FinanceMalta is a public-private partnership set up in 2007 to promote Malta as an international financial centre. It is a member of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres and the EU Roundtable of Financial Centres. Dr Bernice Buttigieg has been managing the foundation since its inception, and currently serves as its Chief Strategy Officer.

FinanceMalta promotes Malta as an international business and financial centre. What are its main selling points?

 Although our mission is to promote Malta as a financial centre, we would not have much credibility unless what we said was backed up by our members! This is why we are always thrilled to read foreign investors’ positive comments about our country’s nimble and dynamic approach with regards to regulation and legislation, the sector-wide ecosystem that has been carefully nurtured over the past decade, and the nationwide commitment to promote and support innovation.

In 2023, a financial services strategy was launched to ensure Malta remains an attractive jurisdiction for financial services. What is the main thrust of this strategy?

The key word is in the question: ‘remains an attractive jurisdiction’. Financial services are evolving constantly and, with FinTech in particular, the speed of change is truly impressive. This is why the strategy is so important: Malta must not – and could not – rest on its laurels. It has to constantly evaluate where bottlenecks exist or could develop. The strategy, drawn up by the Malta Financial Services Advisory Council after wide consultation with the Government, authorities and the private sector, has identified no fewer than 175 action points, all of which are aimed at making sure that the island remains an attractive jurisdiction.

What kind of assistance from public and private entities can prospective investors in Malta expect to find?

The island has always taken pride in its size: far from being a limiting factor, we see Malta as a place where the ease of networking is part of our DNA, a real contributor to the ease of doing business. The regulator and other authorities in this industry are accessible and dynamic, and the Government is keen to support private initiatives that have a multiplier impact. This is complemented by our location between Europe and North Africa, straddling the East/ West route across the Mediterranean. This ensures good air and sea connectivity for our multicultural workforce, backed up by top-of-the-range IT and data services.

However, we need to be careful not to become victims of our own success. The Government is well-aware of the fact that fast growth can lead to unintended consequences, and it is already evaluating the potential impact of such rapid growth on everything from utilities and labour policies to waste management and traffic.

What are the most recent trends or phenomena in the financial services space in Malta?

Many of the latest trends are those seen internationally: climate change, ESG and sustainability, all of which have prompted locallybased companies to expand their offering into these new areas of expertise. The Malta Stock Exchange is poised to welcome new products such as green bonds – the first to be launched was fully subscribed within hours – while the regulator is constantly working with the industry to ensure that it is ready to take on the demands of new EU legislation and frameworks.

It is an exciting time for the industry and FinanceMalta is proud to help its members achieve their maximum potential.

This feature was first carried in the Malta Invest 2024 edition. Malta Invest is the first-ever comprehensive international investment guide focusing on Malta as a destination. It is produced by Content House Group.

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