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 News and Events
 

15-Nov-17

31-Oct-17

1-FEB-13 29-JAN-13 Archived News and Events

News Releases

15th November, 2017 - FSA Celebrates 5th Anniversary Article Nov 2017

The Financial Services Authority (‘FSA’) was established on November 12th 2012 and recently celebrated its 5th anniversary. The FSA is marking this occasion with a number of events, including an Open House to the public on November 17th 2017, at its offices on the 2nd Floor of the Reigate Building, Kingstown, to raise awareness of its work and activities.

Continue reading... FSA Celebrates 5th Anniversary Article Nov 2017 (PDF 103KB)

15th November, 2017 - Notice - FSA Open House

The Public is hereby invited to an Open House at the office of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), to raise awareness of the FSA’s role and responsibilities as the regulator of non-banking financial institutions (Credit Unions, Building & Loan, Friendly Societies, Insurance Companies and International Financial Services) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Date - Friday, November 17th 2017

Time – 10 am – 3 pm

Location – 2nd Floor, Reigate Building (Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Kingstown)

31st October, 2017 - Press release issued on allegations of ‘Money Laundering’

The relevant authorities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, namely, the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee (NAMLC), the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) hereby issue a joint statement strongly denouncing the description of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as being ‘notorious for money laundering’ and a ‘prime money laundering destination.’ Such descriptions appeared in the international media on October 29th 2017, in articles on the present FBI investigation into Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager of US President, Donald Trump and the alleged Trump/Manafort links with Russia. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is alleged to be one of the countries whose offshore structures were utilized to move funds allegedly controlled by Manafort.

Continue reading... Press Release by SVG Authorities (PDF 608KB)

10th October, 2013 - Public Notice Update on Millennium Bank, Inc. (Liquidation)

On March 26, 2009, the International Financial Services Authority ("IFSA") appointed Charles Thresh of KPMG Advisory Limited, Bermuda and Kris Beighton of KPMG in the Cayman Islands, as Joint Receivers of Millennium Bank Inc. ("the Bank"), to assume control over the Bank's affairs and preserve its assets and records pursuant to Section 21(2)(e) of the International Banks Act 2004 ("IBA").

Continue reading... Update on Millennium Bank, Inc. (in Liquidation) (PDF 30KB)

12th March, 2013 - Public Notice issued on Safe Harbor Bank Ltd

Please note Safe Harbor Bank Ltd. has changed its website to www.shbsvg.com.


13
th February, 2013 - Press release issued on St. Vincent Building and Loan Association

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) continues to work assiduously to obtain accurate and reliable information pertaining to the financial performance and condition of the St Vincent Building and Loan Association (“the Association”), prior to its intervention. Such information will guide our Recommendations to the Association’s Shareholders. This is not a straightforward task in view of inadequate record keeping, lack of transparent operational policies and inadequate accounting and ICT systems. Still, the FSA retains its confidence in the Association and we are convinced that we can assist the Association to attain financial stability and a sound future.

Continue reading... Press release 13-Feb-13 St. Vincent Building and Loan Assoc. (PDF 425KB)
 

6th February, 2013 - Press release issued on Building and Loan Association

As was previously informed, on Friday 1st of February 2013 the Financial Services Authority (FSA) assumed management and control of the St Vincent Building and Loan Association and its Subsidiaries (“the Association”). Consequently, the empowerment of the then existing Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer was ceased with immediate effect.

We trust that this publication would serve to address what we perceive to be the main concerns of members, depositors, shareholders, and the public at large, arising from the aforementioned action of the FSA.

Continue reading... Press release 6-Feb-13 Building and Loan (PDF 80KB)
 

1st February, 2013 - Press release issued on Building and Loan Association

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) informs that it has taken the decision to assume management and control of the St. Vincent Building and Loan Association and its subsidiaries with effect from the close of business of Friday 1st of February of 2013. All decisions in relation to the management and control of the association and its subsidiaries will hereafter emanate from the FSA.

Continue reading... Press release 1-Feb-13 Building and Loan (PDF 225KB)


29th January, 2013 - Press release issued on Building and Loan Association

The Financial Services Authority (‘FSA’ / ‘the Authority’) wishes to confirm that it is giving priority attention to working with the Building and Loan Association, with the uppermost objective of safeguarding the interests of shareholders, members and depositors.

