Javier Monton is the subject of our latest Sovereign Story and he has a fascinating background. Known by everyone as Jav and based in Gibraltar, he is the Operations Support Manager at Sovereign Pension Services (Gibraltar) Limited. We started by asking him where in Spain he was born.
“Central London” came the reply – exactly 50 years ago. We must have looked quizzical for Jav went on to explain. “I’m Spanish as both my parents are from Spain. My mother’s Galician and my father is from Madrid.” he told us. They were living in London at the time and Jav grew up in the city – staying until his mid-thirties. In order to preserve his heritage, he studied at a Spanish school, so grew up completely bilingual and able to benefit from both Spanish and British culture. He remains a dual national to this day.
After school, Jav went on to take a BA in European Business & Marketing at London’s Brunel University. From the start, he was passionate about the subject. By this time he had caught the travel bug – and it has never left him.
As part of his studies, he spent time in Madrid working for a logistics company. After graduating he went on to work in London’s Oxford Street for Nippon Travel Agency, a Japanese tour operator. A working trip to Japan was followed by an internship in Paris during the 1998 World Cup (when France beat Brazil 3-0).
Jav spent a short time working with the online travel agent Travelchest before joining Gulliver Travel Associates where he stayed for seven years. During his time there he headed up the incentive travel department where he was responsible for coordinating trips for large clients. One memorable example he remembers was taking a group of 200 Russian golfers to Morocco. He loves organising – things and people. He says this is probably why he sits on Sovereign Gibraltar’s Sports & Social Committee and the Health & Wellbeing Committee (although, he smiles, it might also be because he finds it difficult to say “no”).
By this point, Jav was living in north London but with great luck (or judgement) he sold his flat in 2008 just before the financial crisis. His parents and other family members had moved to Andalucía and he bought a flat in Campamento, near Gibraltar, the following year. He had first visited the Rock in 1995 and decided to move to his new flat and seek work across the frontier in 2009.
And so Jav made a complete change and moved from the travel sector to financial services. Joining STM in January 2009 he spent the next 12 years working for the firm. He began by managing the busy reception desk and loved the interaction with visitors and staff alike. He moved swiftly to the pensions department. Diligently studying, he learnt as much as possible about the new legislation. By managing key events such as the 2013 de-listing of Guernsey QROPS, this led to a short spell working in STM’s Malta office.
Gradually he climbed the corporate ladder gaining experience as he went along. He ended up as Risk, Audit & Governance Manager giving him an overview of the whole business.
Approaching 50, he decided he needed one more change in his career. Knowing Sovereign as STM’s main competitor, he recalls that there was no other choice and that “he doesn’t regret his move for a moment”. By coincidence, Sovereign was in the final stage of acquiring STM’s trust and company business (STM Fidecs Management Limited). Although Jav worked for the pensions side, he knew the STM staff that joined Sovereign as a result of the acquisition; advantageous to all concerned.
And away from work? Happily sharing his life with partner Michael for the last thirteen years, he has a number of passions including skiing – reminding us that Spain’s Sierra Nevada is less than three hours from Gibraltar by road. He is also a passionate cook – at university he worked as a chef for a while – and says with a wry grin that he is “in charge” of the food at home.
He is devoted to his family – not only the several relations who have made their home in southern Spain and in Gibraltar itself but also his two cats!
Jav is a keen charity worker. One of the toughest, but most rewarding experiences of his entire life came in 2017 when he climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This benefitted The Rif Community Foundation (RifCom) that aims to relieve poverty in nearby Morocco’s Rif Mountains.
He considers himself fortunate to have been offered several fantastic opportunities throughout his career. But as we have noted in previous Sovereign Stories, he too has been successful because he grasped those chances with both hands and ran with them.
As he begins his fabulous 50s, what of the future? Travel remains a passion but Spain is home and Gibraltar his workplace. A great combination. We wish him and his family all the best for the future and thank you for your time.