Saturday, February 27, 2010

Robert Mathavious Addresses the Public with BVI Financial Services Industry Outlook

On February 18, 2010, Managing Director/CEO of the BVI FSC Robert Mathavious presented the outlook for the BVI's local financial services industry. He talked about the steps and measures the Commission has taken to move forward the BVI financial services industry, while the global view of offshore finance centres is no more positive now than it was some months ago.

After signing “more than the requisite number” of Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) the jurisdiction has been moved to the white list of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

However, by words of Mr. Mathavious, this is not the end of challenges, because much should be done to comply with international standards. The OECD intends to confirm that jurisdictions have the legal and regulatory framework to implement the TIEAs signed by them, and BVI's framework is due to be reviewed in the first half of 2011.

Among the last year achievements of the Commission, Robert Mathavious named excellent report by the CFATF, listing of BVI companies on the HK Stock Exchange; also, the review of British OFCs was positive for the BVI, and the high standards of the jurisdiction against money laundering and the financing of terrorism have been confirmed by the FATF's International Co-operation Review Group.

Robert Mathavious said that the legislative developments of the jurisdiction have been designed to ensure that the jurisdiction meets international requirements.

During the course of this year, the Commission is going to undertake “outstanding measures” to comply fully with the CFATF recommendations. The Commission has issued guidelines on the approved persons regime and has completely revised the guidelines and operating procedures of Licensing and Supervisory Committee to streamline its processes and procedures and make it more responsive. The BVI FSC expects that the industry is to adhere to the requirements so as to comply fully with the provisions stated in the Financial Services Commission Act.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

BVI FSC Presented Bearer Share Regime Changes

The immobilization of bearer shares issued under the IBC Act (prior to 1 January, 2005) that came into force on December 31, 2009, was recently presented by the Deputy Managing Director of the BVI Financial Services Commission Mr. Kenneth Baker. As a background for the changes in the bearer shares regime Mr. Baker named the international pressure which was expressed in the reports of international economic and financial organizations, including the OECD and FATF reports and recommendations. He said that the end of BVI IBC's power to issue bearer shares and their immobilization were necessary for the high international reputation of the jurisdiction as the financial and offshore centre.

Several amendments to the BVI legislation acts were done in order to transfer bearer share companies to non-bearer share ones. Among the documents that were amended there are the Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Act, 2004, the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004, International Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2003, and International Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2004.

The Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Act, 2004 came into force on 1 July, 2004, and since that date the BVI FSC has been accepting applications for authorized BVI custodians. The amended Act defines rules governing custodians, including the conditions of approval and revocation of approval of custodian's licences, the issue of guidance notes relating to Authorized Custodian's practices and procedures.

Mr. Kenneth Baker in the presentation explained the meaning of disabled bearer share, and the order of disapplication on bearer share transfer. He provided the definitions of recognized and authorized custodians, and the lists of recognized and authorized custodians developed by the BVI FSC.

The presentation can be found on the home page of the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Director for UK Foreign Office Talks on Issues Discussed with BVI Government

The Director for Overseas Territories in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Mr. Colin Roberts, during his first official visit to the BVI territory held discussions with Ministers of BVI Government, senior Government officials and non-governmental organizations, on several matters including public finances, climate change and security.

During the press conference Mr. Roberts said that he had fruitful discussions with the BVI Government. The financial discussions concerned the issues of cuts and expenditures, borrowings and the increase in revenue; their focus were public finances of BVI with their deficit and the “growing gap between expenditure and revenue”. Mr. Roberts also said that the global economic situation has created difficult times for the relationship between the UK and the Overseas Territories, due to the both side stresses related to the pressure on economies and public finances.

Mr. Roberts noted that a number of other UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean region are in much worst economic and physical situation than the BVI Territory, as a result of the processes taking place in the global economy, and they are seeking the UK approval for borrowings and sometimes even looking forward for UK loans or substantial grants. He pointed out that this is not the case with the British Virgin Islands.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Chairman approved for FSC Appeals Board

The BVI Cabinet of Ministers has approved the appointment of Mrs. Joanne Williams Roberts as chairman of the Financial Services Commission Appeals Board. The appointment of the new chairman shall remain effective for three years until July 31, 2012. The other members of the board were re-appointed for three year terms in April 2008.

The main task of the FSC Appeal Board, established in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001, is to facilitate the right to appeal by anyone who is aggrieved by a decision of the Financial Services Commission. The Board should be headed by a legal practitioner with not less than 10 years experience. Also, according to the Act, only persons who are not members of the FSC Board of Commissioners and not engaged in or connected to a person engaged in a financial services business in the BVI territory, should serve as members of the FSC Appeals Board.