Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Constitutional reform talks begin in the BVI

It's not a secret to anybody that the British Virgin Islands waited to engage Great Britain in negotiations about reforming the Constitution. This week, starting on March 2, constitutional reform talks will take place in the BVI. As to the main items on the list, they are adding a sixth ministerial position, adopting a cabinet system of Government, reducing of the Governor’s powers, adding a human rights chapter in the Constitution as well as establishing the constitutional post of Director of Public Prosecution.

Well, it's all about politics, definitely, however the Chief Minister emphasized that “the Constitution of the BVI is much more than a framework of laws. It is the most basic expression of identity”. A new constitution will be the highest authority for everybody in the BVI and the history of the islands has already proved the fact that constitutional advancement is connected with BVI economic growth.

Let's hope the BVI gets some greatly needed improvements to its Constitution. And, hopefully, improvements will have a positive effect to BVI economy – offshore and banking sector with IBC incorporation, asset protection, offshore trust and banking services includingly.

Monday, February 27, 2006

British Virgin Islands IBCs should become “faster” after telecom reform

When it comes to BVI company formation the offshore instrument works smoothly keeping affordable rates, but when it comes to telecommunication systems the situation is different as BVI population considers that the territory deserves to have better service at a lower cost. As company Cable & Wireless customers face a shockingly large bill, the public opposition to service rates is high. BVI Chief Minister Dr. Orlando Smith stated that government aims at bringing telecommunications reform to the BVI. Meanwhile, the situation is hopefully a subject to change. Let's hope that the changes will go dramatically up - like, for example, BVI incorporations that hit 64,000 IBCs in one just year in 2000.

As to the objectivity of public views, well... this is not all about bills – the quality could be better. For instance, the Internet in the BVI is quite slow, however, it's very important for an offshore country dealing with company registration and banking services.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Closing Ceremony

Today is Sunday. Closing ceremony in Torino 2006.

Tomorrow back to the offshore business in the BVI.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Get married in the BVI paradise

If you are dreaming of a wedding in paradise (don’t mix with tax paradise:), the British Virgin Islands have several independent wedding co-ordinators as well as several hotels & resorts offering wedding consultant services.

If you like to do on your own, you can make a choice of your wedding in the British Virgin Islands yourself.

Then prepare / be ready for the following:

  • apply for your marriage license (at the Attorney General's office),
  • two witnesses to oversee the signing of your marriage license application and two (different) witnesses to be present during the ceremony,
  • be in the British Virgin Islands for a minimum of 3 days before the wedding service and after having applied for your marriage license,
  • require passports as proof of identity and establish your date of arrival in the BVI,
  • if previously married: certified (Notarisation, Apostille) copy or original documentation of your divorce or death certificate of a deceased spouse is required,
  • various fees as far as nothing is free on this world, even weddings,
  • for a church wedding, please contact the church of your choice and speak with the Minister or Priest about the requirements.

Did you know: If you are a United States citizen and travelling to the BVI, the United States Government now requires a valid passport to regain entry into the US.

Have a romantic offshore wedding in the British Virgin Islands!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Olympic Sports in the BVI

Currently all the world is watching the Winter Olympics in Torino. Although the BVI is quite successful in doing sports, do not scan a medal chart looking for winners presenting the BVI. They don't even participate in this Olympics. The closest country, which is small but rather famous tax haven in the offshore world, participating in Winter Olympics is Bermuda represented by a single skeleton sportsman.

It's obvious that the Olympics are all about national pride – and the BVI undoubtedly has something to be proud of. The British Virgin Islands joined 201 delegations in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and is going to join the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games.

Objectively, the BVI has shown bright results not only in BVI company formation, offshore banking and assets protection – its sportsmen have also shown good results taking into account country's limited population resources. So far, track and field has been the British Virgin Islands most successful sport in BVI sporting history, however, cycling, sailing and team summer sports are other popular activities of this offshore country.

So, let's wait till 2008 when an offshore country will come onshore!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Yachts, surfing, sailing

The British Virgin Islands are a fantastic water sports playground under the Caribbean sun where everything possible is on offer. Quite few places in the world can boast of so many bays and anchorages, excellent white sand beaches, amazing coral reefs with varioous fish, great waves for surfers and steady tradewinds for sailors and windsurfers.

The BVI are the home of one of the best sailing grounds in the world as well as the world's largest yacht charter fleet. It goes without saying that there are a lot of yacht havens - not only tax havens - in the British Virgin Islands.

If you are planning a vacation - either land-based or on water, the British Virgin Islands will not disappoint you. Snorkelling, sailing, fishing, windsurfing, kayaking, scuba diving, catching waves at Bomba's Seaside Surf Shack, flying on an ultra light plane, parasailing ... Lots of BVI attractions are a great possibility for unique experience.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What does the BVI respire?

