EXPECTED IN 2006
projecting continued and significant growth in the Territory’s financial
services sector next year, Minister for Finance Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton
said in his recent Budget Address.
The Finance Minister said
Government is predicting a windfall of just under $130 million from the sector
in 2006, an increase of more than 15 percent over 2005. This year’s revenues
from financial services were projected at $110 million, and estimates are that
the sector will outpace this projection by $2.5 million before the end of
Skelton said the local financial services industry will
continue to expand as the Territory encourages
new investment and continues to market its services internationally. He said the
BVI must remain on the cutting edge of the industry, adding that formulating
required legislation and ensuring proper training of regulators to keep the
sector successful are imperative.
The Finance Minister said that the sector’s recent
performance and projections for its future lay to rest fears that the
establishment four years ago of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) would
depress revenue generation in the sector, particularly after responsibility for
marketing was transferred to the BVI International Finance Centre (IFC).
“Madam Speaker, I am pleased to report that, after
four years the reality has confounded those fears,” the Minister said.
From its inception, the FSC
recognised that a well-regulated industry requires the cooperation of all
licensed providers, Minister Skelton said. As a priority, therefore, the
Commission embarked on an industry-wide examination to determine an appropriate
framework for good corporate governance. These guidelines will be presented to
the industry in 2006.
In addition, the Finance
Minister said the FSC will in 2006 commission final plans for the establishment
of a satellite office in Hong Kong. He said the Commission’s presence in Asia
will improve the efficiency of services provided to this market and reduce
barriers presented by language, culture and business environment.
A recent report from the
International Monetary Fund states that “the BVI has most of the essential
elements for a suitable framework for financial supervision,” a comment Minister
Skelton described as rewarding. He said this means Government’s efforts to
enhance the Territory’s financial services sector are not going unnoticed.
The 2006 budget, presented
under the theme “Advancing Our Social Services,” has been referred to the
Standing Finance Committee, which will review it in detail. Following that, it
will be returned to the Legislative Council for final debate and approval.
The FSC is an autonomous
agency responsible for the regulation and supervision of the BVI’s financial
services industry, while the IFC, which comes under the Ministry of Finance,
focuses on marketing the Territory as an innovative, efficient and respected
international finance centre.
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