24 March 2013

Virgin Islands strengthens ties with Middle East

Government of the British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has renewed links with investors and businesses from the Middle East, and has reaffirmed the positive advantages of doing business with the BVI, following two conferences and a series of meetings in Dubai last week.

A small BVI delegation attended the Hedge Funds World Conference at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners’ (STEP) ‘Opportunities for the Flow of New Wealth Conference’.

Delegation member, Executive Director of the BVI International Finance Centre (IFC) Ms. Elise Donovan, told the Department of Information and Public Relations, “The BVI has become an attractive option to investors from the Gulf States looking to acquire BVI company structures for a multiplicity of investing and other cross-border transactions.”

She continued, “BVI trusts and fiduciary services and funds and investment business are popular in the Middle East for wealth management, investing, structuring ownership and control, and for planning for the succession of assets.”

In explaining why, Ms. Donovan said, “BVI’s structures are easy-to-use, flexible, widely-accepted and cost-competitive compared to other products being offered in the region.”

The IFC head referenced Conyers Dill & Pearman as an example, stating the company was recognised for its BVI office’s involvement in the Mostorod Oil Refinery Project, named ‘Project Finance Deal of the Year’ by the International Financial Law Review’s (IFLR) Middle East Awards.

Conyers Dill & Pearman acted for Citadel Capital, a listed Egyptian private equity firm, on the US$3.7 billion financing for the redevelopment of an oil refinery near Cairo. The deal was the largest-ever financing project in Africa and among the largest inward-investments into Egypt; resulting in the firm’s IFLR award.

Commenting on the present BVI-Middle East relationship, Ms. Donovan said, “We were given a very warm welcome on our return to the United Arab Emirates and it is clear that many investors from across the region recognise the advantages of using BVI structures and services for conducting international business.”

She added, “Our aim is to strengthen and deepen the relationship the BVI has with the Middle East so that we can work more closely together in the future.”

The BVI delegation also included Deputy Secretary in the Premier’s Office Mr. Brodrick Penn, Chair of the Financial Services Business Development Committee Mrs. Lorna Smith, OBE, and Chief Operating Officer of the BVI IFC Ms. Maritza Mercer.

The BVI International Finance Centre’s mission is to further enhance and promote the Territory’s reputation so that the BVI is recognised as a globally integrated and responsible financial services jurisdiction.