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BVI Meets London Financial Community

by Robert Lee,, London

05 December 2006

The British Virgin Islands International Finance Centre recently hosted a successful seminar for London-based executives in the mutual and hedge fund industries. The private event, held at the newly refurbished William Kent House at The Ritz earlier this month, attracted some 70 delegates who were keen to hear about the growth of and opportunities in the BVI’s investment business industry.

Delegates were addressed by Lorna Smith, Executive Director of the BVI International Finance Centre, Richard Carpenter, Consultant to the BVI Financial Services Commission, Ruth Chadwick, Director of Investment Business at the BVI Financial Services Commission, Mark Chapman, Managing Partner of Deloitte BVI, Kieron O'Rourke, Partner & Head of the Investment Funds Practice of Harneys BVI and Mark Lancaster, Director of New Business Development of Fortis Prime Funds Solutions BVI.

Based on feedback received immediately following the event, delegates overwhelmingly found the seminar to be ‘valuable’ in terms of knowledge received and networking opportunities, whilst over 90% expressed an interest in attending future BVI events. Of the delegates who provided feedback, more than half indicated that they were more likely to do business with the BVI as a result of the seminar.

Whilst in London, several members of the BVI delegation also addressed the UK-based media through a number of briefing sessions with various members of the hedge fund trade press and interviews with The Economist, The Financial Times and the Sunday Times. As a result of the meetings and interviews, several publications have committed to issue a special editorials and jurisdictional reports on the British Virgin Islands in 2007.

Humphry Leue, Chief Operating Officer of the BVI International Finance Centre, comments: “The London market is extremely important to the British Virgin Islands, particularly in respect to investment business. We were delighted that the event attracted such high-level interest, and delegate feedback suggests that the bond between the BVI and the London funds community will only strengthen in the months and years ahead.

“Securities and investment business remains critical to the continued growth and development of the BVI as a modern and diverse jurisdiction. The BVI has established itself as the second most popular hedge fund domicile in the world and we are confident that events such as this will help us to sustain growth in this area.”

The BVI IFC has played a pivotal role in the promotion and marketing of the BVI as a leading financial centre. Established in 2002 as part of the Government’s commitment to support the financial services industry, the aim of the IFC is to give a voice to the BVIs financial sector. The IFC is committed to ensuring that the BVI retains the unique balance it has created in having a sound regulatory framework, an entrepreneurial business community and a government that is committed to developing innovative legislation

The launch of the Centre marked the final stage in the government’s plans to separate the marketing/promotional and regulatory/supervisory functions of the Territory’s financial services industry. Financial regulation is now the sole responsibility of the BVI Financial Services Commission, which was also established in 2002.

The British Virgin Islands International Finance Centre announced last week the launch of ‘Team BVI’, a team of ambassadors drawn from the public and private sectors to be the face and voice of the Territory’s distinct financial services brand.

Humphry Leue explained: “Our intention is to build a team of spokespeople that will represent the jurisdiction and its successes on the international stage. Importantly, Team BVI is not a closed shop, far from it. Whilst there are 15 founding members, we will actively seek the assistance and expertise of the entire financial services sector in a collective push to showcase the jurisdiction’s leading offshore finance offer."

Mark Chapman, Managing Partner at Deloitte and another Team BVI founding member, added: “The BVI private sector is genuinely excited by the launch of Team BVI and looks forward to marketing and representing the jurisdiction collectively in close collaboration with the Government and Regulator. The BVI has a fantastic story of growth and cutting edge financial products and Team BVI will be a powerful means of continuing to tell this story on a global platform.”

“The BVI has developed into a strong, well established offshore jurisdiction for investment businesses, with a recent survey ranking it as the second most popular hedge fund domicile with approximately 10% of the global market. The BVI boasts over 2,500 funds with an estimated asset value of well over €100bn, drawing upon the support of some 500 managers and administrators licensed to provide fund support services in the Territory.

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