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BVI Financial Services Industry To Take New Direction

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

27 April 2015

The British Virgin Islands Government has received a report that it commissioned on finding a new direction for the financial services industry, the recommendations from which will now be implemented.

The BVI engaged consulting firm McKinsey and Company to develop a pragmatic new strategy and implementation plan as a direct response to the challenges threatening the industry, including international regulatory pressures and growing competition.

Confirming that the BVI will implement the recommendations, the island's Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to the financial services industry, which accounts for 60 percent of Government revenue. He also stressed the importance of the territory complying with evolving international standards, such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), to safeguard the reputation of the territory.

The Government has also announced that it will now set up the Financial Services Implementation Unit to implement the ten most urgent recommendations (of the forty contained in the report).Those recommendations are:

  • To revamp the International Finance Centre (IFC) and make it a focused, highly skilled unit that operates in line with international best practice;
  • To build on the strengths of the Financial Services Commission by strengthening the service culture and organization to improve process transparency, response time, and help provided to customers;
  • To offer Value-Added Services to products by identifying and encouraging top priority companies to attract those services to the jurisdiction in collaboration with the private sector;
  • To bring immigration and labor policies and processes in line with international best practices to attract and retain the necessary skilled labor that will be needed to broaden into and sustain a substantive offering;
  • To build local capability and talent by strengthening education at the secondary and tertiary levels, developing the Financial Services Institute (FSI), and overhauling internships and scholarship programs to bolster local talent to sustain the industry in the long term, and create opportunities for BVI residents;
  • To establish dedicated business development capability to generate new product and customer ideas and strengthen the mandate of the Financial Services Business Development Committee;
  • To focus on Infrastructure and to help accelerate critical infrastructure projects such as telecommunications and transportation needed to support the development of the economy;
  • To engage the population to identify current perceptions of financial services and educate and build awareness and understanding of the importance of financial services to BVI, its impact on daily lives, and its critical role in transforming the prosperity of the territory;
  • To roll out FATCA requirements and lobby France and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to improve compliance ratings and the jurisdiction's reputation; and
  • To establish a dedicated unit, staffed by world-class talent, to co-ordinate and drive implementation of the report's recommendations across the financial services sector.
TAGS: compliance | Finance | Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) | tax | investment | business | FATCA | financial services | international financial centres (IFC) | Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) | Virgin Islands | offshore | education | France | standards | British Virgin Islands | services | Compliance | Tax

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