ROAD TOWN, BVI -- In a special report by The Economist magazine, the British Virgin Islands has been recognised as a major financial centre with a strong role to play in the global economy.
The Economist is an internationally recognised weekly news magazine with reports on politics, economics, business and finance.
“Storm survivors”, the particular report in which the BVI was recognised, was featured in the February 16 issue of The Economist. The report indicates that offshore financial centres have recently been under attack, but have shown ‘remarkable’ resilience. The report concludes that the future of respected international finance centres (IFCs) like the BVI is assured and that they will ‘stay in business’.
Commenting on the report, executive director of the BVI IFC, Elise Donovan, said, “The Economist has highlighted some positive attributes about the BVI. It has shown us in a true light as a stable, well regulated and neutral jurisdiction which makes a significant contribution to the liquidity of the global economy.”
She continued, “Whilst there are positive endorsements of the BVI, the report does highlight the increasing scrutiny on areas such as transparency and the exchange of information.”
In recognising those areas for further development, Donovan said, “We are in a new era where the continued global economic turmoil has brought a need for greater clarity and certainty. We are taking these issues very seriously and are working with the relevant authorities to ensure that we maintain our reputation as a world class financial centre; both in terms of the quality of our services and in upholding the highest regulatory standards.”
The report also acknowledges the importance of Asia to the BVI, particularly the use of BVI companies for initial public offerings and international investments. Report contributor and academic from Australia’s Griffith University, Professor Jason Sharman, outlined why more investors are using the BVI for international arbitrage. He highlighted the ease of raising funds, cheaper access to capital markets, speed of setting up a company (or investment vehicle) and access to reliable courts.
Commenting on the BVI-Asia relationship, Donovan said, “Asia is of the utmost importance to us. In less than 10 years, China will be the largest economy in the world. We have built a strong relationship with China and we must continue to build on those foundations and ensure the BVI remains an attractive proposition for Asian businesses.”