BVI may modify legislation regarding beneficial ownership information

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The Premier’s Office of the British Virgin Islands has released an important announcement reaffirming its intentions to proceed to necessary legislative changes regarding beneficial ownership information maintenance.
Despite the fact that changes on legislation regarding registered agents holding information on beneficial ownership, and additionally, the creation of a private registry to record Directors’ information have neither been officially approved nor announced, it is almost certain that they will go through and take effect from the first day of the coming year.

The British Virgin Islands’ Government appears to have acknowledged the constantly evolving standards regarding transparency, as it is requested by the The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Organisation for Economic Co – operation and Development (OECD), as well as the UK Government to the same effort.

As a result of the above notes, the BVI Government in collaboration with the private sector aims to the modification of the Eligible Introducer Regime by “requiring those Registered Agents relying on Eligible Introducer Letters to maintain certain prescribed beneficial ownership information.”

Starting from the next year, beneficial ownership information of BVI companies will be required to be held within the BVI and any relevant information requested by the Competent Authorities should be provided expeditiously resulting in a more effective and efficient system.

Subsequently, service providers in the BVI will be required to become compliant with this information requirement for existing companies within twelve months. A possible extension could be granted in specific circumstances. The information required to be held will include company Beneficial Owners’ names, date of birth, residential addresses and nationalities.

Finally, the BVI Business Companies Act, amongst other things, will be amended to include a requirement for the private filing in the Directors registry for all companies in a specific jurisdiction.