On 16th November 2021 the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued 194 authorisations for practitioners to act as company service providers, nearly doubling the previously authorised population. The concept of authorisation for company service providers was introduced by a law enacted in 2013, this previously had exempted practitioners such as lawyers and accountants and de minimis providers from needing to be authorised to act as company service providers. The Government decided to remove these exemptions and a new law was enacted in November 2020. Individuals and entities involved were allowed to carry on offering the services under transitional arrangements once applications opened in March 2021, and were given two months in which to submit their applications for authorisation. Once the application period closed in May 2021, the MFSA had six months in which to process the hundreds received, a project undertaken by the CSP Reform team set up for this leading to both large and smaller members of the sector are now being fully authorised.
The MFSA was able to build up a holistic picture of the applicants’ suitability, with a significant number of applicants being either turned down or deciding to withdraw. Larger applicants will have received a 12-month provisional authorisation during which they are expected to supply the MFSA with other information to prove that they meet all the due diligence criteria required for full authorisation, in order to ensure the highest standards. An MFSA guidance note on this will soon be uploaded on the MFSA website.
Ms Emily Benson head of Conduct Supervision and lead of the CSP Reform team, explained that the 2020 law was one of the action points completed from the original Moneyval assessment of the Malta jurisdiction. However, the implementation of the project within the deadline is also an important milestone when it comes to the credibility of the jurisdiction – all of which will contribute to the lifting of Malta’s greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force.
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