Information on Beneficial Owners and Register of Directors - Proposed Changes in the BVI
In October the BVI Premier’s Office published a Special Notice announcing significant changes to the current legislative regime. Under the proposed changes BVI registered agents will be required to hold prescribed information on beneficial owners, including their full name, residential address, date of birth and nationality.
Currently, under the existing Eligible Introducer Regime, a BVI corporate service provider is not required to obtain and hold details on the beneficial ownership of entities, providing they are satisfied that the overseas introducer has in place procedures, regulations and controls to identify the beneficial owner that are at least equivalent to those applicable in the BVI. Where this regime is in place between service providers, due diligence on the beneficial owner is held by the overseas introducer, while being available to the BVI agent on request.
When implemented the proposed changes will require all BVI agents to hold details on the beneficial owner with effect:
from 1st January 2016 on the incorporation of new companies and
by 1st January 2017 for existing companies.
Full details of the changes have yet to be published, but it is anticipated that it will apply only to those beneficial owners who hold an interest of 10% or more in the company. It is also believed that evidential proof of identity, address, etc. will continue to be held by the overseas agent, subject to it being provided to the BVI agent on demand.
In the same announcement the Premier’s Office indicated its intention to amend the BVI Business Companies Act to require the filing of a BVI company’s Register of Directors with the BVI Registry of Corporate Affairs. At present, a company and its registered agent must ensure that an up to date register of directors is maintained at the company’s registered office; with no further filing being required.
We will be providing information on the proposed legislative changes as soon as details are published by the authorities in the BVI, which in view of the short timetable proposed in the Special Notice, we would expect to receive in the near future.