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Beyond Compliance: A Business-Oriented Compliance Officer

The 4th Annual Compliance Conference hosted by the BVI Association of Compliance Officers and Practitioners (the “BVIACO”) was held last week Thursday, 20 June 2019, at the conference rooms of Maria’s By the Sea. The event saw over 127 participants from the financial services industry.  Compliance officers and those who had an interest in the area of compliance were keen on attending this year’s most informative and topical event in compliance.

The Conference heralded both local and international speakers. Participants benefitted from having Kenneth Baker, Managing Director of the BVI Financial Services Commission address the BVI’s National Risk Assessment, exploring common trends in the industry. International Keynote Speaker, Calvin Wilson of Calvin Wilson and Associates (former executive director and former director of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) addressed Sanctions, NRA, and AML Trends and Typologies in the region.

Several other International Keynote Speakers included Sheldon Padmore of Distributed Systems Limited, who presented on Data Protection on IT Fraud, on which many local businesses are currently seeking advice and assistance.  Stephen Platt, of KYC Global Technologies Group, addressed Regulatory Technology and the future of Compliance.

Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act, 2018 (“ES Legislation”)

A topical issue facing the BVI, and other offshore jurisdictions, is the recent enactment of the ES Legislation, which will transform how we currently do business in the BVI.  

There was active participation in the form of a Question and Answer Panel Discussion on the ES Legislation, which was moderated by Adenike Sicard, Legal Chairperson of the BVIACO.  The members of the Panel, were Elise Donovan of the BVI Finance, who laid the foundation on the international issues leading up to the ES Legislation, Kayla Laidlaw of Deloitte, who spoke on the tax issues and the impact of the ES Legislation on the BVI, Ray Wearmouth of Ogier, who addressed the legal and practical issues of private equity holding companies, and Calvin Wilson (mentioned above) who shared his insights on the challenges and opportunities facing the BVI.

Participants were receptive to the informative and example filled presentation The BVI Finances’ Simon Gray, Head of Business Development & Marketing on Corporate Governance Failures, an area which tends to be on the minds of many Compliance Officers in their day to day tasks.

Dwyane Thomas of the Financial Investigation Agency presented an update on the Suspicious Activity Reports and on Boss, supplemented with relevant statistical information and advice to industry practitioners on what the FIA expects to see in a SAR, and the Do’s and Don’ts of such reports.

Sheynel Smith of Driftwood Global Holdings Ltd, provided updates to the BVI AML Regime.

Active and lively participation and discussion ensued from the Case Study presented by Michelle Martin of Compliance Aid, another International Key Note Speaker, which was followed by a quiz.  The aim of this was to provide participants with training and the opportunity to earn post qualification accreditation from their attendance at the BVIACO’s Annual Conference.

Honouree and Hariette Skelton Scholarship

A presentation was made to the Skelton Family in honour of Mrs. Hariette Skelton, which was accepted by Ghana Skelton.  This year’s recipient of the Hariette Skelton Scholarship was Taniese Clarke who is currently in the compliance field and aims to obtain a diploma in compliance.

After a full day of meaningful presentations that provided much knowledge and training, all the Conference attendees including Sponsors and Speakers were invited to a cocktail with entertainment at Myetts by the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park.   While enjoying the drinks and other refreshments, we received great entertainment from Jeremy Vanterpool and DJ Burch, which was a nice way to end the day’s Conference session.
The very next day an AML half day RegTech MasterClass was conducted by Mr. Stephen Platt, one of the Conference presenters at the BVI Finance Conference Room.   Stephen conducted a very enlightening seminar on examining the causal factors of AML failure and how to avoid them.    Stephen showed the full room of attendees how the old method of screening clients is no longer effective, if clients are only screened at take on and then periodically.   He pointed out that a client’s status can change overnight, and Registered Agents needed to have the tools to know about the change when it happens.   Stephen demonstrated how his RiskScreen software tool enhances client screening and helps to minimise AML risks.
This year’s Conference was well-attended and supported. A trend which has been seen from the BVIACO’s inaugural conference in 2016 and which continues to grow steadily each year.
Simon Gray, of BVI Finance had the following comments on the Conference, "BVI Finance takes great pleasure in sponsoring important industry events such as this one.  The BVI ACO have done an outstanding job in bringing together a range of key industry players.    Compliance with global standards is integral to ensuring that BVI maintains its position as a preferred jurisdiction of choice for business and financial services firms keen to follow the robust standards of the various global standard-setters. BVI Finance was delighted not only to support the event but also to provide input into the new Economic Substance panel discussion and a talk on Learning Opportunities from Corporate Governance Failures."

BVIACO’s aims

The BVIACO aims to increase compliance awareness in the BVI, raise the level and profile of the compliance function and, as evidenced in this year’s theme, to also increase the business awareness of Compliance Officers.

BVIACO would like to sincerely thank its sponsors:
Silver Sponsors – BVI Finance, ACAMS
Coffee Break Sponsors – BVI Finance, ComplianceAid
Diamond Local Corporate Partners – Trident Trust, TMF Global
Sapphire Local Corporate Partners – Alcogal, Ogier
Ruby Local Corporate Partners – Financial Services Institute, Mi Amor, Deloitte, Fresh Start
Speaker Sponsors – BVI Finance, Calvin Wilson & Associates, ComplianceAid, RiskScreen, Distributed Systems Limited, Ogier, Deloitte
Exhibitors – BVI Finance, ComplianceAid, RiskScreen, Distributed Systems Limited