Malta’s Financial Services Industry Grows

MEDIA ROOM

As stated by The Malta Independent, despite the global recession, the financial services industry in Malta grew by 22 per cent last year, and employment in the sector rose to almost 7,000, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said yesterday, during FinanceMalta’s third annual conference held at the Grand Hotel Excelsior yesterday.

“We now have to focus on our ability to continue providing the human resources necessary for the sector to grow.

“We are addressing this issue by encouraging more students to go into finance and by offering scholarships to help them further their studies and achieve the excellence Maltese professional service providers are renowned for. To this effect, we will be launching this year’s call for applications for scholarships in the coming days.”

Dr Gonzi observed that despite the recession, Malta’s financial system escaped relatively unscathed, largely thanks to the country’s robust and stringent regulatory framework and its adherence to sound banking principles.

He added that the government was focused on protecting jobs, and noted that Malta was one of two EU countries that managed to reduce its deficit in 2009. Malta was one of the top five performing EU economies in terms of GDP.

The latest Moody’s Investors Service Report attested Malta’s high degree of resilience, stating that Malta’s A1 government ratings reflect the country’s “high economic resiliency and its very high financial robustness”. The financial services industry therefore is an area that the government is fully committed to. It intends encouraging, facilitating and implementing policies that will continue to grow the sector. Indeed, the government’s vision is to see the sector’s contribution to GDP double from 12 per cent to 25 per cent by 2015.

“We are already ranked among the top five emerging financial centres in the world in the City of London’s Global Financial Index. The challenge is now to remain at the forefront of this sector,” said Dr Gonzi.

Another 20 memoranda of understanding have been signed with financial services regulators in various countries, including with China, in a bid to make Malta even more relevant as a two-way channel for international investment.

“We have to continue to ensure that international investors know that doing business in Malta is doing business at the highest benchmarks and standards possible. Concurrently with FinanceMalta’s efforts, we are also working hard to promote Malta internationally at every political level.

“Indeed, each one of the government’s official visits abroad is accompanied by a specific event to market Malta. Only two weeks ago, FinanceMalta organised a highly successful event in Bahrain to promote Malta as a regional finance centre.”