Press Release

 6th October 2021 

The Belize International Financial Services Association (BIFSA) is a member-based statutory body with the objective, among several others, of dealing with matters affecting the interests of the members, the association, and the International Financial Services Industry (IFSI) and to take such action thereon as may be deemed appropriate. 

The IFSI encompasses a gamut of highly specialized services which are heavily regulated by the Government including the provision of corporate services such as setting up corporate structures and trusts in Belize and in other jurisdictions. The IFSI in Belize is a strong contributor to the local economy providing skilled employment for Belizeans and has synergies with, for example, banking, real estate and other high value industries and investments. The IFSI is an essential fabric in the promoting of sound business locally and abroad. Based on the Economic Impact Assessment for the IFSI, at least BZD50 million in annual economic benefits is brought to the Country with the lion’s share going to the Government, and gainfully employs over 300 persons across all licensed services. 

The recent publication by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has revealed confidential information from leaked files of several corporate services providers including some from Belize. Regrettably, this publication highlights decades-OLD information which is no longer relevant in today’s highly regulated business environment. The publication creates the impression of an IFSI in Belize that is “anything goes”. This is far from the truth. Belize, like several other offshore jurisdictions has recently been under significant scrutiny and pressure from global powers to become more tax transparent. While Belize is not a large player in the global IFSI, it has always committed to being a cooperative and transparent jurisdiction. As an example, Belize met the deadline set by the OECD’s Forum on Harmful Tax Practices to remove “harmful” tax features from its IBC Regime and was assessed as compliant in January 2019 and was later removed from the EU Blacklist that same year. 

Corporate Services Providers in our industry, mainly lawyers and accountants and other service providers, are carefully vetted and approved a license by the Government before they can provide services to international clientele. 

It’s very unfortunate and unfair that corporate services providers have been characterized – even “smeared” – in the way that they have as it totally disregards and undermines the qualifications, examinations, and trainings that they have to comply with in order to be fit and proper to conduct this type of business. 

BIFSA strongly states for the record and benefit of its members, that it serves the IFSI with the highest level of integrity and moral standards and does not circumvent the law or its regulations for short term gain. It is a highly regulated industry. 

The erroneous allegations of the “Pandora Papers” are of great concern for the IFSI in Belize, and we strongly condemn the misinformation and unfair and unsubstantiated allegations against the industry and its practitioners. BIFSA and its members have now, and in the past, remained committed to the adherence of all laws and regulations in Belize including the highest level of ethical standards and will continue to do so for the betterment of the Belizean Economy and the IFSI.