Saturday, July 30, 2016

Leaders of Overseas Territories Meet to Discuss UK Changes

Leaders from seven of the UK Overseas Territories have met in Turks and Caicos Islands, to prepare for the annual meeting of with the FCO's minister for the overseas territories which will be held in London in October 2016.

During the meeting there were informal talks with the territory leaders about the significant changes which took place in the UK recently, the biggest of which being the vote in the referendum in favour of leaving the European Union, followed by the appointment of a new prime minister, Theresa May, which, in her turn, made some major minister changes

On the first day of the meeting, a letter was delivered to TCI Premier Dr Rufus Ewing from the new minister for the overseas territories at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baroness Anelay who is the minister of state for relations with a number of international organizations and additionally works with the overseas territories. She emphasized the commitment of the UK government to the overseas territories, as well as their involvement in the preparations for negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

BVI Premier Expressed Concerns about International Banks

Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Orlando Smith said that the real issue for the BVI, as well as for the whole Caribbean and Latin American region, is the threat of international banks limiting or terminating their relationships with regional financial institutions. According to the premier, this matter is being discussed at the 'highest level of the Caribbean region', and representation has been made through all the banks - the banks' headquarters, correspondence banks, agencies, the United Kingdom and America.

The international banks' withdrawal due to unspecified concerns about money laundering is among the major issues being discussed at CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Georgetown, Guyana. The organization has already stated that the problem presents ‘a number of threats to the region’s financial and economic stability’. 

Correspondent banking is crucially important to small developing economies; correspondent banks, which act as domestic banks' overseas agents, actually facilitate trade investments and remittances.

Friday, July 15, 2016

UK Tax Policy to Become Closer to its Overseas Territories

European finance ministers and experts expressed concern that Brexit could cause the UK to become another tax haven, the same as its Caribbean territories. By words of George Osborne, the country would cut its corporate tax rates to one of the lowest of any major economy, from 20 percent to less than 15 percent by 2020, trying to avoid the recession after Brexit and attract international investment.

Even before the referendum, UK was in the process of lowering corporate tax rate from 20 percent to 17 percent, to become more attractive destination for multinational corporations; after exit from the EU, the country will double its attempts to maintain London's status as premier financial centre. 

The British overseas territories including the British Virgin Islands are often used to shield the assets and identities of their clients. However, the UK and its Caribbean territories adopted the OECD new Common Reporting Standard, which makes disclosure of tax residency information compulsory starting from 2016. This was connected very much with anti-tax avoidance initiatives caused by Panama Papers leak as an important source of information and moving force for these changes.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

BVI FSC Published Statistical Bulletin for Q1 2016

The BVI Financial Services Commission has published the forty-second volume of its Quarterly Statistical Bulletin, providing figures and information on financial services industry in the jurisdiction in Q1 2016. According to the statistics published by the Registry of Corporate Affairs, in the announced period there were 9,456 new companies incorporated, along with 27 Private Trust Companies and 20 Limited Partnerships. The number of company incorporations is higher than in the previous quarter (Q4 2015) but lower than in the first quarter of 2015. Cumulative number of companies incorporated as at 31 March 2016 was 466,081. At that moment, there were also 1,112 Private Trust Companies and 780 Limited Partnerships registered in the BVI.

In Investment Business, 5 new Investment Business Licences were granted in the first quarter of 2016, and cumulative number of Investment Business Licences achieved 467 as at 31 March 2016. Also, 8 Professional Mutual Fund and 4 Private Mutual Fund Licences were granted in the reported period. In the first quarter of 2016, there were 23 fully licences Insolvency Practitioners in the jurisdiction.

According to Legal and Enforcement and International Cooperation statistics, there were 52 formal and 5 informal requests in the first quarter of the year, 47 Enforcement Matters and 21 Enforcement Investigations. 

In 2016, seven Trade Marks Agents were registered in the British Virgin Islands, of them 3 Individual and 4 Partnership Agents. In the first quarter of 2016, 78 new Trade Marks applications were registered in the jurisdiction.