Continue reading... Press release 29-Jan-13 Building and Loan (PDF 275KB)


12th November, 2012 - Public Notice update on Financial Services Authority
 

The Financial Services Authority of St Vincent and the Grenadines (FSA) is a regulatory organization established on November 12, 2012, pursuant to the provisions of the Financial Services Authority Act, Act No 33 of 2011. The local Vincentian public and those in the Diaspora would have been apprised of this development by publications in the printed local media dated November 16th 2012, and thereafter by radio broadcasts. This instant publication serves to inform the public that the Financial Services Authority (‘FSA’) is presently operational.

The FSA replaces the former International Financial Services Authority (IFSA) which already operated as an autonomous statutory body with clear legislative functions, skilled and capable staff and a regulatory focus which implemented best international practices. Under the new structure, St Vincent and the Grenadines would be well placed to meet the evolving changes to the international regulatory architecture and to enhance supervision of the financial sector in general, with the incorporation into the FSA of supervisory responsibilities for domestic non-bank institutions, namely insurance companies, co-operatives, money remitters and building and loan societies.

Continue reading... Public Notice 12-Nov-12 Update on the Financial Services Authority (PDF 370KB)


23rd February, 2012 - Public Notice regarding Overseas First Federal
 

The International Financial Services Authority wishes to advise that an entity called “Overseas First Federal” is representing itself as an Offshore Financial Company, via the website http://www.overseasfirstfederal.com/. This entity purports to offer banking services through a trust company located in St. Vincent and the Grenadines called “Overseas First Union”.

Information provided on the entity’s website states that “Overseas First Federal” is operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with its address at Sutherland’s Building, Murray Road, Kingstown, St. Vincent. Contact details include: Tel: 1(786)515-9722 and Fax: 1(786)309-2776. The Authority wishes to advise that it is not aware of any such business housed at the foregoing address and the photograph representation of the building on the website does not depict either the Sutherland’s Building in Kingstown, St. Vincent or any building in the vicinity of Sutherland’s Building. In addition, the country area code for St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not ‘1786’.

The Authority wishes to further advise that “Overseas First Federal” and “Overseas First Union” are not and have never been licensed by the International Financial Services Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to provide banking services or any other services.
 

5 May, 2011 - Safe Harbor Bank Ltd. Recent Developments and Notices - Final

The International Financial Services Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines would like to provide the following recent developments and notices on the matter of Safe Harbor Bank.

The following is presented by Mr. Graham Crabtree, Provisional Liquidator, Safe Harbor Bank Ltd.:


Recent Legal Action
In addition to the ongoing duties and responsibilities inherent on the liquidation of the bank and preparing and submitting the report to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court In The High Court of Justice in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as required in the Court Order entered on 17 January 2011, the Liquidator and the team have been busy researching and preparing the bank’s claims against certain assets and investments shown in the bank’s books .

On 29 March 2011, we were informed by the law firm Salter McGowan Sylvia & Leonard, Inc. that there would be a hearing in Massachusetts (Barnstable Superior Court) on Friday, 22 April 2011 (Good Friday). The hearing was captioned “Spinal Technology, Inc, Spinal Group Inc, James Tierney Plaintiffs vs. Graham Crabtree, Liquidator of Safe Harbor Bank, Thomas D. Mangione, Ariane St. Claire, Defendants”. The law firm Salter McGowan Sylvia & Leonard, Inc. acted for the Plaintiffs. The complaint alleged breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent misrepresentation, violation of M.G.L. ch 93A, interference with contractual relations, unjust enrichment, declaratory judgment – offset and equitable relief. In April we consulted and worked with counsel, extensively. A major element of the opposition to the injunctive relief sought was the failure to effect service properly.

Our US counsel, Holland & Knight, filed a Chapter 15 application in the United States Bankruptcy Court. A Chapter 15 is a proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court seeking official recognition of (in this case) the winding up proceeding in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as binding in the United States and of the Liquidator’s right and ability to take action in United States’ courts to carry out duties as Liquidator. It imposes an injunction on the sort of action outlined above and it avoids the problem of dueling jurisdictions - where the Courts of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are rushing to deal with our action against certain entities before the Courts of Massachusetts enter a judgment, and the Courts of Massachusetts are rushing to enter judgment before the Courts of St. Vincent and the Grenadines do so, and it constitutes a directive that all U.S. courts provide comity and recognition to the actions of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A Chapter 15 comes with certain protections - including that all actions against the Liquidator or the assets of the bank are stayed (nobody can sue the Liquidator or seize bank assets without leave of court). However, the filing of a Chapter 15 does not immediately and automatically give rise to these protections. Rather, to obtain immediate protection, one must seek provisional relief. When Holland & Knight filed the pleadings on 21 April, they asked the Court for a hearing the following day, before noon, for the purpose of considering our request for provisional relief. The Court agreed to hear the application on the morning of the 22nd. John Monaghan of Holland & Knight appeared on our behalf. Mr. Harris K. Weiner of the law firm Salter McGowan Sylvia & Leonard, Inc. appeared for Spinal Technologies.

