Malta: Financemalta Conference: Islands Facing A World Of Opportunity
Last Updated: 22 June 2017

Brexit, Fintech, Blockchain... the FinanceMalta 10th Anniversary Conference brought together key strands which will define the future of Malta as a Financial Centre. Patrick L Young reflects on delivering the final speech of a successful event.

As the closing keynote at this year's FinanceMalta conference, I had the interesting experience of bringing together the many wise and interesting views already expressed during the 10th anniversary event while threading in a few thoughts of my own on the major topics of the content-rich day.

Brexit was the first major topic of discussion; the politics are one thing, the negotiations another, and as for the end result? Well, nobody knows but the key message shining through from the speeches beginning with Lord Marland of Odstock, were simple: Opportunity! Moreover, this opportunity must be overlaid onto the key understanding that financial services centres are not a zero-sum game. 

In a world of expanding products with increasing global prosperity driving a greater demand for services there is always opportunity. Brexit delivers another possible source of both outright "new new" things and the "tail" of some UK operations which prefer/require a closer EU regulatory embrace.

Brexit opportunity is not the misguided notion of defenestrating the British financial services industry; rather, it is about building on modest opportunities which emerge from the new European order – both within the EU, bilaterally with the UK, and indeed beyond in the Commonwealth and those 180 or so nations not within the EU's customs union. Malta's Anglo-Saxon legal base and broad English fluency makes it an attractive base for business. Therefore, one Brexit message was clear – this is an opportunity and Malta has a wondrous chance to further expand its financial centre because of the possibilities which will emerge even before the fog of negotiation clears.

Of course, the opportunity spelt out by Brexit runs parallel to the fabulous possibilities within the rapidly extrapolating world of financial technology - or 'fintech'. While general media is clearly more oriented to the impacts on online banking and the retail investor, the reality is that the serious innovation of fintech is taking place in the wholesale markets. 

Fintech is a fascinating opportunity for Malta, albeit lined with many pitfalls. For one thing, it is vital to consider how to regulate and indeed, where and when to regulate! The difficulty is in establishing a regulatory system which is fit for purpose in a fast-evolving world. Thus, many western nations are already locked into dangerous spirals of knee jerk regulation to save old established industries by imputing new laws which will soon impede the serious evolution of our shared digital future. When it comes to taxis, for instance, many cities from France to the USA have been reacting to the rise of Uber and similar taxi-like services by protecting the old licensed cab monopoly which dates to the era of horses and carts. However, politicians protecting licensed cabs with restrictive regulation is a deeply dangerous precedent. Why? Well the future isn't about Uber drivers versus taxi drivers! Rather, we are on the verge of an era when the driverless car will flourish across the world. Thus, we must allow Schumpeterian creative destruction to achieve the better outcome for all citizens. Financial regulation faces the same issues - and those making the rules must possess the wisdom and perspective to regulate with an eye to what is a very different future driven by technology.

Meanwhile, at the heart of e-commerce we see that the core model of Airbnb or Uber, to name but two, is itself a variant of the finest model for growing commerce that the world has ever seen: the exchange. 

Exchanges are not dissimilar to the open markets where Maltese traded with Phoenicians thousands of years ago, embodied today in the more regulated processes of the Malta Stock Exchange. Thus, we must ensure that we encourage exchanges to remain at the epicentre of all financial markets, enabling bourse-style processes like crowdfunding and suchlike to grow under pragmatic regulation. 

Much of the FinanceMalta Conference discussion centred around Blockchain, the technology which has mushroomed from a nerd sub-Reddit topic to being seen as the future of all organisations within barely five years! True, there is much hype but practically there is significant substantial potential too: the age of blockchain is upon us.

The Bitcoin cryptocurrency has driven the blockchain mainstream delivering a Copernican Revolution in money and financial markets; however, the Distributed Ledger is hardly a new thing. Steve Tendon's excellent presentation showed its origins through the likes of the Domesday book in medieval England... the exciting point now is that the digital distributed ledger is coming of age with an incredible opportunity to make government, society, and corporations of all form, vastly more efficient.

I ended my presentation by looking forward to 2027: the 20th Anniversary FinanceMalta conference! There are indeed threats everywhere and any financial centre must guard its reputation zealously but, as we look at the big data universe ahead, one thing is clear – the Maltese Islands must remain nimble to succeed. Stasis is not an option – that will only enable competitors to leapfrog the progress that Malta has already made. Whether in Brexit, on the Distributed Ledger, or across fintech - from any angle of the financial services industry - the need to progress, to move up the value chain while regulating with a pragmatic eye to the long-term future, is clearly the only way to go. Malta has vast potential but there is no time to pause progress as the outcome in the digital world of opportunity awaits. 

Thus, the end result for Malta in its chosen niches will be a simple binary option: Victory or Death!

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Press Releases from this Firm
Recent Content from this Firm
By Finance Malta
By Finance Malta
By Finance Malta
By Finance Malta
By Finance Malta
By Finance Malta
By Finance Malta
By Justin Cutajar
By Justin Cutajar
By Finance Malta
Font Size:
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.