British Virgin Islands: Fortis Launches Fund Servicing Operations in the British Virgin Islands
Last Updated: 10 March 2006

Acquisition signals further growth for BVI’s investment business sector

March 10th 2006: Fortis Prime Fund Solutions, one of the world’s foremost hedge fund administrators and an arm of Fortis Merchant Bank, has made a firm commitment to the British Virgin Islands with the acquisition of Hedge Funds Services (HFS), the largest fund administrator in the jurisdiction with approximately €2bn in assets under administration.

The news comes at a time of significant and sustained growth for the BVI’s funds sector. A recent survey by Advent Software found that the BVI now ranks second among hedge fund domiciles with 9% of the global market, overtaking Bermuda (7%). By the end of 2005, more than 2,500 private, professional and public funds -most of which are hedge funds - with an estimated asset value of over €100bn, operated in or from within the jurisdiction. In addition, some 700 managers and administrators have been licensed since the BVI Mutual Funds Act came into force in 1996.

Ruth Chadwick, Director of Investment Business at the BVI Financial Services Commission and responsible for the regulation of collective investment funds commented: "This is an extremely exciting development in the BVI's hedge fund industry. The arrival of a firm of this calibre can only serve to enhance the credibility of the BVI as a major hedge fund player in terms of choice of jurisdiction for the establishment and operation of hedge funds. It demonstrates a strong confidence in the future of the BVI as such."

Humphry Leue, Chief Operating Officer at the BVI International Finance Centre, added: “We are delighted to welcome Fortis, another ‘blue-chip’ organisation, to the British Virgin Islands. We have worked hard to create an attractive infrastructure for the conduct of business in the BVI, including fast-track registration and licensing procedures for funds, combined with modern, robust and cost-effective regulatory and legislative regimes. As a result, the BVI’s investments and securities business has flourished in recent years and the arrival of Fortis is testament to our reputation and standing as a leading offshore domicile for funds.

“The BVI enjoys a strong presence of qualified and experienced legal, audit/accounting and administration practitioners and has made a commitment to enact legislation that meets business needs and protects the integrity of the BVI, most recently embodied in the enactment of the progressive BVI Business Companies Act and the issue of Segregated Portfolio Companies regulations. Now that Fortis has led the way, we anticipate that other big players will include the BVI in their business expansion strategy”

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