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MIA News

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  • 8 Apr 2020 10:00 | Anonymous
    Government sets up National Office for FDI Screening


    All interested practitioners are hereby being informed that the National Foreign Direct Investment Screening Office (hereinafter ‘the Office’) has been set up in order to implement the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union.
    The scope and remit of the Office shall be to screen new FDI projects, joint ventures with a foreign component and the transfer of any shares and/or controlling interests in existing companies where the owner, titleholder or ultimate beneficial owner originates from third countries (that is, any country which is not a member of the European Union). 
    The purpose of the screening process is to protect European Union intelligence, knowledge and technology as well as the security interests of the Union. The sectors which shall be subject to screening (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Relative Activities’) include the following:
    (a) critical infrastructure, whether physical or virtual, including energy, transport, water, health, communications, media, data processing or storage, aerospace, defence, electoral or financial infrastructure, and sensitive facilities, as well as land and real estate crucial for the use of such infrastructure;
    (b) critical technologies and dual-use items as defined in point 1 of Article 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 (15), including artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, cybersecurity, aerospace, defense, energy storage, quantum, and nuclear technologies as well as nanotechnologies and biotechnologies;
    (c) supply of critical inputs, including energy or raw materials, as well as food security;
    (d) access to sensitive information, including personal data, or the ability to control such information; and
    (e) the freedom and pluralism of the media.
    Consequently, it is of crucial importance that business practitioners in Malta (including audit and accounting firms, legal firms, business consultants and all practitioners who are in any way involved in the promotion of foreign direct investment ) are to observe the procedures which are being outlined hereunder.
    Prior to submitting the documents required by the Malta Business Registry (hereinafter ‘MBR’) for the purpose of company registration, all applications for business relative to the above-mentioned sectors will need to obtain the necessary clearance from the Screening Office. Hence, they are to submit an application for such purpose with the Office which shall contain the following information:   
    1. the ownership structure of the foreign investor and of the undertaking in which the foreign direct investment is planned to be made or has been made, including information on the ultimate investor and/or beneficial owner and participation in the capital;
    2. the approximate value of the foreign direct investment;
    3. the products, services and business operations of the foreign investor and of the undertaking in which the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed;
    4. the jurisdictions, including Member States, in which the foreign investor and the undertaking in which the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed to conduct relevant business operations;
    5. the funding of the investment and its source;
    6. the date when the foreign direct investment is planned to be completed or has been completed; and
    7. any other information as the Office may reasonably require for the proper execution of its functions in accordance with this Act.
    In order to allow an adequate transitional period for the introduction and implementation of the screening process, MBR shall, with effect from the 1st April, 2020, forward to the Office all relevant applications for company registration and share transfers relative to third country nationals / interests.
    It is important to underline that, notwithstanding the practice to define the Objects of the company to be registered in wide-ranging terms, the core activities which the company shall be undertaking are to be clearly indicated in the Memorandum, whereas activities of a superfluous nature are to be excluded. In case of doubt, the service provider may seek an initial opinion from the Office which will give the necessary guidance as may be required in the case in question.
    The Office would like to reassure practitioners that it is not its intention to create any unnecessary bureaucracy, so much so that in those cases where it is clear that the activities do not require screening, the Office shall endavour to give the green-light to MBR within 24 hours.
    With regards to the Relative Activities, it is to be noted that a full screening process will be undertaken with full due diligence on the activity and on the ultimate beneficial owner.  This process will take some time to conclude, although the Office will exert its best endeavours to conclude the process in the shortest time possible whilst not compromising, in any way, the extent and quality of the screening to be conducted, and could also involve some expenses to the promoter, depending on the case.
    Kindly be informed that the Office shall be governed by a Board which shall be chaired by Mr. Mario Galea (ex-CEO, Malta Enterprise).
     
    Further information may be obtained from:
    Mario Galea
    Email: mario.galea@nfdismalta.com
    Mob: 00356 99213344


  • 7 Apr 2020 10:49 | Anonymous
    As the approved accountancy body, the MIA is delegated a number of tasks by the Accountancy Board. This include accreditation of CPE Activities as stipulated in Directive 1 issued in terms of the Accountancy Profession Act.
    Course providers offering courses which are relevant to the accountancy profession can accredit their courses with the MIA. Accreditation is normally sought by the course provider as a marketing tool to promote the event amongst MIA members and warrant holders. On the other hand, participating/attending accredited courses provides the peace of mind that the course applies for CPE purposes.
    Accreditation is governed by the Accreditation Rules, which up till recently covered only face-to-face courses. In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the MIA has liaised with the Accountancy Board to issue a set of new temporary rules pertaining to online courses to complement the existing face-to-face accreditation rules.
    The Accreditation Rules for online courses have been approved by the Accountancy Board on 3 April 2020 and are applicable with immediate effect. These will continue to apply till the COVID-19 stipulated measures will cease to apply.
    The Accreditation Rules for online courses can be accessed via the following link.
  • 7 Apr 2020 07:58 | Anonymous
    WE ARE NOT IMMUNE – THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON REGULATED PROFESSIONS

