Firm implicated in BVI kickbacks report ropes in junior minister for rebrand party

MFSP Financial completes rebrand to Zenith Group with junior minister paying tribute to company’s evolution

Zenith directors Matthew Pace (left) and Lorraine Falzon (right) with parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri (centre)
Zenith directors Matthew Pace (left) and Lorraine Falzon (right) with parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri (centre)

The owners of an investment firm implicated in a kickbacks allegation prompted by a report by former PN leader Simon Busuttil, has completed a rebrand with a launch party earlier on Thursday.

MFSP formally announced its rebrand into Zenith Group at a launch party at Villa Arrigo, where managing director Lorraine Falzon describe Zenith as “the evolution of a company that experienced substantial growth.”

The company rose to prominence in recent years after Zenith’s executive director Matthew Pace, a board member of the Planning Authority, was said to have been responsible for an investment portfolio of some $700,000 held by Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri in a British Virgin Islands company. According to a report filed by Simon Busuttil to a magistrate back in April 2017, Schembri used the BVI company to channel payments to individuals like former Allied director Adrian Hillman through MFSP investment portfolios.

MFSP has now branched out into three individual companies: Zenith Finance, Zenith Plan and Zenith Consult.

Present at the rebrand event was Silvio Schembri, the parliamentary secretary for financial services. “It is very encouraging to see entities in the private sector, like Zenith Group that are responding positively to the government’s initiatives in the financial sector. The current government will continue taking the necessary steps to strengthen and support the finance sector.”

While Zenith Plan will focus on life insurance plans, Zenith Consult will offer corporate consulting, “ranging from business best practices, to marketing, to sales growth management.”

Earlier in 2018, MFSP was ordered by the Financial Arbiter to pay out over €100,000 in compensation for investment mis-selling and for not acting in the best interests of clients.

In one case, MFSP mis-sold a €10,000 investment to a part-time McDonald’s employee and student in her 20s, whom the Financial Arbiter said did not have the necessary experience and knowledge to invest in the failed LM Managed Performance Fund. MFSP was ordered to pay back the amount lost.

The firm was fined €12,000 by the Malta Financial Services Authority in 2012 and had its licence to sell complex products restricted for three years over its sale practices. The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit in June also fined MFSP €38,750 for failures in its anti-money laundering controls.

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