, and that comes with-- What comes into play with that is simple economics. If you've got too much of something, it has an impact on price, and normally it comes down. If you've got to little of something, then the prices go up. Without being too contentious on the topic itself, I would say that if you were to look at availability today on the market, you'll find that there is a high percentage of studios available both to let and to rent to a degree that is quite substantially high as a percentage, and that for me is a little bit concerning insofar as how it affects and how it impacts its price and its longevity insofar as an asset.

Host: So your advice of a few years ago is pretty much the same, right?

Louis: Yes. I think if you look at growth on values in the studio market against other sectors, because of the volumes available, they are impacted more. If you were a buyer for a studio, you would have a choice of probably over 100 units in Gibraltar that you can go for, whether it be to purchase, maybe to rent a little bit less, but generally, it's a huge volume. If you wanted to buy a three bedroom in Quay 31, there isn't one, or if there is, it's priced at 1.8, 1.7. There's fewer of those, and therefore, that is my [unintelligible 00:19:30] caution to the market insofar as the volumes available at the moment, and really finding that end user, who that end user is really going to be.

That brings into play questions like the agreement, the free flowing border, whether that will play into people getting studios or not. The reality is, if there is a free flowing border and there is an agreement, I'm sure we'll talk a little bit about that later, it may well mean that people will actually think, "Well, there's no need for me to have anything in GIB to stay in because I can live in Spain in a far less expensive property which is two, three bedrooms with my children, et cetera, and work in GIB et cetera." That's an overall overview, but there are many different factors it.

Host: Thank you. I know it's a controversial topic, and that was a [crosstalk] balanced answer as well.

Louis: It's a tough one, yes.

Host: You mentioned prices going up, and supply and demand, you've touched on as well. What's driving the current rise in property in GIB?

Louis: Well, I think the current rise now is paused, so it's one of those things-- I think if we go back, and I go back in stages, and you'll see from our market update that we've got a graph that shows you what property prices have done from our perspective, and I think it's a good general review of what the market's done for the past 25 years.

At the moment, I would say if we go back to 2016, or June 2016, so 24th of June, 2016, which was a pretty dire day and a frightening day insofar as where we were heading post the decision on the Brexit referendum, the view was concerning as to what was going to happen to the economy and the property market, not just in Gibraltar, but in the UK, we very quickly realized that actually, because it was going to take so long for an agreement on Brexit to actually happen, the market continued really to do well. I'm not going to say exceptionally well, but well, so we actually ended up having decent years, but they were concerning times because there is that uncertainty of what is going to happen. There's always that uncertainty.

What we felt leading up to 2016 was that the higher end of the market-- We split the market into, over the years, four tiers. 25 years ago, we really had two tiers, lower-end and middle-end, and then as the economy has grown and more people have come and expectations have gone higher, we've gone into a third tier being the high-end tier. Leading into 2016, we classed and named a fourth tier being the ultra-high tier where we were seeing at the time property prices reach over 1 million into 1.5 and 2 million, and almost becoming normal numbers, which previously were unheard of. 2016, and the Brexit paused that, but the rest of the market, i.e. low-end, middle-end, and the echelons of the high-end tiers continued to sell, and we saw growth periods of growth in property prices at normal levels of between 5%, 6%, 7%.

When Boris Johnson came into play, which I think was 2019 if I'm not mistake, like him or not, with a strong parliament, a decision-making parliament able to take a decision on where it was going to go, because before, it was pretty much a hung parliament, that I think strengthened the outlook for GIB as well, and we saw things pick up even more. We started to see that fourth upper-end tier come into play again in a bigger way.

Then we got to COVID, which at that stage, we thought, that was it. Throw the towel in, and game over. To our surprise, and I think very shortly after that we realized why, that was actually a very good year for us. That was 2020, if I'm not mistaken, and we had a very good year then. '21 was very much the case. In answer to your question of the driving of the market and what's driving prices, I think we've now in 2023 hit a slight pause because of more bad news, but different to the previous bad news we had with Brexit and COVID, which actually ultimately ended up being good for us insofar as property prices we can set in the economy.

What we saw from, particularly November 2020, to I'd say February, March, April 2022, was an increase in price which had never been seen in Gibraltar before, so it was substantial. We'd seen big hikes in GIB before leading up to 2008 and the big credit crunch then, another hike, I think it was 2014, but the hike that we saw from November 2020 to April 2022 reached, in certain segments, increases of up to 70%. The average was probably around 40%, 45%, so it was phenomenal. They'd never been seen before, but the pace over such a short period of time was obviously incredible. The problem we've got today is that the expectation from the market to a degree continues. Now, it's unsustainable in any market anywhere in the world to see a pace like that continue for longer than what we already had.

