Beneficial owners in the British Virgin Islands

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Non-public register of beneficial owners will be created in the BVI, and certain authorities will have the right of access to foregoing register

The relevant Law was officially promulgated on June 12, but it comes into force on June 30 of the current year (2017). It obliges registered agents of the companies in the British Virgin Islands to upload information about the beneficial owners to the BOSS system (Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System).

Database of the registered agent is set up by the Registered agents that are licensees in the BVI. The above database is software designed for the purpose of storing the information prescribed by the Law with respect to each relevant corporate and legal entity for which they are registered agents.

The abovementioned information includes the following mandatory items:

1. It is obligatory to indicate information on each corporate and legal person. It is required to indicate the following:

Registration number or its analogue;
Names and (if any) alternative designations;
Status (active, liquidated, in the process of liquidation, etc.);
Legal address;
Registration Date;

2. Regarding each beneficial owner of legal and corporate entity, it is necessary to indicate full name, address of residence, citizenship, as well as date of birth.

A company in the British Virgin Islands is required to notify the changes to its registered agent when the company becomes aware of changes in the prescribed to be stored data regarding beneficial owner. Notification of the foregoing changes is submitted no later than 15 days from the time of revealing those.

The law on the register of beneficial owners in the BVI defines them as natural persons who actually own/control legal or corporate person. Please, apply to Law&Trust International for advice regarding more detailed information in respect of this issue.

Responsibility of the registered agent set by the above Law does not affect or limit his separate duties for collection and verification of data on beneficial owners, and these responsibilities are provided for by the sphere related to counteraction and combating money laundering.

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Legislation of the BVI aimed at combating money laundering applies strict definition with regards to the beneficial owners. Beneficial owner is an individual who controls or owns legal or corporate person.

The BOSS system introduced in the British Virgin Islands will allow persons identified by the Ministry of Finance of the BVI to have access to data (also search for data) regarding registered agents from physically secure location and through information system ensuring security.

The search according to the BOSS system is carried out on the basis of inquiry obtained from:

– General Prosecutor’s Office and the Financial Intelligence Unit of the British National Agency for Combating Crime;
– The Department on International Taxation;
– The Financial Services Commission;
– The Agency for Financial Investigations.

Response to the inquiry for information from these authorities is provided within 24 hours, and urgent cases are also involved during which data shall be submitted within one hour.

In 2016, the UK introduced public register that controls persons in companies within the territory of the United Kingdom. This jurisdiction also exerted considerable pressure on its overseas territories so that they would follow suit.

The foregoing Law and implementation of the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System in the BVI are considered as significant step towards preventing corruption, money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as other serious crimes.

British Virgin Islands

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