The BVI Financial Services Commission at its February Meet the Regulator conference signalled its intent that a number of key areas of the BVI’s financial services regulatory regime will be reviewed in the coming months.
Anti-money laundering compliance
The best example of this is the recent overhaul of the regime for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. The new rules in the Anti-money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Code of Practice go into considerable detail on the need for firms to have adequate KYC and customer due diligence checks, systems and controls, compliance manuals and infrastructure to report suspicious transactions. The regime is now broadly consistent with the 40 + 9 Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). We also understand that the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2008 and the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act 1997 will be amended shortly.
Impending securities legislation
At the Meet the Regulator conference the FSC indicated that the Securities and Investment Business Bill, 2009 (known locally as SIBA) is due to be implemented shortly. Consistent with the requirements on the FSC as a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) this new law is expected to regulate broker-dealers, market makers and investment advisers carrying on business in the BVI.
The Regulatory Code, 2009, in effect a rule book for many FSC regulated entities, is currently undergoing public consultation and provides for detailed rules and guidance on an array of topics including principles for business, senior management obligations, requirements for compliance manuals, mutual funds regulations, banking capital adequacy rules and solvency requirements for insurers.
Other known developments
The insurance regime is undergoing review which is likely to become final once the Insurance Regulations are finalised. In addition the FSC has notified the market that the current Banks and Trust Companies Act will be amended. We are watching this space closely.