Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ms. Dawn Smith Confirmed as New Director, Legal and Enforcement

The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission published press release where confirmed the appointment of the new General Counsel/Director, Legal and Enforcement. Ms. Dawn Smith replaced Ms. Jacqueline Wilson in this post with effect from 2 January, 2013.

As General Counsel/Director, Legal and Enforcement, Ms. Smith will be responsible for providing legal service to the Commission in relation to the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001 and other financial services legislation. Also, she will be an advisor on enforcement actions and court proceedings in which the FSC is involved, co-ordinate and execute requests for assistance received from foreign regulatory authorities. Ms. Smith will also serve as the FSC’s representative on many regional financial services committees and working groups

Before her tenure the the BVI FSC, Ms. Smith was engaged as an associate lawyer at Conyers, Dill and Pearman; she also served as Director of the BVI’s London Office, and as an associate lawyer at the former O’Neal Webster O’Neal Myers Fletcher and Gordon. Ms. Smith is a member of the BVI Bar Association, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a founding member and currently serves as Chairperson of the BVI Chapter of the Caribbean Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Volume of Statistical Bulletin Issued by BVI FSC

This week, the Commission published the twenty-eighth volume of its Quarterly Statistical Bulletin, comprising statistics and analysis of BVI financial services industry for the third quarter of 2012. In the three month period, ended September 2012, 16,251 new companies and 20 limited partnerships were incorporated on the territory – more than in the second quarter of the year. As compared to the previous years, the number of company incorporations in the third quarter of 2012 was less than in the same quarter of 2011 (17,056), but more than in the years 2010 and 2009 (15,946 and 13,368, respectively). According to the Registry of Corporate Affairs, cumulative number of active business companies achieved 473,707 as at 30 September 2012, and cumulative number of limited partnerships achieved 496.

By the Banking and Fiduciary Services statistics, banking sector of the British Virgin Islands showed the following figures in the third quarter of 2012 (in thousands of US$): Cash items in the amount of $689,815, loans and advances in the amount of $1,600,974, total assets - $2,438,154, total shareholders’ equity - $449,670, net income - $31,235.

In the Investment Business, 3 new Investment Business licenses and 29 Mutual Funds licenses were granted in the reported period. Cumulative number of active mutual funds in Q3 2012 was 157 public funds (181 in Q3 2011), 591 private funds (718 in Q3 2011), and 1,610 professional funds (1,728 in Q3 2011).

In the sector of Legal and Enforcement and International Cooperation, 51 enforcement matters were registered in the reported period, and 31 formal requests for international cooperation, requiring the disclosure of non-public information. There were 14 enforcement actions, 12 of them – before the Enforcement Committee. Among the matters referred to the Licensing and Supervisory Committee in the third quarter of 2012, 79 related to Banking and Fiduciary Services, 332 related to Investment Business, 46 – to Insurance, and 7 – to Insolvency Services.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Director of Tourism Appointed in BVI

Premier and Minister of Tourism of the British Virgin Islands Dr Orlando Smith announced the appointment of Sharon Flax-Mars as director of tourism for the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board. Flax-Mars has more than 25 years of experience in tourism and hospitality, during which she held a number of senior posts in the industry. She was also a member of the BVI Tourist Board across three administrations.

The Premier said in his comments on the appointment: “I am aware that it takes dedication, diligence, persistence, vision, effective planning, and the right hands on deck. In this regard, today I am pleased to announce that the BVI Tourist Board has retained the services of Mrs Sharon Flax-Mars who will serve as the director of tourism.” The new director of tourism also shared her first plans on the future of tourism in the British Virgin Islands, especially noting the aim to increase the number of visitors and show them the “unparalleled beauty and charm unlike any other islands in the Caribbean.”

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Harneys Issued Second Edition of “British Virgin Islands Commercial Law”

In the last weeks of 2012, the international offshore law firm Harney Westwood & Riegels announced the publication of the 2nd edition of practitioner’s textbook ‘British Virgin Islands Commercial Law’. Since it was first published in February 2012, it remained the first and only textbook focusing solely on British Virgin Islands law and practice, comprising Harney’s expertise as the oldest and largest law firm in this offshore jurisdiction.

The publication is an authoritative source of information and advice for lawyers and other professionals who work with corporate structures and transactions, providing a deep analytical view of BVI legal background, related to business companies, partnerships, credit and security, investment funds, insolvency, dispute resolution, taxation and trust legislation

There are some changes in the law of the British Virgin Islands that occurred since the 1st textbook was edited, including the passing of the BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act 2012 was passed and the accompanying BVI Business Companies Regulations 2012.