Regulatory fines in Malta skyrocketed in 2020
The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has significantly increased its intervention on the financial services industry.
According to the regulator’s annual report, it carried out 52 enforcement actions in the 12-month period, resulting in a total of €975,462 in fines.
This is a large rise compared to the previous three years, where between 2017 and 2019, it issued penalties worth €1.2m (£1m, $1.4m).
The higher volume of fines went hand-in-hand with an increase in supervisory inspections at 419 for the year, up 84% from 2019 and 149% from 2018.
Throughout 2020, there were 265 applications to receive authorised status, a quarter of which were either refused or withdrawn, the MFSA said.
Focus on sustainability
John Mamo, chairman of the MFSA, added: “Despite the adverse circumstances generated by the pandemic, we are pleased to note that the Maltese financial services sector continued to grow and generate employment opportunities over the past year.
“We remain determined to steer the sector to a higher threshold of long-term sustainability, also through the integration of new areas of supervision and potential growth.”
Christopher Buttigieg, interim chief executive and chief officer supervision at the MFSA, said: “In 2020, the MFSA continued to augment its capacity and capabilities, producing supervisory performance results.
“The authority delivered on commitments made with international standard setters and on projects which had been mapped out in our strategic plan. We are encouraged by the fact that, as eventful as 2020 was, and as ambitious as our strategic targets are, the Authority and the sector have remained steady on course.
“Looking ahead, the authority shall be focusing on bringing stability for the long-term benefit of the financial services sector, providing continuity, and fostering the sustainable growth of the sector. By focusing on these three pillars, we shall continue achieving positive results.”