Gibraltar removed from FATF grey list


February 23, 2024



min read

Founded in 1989 under the auspices of the G7 Group of Nations, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is responsible for developing policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.  As part of their work, FATF publishes a list of “jurisdictions under increased monitoring” – commonly referred to as the “grey list” –three times a year. FATF works actively with these countries, addressing any identified deficiencies. This partnership aims at removal from the list in the shortest possible timeframe. There is also a much shorter “black list”.


Gibraltar was included on FATF’s grey list on 17 June 2022. In a MoneyVal mutual evaluation report, the FATF identified Gibraltar as requiring increased monitoring on just two points within its extensive framework of 78 recommendations. This came as an unwelcome surprise creating immediate concern across the finance sector. The monitoring requirements related to pursuing regulatory sanctions and final confiscation judgements.  


The Government of Gibraltar accepted FATF’s Action Plan and committed to comply with these two outstanding matters by May 2023. Government has undertaken an intense amount of work in cooperation with the local financial services sector in order to address these concerns. Moreover, the Gibraltar MoneyVal Inter-Agency Working Group has met regularly in the past 18 months.


In October last year, FATF reported that Gibraltar had demonstrated “substantial completion“ of the action plan. Since then, its removal from the grey list has been widely anticipated so whilst this week’s news is very positive, it is not altogether a surprise.


Locally, all firms in the financial services sector have had to contend with the implications wrought by the listing. This is particularly true for the local banking sector as all transactions have been liable to close scrutiny, causing delays.


However, is the de-listing really a cause for celebration? After all, here at Acquarius we have followed internationally accepted practice for many years. As at other local firms, we were surprised, not to say more than a little disappointed, at the grey listing’s announcement in the first place.


Our contention, borne out by FATF’s de-listing, is that Gibraltar remains a very well regulated jurisdiction whose legislation is based on English common law. Local businesses work to the highest international standards as one may find in any of the top quality international finance centre jurisdictions. It is reassuring that FATF agrees. So yes, we are celebrating – whilst still smarting that the listing happened at all. Therefore, it is even more important that we disseminate this announcement everywhere.


The good news for the future is that as a jurisdiction, Gibraltar has been given this renewed bill of good health as an international finance centre. We are very much open for business at Acquarius and are hungry for the new opportunities we see being presented from around the world. Why not get in touch with us at Acquarius to identify what we can do for you or your clients and your international business.

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