On 26 August, Mourant reported on key changes to the BVI Business Companies Act and the BVI Business Companies Regulations which will take effect on 1 January. These are said to ensure BVI law meets international standards and best practice as a leading offshore financial centre. However, while provisions is included to allow the BVI to make future regulations that set out the requirements for registers of ‘persons with significant control’ (not dissimilar to the UK regime), the changes do not impose such a register and hence no public register of ‘persons with significant control’ is being introduced with effect from 1 January. The firm also notes that the concept of a bearer share will be removed and that companies will no longer be permitted to issue bearer shares, convert registered shares to bearer shares or exchange registered shares for bearer shares. Existing bearer shares will automatically convert to registered shares on 1 July 2023. Another change mentioned means that the names of company directors will be available to registered users of the online VIRRGIN system when carrying out a search against a company’s name.
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