Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith, OBE will provide an update on BVI Forward, following completion of its first year to implement measures to reposition the Territory’s financial services industry.
In an event billed as “A New Era in Financial Services”, Premier Smith will report on what the Government has accomplished in the first year of the two-year initiative and what will be delivered in year two.
Director of the Financial Services Implementation Unit (FSIU), Mr. Kedrick Malone said the campaign has made tremendous progress in the past year, laying the necessary foundation to reposition the industry.
He said, “A lot of our work has focused on engaging stakeholders, both within government and in the financial services industry. It is important that the foundation for the future is properly established so that by the time the FSIU completes its mandate, the implemented changes will have become institutionalised. We have been working closely with the labour and immigration departments to enhance the services offered and we have also been seeking to foster greater collaboration between the industry and the Ministry of Education with regard to capability building.”
Giving some insight as to what can be expected in the first year report, Mr. Malone said, “There will be an update on the reform of immigration and labour which is integral to the overall success of the BVI Forward campaign. Seamless immigration and labour processes will help the BVI remain competitive as a financial services jurisdiction, particularly as we seek to attract investment in value-added services to reposition financial services with more substance based offerings in line with emerging international requirements. The Premier will make some pronouncements on the push to attract value added services through investment legislation and policies.”
Capability building among BVIslanders is another critical area of focus for BVI Forward and the Premier’s update will provide details on the partnership being forged between the industry, the Ministry of Education and the Financial Services Institute which is responsible for offering industry specific instruction to strengthen the capability of local persons to meet industry requirements.
Another initiative that has seen significant movement in the past year in the one to Revamp the International Finance Centre. The agency which is responsible for marketing and promotion of the industry has already been re-branded BVI Finance and effective January next year will transition a private-public partnership with the Government and financial services industry as joint stakeholders.
In addition to the update from the Premier, the Initiative Sponsors who chair the various Initiative Working Groups will be part of a panel discussion that will focus on developments within their respective initiatives.
The Initiative Sponsors are Mr. Gerard Farara, Reform Immigration and Labour; Mr. Robert Mathavious, Enhance FSC Customer Service; Mr. Brodrick Penn, Revamp the International Finance Centre, Strengthen Business Development and Establish a Delivery Unit; Mrs. Lorna Smith, OBE, Engage the Population and Strengthen BVIslander Capability; Mr. Neil Smith, Pursue Tax Initiatives and Attract Value-Added Services and Mr. Kedrick Malone, Invest in Infrastructure;.
BVI Forward is the Government’s action plan to strengthen and reposition the financial services industry to maintain the Territory’s competitive advantage in the context of the changing international regulatory landscape and growing competition.