After the devastating events of last week in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Ogier is pleased to report that all its BVI office staff and their families are safe and well, with a significant number now evacuated and in the process of relocating to other Ogier offices in the interim period before they are able to return to the BVI.
Throughout the last week, Ogier's global BVI team has continued to service its clients around the world and our business continuity plans have enabled minimal client disruption during the disaster recovery period.
As part of these business continuity plans, a number of our BVI office staff will be temporarily relocated to other Ogier offices, where they will be working alongside Ogier's BVI teams permanently located in those offices, which will continue to minimise business disruption while the BVI gets back on its feet.
Simon Schilder, who leads Ogier's BVI legal practice in Europe said: "I am relieved to report that all our employees in BVI are safe and well following Hurricane Irma. We have evacuated a number of our employees and their families, while work begins to rebuild the infrastructure within the BVI. Other employees have elected to stay to help on the ground and we continue to support them in what is an extremely challenging situation".
"Thanks to magnificent efforts by the BVI Financial Services Commission in focusing on business needs despite the huge disruption caused by Hurricane Irma, we are already able to access VIRRGIN, the Registry of Corporate Affairs' online filing portal, and Registry employees are already on the ground and able to process filings. The BVI's beneficial ownership information portal, BOSSs, has also remained fully operational throughout this period, both of which have helped to minimise disruption and ensure business continuity. Work is ongoing to re-establish the operation of the BVI Courts."
Simon Schilder said that although the BVI infrastructure had been severely impacted by the hurricane, the fact that Ogier has an experienced BVI legal team outside BVI to complement its strong BVI office team, had enabled Ogier's clients to avoid being materially impacted, as all ongoing work had been picked up by these lawyers.
"BVI companies play an important role in the global economy and help facilitate international trade and finance and flows of capital, it has been imperative that we have been able to continue to service our clients despite the impact of the hurricane on the BVI itself and I pleased to report that we have been able to do so, in these most testing times. Given the global usage of BVI structures, Ogier's BVI business has been structured to include BVI qualified lawyers in our offices across all time zones, so as to be able to provide clients and intermediaries with access to experienced lawyers advising on BVI law across all practice areas".
"The BVI government has made it clear that restoration of the BVI's economy will be a priority alongside ensuring requisite humanitarian aid and we wholeheartedly support them in those aims. While we continue to work to support those who have relocated from BVI and those who remain in the BVI, our thoughts are with everyone in the region who is still affected."
Our specialists in BVI law from around our global offices can be contacted as follows:
Urgent enquiries - Marcus Leese
Service line leads:
Corporate law – Simon Dinning
Banking and Finance – Anthony Oakes
Investment Funds – Simon Schilder
Dispute Resolution – Nigel Sanders
Private Client and Trusts - Marcus Leese