The BVI Advantage was the theme of a feature presentation at the recent China Offshore Summit.
The summit was held from October 15-16 in Shanghai, China.
Global Head of BVI Practice at Maples and Calder, Mr. Michael Gagie presented on behalf of the BVI International Finance Centre. He said there had been a big increase in the use of BVI companies over the last 18 months, driven by the increase in outbound mergers and acquisitions activity [from China] for Europe and elsewhere.
Mr Gagie outlined the advantages of using BVI companies for international finance including: brand familiarity, attractiveness, flexibility, cost-efficiency, ease of use, robust court system and the availability of highly qualified BVI service providers throughout China and other Asian countries.
He said the BVI had added another advantage by establishing a physical presence in Asia with its office and representatives from the BVI Government and BVI Financial Services Commission, the regulator, based in Hong Kong.
Also presenting for the BVI were Founding Partner of Simonette Lewis Mrs. Hélène Anne Lewis and Managing Director of Coverdale Ms. Claire Abrehart. Ms. Lewis moderated a panel on Succession Planning for Families in China by Using Offshore Vehicles Properly. Ms. Lewis said that BVI trust structures, particularly its VISTA trust and private trust companies were suitably designed to assist Chinese families in planning for succession of family wealth.
Speaking on the panel titled Insights into the Future Trends and Industry Outlook, Ms. Abrehart said the BVI was a fully cooperative jurisdiction when it came to the international standards of transparency and information exchange.
She outlined that the BVI had signed on early to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD's) Common Reporting Standards and the United States' Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and have long had a system in place that is compliant with the Financial Action Task Force's recommendations on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing.
Giving an overview of the China Offshore Summit, Director of BVI House Asia Ms. Elise Donovan said, "The summit provides a good platform to showcase the BVI's financial services and products to Chinese business leaders. Asia is the fastest growing economic region and has seen incredible growth over the last quarter century."
She added, "The BVI has been working with Chinese and Asian businesses for over 25 years and we will continue to draw on our deep experience and mature infrastructure in Asia to remain a facilitator of that growth and play our role in the Asian success story."
The BVI was the gold sponsor of the two-day Summit, which brought together more than 250 of China's leading financial intermediaries, international trust companies, bankers, lawyers, and corporate service providers. More than 140 visitors came to the BVI booth to ask questions and gather information, many about setting up BVI companies and trusts.
The BVI booth was manned by the BVI Financial Services Commission's Asia Representative Michelle Georges and BVI House Asia's Executive Assistant Peter Gao. Other BVI practitioners at the China Summit included Barry Mitchell of AMS Financial Group, Ross Munro of Harneys and Richard Hall of Conyers Dill & Pearman.