Conyers is very mindful of the strains that are being placed on our clients during the present Covid-19 crisis. We would like to reassure you of our continued support and provide an update on the operation of our British Virgin Islands (BVI) office and international business support in the jurisdiction. In addition, in these exceptional circumstances, there are practical challenges which you are likely to encounter in the handling of business transactions and the day to day running of your operations. We have set out some guidance on such matters.
Conyers' BVI office
Our dedicated team of BVI resident lawyers, corporate managers and administrators are working normal hours, but are now working remotely as the BVI is currently operating under a strict "lock-down" which at present is anticipated to last until 16 April 2020. Our systems and processes are designed to securely support this type of working environment, which enables us to ensure that our clients' interests continue to be protected and advanced in these difficult times, whilst prioritising the safety and well-being of our people. We would like to reassure you that both Conyers and the BVI Corporate Registry are drawing on our experience of operating seamlessly after the impact of Hurricane Irma, when we re-opened our office with a full team of lawyers, corporate managers, administrators and support staff just weeks after a devastating storm hit the BVI.
Government and public offices
We are pleased to advise that all aspects of the operation of the BVI Registry of Corporate Affairs, other than physical searches at the High Court Registry, remain open and unaffected by COVID-19. In particular, all of the BVI's incorporation and registration procedures are already conducted online through the Registry's VIRRGIN system.
The BVI Registry, the Financial Services Commission and other public offices remain in operation during the lock-down on a remote basis. All correspondence and application requests must be submitted electronically and all payments must be made via wire transfer.
In addition to the lock-down, the BVI borders are currently closed with no movement of persons in or out of the territory being permitted. These lock-down procedures mean that physical meetings in the BVI are not possible at the present. Director meetings should continue to be held by audio or video conferencing or by way of written resolutions (which may be executed in counterparts) where possible. Notice of meetings should be given to all directors, and other formalities observed, in the usual way. The articles of association of BVI companies usually permit meetings to be held by telephone, video-conferencing link or by way of written resolutions, but please contact your usual Conyers contact if there is any doubt about this.
There is no general requirement for a BVI company to have an annual shareholder meeting. However, the articles of association may require an annual shareholder meeting to be held, particularly for those BVI companies that are listed on a stock exchange. Subject to the requirements of the articles, there are a number of ways BVI law may permit the shareholder meeting to be adjourned, postponed or held by remote means. Please contact your usual Conyers contact if further advice is required in this respect.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.