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BVI Stats Report Shows Growth In Offshore Sector

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

26 December 2006


The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission statistical bulletin for the first quarter of 2006 has shown little change in the composition of the offshore banking sector, but encouraging growth in the number of professional funds and business companies incorporating in the jurisdiction.

According to the bulletin, published on the BVI FSC's website last week, during the first quarter of 2006, one new general banking licence was granted and the total assets for the banking industry stood at approximately US$2.44 billion. Currently, there are only nine institutions which have been licensed to operate in and from within the BVI.

Meanwhile, the bulletin reported that the jurisdiction's trust sector has experienced moderate growth and has been growing at a rate of 4% annually since 1995.

Professional funds are the most popular funds constituted in the BVI, and the number recognised in the BVI continues to grow. There was a 46% increase in the number of professional funds recognised in the first quarter of 2006 compared to the same quarter in 2005, and a 54% increase from the previous quarter.

The number of private funds registered however, decreased by 11% compared to the first quarter of 2005 and by 22% compared to the fourth quarter of 2005.

At the end of March, 2006, 58% of the active funds were professional funds, 33% were private funds and 9% were public funds. The Segregated Portfolio Companies Regulations 2005 were gazetted on 22 December, 2005 and the first quarter of 2006 saw the first private fund re-registered as a Segregated Portfolio Company (SPC), with a total of 189 segregated portfolios as at 31 March, 2006. This SPC continues to grow the number of its segregated portfolios. In addition, one professional fund SPC was incorporated during the first quarter.

During the first quarter of 2006, six new captive insurance companies were licensed by the Commission, however, no domestic insurer or insurance manager licenses were issued. The majority of new captive insurance licensing occurs in the fourth quarter, with 43 licensed in the fourth quarter of 2005.

From 1 January, 2006, all new incorporations were added to the Register of Companies as BVI Business Companies (BVIBCs). This quarter represents the highest number of incorporations since 2002. Approximately 18,000 BVIBCs were incorporated in the first quarter of 2006, a 13% increase from the same period in 2005 and a 46% increase from the fourth quarter of 2005. The quarterly incorporation figures include IBCs and local companies, and the 2005 and 2006 figures also include BVIBCs.


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