Host: It feels a bit like almost a bubble that we're in at the moment.

Louis: Yes, and we've talked about bubbles in GIB before, we've just never really had the burst. I'm not saying that we're going to see a burst now because the fundamentals in Gibraltar are really quite different to most other economies anyway, but I would say that April 2022 saw a plateauing of the market, and for a number of reasons. One, because it had overheated driven by demand on what I talked about before, large two, three, and four bedrooms where we're seeing-- I'll give you a good example actually. In November 2020, a three bedroom in Quay 31 would've been sold for around 680,000 - 690,000. By January, it was being sold for 750,000. By March/April, it was being sold for 850,000, and by January/February 2022, 14 months later, it was being sold for 1.2 million.

The problem we've got today in February/March '23 is that that expectation has continued to the point that someone wants 1.6, 1.7 million. That's not happening, and it's not happening for a number of reasons. One, as I mentioned, that huge increase over such a short period of time. We then had the war in Ukraine or the start of the war in Ukraine, inflation, we've then had interest rates. Interest rates generally translate into property prices being affected, rental prices being affected as well.

Oddly enough, and this may come across as very strange from me and from an estate agent, I welcome the pause because it was unsustainable for it to carry on at the pace it was going. That pause and adjustment is, if you like, a breather which I think we're going through at the moment. That's not to say that the market is paused and we're not selling, it's to say that the market is far more price-sensitive. I'm always very careful when people say, "Well, the market's going down because I'm not getting my 1.6 million for that three bedroom." You say, "Well, hang on a second. It's not that it's going down, it's that it went up from 700,000 to 1.2 million in a space of 12, 14 months, and it's just stayed there, so you can still get 1.2 million for that three bedroom. What we can't expect is for the market to carry on as it has."

Host: I tell you what, in doing this and interviewing lots of different people from across different sectors, I've observed how different kinds of sectors perform and how they've reacted to changes in the market, so if you're looking at-- You mentioned it, 2016, the Brexit vote, COVID, we've been hit. Gibraltar has been hit by so many different challenges, and it does seem that the real estate market seems to have been immune from that. What do you feel, if anything, would cause a downturn in Gibraltar's property market?

Louis: I wouldn't say it's just the real estate market that's done well. I think if you look across the board, if you talk to accountants, you talk to lawyers, you talk to everyone's [unintelligible 00:29:04]. Yes, I know that the retail sector may have slowed down. We know certainly that they suffered dramatically, but a lot of sectors over that same period have done very, very well. What could cause the market to go down? What could cause that bubble to burst? We've been talking about it for the past 25 years, and I think the problem, or the good problem that we've got in Gibraltar is the size of its economy, the fundamentals of the economy insofar as what drives it; the financial services, e-gaming, insurance, shipping, now involved in the DLT sector as well, these are all good things. Because of our size and being so small, because we speak English, because our legal system is based on UK law which is known as trustworthy, easy to do business, these are all good things, I've always said historically. This time, I would say it's a little bit different, the fundamentals of the downturn, of the global crisis, which now is driven by interest rates, by the war, et cetera, is different to what we've had before.

Host: Are you worried about these [unintelligible 00:30:22]?

Louis: Yes, I am. I think what worries me the most is the agreement, not so much interest rates and what's going on around the world, because historically, where the world has been in crisis, places like Gibraltar-- Gibraltar has done well. Where you've seen a credit crunch in 2008 which saw interest rates slashed and go down to 0%, 0.25%, et cetera, but the economy in GIB still did well because of its fundamentals of e-gaming, financial services, et cetera. That actually meant that Gibraltar and its property market actually continued to do really well.

Host: Wow, we need more challenges. [chuckles]

Louis: Yes. What worries me now, if you go-- I think a number of things, and I'll probably say them in order, least worrying to most worrying. Inflation is a concern, and the usage of the word least is maybe too much, but am I majorly concerned about that for Gibraltar? Not so much.

Am I majorly concerned about interest rates going up to-- I think they're at 3.754% at the moment, so if you get a mortgage, 4.5%, 5% is what you're paying, if not more. Am I concerned about that? Not majorly, because a great many of the people who've been buying properties have been buying properties with loan-to values of 40%, 50%, 60%. Those in affordable housing schemes are already paying 5%, so they're already encapsulated within there anyway. Not majorly concerned about an impact of repossessions, of people not being able to afford their properties because of their mortgages, again, because there is almost zero unemployment. Again, not majorly concerned about that, but it is a concern.

