The purpose of this section is to explain the requirements and our approach to registered names that require approval from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) prior to registering with Companies House.

Company Names

The Companies Act 2014 and the Companies Name Regulations requires firms wishing to use certain “sensitive words” within its registered Company Name to obtain authorisation from different authorities, depending on the “sensitive word”.

There is a list of “sensitive words” that require authorisation from the GFSC. Further guidance on this can be found in Circular No.4. issued by Companies House Gibraltar. This can be found here.

The GFSC has no powers to provide authorisation on the use of any other word that is not listed within the Circular, even if such is being used for a regulated entity.

Company Name approval requests

A firm who wants to use a “sensitive word”, as listed in Circular No.4 issued by Companies House Gibraltar, in its Company Name, should submit a formal request to the GFSC for the approval of such. This can be done by letter addressed to Authorisations or by emailing the Authorisations Team.

Firms applying for authorisation to conduct a regulated activity

If the firm intends to apply to the GFSC for authorisation to conduct a regulated activity, the name approval request should include:

  • Details on the proposed activity;
  • Details on the proposed licence to be sought; and
  • By when an application should be expected.
  • We may request any further information as necessary to allow us to make an informed decision on the use of the “sensitive word”.

If successful, the approval granted by the GFSC will be subject to the following:

  • An application being submitted to the GFSC within 3 months;
  • If the application is not received within 3 months the “sensitive word” should be removed within 5 days of the end of the 3 months; and
  • If the application is unsuccessful, the “sensitive word” should be removed within 5 working days as from the point of communication from the GFSC.
  • Firms that will not conduct a regulated activity

If a firm wishes to use a “sensitive word” requiring GFSC approval, but it does not intend to provide a regulated activity, it should provide:

Details on the proposed activity; and

Provide an undertaking stating “We can confirm that the company will not be undertaking any licensable activity which is regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission".

We may request any further information as necessary to allow us to make an informed decision on the use of the “sensitive word”.

Experienced Investor Fund Name approvals

If the firm intends to apply for authorisation to act as an Experienced Investor Fund (EIF), it must submit the following information:

  • Promoters/Principals;
  • Proposed launch date;
  • Name of directors and EIF authorised directors;
  • Fund Administrators;
  • Depositary/Bankers;
  • Whether the fund is to be set-up as an open-ended or closed-ended structure;
  • Proposed investment objective/strategy;
  • If the fund is to be established as a protected cell company; and
  • If it is self-managed.
  • We may request any further information as necessary to allow us to make an informed decision on the use of the “sensitive word”.

If successful, the approval granted by the GFSC will be subject to the following:

  • An EIF application being submitted to the GFSC within 3 months;
  • If the EIF application is not received within 3 months the “sensitive word” should be removed within 5 days of the end of the 3 months; and
  • If the EIF application is unsuccessful, the “sensitive word” should be removed within 5 working days as from the communication from the GFSC.

Business/Trading Names

A licensee is required to obtain prior approval by the GFSC of any Business or Trading Name it intends to use locally or in another jurisdiction. The licensee is, therefore, fully responsible for the use and choice of its Business/Trading Names, irrespective of the location in which it operates. The following are the GFSC’s expectations on the use of Trading Names:

  1. The licensee must maintain control and oversight over any websites operating under its Trading Names and their contents. Any website should clearly state that the Trading Name is that of the licensee. There should be no indication or statement which could give the impression of the Trading Name being a separate entity from the licensee. The licensee should ensure that any website clearly reflects the regulated activities that the licensee is authorised to conduct through the Trading Name in the jurisdiction in which it operates, and should make no reference to any activities for which the licensee does not hold a licence.
  2. Licensee websites should make reference to all websites operated under its Trading Names. Similarly, websites operating under a Trading Name must have a direct link to the licensee’s website.
  3. All Trading Names must bear a resemblance to the licensee’s registered Company Name, unless there is a genuine rationale for an alternative which is acceptable to, and approved by, the GFSC.

Requests for approval

A firm should submit a formal request to the GFSC for the approval of a Business/Trading Name. This can be done by letter addressed to Authorisations or by emailing the Authorisations Team.

As part of the request the firm is required to:

  • Provide the reason for the use of the Business/Trading Name;
  • Confirm it will comply with points 1 and 2 above; and
  • If the Business/Trading Name does not comply with point 3 above, provide the rationale for the Business/Trading Name not to resemble the firm’s registered company name.
  • We may request any further information as necessary to allow us to make an informed decision on the use of the Business/Trading Name.

Removal of “sensitive word” after surrendering or withdrawal of authorisation

Licensed entities that surrender its authorisation, or have its authorisation withdrawn by the GFSC, will be required to change its registered company name to remove the use of the “sensitive word”, if any, so as not to imply that a regulated activity continues to be conducted.

Licensees will be required to do so within 5 working days as from the notice from the GFSC that either the authorisations has been surrendered or that it has been withdrawn.