Friday, May 29, 2009

BVI Premier Ralph O'Neal speaks on the BVI role in the OECS

During the opening ceremony of the 49th meeting of the OECS, BVI Premier Ralph O'Neal made a presentation where he spoke about the organisation as one of the ways to establish “strong and durable regional affiliations”. He said also that he was pleased with the operations of the OECS which made the great job to raise the profile of the organisation as an effective functional institution.

Premier Ralph O'Neal said that BVI has been playing a very important role in the OECS, and referred to the Commercial Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court headquartered in Tortola, and to the fact that the territory has committed US$3.76 million to the Commercial Court project. He said that BVI is pleased to be part of the restructuring of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which will deal with major commercial cases, and that a Halls of Justice will be located in Tortola.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Advisory Warnings Issued by BVI FSC

On May 21, 2009, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission has issued advisory warning concerning NATF Corporation. In the public document issued under Section 4 (1) (l) of the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001, the Commission informed that NATF Corp. is not licensed to carry on financial services business in or from within the BVI territory.

Some days later, BVI FSC issued several new advisory warnings concerning the following companies:

- Reality Funds Ltd.
- MoneyForex Financial Ltd.
- Golden Forex
- IFC Markets Corp.

The Commission informed that these companies are not licensed to conduct any financial services business in or from within the British Virgin Islands. Concerning the companies Reality Funds Ltd. and Golden Forex, they are NOT incorporated or registered in the territory.

The documents were signed on May 26, 2009 by Robert Mathavious, the Managing Director and CEO of the Financial Services Commission.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BVI Government Signs Tax Treaties with Nordic Countries

On May 18, 2009, the British Virgin Islands has signed bilateral tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs), as well as the series of commercial agreements, with the Nordic group of countries at Iceland's Embassy in Denmark. The agreements require the BVI to make available information relating to criminal or civil tax matters, and are said to reflect all governments' shared commitment to implement the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development principles of transparency and effective exchange of information. On behalf of the government of the BVI, the agreements were signed by Minister of Health and Social Development Dancia Penn, and Kristian Jensen, the Danish Minister of Taxation, and Ambassadors and senor representatives of Faroes, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden signed the agreements on behalf of their respective countries.

Now it can be assumed that the territory has become closer to getting off the “grey” list of international offshore centres, issued by the OECD - the list of countries that have not yet fully complied with rules on sharing tax information. BVI Premier Ralph O'Neal has said in his comments that the country will sign tax agreements with France and New Zealand, and then move to the so-called white list of fully compliant offshore jurisdictions.

Also, the BVI and the Nordic countries have signed commercial agreements concerning the avoidance of double taxation for enterprises operating ships or aircraft, and mutual agreement procedures and agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to individuals. The governments of all countries which have signed the agreements have also stated that, while the TIEAs are in force, neither party will introduce any discriminatory, prejudicial or restrictive measures based on harmful tax practices.

Monday, May 18, 2009

49th OECS Meeting held in the British Virgin Islands

On May 20 - 22, the 49th Meeting of the OECS Authority will be held in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The heads of the countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States will discuss the matters of the global and regional financial crisis for their economies, and the effects of the financial crisis on the main sectors including tourism and construction. They will also examine social safety net provisions for certain groups of population.

The 48th Meeting of the OECS Authority where the British Virgin Islands delegation also participated, was held in November 2008 in Montserrat. Currently, one of the main issues for discussion are international developments for the OECS regarding tax havens; the participants of the meeting will be also updated on efforts by the region to strengthen functional co-operation with other areas of the world, including Spain, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and South East Asia.

Also, during this meeting the status report will be presented on the OECS Economic Union process, and actions connected with its development. Currently, the Member States of the Organization are rolling out national public consultation exercises which are providing their people with an opportunity to comment on and make inputs into a draft OECS Economic Union Treaty. The target date for the establishment of the OECS Economic Union is set on December 2009.

The chairman of the 49th Meeting of the OECS Authority will be the incoming chairman of OECS, Lowell Lewis, the Chief Minister of Montserrat. The OECS Member states are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

BVI FSC Issues Advisory Warning No. 4 of 2009

Yesterday, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission has issued an advisory warning No.4 of the year 2009. By this document, the Commission informed that A.M.B Ltd., A.M.B. Amerbank Limited, AMERBANK LIMITED and Antilles Merchant Offshore Bank are not licensed to conduct banking or offshore banking business or any financial services business in or from within the territory of the British Virgin Islands. Also, the named entities are not incorporated or registered in the jurisdiction.

The Commission advised the public to exercise caution in conducting any transactions with these entities, and reminded that they should always be contacted to verify the regulated status of any company, trying to be registered or authorised for work in BVI.

The document is issued under Section 4 (1) (1) of the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001, and signed by Managing Director/CEO of the Commission Robert Mathavious.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Public Announcement Issued by the Commission on Stanford Fund

Recently two public statements were published by the BVI FSC, concerning Stanford International Management Limited (Licensee) and International Fixed Income Stanford Fund Limited. The statements issued by the Commission on these two companies belonging to the Stanford Group, followed a directive issued on 3 March 2009 by the Commission to the BVI-registered Fund and to the Licensee.

The directive issued to the Stanford company required, until further notice of the Commission, to suspend all activities relating to the management of assets of the Stanford Fund, and all activities relating to the management of assets of any mutual fund or other entity for which the Licensee provides management services; and to provide reports to the BVI FSC concerning total assets under management of the company, fees earned or charged to the Licensee for any kinds of activities, and the details of all litigation involving or affecting the Licensee.

The directive issued to the Stanford Fund required it, until further notice of the Commission, to suspend the subscription of shares by new and existing investors, redemption of shares by investors, and the payment of the proceeds of the redemption of shares. Also, the Fund was obliged by the Commission to submit reports on the details of its total assets, number of investors, and details of investments in the Fund, as well as details of all litigation involving or affecting it.