Gibraltar is a peninsula at the southern tip of Spain with an area of approximately 7 sq. km. It is adjacent to Africa yet within Europe, and has a historically strategic position at the junction of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The Rock of Gibraltar is limestone, is almost 425 m high, and has hundreds of metres of tunnels that were dug for various military campaigns. The name itself derives from the Moorish leader Tariq who used Gibraltar as a base in the eighth century. "Gibel Tariq" means the Mountain of Tariq.
The population of Gibraltar is approximately 30,000 although a substantial number of the working population commutes daily from homes nearby in Spain. A number of Moroccan, British and Indian expatriates live in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar is a British Dependent Territory and is a Crown Colony with internal self-government. It has its own elected House of Assembly, which legislates on domestic matters. The United Kingdom is responsible for defence, foreign affairs, financial stability and internal security. Gibraltar is a member of the European Union by virtue of Article 227 paragraph 4 of the Treaty of Rome in its capacity as a territory for whose external relations a Member State (the United Kingdom) is responsible.
Gibraltar enjoys special status within the Community and is exempted from the Common Customs Tariff, the Common Agricultural Policy and Value Added Taxation.
Gibraltar is politically stable and the current Government, actively promotes Gibraltar as a first-class international financial centre.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECONOMY
Since the opening of the border with Spain in 1985, the level of tourism and investment has increased dramatically. Several international banks and insurance companies have offices in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar has excellent modern postal and telecommunications systems. Thanks to a joint venture between the Gibraltar Government and the Nynex Corporation of the USA, Gibraltar enjoys the latest in digital and fibre-optic telecommunications.
There are daily flights between Gibraltar and London and frequent scheduled air services to Manchester, Luton and Tangier. Although it is not at present possible to fly direct from Gibraltar to Spain and other destinations the airports at Seville, Jerez and Malaga can easily be reached by road and provide direct services to many international destinations.
The Port of Gibraltar enjoys free port status and hosts frequent calls from many of the world’s shipping lines, both passenger and freight.
The official and spoken language is English although because of Gibraltar's close proximity to Spain, Spanish is spoken widely.
UK Pound. Local notes and coins are produced but UK Currency is accepted, as is the Spanish Peseta, with most shops displaying dual currency price tags.
TYPE OF LAW
Common Law based on English Common Law.
PRINCIPAL CORPORATE LEGISLATION
Based on the United Kingdom 1929 Companies Act (as amended) and the Companies Ordinance 1984 (as amended).
TYPE OF COMPANY FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT
PROCEDURE TO INCORPORATE
Filing of Memorandum and Articles of Association, Statement of the Situation of Registered Office, a statement declaring the Authorised Share Capital and a Declaration of Compliance.
RESTRICTIONS ON TRADING
Cannot trade within Gibraltar or undertake the business of banking, deposit taking, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, asset management or any other activity associated with the finance industry.
POWERS OF COMPANY
A company incorporated in Gibraltar has the same powers as a natural person.
LANGUAGE OF LEGISLATION AND CORPORATE DOCUMENTS
REGISTERED OFFICE REQUIRED
Yes, must be maintained in Gibraltar.
SHELF COMPANIES AVAILABLE
TIME SCALE TO INCORPORATE
Subject to name approval, a company can be incorporated within five working days.
Any name that is identical or similar to an existing company. Any name which, in the opinion of the Registrar, is undesirable or offensive. Any name which suggests royal or government patronage. Any English name, or their foreign language equivalent, which may imply a field of activity associated with the banking or finance industry.
LANGUAGE OF NAME
The name can be in any language that uses the Latin alphabet, but must be accompanied by a translation to ensure that the name is not prohibited or licensable.
NAMES REQUIRING CONSENT OR A LICENCE
The following names or their derivatives: bank, building society, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, asset management, investment fund, trust, trustees, municipal, Chamber of Commerce, co-operative or their foreign language equivalents. "International" and "Gibraltar" cannot be used without consent unless they are bracketed.
SUFFIXES TO DENOTE LIMITED LIABILITY
Limited or Ltd.
DISCLOSURE OF BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP TO AUTHORITIES
In order to obtain exempt status, an application has to be made to the Financial Services Commission. The application must include the name and address of the beneficial owner(s), and bank character references relating to the beneficial owners. This information is not on public record.
AUTHORISED AND ISSUED SHARE CAPITAL
Normally £ 2,000 divided in to 2,000 shares of £ 1 each. This being the maximum authorised share capital for the minimum capital duty payable upon incorporation. The authorised share capital may be expressed in any currency. The minimum issued capital is £ 100.
CLASSES OF SHARES PERMITTED
Registered shares, bearer shares (but unusual in the case of an exempt company), preference shares and redeemable shares or shares with or without voting rights.
BEARER SHARES PERMITTED
Not available for Exempt Companies.
A Gibraltar Exempt Company is exempted from local taxation.
DOUBLE TAXATION AGREEMENTS
Gibraltar is not a party to any double tax treaties
£ 225 per year.
FINANCIAL STATEMENT REQUIREMENTS
There is no requirement to file financial statements, but a company must keep records to reflect its financial affairs.
The minimum number of directors is one, who may be natural persons or bodies corporate. They may be of any nationality, and need not be resident of Gibraltar.
All Gibraltar companies must appoint a resident company secretary, who may be a natural person or body corporate.
The minimum number of shareholders is one.