I am pleased to report that the United States Bankruptcy Court granted the provisional relief we sought. That provisional relief included entry of a stay precluding any party in the United States from bringing an action or otherwise pursuing litigation. The entry of that provisional relief prevented the hearing in the Massachusetts State Court (Barnstable Superior Court) from going forward.

A final hearing on recognition under Chapter 15 is scheduled for Friday, 13 May 2001 

Claims
Creditors, including bank depositors, are now requested to file their claims. In addition to this posting on the website and the insertion of a notice in the “Searchlight” newspaper, the Liquidator will be sending the documents, recently listed in the side panel, to depositors care of their service provider / intermediary / registered office/agent or, if no record of such an entity exists, to them directly

The liquidation proceeds smoothly thanks to the continued invaluable help of our team, including IFSA.

Graham Crabtree
Provisional Liquidator
Safe Harbor Bank Ltd.

Claim forms, Notice to Creditors, and other useful information can be found on Safe Harbor Bank's website: www.safeharborbank.com.

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31 March, 2011 - Notice to IFSA's Regulated Entities

The International Financial Services Authority of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (IFSA) urges all IFSA regulated entities to visit the Publications and Documents section and further the Press Releases section of the FATF’s website (www.fatf-gafi.org) for public statements on jurisdictions of interest.

The most recent public statement can be found at the following link: FATF Public Statement 25-FEB-11
 

21 February, 2011 - Public Notice re: Safe Harbor Bank

The International Financial Services Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines would like to provide the following "Notice of Petition to Wind Up" presented to the High Court on the matter of Safe Harbor Bank.

Notice of Petition to Wind Up - Safe Harbor Bank (PDF 337KB)
 

18 January, 2011 - Safe Harbor Bank: Provisional Liquidation

The International Financial Services Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines wishes to inform that the banking license of Safe Harbor Bank Ltd (‘the Bank’) was revoked, effective January 10, 2011. The Attorney General of St Vincent and the Grenadines, acting on the recommendation of the said Authority and the then Controller of the Bank, Mr. Floyd Patterson of BDO, has lodged a petition for the winding up of the bank at the High Court of Justice of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Mr. Graham Crabtree, was appointed as Provisional Liquidator of the Bank, effective January 17, 2011. 

Mr. Graham Crabtree
P.O. Box 175, The Valley
Anguilla

Phone: 1(264) 497-6468 Fax: 1(264)497-6800

E-mail: graham@anguillanet.com or graham@caribcable.com
Copy to: info@ceg.ai

All enquiries in connection with the Bank should be made to Mr. Crabtree.


27 August, 2010 -
Public Notice Re: Millennium Bank Inc. (in Liquidation)

Please review the following updated documents regarding Millennium Bank, Inc. (in Liquidation) provided by St. Vincent & the Grenadines International Financial Services Authority.

Update on Millennium Bank, Inc. (in Liquidation) Aug-27-10 (PDF 44 KB)

Millennium Bank, Inc. (in Liquidation)- Letter to all known creditors 12-Aug-10 (PDF 98KB)
 

Liquidators of Millennium Bank Inc.

Mr. Charles Thresh
KPMG Advisory Ltd
Crown House
4-Par-L-Ville RD
HM 08 Hamilton
Bermuda

Email: cthresh@kpmg.bm

Mr. Kris Beighton
KPMG
P.O.Box 493 GT
Century Yard, Cricket Square
Grand Cayman, KY1-1106
Cayman Islands

Email: krisbeighton@kpmg.ky

Please be guided accordingly.

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7th July 2010 - Signing of a TIEA with Canada

St. Vincent and the Grenadines concluded its twentieth (20th) Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) on Tuesday June 22, 2010. This TIEA was signed with Canada and the signing took place in Kingstown, St. Vincent. St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves signed on the country’s behalf while Canadian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ruth Archibald signed on behalf of Canada.

Prior to the signing of this TIEA, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ last TIEA was signed on Monday April 19, 2010, with France by an exchange of letters.

