British virgin islands
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is one of the world’s leading offshore financial centers, with nearly 41% of the world’s offshore companies located there. Offshore financial services sector contributes a very significant portion BVI’s gross domestic product therefore the local government takes profound interest in sustaining the competitiveness of BVI as a offshore jurisdiction and ensures that the legislations facilitate the international business companies to thrive in the territory. BVI Business Companies Act enacted in 2005 has successfully streamlined the already outstanding BVI offshore legislation.
In the mid-1980s, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. It is the leading offshore jurisdiction with over 750,000 offshore companies incorporated since 1984. The adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, made the British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business.
- A BVI company has separate legal personality and the same powers as a natural person.
- A BVI Business Company may be incorporated as a company limited by shares, a company limited by guarantee (with or without authorization to issue shares), an unlimited company (with or without authorization to issue shares), a segregated portfolio company and a restricted purpose company.
- No minimum capital is required.
- Shares can be issued with or without par value and in any currency as allowed in the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association.
- Registered shares, bearer shares, shares of no par value, preference shares, redeemable shares and shares with or without voting rights are allowed.
- Bearer shares must be held by qualified custodians.
- Nominee shareholders are allowed.
- Minimum of One director who may be a natural person or body corporate and can be of any nationality.
- No resident director is required.
- Minimum of one shareholder who can be a natural person or body corporate and of any nationality.
- Shareholder, director and company secretary can be one and the same person.
- Appointment of company secretary is optional.
- Records of financial transaction can be kept in any place (not necessarily BVI) as determined and agreed by the directors.
- It cannot offer its shares for sale to the public.
- A BVI business company is exempt from local taxes.
- There are no stamp duties for transactions in respect of its shares, debt obligations or other securities.
- All transactions and instruments relating to transfers of any type of property or assets are exempt from the stamp duty.
- No obligation to prepare or file financial statements, however, must maintain sufficient records to explain transactions and financial position of company.
- Assets are protected from confiscation or expropriation orders or similar actions by foreign governments.
- US dollar is the official currency in the BVI, hence there is no currency value fluctuations or artificial manipulations and control.
- Confidentiality is one of the key benefits of the BVI Business Company as details of the company’s beneficial owners, directors and shareholders are not part of public record. Such records can be accessed only by shareholders.
- Being a British Overseas Territory, the BVI ensures outstanding political stability and commands a clean reputation.
- The shareholders’ or directors’ meetings need not be held in the British Virgin Islands and there is no requirement for Annual General Meeting.
- BVI is an independent country with a fairly high standard of living and is easily accessible with modern telecommunication system. It is also strategically located on a convenient time zone.
- Re-domiciling of foreign companies to or from BVI is allowed
Corporate Structure requirements in Hong Kong, please click here.
Please click here for the fees structure related to Hong Kong Incorporated Companies.