Leaders in the British Virgin Islands financial services industry said there is still no sense of loss of confidence or business in the industry despite the territory being hit severely by Hurricane Irma on September 6.
Gary Hales, Head of Business Development and Marketing at BVI Finance, reasoned: “Generally, people are still comfortable using the BVI. By way of example, there are three potential funds which are still looking at the possibility of using BVI.”
“There is no sense of loss of confidence or business, so the BVI is definitely proving that the financial services industry is robust,” Hales further said while he provided an update on meetings in London over the past three weeks.
From Hong Kong, the director of BVI House Asia, Elise Donovan, indicated that the financial services industry there is appreciative of the continued accessibility to services.
Praise for the seamless continuation of BVI service also comes from the Cayman Islands where all of the large firms operating in the BVI now have representation, said a media release received today from BVI Finance, which was established by the territory’s government.
“The immediate activation of business continuity plans is largely responsible for the continued confidence in the industry,” BVI Finance declared.
It also noted that another positive is the fact that the premises of the industry regulator – BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC) – survived the category 5 hurricane intact.
“So they were operational within a few days, and full functionality has been restored to the online company registration portal, VIRRGIN.”
Interim Executive Director at BVI Finance Lorna Smith said it is reassuring to confirm that the word is out that the BVI’s international business and finance centre remains open for business.
Commenting further, she credits industry practitioners for what she considers to be continued resilience.
“One of the keys to rapid recovery after a natural disaster such as Hurricane Irma is contingency planning, and industry partners were able to immediately engage their business continuity plans to keep the industry going.”
“Some companies have relocated staff to other jurisdictions where they have established offices, others have offered to share their office space on island with companies whose buildings are currently uninhabitable. Even BVI Finance is benefiting from the hospitality of industry as the FSC was able to provide us with office space to continue operations,”
Smith further said.
She said she has observed that there is a keen determination among industry partners to ensure the survival of financial services as part of the overall recovery plan for the BVI.
“I admire the determination, commitment and true resilience exhibited by members of the industry. These are the traits that will prove invaluable in the current climate of recovery and rebuilding. Hurricane Irma’s impact on the BVI was unprecedented but equally matched by the resolute spirit of the business community to continue operations,” added Smith.
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