The Malta Financial Services Authority: implementing innovation through regulation


Ever since Malta’s accession to the EU back in 2004, the Maltese financial services sector has experienced high growth levels with investment funds, insurance companies and forex and binary options brokers entering the country, not least in order to enjoy passporting rights throughout the entire EU internal market. Foreign companies entering Malta seemed to appreciate the fact that the harmonization of the country’s financial services regulation came about in a very smooth and timely manner and the local authorities ensure that EU legislation is always transposed in time.

Currently, the financial sector is an important part of the Maltese economy and acts as a growth driver. Indeed, what is noteworthy is that at a time of global economic recession, Malta has been one of the fastest growing economies in Europe with the country’s new administration even doubling its GDP growth for last year alone.

In fact, Malta can currently boast as being one of the EU’s most resilient and stable economies with a healthy inflation rate of roughly 1%, and also one of the only EU countries to experience growth in the job market. And the role of the financial services sector towards this is substantial. This is evident in the fact that Malta remains an attractive and strategic designation for companies worldwide within which to base their operations. Companies are attracted to Malta due to its economic stability, excellent IT connectivity, and a hard-working and English-speaking workforce, made up of well-trained professionals.

Moreover, much of the growth and resilience of the financial services sector is based on the robust regulatory framework and the pro-active manner in which the Malta Financial Services Authority puts its motto “innovation through regulation” into practice.

The MFSA constantly reviews legislation and proposes new programs; as it tries to keep everything in check by holding discussions on a continuous basis with individual companies. It is the stated policy of the MFSA that the regulators should meet with all stakeholders, discuss issues before hand, and have in place an open-door policy, as it is easier to avoid problems when the process of regular contact between the regulated companies and the regulator is properly institutionalized.