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STUDY: Public registers may cause over 2000 job losses

“Evidence has shown that company directors are twice as likely as other members of the public to be victims of identity theft due to … public registers.” — Study

Up to 2,300 jobs could be lost in the British Virgin Islands if public registers of company beneficial ownership are implemented, a government-commissioned study has revealed.

British research company Capital Economics said these job losses would happen over the next 10 years. The February 2018 report said the jobs would have been from the local financial services sector.

Implementing public registers would also shrink the fiscal value the sector contributes to the BVI economy by roughly $250 million, the study showed. This decline would also happen over the next decade.

According to the Capital Economics report, job losses would happen partly because of an evitable exodus of BVI-based offshore companies to less regulated financial services jurisdictions.

The study said public registers would further cause the BVI’s already growing debt burden to “spiral dangerously”.

“It would increase the territory’s cumulative debt even further, potentially adding another roughly US$1 billion to the BVI’s debt burden.”

Government would be unable to viably support its residents, the study added.

Public registers may increase cybercrime, kidnapping, 

The study was done after the UK passed a bill forcing the BVI to implement what are known as public registers of company beneficial ownership. These registers mean the BVI is required to publicise the names of beneficial owners of offshore companies registered in the BVI.

Effectively, beneficial ownership is a legal term where specific property rights belong to a person even though the legal title of the property is in another person’s name.

The UK claims it is imposing the law to tackle financial crimes such as tax evasion. But, according to the aforementioned study, public registers may lead to an increase in crimes such as identity theft, cybercrime, or kidnapping for ransom because the personal information of company owners would be made ‘open’.

“Evidence has shown that company directors are twice as likely as other members of the public to be victims of identity theft due to … public registers,” the study said.

The BVI is required to implement public registers by the year 2020. However, the BVI government maintains it will not impose public registers until it becomes a global standard which will not put the BVI at a disadvantage to other financial services jurisdictions.

The BVI has hired local and international attorneys to challenge the UK’s public registers mandate. But, for now, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith — the Minister of Finance — said the BVI continues to hold talks with the UK on the matter.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

41 Comments

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  1. peter rabbit says:

    That was the fastest study and report ever. If the government-commissioned study can be performed so quickly, how come we can’t get a study reason for on our poor road construction, unreliable street water, unreliable electricity and high unjustified rent prices – to name a few.

    If these things are resolved, maybe our tourism pillar could be #1.

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    • Sam the man says:

      Agree Peter Rabbit or produce just one set of annual audited accounts!! Thank goodness another minister of finance is coming maybe he’ll actually undertake his duties….

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    • good job bvi says:

      you are soooo correct peter rabbit. how many months have passed since the hurricane? some roads are no longer passable! the government here is only capable of doing quick fixes.

      • John says:

        As far as I am concerned neither NDP or VIP is capable to governing. Both parties are made up people who having nothing but their own self interest at heart. The BVI is in trouble under both parties leadership.

  2. strupes says:

    sheer exaggeration

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  3. Please says:

    They are making this more than it is. The registers would not show how much the company is worth only the name etc. The UK is sending us message plain and simple if you want to talk to us make a change.

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  4. BVIYoungman says:

    EXACTLY! @strupes. Yes we would be Affected but this Article is very much Exaggerated!
    – 1 Billion dollars in debt?!
    – Kidnapping?!!

    I CAN’TTT!!!!!!!

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    • Foolish says:

      The kidnapping part refers to beneficial owners information being public thereby putting them at risk for kidnapping in certain jurisdiction. The point is PRIVACY is not necessarily SECRECY! There is a reason why our bank accounts are private so why should company ownership be public? Please read properly before commenting. The article is basically saying that over a 10yr period those are the effects that may occur in the BVI. The debt burden is not an exaggeration based on the how the BVI is currently set up. We get $200 mil from financial services and we spend $140 mil on civil servants alone. With private sector employees that may lose jobs, how will govt retain civil servants and still take care of their people? Tourism needs to be boosted NOW! Airport, resorts, activities, sports tourism, medical tourism and stop the invader foolishness and being afraid of investors. The article is a bit of a stretch but there are real consequences if we sit back and do nothing.

