The Maltese Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has given itself a glowing review in its annual report. Given the global economic crisis, the MFSA was especially pleased that its financial services sector had “performed extremely well.”
Malta has reinvented itself recently as an innovative player on the overseas investment scene. The MFSA granted several new licences in the previous twelve months for fund managers and professional investors to operate in their jurisdiction. A lender was added to the list of approved banks, and many more insurance providers have been permitted to operate on the island.
Malta’s recent entry into the market for QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) which can receive UK pension funds free from UK income tax has confirmed the island’s status as a respected financial centre. QROPS is a market that has been recognised as a growing one, and Malta may be attractive to those who are looking to place their pension in an EU country that has a largely English speaking workforce, and a relatively favourable tax regime.
The jurisdiction is also seeking to reach markets outside the EU, and is reported to have signed agreements or memoranda of understanding with seven other foreign countries this year. The island has also invested in some research projects and is seeking to align itself as a new entrant into the Sharia investment market.
Unlike most other countries, claim the MFSA, Malta’s financial services sector has grown overall, increasing the number of people who work in the sector by over one percent. With so much doom and gloom coming from the E.U.’s financial press (particularly involving Spain and Greece, but other placed are not that rosy either), it is heartening to read about an EU member state that considers itself objectively to be doing well.