Finance seems pretty straight forward but if you are not careful you could end up struggling with head lice. Our third soiree into etymology begins with Finance.

Finance has its roots deep in the 14th century meaning “an end, settlement even a retribution.” The notion of “ending” (by satisfying) which is normally a good thing when the financials are coming back to you is fine although to the greeks their “telos” meaning “end;” related to dues/taxes exacted by the state. Something even now the Greek economy is struggling with.


The French, ever the influence had brought into English: “ransom” (mid-15c.) and “taxation” (late 15c.) which finally brought the sense of “management of money or monetary business” first recorded in English 1770.

The root “fin” c. 1200, “termination, end, end of life,” came from Old French meaning “end, limit, boundary; death; fee, payment, finance, money” (10c.), helped along by the Romans from Latin finis “end.”

Any fee or payment exacted from fin became a “fine” where you would “make your peace” and “settle a matter” in the 13th century.

By the 1520’s a “fine” was recorded as “the sum of money imposed for some offence.” There have always been serial offenders I’d wager and they may even have been fined again. I’d like to think even “refined.”

I’m being somewhat fanciful and loose but it does mean to “make fine” like sugar for example, you can get it unrefined or refined.

Sugar though has a downside especially on the teeth if you have a “sweet tooth” best to stay away from too much. There are other ailments of the teeth; you may grow up with “buck teeth” which is what the French refer to as “english teeth” for some bizarre reason.gapbobbyk

Even more bizarre is the notion that front “gapped teeth” in Chaucers England were considered on a woman, to show lustful tendencies.

Chaucers tale of “the gap-toothed wife of Bath” is that she is a middle-aged woman with insatiable lust. There is no basis clearly in science for this but it has been common folklore since the Middle Ages.

Even in Africa, in Ghana, Namibia and Nigeria, diastemata (gapped teeth) are regarded as being attractive and a sign of fertility, and some people have even had them created through cosmetic dentistry. In France, often the French, they are called “dents du bonheur” (“lucky teeth”). What’s lucky about having teeth that make a whistling sound as you speak I’ll never know.

There is of course a fine set of teeth which many lust after in these days of Facebook and instagram who wants their crooked pegs on show.  With the money to do your teeth your hair could be the next thing you need to sort and a “fine tooth comb” could be just the thing. Though in finance it could be even better because using a fine tooth comb will ensure everything is where you want it. I mean the last thing you want is the nitty nurse finding a few bugs in your financial plans. Mind you if the nitty nurse had a gap in her teeth ?




If you knew someone with a red hand would you trust them?

In our second dip into the etymological waters we find out what a red hand has to do with a Pope and why you might trust them.

“Red hand” is an old Scottish term from the 15th century it was a label for poachers or murderers that were caught with blood still on their hands from the deed. All for the sake of a decent wash after the deed, being caught “Red Handed” thus entered the language and to this day it is in common use around the english speaking world. More than the hands there is another appendage that is employed in the act when being caught “in flagrante delicto”. This legal term meaning “in blazing offence” has set many a relationship afire whenever said offence has been found; ongoing.

Pope Julius II

Such displays of “infidelity” are chronicled through history and it’s gossip columns from Kings, Queens, paupers and dare I say it Popes? Even Saint Peter himself was of course married before his calling. Though subsequent Popes have proven less virtuous having their cake and eaten it, often before taking Holy Orders, but in some cases even after taking the Papal seat. A decent soap opera would run into several series if all the twists and turns were revealed. Such infidelity after the 16th century lessened as the following Popes largely took the opposite route of “fidelity” siding with their faith and faithfulness.

Their faithfulness of course kept their virtues intact and the faithful gathered daily or weekly to be told not to succumb to such pleasures of either flesh, liquid libation or crime. The “faithful” as they were known during the 14th century due to their sincerely religious, pious and devout behaviour morphed into a general meaning of truth, especially of facts. Accuracy and reliability were all down the faith you had in the person relating the tale.

This kind of faith, both solid and unwavering meant that some people became confidants because you trusted them.

“Trust” from the Old Norse ‘treyesta’ meaning to rely on came into use in the 12th century by the 13th century it related to trustworthiness and something; “that on which one relies.” In a legal sense from the 15th century onwards it also came to mean a sense of “confidence placed in one who holds the use of a property entrusted to them by the legal owner.”