According to St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves It was always the intention of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to sign such agreements despite the threat of sanctions by the OECD. We are not opposed to signing tax agreements; we are a responsible country and want to see cooperation particularly where there may be instances of the use of the proceeds of crime and the facilitation of money laundering.” The Canadian High Commissioner stated that her government is encouraging tax co-operation and that such cooperation is likely to be an incentive for investment from Canada.

Sharda Sinanan-Bollers, Executive Director of the International Financial Services Authority, commented that the signing of these TIEAs by St. Vincent and the Grenadines within and even beyond the stipulated deadline and numbers set by the OECD represents a clear commitment of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines towards greater transparency and international cooperation in tax matters.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was white-listed on March 24th 2010 by the OECD.

Signing Ceremony - Left – Right – SVG’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves and Canadian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ruth Archibald

8th April, 2010 - Press Release: White Listing of St. Vincent and the Grenadines by the OECD

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been ‘white-listed’ by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This follows the completion by St. Vincent and the Grenadines on March 24th 2010, of six (6) Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs), respectively with the following Nordic countries: the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Signing these TIEAs in Paris on behalf of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was H.E. Mr. Wafic Said, Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to UNESCO.

These six (6) TIEAs carried St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the threshold of the twelve (12) TIEAs stipulated by the OECD, required to demonstrate that the country has implemented the internationally agreed tax standards.

St Vincent and the Grenadines was ‘grey listed’ in April 2009 by the OECD, signifying that it was a jurisdiction which had ‘committed to the internationally agreed tax standard but had not yet substantially implemented’ its commitment. Numerous other Caribbean countries including all the countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), were also grey listed.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has now been able to demonstrate that it has substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standards by having established to date not just twelve (12), but in total seventeen (17) TIEAs. The other TIEAs which were previously signed are with:

 

- Aruba

- Australia

- Austria

- Belgium

- Denmark

- Ireland

- Liechtenstein

- New Zealand

- the Kingdom of the Netherlands

- the Netherlands Antilles

- the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

TIEAs with Germany and France are also scheduled to be signed before March 31st 2010. Negotiations are also ongoing with Canada for the establishment of a TIEA.

The ‘white listing’ of St. Vincent and the Grenadines by the OECD is exceedingly positive news for the jurisdiction. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has suffered reputational damage in the past due to negative labeling by international organizations, such as for example, the 2000 ‘blacklisting’ by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the OECD. Though owing to significant legislative and administrative changes made, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was able to come off these FATF and OECD ‘blacklists’ in 2003, the injury to SVG’s reputation was unfortunately far reaching, and even lingers to date in certain international financial circles. This sometimes makes it difficult or in some cases impossible, for St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ licensed entities to conduct business with some international entities. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has therefore been involved in intensive negotiations for the past several months in order for the country to be removed from the OECD’s grey list of so called ‘tax havens’. These efforts bore fruit when the OECD immediately recognized the country’s progress after the March 24th signing with the six aforementioned Nordic countries.

The OECD has also acknowledged the significant progress made by Caribbean countries in the establishment of TIEAs. Also white listed by the OECD at the same time with St. Vincent and the Grenadines were Anguilla and St. Kitts and Nevis. In the OECS, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat and St. Lucia remain grey listed but are expected to be removed in May this year.

The next step for the OECD is a Peer Review process whereby countries will be assessed to see if they have in fact implemented the legal and regulatory framework for the exchange of information. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is scheduled to undergo such a review in 2011. The country will work towards ensuring that it has all requirements in place to satisfy such a review.

 

Signing Ceremony in Paris - . Around the table from left to right : Minister of Swedish Embassy, Ambassador of Finland, SVG’s Ambassador Said, Ambassador of Iceland, Head of Mission (Brussels) for the Faroe Islands, representative of Greenland, Ambassador of Norway. Standing: official from the Nordic Council.

Left – Right – Ambassador Said and the Ambassador of Iceland

 

Submitted by:

The International Financial Services Authority on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.

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7th April 2010 - Signing of a TIEA with Germany

A Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Federal Republic of Germany has been signed. The signing took place at the Office of the High Commission for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, London, on March 29th 2010. Signing on behalf of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was its High Commissioner E. Cenio Lewis while Germany’s Ambassador Georg Boomgaarden signed on that country’s behalf. 

