A bill that will allow for local financial services providers to temporarily operate in other countries has passed today in the House of Assembly.
The bill entitled ‘Financial Services (Continuity of Business) Act 2017′ – formerly titled Financial Services (Special Circumstances) Act – must now be approved by the governor before it becomes law.
Under the Act, local financial services businesses that relocate to other jurisdictions must still operate in accordance with the laws of the British Virgin Islands.
The Act was introduced in light of the September hurricanes that disrupted several businesses including those in the financial services sector.
The disruptions caused a number of financial services providers to relocate to other jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands while the BVI recovers.
“In order for us to continue our operations and to receive the monies that we have grown accustomed to receiving from financial services, we have to ensure that the industry still continues. In order to do that, we have to give permission on this bill,” said Government legislator Myron Walwyn.
He, however, said it is important that the territory recovers quickly so financial services providers who relocated can return to the BVI.
“Even though, yes, we have to continue the work of the financial services sector, I certainly would not want those companies to get too comfortable in the Cayman Islands – so comfortable that they don’t want to return.”
“So we have to be very careful and very mindful that while we pass this very important piece of legislation – and it should pass – it should be a mere temporary measure and that all efforts by this government should be made to get this country back to normalcy,” Walwyn said.
The financial services industry accounts for roughly 60 percent of government revenue and contributes significantly to the BVI’s gross domestic product.
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