Amendments to the BVI trust regime

On 15 May 2013, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) enacted the first substantive changes to its trust regime in 10 years. The amendments modernise the jurisdiction’s four primary pieces of trust legislation — namely the Trustee Act 1961; the Bank and Trust Companies Act 1990; the Trust Corporation (Probate and Administration) Act 1947; and the Virgin Islands Special Trust Act 2004 (VISTA).

The main thrust of the amendments was centred on the VISTA legislation, introduced on 1 March 2004. VISTA disengages the traditional duty of a trustee to monitor and intervene in the running of an underlying company, thus enabling a settlor to maintain control of the company, through the Office of Director Rules (ODRs), while enjoying the succession advantages of a trust arrangement.

VISTA has achieved significant traction in succession planning for family businesses and individuals from a civil law background (together with those from the BRIC economies) who appreciate the retention of control available in a VISTA structure…

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