Thursday, June 28, 2007

BVI offshore industry establishes new record in 2006 and goes for more

It is nothing new if I say that the BVI is one of the most popular offshore jurisdictions and that BVI International Business Companies (or, in accordance with the new Business Company Act, Business Companies) are the most popular offshore entities ever registered. More than a year ago I mentioned that there are around 720,000 IBCs registered in the BVI. Now we have the new data from British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission and International Finance Centre revealing the jurisdiction's new records.

The figures provided by the British Virgin Islands FSC and IFC have shown that in 2006 65,284 Business Companies were registered in the British Virgin Islands, which is a 12% increase as compared with 2005. This outstanding result is a new record for annual BVI company registrations set by the offshore centre. Previous record belongs to year 2000 when 64,000 IBCs were registered in one just year.

As to the total number on BVI Register, there were around 775,000 of both types of BVI companies – International Business Companies and BVI Business Companies – as at December 31, 2006.

Chief Operating Officer at the BVI International Finance Centre, Humphry Leue, commented that another record year for company registrations in the British Virgin Islands signifies that “the transition from the hugely popular BVI International Business Companies Act to the BVI Business Companies Act has been both seamless and effective in keeping this jurisdiction at the forefront of the international business industry”. He also added that the BVI continues to make its offer of financial services more diversified.

According to Humphry Leue, in 2006, 57 new captive insurers were registered, and the total reached over 400 captives – so, the BVI became the 3rd largest offshore centre for captive insurance business. Also, it gained a further 282 investment businesses in 2006, and the total for that sector was around 2,600 active mutual and hedge funds when year 2007 started. It also should be indicated that further growth is expected this year.

The statistics published by BVI FSC provides similar data. The total number of captive insurers as at December 31, 2006 is exactly 400 (not >400 as stated by IFC) and total number of active mutual funds is 2,571.

Mr. Leue noted that the feedback from private sector and Regulator is more important than the figures themselves, and the feedback that the quality and diversity of the business coming to the BVI is impressive means that the British Virgin Islands has been recognized “as a leading jurisdiction for the conduct of legitimate and value-added business”.

YearBVI companies incorporatedTotal number of companies on the BVI Register at the end of year

In the table above and graph below I have summarized BVI IBC (BC) incorporation statistics for the last 4 years and I feel that more breaking records are eagerly expected in 2007.

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