The British Virgin Islands (BVI) Asia Trade Mission 2016 touched down in Hangzhou today at the Sofitel Hangzhou Westlake Hotel, as part of its four city China tour.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, gave the keynote speech, titled, “The BVI Advantage: At the Centre of an Historic Paradigm Shift”.
Interim Director, BVI Finance, Mrs. Lorna Smith, OBE, moderated a panel titled: “BVI – The International Partner of Choice”. The panel addressed issues such as the use of BVI trusts; funds and other structures for investment; succession planning and asset protection; the recent development of family offices in China; and the unique qualities the BVI jurisdiction offers to the Chinese market.
Panelists included Managing Director, AMS Financial Services, Ms. Clare Abrehart; Managing Partner, Sinclairs BVI, Ms. Adenike Sicard; Maples FS, Ms. Sofia Shen; and Jones Day Counsel, Mr. Carson Wen .
Additionally, Partner and Chief Representative, Shanghai, Harneys, Ms. Kristy Calvert, presented: “Belt & Road Initiative: How the BVI Facilitates the Investment Opportunity”. Ms. Calvert discussed investment opportunities for Chinese outbound investment through Central Asia and into ASEAN in various sectors – energy, infrastructure, mining and agriculture, as well as the use of BVI structures in major business deals.
“The BVI: At the Cutting Edge of Incorporations” was presented by Deputy Group Managing Director, OIL, Mr. Simon Filmer. Mr. Filmer discussed VIRRGIN, an incorporation system.
Mr. Filmer said that the BVI has for many years had one of the most innovative and efficient systems of incorporating companies, VIRRGIN, and is a global leader in this regard.
BVI has also initiated “The BVI Forward Campaign”, comprising ten specific initiatives, which form part of a strategic plan to chart the future of the industry.
Permanent Secretary, Premier’s Office, BVI Government, Mr. Brodrick Penn moderated a panel titled: “The BVI Advantage in Capital Markets”. As an alternative fund raising method, the BVI continues to be a popular jurisdiction for debt and capital market deals in Asia, with continued strong demand in the Asian market for the use of BVI issuing vehicles on some of the largest debt issues by both Chinese state-owned enterprises and leading private companies. The advantages of using a BVI vehicle were discussed by panelists Partner, Conyers Dill & Pearman, Ms. Flora Wong; and Partner, Campbells, Ms. Marianne Rajic.
“The BVI Advantage in Litigation” was the subject of a presentation by Ms. Rajic, who discussed rights and remedies in the BVI and the BVI Court.
Ms. Abrehart spoke on “The BVI: Balancing Client Confidentiality with International Compliance”. She discussed the confidentiality and transparency of the BVI’s offerings as well as data security and the implications of FATCA, CRS and BEPS for Chinese individuals and enterprises.
“The Enduring Competitiveness of the BVI” was moderated by Mr. Filmer and included panelists Ms. Abrehart, Ms. Calvert, Mr. Penn and Mr. Wen, who addressed such issues as the BVI’s strong international reputation; cost effectiveness; efficiency; legal and commercial certainty; tax and foreign exchange neutrality; and flexibility.