The Malta Independent 23 March 2018, Friday

ifs Malta holds annual seminar on the regulatory challenges ahead

The Malta Business Weekly Thursday, 14 December 2017, 11:04 Last update: about 4 months ago

The Institute of Financial Services Malta recently held its very successful annual seminar on the topical theme of The regulatory challenges ahead, an area which impacts all players operating in the financial services sector.

ifs president, Kenneth B. Micallef opened the seminar with an introductory address in which he stated that regulation had already impacted the financial services greatly and in spite of this, there was still more to come. However, while the plethora of legislation and regulation may seem overwhelming, it had to be kept in mind that the financial sector and its practitioners have an obligation to society of ensuring that the financial system is not used for any illicit purposes. To this end, all trusted financial services professionals have a duty to always act with integrity and to always uphold the highest standards of professional conduct, honesty and ethical behaviour.

This was followed by a presentation from Marianne Scicluna, director general of the Malta Financial Services Authority, who gave an overview of the MFSA's role in the ever-changing regulatory environment and outlined how developments taking place in the regulatory framework would impact financial services.

From the expert line-up of speakers, James Farrugia discussed the challenges of implementing MiFId II, Dr Malcolm Falzon tackled the new Insurance Distribution Directive and the commissioner for Information and Data Protection, Saviour Cachia, spoke about the changing landscape of data protection.

In his intervention, Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat, said that despite the crticism against the country's financial services sector, Malta should not adopt a siege mentality. It is important that all stakeholders work together to defend Malta and rebut criticism and show how transparent and compliant we are with all the legislation and regulation involved.

Opposition Leader Dr Adrian Delia talked about the challenges and opportunities in financial services. Dr Delia stated that while regulation had increased and we have to safeguard Malta's reputation, there were also opportunities to promote Malta as an attractive domicile and explore possibilities in such areas as FinTech and possibly even benefit from Brexit. We also need to invest in our people.

The panel discussion, chaired by Vanessa MacDonald, dealt with the practical implications of regulatory changes on the consumer. The panel consisted of the expert speakers who spoke earlier with Financial arbiter, Dr Reno Borg and the vice president of the Malta Association of Compliance Officers, David Galea Souchet.

In the closing address, Prof. Edward Scicluna, Minister for Finance, stated that Malta is currently undergoing a severe test on its financial institutions and issues like business transparency and its tax regime were attracting a lot of international media attention. In spite of all this, Malta's financial institutions will survive as they become more efficient and compliant with the new rules and look towards new opportunities.

The president of ifs Malta expressed his satisfaction at the outcome of the seminar. He stated that, besides obtaining a better understanding of the coming our way, it was truly beneficial to attain a holistic view and first-hand knowledge and insight of this change by hearing the views from a political perspective together with the viewpoint of regulatory bodies and that of practitioners.

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