Over the recent years, Gibraltar has worked very hard to position itself as the jurisdiction of choice for establishing investment funds. Gibraltar’s robust yet dynamic legislation, within the EU infrastructure and an advantageous tax regime, all pooled into a conveniently small jurisdiction, combine to make Gibraltar a “must see” jurisdiction. Such is the case that Gibraltar is now host to a conglomerate of professionals operating within the financial services sector; accountants, administrators, auditors, banks, brokers, corporate service providers and lawyers that together form Gibraltar’s financial services industry.
To further compliment Gibraltar’s offering, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) opened its doors in late 2014 and now plays a pivotal role in one of the EU’s leading finance centres. Below are some of the reasons why Gibraltar is so attractive for financial services businesses and why listing on GSX should seriously be considered:
European Union Regulatory Framework and Passporting
As part of the European Union, Gibraltar boasts the same regulatory standards as other European jurisdictions but, drawing on its size and expertise, the regulatory objectives are delivered seamlessly without fuss in what is now a modernised Financial Services Commission (FSC) ready to cope with the changing market trends.
Additionally Gibraltar benefits from EU Directives (e.g. MiFID, the Parent Subsidiary Directive, UCITS directive, AIFMD, the Insurance Directives and the Banking Directives).
Firms which are licensed in Gibraltar to provide services under an EU Directive have the ability to passport their services into other EU jurisdictions enabling service providers to operate throughout the EU based on the authorisation granted to them in Gibraltar.
GSX is therefore regulated to and meets all EU standards.
Advantageous Tax Regime
The new Income Tax Act has contributed to Gibraltar’s appeal and provides the environment which financial services companies require to increase profitability and Gibraltar’s position as a prosperous financial services jurisdiction.
On 24 June 2013, it was announced that the European Council of Economic and Finance Ministers of the 27 EU Members States (ECOFIN) endorsed Gibraltar’s tax regime as being compliant with the EU Code of Conduct for business taxation.
Gibraltar additionally boasts tax transparency to OECD standards and is a signatory to US FATCA, the UK equivalent and forms part of the early adopters group of the OECD’s standard for automatic exchange of information in tax matters.
GSX Advantages for Funds
By listing on GSX, funds, whether established within the EU or not, will achieve visibility within the EU.
Although GSX requires proper disclosure as to the operations of a listed fund, it does not otherwise restrict the funds operations in any significant way.
GSX is regulated by the FSC, a regulator that understands and supervises the financial services industry in a pragmatic manner.
GSX is an expedient and economically efficient way of listing within the EU.
GSX appreciates that time is of the essence and is fully committed to meeting such needs.
The GSX portal provides a unique method of filtering listings by, for example, asset classes, currencies and managers, bringing managers and investors together in an efficient manner.
GSX’s first official fund listing was effected, from conception to listing, in only 23 working days (which included the Christmas holidays).
GSX’s fees are highly competitive and coupled with competitively priced Listing Members, such as T&T Management Services Limited (TTMS), offer an exceptionally cost effective EU listing solution.
Listing Eligibility and Requirements
GSX listing is, currently, only available to open-ended collective investment schemes.
There are four stages to the listing process:
Stage 1 – Member Firm
All Applicants seeking a listing on GSX must first appoint a Listing Member Firm, such as TTMS. Member Firms are responsible for bringing listing applications to market and maintaining ongoing reporting obligations. GSX supplies the CIS Listing Code, the CIS Application Form and a CIS Checklist to facilitate the preparation of documents.
Stage 2 – GSX
The Member Firm must then submit all documents to GSX who will review the pack within 5 business days of receipt and, where required, seek further clarification. Once satisfied, GSX will forward the completed application to the GSX Member and Listing Committee (MLC).
Stage 3 – MLC
The MLC shall review all applications and will make its recommendation to the Listing Authority within a couple of business days.
Stage 4 – Listing Authority
The application is then submitted to the Listing Authority, the body responsible for the regulatory approval of listings, that is completely independent of GSX and manned by officers from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) of Gibraltar. The Listing Authority has 10 business days in which to either approve the application or ask further questions.
It is, however, expected that closed ended collective investment schemes will be
accepted for listing in the near future and GSX will proceed to expand thereafter.
Applicants can take any legal form including; private limited companies, protected cell companies, limited partnerships and unit trusts.
Applicants must be established in a jurisdiction approved by GSX. This includes the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Applicants must satisfy GSX that its directors, and any appointed investment manager, has suitably acceptable experience in the management of investments such as those the Applicant wishes to invest in.