The biggest concern I think I've got, and I think most people have, is the agreement and that uncertainty. It's funny, because politically in Gibraltar, we've had uncertainty for 300 years, and economically when we've developed our economy, we've had uncertainty from the '90s into the 2000s, so there's always been something, and every time we hit a hurdle, we tend to come out of it [unintelligible 00:32:44] for the better. I mean, we had the joint sovereignty proposals, that was a concern, where was Gibraltar going to be? So that agreement I think is massively important.

As much as I'm almost using it to my favor or see that adjustment in the market and that pause being a good thing, it doesn't mean to say that everybody would love to know where we stand so that we can sell and continue to sell Gibraltar as a stable place to be in and a place worthy of investing in. That's my biggest concern for GIB at the moment, and I would dare to say that, I think historically, if we look at those hurdles that we've had before, we've always come out of them well, this one is slightly different.

The other thing I'd say which, again, listeners may be interested in, is going to those concerns of interest rates for example. If you went back to the last time interest rates were high, or rather, had peaked, they peaked I remember in 1989/90-- Yes, early 1990, they hit 16% in a day back in 1990 when, really, the economy of Gibraltar was nonexistent, it was mainly MoD-driven. Whatever small element the property market played in those days, it was annihilated, so property prices went down-- And I don't want to scare listeners too much, but just to put things in perspective, property prices went down 50%, 60%, 70%.

Interest rates have now-- In other words, now we are yet again in an interest-rate-led recession. The last recession was in 2008, but that wasn't interest-rate-led, it was credit-crunch-led. Now we're back in a space where 30 years ago, 33 years ago, that same impact had a negative impact, a massively negatively impact on the property market in Gibraltar, but the economy is a very different economy, and it's underpinned massively by various pillars. Again, going back to what I said insofar as the interest rates, where they are, the exposure we've got, the type of clients we've got, and how [unintelligible 00:35:15] and their loan-to-values, et cetera, et cetera, I'm not of the view that we're going to see what happened in 1990, but I am of the view now that things have slowed down-- Not slowed down, are adjusting, and I think that's a good thing, but the agreement is the key.

Host: I agree. I think a lot of our listeners if not all would be needing that clarity on the position, I guess. Final question, and it goes down to as you started, when you started the business [unintelligible 00:35:49] the founders of the business, you were really excited, there was a lot of changes. What are you excited about now?

Louis: I'm excited about the same things to a degree that I was excited about when I started the business in '98, but knowing far more now than I did then, knowing the resilience that Gibraltar has, knowing the potential that if we do get an agreement, that that will have on GIB, its economy, the property market, and how we we progress forward. I think at the same time, it would also be fair to say that I think Gibraltar and Gibraltarians will also be reflecting and will be interested to learn about the political dynamics of that agreement and how that plays into the changing face of Gibraltar culturally. You're a Gibraltarian, I am, I think Gibraltar has changed dramatically from when-

Host: It's mind-blowing in terms of what's possible.

Louis: -from when I was a kid and I knew everyone as a kid, now Gibraltar has grown substantially, how that changes. Those elements can be seen as concerning, but they can also be seen as exciting insofar as the potential Gibraltar has. I mean, let's face it, when we look at the world around us now, the negativity in the western world with the war that's going on, the interest rates, the inflation, just putting on the news is dramatic, we're very lucky. We're still today very lucky to be in the position that we're in. I'm excited about the fact that historically, we've always surmounted hurdles, that there is a substantial hurdle now on different aspects, the main one being the agreement, but I think as ever the cautious optimist that I am, I think I'm excited that if we can get through this line, which I'd like to believe and I firmly believe we can, and even if we can't, even if there is a different [unintelligible 00:38:18] agreement, that we'll do well.

I think the best example I can give you is Brexit. I remember with Brexit, the view was if we don't vote to remain, it's the end of Gibraltar. I'll never forget speaking to people a few days before when it was touch and go, but everyone still believed that they would vote to remain, saying, "What language do we have if the UK votes out?" Everyone was like, "Ah, it's never going to happen. It's never going to happen," and actually, the UK--

The difficulty was speaking to clients the next day on the 24th of June and having them say, "Well, you guys had been saying that if we're out, it's the end of Gibraltar," and having to change that language. If there's one thing I think we know historically is that we do well when we are presented with difficulties, because it's actually inbred in Gibraltar for 300 years. We've consistently been under siege, we've consistently been under political assassinations.

Host: I think with that language, we'll have [unintelligible 00:39:29], because as this season goes out, I think we're hopeful that we're going to get an announcement either way now, but again, we've lived under that for a long time anyway, so whether it's happened or it's not happened, I think it's looking at being prepared for both scenarios, I guess, right?

Louis: Yes, I agree.

Host: Louis, thanks a lot for your time today, and thanks for the discussion.

Louis: You're very welcome. Thank you for having me.

Host: Thank you. Perfect.

[00:39:57] [END OF AUDIO]