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BVI To Introduce New Laws On Private Trust Companies

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

13 November 2006


The British Virgin Islands will have new laws on private trust companies from January 1, 2007, Robert Mathavious, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the BVI Financial Services Commission, has announced.

According to Mathavious, the legislation will be introduced by amending the Financial Services Commission Act and issuing a new Regulatory Code under that Act which will enable certain categories of companies to apply, on a fast-track basis, for exemptions from the licensing requirements and other provisions of the BVI’s Banks and Trust Companies Act.

It is anticipated that most unremunerated private trust companies which do not offer (and which are not perceived as offering) their services to the general public will be able to apply for the new exemption from the provisions of the Banks and Trust Companies Act.

It is also expected that unremunerated BVI companies which merely hold assets as nominees or 'bare trustees' and which do not offer their services to the general public will be automatically exempted from the requirements of the Act. It is likely that those exemptions will, once granted, take retroactive effect.

The proposed changes have been applauded by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), which has said that the introduction of the measures will make the BVI a highly attractive jurisdiction to use for the incorporation of private trust companies.

Deputy Chairman of STEP-BVI, Christopher Mckenzie observed that that the element of certainty that will be created by these new measures will attract those who are seeking a reputable jurisdiction in which to set up these sorts of structures.

The proposed new legislation is the latest in a series of financial services–related statutes which have been enacted by the BVI Government over the past few years as it seeks to boost the jurisdiction's standing as a major offshore financial centre. These include the Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act ('VISTA'), the Trustee (Amendment) Act, the BVI Business Companies Act, the Insolvency Act and a raft of other statutes dealing with regulatory issues.

The BVI Government has adopted a policy to keep its statutory framework under constant review, in order to ensure that the Territory maintains its reputation as a modern, progressive, and well-regulated jurisdiction in which to do business.


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