The British Virgin Islands has been ranked as the most important offshore jurisdiction for the sixth consecutive year by Offshore 2020, an independent industry report.
More than 300 global financial services industry participants contributed to this report, which explores key trends and issues facing the global offshore financial services industry.
Industry practitioners have highlighted the Virgin Islands for its ease of doing business, speed and efficiency, legal and commercial certainty, as well as its robust regulatory standards.
The report explains that the BVI offers a well-entrenched conduit for corporate vehicles and funds and it expects that this positive trajectory will continue into 2020. This underscores a major trend from last year’s report, which was that the demise of offshore had been predicted every year, but despite this, the BVI as a jurisdiction, continues to lead the way.
Director of BVI House Asia Ms. Elise Donovan welcomed the findings of the report and stated, “We are pleased to receive such recognition once again from industry practitioners around the world. This is clear recognition of the depth and breadth of our offering, and most importantly, this report challenges the common perception that the BVI is being used for tax driven purposes.”
The director stated that the Territory’s strong performance in this year’s report highlights that the financial services industry is not in demise, but rather that it is very much in demand and it is anticipated that this trend will continue.
She said the BVI is an early adopter of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development’s Common Reporting Standard. In addition, the OECD has rated the BVI as a “largely compliant” jurisdiction in relation to the criteria set out in the ‘Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes’.
Ms. Donovan added, “We are a well-respected, robustly regulated, cooperative jurisdiction with the highest offshore ranking in the Global Financial Centres Index” (GFCI). ”
Executive Director of Newhaven, Mr. Alan Collins, said the BVI is an excellent brand and has been for many years, adding, “Despite the challenges the offshore industry has faced, it continues to be a favourite because people know the BVI, they know the level of support they will get, and they know the strength of its infrastructure.”
Partner at Conyers Dill and Pearman, Mr. Richard Hall added, “Looking ahead, we expect to see the use of BVI structures increase, with BVI companies increasingly used as listing vehicles. The BVI experience is seamless and, in many cases, those who have chosen to use other weaker jurisdictions have returned to use BVI structures because it is the best in the market.”
The report highlighted that the BVI has been used for asset protection, investment holdings for corporates and wealth management, special purpose vehicles and listing vehicles for initial public offerings, as well as individual and corporate tax planning.