More companies were incorporated in the territory in the third quarter of 2023 than in the previous three months, a bright spot for a financial services sector that has grappled with steadily declining demand.

The Financial Services Commission announced recently that 6,123 Virgin Islands business companies were incorporated in Q3 2023, a 35.55 percent rise from the 23-year record low of 4,518 in the previous quarter.

Despite the quarter-on-quarter jump, the Q3 figure marks an 8.4 percent decline from Q3 2022’s 6,686 incorporations. And the 16,472 companies formed in the first nine months of 2023 compares to 21,391 formed during the same period in 2022, according to the FSC.

(Source: FSC)

The showing puts 2023’s annual total in the running to fall below 2020’s 21-year low of 22,362 incorporations. But if Q4 2023’s incorporations come in above 7,050, the Q4 2019-2022 average, then the 2023 total would be 23,522 incorporations, the second-slowest year in two decades.

The FSC stats also reveal that the number of active VI business companies on the register stood at 370,595 as of Sept. 30, 2023. That’s above the 366,050 recorded three months earlier but still well below the Dec. 31, 2011, peak of 481,002 active companies.

Diversifying

The territory’s financial services sector has put a lot of effort in recent years into diversifying beyond incorporations into other activities such as limited partnerships and trademarks, among others.

In Q3 2023, the sector formed 71 LPs, compared to 78 in Q2 2023 and 77 in Q3 2022. As of Sept. 30, 2022, there were 2,429 total LPs formed in the VI. FSC statistics also reveal that 91 new applications for trademarks were registered in the territory in Q3 2023, an increase from Q2 2023’s 61 new trademark applications but down from Q3 2022’s 102 new applications.