“Offshore financial centres like the British Virgin Islands complement midshore jurisdictions like Hong Kong and Singapore in facilitating globalization,” said BVI House Asia Director Elise Donovan during the Singapore Trustees Association (STA) conference on 17 November, 2017.
This year’s conference, held in Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Marina Bay Sands, was attended by around 200 prominent industry leaders. The event featured ‘Singapore and Hong Kong: A Tale of Two Cities, Part II’, which coincided with the STA’s 15th anniversary.
“Last week, leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) talked about the benefits of globalization along with the need for infrastructure. Offshore international finance centres like the BVI are able to provide such infrastructure,” said Donovan during her presentation.
She continued, “The BVI is one of the world’s largest centres for the incorporation of companies, especially those created to facilitate cross-border trade and investment. The jurisdiction has the highest concentration of incorporations globally and Asia is the single largest market for BVI entities.”
Donovan then went on to cite statistics from the recent BVI Finance commissioned report ‘Creating Value: BVI’s Global Contribution’ which was produced by independent economics consultancy, Capital Economics, and showed that BVI vehicles are used by major listed companies and banks. Roughly 75 percent of Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is made up of companies with direct links to the BVI.
The research also estimated that around two-fifths of active BVI Business Companies originate from ultimate beneficial owners in Asia.
“Offshore centres like the BVI are truly the pegs in the wheels of globalization and provide the necessary complement to midshore centres like Hong Kong and Singapore. We are often described as the plumbing which provide the pipes that keep the water flowing,” said Donovan.
BVI was also discussed as a popular offshore jurisdiction in an earlier conference organised by STEP Asia from November 7 to 8 in Marina Bay Sands.
“Both conferences highlighted that the BVI is rigorously regulated and is one of the most compliant jurisdictions with international standards for transparency,” commented Donovan.
The BVI was a lead sponsor of both events and had exhibition booths manned by BVI House Asia staff.