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      • BVIYoungman says:

        Sounds like you’re working in the F.S industry and might be affected.

        FIND YOUR A** A NEXT JOB OR STAY JOBLESS LIKE THE REST OF US!

        YALL DEFENDERS SICKNING BADDDDDDDDDDD!
        I CANT!!!!!!!

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    • John says:

      @BVIyoungman; Youth generally comes with a high degree of ignorance so I don’t blame you as an individual for your statement. But unless the BVI economy is diversified government debt will continue to grow as the financial services sector dwindles.

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      • BVIYoungman says:

        @john Call it what you want!

        YALL ARE THE IGNORANT ONES FIGHTING AGAINST AND DISTRSPECTING THE ‘MOTHER LAND’. TEACHING/SETTING AN AWFULL EXAMPLE FOR US THE YOUTHS. FIND A SOLUTION, GO ABOUT A DIFFERENT PATH IN PROGRESSION. NOT FIGHT AGAINST THE ONES WHO GREATLY HEPLED US WHEN WE WERE DOWN LITERALY IN SHAMBLES!!

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      • BVIYoungman says:

        ME, ALONG WITH OTHER YOUTHS ARE WAYYYY MORE POLITICALLY AWARE THAN YOU AND MANY OTHER “ADULTS”

        Yall making the BVI look BADDD. And when things get real Nasty due to yall “ADULTS””GOV. OFFICIALS” IGNORANCE,

        ITS US THE “YOUTHS” who are the ones left to pay and suffer in the 20-30 years when most of yall done DEAD OR OLD!!!

        STOP MAKING THINGS WORSTT!!!!

  5. ndp heckler says:

    HOW COME WE CANT GET NOT ONE FINANCIAL REPORT FROM THE TREASURY IN THE PAST 8 YEARS?

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  6. suck teeth says:

    BULL JUNKS!!!! BULL SHIGGIDY !!!!

  7. What!!! says:

    Job losses ,people leaving Island, empty houses/apartments, mortages to pay.

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  8. Amusing! says:

    Yet the Pier Park Audit findings seem not to be able to see the light of day! Very interesting this ‘study’. How much did this cost us (taxpayers) by the way? Who commissioned this report exactly? FSC? Ten years is quite some time to get ourselves in order and diversify our economy. What happened to the small businesses assistance program? For every study BVi government commission; I am sure the U.K. have the data to show that for all the revenues generated by this sector over the past 25 years or so – our successive governments have NOT been wise and prudent with spending and thus the conundrum that has been created of our own making! Those DINOSAURS 🦖 running the show for far too long have only managed to enrich themselves at he greater cost of all. Don’t put much emphasis on a paid for advertisement in the form of a ‘study’! The U.K. company got paid to say exactly what the persons paying for it desired! Next!

  9. What s the big deal says:

    She we had IBC and Cap 243 companies, you could do a search at the Registry and see who the directors and members of XYZ Ltd once a Cap 243 while INC could not be disclosed without the consent of the directors or by court order.

    Yes in due diligence, anybody can pass the test. But in reality, so many of these companies not only run drug money but also used to hide the funds of embezzled funds by other countries. So, so what if there’s as way to find out the beneficial owners? What s the big secret? The registered agents don’t manage the funds of the companies when they’re doing business and banking their monies. Those whose hands are clean will remain and new business will come once those doing business are legit. There are more clean handed people than there are dirty ones and I believe that we will prosper

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    • understanding FS is parimont says:

      @whats the big deal

      By the way with the IBC, filing the register of directors was not mandatory. Besides, at that time there were more “nominee” directors and “nominee” shareholders.

      More recent, BC’s, the term is not used but the concept remains the same as a company may be the shareholder. This law will in effect pierce the corporate veil to get behind the shareholder’s identity, which may have another layer to find out the name of the ultimate beneficial owner.

