Prime Minister Joseph Muscat pledged the Government's commitment to support the Malta Financial Services Authority’s (MFSA) transformation and reform programme, allowing it to become a “top-tier European financial services regulator.”
Speaking at the launch of MFSA’s Vision 2021, the Authority's new corporate branding and FinTech strategy, Dr Muscat said that the way this Authority was looking ahead towards the future went hand in hand with the changes taking place practically every day.
“MFSA has a crucial role to play, and given its commitment to upgrade its modus operandi to reflect the changes, will certainly put the Authority in a better place to take the necessary actions.”
Dr Muscat said the Government supported the Authority’s decision to publish its FinTech strategy, describing it as a “huge leap forward,” and stating that it went “hand in hand with the Government's strategy in new emerging technologies.”
“We all know the huge work done in the areas of distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain. We managed to attract to Malta the most significant players in the field on a global level. As I am sure you know, MFSA is processing numerous applications under the VFA Law, and this is a sign of the progress made. But DLT is just the tip of the iceberg. We are looking at other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Quantum, Internet of Things, Big Data, e-sports, and others.”
Dr Muscat said the banking sector is facing the new challenges emanating mainly from increased pan-European supervision, but also in terms of improving customer service and investment in innovation.
“It is also abundantly clear that Malta needs more banks to service its growing economy and offer customers alternative and more efficient services. While fully understanding and supporting de-risking efforts, one cannot tolerate a situation where banks simply opt not to open accounts to legitimate individuals and businesses, which I would say is sometimes in breach of EU rules. Banks need to be prudent but proactive engines for growth and not safety deposit boxes. This duty does not fall on one particular bank but on the whole ecosystem.”
“To this effect, I welcome the MFSA's approach in informing customers about their rights but most importantly in their focus to improve the banking ecosystem so that our jurisdiction becomes more competitive from a banking activity standpoint.”
Dr Muscat concluded by encouraging the MFSA to be a thought leader and engage and cooperate more at a European level so that we become more integrated within the European policy agenda and cross border knowledge transfer. “This makes this regulatory Authority stronger. It makes our financial services stronger. It makes jobs even stronger.”