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law library  >  financial services law library  >  Malta: history of Financial Services

Malta's Historical Role in Financial Services



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Past dominions have left a very effective impact on Maltese cultural and historical reality. Malta, throughout its history, has experienced an array of European dominations, hence resulting in a multi-European effect on our cultural, business, legal and social reality.

Malta has historically been dominated by the main European powers Spanish, Italian, the Knights of St. John and the British. In 1964 Malta gained its independence and for the last 43 years we have managed our own affairs, independently and successfully. Our history has shaped our mindset - be it values, work ethic or creativity.

Malta's rides over the waves of its cultural experience and past. Most of our advantages lie mostly in our location and forward-looking, flexible approach. All this, coupled with a sound business infrastructure, central location, good telecommunications, extremely well-equipped ports and Freeport, and a sophisticated, European business environment have placed us at the forefront as a steady, well-regulated, yet adaptable European financial services community.

In the last decade, Malta has undergone a reforming process bringing all its financial legislation in conformity with international best practice. The country joined the EU in 2004, was one of the first six countries in the world to reach an advanced accord on fiscal matters with the OECD and ceased to be considered as a tax haven.

The establishment of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) on 23 July 2002 resulted in the creation of a fully autonomous public institution that took taken over supervisory functions previously carried out by the Central Bank of Malta, the Malta Stock Exchange and the Malta Financial Services Centre and is now the single regulator for financial services. This covers all financial activity including banking, investment and insurance. The MFSA also manages the Registry of Companies and has also taken over responsibility as the Listing Authority.

The advantages of EU membership in 2004 have certainly placed us as an even more attractive jurisdiction in the financial services sector. The benefits lie in a very extensive network of double taxation treaties, the direct applicability of EU regulations and the transposition of financial services directives, the possibility to offer EU-wide acceptable products, the presentation of a number of fiscal and business promotional incentives and other advantages including the single passport regime. All this has placed us on the financial map as a very significant and competitive jurisdiction when it comes to the establishment of investment firms, collective investment schemes and funds (both retail and professional schemes/funds), captives and protected cell companies.


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