The Malta Stock Exchange’s first annual Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Summit, held on 2nd February at the Westin Dragonara in St Julian’s, was a resounding success, attracting 450 participants from Malta and abroad.

The Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) said that this “greatly exceeded the numbers that were hoped for”.

The summit addressed significant developments within the financial and corporate regulatory space, as well as the challenges faced by practitioners in the financial services industry and beyond.

This year’s summit was aimed to be one of Europe’s premier summits in the GRC sector as well as the first to be held for years to come.

The summit featured a number of local speakers such as the executive chairman of the MSE Joseph Portelli and Minister for Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana.

International keynote speakers included representatives of institutions such as the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Deutsche Börse, the Bank of England, the German Institute for Governance and Psychology, L’Autorité des marchés financiers of France, the World Federation of Exchanges, the Italian CONSOB, and others from around the world.

In between keynote speeches, a number of panel discussions were also held, with each panel discussion tackling topics such as the promotion of an effective compliance and ethics frameworks, the detection of financial crime through an effective AML policy, the latest trends in financial regulation and supervision, the development of an effective internal audit programme, and the best practices in managing cyber security; amongst others.

Mr Portelli welcomed all participants in the summit and stated the need for a harmonious GRC corporate culture in today’s business environments. “As the regulatory environment worldwide seems to be getting more onerous, regulatory scrutiny is on the rise. Good governance, risk management, and compliance is not only obligatory from a regulatory perspective but savvy executives appreciate that it is good business,” he said.

The executive chairman commented that the stakes in this regard have never been higher, and that the Malta Stock Exchange believes that it has a duty as a leader within the capital market of Malta to do all it can to foster an effective GRC culture, not just in Malta but also beyond its shores.

“As compliance requirements become more complex and cyber criminals become more sophisticated, there probably has never been a time in our history where effective GRC solutions and well-trained GRC professionals are in such high demand. It is our hope that at this conference, attendees will observe and participate in healthy discussion and debate with the many stakeholders, local and international speakers alike,” Mr Portelli said.

MSE CEO Simon Zammit said that the exchange has been an important contributor to the development of Malta’s economy for over 30 years by mobilising savings and channelling those savings into investments in companies and the state for productive growth-related projects and industries.

Mr Zammit also said in light of the importance of an active base for a properly functioning capital market, the MSE has been actively promoting investor education through the MSE Institute (MSEI), which leverages the exchange’s expertise and experience to enhance financial education at various levels and on multiple financial services fronts.

“As a regulated market operator, the MSE places a strong emphasis on good governance, transparency, and compliance in its own operations and those of its stakeholders. The MSE believes that these are essential components of any business operation, especially in the financial services industry, to provide reassurance to the investing public that an organisation is being run ethically and effectively,” concluded Mr Zammit.

The Malta Stock Exchange said it hopes that this event “not only remains a staple on the local financial services calendar, but also becomes a renowned and global event”.

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