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Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) has teamed up with MWM Corporate Services (MWM) to offer restructuring, insolvency and forensic services to BVI companies.
The timing of this exclusive alliance coincides with the new companies and insolvency legislation in the BVI. The Insolvency Act 2003 introduces substantial changes in the manner in which distressed BVI companies are treated and dealt with. In particular, the Act, stipulates that in joint appointments, one of the appointees must be an individual licensed and resident in the jurisdiction of the BVI. Such licences are restricted to BVI-domiciled practitioners.
"Given the important implications of the new companies and insolvency legislation in the BVI, Alvarez & Marsal through its alliance with MWM is in a strong position to work with the legal, banking and investment communities in Asia and the BVI, and to provide the necessary expertise in operational and financial turnaround and insolvency and forensic services to BVI-registered companies," says Cos Borrelli, Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal. "Based in the BVI, Meade Malone, founder of MWM, is a highly regarded insolvency practitioner."
The BVI has long been seen as an attractive jurisdiction for the registration of international businesses, with its efficient financial, economic and banking system. The BVI has enjoyed no exchange controls, exemption from taxes and limited statutory filings. To date there are more than 635,000 registered BVI international companies with more than 50 per cent of those operating in Asia.
In practical terms, this means that assets and businesses throughout Asia are often owned and managed by BVI companies and thereby governed by the laws and rules of BVI. This in turn means that restructuring and insolvency professionals, bankers and lawyers in HK, PRC and BVI often need to cooperate on assignments in these jurisdictions.
"Offshore companies are popular in Hong Kong, PRC and throughout Asia for investment financing transactions and structures," says Meade Malone, founder of MWM Corporate Services. "The international flow of funds from the United States or Europe into the PRC directly or via Hong Kong often flows through BVI, incorporated companies. Given the long list of advantages for companies incorporating in the BVI we believe this trend will continue.
"Restructuring, insolvency and forensic services have become an increasingly complex subject and no more so than in the business and investment structures that are popular in BVI and Asia."
A&M & MWM have had a strong working relationship for many years and the two firms believe the new alliance is a perfect two-way fit, allowing MWM to rely on and develop the core A&M skills and experience for the new remedies and options now available in BVI, while also enhancing A&M's ability to tap into MWM's core skills and experience in and around the Caribbean.
"It is essential that directors and other stakeholders consider all the options available to them in any cross-border scenario and between BVI and Asia, these options are changing all the time," says Borrelli. "The directors of A&M Asia and MWM are at the forefront of technical, statutory and practical developments in Hong Kong and BVI and are well-placed to ensure that all advice is practical and complies with the latest developments."
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