The objective of being de-listed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been successfully achieved by St. Vincent and the Grenadines as this country was ‘white-listed’ by OECD on March 24th 2010. This was after it had completed seventeen (17) TIEAs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines had been working assiduously to demonstrate its commitment to implement internationally agreed tax standards by March 31st and had thus targeted certain countries including OECD member countries themselves, for the establishment of TIEAs with this country. Negotiations previously undertaken are expected to result in the signing of two more TIEAs respectively with France and Canada. 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ white listed status by the OECD is welcomed by the local and international financial industry of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

Signing Ceremony in London - Left – Right – SVG’s Ambassador E. Cenio Lewis and Germany’s Ambassador Georg Boomgaarden

Submitted by:

The International Financial Services Authority on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.
 

23rd March, 2010 - SVG Signs TIEAs with New Zealand and Australia

On March 16th 2010 and March 18th 2010, St. Vincent and the Grenadines concluded its latest Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with New Zealand and Australia respectively. Signing the TIEA with Australia was this country’s Hon. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves while Australia’s High Commissioner to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr. Phillip Charles Kentwell, signed on behalf of Australia. The signing took place at Cabinet Room, Administrative Centre, Kingstown and His Excellency Mr. Kentwell travelled to St. Vincent for the occasion. 

The TIEA with New Zealand was signed in Washington by Ambassador to the OAS, Her Excellency Ms. La Celia Prince on behalf of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. His Excellency Mr. Roy Ferguson, New Zealand’s Ambassador to the USA, signed this Agreement on behalf of New Zealand.

These recent TIEAs bring the total number of TIEAs completed by SVG to date, to eleven (11). Prior to the New Zealand and Australia’s TIEAs, nine (9) TIEAs were already established with Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. 

The pursuit of TIEAs has been undertaken by SVG in order to demonstrate its commitment to implementing the OECD’s internationally agreed tax standards with respect to the exchange of tax information. The country has therefore been involved in negotiations with OECD and other countries in order to obtain at least twelve (12) such Agreements by March 31st 2010, in order to be removed from the OECD’s ‘grey list’ of countries which are countries described as having ‘committed to the internationally agreed tax standard but have not yet substantially implemented’ its commitment.

SVG expects to meet the OECD stipulated deadline for removal from its grey list as it has eight (8) more TIEAs targeted for signing before March 31st 2010. 

The OECD has already recognized that the OECS countries have made significant progress in signing TIEAs with other countries and as a result the emphasis of the OECD moving forward is likely to be a Peer Review process to ensure that procedures for exchange of information are in place rather than blacklisting. Despite this, France, a member of the OECD, had unilaterally blacklisted eighteen countries, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines in late January this year. Dr. the Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves, in his capacity as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance has since written to the French President, Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy voicing this country’s objection to this blacklisting in view of the fact that negotiations are ongoing between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and France for the establishment of a TIEA, and an Agreement is soon to be signed.

 

Signing of the Australia/SVG TIEA by Hon. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves on behalf of SVG and Australia’s High Commissioner to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr. Phillip Charles Kentwell.

Signing of the New Zealand/ SVG TIEA in Washington by Ambassador to the OAS, Her Excellency Ms. La Celia Prince and His Excellency Mr. Roy Ferguson, New Zealand’s

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3rd February, 2010 - United Bank Limited Liquidators

On 18 May 2009, Casey McDonald and Brian Glasgow were appointed as joint voluntary liquidators of United Bank Limited (“the Company”), with the approval of the St Vincent and the Grenadines’ International Financial Services Authority. To date, all depositors have been paid in full, with interest. Additionally, the majority of creditor claims have been adjudicated, and it is expected that all admitted claims will be paid in full. The liquidation is continuing with a view to realising the Company’s remaining assets and finalising the outstanding creditor claims. For further information, please contact the liquidators directly, using the details set out below.

Signed

 

Brian Glasgow and Casey McDonald

KPMG St. Vincent

The Financial Services Centre

Kingstown Park

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Tel: +1 784 456 1644

Fax: +1 784 456 1576

 

1 January, 2010 - Black / White and Grey Lists

Update on St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Progress on its OECD Grey Listed Status:

St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) was ‘grey listed’ in April 2009 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), signifying that it is a jurisdiction which has ‘committed to the internationally agreed tax standard but has not yet substantially implemented’ its commitment. Numerous other Caribbean countries including all the countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), were also grey listed. At the time, Barbados was the only Caribbean country ‘white-listed’ by the OECD as Barbados had been involved in establishing tax treaties with other countries for the past several years.

SVG is presently described as a ‘tax haven,’ as a direct result of its present OECD grey- listed status and this is clearly a matter of concern for the jurisdiction. SVG objects to such negative labeling as past experience has illustrated that the stigma of such nomenclature is difficult to eradicate. An example of this is that in 2003, SVG was removed from the ‘black lists’ of the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD, however the injury to SVG’s reputation arising out of these listings, lingers to date in certain international financial circles, making it difficult or in some cases impossible for SVG licensed entities to conduct business with some international entities.

