Friday, November 29, 2013

Thirty-Second Volume of Quarterly Statistical Bulletin Published by BVI FSC

BVI Financial Services Commission has published the thirty-second volume of its Quarterly Statistical Bulletin, comprising statistics and other important information on financial services industry in the British Virgin Islands during the three months period ended September 2013. In the reported period, 12,809 Business Companies were incorporated in the jurisdiction, an increase if compared to 12,478 companies in the second quarter of 2013, and less than 16,251 companies incorporated in the same quarter of 2012. Cumulative number of companies registered in the BVI as at 30 September 2013 was 480,072. Also, there were 16 Limited Partnerships and 23 Private Trust Companies registered in BVI in Q3 2013, as compared to 33 and 16, respectively, in the previous quarter of this year. There were 908 Limited Partnerships and 556 Private Trust Companies registered in the jurisdiction at the end of this quarter.

In the sector of Banking and Fiduciary Services, there were 2 entities (trusts) licensed in the third quarter of 2013. In Investment Business, 39 new licenses were granted, as compared to 30 in the second quarter of 2013, and 29 in the third quarter of 2012. In Insolvency Services industry, there were 25 Insolvency Practitioners. 

In the sphere of Legal and Enforcement and International Cooperation, there were 16 Formal and 4 Informal Requests for International Co-operation, and 44 Enforcement Matters registered. There were also 94 Ongoing Supervision Matters referred to the Licensing and Supervisory Committee and related to Banking and Fiduciary Services; also, 299 related to Investment Business, 47 related to Insurance, and 2 related to Insolvency Services. There were 3 Onsite Inspections in Q3 2013, all of them related to Trust Companies.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

BVI Presents on China Offshore Summit

Martin Crawford, chief executive of Offshore Incorporations Ltd, has referred to the status of the British Virgin Islands jurisdiction as the leading one for Chinese investors and entrepreneurs, during the China Offshore Summit recently held in Shanghai and attended by more than 350 Chinese wealth planners, bankers, lawyers, and offshore professionals.

In his presentation he named the reasons why the BVI is the most complete jurisdiction for the needs of Chinese investors, among them opportunities for non tax-driven structures such as asset protection, wealth management, funds management, investment holdings, trading, special purpose vehicles, and listing vehicles for IPOs. It was stated by him as an example that 60 per cent of the multi-million dollar London properties, owned by Chinese citizens, were purchased through BVI entities.

The chief executive of one of offshore industry leaders made his presentation on behalf of the BVI International Finance Centre (BVI IFC), platinum sponsor of the summit. Christopher McKenzie, representative of BVI law firm O'Neal Webster, promoted BVI trusts on a panel discussion titled Strategies for Family Business Succession, while Janice Skelton of Newhaven Corporate Services described the benefits of the BVI on a panel on Selecting Jurisdictions for Chinese Private Wealth Management. Barry Mitchell and Charlie Sparrow of law firm Maples and Calder presented on the benefits of BVI Trusts for Asian IPOs. On the second day, there was a two-hour special feature on the BVI jurisdiction, which included presentations and panel discussions under the theme BVI: The Complete Offshore Solution. There was also an update on BVI House Asia, established in Hong Kong this year.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

BVI Office in Hong Kong Launches Financial Services Seminars

BVI House Asia, which was opened in Hong Kong by the British Virgin Islands in September this year, launched a series of seminars focused on the financial services products of the offshore jurisdiction.

The first seminar was devoted to BVI trust and estate law, and was led by Christopher McKenzie - a partner from O'Neal Webster law firm, who has chaired the STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) committee responsible for making the proposals to the BVI government to make trust innovations of 2003 and 2013. Case studies on BVI trusts in practice were also presented by Maples and Calder’s lawyers

The seminar focused on the unique features of BVI trust legislation, including VISTA (Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act) that creates a special trust regime and is very popular in Asia and particularly in Hong Kong. Another focus of the presentations was the PTC Regulations, enabling unlicensed BVI companies to be set up as a confidential way of holding trust assets.

According to the director of BVI House Asia, Lorna Smith, this seminar is a precursor to the type of activities that will be put on by BVI House Asia in Hong Kong and Asia to provide updates and education on BVI's financial services products to the practitioners in the region.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

BVI Premier and Tourist Board Delegation Visited Brazil

British Virgin Islands Premier and Minister of tourism, Dr Orlando Smith made visit to Brazil to introduce the territory to the leading tour operators, travel agents and media. During the week’s time, together with BVI Tourist Board representatives the premier visited Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, had meetings with more than 200 travel agents and presented the BVI destination, sharing the ideas of what makes it unique and attractive as a choice holiday vacation.

The BVI delegation also hosted a dinner for owners of ten major tour operators, a cocktail presentation evening for Travel Week Rio, a lunch for editors and journalists of top media houses in Sao Paolo. 

By words of director of tourism, Sharon Flax-Mars, “This is an opportune time for the British Virgin Islands to be promoted in South America… Our presence will enable us to increase awareness of the BVI and our visibility between Brazil, Argentina and Mexico which will ultimately lead to more arrivals from these countries.”

Friday, November 01, 2013

UK Minister for Overseas Territories Commends BVI FSC

Mark Simmonds, the UK Minister for Overseas Territories, in his comments in response to a question from MP Martin Horwood on the issue of international standards endorsed the strength of the BVI independent regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC). He named it “an extremely impressive regulator who wants to ensure that the British Virgin Islands has the highest possible international reputation.” He also said: “The (BVI) regulator wants it to be seen as a well regulated jurisdiction in order to encourage, rather than inhibit or hinder, further investment.”

Mark Simmonds also mentioned the “extremely positive” engagement by the Overseas Territories on the issue of tax transparency. His statement actually followed David Cameron’s praise of the UK Overseas Territories for the actions taken to ensure the highest standards of tax transparency. Cameron said that it was no longer fair to refer to the BVI and other similar jurisdictions as ‘tax havens’.