Bearer Shares

The BVI Business Companies Act 2004 also provides for a possibility to configure a Business Company with shares issued in bearer form. While representing the ultimate way of ensuring the anonymity of offshore company owners, at the moment the use of bearer shares is strictly limited by law. The schedule of Government fees for BVI BC's contains a clear negative incentive against using bearer shares in the structuring of the Business Companies, as the Government fees for such companies are substantially higher. In addition, the bearer shares may not be issued to their actual owner but may only be kept in custody of a licensed custodian in the BVI, or outside the BVI, together with a written indication as to the actual identity and address of the owner of such shares.

All these new legal provisions do not completely prohibit the potential application of bearer shares but they certainly make this option less appealing and substantially more costly than using nominee shareholder services.

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