FinanceMalta Annual Report 2023

FM
Finance Malta

Contributor

Finance Malta is a non-profit public-private initiative set up to promote Malta as an international financial centre, both within, as well as outside Malta. It brings together, and harnesses, the resources of the industry and government, to ensure Malta maintains a modern and effective legal, regulatory, and fiscal framework in which the financial services sector can continue to grow and prosper. The Board of Governors, together with the founding associations: The Malta Funds Asset Servicing Association, the Malta Bankers Association, the Malta Insurance Association, the Association of Insurance Brokers, the Malta Insurance Managers Association, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners; its members and staff are all committed to promote Malta as an innovative international.
Looking back over the past year, one clear message has emerged: the importance of financial services to the Maltese economy.
Malta Finance and Banking
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Looking back over the past year, one clear message has emerged: the importance of financial services to the Maltese economy. The sector now represents a cosmopolitan workforce of over 18,000 people, and an impressive 97.6 per cent of the €500 billion FDI in Malta as of June 2023.

However, there is never any excuse for complacency and the sector needs to look ahead to make sure that it keeps its innovative edge and leverages its competitive advantages.

This is why one of the highlights of 2023 was the extraordinary determination and vision which brought together over 100 stakeholders, from the Government to regulators and private providers, to identify challenges and opportunities. The Malta Financial Services Advisory Council, chaired by the steady hand of Joseph Zammit Tabona, was set up in 2021 and spent two intense years of consultation. The result was the launch, in March, of the national strategy for financial services, which outlined no fewer than 175 action points to futureproof the sector. FinanceMalta is playing an active role in this Council, not only through our participation and contribution, but also through the appointment of Bernice Buttigieg, our Chief Strategy Officer, in the Project Management Office of this Council which has the remit to ensure the timely implementation of the strategy, while keeping our members abreast of progress, from the quick wins to the ones which require more groundwork.

Apart from promoting Malta's financial centre, FinanceMalta has also been working hard to inspire companies to think about sustainable finance, working on creating a website which keeps practitioners informed of recent developments while encouraging best practice. This was just one of the themes adopted, with the Foundation using its communication channels to disseminate information about other aspects of finance, through its podcasts, thought leadership articles, webinars and more. These include blue finance and climate finance, both areas of great potential for the sector.

Another area which we believe is important is financial literacy at every level of demographics and society. FinanceMalta has brought around the table numerous stakeholders to discuss ways to map out the current situation and identify any gaps across the work already being done.

Our outreach over our website and social media platforms has ensured that both our existing and potential members are aware of developments in FinTech, InsureTech, Artificial Intelligence and other technologies which are offering solutions for everything from compliance to foreign exchange. Malta's financial services sector has seen numerous start-ups take root, as well as established international companies opening an office here, enticed by the flourishing ecosystem that has consolidated over the past decade.

Over the past few years, the island's reputation has grown slowly but surely, complemented by the scrutiny of the regulators, legislative changes made or in the pipeline, and the establishment of new structures and functionalities by entities across the sector, such as the Malta Business Registry, the Malta Tax and Customs Administration, the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Malta Stock Exchange – and others. The positive reaction we have received at the various events we attended, from European supervisors and multiplier firms to individuals and our counterparts, encourage us to continue our work.

The Foundation's team – which was strengthened towards the end of 2023 by the appointment of Graziella Grech as Chief Operating Officer – has once again taken every opportunity to showcase what Malta and the FinanceMalta members have to offer. Our membership grew by over 8% – after a similar increase between 2021 and 2022 – and we have set new records with regard to various metrics, from the number of expert speakers and participants at our annual conference, to the number of podcasts and news mentions.

Our membership of the World Alliance of International Financial Centers has thrust us into insightful projects on topics such as the financing of supply chains, as well as the challenges of achieving net zero GHG emission targets. Malta is one of the few financial centres contributing to a White Paper on this topic.

While I am optimistic and keen to unravel what the future of this industry has in store, I remain in awe of what our small and enthusiastic team has managed to achieve so far. And once again, our Governors have been behind us at every step, offering expertise and guidance, as well as actively helping with promotion through our sectorial guides, presence at events, thought leadership and more.

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