Well, maybe, it's too much on various offshore incorporation and tax haven issues. The BVI is not only International Business Companies, Trusts and offshore banking, indeed. Let's have a look at some other sightseeings of the BVI. Tourism and the marine industry could be named as other strongholds of the BVI economy.

A small question instead of wondering into “what does the BVI respire??”

Yes, just the same problems :) There are people considering (of course, it's their right) that they have nothing to respire and that British Virgin Islands moves closer to enacting non-smoking regulations. Legislation that would regulate the promotion, distribution and use of tobacco products in the BVI is currently in the process of drafting. Here the BVI joins as many as 57 countries that embrace the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

All in all, smoking among British Virgin Islanders appears to be very low, but people take into consideration the possibility that the introduction of other cultures and lifestyles to their society can lead to taking up this life-threatening habit by more people. BVI Health and Social Development Minister expresses that the country needs to protect the non-smoking population from second-hand smoke, having detrimental scientific evidence.

The main method of fighting smoking addiction could be raising tobacco taxes, eliminating tobacco promotion as well as the mandatory implementation of smoke-free environments at workplaces and in public.

To cut the long story short, restaurants and bars could become smoke-free when you visit the BVI the next time being offshore investor, businessman or tourist. Be aware :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The biggest investor in China ?

Yes, the BVI has been listed as the biggest investor in China. This is mainly because of the success of the BVI as an international finance center.

It is very essential that BVI officials explain the safeguards the tax haven has in place to protect the integrity of its finance industry.

Chinese authorities seem to be convinced in being secure in the knowledge that British Virgin Islands financial services practitioners and registered agents operate within an effective regulatory regime and that China can go on having confidence if dealing with BVI businesses and products.

Monday, February 20, 2006

BVI government delegation road show to China.


Road show in Asia that happened in the end of 2005 was the first time for the British Virgin Islands to hold a workshop for the mainland of China. When speaking during a workshop in Beijing, Ronnie Skelton, Finance Minister, discussed the strong relationship of the BVI government with the private sector to about two hundred delegates. What he commented, was substantiated by a powered delegation from the BVI, top flight accountants and attorneys includingly.

The members of this delegation were the Minister; the Hon. Dr Kedrick Pickering; the Hon. Mr Mark Vanterpool; Mr Robert Mathavious, MD and CEO of the Financial Services Commission; Mrs Lorna Smith, Executive Director of the International Finance Centre (“IFC”); Mr Humphry Leue, COO of the IFC; and Mrs Deborah Deveaux, an officer of the IFC.

This reveals the way the BVI seriously follows its strategy at the most significant fastest growing consumer market in the world.

The delegation had a meeting with Vice Ministers and other top officials representing several key Government departments. Some of these departments were the State Administration of Taxation, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Commerce, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the Ministry of Finance.

However, the BVI held not only the meetings in Beijing. There were als two financial services road shows to the private sectors in Shanghai (November, 9 ) and Hong Kong (November, 11).

Sunday, February 19, 2006

BVI offshore marketing

The Chief Executive Officer of the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission Robert Mathavious is one considered to be of the leading driving forces of the offshore industry both in the region and all over the world. He has played an important part in leading the BVI to the highest point of tax haven jurisdictions. Mr. Mathavious is still going on with spreading the wings of the Financial Service Commission (FSC), and the BVI International Finance Centre (IFC) to all parts of the world with road shows.

The latest destinations where the BVI and its products (including International Business Companies) are popularized are London, New York, Singapore, Miami, Zurich, Geneva, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong.

As you can see from the world trip route, one of the main directions of popularization of the BVI offshore business is Asia. To be discussed tomorrow.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

How important is offshore business for BVI government

The British Virgin Islands is very active when speaking about popularizing both the country as such and its products. While the territory of the BVI is one of the smallest in the Caribbean, its financial status is far ahead of other dependent territories.

The British Virgin Islands get its income mostly from offshore financial services, tourism, and the marine industry. The financial sector of the BVI has located the BVI on the world map and has led to attracting hundreds of thousands of investors using the services for boosting their businesses and at the same time bringing in much income to British Territory.

When the Minister of Finance, Hon. Ronnie Skelton suggested delivering the 2006 Budget Address during the 13 December sitting of the Legislative Council, British Virgin Islands Government foresees a record of $233,155,000 of revenue during the upcoming fiscal year 2006.

Hon. Ronnie Skelton indicated the following: “This (projected revenue) represents an increase of 7.4 percent above 2005 projected revenue. This optimistic projection in revenue is due largely to the excellent performance of the Financial Services sector, because this revenue was derived from sources all over the world, it signifies that our global marketing strategy is paying dividends”.

