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.

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