By Nadia James-Harris [GIS]
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, is confident in the strength of the Territory’s financial services industry and has reiterated the Government’s commitment to it.
In a statement delivered today, Premier Smith stated, “Our financial services industry remains strong and our commitment to it is rock solid.”
He added that in partnership with the industry, the Government will remain focused on what matters most – creating value for all industry stakeholders.
Premier Smith said that as a leading international financial centre, the British Virgin Islands has long understood and embraced our unique responsibility to work with nations around the world to combat the flow of illegal money across the global financial system. He noted, “Our track record in this regard is unimpeachable.”
The British Virgin Islands is recognised as a highly regulated and compliant jurisdiction whose rigorous regulatory regime adheres to every initiative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) pertaining to transparency, information exchange and anti-money laundering.
The BVI also complies with the regulatory standards set by other international standard-setting organisations for banking, investment funds, insurance and other financial services products.
Intermediaries in the BVI are bound by professional obligation to maintain adequate, accurate and current information regarding the beneficial ownership of any BVI company and to disclose to the Government of the Virgin Islands as required.
The 2014 Global Shell Games report found that 94 percent of BVI service providers are compliant with regulations that compel them to refuse to establish companies without proper documentation, as compared to just six percent of providers in the US state of Delaware and just 45 percent of providers in the United Kingdom.
As well as strict anti-money laundering rules, due diligence policies, Know Your Client protocols and domestic laws, the BVI’s financial regulators are recognised members of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, which is the global standard setter for the securities sector.
Additionally, the BVI was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to implement the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of tax information.
Furthermore, the BVI has tax transparency agreements with over 100 developed countries including Tax Information Exchange Agreements with 28 countries and multilateral agreements providing for tax cooperation with 76 countries, under the OECD’s Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.
The Territory represents an essential and legitimate component of global trade and world finance. Clients and stake-holders can be confident that the BVI remains a safe, secure, stable, competent and flexible jurisdiction to service their needs.