The latest report on the corporate services industry conducted by global trust, fund administration and corporate services provider Vistra, reveals that the trend towards onshore and mid-shore jurisdiction for doing business is continuing with Hong Kong the number one choice.
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the UK are the joint next most popular jurisdictions followed by the US and Singapore.
Globally there has been an increase in demand for transparency due to the negative publicity towards offshore centres; evidenced by the changing regulatory landscape to meet these demands. As such, it is timely to review whether offshore jurisdictions might fall out of favour; and the research shows that there has been limited change in the popularity of jurisdictions compared to the last report released a year ago with the top five comprising the same jurisdictions. Hong Kong climbed up one place to number one, overtaking the BVI and the UK, which advanced one place and dropped two spots respectively; the US and Singapore remain in 4th and 5th.
“At the time of our research, we found there is a continuing trend towards onshore and mid-shore jurisdictions, with the top five dominated by international financial centres (IFCs) either in or close to the world’s political centres,” says Jonathon Clifton, Regional Managing Director, Asia & Middle East, Vistra. “This also confirms our overall research findings that despite the uncertainties of globalisation, the industry continues to be optimistic towards driving economic growth.
“With that said, we have recently witnessed a decline in demand for certain offshore jurisdictions such as the BVI and Cayman Islands due to uncertainty driven by the European Union’s recent ‘economic substance’ requirement. We will need to keep a close watch on how these jurisdictions fare in the future in light of new regulations coming into play.”