Gibraltar is small in size but big on tax savings. The country of Gibraltar covers just 2.642 sq. miles of land, an area roughly half the size of Rhode Island. For a small country it is a dynamic financial center for investors world-wide.
This self-governing British territory located near the entrance of the Mediterranean, overlooks the Straites of Gibraltar, on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula and Europe. It shares it’s northern border with Spain.
Gibraltar has close historical ties to Britain’s military and is the home of one of England’s Royal Naval bases. The country has an economy supported by shipping and offshore banking, with tourism adding even more to its coffers via the estimated 7 million tourist who make it their destination each year. These 3 industries added an estimated 25%-30% each to Gibraltar’s GDP. Support from the British military alone adds another 7% to the total economy.
The population of Gibraltar is estimated at over 28,000 people, with a per capita GDP of $ 38,200 (2005 est.), with a large number of them employed in the service and industrial sectors. The official currency of Gibraltar is the Gibraltar Pound (GI, GIB). The Gibraltar Pound is divided into 100 pence.
The wealth management and private banking sector of Gibraltar has attracted many big name players like Barclays, ABN Amro, and IDT Financial. Due to the high regulation and low taxation this country offers, it is one of the more ideal offshore banking locations and offers attractive tax conditions to those investing in it. Asset management is primarily what the offshore sector focuses on for individuals who are of a high net worth. There is no taxation on wealth, inheritances and gifts, and becoming a resident of Gibraltar requires no physical presence, so it might be wise to consider not only offshore investing in Gibraltar, but living there as well.
Quite often the banks here will cater to the rich and those of a higher net worth. They will offer special rates, and feature their private banking services in the lime light. “Customer Relationship Management” is a specialty of many of the offshore banks in Gibraltar. However, some care needs to be taken when approaching the private banking sector here, as well as in many other countries. Keep in mind to do your due diligence and look at how the bank is structured. Many are simply front ends for investment funds, which may be fine, or it may not. If a bank is offering personal attention, bear in mind exactly why it is doing this and what it hopes to gain from you depositing your money.
Englishman Peter Macfarlane is an author and lecturer on offshore finance, investment, due diligence and wealth creation matters. After fifteen years advising high net worth clients on offshore asset protection structures such as companies, trusts and private interest foundations, he decided on a career change and now mentors individuals who are interested in creating, preserving and growing wealth in a secure offshore environment.