Premier and Minister for Finance, Honourable Dr D. Orlando Smith, OBE addressed leaders of the Territory’s financial services industry on Friday, September 29 at an update meeting hosted by BVI Finance.
Premier Smith spoke to the group of leaders gathered at Ogier’s conference room, as well as those who joined in from around the world on a conference call. Acknowledging the diligence in the industry’s business continuity plan and the swiftness of its response, he said, “I’m very glad we have been able to be up and running and continue our service.” Despite the wide-scale devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, the Monday following the passage of the hurricane, the Territory was open for financial services transactions.
Financial services account for 70 percent of the Territory’s income and remains a vital sector for the facilitation of global business. Assuring the industry that Government is aware of challenges companies are facing at the moment to continue with business, Premier Smith said, “We are here to respond to any crisis, or any issues because we recognise the importance of the industry, particularly at this time.” Referring to the damage caused to the Territory’s other primary industry, tourism, Premier Smith said, “We have to maintain financial services, even while we work to jumpstart the other sector.”
Interim Executive Director of BVI Finance, Lorna Smith, OBE, spoke of the urgency with which the industry has rallied together to ensure business continuity for financial services sector. “We are doing everything possible to make sure the industry remains solid and that the financial services industry remains viable in the Virgin Islands,” she said.
To facilitate business in the financial services industry during this time, VIRRGIN, the industry’s online incorporation system is now accessible anywhere in the world. The Commercial Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court which is based in the BVI, is presently hearing cases in St Lucia. Also, a new practice direction has been disseminated to BVI lawyers. The Territory’s Shipping Registry is also up and running, operating from the Ritter House, and the Financial Services Commission is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00p.m. daily, providing premium services.
The BVI is an internationally respected financial centre connecting markets, facilitating investment, trade and capital flow. The British Virgin Islands remains a world leader for excellence and innovation in financial services and is an essential element in the global economy. BVI Finance is the voice of the Territory’s financial services industry; marketing and promoting its products and services, as well as managing and maintaining the Territory’s reputation as a premier offshore financial centre. Established in 2002 as the BVI International Finance Centre, BVI Finance was re-branded in 2015.