The purpose of this page is to make sure that the application process is fully understood.
This section sets out:
- What is a bureau de change?
- What would this licence allow you to do?
- Capital requirements
- What do you need to submit?
Bureaux de Change
A bureau de change is an establishment at which customers, primarily, exchange foreign money.
What this licence allows you to do
This licence will allow you to offer the service of exchanging currency as a bureau de change.
The regulation of Bureau de Change falls under the scope of the Financial Services (Investment and Fiduciary Services) Act 1989 (“the Act”). All requirements for the licensing of Bureau de Change can be found under the Financial Services (Licensing) Regulations 1991. A Bureau de Change should ensure that it complies with all subsidiary legislation to the Act.
At present there are no capital requirements for Bureaux but the GFSC would expect firms to hold at least 3 months’ worth of expenses to ensure the orderly wind down of the firm in the event of closure.
What do you need to submit?
An application pack is required to be submitted with all the relevant documents.
An application will not be considered complete if there are any outstanding documents.
The application pack must consist of:
- Application Fee
- Application Form
- Business Plan
- Financial projections for the next 3 years
- Profit and loss account
- Balance sheet
- Individual Questionnaire (for each individual holding a notifiable position)
- Body Corporate Questionnaire (for each entity holding a notifiable position)
- Trust Questionnaire (if applicable)
- Risk methodology and/or threat assessment matrix
- Mapping assessment of how the application meets the relevant legislative threshold requirements (i.e. statutory/regulatory criteria for licensing under relevant Act/s)
Any other document the applicant considers the GFSC should take into consideration as part of the application.
The business plan should clearly and comprehensively set out:
- How the firm will ensure that it adheres to all anti-money laundering requirements
- How the firm assesses risk, mainly associated to the risk of money laundering
- Internal controls to mitigate risks identified, mainly associated to the risk of money laundering.
The GFSC will be seeking evidence that the firm has considered the risk, compliance and operational issues associated with the proposed activities, as well as evidence that these have been documented and implemented.
Applicants should ensure that the business plan is coherent with the firm’s risk appetite and capacity.
The regulation and supervision of bureaux is primarily aimed at countering the risks of money laundering associated with such an industry and ultimately the enhancement and protection of Gibraltar’s reputation as a leading finance centre. Therefore, applicants should ensure that they consider the anti-money laundering requirements, specifically within the GFSC Anti Money Laundering Guidance Note, and ensure that it can clearly articulate:
- how it complies with the requirements; and
- the internal controls implemented to mitigate such risk.
In determining an application, the GFSC must be satisfied that the applicant is able to execute the proposed activity diligently and has sufficient resources to adhere to all relevant obligations. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate that the business can be managed in a sound manner with adequate internal controls which can be met on a continuing basis.
Should you get an error when opening any of the forms, please check the FAQ tab for guidance on how to override this.
Documents referred to in the application form must be clearly referenced to help us process the application swiftly.
RGP Vetting Form
Please note that an 'Individual Questionnaire' or a 'Notifiable Document' MUST be accompanied by a Royal Gibraltar Police vetting application form in accordance with Section 30C of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2015.
(i) The enquiry form must be completed by the applicant in full with BLUE INK on an original form (scanned copies will not be accepted by the RGP).
(ii) £10 will be required to be submitted with the form. This can be paid in cash or you may pay by cheque. If you are paying by cheque please make this payable to the Government General Account.
||Body Corporate Questionnaire
Where a trust is proposed as part of the shareholding structure of an applicant, the GFSC will need sight of a comprehensive explanation setting out the rationale for the use of such a vehicle within the structure.
Furthermore, the following is required to be submitted together with the Questionnaire
- Copy of the trust deed
- A written undertaking from the respective trustees to the effect that:
- the provisions of the trust(s) in respect of beneficiaries, trustee(s) and terms of settlement are as contained in the relevant deed(s) dated [xxx],
- the resignation of any trustee and, where appropriate, protector will be notified to the Commission forthwith,
- no other trustee(s) or any additional or different protector(s) will be appointed, without the prior approval in writing of the Commission,
- any proposed changes to the beneficiaries must be notified in writing to the Commission,
- any proposed distribution or transfer for value or otherwise of any of the trust assets related to the applicant firm must receive the prior approval in writing of the Commission.
- Confirmation from the trustee(s) that they understand that failure to adhere to their undertaking may result in regulatory action against the applicant/regulated firm.
In addition to the Trust Questionnaire and the above listed information, the Applicant is also required to submit Individual Questionnaires for the settlor(s) and any named beneficiaries. This will not apply in cases where the beneficiary is a minor. In these cases, details of the individual will suffice i.e. name, DOB, address, nationality & passport number. When the trust is for example a discretionary family trust where not all beneficiaries are named (i.e. refers to spouse and children/issue of Mr X but does not actually name these individuals) a copy of the ‘letter of wishes’ of the Settlor, if any, will also be required.
In principle, the GFSC does not favour the use of nominee shareholdings for the purposes of holding shares, directly or indirectly, in a regulated firm. The Commission will therefore require that the applicant submit a paper setting out the rationale for the use of these structures in each instance where this is being proposed. This should include comprehensive details as to why it is necessary to hold the shares in this way.
The application fee must accompany your application. Please note, if you are applying for more than one licence, aggregate fees will apply.
Bureaux de Change
||Bureaux de Change
The annual fee is not payable until your application is approved. For details of these please refer to the current Fee Regulations.
Details on the payment methods can be requested from the Accounts team.
Service Level Standards
The current service level standards are:
- To provide initial feedback to an application within 5 weeks of a complete application being received.
- Once all of the information has been received from an applicant and the application is therefore considered to be complete, we aim to provide an in principle decision within 4 weeks.
Please be advised that the above service level standards refer to the period of time in which the GFSC holds applications for consideration. Where we require further information or documents from an applicant the service level standards will be suspended until we receive the requested information. The period of time an application is pending because of factors outside the control of the GFSC will not be accounted for under the service level standards.
Please note that should we be unlikely to meet our SLS’s, we will advise you as soon as possible.