Thursday, April 3, 2014 – 11:17am [GIS]
“In the Asia region, where the ‘BVI’ has become synonymous with business companies, it is important that we provide practitioners with greater exposure to the variety of financial and investment services we offer.”
These sentiments were expressed by Director of BVI House Asia, Elise Donovan, following a recently held seminar on Funds and Investment Business: BVI Options at Central Plaza in Hong Kong on March 27, 2014.
She said, “The funds seminar is part of BVI House Asia’s series to educate stakeholders about the financial services and products offered by the jurisdiction. We therefore want to be proactive about educating local service providers about the services offered by the BVI.”
Ms. Donovan added, “The BVI is well-known in this region for business companies, but we also offer funds, trusts and estate planning, ship and aircraft registration, captive insurance and more.”
More than 40 practitioners, including lawyers, accountants and corporate service providers, attended the seminar. Presenters were Colin Riegels, Global Head of Banking and Finance at international law firm Harney’s, and Nadia Menezes, Counsel in the Corporate & Commercial Department of Appleby’s. Both practitioners have extensive experience in BVI corporate law issues.
Topics covered at the seminar included: Why Use BVI for Funds and Investment Services; an Overview of Private, Professional and Public fund options and Balancing Regulation with Commercial Dynamics.
Menezes outlined that while funds from other popular jurisdictions were substantially similar to the BVIs, BVI funds provided key advantages.
These are: a significant lower cost, no local auditor requirements, time efficiency in regulatory approvals, and the ability to launch a BVI fund 21 days before approval.
Ms. Menezes said, “The ‘lighter touch’ Approved Manager Regime had provided a boost to the BVI funds sector. Since it was introduced in 2012, it had become very popular for investment managers and advisors.”
She added, “The new manager regime substantially reduces the time and costs of establishing new fund structures and requires significantly less regulation than under the primary fund legislation, the Securities and Investment Business Act.” Menezes noted that the expansion in January to include management of non-BVI funds was particularly attractive.
Funds managed under the regulatory light regime are capped at no more than US$400 million aggregate assets under management for open-ended funds, and no more than US$1 billion aggregate for close-ended funds.
BVI House Asia was officially launched in Hong Kong in September 2013 to expand and deepen the BVI’s footprint in the region. As the central hub for Asia Pacific, BVI House Asia’s objectives include strengthening ties with the financial community and providing educational platforms for the BVI financial services.