Gibraltar Financial Services Commission: A Lesson in Financial Regulation

The recent collapse of High Street Group and its security trustee, Castle Trust Management and Services, prompts a closer examination of regulatory practices. Along with the importance of due diligence procedures. With the director of High Street Group, Gary Forrest, ordered bankrupt for liabilities totaling tens of millions of pounds. Castle Trust’s director, Steve Knight, is likely to follow suit. It could be argued the integrity of these individuals should have come under intense scrutiny.

GFSC Thresholds

Castle Trust, despite being primarily engaged in business operations in England, was regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC). This raises questions about regulatory thresholds and oversights. Why did Castle Trust, operating mainly, if not, exclusively in the UK, not fall under the purview of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)? Does the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission maintain lower regulatory standards compared to other leading financial regulators worldwide? These questions loom large as investors seek answers.

A significant issue arising from the collapse is the uncertainty surrounding compensation for investors. Many relied on Castle Trust’s regulatory credentials and professional indemnity insurance to safeguard their investments, only to find themselves facing substantial losses with little prospect of recovery. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) took on the role of administrators after Castle Trust administration in June of last year. Initially, there was optimism that the company possessed significant assets that could be liquidated to satisfy creditors. However, as the administrators delved deeper, they discovered that Castle Trust’s assets were far from sufficient to cover its liabilities. Consequently, in October of the same year, PwC administrators sought a court order for compulsory liquidation. This signalled dim prospects for investors.

When doing their due diligence, investors would have relied on the Castle Trusts credentials being: 1. regulated by the GFSC, and 2. that they had professional indemnity insurance. Now that they have spectacularly failed, should investors now turn to the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission in pursuit of compensation? And if not, can they rely on Castle Trust’s mysterious undisclosed insurer to fulfil their obligations? Those who did their due diligence would have felt secure. Why wouldn’t they? Here is a company regulated by a statutory body in Gibralter.


In terms of seeking redress, investors faced the challenge of uniting as a cohesive body. Despite efforts to rally a majority, they encountered obstacles when attempting to compel the security trustee to take action, particularly when the trustee cited data protection as justification for withholding information. In reality, it appeared that the trustee’s actions were primarily aimed at self-protection rather than genuine concern for data privacy.

These questions highlight the complexities of financial regulation and the importance of conducting thorough due diligence. Transparency is paramount in such circumstances, yet the identity of Castle Trust’s insurer remains a mystery.

The collapse of Castle Trust serves as a stark reminder to investors to carefully scrutinise the regulatory bodies governing operators such as Castle Trust. While regulation by esteemed bodies like the FCA provides a degree of reassurance, reliance on regulators such as the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission need meticulous due diligence. In an industry where trust is fundamental, maintaining transparency and accountability is crucial to shield investors from significant losses.

Ultimately, the Castle Trust debacle highlights the need for robust regulations and mechanisms to protect investors. As the fallout continues to unfold, it serves as a cautionary tale for both investors and regulators.

if you want to find out more about the GFSC, and whether they can help disclose insurer details, or to find out if the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission will compensate your loss due to the failure of CTMS, e-mail Neil Perrera at


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