General Business Information
Gibraltar’s unique position at the crossroads of Europe and Africa coupled with its special terms of membership of the European Union enables the provision of a wide range of services to meet the requirements of international investors. Gibraltar has developed a financial and commercial infrastructure to meet the needs of new enterprises that are seeking a low cost operation based in Europe. As a business location, it provides a high quality professional service overseen by a European standard of regulation. The numerous trading entities and financial services companies, which already have a base in Gibraltar, are testament to this. [Source: Welcome to Gibraltar]
The Gibraltar economy is largely based on financial services, tourism and shipping. More recently Gibraltar has attracted a large number of blue-chip gaming companies to the extent that this Industry is now an important part of the Gibraltar economy. A brief synopsis of each sector is given below. The economy has grown steadily over recent years with Government estimating that Gibraltar’s GDP presently stands at around £1.137 billion, representing an increase for the year of just over 5.1%. The Government is predicting GDP to grow to 1.65 billion by 2014/15. [Source: Doing Business in Gibraltar]
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|Area||2.6 sq. mi. (6.5 sq. km.)|
|Climate||Subtropical Mediterranean; wet winters; dry summers|
|Official Languages||English (Spanish, Italian, Portugese)|
|Currency||Gibraltar pound sterling|
|Government||British overseas territory; a representative, democratic parliamentary dependency under constitutional monarchy|
|GDP per capita||$43,000|
|Main trading partners||NA|
|Weights and measures||Metric|
|International dialing code||+350|
|Internet domain suffix||.gi|
|Quality of life||Harmonious, multicultural, stable political and economic environment|
|Doing Business rating||na|
[Source: World Factbook & Wikipedia]
Establishing a Business
The Gibraltar Companies Act is based on English Legislation and has recently been amended to include relevant EU Directives. A Gibraltar company can be incorporated within two to three days. However, upon payment of an additional fee, same day incorporation can be effected. Clearance of the company’s name is required prior to incorporation.
The following types of companies are available:
- Limited by shares (public or private)
- Limited by guarantee, with or without share capital
- Unlimited, with or without share capital
Incorporated companies must comply with the following:
- For a private company – minimum number of shareholders is one
- For public companies the minimum number of shareholders is seven (Corporate and nominee shareholders are permitted)
A Gibraltar company is required to maintain a registered office in Gibraltar where the Statutory Books are kept. In the case of private company a sole director is permitted, although a minimum of two is advisable. A public company on the other hand must have at least two directors. Directors are not required to hold qualifying shares and corporate directors are also permitted.
An AGM of shareholders is required to be held once a year albeit anywhere in the world. (The AGM can be dispensed with if all the shareholders agree)
Many of the facilities available in Company Management in Gibraltar are unique within the European Union. The benefits include swift incorporation, extensive company management services and favorable fiscal advantages. [Source: Welcome to Gibraltar]
Special Rules for Financial Services Companies
Companies undertaking financial services are subject to licensing and regulation by the Financial Services Commission (FSC). Applicants must complete and submit the Material Document Checklist that forms part of the application process so as to ensure that they have submitted all the major documents from the onset. This will ensure that the application processing is not delayed due to key information being missing from the application pack. These documents include:
- Application form
- Individual questionnaire for every director, manager, officer or controller
- CV for every director, manager, officer or controller
- References for every director, manager, officer or controller
- Corporate questionnaire for every director, manager, officer or controller
- Details of trust structure holding shares in applicant
- Shareholder organogram
- Financial projections, including cash flow, balance sheet and P&L for three years
- Statutory returns for three years
- Memorandum and articles of association of the applicant
- Certificate of incorporation
- Management agreements
- Outsourcing agreements
- Confirmation of share allotment and payment of shares
- Details of PI coverage
- Details of source of funds
- Customer agreements, policy wordings, mandates, etc.
- Authorization profile
Where the following information has not already been supplied in the Application Form, the business plan should clearly and comprehensively set out.
- The proposed activity and how it is to be conducted;
- The resources that are to be made available and the systems that the applicant intends to employ;
- An outline of how clients are to be attracted;
- What arrangements are to be put in place to safeguard customer monies and/or other assets;
- The manner in which records will be maintained;
- How and by whom any decisions will be made;
- The level and nature of fees to be charged to clients.
- If the applicant forms part of a larger group the plan should also provide details of the activities of the group and a description of the group structure.
The Commission will be seeking evidence that the firm has considered the risk, compliance and operational issues associated with the proposed activity, as well as evidence that it has documented these, together with the procedures, processes, policies, systems and controls to be put in place. Details of these should be comprehensively set out in the business plan. Applicants are strongly advised by the FSC to seek appropriate legal advice before any action or decision is taken. The FSC does not provide, or purport to offer, legal advice. [Source: Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. Please visit http://www.fsc.gi for further details.]
American Corporate Services offers experience and expertise for astute investors who wish to establish offshore businesses. Whether an investor wishes to immigrate or simply to establish a business entity, our network of professionals has the ability to advise, assist, direct and enable clients to understand and navigate the process for Gibraltar company formation.
Our services include everything you need for starting a new business in Gibraltar. In addition to helping to establish a Gibraltar business bank account, helping you set up your business to conform to Gibraltar accounting standards and to comply with Gibraltar taxes, we also offer boutique amenities such as Gibraltar secretarial services. We can even help you to create a Gibraltar virtual office that will appear to others as though you are actually in Gibraltar, even though you may be just about anywhere else on the globe at the time. Our business is making your investment a success.