We are back in Gibraltar for this Sovereign Story. On paper a straightforward CV, or so we thought. Gareth Davies has recently celebrated his 50th birthday and for 18½ years he has been part of the Sovereign family on the Rock. So what is it in his background that is out of the ordinary? We were intrigued and caught up with Gareth to discover more.
Born in Wembley exactly 50 years ago to Welsh and Spanish parents, Gareth was bilingual from an early age. He moved with his family to Gibraltar as a teenager in 1986 where he completed his education.
Gareth’s first job was as an accounts clerk at the local Youth Training Scheme (YTS). Today, he is Finance Manager at Sovereign Accounting Services in Gibraltar (and Sovereign Insurance Services & Sovereign Wealth too). Continuous progression in Gibraltar accounting for a bright hard working English-Spanish speaker, one might have thought. Not so fast. It didn’t quite work out like that.
What then did Gareth do after the YTS experience? His next job was to become a urine and saliva analyst with a private health company in Spain. We couldn’t resist asking for a couple of anecdotes from those days. He remembers that when providing the “raw material” some of the 30 to 40 patients he checked daily had overdone it – leaving oversized samples, far more than needed for analysis. The mind boggles.
Gareth didn’t work on his samples for too long and was soon on the move, and became a kitchen fitter, again in Spain. He beams proudly as he talks of the kitchens still out there put together by him. It was during this time Gareth started his accounting studies at night college in Gibraltar, travelling down from Spain two nights a week.
Married to Patricia, originally from Burgos, for twenty years, son Guillermo was born in February 2004. The day after the happy event, Gareth started at Sovereign, Gibraltar. We resisted asking if he felt accounting work was more suitable for a brand new doting father; given his earlier experience in Gibraltar it was a natural fit. Guillermo is about to start university in the UK – with no plans yet to become an accountant!
The change clearly suited both Gareth and Sovereign. Eighteen years on, he is still there. He was introduced to Sovereign by Sue Nellist, the hugely missed Gibraltar-based recruitment personality. Sue found numerous Gibraltar staff for Sovereign in those days, some of whom remain in very senior roles in the Group to this day.
Gareth remembers his interview fondly and says that he was recruited more or less on the spot. He describes his joining the firm as “a match made in heaven”. His career path has allowed him to develop by experience. An accounts clerk in his early Sovereign days, he moved on to the client accounting field, the fascinating world of insurance and latterly the rarefied domain of Sovereign Wealth.
Heading a team of five, Gareth is responsible for Sovereign’s internal bookkeeping and financial accounting together with client accounting for Gibraltar-based clients.
He recalls many stories from his time in Sovereign, highlighting in particular the Christmas parties of yesteryear. The ability to get together with colleagues normally away from Gibraltar itself provided many happy memories. Of course, he says, the stellar growth in the staff complement over recent years means that these events have taken on a different nature these days. Or is it, he asks, merely him getting older?
Gareth says of Sovereign that apart from the opportunities and thorough training received from the outset, the staff are what makes Sovereign such a great place to work. “They are”, he says, “my second family” extending across the Group. Although Gibraltar-based, he enjoys interaction with other offices and has made good friends worldwide. He identifies his colleagues in Mauritius office as just one example.
The finance industry as a whole is experiencing rapid change; Sovereign is no exception. Gareth concedes that it is challenging to embrace it, but change has to happen and he aims to give 100% at all times.
We closed by asking this self-confessed “happy chappie” about his future plans. No surprise that Gareth is determined to carry on, adapting wherever necessary, for as long as possible. Provided he can continue, he says, to indulge in his favourite activity – sipping coffee al fresco in Spain watching the world go by. Good luck to Gareth and thanks for taking the time to speak to us.