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Applying for a License

 

How do I apply for a licence to conduct trust and/or company management business pursuant to the Banks and Trust Companies Act, 1990?

Guidance

  • Approved Forms and Related Guidelines
  • General licensing criteria (set out in the Regulatory Code, 2009 - see Part II Division 1 – Licensing)
  • Guidelines for the Approved Persons Regime
  • Guidelines for the Approved Persons Regime 2013 Amendment

Application Forms

A licence is obtainable by applying to the Commission using the Approved Forms. Applicants for a trust licence are required to complete the following forms:

  • General Part – Application for a Licence or Certificate as a Financial Services Business Provider;
  • Part 1 – Application for a Licence or Certificate as a Financial Services Business Provider;
  • Part 2 – Additional Information Required in the case of a Banking or Fiduciary Business Licence Application;
  • Part 5 – Additional Information the Applicant Wishes to Provide; and
  • Part 6 – Declaration.

Supporting Documents

Applicants must also submit the attachments described in the Approved Forms. These include but are not limited to:

  • A comprehensive business plan in accordance with sections 11 and 12 of the Regulatory Code, 2009.  In addition, the business plan must clearly state how the corporate governance requirements will be met (who will be resident directors, senior officers, compliance officer, money laundering reporting officer, solicitor, etc). The following charts are also required and must be signed and dated by a director of the applicant:
    • An organizational structure chart indicating reporting lines
    • An ownership structure chart indicating the ultimate beneficial owners, parents, subsidiaries and affiliates and their percentage shareholding
  • A Completed Form for each key person (including resident directors, senior officers, authorized agents, compliance officer and auditor)
  • A compliance manual that complies with section 46 of the Regulatory Code
  • Non-refundable application fee - an application will not be processed if the fee is not received
  • An undertaking to establish physical presence in the Territory within a two-year period from the date of the issue of the licence (applicants for a Class II trust licence or a restricted Class II trust licence are exempt from this requirement)
  • A description of the added value the grant of the licence would provide to the economy of the Virgin Islands

Exemptions

Pursuant to the Financial Services (Miscellaneous Exemptions) (Amendment) Regulations, 2011 an applicant for a restricted Class II or restricted Class III trust licence is exempt from providing certain particulars under the Banks and Trust Companies Act, 1990.

Pursuant to the Financial Services (Miscellaneous Exemptions) Regulations, 2010 an applicant may request exemption from certain requirements.

The Application Process

Preliminary discussions with the Commission

Prior to submitting an application, you are encouraged to hold discussions with the Commission in order to ensure that you understand the licensing process and requirements. Such discussions also help the Commission to identify any significant issues of concern. This gives you an opportunity to take action to deal with these concerns prior to submitting your formal application.

Submitting an application

A significant amount of work is required before an applicant is able to complete and submit a satisfactory application. Therefore, applications must be received through an authorized Registered Agent or Legal Advocate who can advise on the licensing process. A directory of Registered Agents is published on the Commission’s website. As a courtesy, a directory of Legal Advocates is also published on the Commission’s website.

What criteria are used to determine whether a licence should be issued?

Pursuant to section 4(4) of the Banks and Trust Companies Act, 1990, the Commission may issue a licence to an applicant if it is satisfied that:

(a)    the applicant satisfies the requirements of the Act and the Regulatory Codes in respect of the application and will, upon issuance of the licence, be in compliance with the Act and the Regulatory Codes;
(b)    the applicant satisfies the Commission’s fit and proper criteria; (In determining whether an applicant is "fit and proper", the Commission will consider a person's: (a) honesty, integrity and reputation; (b) competence and capability; and (c) financial soundness.)
(c)    the organization, management and financial resources of the applicant are adequate for the carrying on of the business in respect of which a licence is sought; and
(d)    issuing the licence is not against the public interest.

How long does it take for the Commission to process an application?

The Commission endeavors to process all completed applications within the framework of the Commission’s Performance Accountability and Supervisory Service Standards. The standards for new trust licence applications received by the Banking & Fiduciary Services Division are:

  • acknowledge receipt of a new licence application - 1 week
  • make a decision on whether to issue a Class I, II or III trust licence - 10 weeks
  • make a decision on whether to issue a restricted Class II or restricted Class III trust licence - 6 weeks

The Commission will consider an application received by it to be fully completed and ready for processing when all the required forms and supporting documentation in respect of the application is provided. However, this does not derogate from any request the Commission may make for the provision of further or additional information or documents. In such a case, the completed application will be retained for processing pending receipt of the further or additional information or documents requested.

After reviewing a completed application, the Director, Banking & Fiduciary Services makes a recommendation to the Licensing and Supervisory Committee regarding whether a licence should be granted.

Issue of licence

If the application is approved, the applicant will be informed. Upon receipt of confirmation that the capital is in place, the appropriate licence fee and other relevant submissions, the licence is issued and the company may then commence business.