    The Malta Institute of Accountants, together with the other professional bodies met (virtually) over the past few weeks to discuss how the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their professional activities and those of the significant number of persons working within those professional practices.
    As professional bodies we believe that our professions form an integral part of the community we live and practice in, and that we have a duty to contribute our experience and expertise towards a balanced solution to the economic issues being faced by the country as a whole.
    On Wednesday 1 April representatives of each of the professional bodies met with Minister Silvio Schembri and discussed with the Minister our proposals for (i) a National Strategy for economic measures to be considered by Government in addressing the severe economic and social difficulties that have been brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak; and (ii) a specific set of measures aimed at assisting our professions within the context of the national strategy proposed.
    Following surveys run by each of the professional bodies it is evident that whilst the full extent of the impact going forward is yet unknown, the immediate impact has been severe and the outlook bleak.  If this situation were to be prolonged, it will place self-employed professionals under significant pressure to meet their payment obligations and will place firms under severe pressure with underutilized human resources to meet their significant salary bills.
    In our proposals to Government, we acknowledged that there are economic sectors in the country that can be considered as “higher impact” and that any economic measures of state intervention are to prioritise those sectors; indeed we concurred with the strategy of Government to do so, however, cautioned that the professions are not immune to this environment.
    The six specific measures proposed to Government can be found in the following presentation:
    WE ARE NOT IMMUNE_Presentation by professional bodies.pdf
    Minister Schembri was receptive to the proposals and indeed he expressed an agreement in principle with the proposals made. The issue of debate is really, how and when would be the right time to implement them given that Government had to prioritise other sectors with urgency since the difficulties in those were more pronounced.
    The Minister also stated that in any event these measures cannot be adopted across the board within professions, and that even within the same profession one would have to make the case that assistance was necessary. Any scheme that will be in place would need to have sufficient flexibility to enable it to be applied on a case by case basis, taking into account, within each profession who required the assistance most. Not all professional accountants are in the same boat, and some would require assistance more than others, or indeed before others.  In this context he reiterated his agreement in principle with the proposals and directed the professions to make further representations with the Ministers responsible for their respective professions.
     
    Malta Institute of Accountants
    As an Institute we shall be pursuing the implementation of these measures by making further representations with the Minister for Finance and Financial Services of the importance of the introduction of these measures to give assurance to our profession that assistance will be available at the right time.
    The activity of certain professional accountants is not dissimilar to other sectors where work has reduced drastically or has come to a complete standstill.  Accordingly, those accountants whose livelihood has suffered a significant or almost complete drop in income or revenue have an arguable case to make, even now, and without having to wait for any particular scheme or measure to be announced, to qualify for certain assistance packages that have already been announced.   Each accountant falling is this category should, therefore, make his/her case to Malta Enterprise and apply for relief. We understand that where a reasonable case can be made Malta Enterprise is giving such cases due consideration.  Evidently, each case will be evaluated on its own merits and the relief granted will be a function of proportionality to the difficulties faced by the professional concerned.
    The Institute also refers its members to the CFR’s notification in relation to COVID-19: Fiscal Assistance - Postponement of Payment of Certain Taxes taking into account the latest feedback received in respect of the possibility of the extension of the postponement of taxes to those professional accountants who can genuinely demonstrate that they are experiencing difficulty in effecting payments.  The Institute also emphasizes the fact that the Malta Development Bank has just launched the COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme (CGS).  We also understand that the legislative tool in respect of moratorium on credit facilities is being implemented.
    Those who apply for relief and assistance are urged to inform the Institute that they have done so that such cases may be followed up by the Institute.


  • 17 Mar 2020 14:21 | Anonymous
    The Malta Institute of Accountants has been recognised as an approved accountancy body for accountants in Malta by the Minister of Finance
    See document here
  • 10 Mar 2020 14:11 | Anonymous
    The Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) received feedback from members that companies were having difficulties with the process of employing foreign nationals. Therefore, on 10th of March 2020 MIA held an information session conducted by Identity Malta and Jobsplus in order to facilitate the process of employing foreign nationals, with special emphasis on third country nationals.
    This session informed employers and Human Resource practitioners on the policies and procedures relating to the employment of non-Maltese nationals, highlighting ways how applicants can facilitate such a process including tips in this regard. Identity Malta went through the new procedures of how to use the online single permit system and how to fill in an application. The online single permit system application on behalf of third country nationals can be accessed following this link https://singlepermit.gov.mt/. In the information session Jobsplus covered the checklist including the labour market testing that has to be done, the reason why such tests need to be done and how the process has been simplified.

