The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has provided Carson Wen, Bank of Asia, with a general banking license, the first in more than 20 years. Carson Wen, 64, is a former Hong Kong acquisitions lawyer and founder and chairman of Bank of Asia.
The Bank will seek to service 200,000 out of the 400,000 mainly Chinese offshore banks who have been unable to open bank accounts to access the global financial system. The bank will serve as a landing spot for some of the hundreds of billions of dollars which flow out of China every year.
Orlando Smith, Premier of the BVI has pointed to the synergies to be gained as two-thirds of the incorporations in the BVI are Asian-based. Bank of Asia may breathe new life into the BVI which has seen a decline of more than 50% in incorporations since 2012, as offshore companies opt to absorb higher tax rates in other territories if it allows them access to correspondent banking services.
The financial backers of Bank of Asia have seen their shares fall by 36% since the announcement.