Could you describe the current level of activity in Malta’s finance centre and comment on the recent performance of your sector?
Malta has enjoyed healthy economic growth in recent years. Effectively, 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. Malta remains having strong labour market fundamentals, recovering investment and an accommodative fiscal stance.
What trends and developments are currently influencing your sector, and the finance centre overall, that are particularly noteworthy?
We have experienced considerable demand in connection with the Virtual Financial Assets regulatory framework and the FinTech regime. This has been especially faciliated by the MFSA’s support for innovation and new technologies in the area of crypto-assets whilst ensuring effective investor protection, financial market integrity and financial stability.
What would you highlight as the main attractions of doing business in and from Malta?
Malta’s tax competitiveness remains robust and at the forefront of market participants. Even though it has been targeted by international and European stakeholders, Malta’s tax system is recognised as not harmful and continues to provide a competitive advantage. Naturally, the importance of value creation and substance when businesses set up in Malta is a fundamental aspect which should not be undermined.
What challenges and opportunities have you identified that are impacting your industry and what key priorities will you be pursuing over the coming years to ensure continued growth?
While the banking sector offers minor challenges to the various industries, it still remains the safest in the eurozone. Malta has established itself as an international banking centre and hub for finance in the Mediterranean region. Over the past decade or so, the banking sector in Malta has transformed itself from one having four retail banks serving the local population to a reputable international banking centre. This influx, which includes several leading banking groups, has added dynamism to Malta’s financial services industry, and the expectation is that many other banking institutions will follow this lead.
Moreover, Malta is championing the crypto-world as being the first European Member State to regulate Virtual Financial Assets and providing a comprehensive regulatory framework for the sector, which attracted investment from all corners of the world. This brings a considerable amount of opportunity to Malta and to all market participants.
As the finance centre is future-proofing itself, how do you believe Malta should position itself for the next three to five years?
Malta should sustain its growth by offering new solutions to the challenges it encounters whilst keeping abreast and in compliance with international and European regulation.