Days before the British Virgin Islands (BVI) implements a new system that will have far-reaching implications for the territory’s financial services industry, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has claimed that the system is a world class platform that perfectly blends the principles of privacy and security.
The Beneficial Ownership Secure Search (BOSS) system is part of an international effort to curb money laundering and tax evasion.
BOSS, which will go live on June 30, will contain information about beneficial owners.
Beneficial owners, in this context, are persons who enjoy the benefits of ownership in financial services companies.
There has been a big debate over whether such persons’ information should be made available to the media and other members of the general public, or strictly to ‘competent authorities’ such as law enforcers.
The information to be stored in BOSS will be shared with ‘competent authorities’ in the BVI and the United Kingdom.
Premier Smith, in a media release, noted that his government has completed the legislative requirements that pave the way for implementation of BOSS, adding that other jurisdictions are taking a similar approach.
“Through its electronic search engine, BOSS will ensure there is even greater rigour in our systems and processes relating to beneficial ownership information,” said the premier, who also is the territory’s finance minister.
He added: “Through its use of technology, BOSS perfectly blends the principles of privacy and security and is entirely fit for purpose. Working with BDO (a private company), we have developed a world class platform that will benefit all stakeholders, including corporate service providers, company owners, and law enforcement agencies.”
Premier Smith also expressed appreciation to “the private sector in the BVI for their support and partnership in making this initiative a success”.
He stated that, over the past few months, BDO Limited, on behalf of the government, has been providing the required support to service providers to ensure their systems and processes meet the standards needed to comply with the new legal requirement.
The premier also said his government remains committed to improving transparency, and maintaining the standards of a world-class financial services jurisdiction.