The British Virgin Islands’ Securities and Investment Business Act, 2010 (“SIBA”) came into force on 17 May 2010. Transitional provisions which delayed the impact of certain sections of SIBA expire on 31 December 2010. If they have not already done so, persons previously licensed under the Mutual Funds Act, 1996 or which otherwise carry on "investment business" (as defined) should take action now to ensure that they are acting in compliance with SIBA and are otherwise prepared for the end of the transitional period.

The transitional period applies to any person who was carrying on “investment business” in or from within the BVI immediately prior to 17 May 2010. Such persons may continue to carry on such business without a SIBA licence until 31 December 2010. Further, if such person applies for a licence under Part I of SIBA prior to 31 December 2010 the transitional period will continue until the date that the application is finally determined. Therefore, such persons will commit an offence if they continue to carry on investment business without a licence (or applying for a licence) after 31 December 2010.

Persons previously registered under the Mutual Funds Act, 1996 to act as managers and/or administrators of mutual funds were automatically deemed to hold licences under Part I of SIBA and are authorised to continue to carry on business as fund managers and/or administrators. However, they should consider carefully whether their full range of activities constitute other categories of "investment business" and whether, as a result, they must apply prior to 31 December 2010 to extend the licence they hold.

Harneys Regulatory Group has prepared a number of client guides which provide more detail about SIBA and its potential impact on our clients. Links to five of these guides are provided below.