FINANCIAL SERVICES WEEK 2022
VIRTUAL OPENING ADDRESS BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
DR. THE HONOURABLE NATALIO WHEATLEY
FRIDAY 11TH NOVEMBER 2022
Globalisation: BVI Beyond
Greetings to everyone here in the Virgin Islands and tuning in around the world. It is a pleasure to open Financial Services Week 2022. This is the time we take to acknowledge the importance of our financial services industry, not just to the BVI and its economy, but also to recognise the outstanding role that the industry and its stakeholders continue to play locally, regionally, and internationally.
This year the theme for Financial Services Week is Globalisation: BVI Beyond. Globalisation is the term used to describe how extensive trade networks and technology have made our world more connected and interdependent. This process of trading across borders has evolved with the advancement of human civilisation and resulted in decreased poverty levels and increased wealth and prosperity across the globe.
But what does this have to do with the BVI and its financial services industry?
The global economy is powered by millions of cross-border investments and transactions. These transactions are facilitated by international finance centres like the BVI, which provide specialist services that keep the wheels of the global economy turning.
People and businesses choose the BVI because of our robust legal framework, regulation and conformity to international standards. We are a popular and efficient jurisdiction for the incorporation and operation of a range of entities, including holding companies, multi-shareholder companies, joint venture companies and funds, trusts and partnerships. We are also well-known for our professional service firms, primarily legal, insolvency and accounting, as well as our well-renowned centre where disputes are resolved in our Commercial Court or the International Arbitration Centre.
During Financial Services Week, we showcase this work, but we also take introspection on where we are and what is required for us to advance as a forward-thinking jurisdiction. We must ask ourselves important questions about what it will take to develop strategies to adapt and keep pace with the trends and advancements of globalisation.
In these uncertain and often unpredictable times, we must continue building on the strong foundations laid for us more than 40 years ago when our financial services industry was birthed. We must embrace and prepare for the future.
That is why as the then Minister of Education, I supported the first cohort of 22 professionals to complete the inaugural BVI Fintech Training Programme of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College Robert Mathavious Institute (RMI) for Financial Services. The program was administered by and the students received their certificates from the National University of Singapore School of Computing. I will again support the second cohort of students for the Fintech programme scheduled for next year.
BVI Finance has planned a packed schedule of fun and educational activities for Financial Services Week. I encourage everyone across the BVI to get involved and learn more about this industry that is so essential to our economic well-being.
I am excited about the important report commissioned from Pragmatix Advisory by BVI Finance, which will be launched at the Beyond Globalisation Conference on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday evening, I am eager for the Great Debate between students of the H Lavity Stoutt Community College and practitioners in the financial services industry. They will be debating the question – Does Globalisation Have a Future? Will the students win the debate against seasoned practitioners again? Tune in and see who wins!
I look forward to the Special Edition Breakfast Forum, where our Director of Communications will speak with the Director of Tourism, the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and the CEO of BVI Finance about the intersection of business, tourism and financial services.
Beyond the educational opportunities, you can also join in the fun with hiking, Jeopardy night, and quizzes on ZBVI radio.
Financial Services Week is for all of us, so join me as we celebrate our Financial Services Industry.
I now declare Financial Services Week 2022 officially opened.