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‘All must be responsive to save financial services industry’ - Dr Robert A. Mathavious

- said that those who continue to ignore the issues in the sector are storing up trouble for the future
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC), Dr Robert A. Mathavious. Photo: VINO
“Our jurisdiction will have to learn to adapt and evolve better in line with the latest market developments,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC) Dr Robert A. Mathavious said. Photo: Provided
“Our jurisdiction will have to learn to adapt and evolve better in line with the latest market developments,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC) Dr Robert A. Mathavious said. Photo: Provided
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC) Dr Robert A. Mathavious, speaking at a 'Meet the Regulator' forum on November 19, 2015, said if the territory is to continue to be a relevant player in the international financial services industry, all parties must be alert to the risks and be responsive.

“I am fully aware that there exists among your ranks a considerable amount of jitteriness and anxiety about the future. You are worried about the resilience of the industry in the face of this incessant and relentless wave of external pressure. Some of you feel we are moving too fast to comply with international demands,” he said.

“I wish to reassure you that the ability to deal successfully with changing, sometimes adverse circumstances is part and parcel of the resilience and nimbleness which are the very DNA of international financial centres,” said Dr Mathavious.

He said that all must be responsive to the continuing external expectations as regards reputation and regulatory responsibility. “Our jurisdiction will have to learn to adapt and evolve better in line with the latest market developments,” he said.

'VI must not be on the wrong side of the argument'

Dr Mathavious said that while the territory must remain alive and alert to the impact of the reforms, it cannot be on the wrong side of the argument around standards of control and transparency.

“In this respect, maintaining and safeguarding our hard won, good reputation is of paramount importance. Without it, we cannot begin to gain positive traction with, and endorsement from, the international regulatory and law enforcement authorities, the supranatural standards-setting bodies, the risk management departments of international financial institutions and even the corridors of power in Whitehall and the like,” he said.

He explained that this good reputation should not be tainted by lapses and failure to prevent, deter and properly assess risks, or by indifference, inertia, ignorance or ineptitude on the part of anyone associated with the VI financial services industry.

“As an industry, we cannot merely treat symptoms without identifying and undertaking the pathology. We must understand, appreciate and come to grips with the root causes of whatever assails us. We must recognise the concerns of the so-called ‘enemies of offshore’ and deal with them responsibly and effectively,” he said.

Dr Mathavious said that while many individual firms have taken major steps to address issues of governance, controls, transparency and the intermittent abuse of our corporate structures, “we cannot pretend these problems have been universally addressed. Those that continue to leave them unaddressed are storing up trouble not only for themselves but for the rest. This is not just dangerous but selfish.”

He said that as threats and technologies evolve, policy makers, industry practitioners, law enforcement officers and regulators here in the VI must always be agile to confront them.

“Our regulated community must consistently enhance risk governance systems to facilitate effective management and mitigation of risks. If this does not happen, individual businesses will suffer first, followed by our jurisdiction as a whole. So you must play your part in ensuring that government, industry, law enforcement and the regulator act in concert to do all that is needed. When we cooperate, every individual firm benefits,” he said.

National Risk Assessment

Dr Mathavious said that the National Risk Assessment (NRA) exercise that is currently being undertaken to prepare the jurisdiction for its 2017 mutual evaluation by the CFATF has entailed a comprehensive review of the territory’s regulation, law enforcement, AML/CFT, taxation and international corporation laws, rules, codes, protocols, practices and modalities.

“This massive and all-embracing exercise has been done to strengthen our regime by identifying gaps, challenges and risks that could affect the effective implementation of the relevant international standards. The government is studying the NRA’s recommendations to ensure greater compliance with standards and improved and more efficient and effective mechanisms for international cooperation and exchange of information,” he said.

He noted that moving forward, the agencies involved in the NRA will continue working together to address all recommendations comprehensively.

The territory’s financial industry has been hit by a number of scandals as pointed out by international agencies and pressure groups, which wrongfully liken the territory to a tax haven that robs other jurisdictions of tax revenues.

12 Responses to “‘All must be responsive to save financial services industry’ - Dr Robert A. Mathavious ”

  • there too long (09/12/2015, 09:44) Like (12) Dislike (9) Reply
    Big mac should be telling us about his retirement
    • Concerned (09/12/2015, 12:29) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
      Yea long time for he to move on some say he has nothing more to contribute to the sector...both he and Inez need to go fast from the service
  • changing of the old guards (09/12/2015, 09:49) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    mayson yo failed...Move aside!!!! and give somebody else a chance because this thing gone beyond you now.
  • quote from ronnie skelton (09/12/2015, 10:03) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    "you must either lead, follow or get out of the way"
    • JACK BE STILL (10/12/2015, 12:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Now that would be a plan! We are simply too short sighted in how we view our world.
  • TIMETOGO (09/12/2015, 11:27) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Back in the day..la la la la..!
    The world has changed, a new guard needed now.
  • big man (09/12/2015, 12:19) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    You sound mad. We don't make policy Or laws. The industry is very important. Point your finger in the right direction, you are a big man.
  • means well (09/12/2015, 14:26) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    How can you save it if BVI succumbs to foreign government blackmail?
  • just asking... (09/12/2015, 14:48) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Does france still have us on the blacklist?
  • Ksambie (09/12/2015, 15:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    NRA - National Rifle Association. Only in the VI we change names and do as we feel we are not a part of this world.
  • voter (09/12/2015, 15:06) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Financial Services are heading the way of all flesh and very fast. Big Mac, you and FSC had a good run.
  • wize up (11/12/2015, 07:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the bigger countries are seeking their share of the pie; most of them know that their citzens are conducting tax free transactions throughout the world..... plant our own food; we not investing in agriculture and we need to do so: the BVI can't not regulate global matter, we are simply a tax haven and any other country can offer that level of service: money runs the world


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