In general, the fund industry sticks to what it knows. American managers head to Cayman, the British generally look to Dublin and European managers are likely to choose Luxembourg.
In general, the fund industry sticks to what it knows. American managers head to Cayman, the British generally look to Dublin and European managers are likely to choose Luxembourg. This is simply the way that things have always been and the biggest challenge for Gibraltar currently is to get its name better known.
Gibraltar offers excellent infrastructure, a stringent but flexible regulator and good service at competitive prices. As a member of the EU, Gibraltar can offer passporting rights to all EU countries, including the UK. This is a great benefit for companies starting out in Gibraltar and planning to expand their services elsewhere in Europe.
Velay Financial Services (VFS), is an important player in the Gibraltar funds industry. In June of this year, VFS will celebrate its 10th anniversary. We pride ourselves on tailor-making our solutions to the needs of our clients. We take the time to sit down and discuss in detail with our clients exactly what they need. Only once we truly understand our clients’ requirements will we tailor our offering to the client’s needs. Our flexibility enables us to cater for equity funds, fixed income, futures and alternative investment vehicles.
Many fund administrators in Europe and elsewhere provide excellent fund accounting and net asset value calculation, but they don’t necessarily have a background in fund management itself. VFS is able to offer its clients fund management services in addition to fund administration – we are currently one of the top three fund administrators in Gibraltar. We have been involved with asset management since 1998 and we believe that this enables us to better understand our clients’ needs. Our belief in a tailor-made solution extends into our investment management offering and our middle and back office support services. VFS operates an in-house system, which was developed to our own specification, and which can be readily adapted to cater for new or different asset classes.
The fact that the fund services industry in Gibraltar forms a small and close-knit community is a great help in allowing us to build flexible solutions quickly for our clients. The lawyers, accountants, administrators, fund managers and custodian banks here have excellent working relationships, and we are able to rapidly arrange to get together to discuss the optimum solution for a particular client.
Managers who have had funds rejected out-of-hand by longer-established jurisdictions as being too technical or out-of-the ordinary come to Gibraltar and discover that we are more willing as a jurisdiction to take on alternative types of funds, or smaller funds. The initial stages of setting up a complex fund will often require many meetings and a detailed analysis of the potential valuation process for the new securities to be traded, however, if all the parties are willing to devote their time and expertise to the task, as we are in Gibraltar, it is possible to find a solution.
In the last three years the number of fund administrators in Gibraltar has increased from two to seven – a 250% increase. We believe that prospects for growth, both for Gibraltar and for VFS, continue to be excellent and we are recruiting and gearing up to enable us to meet that growth.
Raymond Joubaud and Joanne Sené, Velay Financial Services