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Malta: a regulated Financial Services Centre in the Euro-Med Area
Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) is the single regulatory authority for all licensed financial services businesses in Malta. It regulates and supervises banks, credit and financial institutions, investment and savings companies (including retail and professional funds), insurance business (including managed or captive insurance companies) and trusts.
The MFSA licenses local and international companies to operate in Malta and has wide powers to help maintain orderly markets and good corporate behaviour. It is also the listing authority for the Malta Stock Exchange and houses the country’s companies registry.
EU Passporting of Financial Products & Services
Financial services have become a significant part of the Maltese economy over the past 15 years. Sectoral growth accelerated following Maltas accession to the EU in 2004. Because of Maltas membership of the European Union, financial products and services licensed by the MFSA can be “passported” into all of the other 26 EU countries. Passporting reduces cost and bureaucracy and opens up markets, while helping to maintain investor confidence in high regulatory standards.
Financial services in Malta have become highly internationalised and in response to that and to the growing number of local and international finance companies in the country, the MFSA has adopted a risk-based regulatory regime.
It has an operating policy of being responsive, efficient and tightly managed. By international standards its fees are extremely competitive and operating costs in Malta are well below those of most Western European finance jurisdictions and other established domiciles.
The Authority has an important role to play in the long-term development of the Maltese economy and is one of the principal organisations responsible for Maltas commitment to and investment in continuing professional training and development in banking, finance and insurance.
High Standards of Conduct & Management in Financial Services
The MFSA is a statutory body set up by an act of Maltas Parliament, though, in line with best practice, it operates with a high degree of autonomy from government. The organisation of the Authority is geared towards the continued development of a competitive, diversified, high quality, well regulated finance jurisdiction. Its corporate culture is captured in its mission statement; “Ensure high standards of conduct and management in financial services and promote the legitimate expectations of consumers.”
The MFSA is a member of all the pan-EU organisations and committees concerned with regulatory and supervisory affairs in the finance sector, including CESR, CEBS and CEIOPS, as well as being a member of IOSCO and IAIS. In common with financial regulators worldwide, the MFSA works in close co-operation with the IMF / World Bank, the OECD and The Financial Action Task Force.
Language & law
Maltese law has numerous similarities with the main legal systems operated by the majority of EU member states and has the benefit of being written in English and Maltese. English is one of the official languages of Malta and is the predominant language in the finance sector and in business.