In 1993 the Trustee (Amendment) Act was passed. It updated BVI statute law by including certain provisions that had previously been effective only if included in the trust instrument. It gives greater flexibility in respect of perpetuities and provides for the establishment of purpose trusts. Additional amendments were brought into force in 2004, to further enhance the reputation of the BVI as an international trust jurisdiction.
The Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act (VISTA) was brought into force on 1 March 2004. The intention of this innovative piece of legislation is to create a trust vehicle to hold shares in corporate businesses, without the obligation on trustees imposed by the “prudent man of business rule”. This rule, which is designed to help preserve the value of trust assets, has made the trust an unattractive vehicle for holding assets that the settlor would want the trustee to retain. In addition, this rule imposes an obligation on the trustee to monitor the conduct of the business and intervene as necessary. This conflicts with the wishes of the typical owner of a family business and renders the family business an unattractive asset for the trustee to consider accepting as an asset to be held on trust.
The shareholder now is able to create a trust that specifically excludes the trustee from management responsibility and permits the business to be retained as long as the directors consider appropriate. Not all BVI trusts are subject to the VISTA trust regime, there must be specific provision in the trust instrument for VISTA to apply. Belmont Trust Limited can assist with the establishment and administration of trusts.
- establishing trusts
- independent trustees
- portfolio valuations
- trust accounting