This was a condition of being legally entrusted meaning “businesses organised to reduce competition” recorded as such in 1877. It so it was that you can get, etymologically of course from being a bloody handed murderer to being completely pious and trusted. It just takes about 8 centuries of cleansing.

Trust is what we are; the Acquarius Trust Group can help you with any of your trust or foundation requirements. Our products are listed on our website so do take a look and either call us or email from the site for more information if you need someone with a history of trust.


What came first the Chicken or the Tax?

To brighten our day Acquarius has decided to run a series of small informative and hopefully mildly amusing articles on financial etymology. To kick us off … how do we get from tax to chickens?


The word possibly most dreaded ever, in history, in future, like ever.  Three little letters that separately are quite innocent but together they are the nuclear bomb of financial ruination or at least perceived ruination. Maybe it’s just me that feels that way?magnifying-glass-626174_960_720

“Tax” as a noun was first seen in the 14th Century. It came from Latin and passed into Old French. Later the 16th century use gave us its meaning as a “burden”. The Old English word “bureden  was about a “load, weight, charge or duty”. You can of course “shoulder a burden” something some taxpayers prefer not to do.

If you don’t fancy shouldering it yourself you can get animals to help or other people in the form of slaves maybe. With a large burden you could fasten two or more together with a “yoke” from the Old English “geoc” which was a “contrivance for fastening a pair of draft animals”. This itself had its beginnings in Old Saxon “juk”, Old Norse “ok” or the Gothic “juk” (yoke) which also figuratively in Old English meant “heavy burden, oppression and servitude”. Thus you could “share the load” or “dump the load” on someone else?

A Middle English spelling of “load” was “lode” in the 16C. Much later this spelling was used differently to mean a “way, a course, something to be followed”. Which led to miners following gold and other such through the rock in order to earn their “livelihood” an alteration from “livelode” (keeping alive) from “lif” (life) and “lad” (lode) meaning way or course. Those Old English miners might have taken pleasure from knowing that while under the yoke digging for their masters’ “gold” from the proto indo european root word “ghel” meaning to shine they were digging for their supper. “Ghel” or “geolu” (yellow) in Old English “geolca”, “geoloca” “yolk,” literally “the yellow part which was the colour of gold. The same yolk not a burden but literally the “yellow part” of an egg.

Yolks paired with the albumen are the starting point of most chickens. The root “cicenu” (young fowl) changed to mean young chicken before meaning any chicken at all as time moved our tongues along. As an adjective it had a sense of being “cowardly” from at least the 14C similar to a “chicken-hearted person”. Neither does chicken doesn’t stop there. We can also pair it up with other words like “chicken-shit” (American for a cowardly person), “chicken -pox” (called maybe for being milder compared to smallpox) and finally “chicken feed” (a paltry sum of money) which is exactly where we want to be when we get our tax demand.

Happy Days


All change at ATCOM

Election of Chairman and Board

Barrister and Notary Public with Ellul & Co, Marc Ellul, is ATCOM’s new Chairman.

Nick Cruz, who served as its Chairman for three years, stepped down and a new Board was voted in. This is Marc Ellul’s second term as Chairman having previously served between 2011 and 2014.

At a well-attended Annual General Meeting on the 27th June 2017, the membership unanimously elected their new Board for the next twelve months. Marc Ellul was elected as Chairman, Nick Cruz as Deputy Chairman, Subash Malkani as Treasurer, Mark Bridge as Secretary, and Kyra Romano-Scott, Lesley Nuttal, Raquel Moss and Joey Imossi as Board members.

The outgoing Chairman, Nick Cruz, reported that ATCOM had worked hard during the course of the year on many matters including:
Various international exchange of tax information exchange mechanisms namely, FATCA

, CRS and EU Council Directives. ATCOM had sought specialist legal advice on the implementation of these into Gibraltar law and had actively engaged with Government in the drawing up of the relevant regulations. ATCOM had also provided its members with a guidance note, drawn up by its specialist legal adviser

s, on the practical steps required to comply with such mechanisms.

ATCOM engaged with Government on the format of the new tax return which is now required to be filed in respect of all Gibraltar companies. ATCOM was also involved in providing feedback to Government regarding the regulation of practitioners creating and managing Pension Schemes and Foundations.

