With the dust of the UK’s EU Referendum starting to settle, Ogier BVI’s practice partner Ray Wearmouth has shared an upbeat assessment of the likely impact of Brexit for the jurisdiction at an industry seminar.

As an Overseas Territory, the BVI is not a member of the EU but currently enjoys an indirect relationship with it via the UK. While on the face of it Brexit will have limited repercussions for the BVI on a geopolitical or sovereign level, the possible ripple effects on its financial services industry called for a fuller analysis.

KPMG assembled industry experts from the banking, fiduciary, accountancy and legal sectors to speak at the seminar and take part in a panel discussion. The public sector was also represented by Mrs Lorna Smith OBE, the Director of BVI Finance. The event was fully subscribed and a large audience enjoyed a very topical discussion at an opportune time.

Ray – who is recognized by leading legal directories as one of the BVI’s leading corporate and finance lawyers - presented his views on the likely implications for the BVI’s global legal industry, giving a geographical summary, coupled with a sector breakdown in each region.

Ray said: “In a nutshell, it seems unlikely that Brexit will have any adverse impact on the BVI legal services industry in Asia or North America, which are key markets for us across our core service lines of corporate, finance, funds and dispute resolution. This assumes no wider economic contagion affect and it may well be the case that we will actually see new opportunities in those markets and sectors as a result of Brexit, in the medium term.”

“It is likely that we will see some slowdown in transactional flows in London, particularly for corporate and finance work which is often property related for BVI transactions. On the positive side, we are likely to see increased levels of regulatory and advisory work, together with some increase in restructuring mandates.”

“As far as disputes work is concerned the message is good. London has continued to be a very strong base for disputes work for the industry and it gets stronger and stronger with each year. That should not change as there is no suggestion of wider liquidity concerns that might affect litigation funding or strategies. So we should expect to continue to see solid growth.”

The Q&A session covered a lot of ground and touched upon “hard Brexit” and “soft Brexit” outcomes for the Territory. The likely dynamics facing International Finance Centres going forward vis-a-vis OECD and EU initiatives, and the interaction between those two bodies, was a fertile area for discussion. Finally, the ability of the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to shape some of the negotiation parameters which may impact the CDOT’s on the UK’s exit discussions with the EU was also addressed at length by the panel.

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