Offshore provider: company registrations recovering from recession, total now 5% above 2008 levels

Offshore service provider Appleby yesterday published a report (pdf) with statistics on company registrations in Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and Mauritius. All of these jurisdictions are in the top 20 on the 2013 Financial Secrecy Index except for the Isle of Man, ranked 34th.

“As the global economy appears to be stabilising, the company registration data reveals that levels of new company registrations in several jurisdictions have accelerated following a faltered growth pattern during the second half of 2012.”

“In the first half of 2013 there were 38,416 new offshore company incorporations in total. Although this represented a small decrease of 3% on the preceding six months in 2012, this was primarily due to a seasonal decline in incorporations in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which has a disproportional effect on the total figures. Elsewhere, with growth at around 8-9%, most offshore jurisdictions are close to growth levels seen in onshore comparators the UK and Hong Kong. The UK is, as we would expect, leading this growth with an 11% increase.”

Looking a bit closer at the data in the report, it would have made sense to also compare numbers for the first half of 2013 with the same period in 2012 rather than just with the second half.  But this would have shown either a 9% fall year-on-year if BVI is included, or a slight fall of 0,3% if BVI is excluded, which doesn’t fit as well with the upbeat message an offshore service provider wants to be sending to its customer base.

In any case, despite its decline BVI “continues to dominate offshore new company registration activity by volume, and has consistently maintained a six-fold lead ahead of its nearest comparator, the Cayman Islands, and kept up a steady pace of circa 30,000 new companies registered each half year”.

The graph below shows the leading role of the British Virgin Islands among these 7 offshore markets.

New offshore company incorporations, first half 2013

company registrations

*estimated

Source: based on data compiled by Appleby Global

The report also has statistics on the total number of companies registered in the seven jurisdictions: 674.385 as of the 1st half of 2013, a figure “5% larger than pre-recession 2008”.

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