Very recently, the Chairman and Vice Chairman were consulted by Government on the implementation of the requirement to establish a register of beneficial owners as required by the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. ATCOM took specialist legal advice and was able to make constructive contributions to issues of potential concern to the industry.

The new Chairman, Marc Ellul, said he would strive to continue ATCOM’s good work over the past year. Apart from the usual matters ATCOM currently deals with, he is keen to focus his chairmanship on education and has already had preliminary discussions with the University of Gibraltar to create a company management course. This is at a very early

stage but the current plan is to have three modules: Gibraltar company law, company administration and regulation/compliance. The aim is to design a Gibraltar-specific course which focuses on our particular laws, procedures and practices.

On behalf of the Board and the members, the new Chairman would like to express his thanks to Nick Cruz for the excellent work he has done for ATCOM over the past three years. He has very ably steered ATCOM through a challenging period and has succeeded in securing the best possible outcomes for the industry.


ATCOM Chairman’s Report 27th June 2017

The role of ATCOM and its Board is varied and of late rather intense. It is never quiet, just sometimes less busy. Whether it is attendance at GFCC meetings, or project led, it is unending. I cannot express strongly enough the importance of having a good and supportive board and the assistance of those in the GFCC and HMGOG who are very willing to engage in a mutually beneficial rapport. Many of those in the GFSC have also assisted ATCOM greatly. Collectively I believe we deliver to you, the members a voice that influences and shapes our industry and allows us to survive and indeed even prosper in times where the obstacles seem almost insurmountable. Few of us 20 years ago would have predicted that ATCOM members had any sort of future in this regulated and transparent world we live in. Indeed, I suggest that most, if not all would have choked at the thought of doing business with online disclosure and the levels of regulation we need to address.
I want to publicly thank all Board members, and specifically Marc Ellul, my Vice Chairman for tireless support. I also thank the above mentioned third parties and interlocutors. The work we have been involved in has been comprehensive but would include the following:
2016/2017 can only be described as a year that has seen seismic change in the way the world does business, with transparency really biting. We may have views whether this is good or bad, an infringement of basic rights to privacy and freedom, or something that should be welcomed.
To some extent it is irrelevant what we may feel, the bottom line is: it is here to stay and this is the world in which we must trade and flourish. For my part, I view transparency as an opportunity given that if nothing else (save perhaps the US who is “special”) the level playing field is here and this is what we as an association and as a jurisdiction have fought for.
The requirements to report differ, depending on the institutions and the structure and assets and manner in which they are held.
It is not for ATCOM to advise or steer and we do not. However given that ultimately the practical implementation of FATCA and CRS DAC is down to the interpretation of the law in the form of the IGA and subsequent Regulations for UK and US FATCA in 2015 and CRS DAC Regulations in 2016, ATCOM has assisted members (wanting to avoid the individual costs of instructing counsel to advise) by seeking advice from the best and most eminent London based QC in the field, namely Philip Baker QC from Field Court Tax Chambers. And so having previously received legal opinions from Mr Baker in April 2014 on the UK IGA, we sought and obtained on the 2nd August 2016 further advice in relation to CRS DAC and what the proper interpretation should be to the relevant regulations in a general sense and in so far as they relate to specific situations including the nominee shareholder or bare trust situations. As in the past we have tried to assist HMGOG in their implementation by sharing our opinions with their advisors and it would be fair to say that considerable time has been invested by me and our Vice Chairman and board in trying to use our resources to assist HMGOG.


There are signs everywhere these days. Most we ignore because we don’t need advice on navigation although often the name of a street is useful to check we are on the right track. Google street almost eliminates the need. Open the app on your phone stick your earpiece in and follow the voice.

Her Majesty yesterday during the opening of Parliament (with an extended two year stint because of Brexit) also seemed to display a sign or two. Her face, passive


as always could mean she was concerned about the Duke of Edinburgh being laid low with an infection.  It could be H.M. was hoping her late phone call to Theresa May requesting a shortened ‘Queen’s Speech’ was received and understood. The smile at the end meaning she could get to Ascot in time, as Dennis Skinner said, “for the first race at 2.30pm”.

No the biggest sign and if it was an error it was one ‘Towering’ (get it) fail, came with the outfit she was wearing instead of her usual robes. It was clearly a nod to the EU flag.


