The recently published Vistra 2030 Report, "Preparing for a New Era of Globalisation," reveals that the British Virgin Islands (BVI) maintains its position as the top offshore jurisdiction. The report implies that the consistent top rankings may show that businesses and investors prefer established and proven jurisdictions.
Since the report’s inception in 2010, the BVI has consistently ranked among the top five jurisdictions. The United States (1st), United Kingdom (3rd), Hong Kong (2nd), and Singapore (4th) have also maintained their spots in the ranking, representing onshore and midshore jurisdictions, respectively.
Elise Donovan, CEO of BVI Finance, expressed satisfaction with the BVI's continued top-ranking position, stating that it demonstrates the BVI's solid reputation as a reliable intermediary for cross-border trade, investment, and business. The report emphasises the success of established financial centres in maintaining their leading positions in the global industry.
The fund and corporate services industry is increasingly important for businesses in the current global economic turbulence. The report also notes a gradual recovery in confidence for conducting cross-border business following the pandemic, war and other global crises. Of the respondents, 52% were optimistic about their firm's growth prospects and had a positive outlook on global growth. Growth in the fund’s industry, M&A activity, and asset protection were identified as the top drivers of expansion for the next 12 months. Additionally, 50% of respondents anticipate a significant increase in client demand for digital asset-related services. The majority of respondents (56%) also believe that ESG reporting requirements will become the global norm by 2027. Economic changes and geopolitical upheaval were ranked as the most significant constraints on future growth.
Based on a survey of 600 professionals and 20 in-depth interviews with industry leaders, the report indicates that the global business environment has changed dramatically in recent years, with the industry adapting to meet new demands. Globalisation is evolving from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more complex, regionally-based model.
As the world moves toward 2030, the report highlights that complexity and potential volatility are increasing. It mentions that rules promoting openness may erode due to zero-sum competition and protectionism. However, globalisation slowdowns are not permanent, and global regulatory cooperation could regain momentum.
Expertise from fund and corporate services providers will be essential in navigating the complex regulatory landscape. In conclusion, the report emphasises that the sector will thrive by offering a wider range of services based on a global mindset.
Donovan noted that the Vistra 2030 report aligns closely with the BVI Finance commissioned report, "Beyond Globalisation: The British Virgin Islands' Contribution to Global Prosperity in an Uncertain World." This report underscores the continued need for expert, neutral, and innovative centres like the BVI to support cross-border trade, investment, and mobility in an uncertain future.
The Vistra 2030 report can be downloaded at this link.
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