Q3 incorporations up again (Photo: FSC)

Incorporations soared in the third quarter of 2021, continuing a turnaround that began early last year.

More new companies formed in the Virgin Islands in Q3 than in any quarter since 2018. The news of the continued resurgence of incorporations after a disappointing record-low performance in 2020 was overshadowed in October by the Pandora Papers leak, though Q3 is too early for the effects of that leak to appear.

Although the jump in incorporations from Q2 to Q3 wasn’t as dramatic as the quarter before, the 9,523 new companies formed in Q3 represented a 52 percent increase over Q3 2020 and a 4.5 percent increase over Q2 2021, according to numbers recently released by the Financial Services Commission.

Q3 2021 was also the best performing Q3 since 2018 and the best all-around quarter since Q1 of 2018, when 9,798 companies formed. A solid Q4 could see 2021 equal or even overtake 2018.

It was a sharp contrast over the previous year. With just 22,362 new companies formed, 2020 hit a 21-year low for new incorporations, eclipsing the previous low of 26,150, which occurred in 2019.

Though they saw a slight spike in 2018, incorporation numbers previously had been on a general downward slide.

Total active companies

After hitting at least a 14-year low in 2020, total active companies rose to 372,196 in Q1 2021, or 5,832 more than finished out 2020.

However, between Q1 and Q2 of last year, the territory lost all those gains and more. With a loss of 7,216, total incorporations fell to 364,980.

Alongside new incorporations, Q3 also saw an uptick in the number of total active companies, with 372,911.

Total active companies have also been on a longerterm downward trend. In 2019 the numbers hit the previous 13-year low of 387,344 after peaking at 481,002 in 2011.

The territory also added 171 limited partnerships between Q1 and Q2 and added 54 trademarks, nine less than the previous quarter, bringing the total trademarks registered for the year thus far to 197. Since the enactment of the Trademarks Act 2013, a total of 1,659 new applications to register a trademark have been filed.

67 funds

With 67 funds established and 1,821 active funds, the quarter had 42 more funds active than the previous quarter and 305 more funds active than Q3 2020.