Amendments to the BVI trust regime

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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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