Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BVI FSC Issued Advisory Warnings on Financial Services Companies

On November 17, 2009, the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission published Advisory Warnings concerning two offshore companies. One of the documents issued under Section 4 (1) (l) of the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001 informs the public that the company named Golden Gate Education Ltd., also known as Golden Gate Ltd. and FinancerzWorld, is not licensed to conduct financial services business in or from within the British Virgin islands.

By the second document the BVI FSC warns the public that another company, FX World Online Ltd, is not licensed to carry on financial services business in or from within the territory.

The Commission advises the public to exercise extreme caution in conducting any transactions with FX World Online Ltd. and Golden Gate Education Ltd (also Golden Gate Ltd. and FinancerzWorld). The Advisory Warnings on these companies are the 23rd and 24th documents of this category in the year 2009.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BVI FSC Issues Advisory Warnings on Two Companies

The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission has issued Advisory Warnings No. 21 and 22 of 2009.

One of the documents both dated November 6 concerns Offshore Asset Management Inc. The Commission informs the public that this offshore company is not incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, and is not licensed to conduct any financial services business in or from within the jurisdiction.

The second Advisory Warning provides information that HMNH Capital Management Ltd., also known as HMNH Capital Ltd, is not registered or incorporated in BVI and is not licensed to carry on financial services business in or from within the BVI territory.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Minister Julian Fraser Honoured by the League of BVIslanders in USVI

The Minister for Communications and Works of the British Virgin Islands Honourable Julian Fraser became one of Virgin Islanders honoured by the League of British Virgin Islanders during the 11th Annual Norwell Harrigan Memorial Scholarship Luncheon which was held on November 8, 2009 on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The ceremony was attended by over 200 persons from both parts of the Virgin Islands, including BVI Premier Hon. Ralph O’Neal and Minister for Education and Culture Hon. Andrew Fahie. Premier O’Neal welcomed Fraser’s award.

The League of British Virgin Islanders is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1988 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with purpose to unite the people of the BVI and the USVI in their social activities.

The Norwell Harrigan Memorial Scholarship provides financial assistance to British Virgin Islanders who have graduated from a secondary school or the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in the BVI to attend the University of the Virgin Islands in the USVI.

The BVI Minister was honoured by the League for his accomplishments in many fields. While living in the U.S. he was involved in many architectural projects; on his return to the BVI, he actively participated in community activities. In 2007, Hon. Fraser was re-elected already to a third term as a Member of the House of Assembly, and became the Minister for Communications and Works.

Next day after the ceremony, the Minister for Communications and Works gave opening remarks at the 49th Session of Caribbean Meteorological Council. During the interview with the Department of Information and Public Relations, Hon. Julian Fraser spoke about the need to implement a local meteorological office, having admitted that meteorology is one of the subjects which has not been at the forefront of his responsibilities. He expressed hope that the presence of the Caribbean Meteorological Council will help to improve the situation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Britain advices BVI and other tax havens to implement more taxes

On October 29, 2009, an independent review commissioned by the UK Government was issued, led by Michael Foot, former managing director of the UK's Financial Services Authority. The main concern of the report is the analysis of the situation in the offshore financial centres that are British Crown dependencies. These are Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey (where the situation is more favorable than in remote jurisdictions), and offshore territories Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos. All these countries have suffered from the global financial downturn, because their economy was to a much extent based on international finances, and, as Mr. Foot noted in the report, they must review their taxation policy to improve the situation.

Foot argued that the Caribbean offshore centres, including the British Virgin Islands, needed a diversified tax base. By his words, there is a need for value-added taxes, as well as corporate taxes, levied on companies' profits. These new taxes may be of great impact for the Caribbean tax havens, which have attracted international businesses by their low tax rates: the report states that the BVI and other British territories comprise nearly two-thirds of the offshore market.

Some of the offshore centres refused the implementation of new taxes, but Foot said that keeping tax rates too low might be harmful in the long-term and contribute to the increase of international pressure on tax havens.

Foot also said in the report that many of the territories received lower revenues as the sectors of tourism and finance which were of main importance for their economy suffered very much because of the worldwide economic crisis.

The report received the support of Government of Great Britain, which has varying degrees of control over the territories' domestic and foreign policy. By words of Stephen Timms, the Financial Secretary to Britain's Treasury, this report “sends a strong signal to overseas financial centres that they must ensure that they have the correct regulation and supervision in place.”

Thursday, November 05, 2009

BVI FSC Issued Fifteenth Volume of Statistical Bulletin

On October 20, BVI FSC published fifteenth volume of its regular Statistical Bulletin, including statistics and analysis of financial services industry in BVI for the second quarter of 2009. The Statistical Bulletin for Q2 ended 30 June 2009 comprises following information:

The Registry of Corporate Affairs reported that the number of newly registered business companies in this period was 9,871, compared to 12,307 in the first quarter of 2009 (fourteenth volume of Statistical Bulletin) and 15,831 in the second quarter of 2008. Cumulative number of company registrations by the end of Q2 2009 was 405,873. The Registry informed of 24 Limited Partnerships established in the reported period, compared to 14 and 26 established in Q1 2009 and Q2 2008 respectively. In general, there is a significant fall in the number of BVI business company incorporations in the first half of 2009, against the statistics for the corresponding periods of 2008, 2007 (when the largest number of incorporations was fixed) and even 2006.

Banking and Fiduciary Services statistics includes financial results of the banking sector of BVI for the second quarter of 2009: total assets for the commercial banks were reported in the amount of US$2480mln, the number of total cash items made US$967,4mln. Total shareholders equity in this period was US$339,59mln. Net income in the banking sector was US$33,44mln. The level of liquidity was higher than in the first quarter of 2009: liquid assets made 29.32% of the total assets and 46.48% of the total deposits (compared to 25.25% and 35.73% respectively in Q1 2009), and loans made 61.75% of total assets and 98.71% of total deposits in the second quarter (compared to 68.41% and 103.93% respectively in Q1).

According to the Investment Business Statistics, in Q2 2009 46 new licenses were granted to mutual funds (33 of which are professional funds, 12 are private funds and 1 is public fund), compared to 61 licenses issued in Q1 2009 and 100 licenses in Q2 2008. As to Insolvency Services Statistics, the number of Insolvency practitioners did not change from the previous reported period. Legal and International Co-operation Statistics figures for the reported period show that there were 45 international co-operation matters, including formal and informal requests, 53 enforcement matters and 9 advisory warnings issued.

Other information related to the regulation of financial services activities in the period ended 30 June 2009, including legal and international co-operation, on-site compliance inspections, ongoing supervision by the Licensing and Supervisory Committee and other matters can be found on the home page of BVI FSC.