Monday, June 30, 2014

BVI and CI as Main Offshore Jurisdictions for Chinese Capital

In the South China Morning Post publication, BVI and Cayman Islands were named the main offshore hubs for China, which get the largest part of Chinese investments in the Caribbean region. The US government body informs that of US$62.1 billion in outward direct investment flows by 2012, all but US$282 million went to these two jurisdictions, while all the other Caribbean countries received only US$31 million.

By the scale of the fund flows, the British Virgin Islands has become the second-largest destination for mainland Chinese overseas direct investment after Hong Kong, being the preferred offshore tool for structuring investments into and out of Asia. 

According to the report published by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, in 2010, British Virgin Islands companies were responsible for US$111 billion, or 10 per cent, of foreign direct investment in China. Chinese companies invested US$69 billion overseas, of which 75% was handled by companies domiciled in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Hong Kong. In 2012, FDI flows to the British Virgin Islands reached US$2.24 billion, while the stock of these investments amounted to US$30.85 billion.

Last year’s opening of BVI House Asia in Hong Kong facilitated the increase in fund flows. The review commission stated that China's ties with the Caribbean had strengthened over the decade, and are likely to continue expansion.

Monday, June 23, 2014

BVI FSC Issued Regular Quarterly Statistical Bulletin

Last week, the thirty-fourth volume of the BVI FSC Quarterly Statistical Bulletin was issued by the Commission, providing statistics and analysis about financial services industry in the BVI jurisdiction for the first quarter of 2014. According to the Registry of Corporate Affairs, the number of companies incorporated in this period increased to 14,062, from 11, 376 in the fourth quarter of 2013, the number of Private Trusts was 54 in the first quarter of 2014 (48 in Q4 2013 and 30 in Q1 2013), and there were 28 Limited Partnerships registered (24 in Q4 2013 and 15 in Q1 2013). At March 31, 2014, cumulative number of incorporations was 482,087, including all active companies.

According to the statistics provided by Investment Business industry, in this period 3 new Investment Business licences and 9 Approved Investment Managers licences were granted. In the Mutual Funds sector, 21 professional and 4 private licences were granted in the first quarter of 2014 (33 and 5 licences, respectively, in the previous quarter). 

In Insurance industry, 3 new licences were granted to captive insurers in the first quarter; cumulatively there were 143 captive insurers and 37 domestic insurers as at 31 March 2014.

By Legal and Enforcement and International Co-operation statistics, in the reported period there were 24 International Co-operation Matters requiring the disclosure of non-public information, 10 International Co-operation Matters requiring the disclosure of public information, and 32 Enforcement Matters. Among the ongoing Supervision Matters Referred to Licensing and Supervisory Committee in Q1 2014, there were 96 Banking and Fiduciary Services matters, 191 Investment Business matters, 99 related to Insurance, and 3 to Insolvency Services industry.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Role of BVI Financial Centre Discussed at China Offshore Summit

BVI House Asia made the presentation named ‘BVI 2.0 – Taking it to the Next Level’, during the China Offshore Summit which was held in Beijing from May 28 to 29, and was visited by more than 300 financial intermediaries, corporate service providers, international trust companies, bankers and lawyers from China. During the presentation, the director of BVI House Asia Elise Donovan spoke about the BVI companies’ use in China and their role today in facilitating cross-border transactions in the market.

British Virgin Islands, as one of the leading financial centres for international investments, remains the top jurisdiction for inward and outward FDI flows in China. It is a connecting link for East and West markets, assisting Chinese companies to access Western capital or technology through acquisitions and listings on foreign stock exchanges. 

Another presentation was made by Harney Westwood & Riegels’ Asia managing partner Jonathan Culshaw, under the name ‘Same same… but Different, Differences between BVI and Cayman Companies’. He outlined advantages of both offshore jurisdictions, among them flexibility in structuring, neutrality, and legal and professional competence in the China/Asia market, but noted that “the BVI is better value for money.”

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Ralph O’Neal Leaves Political Scene

Last week, BVI Opposition leader Ralph O'Neal announced that he is going to retire from public service and political life. He is the longest serving elected politician in BVI history, with more than 38 years of working in the House of Assembly and Legislative Council. Also, he has been the head of the elected government for combined 12 years, which is the second longest period in the jurisdiction, following Lavity Stout whom he succeeded in 1995.

Ralph O’Neal was the first person to be appointed to the newly titled Premier office in 2007, under the newly adopted constitution. He left the post in November 2011, after the Virgin Islands Party lost its majority after the general elections. At present, he is the leader of the opposition already in the third time – a record among BVI politicians.

BVI Premier Dr Orlando Smith made a statement following the opposition leader’s announcement, where he recognized on behalf of the government and people of the BVI the invaluable contributions O’Neal has made to the development of the territory.