There's nothing to add to the importance of offshore service sector in the British Virgin Islands.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Promotion of jurisdiction and preventing BVI IBC abuse


One must not underestimate these new functions:

1) the promotion of understanding of BVI financial system, policies, products (including International Business Companies) is very important both for jurisdiction itself and it is by no means less important for customers.

  • If you have clear understanding of the rules in accordance with which your International Business instrument works, you can most efficiently use the provided possibilities as well as soberly evaluate the situations in which it is better to choose another offshore jurisdiction or another offshore product.

2) British Virgin Islands Financial Service Commission commitment to play its part in the fight against cross border white-collar crime while safeguarding the privacy and confidentiality of legitimate business transactions is also very beneficial both for jurisdiction and for the customer.

  • If illegal business cannot be established in the BVI, it means that there is a very small probability that the British Virgin Islands will get into a tough spot and, consequently, will be included into the blacklists of different international organizations. If the reputation of the British Virgin Islands as the jurisdiction and of International Business Company as legal offshore instrument is being saved, the owners of legal business are not forced every couple of years to look for a new jurisdiction where to domicile their business to keep the reputation and stability. Everyone who at least once had the situation when the offshore country of registration of International Business Company had to be changed into another one may know that redomicilation is very costly – both directly and indirectly.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

British Virgin Islands IBC regulation

Until 2001, the IBC registration process in the British Virgin Islands was regulated and controlled by the BVI government through the Financial Services Department.

With the enactment of the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001, the December of that year brought in some changes. As an autonomous regulatory authority responsible for the regulation, supervision and inspection of all financial services to and from the BVI, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission was established. These services include:

  • insurance;
  • banking;
  • trustee business;
  • company management;
  • mutual funds business;
  • registration of IBC companies and limited partnerships;
  • registration of intellectual property and ships.
The Commission undertook nearly all the functions that had previously been overseen by the British Virgin Islands government.

However, also several important additional responsibilities were introduced:
  • promoting public understanding of the financial system and its products;
  • reducing financial crime and preventing market abuse.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The birth of British Virgin Islands IBC

The British Virgin Islands IBC legislation was implemented in 1984 by adoption of the International Business Companies Act, 1984. Then, this act has been developed and amended taking into account the changes required by the clients of BVI offshore services.

This could be called the birthday of BVI IBC. That year 253 International Business Companies were incorporated and it is pretty good for the first year.

But could many people foresee that this industry will rise in business where IBC are counted in hundreds of thousands and maybe will turn into millions? Today there are ~720,000 International Business Companies incorporated in the BVI (707,000 BVI companies at the beginning of 2006).

Currently, the top year has been 2000 when 64,000 IBCs were registered in one just year. There were a lot of serious reasons why the record belongs to this year, but this does not mean that the growth of BVI IBC registration number will not go on. The latest numbers are not so far from the record – in 2005 there was 61,000 incorporations in the British Virgin Islands.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Why British Virgin Islands IBC’s are so popular?

We will return to the figures and facts confirming the wide popularity of BVI companies very soon, but before diving deeper into the sea of topical offshore issues, I would propose just a short digression.

Do you know that there are many people who mix up BVI and IBC terms or consider them to be synonymous?

BVI = British Virgin Islands;
IBC = International Business Company, the base brick used to build the most complicated offshore structures.

How do you like the phrase that many offshore incorporators used to hear from their customers:
I would like to incorporate a Seychelles BVI
Do you think that a Panama BVI is better than an Anguilla BVI?”.

Sounds funny but who says that the most part of the real life is not a fun?

Monday, February 13, 2006

British Virgin Islands Offshore incorporation blog. How it started.

Establishing offshore presence for one's business can be a very overwhelming prospect to say the least.

  • Choosing the jurisdiction for your IBC incorporation;
  • choosing the right registered agent;
  • choosing a reliable offshore bank

These are just a few of many aspects people need to consider concerning their quest for a stable offshore solution. And hundreds of people looking for the right offshore jurisdiction consider them every day.

It is worth noting that even a more important step after presence establishment is a regular insight into new tendencies of the offshore world, especially those of the jurisdiction to which you trusted your well-being and privacy.

There are many issues of the offshore world that are the subjects to change quite quickly leading to serious consequences. How many jurisdictions you remember have just recently promised stability and privacy and it seemed that offshore asset protection devices built on the base of the given jurisdiction were going to contribute to prosperity? However, after several unsuccessful hits at the epicentre of large scandals, these offshore tax havens had to modify the laws so that the increase of different requirements could be at least stabile but they could no longer offer privacy and long-term stability.

The British Virgin Islands is one of my favorite jurisdictions. It is the one that has really been proving its reliability for a very long term, it is one of the main players in the offshore world and therefore it’s worth both writing and to reading about this tax haven.