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If there is one development in the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) trust and private client context over the last year that is worthy of comment and analysis it is not so much any legislative or regulatory innovation or precedent setting judicial decision as a professional trend. As of early 2010, there are three of the major offshore multinational law firms with dedicated trust and private client departments in the BVI by which is meant both that each has established trust and private client departments in one or more other offshore jurisdictions and that each has at least one experienced practitioner permanently on the ground in the BVI. This professional trend surely reflects the view, increasingly widely held, that the BVI is coming of age as a trust and private client jurisdiction – a particularly appropriate metaphor considering that the first steps towards modernizing the Trustee Ordinance of 1961 (now called the Trustee Act) were taken in the Trustee (Amendment) Act 1993 whose provisions came into effect on 1 November 1993 and which will therefore have been on the statute books for eighteen years in 2011. This article seeks to identify the principal reasons for the recent expansion of trust and private client legal professional services in the BVI and to highlight four factors in particular.
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2010 in The British Virgin Islands: A Year of Trust & Private Client Expansion for Law Firms