SVG has therefore been making arduous efforts to become delisted and in doing must abide with OECD stipulations for delisting.

The OECD has indicated that grey-listed countries, such as SVG, can demonstrate their commitment to implement the internationally agreed tax standards with respect to the exchange of tax information, by establishing tax information exchange agreements (‘TIEAs’), with other countries. A minimum number of twelve (12) TIEAs with other countries may enable SVG to be removed from this grey list. The OECD has however emphasized that each of these 12 agreements must be qualitative, so that merely having 12 agreements numerically would not be sufficient for de-listing purposes, if in substance each does not accord with the OECD suggested template for such agreements.

By March 31st 2010, countries on the grey list which have made no progress or insubstantial progress will be dropped to the ‘black list’ and are likely to be subjected to the imposition of sanctions by the OECD. With this virtual Sword of Damocles looming over the reputation of SVG, it is no wonder that for the past several months, SVG has been involved in extensive bilateral negotiations with OECD and other countries in order to obtain TIEAs.

These negotiations are involved and time consuming due to the ‘queue’ of other grey and black listed countries also pursuing the establishment of TIEAs, and due also to the lengthy bureaucratic steps involved before the larger OECD countries can complete the execution of a TIEA.

To date, SVG has made significant progress in establishing TIEAs and is presently in a strong position to be removed from the grey list, according to Sharda Sinanan- Bollers, Executive Director of the International Financial Services Authority of SVG.

As at January 20th 2010, SVG has already established nine (9) TIEAs with the following countries:

  • Aruba

  • Austria

  • Belgium

 

  • Denmark

  • Ireland

  • Liechtenstein

  • the Kingdom of the Netherlands

  • the Netherlands Antilles

  • the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

SVG is also involved in negotiations for the establishment of TIEAs with:

  • Australia

  • Germany

  • New Zealand

 

  • Sweden

  • Norway

  • Finland

  • Iceland

  • the Faroes

  • Greenland

Seven (7) TIEAs in relation to the above countries have already been initialled as accepted by the respective countries and SVG. SVG is also pursuing a TIEA with France through an offer from the World Bank to assist the OECS countries in pursuing TIEAs. Dates for the completion of these TIEAs have not yet been decided however all are targeted for completion on or before March 31st 2010.

Since September 2009, SVG has been utilizing its Ambassadors and key contacts stationed abroad to sign these agreements on its behalf, so as to curtail the costs of the Minister of Finance’s attendance for such signing. A TIEA was signed with Belgium in Brussels, by OECS Ambassador H.E. Shirley Skerritt- Andrew, and the services of SVG Ambassador to the United States, H.E. La Celia Prince were also utilized to sign TIEAs with the Netherlands, Aruba and Denmark, on the country’s behalf. SVG’s Honorary Consul to Austria, H.E. Dr. Walter Schoen signed a TIEA with Austria, and Mr. Bryan Jeeves, C.M.G, O.B. E. signed with Liechtenstein on SVG’s behalf. A recent TIEA was also concluded with Ireland on December 15th 2009 via courier service, and the latest TIEA was signed in London on January 18th 2010 by H.E. Mr. Cenio E. Lewis, High Commissioner for SVG, with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on behalf of SVG.

Based on the results of SVG’s efforts thus far with TIEAs which have been established and are presently being pursued bilaterally, there is now a clear and legitimate expectation on SVG’s part that it would be removed from the Grey List by the OECD’s stipulated deadline of March 2010.

The country’s removal from the OECD grey list would be welcomed by all players in its local and international financial industry, and such removal would undoubtedly be in the best interests of the reputation of the jurisdiction.

 

Signing of the Liechtenstein/SVG TIEA by Mr. Bryan Jeeves, CMG, OBE on behalf of SVG and Liechtenstein Government Coordinator for International Affairs, Ms. Katja Gey.

 

 

Signing of the Belgium TIEA by OECS Ambassador Shirley Skerrit Andrew on behalf of SVG and Hon. Minister of Finance, H.E. Didier Reynders, on behalf of Belgium.

Signing of the UK/SVG TIEA by High Commissioner Cenio. E. Lewis on behalf of SVG and the Rt. Hon. Stephen Timms, MP, Financial Secretary to the UK Treasury on behalf of the UK/N. Ireland.

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