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FSC celebrated 10th anniversary!

The FSC logo.
Robert Mathavious.
Robert Mathavious.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The Financial Services Commission (FSC) celebrated its 10th anniversary of its establishment as an independent regulatory authority yesterday, January 4, 2012.
Since the passage of the Financial Services Commission Act in December 2001, which formally created the Financial Services Commission on 2 January, 2002, the Commission has successfully operated as the body responsible for the

regulation, supervision and inspection of all financial services business conducted in and from within the BVI.

The establishment of the Commission closely followed recommendations published in 2000 by auditing firm KPMG, which identified that a key component of a well-run financial centre is the establishment of an independent regulatory authority.

“It is through the Act that the British Virgin Islands has been able to effectively defend our record as a serious partner in the financial services world,” said Cherno Jallow the current Director, Policy, Research and Statistics of the Commission and one of the principal drafters of the Act while he was the Attorney General of the BVI.

“The financial services industry wants certainty both in the application of the law and in the decision-making process as they serve clients. Through the Act and as a Commission, we are able to streamline the rules governing the same activities we regulate in order to ensure a level field in the implementation of the financial services legislation,” stated Jallow.

Charged with new duties under the Act, the Commission focused its efforts on promoting public understanding of the financial system and its products; helping to reduce financial crime; policing the perimeter of regulated activities; and preventing market abuse.

With a motto of “Vigilance, Integrity, Accountability” it has done just that over the years. When the Act passed, former Premier, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal who was then the Chief Minister and Minister of Finance had stated, “The creation of the Commission addresses the growing global consensus that effective financial services regulation must be carried out by an autonomous entity, accountable to arliament, to Government and to the market participants it serves.”

The Commission now employs 140 people and is continuing to grow. Before the creation of the of the Commission, financial services within the British Virgin Islands was regulated by the government through the Financial Services Department under the Ministry of Finance.

All responsibilities previously handled by Government through the Financial Services Department have been handled by the Commission since its establishment.

The Commission regularly reports to the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands and is headed by a Board of Commissioners and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Mathavious.

“I am extremely proud of the service that the Commission has provided the industry for the last decade and the progress we have made. I look forward to continued success as the Commission strives to tackle new challenges, meet evolving demands of the industry and stay ahead of the curve with respect to our regulatory regime,” said Mathavious.

The global financial community was presented with some extreme challenges over the last decade and every jurisdiction and their respective regulatory bodies have had to be nimble to navigate and solve these challenges.

During this time, the Commission and the Virgin Islands (VI) have done just that.

During this period, the VI, largely due to the work to the work of the Commission: • Was included on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) white list (a list that includes jurisdictions deemed to have substantially implemented OECD standard for transparency and exchange of information) • Received an excellent report by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) which works to implement common countermeasures to address the problem of criminal money laundering. • Achieved a long‐sought listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (BVI Companies) • Received a positive assessment from the The Foot Review of British OFCs. (Announced by the UK government in November, 2008 as part of its annual budget review, the Foot review was aimed at identifying “current and future risks in financial supervision, transparency and taxation” and assessing the impact of offshore centres on financial stability.) • Has been recognised by the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) International Co‐operation Review Group process for high standards against money laundering and the financing of terrorism confirmed; and

• Was the only Offshore Financial Centre (OFC) to rise in the most recent ranking of jurisdictions by the Global Finance Centres Index.

The Virgin Islands is one of the most respected and trusted OFC’s in the world. The passage of the Act and the creation of the Commission have been major catalysts in obtaining and continuing to secure this reputation.

The Commission will continue to work hard to maintain this reputation and looks forward to continuing to service the financial services community.

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