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Reflections on the Reality and the Vision for Financial Services in The Bahamas
Graham Thompson, September 2018

My time is short, so let me get to my subject without delay.I begin with a few observations on the Reality we face.First, the bad news - not all of it, just some of it; just four things that I regard as being among the more worrisome realities that confront us today.Firstly, in terms of aggregate dollar volume, we are a much smaller industry now than we were just a few years ago...

Important Notes on Real Property Tax in The Bahamas and Rates for the 2019 Tax Year
Graham Thompson, August 2018

In the recent budget exercise completed by the Bahamas Government, certain significant changes to the regime for Real Property Tax in The Bahamas were announced and have received a great deal of focus.It is important to take specific advice regarding the annual real property taxes which may be payable in respect of your property, how and when taxes should be paid, and the exemptions (if any) which might be available to you in respect of your property...

Top Ten Things to Know About Real Property Tax in The Bahamas
Graham Thompson, August 2018

Register your property Online.Registering for an online real property tax account at propertytax.gov.bs is easy, and all that is needed is the property assessment and grid numbers (found on any bill or tax certificate). Once registered, the online account is a convenient way of keeping track of your account. Payment can also be made through the online account, and a tax certificate can be printed directly from the account.Pay the tax by 31st March and enjoy a 10% reduction...

The Bahamas' Place in a Cryptographic World: A Whitepaper
Graham Thompson, June 2018

Should The Bahamas be at the forefront of cryptocurrency regulatory policy by implementing smart, flexible regulation that encourages the legitimate operators in the sub-sector to bloom or should we leave well enough alone?The Bahamas’ position in the landscape of the cryptocurrencies is a familiar one to many in the traditional financial services economy - they’ll know this story all too well with the growth, development, and decline of private banking: a new and exciting innovation

Base Erosion Profit Sharing Initiative: Implications for The Bahamas
Graham Thompson, June 2018

Introduction I have been asked to speak on the Base Erosion Profit Sharing of the OECD, or better know as BEPS. This is a new acronym that, similar to CRS and the harmful tax initiative program, is geared at a multilateral approach to the application of uniform tax rules and standards. Unlike the CRS and the harmful tax practices initiatives of the past, BEPS has a focus not necessarily on the private client, but on the multinational commercial organization...

BVI Takes Lead in Establishing Simple, Transparent, and Inexpensive Incorporation for Microbusinesses Around the World
O'Neal Webster, April 2018

Microbusinesses are a growing, vibrant, and profitable economic segment throughout the world. Such enterprises provide flexibility for individuals to operate on their terms, according to their skills and passions. Microbusinesses generally are defined by modest annual sales and asset values and fewer than five to ten employees, including the owner, but varies by jurisdiction...

Anguilla - A Financially Stable, Discreet Jurisdiction for Foreign/Offshore Investment
Webster, February 2018

With the Paradise papers leak in 2017 and the infamous Panama papers leak the year before, it has become increasingly more important to choose the right destination for offshore investment. It will require careful consideration, planning and skilful professional advice. It will also no doubt require a jurisdiction with a politically and economically stable environment, sound legislation, low tax (or zero tax), a solid banking framework and a discreet environment...

British Virgin Islands' New Limited Partnership Act Offers Significant Changes
O'Neal Webster, February 2018

Best-known for its stunning natural beauty—jewel-colored waters, soft sandy beaches, and lush mountain ridges—the British Virgin Islands also excels among her peers in the international financial services industry. Notably, the Territory is relentless in its pursuit of refining and advancing its financial services legal structures and complying with worldwide regulatory regimes...

Legal and Economic Significance of Offshore Finance in the British Virgin Islands
O'Neal Webster, November 2017

International financial records recently stolen from two offshore services firms and 19 corporate registries maintained by governments were leaked to journalists and their details subsequently published around the world. But beyond the hype, however, we find no intelligent inferences of legal significance in the reporting. For example, the media draws attention to a United States Cabinet member's offshore financial transactions but does not allege that his shipping stake was illegal...

Investment Fund Managers "Brexit" to the BVI
O'Neal Webster, January 2017

In the post-recession economy, investment managers are looking for increased flexibility and ways to maximise investor returns by minimising set up costs, government fees and other related functionary and advisory costs. That is why many are now “Brexiting” to the British Virgin Islands. For years, the Cayman Islands has held the title of the world’s largest offshore fund domicile. Being the most well-known, it was the safe choice for investment managers...

Turks and Caicos Islands Enacts a New Trusts Ordinance
Misick and Stanbrook, December 2016

As a British Overseas Territory with no direct taxes, the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) has been an attractive domicile for trust establishment by high-net-worth individuals and their advisers for many years. However, in the recent past, with the Government’s focus firmly on developing TCI’s enormously successful luxury tourism industry, the updating of TCI’s non-regulatory legislation in the field of financial services had been a little neglected...

Private Trust Companies: How to Obtain the Best of all Worlds - BVI
O'Neal Webster, November 2016

This article considers why private trust companies are currently so popular, various structuring issues which those setting up private trust companies should take into consideration, and the private trust companies regulations which came into force in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in August 2007 and which were amended in 2013. Introduction Private trust companies (PTCs) have become increasingly popular offshore in the last 20–25 years...