      Would you want everyone to know your banking information? would you want your family members to be targets for criminals?

      Well this is just a couple examples of what will happen. If you live in areas where kidnapping is prone, your family safety depends on anonymity. Why do you think these clients pay kidnapping insurance…..

      Yes, I work in FS!

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      • hmmm says:

        Hey, How a person’s banking information will become public. Who want to find out the beneficial owner of a company. Tell me how, by knowing that I own “Book Ltd” you going be able to kidnap me and know my banking information? It have something name basic and everybody don’t need to know the full companies act. You people who feel you’re lawyers and so and so think ayo brighter than anybody else

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        • @Hmmm says:

          If the so called reason for the register is to stop tax evasion, money laundering etc. then they need to go to the banks and follow the money trails, not the company itself. Knowing who owns a company stops nothing and only puts people’s business on the street for no reason. People have a right to own a company or companies and have that information confidential unless they have legal issues and law enforcement gets involved, then information is shared. It should not be on show for sensationalist journalist to pick apart and make a mockery of our jurisdiction and the services offered. With regards to kidnapping, if someone in South America has a company called ‘Book Ltd.’ registered in the BVI but doing business in South America and it’s a popular business known to be doing ‘well’ then nobody will need to see your bank account, please use common sense.

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  10. Not from Here says:

    Bvi Thank You for opportunity At your shores What a beautiful place to live. I have too leave and back home 🏠 yo may Country of birth. Thank you again

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  11. Maria Louisa Varlack says:

    Stupid, dumb, ignorant, uneducated British Virgin Islanders, read the New York Post. Africa could become the new Silicon Valley, and guess what, The British Virgin Islands would become the poorest country in the Caribbean because you idiots would not invest time and energy into startups and technology. Yet, still you are fighting with the United Kingdom Government instead of investing time, money, and energy into startups and technology. No wonder the British Virgin Islands is in the poor condition that it is in.

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    • hmm says:

      yep yep and yep

    • Brad Boynes says:

      Ok para head.

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    • @Maria Louisa Varlack says:

      Do you have a Mother?

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      It would be a great location for software development, drugs research and other types of research and development. The clever people who work in those areas would love to live here.

      But these companies will not come here because of the mind bogglingly stupid and discriminatory Labour laws and other anti business legislation. And the western worlds worst internet.

      And the government do nothing, nada, zilch to change things.

  12. yo says:

    you got it!

  13. expat says:

    no vision! this is to scare people into independence. think people, think leaders and use bureaucracy also. make the beneficial ownership public but charge lets say 1.5 million for 1 beneficial ownership search and justify the charges by implying that is to compensate for lost of revenue. take 1mil to Gov. 500 thousand goes to client as reward for any lost they may encountered. this way u even stimulate the incorporation of more company. this will also help in keeping the clients privacy, because no one will just spend 1.5 million on a witch-hunt.

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  14. Bull says:

    I dont believe a word of it, under CAP co’s we used to file info, just have a search fee. What WILL cause 2000 job losses is:
    a) Complete bureaucracy and lack of turnaround Trade, Labour, Immigration. How about someone wants to start a business give them a licence for 2 years non of this closed shop
    b) Stop FSC regulating non regulated companies!
    c) $8000 penalty if you didn’t file a register of directors on time and other draconian initiative do more harm to the BVI than the IFC will ever get back in goodwill

  15. Jane says:

    BVI is strangled through bureaucracy. Belongers and Non-Belongers we all suffer. The best thing BVI government could do is liberalise work permit, non-belongers land holding licenses and residency requirements now, immediately stopping chatting and start doing.

    Stop pretending you are international statesmen like Obama or Trump, you are not, you run the international equivalent of a small town council. Take the help that is offered and stop pretending you have the skills and experience to manage rebuilding these islands. You guys couldn’t run a p*ss up in a brewery.

    If things dont start to change and quick, this place will be like Haiti in 10 years and everyone will be scratching their heads saying “how did this happen”. The answer will be greed, pride, arrogance, parochial and xenophobia. Many BVI people don’t want foreigners here and you may get your wish.

