Over 600 supervisory interactions were carried out in 2021 by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), a third of which involved aspects related to anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism.
This emerged from the authority’s annual report for 2021, where it stressed that regulatory obligations and supervisory scrutiny in the banking sector have intensified, with the objective of strengthening banks’ resilience to systemic vulnerabilities, the sound development of the banking system, and service delivery standards of credit institutions, thereby reflecting effective implementation of the EU banking package.
The local financial services national watchdog said that it received 584 new applications in 2021, a considerable increase over the 264 received in 2020.
In 2021, the authority launched its Authorisation Process Service Charter to provide a clear outline of the authorisation process, what is expected from prospective applications seeking authorisation, and to clearly set out the authority’s commitment to timeframes within the process.
Within the context of its obligations to ensure rigorous assessment of applicable regulatory standards to safeguard the health of the financial system and protect investors, the MFSA said it remains committed to the re-engineering of processes as part of its ongoing transformation to improve efficiency.
The report also shows that the local financial services sector’s gross value added increased by four per cent in 2021, a year that was marred by Malta’s inclusion in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list from June 2021. One year later, it has officially been taken off the list.
In 2020, the sector’s gross value added grew by four per cent, despite the pandemic.
The local financial services sector employed just under 14,000 people in 2021, the MFSA noted, a 3.8 per cent increase over 2020.
“This yearly rise is testament to the resilience of the sector and its importance to other sectors of the economy.”
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