What’s kept us busy over the past year
IFSP working on fintech regulation, tax matters, AML and more
The IFSP has been kept busy over 2018, a situation which looks set to continue through 2019. Through the IFSP Council and sub-committees, a wide range of issues each with a potential for profound impact on the day to day business of IFSP members and, indeed, of all practitioners have been and, where necessary, continue to be addressed.
Most members will be aware of the main areas of concern throughout the year. These include tax related matters, the new Virtual Financial Assets framework, anti-money laundering developments, the increasingly battered international reputation of the jurisdiction and the problems practitioners are facing with banks.
Many of the issues below will be dealt with during the IFSP’s conference on 25 February 2019. Visit the conference page for details and registration.
A taxing year….
The IFSP’s Tax and EU Affairs sub-committee during 2018 has worked on behalf of its members on a number of fronts, namely the Mandatory Disclosure Directive, the implementation of ATAD, the taxation of digital assets, the ongoing problems with delays in the processing of tax refunds and the Majority Voting Proposal by the EU Commission.
The MFSA has now published its strategy documents on FinTech for consultation, available from the MFSA’s website. This will be one of the issues discussed during the FinTech session of the IFSP Conference on 25 February. Please send us any comments or other feedback you may have on the strategy document to the IFSP secretariat; your feedback and concerns will form a substantial part of the IFSP’s final response.
Distributed Ledgers and Virtual Financial Assets
New areas of business are always welcome, but bring with them new risks and concerns as well as bright opportunities. Fintech in general, cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers technology is a case in point. The establishment of a regulated environment for virtual financial assets within the Maltese jurisdiction is a positive measure to contain and manage that risk.
Updating AML rules
The PMLFT sub-committee is another that has been kept busy during 2018, and will continue to be deeply engaged through 2019. Again, there are a number of strands to the committee’s efforts: the Register of Beneficial Owners (RBO), the updated Implementing Procedures (both Part 1 and Part 2, that is the sector specific guidance), and with the development of Virtual Financial Asset business, the development of AML guidance for practitioners and organisations in the VFA space.
AML for VFA Issuers
The IFSP is holding a course dealing with the application of AML regulations to the Virtual Financial Assets space. The course is intended as a preparation for people aiming to take on the role of MLRO with a VFA Issuer, as well as other practitioners oin the space who need to understand they way AML regulations may be put into practice in the new Distributed Ledger environment. The dates for the course are 14 and 18 March 2019.
It is unfortunate to have to recognise that practitioners continue to face problems in their dealings with banks in Malta.
Many are refusing to open bank accounts for corporate customers coming from abroad or taking an are inordinate length of time to process requests and provide banking services.
In many cases, the root cause is a de-risking exercise by the banks. The result is, unfortunately, a problem for international business on the islands, and a weight upon those practitioners who provide services to clients of this sort.