H.M. has been around a lot, except to Gibraltar since 1954 but that’s another blog. As the Sovereign this would be an unthinkable thing to do and I can only imagine afterwards the ‘dressing down’ her entourage got including several Ladies in Waiting. H.M. has always stayed well away from public political comment and I believe this was just that an error BUT if she fancies making the odd fashion statement something in red and white with a lovely golden key dangling from a castle would look great, especially if she gets an invite to an EU banquet.



It was a long night …

Last night was the same as any other night unless you like to keep abreast of politics, in which case you had to wait up to the end. Acquarius finally called it a morning when the Tories were nestled on 308 seats, obviously ahead but not with a majority only a few more results to come in. In fact not even close to the majority she had allegedly pre election. The final tally is as follows:

Greens: 1                Lib Dem: 12          Labour: 261            Cons: 318               UKIP: 0


The SNP also lost several seats dropping from 54 to 34 seats. Plaid Cymru managed 4 seats. However, just 8 seats short of a majority PM May will have her criticisms and her positives. The problem is it all depends on which news channel you watch, what their leaning is and where they get their budgets from?

It is the cyber world amongst that real world I think Labour took to well. They realised very quickly Corbyn was not popular almost toxic. What did they do? They cleverly did what they had already done for the leadership challenge, galvanised young voters, more up on social media and clear unsullied messaging. Neither are they encumbered by history of how things were under previous governments of any persuasion. The Labour party played a blinder, swiftly removing anyone off message, ‘ill’ or those perhaps too ‘red’.  John McDonnell seemed to be doing less interviews in the last few days too as they pushed Corbyn to the fore, his style resonating well with the young who like twitter and its easy to understand 143 characters, why issue policy when a simple slogan sounds good, is easy to chant and ignores any real information or detail?

Theresa May on the other hand looked almost outdated, old fashioned in manner and in policies. She and her advisors clearly forgot that to win an election you have to fight for it, your supporters want you to fight for it and not assume the opposition will eventually screw it up. Even policies that seem on balance fair were not built up before announcement. Social care for example was one achilles heel. The idea was to ensure anyone with over £100,000 in assets could keep at least that much and there would be a cap on the upper limit in terms of paying for Social Care. Sounds awful, you work all your life and you give your family money to the Government to distribute to people on benefit, the badly mismanaged NHS and any other miscreant except your family. At least that was the perception and fear. The media aren’t going to do her job and by the time they got around to reminding people that before this new policy all they would keep was £20,000 it was too late and the trust was gone. She shouts “nothing has changed” after the supposed U turn and Corbyn says “nothing has changed the U turn is Tory spin” brilliant!

Now expect the Labour party to continue with slogan and rhetoric. Corbyn insists they represent the country more, yet clearly relied on the youth vote and the free tuition fee offer to grab that vote. They gained just 29 seats May lost just 12 hardly a ringing endorsement for Labour nor the Tories. That is politics however and if they force her to resign or the DUP fail to shore her up it is going to be a rough ride to avoid being the shortest ever time served as a P.M.



Gibraltar Foundations, the foundation of good fiscal planning.

On April 17th 2017 the Gibraltar government brought in the Private Foundations Act 2017. Oh woweee you may be thinking who cares if your house is detached or semi detached as long as it stands solid without a risk of subsidence? It is about here I think if that is your thought you’d best get a pencil and take notes, there will be questions I’m sure.

A foundation is a fiscal tool that can have either a philanthropic or estate planning purpose. An example of a philanthropic Foundation would be Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation which offer charitable donations but at the same time are efficient as the donations to the foundation can be tax deductible. However, a private foundation like the Gibraltar Foundations I’m talking about here, unlike charitable foundations do not solicit any public money. This means it can used to protect your future estate planning for your family or anyone else you feel is worthy of part of your estate.

The Foundations of the Rock are solid and dependable

The details are far too complicated for a simple blog and besides advice should always be sought from experts like those at the Aquarius Trust Group. You can if you want to read more download our brochure on Foundations here. Or if you prefer the personal touch contact Managing Director Oliver Andlaw; email or call 00350 200 50418 or Consultant Nick Cruz; email or call 00350 200 79423

Enjoy the weekend