The INSIGHT Interview: Herald Bonnici, Secretary General, Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (PEVCA)

Finance Malta


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.
The secretary general of the association, which was set up in April 2024, believes that these two sectors will bring other things, like family offices, with them.
Malta Corporate/Commercial Law
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on

Not just bigger but better

Herald Bonnici has one very clear aim for the Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (PEVCA): to put private equity and venture capital in the spotlight.

The secretary general of the association, which was set up in April 2024, believes that these two sectors will bring other things, like family offices, with them.

"This is something that can act as a catalyst for economic growth in a sustainable way, also creating jobs," he said.

PEVCA was set up by five founding members – Mediterranea Capital Partners, NOUV, Calamatta Cuschieri, Apex Group and Ganado Advocates.

"These are well-established companies with international recognition, so we are able to sit down with our international partners to network," he explained.

The association was pleasantly surprised by the level of interest across the financial services sector, with 21 applications for membership received in just a few weeks since its launch. Currently offering a single level of membership, it is already clear to Herald that this may have to be stratified in due course, to reflect the fact that it is open to everyone from private equity and venture capital funds, to individual investors and family offices, and to service providers.

One thing is clear to him: Malta's location is a unique selling point. His decades of experience have shown him the potential in countries outside the EU.

"I view countries in Africa and the Middle East from a very different perspective, and our position as a natural bridge with Europe," he said, adding that the capital flows in these areas was substantial with great potential for the Maltese jurisdiction. It helps that this approach is one that is already being pursued diplomatically by the Maltese Government, which has established a network across the area.

"Our strength lies as a hub for capital flows in the region. We are neutral and because we had no direct historic involvement in Africa, we are accepted everywhere," he said.

He pointed out that some entities – including sovereign funds – that he has been in touch with over the past years have portfolios larger than Malta's whole GDP.

"Our whole economy is basically the size of a medium-sized fund," he said, noting that the island's current registration of some 500 funds is far smaller than that of other financial services jurisdictions. There is plenty of business for us to be able to grow."

The association came into existence at a time when the financial services sector was already looking ahead. The Malta Financial Services Advisory Council established the national strategy for financial services, which includes family offices, while the general economy is facing the re-positioning of the real estate sector and the review of imputed taxation.

"The economy will need to grow at a sustainable rate and to do that we need to attract investment. PEVCA Malta can help by creating activity that will complement other sectors. It is another tool in the array of tools that Malta has to promote itself as a centre of excellency in financial services," he said.

He is excited about the multiplier effect that private equity and venture capital could have. Apart from registering their funds in Malta, he knows from experience that once here, they would look at complementary opportunities in the country.

He ticked off the advantages that Malta offers, from the English language to the flexibility which balances out the problems of economies of scale.

"As a service-oriented country, look at what we achieved in the maritime sector. Imagine what we could do if we applied our collective expertise to create an ecosystem for private equity and venture capital!"

Of course, the advantages are not enough without a supporting ecosystem, such as the existence of a 'fund of funds', for example. He also lauded the establishment of the Venture Capital Scheme for a token €10 million investment which is a step in the right direction.

"And for venture capital, you need to have a healthy accelerator programme – as companies taken on board by an accelerator will already have gone through a filtering process.

"Investing is all about hope and the trust that tomorrow will be better than today. That is what venture capital is..."

Other changes in the pipeline were highlighted by the MFSAC strategy, such as, for example, the distinction between 'general partner' and 'limited partner' in terms of regulation.

"These seem to be minor changes for us to make but using the right jargon will have quite an impact. You need to listen and if clients say that there are things that are missing, you need to take action and then go back to tell them it has been done. You have to be very proactive!" he said.


Picture: Herald Bonnici, Secretary General, Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (PEVCA).

The importance of reaching out was also underlined by him several times, especially the need to "knock on doors and persist".

"You will not attract any business sitting behind your desk! You will not be successful with 100 per cent of the people you reach out to – but you will make inroads. And you have to be confident: if you do not think big, then none of the big players will consider you. We need to think both bigger and better."

It is not just the regulatory or promotional side that need a fresh eye: he is convinced that Malta can achieve much by thinking outside the box when it comes to taxation, saying that there are many other schemes and incentives that could be considered, including those linked to start-up salaries, for example.

"Our current taxation system has been instrumental in getting us to where we are now but we should not be complacent and we need to think ahead," he stressed.

The association will also have to tackle head on some of the misconceptions faced by this sector, such as the approach taken by private equity, which is aimed at deriving medium-term returns.

"Apart from there being numerous safeguards, for example with regard to workers' rights, you have to bear in mind that private equity funds handle money from professional and institutional investors. This responsibility makes them very careful and they are much more interested in high quality investments rather than something which could have unethical aspects that could undermine their credibility. This is why they place much store by ESG – and not only the green credentials but also the governance aspects," he added.

Where does he see the association's role in developing the future scenario?

A delegation from the association went to Prague in mid-May with FinanceMalta to take part in a panel discussion on Malta's potential for private equity and venture capital, and PEVCA Malta is already drawing up a calendar of regular events, from evening networking sessions to podcasts and a media presence.

It is also working with a partner to draw up a report on private equity and venture capital in Malta, which will also identify possible action points to improve the country's offering.

"If we are all beating on the same drum, the noise gets heard. You start to signal your presence. If the economy grows, then everyone will benefit and all our members will benefit from the presence of the others."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More