We are pleased to announce that, with effect from 1 March 2016, there will be enhancements made to our authorised representative services provided by Maples Authorised Representative Services (BVI) Limited ("MARS BVI"). These enhancements are designed to assist clients with the increasing formalisation of the role of the authorised representative in the British Virgin Islands ("BVI").
The concept of the authorised representative was first introduced in the Securities and Investment Business Act, 2010 which provides that all funds, managers and other licensees (each a "Regulated Entity") regulated by the BVI Financial Services Commission (the "Commission") and not having a physical presence in the BVI, are required to retain an authorised representative to act as the main intermediary between the Regulated Entity and the Commission. In addition, in accordance with the Guidelines for Authorised Representatives issued by the Commission, authorised representatives are required to keep copies of all correspondence and documents submitted to the Commission on behalf of the Regulated Entity and pay all fees and any penalties payable by the Regulated Entity on its behalf.
These changes went hand in hand with the formalisation of the notification requirements for Regulated Entities and the introduction of an annual filing requirement for (i) private and professional funds to submit their audited financial statements ("AFS") and (ii) for all funds to submit a mutual fund annual return ("MFAR") to the Commission. The Commission has started issuing penalties for funds that failed to file an MFAR for the 2014 reporting period prior to 30 June 2015 and we anticipate that this approach of issuing penalties for regulatory breaches will be extended to the filing of AFS and the payment of annual regulatory fees in the coming year. These recent developments highlight the role and importance of the authorised representative in assisting Regulated Entities with the management of their obligations and under BVI law.
In addition to the Commission's increasing scrutiny and oversight of Regulated Entities, it is anticipated that the Commission will be implementing a new filing process in the near future whereby all applications, notifications and fees submitted to the Commission will be required to be made through the Commission's online system, the Virtual Integrated Registry Regulatory General Information Network ("VIRRGIN").
In order to keep pace with the changing regulatory landscape in the BVI and to provide an appropriate platform that will assist clients in the management of their regulatory obligations, the services and functions provided by MARS BVI have been modified and formalised.
To facilitate standard filings made by MARS BVI to the Commission and to provide MARS BVI clients with a direct line of communication with MARS BVI regarding the status of filings and other requests, we ask that you use the MARS@maplesandcalder.com email address in addition to contacting your usual Maples and Calder contact. This will ensure that (i) the request is correctly filed and recorded within the prescribed deadlines and, when relevant, (ii) the submissions are uploaded to VIRRGIN and any fees payable are linked to the associated filing.
We will also be further developing our systems to provide greater transparency and assurance to you regarding the compliance status of your Regulated Entities. We will update you regarding these enhancements as they are developed and become available.
In order to reflect the developing role of MARS BVI and to effectively provide for this enhanced service, MARS BVI has updated its terms and conditions of service and has introduced fixed filing fees for certain common actions. These terms and conditions supersede any prior terms and conditions and may be found on our website. The current fixed fee schedule is available on our website.
MARS BVI will continue to provide general updates regarding upcoming filing deadlines and any anticipated changes to the Commission's filing regime and processes and we trust that you will find this enhanced service provides you with a greater level of assurance for your business.
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