Rising Stars

Regulatory and compliance in British Virgin Islands

Harneys

Working in close collaboration with the firm’s offices in London, Cyprus and Hong Kong, Harneys advises a litany of blue-chip financial institutions, asset managers, and trust companies on an array of regulatory matters, ranging from licensing and economic substance compliance to terrorist financing concerns and sanctions regimes. The practice is steered by counsel Ayana Hull, an experienced regulatory lawyer whose broad expertise is notably concentrated in the fintech arena. Transactional team head Philip Graham specialises in trust company and insurance regulation and associated BVI enforcement actions, particularly in relation to economic sanctions and other restrictive measures. Recently promoted partner Joshua Mangeot is a key port of call for clients seeking advice on the implementation of the BVI economic substance requirements, most recently for clients in the banking and technology sectors. Senior associate Kimberly Seagojo advises widely on cross-border fund-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Ayana Hull

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Mangeot; Kimberly Seagojo; Philip Graham

Ogier

Praised for its ability to ‘bring a high level of rigour and expertise to emerging legal queries’, Ogier possesses a substantial level of fintech regulatory expertise in the BVI. The multi-disciplinary team continues to act for a growing roster of high-profile virtual asset and fintech players, advising on the regulatory aspects of numerous token and NFT applications, token issuances, and initial coin offerings. Practice co-chair Michael Killourhy is a seasoned financial services lawyer who works with various industry regulators on the application of new fintech products. In addition to his prolific transactional practice, fellow co-chair Ray Wearmouth is a senior adviser to numerous stakeholder bodies in the jurisdiction, while managing associate David Mathews is another key contact for the firm’s digital and fintech client base.

Other key lawyers:

David Mathews

Testimonials

‘I’m impressed by Ogier’s ability to adapt to changing market conditions and customer demands, and bring a high level of rigour and expertise to emerging legal queries.’

‘David Mathews has been a pleasure to work with. Always prompt with very timely, thoughtful advice on pressing matters.’

Key clients

EQIBank Limited

Jefferies LLC

Pollen DAO

Utherverse Digital Inc.

Covalent

Mariana Mining

Snapmuse (Snapmuse Müzik Teknolojileri A.S.)

Wynd DAO

Zenkai Labs (Defira protocol)

Dexterity Capital LP

OpenBlox

Work highlights

  • Advised EQIBank Limited on both the development and launch of its new native token, and the BVI licensing of a yield farming entity.
  • Advised Snapmuse on the creation and issuance of tokens and NFTs in support of Snapmuse’s new platform launch.
  • Advised Covalent in relation to BVI financial services regulatory and data protection law issues on the development of a new access token.

Walkers BVI

Helmed by the Cayman Islands-based Lucy FrewWalkers BVI is engaged by numerous leading investment banks, fund managers, and private equity houses for its expertise in a host of regulatory matters. The London-based Sara Hall is noted for her expertise in OECD compliance, advising clients on economic substance laws, reporting regimes, and anti-money laundering initiatives. Lodewijk Van Setten has left the practice to an in-house role.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Frew

Other key lawyers:

Sara Hall

Testimonials

‘Walkers are particularly helpful on regulatory advice for firms in the digital asset space who are looking for expertise on novel structures.’

‘Sara Hall has deep knowledge of the regulatory environment in both BVI and Cayman. She is also knowledgeable about new technology such as decentralised protocols and can provide regulatory advice for both jurisdictions.’

Appleby

Steered by managing partner Jeffrey Kirk, Appleby‘s cross-disciplinary practice is sought out by a litany of technology and digital asset players, ranging from leading crypto exchanges to fast-growth fintech startups. Splitting his time between Jersey and the BVI, Andrew Jowett is a prolific adviser whose regulatory practice encompasses fund formations, licensing of new financial services ventures, decentralised finance (DeFi) platforms, and initial coin offerings. Shana Simmonds is a seasoned corporate partner whose recent highlights include multi-jurisdictional transactions with significant regulatory clearance concerns. At the senior associate level, Stuart Fee is noted for his experience in blockchain-based token offerings, DeFi structures, and smart contract projects.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Kirk

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Jowett; Shana Simmonds; Stuart Fee

Key clients

Bitfinex

Tether Ltd.

Shift4 Payments, LLC

TreeBR Carbon Offsets Inc

e-Toro Group Ltd

Joyfa Inc.

Hyperedge Technology Ltd.

RYKI Inc

Titan FX

Oanda Corporation

Carey Olsen

Numerous leading trust companies, funds and corporate clients turn to Carey Olsen’s cross-practice team for its wide-ranging regulatory capabilities, including economic substance compliance and virtual asset legislation. Jointly chaired by Elizabeth Killeen and Clinton Hempel (who divides his time between South Africa and the BVI), the team handles the regulatory aspects associated with a steady stream of fund launches, incorporations, corporate reorganisations and financing transactions. Counsel Jude Hodge’s financial services expertise makes her a key port of call for various leading arrangers, financial institutions and investment managers.

Practice head(s):

Clinton Hempel

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Killeen; Jude Hodge

Key clients

TMF (B.V.I.) Ltd.

Chorus Global

Sterling Group (BVI) Limited

Corporate Agents (BVI) Limited

Blockchain.com Group Holdings Inc.

Nerine Trust Company (BVI) Limited

Tricor Services (BVI) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a number of trust companies (TMF Group (BVI), Tricor Global, Chorus International, Corporate Agents, Nerine, SHRM and Newhaven) on a broad spectrum of regulatory matters.
  • Provided regulatory advice to a number of trust companies that have undergone a restructure and need to obtain FSC approval before the change of control can take effect.
  • Assisted with the formation of numerous funds (incubator, approved, private and public) and approved manager applications, as well as a number of investment business license applications to the FSC.

Mourant

Working closely with an international network of colleagues, Mourant fields a cross-jurisdictional regulatory offering, advising various leading banks, ultra-high-net-worth individuals, and multinational corporations on the full scope of regulatory concerns. The Cayman-based Sara Galletly is a dual-qualified (BVI and Cayman) practitioner whose regulatory expertise is particularly concentrated on economic substance compliance, financial sanctions regimes, and automatic exchange of information laws. Finance, corporate and funds head Ian Montgomery specialises in cross-border transactions in highly regulated sectors, while counsel Saraid Taylor has most recently advised on change of control applications and digital asset launches.

Practice head(s):

Sara Galletly

Other key lawyers:

Saraid Taylor; Ian Montgomery

Work highlights

  • Advising various organisations with regard to economic substance (ES) classification for their BVI entities, and compliance with the ES regime.
  • Advising various organisations, including fund managers and funds, relating to their licence applications and to ensure compliance with the Securities and Investment Business Act, the Private Investment Funds Regulations and the Investment Business (Approved Managers) Regulations.
  • Advising various organisations in respect of anti-money laundering regulations, policies and procedures.