The Financial Services Commission (FSC) is putting mechanisms in place to ensure that a scandal of the proportions of the “Panama Papers” leak is not repeatedly linked to the Territory. According to The Guardianhalf of the 240,000 companies represented by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were incorporated in the BVI.
In its announcement of the $440,000 fine levied against the BVI branch of Mossack Fonseca, the FSC stated that they are tweaking various frameworks as a means of safeguarding the BVI financial services industry. The international media, however, insists that image damage is undeniable and is generating negative perceptions that cannot be wiped out by a fine.
“The FSC has also made adjustments to its Risk Assessment Framework aimed at more consistently detecting potential concerns to reduce the risk of non-compliance whilst also devoting additional resources to assessing the full compliance of all BVI licensed corporate service providers,” FSC stated.
In the statement that was published by BVI Finance, Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith lauded the strides that were taken in addressing the Mossack Fonseca scandal here and praised proposals to safeguard against any other scandals
Hon. Smith said: “BVI remains an engaged participant in the international community and is fully involved in initiatives aimed at creating a global tax and regulatory framework that can be implemented consistently to create a level playing field upon which all countries can fairly compete.”
Nevertheless, The Wall Street Journal has just reported that: “Companies and rich families in Asia, accounting for around 70% of BVI’s incorporations each year, are among those pulling back from the British Territory, according to people working in the offshore financial industry. Data from BVI’s financial regulator show the number of new BVI companies fell 40% between April and June from the same three months last year, accelerating a decline in the past few years as the global economy cooled. Last month, a BVI company listed in London, Asian Growth Properties Limited, said it wants to move to Bermuda because of the negative publicity from the “Panama Papers.”