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Delaware is the second smallest state in the United States of America. It is also the leading corporate domicile and company law jurisdiction. Delaware has over one million active business entities, each paying an annual government fee. More than half of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware. Delaware is the brand name for company law in the United States
Offshore, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is the brand name globally for offshore incorporations. With over 450,000 active business companies, the BVI is the leading offshore incorporation domicile, far surpassing all of its competitors put together. However, the BVI is purely an incorporation jurisdiction while Delaware is the pre-eminent business jurisdiction. So, why is Delaware so successful? What can the BVI learn from Delaware? This article examines the factors that have combined to create the Delaware product. It also considers how these factors can be brought together in the BVI to improve incorporation numbers and more importantly, to expand and diversify the BVI product to make it a pre-eminent global business jurisdiction rather than purely an incorporation jurisdiction. The building blocks are already here in the BVI. They just need to be consolidated.
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Lessons From Delaware
This article was first published in Business BVI, January 2015.