‘Globalisation is changing, and the role of the BVI will be more important than ever’

With growing challenges to global trade, experienced intermediaries like the BVI can help navigate business complexity, says Elise Donovan

April 17, 2023

Beyond Globalisation: The British Virgin Islands’ contribution to global prosperity in an uncertain world is the new report published in April 2023 by Pragmatix Advisory for BVI Finance. In the second part of our interview with BVI Finance CEO Elise Donovan, she explains exactly how much the BVI contributes to global wealth, employment, and tax revenues; and how different scenarios of the future of globalisation will change the role of the British Virgin Islands and other offshore financial centres. You can also watch the third part of the interview: BVI Finance CEO: ‘We create opportunities so that businesses can thrive’

World Finance: Elise, tell me more about the findings of this report.

Elise Donovan: Well the report shows that the BVI is home to a globally respected international business and finance centre; an established intermediary with a proven track record of success, of facilitating global trade and investment.

We mediate $1.4trn of assets that are held across the globe, the investment in that generates 2.3 million jobs across the world, and it also creates $14bn in government revenues.

Second, the BVI is also a very cooperative international finance centre: we participate in all the global tax initiatives, as well as for anti-money laundering standards.

And third, the BVI contributes positively to the UK economy. It does not take revenues from the UK, and in fact it holds assets in the UK of $153bn. That generates 134,000 jobs, as well as tax revenues of $3.5bn. So overall we have a very positive impact on the UK economy, and we’re fiscally self-reliant.

World Finance: A significant component of the report is exploring the future of globalisation: different scenarios and the ways they may impact on the BVI; could you explain?

Elise Donovan: Yes – globalisation is changing, and the role of intermediaries like the British Virgin Islands will be more important than ever before. There are three scenarios that have been identified in the report as potential of what the future of globalisation will look like.

The first scenario is weaker internationalism. And what that means is that globalisation continues, but at a much slower pace, and of course there are more political obstacles to navigate.

The second scenario is the bloc economy. We’re seeing economic and regulatory integration between countries, but those countries are also going into geopolitical blocs, and those blocs are diverging.

The third scenario is new economic nationalism. And what that means is that countries are deciding to sort of reverse globalisation. They’re becoming more protectionist, and that of course creates more political obstacles.

And you’re going to need intermediaries, international finance centres like the BVI, who are able to navigate the complexities that are being created as a result of these scenarios.