The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) released on Wednesday its Annual Report and audited Financial Statements for the year 2020, noting that the domestic financial services sector witnessed an increase of 5.5% in real Gross Value-Added rate. According to the MFSA, the rate rose to €1.028 billion last year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Overall, the watchdog processed 265 applications for authorization, and 25% were withdrawn or refused. Moreover, the MFSA saw a higher number of supervisory inspections that totaled 419, marking an 84% increase from 2019 figures and 149% growth over 2018 numbers. About anti-money laundering (AML) and Combatting the Funding of Terrorism (CFT), the authority commented: “The MFSA conducted 81 supervisory inspections on behalf of the FIAU, both as full-scope (comprehensive) and focused (targeted) inspections.”
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During the report, the Maltese financial supervisor highlighted that they are still keeping Brexit and COVID-19 effects in the loop towards domestic financial stability. “Significant enhancements and investment in the human resource of the Authority, with a total of 16,383 hours of training provided to MFSA staff. In 2020, the Authority also set up the Financial Supervisors Academy which provides training programmes to employees, as well as to other regulators, supervisors, policymakers and academics outside of the MFSA,” the annual report noted. In addition, supervisory inspections totaled 419, representing an 84% increase from 2019.
Legal Actions Taken in 2020
In terms of enforcement actions conducted by the MFSA, the report stated that the watchdog took 52 actions that resulted in a total of €975,462 in administrative penalties. “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,” Professor John Mamo, Chairman of the MFSA, commented on the results, which had three pillars: stability, continuity and growth.