Icelandic financial firm ‘coming in from the cold’ with FCA approval

An Icelandic financial services company has been granted permission to operate in the UK for the first time in ten years.

Gamma Capital Management has attained approval from the Financial Conduct Authority to operate as a stand-alone business in the UK, where it will offer services to investors and financial institutions.

Gisli Hauksson, Gamma’s chief executive (pictured), said in a statement on its website that “Iceland is coming in from the cold” and that he believes that the strong economic outlook for Iceland creates “exciting opportunities for foreign investors”.

The Icelandic financial firm was officially granted its licence to operate in the UK on Friday, according to the FCA’s website. It is the first firm to be granted a licence by the UK regulator since the financial crisis of 2008 began.

The UK roll-out of the firm’s services will be greeted with trepidation in some quarters in the UK as around 350,000 British savers lost millions when a series of Icelandic banks collapsed in the 2008 crisis with debts of about £70bn.

Diplomatic issue

The situated caused a diplomatic issue between the British Government and the government of Iceland over which should be responsible for refunding savers’ money.

On its website yesterday Gamma Capital Management Limited was formally announced as the freshly authorised UK arm of Gamma an Icelandic investment management and financial advisory group.

Established in 2008, Gamma’s investment management operations have approximately £600m of assets under management in Iceland on behalf of pension funds, insurance companies, financial institutions, companies and individuals.

Mayfair headquarters

The firm’s UK headquarters is based in Mayfair, London. Hauksson added that he was “very excited” to announce the FCA authorisation as a “highly important milestone” for the firm that has held ambitions to operate in the UK for some time.

He added: “We commenced operations in the UK in 2015 and have demonstrated our committment to the UK via FCA authorisation, the first Icelandic investment business to have a UK entity so authorised in almost a decade.”

Gamma said in its statement that in Iceland it manages equity, fixed income, private equity and real estate funds, including Iceland’s largest real estate funds.

In the UK, it said that it will focus on providing access to Icelandic investment opportunities for international investors across a number of asset classes including credit, equities and infrastructure, as well as focussing on creating opportunities for Icelandic investors wishing to diversify their assets abroad.

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