Maltese financial services sector registers 9.5% growth

Financial services now employ 12,000, and is one of the highest-contributors to the Maltese economy

The Maltese financial services sector continued to register significant growth rates in recent years, with a growth of 9.5% in 2018 over the previous year

In its annual report, the Maltese financial regulator said that despite a challenging and highly competitive environment, the MFSA registered a further 144 new entities, as more businesses sought to make Malta their jurisdiction of choice, bringing the number of entities licensed by the MFSA up to over 2,300.

When taking the ancillary services linked to the financial services sector into account, the sector now contributes 11.6% of Gross Value Added (GVA), making it one of the highest-ranking contributors to the Maltese economy. 

At the end of 2018, the sector employed more than 12,000 people, 1,000 of which were new jobs generated last year. This brings the share of local employment within the financial services sector up to 5.3%, almost double that recorded for other member states of the European Union, which stands at 2.9%.

The MFSA recently carried out a major restructuring exercise to strengthen its organisational capability and prepare it for future challenges, under CEO Joseph Cuschieri.

2018 also saw the coming into force of the Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Act, which meant that Malta was a trailblazer in the world of distributed ledger technologies and digital assets.

The MFSA also took regulatory action against Pilatus Bank and Satabank plc for prudential and money laundering breaches.

It also demerged the Registry of Companies from the MFSA so that the MFSA can focus better on its regulatory role and duties. The registry has established itself as a standalone agency and is now known as the Malta Business Registry (MBA).

As part of its supervisory activity, the MFSA kept its focus on the need to ensure market trust and improve the stability and integrity of the financial system in Malta.

CEO Joseph Cuschieri explained in 2018 the authority’s work focused on restructuring the MFSA’s organisational structure to strengthen its governance, culture and conduct; combating money laundering and terrorist financing; embracing technological innovation; and re-positioning the MFSA as a leading employer.

“In view of the wide-ranging impact of money laundering and terrorist financing, an issue which has international ramifications, the Authority will be strengthening its supervisory engagement, with the purpose of achieving our statutory objectives better, and this will, in turn, safeguard the reputation of Malta as a jurisdiction of choice for financial services. Whilst supervisory engagement shall be enhanced across the board, emphasis shall be placed on AML/CFT Supervision, in line with our AML/CFT Supervisory Strategy,” Cuschieri said.

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