Benefits of Malta as a regional financial centre

Leading officials and practitioners from Maltas financial services sector gathered in Londons Stock Exchange today to speak at a packed conference promoting the benefits of Malta as a regional financial centre.

The afternoon event, which was fully booked from weeks ahead, titled Financial Services in Malta: Where Opportunities Become Realities, was hosted by Financial Times Global Events and sponsored by FinanceMalta. Around 140 delegates came from a broad cross-section of leading banks, asset managers, regulatory bodies, accountancy firms and other representatives of the UK financial community.

Attendees heard presentations from Tonio Fenech, Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment; Joseph Zammit Tabona, Chairman of FinanceMalta; Michael C. Bonello, Governor of the Central Bank of Malta; and Prof. Joe Bannister, Chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Two panel sessions featured top executives from the private sector. The session on banking and wealth management opportunities included Tonio Depasquale, Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Valletta; Alan Richards, Chief Executive of HSBC Bank Malta; Margrith Ltschg-Emmenegger, President of FIMBank; and Malcolm Becker, Chief Executive Officer of Butterfield Trust (Malta).

The panel session on opportunities in fund management, fund administration and pensions featured Charles Azzopardi, Secretary of the Malta Funds Industry Association; Dermot Butler, Chairman of Custom House Global Fund Services; Gus Black, a Partner at Dechert; and David Butler, Founding Member of Kinetic Partners.

Finance Minister Tonio Fenechs presentation outlined Maltas attributes as a financial services centre, highlighting benefits such as a skilled and flexible, multilingual labour force, an efficient fiscal and regulatory regime and top quality ICT infrastructure. Central Bank Governor Michael Bonello explained how the international financial crisis has had only a limited impact on Maltas banking sector, and that according to the European Commission the economy is still expected to grow in 2009 while much of the rest of Europe is in recession.

The conference was chaired by Michael Imeson, Contributing Editor of The Banker magazine, part of the FT Group. He visited Malta recently and his article on how well Malta has weathered the global financial crisis was made available to attendees.

FinanceMaltas Joseph Zammit Tabona said today: The conference was a resounding success. We were extremely pleased with the seniority of the delegates, the quality of the institutions they were from and the interest they expressed in what our country has to offer. We are planning similar events in other European cities later this year and in 2010.

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