Onshore vs Offshore – Is There Really a Battle?
O'Neal Webster, August 2016

Over the past few months the issue of offshore jurisdictions and the role they play in the global economy has come under extreme scrutiny, especially from onshore governments seeking to increase tax revenues. The recent Panama Papers Leak has only served to fuel the flame and has resulted in more people who know very little or nothing at all about offshore jurisdictions calling for their demise...

Unleashing the Power of the BVI Restricted Purposes Company
O'Neal Webster, November 2015

Modern day company law has largely moved away from the concept of “ultra vires” which sought to limit the ability of a company to enter into transactions outside its stated objects. The British Virgin Islands officially moved away from the concept in 2005 pursuant to provisions under the BVI Business Companies Act...

BVI Trade Mark Act, 2013
O'Neal Webster, November 2015

Known worldwide for its robust shipping registry, trusts, funds, and corporate law sectors, the British Virgin Islands is emerging as a globally competitive jurisdiction for registering and protecting intellectual property, thanks to the enactment of the highly anticipated Trade Mark Act, 2013. The Act, which clarifies, protects, and streamlines the trademark processes, institutes beneficial legal proceedings and conditions for the welfare of intellectual and industrial properties in the BVI...

Incubating Hedge Funds for the Future: A BVI perspective
O'Neal Webster, November 2015

To incubate is to keep something in a suitable environment for a term where it can develop to its full potential. Increasingly, the concept is being applied to hedge funds, where “to incubate” implies structured conditions for the development and verification of investment strategies over time. As such, an incubator fund is ideal for start-up and emerging managers who do not have much capital but aim to attract greater sums of capital in the near future...

Summary Guide to Property Holding in the British Virgin Islands
O'Neal Webster, March 2015

This guide provides general commentary and direction to prospective purchasers of property in the BVI. It is not a substitute for professional advice which will take account of individual specific circumstances, and should not be taken as legal advice. No responsibility can be accepted by O’Neal Webster for any loss occasioned by a person or organisation acting or refraining from acting on the basis of this information...

Legal update - BVI High Court reinforces rights of mortgagees exercising power of sale
O'Neal Webster, March 2015

On January, 22, 2015, in thematter of Betteto Frett v National Bank of the Virgin Islands[i](theBank), the BVIHigh Court reinforced the principle that injunctive relief would not be easilygranted against a bank validly exercising its power to sell real property usedas security for bank loans...

Financial Services Commission Relaxes Restrictions on Company Names
O'Neal Webster, February 2015

On 19 February 2015, the Financial Services Commission removed restrictions on the use of the following words in the names of BVI Business Companies – 1.“BVI”;2.“British Virgin Islands”;3.“Council”;4.“Ntl”;5.“Int”;6.“Intl”;7.“VI”; and 8.“Virgin Islands”...

IFLR1000 interviews new Partner, Christopher Simpson
O'Neal Webster, February 2015

IFLR 1000's Michael Washburn interviewed O’Neal Webster’s new Partner, Christopher Simpsonin relation to capital markets trends for an articlepublished on 11February, 2015. Click here to read the article.He noted, among other things, that recent legislation in the BVI, such as the approved managers regime, which Simpson describes as a“lighter-touch” regulation for managers desiring to oversee an investment fund or funds through a BVI entity, is an encouraging trend...

Data Protection in TCI
Misick and Stanbrook, September 2014

Aside from a passing reference to data protection in the Electronic Transactions Ordinance (see below), TCI has no data protection statute.  However, a number of other areas of local law are applicable or, in the context of the advice sought, ought to be considered in relation to data protection, confidentiality and privacy matters.  In that respect:- a. Data protection, privacy and confidentiality at common law TCI is a British Overseas Territory and is a common law jurisdiction...

Expected Changes To Dominican Republic’s Labor Law Likely To Rebalance Employer-Employee Relationship
Pellerano & Herrera, September 2014

In recent years, the Dominican Republic has enacted reforms affecting virtually every industry and every significant Dominican statute with one principal goal in mind: to enhance the rule of law for the benefit of Dominicans and investors - foreign and domestic alike...

Legal Guide To Buying Property
Misick and Stanbrook, August 2014

This is a simplified guide to the process of buying a property in the Turks and Caicos Islands. While all reasonable endeavours are taken to ensure that it is correct at the time of print it does not purport to be an exhaustive analysis of the relevant laws as may be applicable to you...

Business Opportunities Abound Under Dominican-Central America-US Free Trade Agreement
Pellerano & Herrera, August 2014

Almost exactly a decade ago, on August 5, 2004, the United States signed the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement ("DR-CAFTA") with the Dominican Republic and five Central American counties (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua)>  The DR-CAFTA, which was the very first free trade agreement between the United States and a group of smaller developing economies, entered into force for the United State, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,

Overview of Trust Law & Trustee Services in the British Virgin Islands
O'Neal Webster, April 2014

In addition to being the world’s leading international finance centre in which to set up companies, the British Virgin Islands (‘BVI’) is now regarded as one of the world’s premier trust jurisdictions. The general principles of the trust laws of the BVI are derived from those of English trust law.  The principles of English common law and equity apply, as supplemented by BVI statute...



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