The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (“Commission”) has recently issued guidance on the form and content of the audited financial statements to be prepared and filed by certain regulated companies.

Private and Professional Funds

Private and Professional funds recognised under the Securities and Investment Business Act, 2010 (“SIBA”) are generally required to appoint an auditor and to file their audited financial statements with the Commission not more than six months after the end of each financial year. Concern has been expressed by the industry regarding certain provisions in the Mutual Funds Regulations, 2010 (“Regulations”) regarding the form and content of the audited financial statements of private and professional funds.

In short, the Regulations require that (i) financial statements be prepared in accordance with prescribed accounting standards (IFRS, UK GAAP, US GAAP or Canadian GAAP) or such other accounting standards as may be considered equivalent; and (ii) the auditor shall audit the financial statements and prepare his report in accordance with the auditing standards specified or endorsed by the recognised professional body of which he is a member or such other standards as may be approved on a case by case basis.

In light of the industry concerns and in order that an attempt to resolve such concerns would not disrupt the 2011 reporting season, the Commission issued an Industry Circular on 22 December 2011. The circular advised that for the then current[1] financial year all existing auditors of private and professional funds will be treated as qualifying to act as auditors for and in respect of private and professional funds and, by extension, financial statements of such funds may be prepared to the accounting and auditing standards which such auditor elects to use even if such auditors and standards do not strictly comply with the requirements under the Regulations.   The Commission intends to issue further guidance later this year in respect of requirements for future financial periods.   A copy of the Industry Circular is available here.

Public Funds and Licensees

Legislation applicable to various licensees, including banks, trust companies, insurers and licensees under SIBA and the Financing and Money Services Act, 2009, requires audited financial statements filed with the Commission to be accompanied with a certificate from a director[2] in the form approved by the Commission. The requirement also applies to public funds registered under SIBA but not to private and professional funds recognised under SIBA.

The Commission has approved the form of the certificate required.  When filing financial statements with the Commission, a licensee or public fund must also file such a certificate. The certificate should be signed by a director of the licensee or public fund. The form of the certificate is available in PDF or Microsoft Word format.