Persisting Growth in Financial Services during 2015 despite Challenging Conditions


2015 presented a challenging economic environment around the world, yet the Maltese financial services sector remained resilient and managed to grow. New business was generated in the banking sector and related services, investment services, trust services, while there was a modest increase in the number of newly registered companies in other sectors.

Within banking, one company was upgraded to credit institution from financial institution, shifting the total number of authorised credit institutions in Malta to 2018 at the end of 2015. In addition, 9 companies were licensed as financial institutions beneath the Financial Institutions Act. Two of these were licensed to provide payment services, one institution was licensed to issue electronic money, while three were licensed to provide both payment services and the issuance of electronic money.

Growth within investment services was also significant, with 22 licenses being issued across various categories. Sixteen licenses, including a number of UCITS and AIF managers were issued in Category 2, while three custody licences were granted – two in Category 4a and one in Category 4b. Furthermore, a number of licenses were revised in order to be able to provide additional investment services while 8 companies no longer remained licensed.

The funds sector recorded a good year, with 109 new funds and sub-funds being licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). These consisted of 11 AIFs, 78 PIFs, 20 UCITS, and 3 CIS recognition certificates issued beneath the Investment Services Act. Simultaneously, a number of sub-funds no longer remained licensed while others had their licensed revised and changed from PIFs to AIFs.

The Solvency II framework, coming into effect on the 1st January 2016, posed some challenges to the insurance sector but despite this, the sector still managed to perform well. Four new insurances were registered, along with a Protected Cell Company and a reinsurance company authorised under the Insurance Business Act. Two insurance undertakings has their license revised in order to incorporate additional classes and two new cells were approved, while six insurance companies were no longer authorised, leading to a total of 29 approved cells within twelve Protected Cell Companies by the end of 2015.

One company was also enrolled in the Managers list as per the Insurance Intermediaries Act, while one cell was added to an insurance brokerage Protected Cell Company. Further to this, several individuals were added in the insurance registers and a certificate of registration was granted to two retirement schemes and two retirement scheme administrators. The surrender of one registration was accepted.

Nine new authorisations were issued in terms of Trusts and Trustees, while there were 3 surrenders of authorisation, leaving a total of 148 at the end of 2015. Moreover, there were 67 registrations beneath the Company Services Providers Act – 58 more than in 2014.