VI not a safe haven for shell companies - BVI Finance boss
Chief Executive Officer of BVI Finance Elise Donovan has sought to dispel the common notion that the Virgin Islands is a safe haven for shell companies to operate.
In a recent press meeting, Donovan said this was one of the main reasons behind the launch of the BVI 360 series. She said there is a misconception of what the BVI is as a jurisdiction and what happens within its financial services sector.
In that breath, she explained it was the responsibility of BVI Finance to provide accurate information and to highlight the value the territory provides to the local and global economy.
“We are doing legitimate business, high-value businesses and high-value transactions. We are doing big business and we are not just doing shell companies. We are doing important business that facilitates globalisation as a concept. In one of the articles we just put out, there is a question on the World Economic Forum about the future of globalisation and in that article, we point out that globalisation in itself has taken countries out of abject poverty,” Donovan explained.
“If you look at a country like China, 30 years ago they were considered a poor country and now China is the second largest economy. IMF and the World Bank have said in terms of purchasing power parity, they were the world’s largest economy. But when you see how a country like China has opened up, they had to open up and become the world’s manufacturers. Most of the things manufactured in China. They open up and for that, they need corporate structures to do cross-border trade activities and that is where you have international financial centres and the companies we provide specialise in providing those cross-border structures that facilitate them doing business across the globe,” the BVI Finances CEO continued.
She said China represents a significant percentage of BVI business – 35 percent based on the last Capital Economics Report. She added that the report indicated the Chinese businesses include Hong Kong and Macau.
“There has been a symbiotic relationship between BVI and China. So, we have seen the growth of China and it is going outward and with the use of BVI structures and they actually favour the BVI as a jurisdiction of choice for their outward growth and investments,” Donovan said.
She said things like these give confidence that anybody doing business with China has confidence in the English-speaking common law that is utilised in the territory.
“The legal certainty that we provide in this jurisdiction, it is very creditor friendly, so if anything happens to the company the first thing it is going to provide is for the creditors and that is what the BVI structure provides. It is flexible, it’s cost-effective. It’s the ease of doing business,” Donovan explained.