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Robust yet flexible – Gibraltar’s fund regimes

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Gibraltar is a leading domicile for funds and managers, offering a robust legislative framework and favourable tax advantages, coupled with the flexibility that a small and innovative jurisdiction can offer.

Gibraltar is a leading domicile for funds and managers, offering a robust legislative framework and favourable tax advantages, coupled with the flexibility that a small and innovative jurisdiction can offer.

Its special relationship with the United Kingdom means Gibraltar is the only jurisdiction in the world which can guarantee unimpeded market access to the UK on the basis of the Gibraltar Authorisation Regime (GAR). This is the new market access arrangement for financial services between the UK and Gibraltar. Gibraltar UCITS, ManCos, Gibraltar AIFMs and AIFs continue to have access to the UK market and can carry on marketing their UCITS and AIFs in the UK on the basis of their Gibraltar licence. The same applies for those UK firms wishing to access the Gibraltar market.

Gibraltar exited the EU with the UK so Brexit has created new and exciting market opportunities for Gibraltar’s funds and investment sector. We are fortunate to count on the support of HM Government of Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC), a regulator that understands our sector. GFIA’s close working relationship with Government and the GFSC means that over the years, we have been able to nurture our regulatory regimes with the aim of providing investor protection and protecting the good reputation of Gibraltar while ensuring that those regulatory regimes are as competitive as they possibly can be. This has been particularly important in the context of Gibraltar’s exit from the EU. This, we believe, has ensured Gibraltar’s positioning as a centre of excellence for the domiciliation of funds and managers.

Experienced Investor Funds (EIFs)

One of Gibraltar USPs is speed to market and the process for authorisation in Gibraltar for EIFs was created to provide just this. The GFSC needs to be notified of the launch of the EIF within 10 days, allowing a launch with no regulatory application downtime as would be the case in other jurisdictions. To launch in this manner, the EIF must comply with a number of requirements designed to create a solid regulatory framework. These include the appointment of a number of required service providers, the production of an offering document which complies with Gibraltar law and a legal opinion provided by a senior Gibraltar lawyer stating that the fund is established in accordance with the Financial Services (Experienced Investor Funds) Regulations 2020 and other relevant legislation.

The Fund will need to appoint a Gibraltar-authorised administrator or an administrator operating outside of Gibraltar (with GFSC permission to administer EIFs). Similarly, a Gibraltar auditor must also be appointed.

Experienced investors are defined as those who have a net worth of EUR1 million (exclusive of principal residential property), individual investors whose normal business includes investment-related activity (investment professionals) or investors who invest a minimum of EUR100,000 in the fund. These definitions are individual and not cumulative.

EIFs have no minimum or maximum requirements on invested capital and are typically marketed on a private basis under national private placement regimes and the laws of the jurisdictions in which they are promoted.

Private Funds

As the name suggests, a private fund is intended to be private by nature and is not permitted to have more than 50 investors of an ‘identifiable category’ or to be listed on a stock exchange. It is also for this reason that they are not authorised by the GFSC. However, if they are self-managed, they are required to register with the GFSC.

In some cases, family offices not seeking external investors will choose the private fund to structure their investments.

Given the nature of private funds, there is no statutory requirement to produce audited accounts, a prospectus. They are also not required to appoint a fund administrator. Notwithstanding this, it is market practice to issue an offer document and to appoint an administrator. GFIA recommends these elements to enhance investor protection and good corporate governance.

If a private scheme wants to convert to an EIF to enable it to accept external investors, it needs to remain private for one year.

Partnerships and protected cell structures

Gibraltar’s protected cell companies (PCC) legislation dates back to 2001 and PCCs are frequently used for the structuring of EIFs. A PCC is a single legal person with the ability to form cells which segregate assets and liabilities into statutorily protected cells. If one cell incurs a liability, then the creditors of that cell will be unable to satisfy their debt from assets attributable to another cell. The use of PCCs for EIFs has been extremely popular because it allows the creation of several funds with different strategies under one vehicle and they therefore benefit from economies of scale.

GFIA’s ongoing work with the GFSC and Government also resulted in Gibraltar’s revamped limited partnership legislation and the ground-breaking protected cell limited partnership legislation, both which came into effect on 25th November 2021. This has further cemented Gibraltar’s position as a leading and innovative funds domicile.

Gibraltar’s limited partnership legislation permits limited partnerships to choose whether or not they wish to have separate legal personality.

The flexibility of Gibraltar’s limited partnership legislation is also enshrined in the list of actions that a limited partner may undertake while ensuring that in doing so it will not amount to taking part in the management of the limited partnership. This allows a limited partner to maintain limited liability whilst, for example, as an investor it could actively participate in advisory committees to discuss the portfolio and individual assets without piercing its limited liability status.

Under the Protected Cell Limited Partnerships Act 2021, limited partnerships that are authorised as Experienced Investor Funds can create one or more cells to protect and segregate cellular assets from non-cellular assets. Protected Cells can be used to create multi-cell funds or “umbrella funds”.


The robustness and flexibility of Gibraltar’s fund regimes positioned it very well for the emergence of crypto and blockchain projects given that they are not limited by investment or leverage restrictions. This has resulted in Gibraltar funds being very popular for the structuring of such investments. Gibraltar is recognised as one of the leading jurisdictions in the world for the domiciliation of crypto funds and this was most recently recognised in a report published by PwC.

We expect the attractiveness of Gibraltar to continue to develop as we usher in the creation of our dual regime which will allow Gibraltar funds to opt-out of the AIFMD given that they no longer have access to the benefits that the directive offers (e.g. passporting). The dual regime will shortly allow Gibraltar funds to offer, within the European continent, the same benefits as other non-EU fund domiciles. 

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