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Gibraltar's economy revolves largely around financial services, shipping, tourism and e-gaming and telecommunications, including Internet. Businesses wishing to set up, expand or diversify on the Rock should contact the InvestGibraltar Office, Department of Enterprise & Development.

Offshore trusts and companies have in the past been used to structure individuals in a tax-efficient way or for inheritance reasons. However, due to the costs incurred by professional fees, this really is not a cost-effective option for assets below Euro 750,000.

September 11, 2001 changed the compliance enviroment throughout the global finance industry. Today, financial institutions follow the "Know Your Client" rule, commonly referred to as KYC. Therefore, you can expect to answer a number of questions in the process of setting up an account.

Offshore institutions are not normally user-friendly when it comes to loaning money. The institution often comes under the laws of the offshore jurisdiction and does not have the resources or expertise to lend funds in another location. Therefore, offshore institutions will probably specialise only in selected areas and fields.

Whether you are the first time investor looking for a basic saving programme or you are more experienced but wishing for an overview of all the available investment vehicles offered by offshore entities, you will find here pertinent information.

Many financial providers offer investment bonds, which are lump sum investments managed by a life company. Technically, these investments are known as a "single premium whole of life assurance bonds". They can be invested in a with profit fund, attracting certain guarantees, or be unit linked and track a certain market.

Fixed Interest Investments, or Gilts and Bonds are financial instruments that pay a fixed income from a fixed capital sum. They are mainly issued by governments and large corporations as a means of borrowing money on the international markets.

Independent Financial Advisers (IFA's) in Southern Spain provide financial planning services on either a time and cost or a commission basis. Local representatives from banks and life insurance companies supplement these services. Generally, an IFA can offer you products that are more competitive than cash. However, proper research is imperative in order to match the best product and provider with the client's needs.

This type of investment is backed by underlying assets, such as shares. Both the capital and income of the investment are variable and are not guaranteed unless underwritten by the provider.

If you are wishing to invest, but don't feel comfortable with mainstream investment products, you might be pleasantly surprised to find your niche among a number of alternatives offered on today's financial market. For example, if you would like to become involved in the equity market, but are not in a position to tolerate a high exposure to risk, you may find a comfort zone in the market linked deposits area.