The Financial Services Solutions Forum brought together industry experts, government officials, and key stakeholders with the purpose of addressing the various challenges and opportunities confronting the financial services sector in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) while shaping the industry's future strategic vision.
The half-day event that took place on June 27, focused on addressing the challenges faced by the financial services industry and explored the future trends and opportunities to make BVI a globally competitive business centre.
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Financial Services, Labour and Trade, Ms. Petrona Davies set the tone for the discussions and highlighted the objectives of the event. Minister for Financial Services, Labour and Trade, Hon. Lorna Smith, OBE, then took the stage and presented the mandate of the new Ministry and the government's vision and plans to support the financial services industry. Her remarks shed light on the government's commitment to fostering a thriving financial services sector in BVI and ensuring its sustainable growth.
The forum showcased two panel discussions, each moderated by industry experts. The initial panel, titled "Challenges/Opportunities," delved into the significant obstacles encountered by the financial services industry in BVI and was moderated by Nick Bishop from Trident. The panellists comprised of Mr. Sjoerd Koster from VP Bank, and Mr. George Weston from Harneys. They engaged in an open and constructive dialogue with government officials and industry stakeholders. The panel also produced potential solutions and strategies, focusing on critical areas such as Ease of Doing Business, Infrastructure, Industry Consultation, and International Regulatory Matters.
Throughout the discussion, Bishop adeptly maintained the flow of conversation, allowing for insightful exchanges between Sjoerd and George. Their understanding of complex topics, including alien land holding licenses, trade licenses, work permits, e-government, and targeting the right markets, proved enlightening to the audience. Moreover, the panel effectively addressed pressing issues surrounding digital nomads, banking, and execution gaps, charting a clearer path to tackle these challenges.
The second panel, titled "The Future," was moderated by Ms. Omonike Robinson-Pickering from Walkers. This discussion delved into the future trends and opportunities within the financial services sector. The panel included, Mr. Robert Briant from Conyers, Mr. Clarence Faulkner from PMI Group, Mr. Glenford Malone from BVI Financial Services Commission, Mr. Ronan Kuczaj from DLT Solutions Ltd., and Mr. David Norris from Perceptio.
They explored actionable steps to position BVI as a globally competitive business centre. The breadth of their discussion aimed at shaping the future strategic vision for the BVI's financial service industry, detailing the potential growth in Digital Assets, Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASP), Artificial Intelligence (AI), the green and blue economy, data collection, and concluded with blue-sky ideas.
At the end of the panel discussions, BVI Finance CEO, Ms. Elise Donovan, delivered presented on the current global position of the BVI's financial services sector. With great emphasis, she highlighted the strategic importance of the sector in the global market as laid out in the recently launched Beyond Globalisation report. Through her analysis and expertise, Donovan shed light on the BVI's unique strengths, its role as an international financial centre, and its contributions to the global economy. Her presentation served to underscore the significance of the BVI as a jurisdiction for financial services and its potential for further growth and development in the years to come.
The forum concluded closing remarks from Deputy Premier Hon. Lorna Smith, OBE, who summarised the key points discussed during the forum and expressed gratitude for the valuable insights shared by the participants. She then laid out the next steps for the implementation of the identified solutions, highlighting the government's commitment to working collaboratively with industry stakeholders. The forum was organised by BVI Finance.
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