The Government of the Virgin Islands is moving to expand its greater public-private partnership in the financial services industry.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE proposed this as the way forward when he addressed members of the Financial Services Advisory Committee at a breakfast held in their honour on Monday. Members of the advisory committee were instrumental in formulating the recommendations emerging from the financial services consultancy which was facilitated by McKinsey and Company.
Premier Smith thanked the committee members for supporting Government’s initiative to strengthen and reposition the financial services sector, and gave his administration’s full commitment to an expanded partnership.
“The key to our future prosperity in financial services is our partnership. This partnership produced the BVI Forward recommendations; this partnership got us going through some very challenging times; this partnership is now allowing us to make significant and lasting changes. Our partnership is our strength and the key to our success,” Premier Smith stated.
Premier Smith, in providing updates on the 10 priority initiatives included in BVI Forward, identified the revamping of the International Finance Centre as a major area for public-private partnership.
Already rebranded BVI Finance, the plan is to transform the government agency into a corporate entity, allowing it greater autonomy in fulfilling its role as the marketing and promotional arm of the industry.
The legal and operational framework for establishing BVI Finance is now being finalised. A paper will be submitted to Cabinet, outlining the terms to guide negotiations between Government and the private sector, which will produce a partnership agreement defining the roles and responsibilities of each party.
“This is quite a significant step in laying the new foundation for our expanded partnership. The establishment of BVI Finance Limited will place you the private sector at the helm of driving the promotional and business development agenda of the industry. You will be guiding how government funds are spent and setting the priorities and activities that will determine your success,” Premier Smith said.
The Initiative Working Team for this particular initiative is comprised of both public and private sector representatives, and is chaired by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Premier, Mr. Brodrick Penn. The team will be appointed as an interim Board of Directors for BVI Finance by the end of this year.
On the Business Development Initiative which is closely aligned to the revamping of the finance centre, Premier Smith noted that business development will become part of the agency’s mandate. A Business Development Manager will be recruited in early 2016.
The Premier added, “This person will lead the development of the strategic plan recommended by McKinsey, as well as lead the production of the annual business plan that will guide the partnership agreement. During 2016, we will set out a plan for business development within our key global markets to ensure we have a swift mechanism for getting market requirements into legislation.”
Monday’s breakfast meeting included pinning of members of the Financial Services Advisory Committee with the BVI Forward pins, thus recognising them as champions of the industry and the campaign to ensure its sustainable future.