Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The BVI Financial Investigation Agency as a Special Institution Regulating the Financial Services in the Territory

In the last published blog concerning Kenneth Baker's Presentation on Risk-Based Approach, we have mentioned the BVI Financial Investigation Agency as an organization to report on suspicious transactions or activities in the field of financial services. In this posting, we will talk on the general role of BVI FIA, and the structure and the main responsibilities of this organization.

The BVI Financial Investigation Agency was established by the Financial Investigation Agency Act, 2003 as an autonomous law enforcement institution and a special arm of the Government of the BVI in relation to the Territory's position as an International Offshore Financial Centre. The organization thus replaced what used to be referred to as the British Virgin Islands Reporting Authority.

The BVI FIA is generally responsible for the investigation of serious financial crimes and money laundering offences taking place within or from the BVI territory. It also processes requests for legal assistance from authorities in foreign jurisdictions, which appear to the FIA to have the function of making such requests. The Agency acts as receiver of all disclosures of information required to be made pursuant to the relevant financial services legislation.

The FIA is not a revenue generating body; it is currently financed jointly by grants from the BVI Government and the Financial Services Commission (FSC). The FIA is directly responsible for managing its own budget which is ultimately approved by Executive Council.

The general purpose of the organization is to have financial and business sectors free of money laundering and other major financial crime. For this, the Agency endeavors to work actively, safeguarding the integrity of Territory's financial sector while contributing to the global fight against money laundering and other financial crimes.

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