BVI – Proposed Changes to the Eligible Introducer Rules!
November 9, 2015
On October 15, 2015 the British Virgin Islands announced 2 changes to their compliance regime for BVI companies (see FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY NOTICE below :
1. Eligible Introducers to Supply Beneficial Ownership Information for All Companies They Have Formed on Behalf of Their Clients.
- Starting January 1, 2016, Eligible Introducers will need to provide to their registered agent information on the Beneficial Owner of any BVI companies formed on behalf of their clients.
- The information required will include: Beneficial Owner’s name, date of birth, residential address and nationality.
- BVI registered agents will have a transition period of 12 months from the implementation date to become compliant with these obligations.
- The new information requirements for Eligible Introducers are scheduled to be introduced via amendments to the BVI’s existing Anti-Money Laundering legislation before the end of 2015.
2. Establishment of a Private Register of Directors for all BVI Companies.
- The BVI Business Companies Act will be amended to require the filing of registers of directors for all companies at a private registry.
One question we are all likely to receive is what happens if we do not provide the required information for existing companies by the end of the transitional period?
While we do not know exactly what penalties will be enforced; it is likely, that such companies may be liable for penalties and/or strike-off and whoever is your BVI corporate agent may also need to resign as registered agent, which would also ultimately lead to strike-off.
Do You Have Concerns About Disclosing This
Information About Your BVI Company?
Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact US at
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).
FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY NOTICE
TO: Industry Association Heads
PROPOSED ENHANCEMENTS TO THE ELIGIBLE INTRODUCER REGIME
The Government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) recognises the evolving international standards of transparency as promoted by The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as the aims of the Government of the United Kingdom. As a result, the BVI Government has been in dialogue with the private sector to modify the Eligible Introducer Regime by requiring those registered agents relying on Eligible Introducer Letters to maintain certain prescribed beneficial ownership information.
The Government believes that it is important that the systems utilised to access beneficial ownership information must be effective, efficient and fit for purpose, at the same time acknowledging that across jurisdictions, systems aimed at achieving this end may not be identical. We believe that they should be similarly effective and efficient but focus should be on achieving equivalent outcomes and not necessarily on using identical pathways to the outcome.
It is on this basis that I advise you that after consultation with representatives from the industry, as of 1ST January 2016, beneficial ownership information of BVI companies will be required to be held within the BVI and that relevant information requested by Competent Authorities will be provided expeditiously by a more effective and efficient system.
Service providers in the BVI will be required to become compliant with these requirements for existing companies within twelve (12) months, with a possible extension in specific circumstances. The information required to be held will include company beneficial owners' names, dates of birth, residential addresses and nationalities.
In addition to the introduction of these enhancements to the AML/CFT requirements, the BVI Business Companies Act, amongst other things, will be amended to include a requirement for the private filing of registers of directors for all companies.
The Government will continue to monitor the evolution of global standards and best practices and sustain our engagement with industry to ensure that the BVI remains a pioneering, vibrant and competitive financial center for global business.
I would encourage you to circulate this notice widely to your members.
Read more at: Tax Times blog