The Territory has found a solution to the central registry of beneficial ownership that the UK has stipulated. The announcement was made by Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced during the 2 November sitting of the House.
In making the announcement Premier Smith remove the concerns of the community about the November deadline that was set by the UK. Dr. Smith said: “the crux of the beneficial ownership issue is to ensure that we know who beneficially own BVI companies and to have the ability to share that information with competent authorities and law enforcement in a very timely manner when necessary.”
“I am pleased to inform this Honourable House that we have agreed on a policy direction which will strengthen the existing Corporate Service Provider (CSP) model to meet the revised FATF standards with regard to beneficial ownership.”
He elaborated by stating that the solution will also address any weakness in the system, and increase the speed of access to beneficial ownership information by competent authorities.
The BVI Leader said that over the past year and more Government has been working internally through an ad-hoc Committee that is chaired by the Premier to determine how to improve transparency of the BVI regime.
“We have also engaged our local and international partners to help determine how we will further develop our regime to become compliant with international standards. At the same time, the Financial Services Commission, as the competent authority for BVI regulatory standards, has also promulgated its proposals for compliance with the international standards.”
The Premier announced that the approach required regulatory/legal changes to the BVI regime in order to give the policy direction effect by enhancing the AML/CFT regulatory regime.
“Madam Speaker, we have been busy on other fronts. The issues of beneficial ownership, transparency and AML are inextricably related. Indeed transparency of beneficial ownership is critical to deterring criminality; as well as investigating and co-operating with law enforcement and other competent authorities,” Premier Smith added.