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      The lesson of history is that the more the government meddles, micro manages and regulates , the less successful the economy is.

  16. Political Observer (PO) says:

    If one wants something bad, one gets it bad. How credible is this study, given the speed with which the study was conducted? Did Capital Economics conduct this study on its own initiative or it was hired by NDP? It appears as if this study was conducted in February 2018 before the House of Commons and House of Lords passed the beneficial ownership bill that was assented by Her Majesty.

    Ok. Assuming the study is true and that up to 2300 jobs will be lost, what actions are being to replace and increase jobs, and replace and increase the $250M lost GDP? What are the serious actions being taken to diversify the economy? Further, the national debt is projected to increase an additional $1B. Debt is increasing and revenues decreasing so what is the plan to increase revenues, cut operational cost……….etc.

    Moreover, the NDP is stating that the VI will not comply with the beneficial ownership registers unless it is a global standard. Will the V.I. remain under the UK umbrella as an OT? Further, what are the VIP and others parties position on complying with the Act? Is the refusal to comply a precursor to pursuing independence? Nuff people talking about independence but is the VI ready for independence?

  17. Truth says:

    The Companies Registry does not have accounts up there, only companies registered there. The companies have their bank accounts with institutions that are not in the BVI. Why aren’t they targeting the banks for a register of accounts? Even if you know who owns a company, the only way to figure out if something fishy is going on is to follow the money, i.e. the banks. This is all a farce because the cash is held in the same institutions and jurisdictions that are pretending to care about being above board.

    • @Truth says:

      Mind and Management is where the corruption is. Implementing this on the BVI is total nonsense as it will not resolve anything but cause more hurt which is what they want. As you said, follow the trails and activities of the entities. Seems they forget the purpose of the BVI is to incorporate vehicles for the use of the owner’s intent offshore and provide tax exemption opportunities/advantages. The real crime is when they Evade the Taxes and use these Vehicles towards destructive means…who educating these officials in charge????

  18. My My My says:

    What a tangled web we weave!!! The writing was on the wall from over 3 years ago but did those at the helm take heed? No, was it intentional? Perhaps! Using scare tactics now will not resolve anything, the transfer out/redom of companies is nothing new, with/out UBO information. Use it as a means to attract revenue, increase the search engine fees, stay true and hold fast to the Client Agreements and refuse to file, mandate laws to combat these, you have created the legislations to incorporate so why not amend to combat this, use your heads and be innovative…think!!! It is not genius…

  19. Rubber Duck says:

    Everyone says “ the UK did this” . In truth it was not the UK government, it was this class act…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5968069/Margaret-Hodge-defends-attacking-Jeremy-Corbyn-emotional-article.html

    An appalling person who pulls her race religion card to defend her every nastiness.

    She is btw a rich Gucci socialist whose family company is based in Jersey.

  20. Jill says:

    Sad! There will be job loses and the victims will all be bvi belongers

  21. John says:

    The edomites will care less. They don’t care unless it benefits them directly. They pillaged Africa and the Caribbean for years and left only after the people demanded or fought for their independence or slavery ended.

  22. CW says:

    As anybody with even half a brain (and a decent work ethic, so not BVI) will tell you: THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD THE BANKING INDUSTRY. This is happening around the world at varying paces. You are on the wrong side of history, and time will prove it. Instead of complaining and spending money on pointless studies, why not spend that effort and cash figuring out how to lead the world in transparency. Become the example of how to do it correctly. Of course, we all know the BVI will fight the inevitable until the very last and squander their resources and chances. Do you know what the IMF does to countries that don’t work with the international financial community to combat smuggling, human trafficking, and other financial crimes? SANCTIONS. Tell me, where will BVI be then, without access to global economic stimulus? Worse off than it is to he sure. Go on Strupes. Fight for the right to launder money and see where it takes you. Anybody that thinks BVI is going to achieve some magic victory against the rest of the world is dangerously foolish. I BET THEY RUN FOR OFFICE

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