Monday, September 30, 2013

BVI FSC Issued Guidelines for Authorised Representatives under SIBA Act

Last week, BVI FSC published a document named ‘Guidelines for Authorised Representatives Under the Securities and Investment Business Act (September 2013)’, where provided information and guidelines about functions of Authorised Representatives, their qualifying procedure, reporting requirements, and other issues. The document, published on the home page of the Commission, was approved by the Board of Commissioners on 27 August, and issued by the FSC on 10 September, 2013.

In accordance with the Securities and Investment Business Act, 2010 (“SIBA”), every licensee and public, private, professional or recognized foreign fund is required to appoint an Authorised Representative, who will act as the main intermediary between the licensee or fund and the BVI FSC. The issued Guidelines define the procedures and the proper criteria for qualifying to act as an Authorised Representative, how an application to act as an Authorised Representative must be made, and submitted to the Commission. They also inform about the beneficial ownership structure of an Authorised Representative to be certified and properly supervised by the Commission. 

It is provided by the Guidelines that a person certified as an Authorised Representative must be independent, meaning, for example, that it may not carry out any other services except for those associated with the provision of services as an Authorised Representative. Also, an Authorised Representative must be based in the British Virgin Islands, and everyday functions of the Authorised Representative must be carried out by individuals resident in the Territory.

The Guidelines state the functions and responsibilities of an Authorised Representative, as outlined in SIBA, human resource requirements, and those concerning general reporting and financial statements.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

BVI Government Invites Specialist in FATCA

The British Virgin Islands jurisdiction has invited a specialist in the United States Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which is now being discussed by the U.S. and BVI governments. The specialist will make special presentations to individuals affected by the US law. Financial Secretary Mr Neil Smith stated in his comments that specialist’s visit has the purpose of informing residents on their individual obligations under FATCA. He said: "What is important to note, is that FATCA gives the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a new mechanism to collect information on US citizens that are not properly filing US income tax returns and reporting their bank accounts. The government really wants to ensure US citizens in the BVI are aware of their general US tax filing requirements."

 A few months ago, the BVI government commissioned professional services firm KPMG to carry out a study on FATCA, to highlight the persons who may be exempt from reporting under the law, and for better comprehension of obligations of individuals who are not exempt from compliance with the law.

Friday, September 13, 2013

'BVI House Asia' Opened in Hong Kong

The jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands has launched Hong Kong office, which will have the functions of representing BVI in mainland China and the entire Asia Pacific region. The official opening of “BVI House Asia” was hosted by the British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Caroline Wilson, and took place on September 5 at the British Consulate. The event was attended by up to 100 HK professionals, as well as by leading financial services practitioners and representatives of several governments, including Hong Kong, the United States, European Union, Switzerland and Ireland.

BVI House Asia will facilitate a smooth interface between the industry in Asia and the BVI; it will allow responding to enquiries of a social, political or economic nature from the region, and promoting China’s and HK investments into the BVI economy. Other functions of the BVI office in Hong Kong will be to provide quick access for certain information services to users of BVI business companies, and to develop the relationship of the BVI with mainland China not only in financial areas but also in the spheres of education and culture. 

Through the BVI Financial Services Commission (BVI FSC), BVI House will help strengthen ties with regional government authorities. In the next few months, the Commission will also provide resources for the House, including staff, which currently includes of the interim director and a chief operating officer Heather Tang.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Deloitte Announced Merger of BVI, USVI and Bermuda Offices

In the end of August, international accounting and financial consulting firm Deloitte announced the merger of its BVI, USVI, and Bermuda practices. It is said to bring enhanced services to clients and greater access to Deloitte professionals who provide insights and solutions to complex business challenges.

The company also informed that the practices will continue to operate as Deloitte & Touche Services Ltd, from the current offices in the British Virgin Islands and US Virgin Islands, providing tax, consulting, financial advisory and audit services. The company does not plan to close offices, and each of them will have local leadership. 

The merger combination, effective from August 26, coincides with the retirement of BVI/USVI office managing partner Mark Chapman, who will continue as a consultant to the company through the end of October. Mark Chapman joined Deloitte BVI in 1995, and focused on offshore enterprises in the financial services sector. Now the British Virgin Islands and US Virgin Islands offices will be operated by Carlene Romney, who is specialist in financial services audits, and Richard White, an experienced professional with over 13 years of working in practice and industry as a chartered accountant.

Speaking about the merger of practices, Carlene Romney stated that Deloitte’s clients, communities and professionals will benefit from it, as the company will be able “to deliver additional services, especially in areas such as tax, restructuring, and risk management.”