Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IMF Publishes Report on BVI Financial System

In the beginning of this week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the report named the Financial Sector Stability Assessment of the British Virgin Islands. Actually, this document became the summary of the IMF review of the regulatory regime in the BVI, which started with the IMF team visit to the British Virgin Islands territory in April 2010.

The purpose of the assessment was to make a thorough review of the financial systems in the British Virgin Islands and evaluate their stability. In the final report, the IMF experts recognised the strength of the territory's regulatory regime and willingness and ability of the Financial Services Commission to be a partner in international cooperation and sharing of information.

The review of the International Monetary Fund included the financial system stability assessment, detailed assessment of Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision, technical notes on corporate and trust services providers and on mutual funds regulation. To conduct this review, the IMF team met with government representatives and agencies, among them the FSC and Financial Investigation Agency, as well as with local trade association representatives and industry practitioners.

According to the report, the regulatory framework for both onshore and offshore financial services in the British Virgin Islands is clear and comprehensive, and “the FSC has demonstrated its strength and independence as a regulator”. It is also noted in the report that the BVI has “solid legal basis for an effective banking supervisory regime, particularly after the recent enactment of the Regulatory Code, 2009.”

It was highlighted in the report that the BVI has quickly adopted international standards and significantly strengthened its supervisory function. The IMF noted that the territory's ability to attract business relies on its international reputation as a well regulated and policed jurisdiction with a strong legal framework and efficient corporate services.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

BVI Government Ministers to be Questioned by Opposition

Tomorrow, Opposition leader Dr. Orlando Smith will have a talk with BVI Government Ministers on several issues of BVI economy. He will ask the Premier Hon. Ralph T. O´Neal who is also responsible for tourism on the status of the BVI Tourist Board – on the appointment of a Chairman for the board, when would the board have sufficient members in place to carry out its business, and how decisions are being made. Mr. Smith will also ask the Premier some questions on the resignation of the Director of the London Tourism Office.

Other Ministers to be questioned by the Opposition are Minister for Health and Social Development, Ministers for Communications and Works, Education and Culture, Natural Resources and Labour.

At the sitting of the House of Assembly, Premier Hon. Ralph T. O´Neal will propose the Supplementary Appropriation (2006) Act, 2010, Banks and Trust Companies (Amendment) Act, 2010 and Company Management (Amendment) Act, 2010 Bills.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

BVI Signed Another TIEA with Portugal

Last week, another Tax Agreement was signed by the British Virgin Islands Government – this time with Portugal. So, the total number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements signed by the BVI was brought to 19.

The agreement was signed at the BVI's London Office by Deputy Premier Dancia Penn and Portugal's Secretary for Tax Affairs, Professor Sérgio Trigo Tavares Vasques.

In a joint declaration, BVI and Portugal stated that the agreement represents a milestone in relations between both countries. It is stated in the document that “Portugal and BVI have long been active in international efforts in the fight against financial crimes and each share a common commitment to develop and comply with international standards on money laundering, terrorist financing and financial regulation. The Portuguese Republic recognises the BVI Government's reputation as a constructive and co-operative member of the international community with a globally integrated and responsible finance centre.”

Friday, October 08, 2010

BVI Signed TIEA with Germany

On Tuesday, October 5, the BVI government signed Tax Information Exchange Agreement with Germany. It was signed in London by Dancia Penn, the BVI's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Social Development, and Germany's Ambassador to the United Kingdom Georg Boomgaarden. This TIEA became the 18th signed by the British Virgin Islands, the 17th TIEA was signed about a year ago. Based on the OECD model, it allows both parties to request information from tax authorities of the respective countries to assist in tax investigations.

The BVI and Germany signed joint declaration where it is stated: “The Federal Republic of Germany and the British Virgin Islands have long been active in international efforts in the fight against financial crimes and each share a common commitment to develop and comply with international standards on money laundering, terrorist financing and financial regulation. The BVI's cooperation in fostering these international standards enhances its reputation as a globally-integrated and responsible financial centre.”

Also, a protocol was included on the agreement providing that BVI and Germany had no intention to introduce any discriminatory, prejudicial or restrictive measures based on harmful tax practices so long as the agreement is in force and effective.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

NY Funds Conference Proved to be Successful

The New York funds conference, which was hosted on September 23 by the International Finance Centre (IFC) and the BVI Investment Funds Association, was named a “great success” by the Executive Director of IFC Sherri Ortiz. According to one of conference participants, the event was well organized, and information was interesting and well presented.

On the conference the following presentations were provided by representatives of Conyers Dill & Pearman, Maples and Calder, Walkers, Harney´s and Ogier: State of the Funds Market, A Regulatory Approach, Litigate with Confidence and Lessons learnt for the Funds Industry from the Financial Crisis. The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission provided updates on the territory's regulatory regime and recent legislation initiatives.

Sherri Ortiz commented that the conference was also a “clear demonstration of how far the Territory has progressed in this sector and the extent to which our funds business has grown. There is an increasing appetite from global practitioners to understand more about the Virgin Islands, as evidenced by the call for more events of this kind.”