Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Premier Evaluates BVI Financial Services Sector

On February 25, Honourable Ralph T. O'Neal, Premier and Minister for Finance for the territory, talked about concerns that the Virgin Islands (UK) will become target for new regulations. These concerns followed statements by leaders of major EU countries, including the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, about the need to list un-cooperative financial centres and tax havens and to impose sanctions against them.

Ralph O'Neal said that the BVI is recognized as a well-regulated, transparent and co-operative financial centre. He also noted that following the signing of the BVI's Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the UK in October 2008, the UK's Financial Secretary “commended the BVI for the leadership demonstrated in the area of tax policy and its potential to strengthen their reputation for good governance in financial matters”.

The Premier also mentioned that the BVI territory received positive references from the OECD's Director of Tax Policy Administration, Mr. Jeffrey Owens, who included the BVI in the list of the offshore jurisdictions fully compliant with the organisation’s transparency standards, and from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, which recognised the BVI Territory's compliance with recommendations designed to fight money laundering and terrorism.

Ralph O'Neal confirmed Government's commitment to co-operate with international regulatory bodies and to work together with the Financial Services Commission to ensure the BVI retains the balance between the support of financial services community, and co-operative regulatory framework.

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