The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released the Financial Sector Stability Assessment of the Virgin Islands, summarising the thorough IMF review of the regulatory regime in the British Virgin Islands conducted in mid-April 2010. The Fund stated that the BVI enjoys a high standard of living when compared to other countries in the region, and recognized the strength of the regulatory regime in the Territory.

According to the report, the recent global financial crisis has not affected the health of BVI financial institutions, but it has caused growth of financial services to slow down, since the core business is company registration rather than asset management or banking. The report stated that the regulatory framework for both onshore and offshore financial services is clear and comprehensive, and the Financial Service Commission has demonstrated its strength and independence as a regulator.

‘GDP is estimated at $1.095 billion or $38,818 per capita (with a population of about 24,000). Unemployment remains low at 3 percent to 4 percent. The workforce is dominated by expatriate labor (65 percent of the total workforce, with expatriates filling an estimated 80 percent of financial services jobs),’ the report stated.

The IMF report noted that the BVI’s continued ability to attract business relies on its being viewed internationally as a well regulated and policed jurisdiction with a strong legal framework and efficient corporate services. Because reputation plays such a critical role to the financial services sector in the Territory, the report noted that the authorities are keenly attuned to this risk and have in place a sound system of surveillance and enforcement to combat risk.