Growing up in Malta, Elysia Cachia Pace says that she knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in the finance industry. With this goal in sight, she went on to study and graduate in finance and banking, and started her ACCA journey that will soon see her sitting her final exam.
Asked how one could know what her chosen profession would be at such a tender age, she explains, “I believe finance is the heart of the global economy. It is the lifeblood of any business.”
After several years of experience in the finance industry, Ms Cachia Pace has recently taken up the role of Tax Compliance Manager at Triton Capital Markets Ltd (TCM). TCM holds an Investment Service Category 3 Licence and is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA).
“Tax Compliance is a newly formed department within our company,” Ms Cachia Pace explains, affirming that, “like any other financial institution in today’s global environment, we face complex challenges that include increased regulatory requirements, and evolving tax obligations. The purpose behind this department is to have the necessary expertise in-house to oversee and assist the company to meet all tax compliance obligations, locally as well internationally.”
In addition to working and studying for her exams, Ms Cachia Pace is also a mother to two young children, making her life indeed very busy.
“I can’t deny the fact that the ACCA journey has been challenging, but juggling a good work-life balance is the key that has made it all work. I am a very ambitious, motivated and determined person. I believe that if you have a goal, you’ll get there, not by wishing for, hoping for, or dreaming about it. You will only achieve it by working hard for it,” she maintains.
There can be little doubt that Ms Cachia Pace is passionate about her work. Her new role as Tax Compliance Manager is an important one in the global tax sphere and requires a new set of skills and responsibilities. In fact, she reveals, one of her key responsibilities is setting up and managing a US Qualified Intermediary (QI) regime process within the organisation, and ensuring that effective controls are in place.
Ms Cachia Pace explains that the QI regime was introduced in January 2001 to identify US account holders holding US securities in offshore accounts. This was developed with a view to shielding income from US tax obligations and ensure that non-US persons are subject to the correct withholding taxes.
“In 2020, TCM entered a qualified agreement with the US Internal Revenue Services (IRS). The QI agreement also allows certain foreign persons to enter into an agreement with the IRS to act as Qualified Derivatives Dealers (QDDs) and to assume primary withholding and reporting responsibilities on all dividend equivalent payments that they make. We also obtained status as a QDD,” she says.
Ms Cachia Pace continues by explaining that being a QI-QDD brings with it new roles and responsibilities.
“There are some interactions between FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) and QI, like certain documentation, withholding and reporting. However, there are some key differences in the regulatory requirements like governance, types of documentation and customer identification,” she maintains.
Her other duties include providing support to her colleagues in other departments (mostly the finance and the compliance departments) and to process FATCA and CRS (Common Reporting Standard) returns of group companies. Her role also requires her to support and assist with the review of customer tax compliance forms and exchange due diligence information with counterparties, together with maintaining the required information and records for income tax and VAT.
Ms Cachia Pace says she finds her new role as Tax Compliance Manager very interesting and enjoys the dynamic of working within TCM. “What I love most about TCM is the belief that success is built on effective communication by understanding the key points of view of those who are working within the company and presenting them with a vision that they will be happy to implement.”
When it comes to the current economic climate and Malta’s recent grey listing, Ms Cachia Pace concurs that certain implications will inevitably be felt in the financial sector. These include increased procedural burdens and monitoring costs, banking difficulties and even lost foreign investment. However, she remains optimistic.
“In my view our country has achieved a lot in this regard over the years, but more needs to be done. I believe that we need to enforce and enhance existing regulatory rules, reduce tax obstacles for business, carry out proper due diligence and improve tax compliance and reporting. This will help repair Malta’s image abroad. Technology and digitalisation can be very effective tools to be used to fight tax fraud. Our industry is very well regulated. There should be no cut corners when applying these regulations, and we should try our utmost to adhere to them,” she stresses.
Despite the uncertainties that lie ahead, Ms Cachia Pace sees a bright future, both for Malta and her professional life. No one can doubt her enthusiasm for her chosen profession, as she reiterates that going to work every day is more meaningful and enjoyable. A great believer in personal development, she insists that it is important in life to do what you love, and lives life by her own motto.
“Do what you love. Follow your dreams, your passion. Follow your instinct and, above all else, never stop believing in yourself,” she concludes.
This interview was first carried in the Autumn edition of Business Now magazine, the sister publication to BusinessNow.mt
All photos by Tyler Calleja Jackson
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