The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has been named the top offshore jurisdiction in the world for the eighth year running, according to the new edition of the Vistra 2020 Report.
The report ranked the BVI as first for offshore, with Hong Kong first for midshore and the UK for onshore financial services. The report's authors said the BVI's continued success "reflects a growing preference for tried-and-tested service at a time of economic uncertainty."
It states that growth in the BVI in particular was driven by expert capabilities in incorporation, with new company registrations increasing 20% YoY. The report also identified an increase of 25% between 2Q2016 and 2Q2018.
The report's authors concluded the BVI is "providing secure and reliable investment channels… IFCs facilitate billions in investment that would otherwise not achieve the required rates of return."
The report argued that firms are becoming more international in their outlook and ambitions, with jurisdictions such as the BVI facilitating global development, particularly in areas such trade with as China.
It notes that the BVI is an established trade route for many Asian businesses which have seen more significant growth than other regions and have a relatively strong demand for offshore, remaining loyal to IFCs that provide consistently high service.
Lorna Smith, executive director of BVI Finance, commented: "While many governments are looking inwardly in 2018, it's heartening to see business is leading the charge for global growth. As the Vistra survey finds, it's IFCs like the BVI that are driving that growth by allowing for secure and reliable investment channels.
"In particular, the survey rightly noted that growth in China and Central Asia is being facilitated by the likes of the BVI. We have continued to be a leader in corporate structuring for Chinese outbound investment across a range of sectors precisely because we allow for financial exchanges, prevent extra layers of taxation, present neutral venues, and protect investors with robust legal systems.
Smith added: "The BVI's attributes - a legal system based on English common law, internationally compliant regulations and tax neutrality - make it absolutely crucial in making global business happen. And, as the report notes, while China and other emerging markets continue to be the major drivers for global growth, they will continue to turn to the BVI for its tried-and-tested service."
Since 2010, Vistra has surveyed more than 800 corporate service providers from around the world to examine the trends and factors that shape global financial services.