    This session was well attended and had to be restricted to a limited number of people in order to be able to answer the queries of the members on a one to one basis. If  you are a member of MIA and you  are interested in attending a repeat of this session please send an e-mail to technical@miamalta.org.
  • 28 Feb 2020 14:13 | Anonymous
    On 27th and 28th of February, a Forum organized by Qube Events was held at Intercontinental Hotel, Malta where the objective was to explore every aspect of payments from upcoming regulation to new payment methods and practical case studies.
    On the first day of the event, Mr Fabio Axisa, President of the Malta Institute of Accountants, was part of a panel discussion, moderated by Robert Courtneidge, CEO Of International Payments Business Moorwand Limited.
    During the panel discussion titled Malta Banking Sector - Risk, Regulations & Technology,  several topics were debated including regulations in Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, open banking in Malta,  how Fintech’s are treated by the Maltese regulators as well as their growth and how are the traditional banks responding to all this.



  • 20 Feb 2020 16:00 | Anonymous
    The Young Members Group of the Malta Institute of Accountants organised a special training session on the fundamentals of payroll on the 19th of February at Villa Arrigo, Naxxar.




    Industry experts Ms Karen Spiteri Bailey and Dr Matthew Brincat gave a comprehensive overview of the subject to introduce young accountants to this vital business function. Over 150 professionals attended the event to learn about legislation, practices and processes covering topics such as leave, notice periods, termination, taxation regulation and Maternity Fund calculations.

    The engaging presentation was followed by a Q&A session giving participants the chance to clarify points and delve deeper into specific areas. Attendees were keen to learn about the practical aspects of payroll and asked questions about measures announced in the last budget concerning leave and withholding tax.


    Institute President Fabio Axisa said the successful event showed that accountants are eager to continue their professional development throughout their careers. He especially encouraged young participants to be active in the transformation that the accountancy profession is going through: “The fresh perspectives of young people are the instrument of change which the MIA needs to keep driving the profession forward.”
    The evening proceeded with a complimentary networking reception offered by the Institute providing the perfect opportunity for participants to meet other young accountants and expand their professional circle. The training session on payroll was sponsored by Konnekt.


  • 20 Feb 2020 14:06 | Anonymous
    The Anti-Money Laundering (AML) & Financial Crime Conference was held on 20 February 2020. Over 200 delegates participated in the event, which was co-organised by ARQ Group and the Malta Bankers’ Association (MBA).
    The theme of the one-day conference was “The road to meaningful reform”. Significant focus was laid on the findings and actions resulting from MONEYVAL’s 5th round of evaluation of Malta as well as the need to restore Malta’s damaged reputation in this sector. Topical subjects such as effective de-risking, correspondent relationships and terrorism financing were also discussed. Significant discussion took place on the need for the country to take the bold steps to enhance the mechanisms in place to combat corruption, organised crime, money laundering and other serious financial crime.
    Mr Fabio Axisa, President of the Malta Institute of Accountants was invited to be a panelist.

     


  • 12 Feb 2020 09:16 | Anonymous
    MIA President presents Honorary Membership to the former President William Spiteri Bailey. We would like to thank Mr Spiteri Bailey for his valuable contribution to the Institute and to the Accountancy Profession




  • 4 Feb 2020 13:57 | Anonymous
    On 4th February, the MIA together with ACCA, through their joint ACCA examination scheme, hosted their first event for all local ACCA Approved Learning Providers (ALPs) and their respective tutors.  The event consisted of a whole day workshop discussing several topics related to the ACCA qualification, including the progression of Maltese students and issues associated with Computer Based Exams.



    During the discussion, the MIA’s President, Mr Fabio Axisa highlighted the fact that the Institute was there to work with and support all ALPs in their respective roles.  It was emphasised that maintaining and enhancing the quality of the profession is critical for the Institute and that it will continue taking the necessary measures to ensure that this is done.  ALPs had the opportunity to share their opinions on how MIA and ACCA can better support them moving forward. Several valid contributions were made by the participants present.
    Following the termination of the ALP event, some learning providers stayed on for the evening event for MIA-ACCA Joint Scheme Students. ACCA representatives: John Cunningham, ACCA Regional Head of Education, Europe and Americas and Dorothy Woods, ACCA Qualification Change Lead, Europe and Americas led a short session providing hints and tips related to examinations.


    MIA CEO and technical representatives then opened a discussion whereby the ACCA students present were given the opportunity to share their perspectives on how MIA and ACCA can better support them.
    Institute CEO, Maria Cauchi Delia remarked that “through the MIA-ACCA Joint Scheme, the MIA supports students, tutors and ALPs. We were delighted by the positive response to the event and we now look forward to act on the constructive feedback we have received.”


    John Cunningham commented that “the job market for professional accountants in Malta is strong, with great opportunities for bright and capable candidates. Events like these between MIA and ACCA are crucial in helping tutors and students to be well trained for the successful careers in Accounting that the Maltese economy needs.”
    ACCA students were subsequently invited for networking drinks with MIA and ACCA representatives and learning providers.
    Visit MIA's Facebook page for more photos
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