The 'Beyond Globalisation: The British Virgin Islands’ contribution to global prosperity in an uncertain world' report found that the British Virgin Islands (BVI) supports jobs, prosperity and government revenues worldwide through trade and the facilitation of cross-border business.

The investment mediated by the BVI as an international business and finance centre supports around 2.3 million jobs worldwide, with China (including Hong Kong) accounting for approximately one million, and around 400,000 in Europe and North America combined.

In terms of trade, the BVI supports 134,000 jobs in the United Kingdom alone.

Analysis in the report reveals that the economic activity and incomes generated by 2.3 million jobs worldwide will likely contribute over US$13.8 billion annually to government coffers worldwide.

The scale of the BVI’s global contribution to investment and jobs sheds new light on the debate on its impact on the tax receipts of other nations.

The BVI, through its ability to enable such global trade and investment, is a substantial net benefit to business and government across the globe.

Estimated economic and fiscal impact of investment mediated by BVI Business Companies, 2021

BVI Business Companies

What is a BVI Business Company?

BVI Business Companies are asset holding vehicles which may include an operating business, with employees and operations within their structure. However, they may also hold assets which do not involve commercial activities. BVI Business Companies, like all other companies, exist to box up control and allocate responsibility and risk, including liabilities.

BVI Business Companies are much more than just a piece of paper – even those which hold assets without active operations have real legal and contractual substance and are vital to the efficient operation of trade and investment in an increasingly globalised business world.

Who uses BVI Business Companies?

Major respected companies worldwide use BVI Business Companies to manage their cross-border activities.

Bluechip companies listed on the London, New York or Hong Kong main stock exchanges use BVI vehicles to support their international investment activities.

Companies, institutions and private individuals use them for: holding companies for various assets corporate group structuring; investment business, joint ventures, listings, real estate; family, trust and succession planning; and vessel or aircraft registration.

Estimated underlying value of active BVI Business Companies by primary purpose (outer ring) and estimated share of active BVI Business Companies by primary purpose (inner ring), 2022, per cent

Why use a BVI Business Company?

Companies, institutions and private individuals use them for: holding companies for various assets corporate group structuring; investment business, joint ventures, listings, real estate; family, trust and succession planning; and vessel or aircraft registration.

  • A robust and internationally well-regarded regulatory regime.
  • Political stability and a legal system rooted in English common law. This protects assets from potential loss, damage or sequestration resulting from socio-political instability.
  • A cadre of specialist providers which are part of a network of international groups with offices around the world.
  • Company and related laws which are adaptable for the needs of individuals and businesses with complex structures.
  • A statutory infrastructure which is respected by international regulators and standard setters.
  • The ability to settle disputes at the highest levels of a company. The International Arbitration Centre maintains a roster of over 190 highly regarded international arbitration and dispute resolution practitioners. Ultimately actions can be decided through the Eastern Caribbean Commercial Court which is based in the BVI.
  • Tax neutrality – this does not mean that there is no tax in the BVI but there is a zero tax on corporate profits. All this means is that investors are not exposed to double taxation and only pay taxes due to the authorities in their domicile and/or where funds are invested.
  • The United States dollar is the only legal tender.


BVI Business Companies hold US$1.4 trillion of assets, equivalent to 1.5 per cent of global GDP.

These holdings reflect cross-border investment in the widest variety of physical, corporate and financial assets.

These substantial cross-border investments provide the underlying finance that enables real world economic investment in homes, factories, hospitals, railways, broadband, machinery, entrepreneurs – and more.

They also provide the essential liquidity for the secondary markets that underpin and provide confidence in these primary real world investments.

Percentage of the number of active BVI Business Companies by location of ultimate beneficial owner, 2022, per cent

How many?

At the end of Q3 2022 there were approximately 375,000 active BVI Business Companies. Roughly 44 per cent originate from China, while use by clients in North America and Europe account for 16 per cent.

BVI vehicles are being used for longer periods of time in 2022 than in 2011. While the annual number of new incorporations have reduced steadily each year since 2011, the total cumulative stock of active BVI Business Companies has remained relatively stable over this same period.

In 2011, the implied lifespan of an average BVI Business Company was 7.8 years compared to an average lifespan of approximately 19 years in 2020.