BVI Finance: ‘A range of services for the entire corporate and blood family’


At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, BVI Finance began hosting its events online through a series of programs called “Virtually Together, Virtually Anywhere”. On the occasion of his first physical event since the world was first locked at AFSIC Investing in Africa, Simon Gray of BVI Finance describes the key themes that were explored at their events: including a private mutual fund regime, a renewed purpose for his incubator fund and innovation in digital space with Smart Contracts.

You can also watch the first half of this conversation with Simon Gray, where he talks about the BVI’s role in promoting entrepreneurship around the world.

World Finance: You are now here in London to take part in AFSIC Investing In Africa – what are you hoping for from this event?

Simon Gray: Well, it’s great to be back physically; I mean, we’ve been very big sponsors of AFSIC for many, many years, I think about 10. And it’s very important to continue our support – not just for this important investment opportunity, but for the African continent.

We have very strong historical connections there and see Africa as an important location, not just for our business structures; Our common law system provides security, our robust regulatory framework provides security. So we see exponential growth and opportunities there and are happy that we can make our contribution.

One thing we’ve done as a result of COVID-19 is move more into the virtual realm. So we have an initiative called Virtually Together, Virtually Everywhere; Recently we did an event for southern Africa, we did one for West Africa, we did one for East Africa over the next six weeks. So this focus is being carried on very much.

World Finance: Tell me more about the virtual together, practically anywhere, events. What were the most important topics that came out?

Simon Gray: We try to really build on our good experiences. This applies not only to the commercial enterprise sector, but also to the diverse range of funds that we offer. As well as our innovative trust structures.

And if you look at our funds, we introduced a private mutual fund regime in 2020 – very much geared towards closed-end funds and it really merged a lot of existing laws. And the real focus was on private equity and venture capital. These are great weapons, we are very pleased with the result.

We are perhaps even more excited about the incubator fund – which was founded in 2015, at the time with a focus on the hedge fund industry. What we found is that it is proving to be successful – if not more – in the world of digital and crypto funds. And that is mainly due to the very favorable regulatory structure that keeps costs down. The speed at which funds can be set up and operated. And I think the word incubator says it all: it helps create life and create a robust structure for the future.

And if I can only develop that in the area of ​​trusts. We have also found that many successful entrepreneurs then use our fiduciary structures to help with succession planning for future generations.

Therefore, we try to offer a range of different products and services for the entire corporate and blood family.

World Finance: I’m sure you’ve brought up some of these examples so far, but how would you say the BVI is driving innovation?

Simon Gray: We try to be as flexible and innovative as possible. And I think a good example of this is our focus on digital assets and workgroups. We provide full advice to the industry and work closely with the regulator to ensure that the regulations they envision are fit for purpose and can function commercially.

And perhaps the best example of the digital space are smart contracts. The decentralized autonomous organizations or autonomous limited liability organizations – both work really very well with the LLC construct, so let’s push that forward.

World Finance: Simon, thank you very much.

Simon Gray: Thank you very much, Paul.

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