As investors deal with the uncertainty in global markets, international finance centres (IFCs) like the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are uniquely positioned to offer security in the age of uncertainty. For close to 40 years, the BVI has been at the forefront of helping investors successfully navigate the volatility terrain.
The jurisdiction’s ongoing success story can be credited to a willingness to embrace change and remain agile and resilient in the fast-moving landscape. By adopting a forward-looking approach, the BVI stays at the forefront of new trends, identifies opportunities in emerging economies and sectors, complies with international regulatory standards, mitigates risks, and is unwavering in its dedication to global growth, innovation, and progress.
FACILITATING GLOBAL GROWTH
By facilitating global development and investment in emerging economies, the BVI enables communities worldwide to tap into resources they would not otherwise have access to.
The BVI is strengthening links across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas to build a global village of investors and companies with a shared vision for progress. International collaboration remains at the core, understanding that countries must work together to drive improvement to solve society's biggest challenges as a global community.
With a longstanding strong relationship with Asia, the BVI provides the region with corporate structures that remain immensely popular with Asian businesses, institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals, the main drivers behind the region’s strong economic model.
As Asia’s GDP is expected to expand in nominal terms from $33tn in 2021 to $39tn in 2023, the opportunities in the region will continue to grow, fuelled by large populations and the rising adoption of new technologies. The BVI’s robust reputation and expertise in the region puts it in a solid position to help facilitate this growth.
Elsewhere, countries across Africa are also emerging as the new frontiers for growth, boosted by young, tech-savvy populations and the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement prospects. The BVI brings its expertise to the table by creating neutral platforms to facilitate cross-border trade, investment, and finance, making it the ideal conduit for expansion.
Globally, as climate change action increases in urgency, investment in agriculture and green energy will be crucial over the next decade. Here again, the BVI will continue to make significant contributions to sustainable finance, enabling the flow of investment into communities and making the most required real impact.
NEUTRALITY & SECURITY
Speculation is that the lingering effects of the pandemic and the fragmentation of the current economic and political systems put the concept of globalisation under threat. Notwithstanding the mobility challenges, the reality is that this period has accelerated technological innovation and digitalisation, which both help to dismantle some of the barriers to capital flows and make it easier for both inward and outward investment to happen. These increase the demand for services that facilitate efficient and secure cross-border transactions. And IFCs like the BVI are uniquely placed to meet these demands.
The BVI offers jurisdictional neutrality, a location independent of the home jurisdictions of the various counterparties where transactions can be conducted while adding little or no additional cost. This can be important, for example, when forming joint venture vehicles between businesses from different countries.
The BVI also offers tax neutrality, administrative convenience, and regulatory specialisation as an IFC. However, the most significant advantage that the jurisdiction offers is the ability to mitigate country, legal, and commercial risks. As a result, it can help protect assets from potential loss or seizure due to social or political instability or delinquent regulatory or enforcement institutions in a particular country.
The BVI has recently been part of implementing the sanctions regime. Successful sanctions rely entirely on identifying the ultimate beneficial owners of incorporated companies. The BVI has some of the strictest controls of any financial centre globally. It has a beneficial ownership register for all companies – its state-of-the-art technologically-advanced Beneficial Ownership Secure Search system (BOSSs). Only licensed corporate service providers can incorporate companies, and by law, they must conduct customer due diligence, including enhanced checks for politically exposed people. The beneficial ownership information is accessible to international law enforcement authorities. In response to sanctions requests, the BVI authorities can and have provided information on the owners of BVI companies in as little as one hour.
The BVI’s forward-thinking legislative design is another quality that makes it distinctive. The jurisdiction’s range of professional associations, including legal, accountancy, trust and estate, funds, insolvency, compliance, registered agents, and banking, work closely with the government and regulators to keep the jurisdiction’s legal framework in the financial services sector agile, relevant, and modernised.
The BVI’s Regulatory Sandbox exemplifies this for Fintech Innovation, which creates an ecosystem where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and traditional financial institutions can develop new solutions for financial services without regulatory burdens. This programme is growing in popularity and opening doors for companies who would not otherwise get the chance to test products and solutions.
Leading the way in cryptocurrency and digital assets, the BVI was one of the first countries to cater to digital asset funds. While preparing for the developing global regulatory standards in this area, the BVI’s ability to harness opportunities in digital assets and mitigate the risks has put the jurisdiction in a “sweet spot.” It has attracted a global clientele and made it one of the world’s leaders in this space. Central to the BVI’s success has been its commitment to building a nurturing environment for innovative entrepreneurs across the spectrum to thrive and grow.
With agility, resilience, and innovation at its core, the BVI remains optimistic that it has the tools to help investors navigate whatever lies ahead in the global volatility terrain of the future. `
CEO, BVI Finance