Malta’s Financial Services Industry is Thriving and Performing Well

“Malta is experiencing continuous growth and achieving excellent results in financial services. Different to what was reported in the recent Zyen Global Financial Services Index, where it was reported that Malta fell 8 places in this global financial services index from 77 to 85 out of 92 jurisdictions, the industry is thriving and performing extremely well. This success was in fact acknowledged in the index, where it was reported that ‘the European Island centres did well and there were strong rises for Malta, Reykjavik and Gibraltar.” This was stated by the Chairman of FinanceMalta, Kenneth Farrugia who was reacting to the findings in the survey regarding the growth of Malta's financial services. 

Mr Farrugia added, given that the index evaluates attractiveness on factors such as infrastructure and access to high-quality staff, small jurisdictions such as Malta are always going to be at a disadvantage because of the size of the market. However this does not mean that the country is underperforming, as what really matters is the real life situation where the industry is exceeding all expectations.

This success of the Malta finance industry is also being acknowledged and supported by the current administration, which has appointed the Hon Silvio Schembri as a Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation under the direct guidance of the Prime Minister. Also in line with this commitment to support the industry, last week the government also appointed a high profile Malta-UK Business Promotion Taskforce which will be responsible for business promotion of Malta within the UK. Other initiatives undertaken by government to support this industry also include the implementation of a strategy for Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies as well as the publication of a consultation document issued to further strengthen the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Mr Farrugia also referred to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index where out of 142 countries Malta ranks in the top quartile, 3rd with regards to internet bandwidth per user, 16th in the soundness of the banks, 20th in the strength of the auditing/reporting standards, 19th in the quality of the education system and 22nd in the regulation of securities exchanges. These are excellent achievements which Malta should be proud off and are the hallmarks of what attracts foreign direct investment to Malta (FDI).

In conclusion, Mr Farrugia went on to quote some statistics which clearly underlines the success of the financial services industry. In 2016, FDI was up by €9.5bn to €151.4bn of which 98% came from financial and insurance activities, retirement schemes were up from 36 in 2015, to 46 in 2016 and 50 up to June 2017. Other indications that further highlight the success of the industry are the increase in investment services licence holders which improved from 149 as at December 2016 to 163 as at June 17, the establishment of 60 new funds in the first six months of 2017, the registration of services providers which increased from 67 in 2015 to 140 in 2016 and 158 in 2017. Also new company and partnership registrations increased to 2,625 in the first half of this year compared to 2,523 for the same period last year. All this indicators amply show that the financial services industry in Malta is robust and is by no means showing any signs of weakness or fragility as might have been implied in the said report.