IFSP Conference Reaffirms Importance of Financial Services to Maltese Economy

The Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP) held its annual conference on April 7, to continue its mission as “the voice of the financial services industry in Malta”.

At the day-long conference, key figures from the worlds of politics and the financial sector shared industry updates and their views on the way forward, with delegates attending both in person at Xara Lodge and online.

The conference kicked off with an online address from Roberta Metsola. As president of the European Parliament, Metsola said Malta should explore alternative methods of attracting investment beyond low-tax status, while warning of the long-term impact of sanctions economic consequences resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Finance and Employment Minister Clyde Caruana and Nationalist Representative Ivan Bartolo also addressed the conference, discussing Malta’s gray listing by the FATF, inflation resulting from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the level minimum tax.

All speakers also called for unity across political divides to improve industry standards, not only to ensure that the country is soon removed from the FATF gray list, but also to create a sustainable future and trustworthy for the industry.

“We chose the title of this conference, ‘Revitalizing Financial Services – Charting a Sustainable Path for Malta’ with intent,” said IFSP President Tonio Zarb in his opening address. “We need to revitalize the financial services sector, while achieving our ambition to grow the sector and build a sustainable international business services center that does us justice.”

MBR’s Geraldine Spiteri Lucas, MFSA’s Joseph Gavin, Deloitte’s Conrad Cassar Torregiani, PWC’s Neville Gatt and EY’s Robert Attard joined panels of other experts to discuss AML/CFT requirements, challenges recent tax developments and how to support the industry following the FATF gray list. All agreed that the ease of doing business in Malta should remain a top priority for the sector. Two specialized break-out sessions also allowed participants to share their views on recent proposals for EU tax directives and the draft corporate governance code published by the MFSA.

A first presentation by Gordon Cordina of E-Cubed Consultants Ltd shared the findings of a survey, co-commissioned by the IFSP, which highlighted the significant contribution of financial services to the Maltese economy – and will form the basis of the revitalization of the sector.

Following Cordina’s presentation, a panel discussion with David Delicata from the Malta Institute of Accountants, Geraldine Schembri from the Malta Institute of Taxation and Tonio Zarb highlighted the remarkable aspects of the survey results, in particular the figures taxes, the exceptional contribution of the expatriate community to the sector, the need to create a competitive employment environment and the gender gap in the sector.


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Stephen V. Lee