The rock’s on a roll

Gibraltar is building its reputation as a solid fund services centre, which is ready to compete with the more established jurisdictions, writes Mark Dunne

Gibraltar is building its reputation as a solid fund services centre, which is ready to compete with the more established jurisdictions, writes Mark Dunne

David Wahnon isn’t too worried by the current economic problems sweeping the world. The managing director of the Gibraltar office of fund administrator Capita Financial has other issues occupying his mind.

In April, the firm took over the fund administration business of Heather Capital, an Isle of Man-registered master feeder fund. Wahnon says Heather’s move to Gibraltar is the latest indication that its fund services community is being considered more by fund managers when establishing structures in alternative jurisdictions.

“Heather Capital’s assets exceed $500 million (£250 million), proving that Gibraltar is not only attracting smaller hedge funds, but also larger promoters seeking a well-regulated jurisdiction in which to carry out fund business,” he adds.

Prime location

Wahnon’s optimism is supported by figures released by Gibraltar’s financial services commission, which show that some £10.3 billion was under management in March 2007 – a rise of more than £3.5 billion in two years.

This is one of the reasons why Capita, which administers £15 billion of assets for more than 100 investment managers, wanted to expand.

But rather than opening an office on the Rock it decided to buy an established business with knowledge of the market. In April last year, it added Global Fund Administration to its empire for an undisclosed sum.

Today the business trades as Capita Financial Administrator (Gibraltar) and looks after some £1.4 billion of funds, which, says Wahnon, are mostly hedge, real estate and PE funds, ranging in size from £30 million to as much as £400 million.

On the ground

Wahnon is a local and transferred to Capita from Global Fund Administration, which he joined in 2005, following stints at KPMG and PwC. Today he leads a team of 15 and says Capita targeted the firm to gain a foothold in the region as its directors could see “the growth potential”.

He puts the growing attraction of the jurisdiction down to a glut in the market: “There is too much business, and administrators are starting to concentrate on larger funds because their resources are stretched. There is a market for small to medium-sized funds that can’t find administrators in these centres, so they are looking to alternative jurisdictions.”


he rush for the smaller fund work has put Gibraltar in direct competition with the other emerging jurisdictions, but Wahnon is confident that, as part of the EU and with access to the UK market, it will remain competitive.

Gibraltar’s Experienced Investor Fund brings work to the area during troubled times as it has been designed to simplify the incorporation of funds at a “reasonable” cost without too much regulation. Under the system, most of the burden of compliance has been put on the local administrator and two local licenced directors.

Wahnon says that with all these elements in place, he doesn’t forsee any problems – not for the rest of the year, anyway. “Our order book will keep us going well into the new year.”

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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