Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BVI FSC Issued Eighteenth Volume of Quarterly Statistical Bulletin

Last week, the eighteenth volume of Statistical Bulletin was issued by the BVI FSC, providing information and statistics on the British Virgin Islands financial sector activities in the first quarter of 2010.

In the three month period ended March 31, 2010, there was an increase in the amount of business companies registered in BVI – 16,596 newly registered entities, compared to 11,931 in the fourth quarter of 2009 and 12,307 in the first quarter of 2009. The number of BVI business company incorporations in this period approached to the statistics reported in 2008, - before the yields of the global economical and financial crisis became so clear. Cumulative number of business companies incorporated in the jurisdiction was 456,226 as at March 31, 2010.

Banking and Fiduciary services statistics showed that total number of currently licensed entities in the first quarter of 2010 was 268. According to financial results of banking sector in the first quarter of 2010, total assets of the banks were $2,469,308,000, and net income was $16,239,000.

In the Investment Business sector, 8 new licences were granted in Q1 2010, their total number as at the end of the period was 578; also, 58 new mutual funds licences were issued.

According to the Legal and International Cooperation statistics for the first quarter of 2010, there were less international cooperation matters compared to the previous periods – 17 formal and 4 informal requests, and 28 enforcement matters. There were 913 matters before the Licensing and Supervisory Committee (LSC), of them 91 for banking and fiduciary services, 786 for investment business, 32 for insurance and 4 insolvency services matters.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

OECD Highly Appreciated BVI Role in Transparency Standards Implementation

BVI played a key role in promoting the international standards on tax transparency, being a member of the Peer Review Group of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information. This was recognized in the OECD briefing entitled “Promoting Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes”. The jurisdiction was also praised for following the guidelines for the signing of Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs).

The Executive Director of the BVI International Finance Centre in comments on the report said that in addition to 17 TIEAs already signed the jurisdiction expects to conclude further negotiations in the coming months.

The territory welcomed OECD's Peer Review process which is to start for BVI in the beginning of 2011, believing it is well placed to meet the requirements. All members of the Global Forum, and jurisdictions relevant to it, are to undergo reviews of the implementation of their systems for the exchange of information in tax matters. The review will be made in two phases, and the first phase is to be completed before June 2012.

Peer reviews are part of a three-year process approved by the Global Forum in February 2010, in response to the G20 requirement for higher standards of tax transparency and exchange of information. The first set consisting of 18 reviews is to be discussed at the next Peer Review Meeting which will take place on July 20-22, 2010.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Commission Invites Comments on Regulatory (Amendment) Code, 2010

In the press release issued by the BVI FSC on 7 July 2010, the Commission invited practitioners and industry shareholders to comment on the proposed amendments to the Regulatory Code, which has been posted in the Publications section of BVI FSC's website. The period of consultations over the document is open until 31 August, 2010.

The Regulatory Code, which came into effect on 1 February, 2010, supports and provides detailed explanations on primary financial services legislation.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Statement of Cooperation Signed by BVI FSC and US Banking Regulators

The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission entered into an arrangement with the US banking regulators – the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision. The purpose of the arrangement is to share supervisory information to enhance the regulation of the banking industry and to promote the functioning of banks and banking organizations in the US and in the British Virgin Islands.

Through the Statement of Cooperation, the US banking regulators and the Commission expressed their willingness to “cooperate on the basis of mutual trust and understanding in the supervision of cross-border establishments of banks and banking organizations incorporated in the United States and the British Virgin Islands”.

Talking about sharing of information, the authorities of both jurisdictions recognized that close communications between home and host supervisors “would be mutually advantageous”. It is stated in the document that “cooperation would include contact during the authorization process of a cross-border establishment, as well as its ongoing activities”.

Regulators of both jurisdictions are going to conduct meetings as often as appropriate to discuss issues concerning banking, and to make every effort to encourage continuous and informal contacts between the parties.

Friday, July 02, 2010

BVI FSC Issued Public Fund Code

On 10 June, 2010 the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission published the consultation draft of Public Funds Code, 2010, which is issued under section 63 (1) of the Securities and Investment Business Act, 2010 (SIBA) and has the status of delegated or subsidiary legislation. The proposed document is open for comments of the industry practitioners, especially from the private sector, until 30 June.

The draft Public Funds Code provides for the establishment and operation of public funds and for matters permitted by the Mutual Funds Regulations to be contained in the Public Fund Code.

The Public Fund Code establishes high level principles to be followed by public funds: integrity, management and control, investors' interests, relationship with Commission. Its regulations cover the operation of public funds, including corporate governance, policies and procedures, segregation and safekeeping of fund property, valuation and pricing. The requirements in the Code relating to valuation and pricing are designed to implement the requirements of Principle 20 of the IOSCO Objectives and Principles. By this principle, the regulator framework should ensure that there is a proper and disclosed basis for asset valuation, the pricing and the redemption of units in a public fund. The Code also sets out the requirements concerning public fund's records in the British Virgin Islands; establishes fund's relationship with, and reporting to, the Commission.

The Code contains Schedules that provide for what kind of information should be contained in prospectus of a public fund, and state the events and changes that are to be notified to Commission.