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VI can already identify beneficial owners of companies- Elise Donovan

-says Territory’s position is to only adopt public registries when it becomes a global standard
Chief Executive Officer of BVI Finance, Mrs Elise Donovan says due to strict local policies regarding registration of companies, the territory can already identify beneficial owners of its companies, however, has taken the position to implement public registries only until it becomes a global standard. Photo: Facebook
According to Mrs Lisa Penn-Lettsome, the requirements also is not for the registers to be public, but rather, for them to be accessible. Photo: Facebook
According to Mrs Lisa Penn-Lettsome, the requirements also is not for the registers to be public, but rather, for them to be accessible. Photo: Facebook
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI – Chief Executive Officer of BVI Finance, Mrs Elise Donovan says due to strict local policies regarding registration of companies, the Territory can already identify beneficial owners of companies registered in the Virgin Islands; however, it has taken the position to implement public registries only until it becomes a global standard.

The CEO was at the time speaking on the local financial services sector on the February 18, 2020, edition of ‘Honestly Speaking’ with host Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline.

Mrs Lisa Penn-Lettsome, who is the Virgin Islands Executive Director of International Business, was also a guest on the show.

VI looking for fair policies  

“We feel that we do not want to be in a disadvantageous position relative to other jurisdictions so when it becomes a global standard and everybody is abiding by the same standard, then we will adopt it as our standard,” Ms Donovan said regarding beneficial ownership independent of the International Tax Authority.

According to Mrs Penn-Lettsome, the requirements also is not for the registers to be public, but rather, for them to be accessible, “So there’s a slight difference, we would like to be more specific and say that it’s for a publicly accessible register of beneficial owners,” she said.

In essence, while there has been much chatter over the VI meeting the European Union's (EU) requirements for public registers of beneficial ownership, Ms Donovan’s indication is that the local industry can already meet the requirements but opted not to do so by the 2020 deadline, with a 2023 extension looming.

Industry can already meet EU policy

“BVI has put all the requisite measures in place so that we can identify who are the beneficial owners of our companies… it is by law that any company registered in the British Virgin Islands must have a registered agent and they are required to do due diligence and ensure that they comply with the international standards,” Ms Donovan said.

She said those standards include anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing and more.

It was noted that information placed on the local registry is therefore verified and the Territory ensures that monies come from clean sources of funding.

“Compared to the UK’s Companies House, that information is not verified…. nobody [is] checking it.  So it’s a public registry but the information is not verifiable,’ the CEO said.

Ms Donovan continued, “Compare that to us, where you have the gatekeepers which are the registered agents who ensure that the information is correct and it is meeting the standards as set up by our Financial Services Commission… or there will be on the penalty side of the law. There is no such requirements in the UK Companies House,” she said.

6 Responses to “VI can already identify beneficial owners of companies- Elise Donovan”

  • Looking (23/02/2020, 17:24) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lisa would have made a great deputy governor
    • Longshanks (23/02/2020, 20:10) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      She may do in due course. Lisa is a very good addition to govt service.
  • Sam (23/02/2020, 17:52) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is a really complex issue, but it is clear that the public is not being made preview to all the fact.
    • @Sam (23/02/2020, 21:18) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      Agee that the issue is really a complex one. However all relevant information (facts) is available on the regulator's website which is fully accessable by the public. What may help is more public discussions on the subject as most are not inclined to do the research for themselves.
    • Privy (24/02/2020, 20:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Not being made privy.
  • one eye (23/02/2020, 19:34) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Thanks vip our people are given opportunities


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