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Investment Services Law

Dr. Maria Chetcuti Cauchi
Malta Law Firm > Investment Services Law

Investment Services Law

Investment Services in Malta

Malta has registered steady growth as a hub for investment services within Europe and today the country plays host to a variety of investment businesses such as investment advisors, fund managers, forex brokers, securities market makers and stock brokers. These businesses have been attracted to Maltese shores through a mixture of sound but business friendly regulation, a competitive cost and fiscal base, the availability of a qualified and English speaking workforce, and the island's excellent connections with international financial centres such as London, Zurich, Milan and Dublin. The juridisction's regulator, the MFSA, has played a key role in this growth, primarily thanks to its high levels of accessibility and responsiveness, as well as its openness to innovative proposals.

Passporting Maltese Investment Services Licenses Throughout Europe

Investment services providers domiciled in Malta enjoy a key competitive advantage; the ability to passport their services and set up branches throughout Europe, thanks to the simplified 'passporting procedure'. This means that Maltese investment services providers can use their Malta license to provide their services throughout the EU, without the need for further licenses. This is a very attractive option which can reduce costs as well as regulatory complexity.

Malta Investment Services: the Investment Services Categories

Regulation in Malta is calibrated in accordance with the level of sophistication of the business in question, with more complex businesses requiring higher levels of regulation, and vice versa. There are four categories of investment services license in Malta:

  • Category 1: reception and transmission of orders, investment advice, placing of instruments without a firm commitment basis, cannot hold or control clients' money or assets
  • Category 2: can provide any investment service as well as hold and control client moneys, but cannot operate a multilateral trading facility or underwrite or place instruments on a firm commitment basis
  • Category 3: can provide any investment service and hold and control client moneys
  • Category 4: can act as trustees or custodians of funds

Fund Management in Malta

Fund management companies are investment services providers under Maltese legislation, typically licensed as Category 2 investment services providers. Malta is an attractive domicile for fund managers: the same arguments that apply broadly to all investment services providers apply for fund managers, plus, the country is now a bona fide international centre for both hedge funds as well as UCITS.

Our Investment Services Practice

The firm's legal practice revolves around Malta's role as a European hub for financial services.  Our expertise in all aspects of financial services renders us leading advisors-of-choice to Maltese and foreign clients making serious steps towards choosing Malta as their centre, HQ or branch of their financial activity. Our Investment Services Advisory Practice Group enjoys a breadth of industry expertise, enabling our professionals to provide an array of services ranging from licensing and compliance, corporate and personal tax, accounting, and project management of the entire set-up process for the client.

Malta Investment Services Lawyers

Our daily work is advising and assisting financial services operators in the setting up and in the ongoing aspects of their operation from a Maltese regulatory and legal perspective. We work hand in hand with the owners, directors and legal advisors of investment services companies, collective investment schemes, insurance companies, financial institutions and credit institutions in the establishment and maintenance of their licensed activity whilst at the same time working around the most appropriate and tax-efficient structure for that particular case.

Our professionals are members of respected professional associations including the Malta Institute of Taxation, the Council of the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP), various investment services subcommittees such institute, the Society for Trusts & Estates Practitioners, the Malta Institute of Accountants and the Chamber of Advocates. We are often requested to draft position papers and consultative documents to be presented to the Regulator on all aspects of Maltese Financial Services, we regularly speak at conferences and host specialist panels and we also regularly deliver investment services-related sessions in local and international fora. 


Featured Publications

Investment Services Law Publications

Malta UCITS Funds - Stefania Grech - 16/10/15
Malta AIFMD: Revision of the Investment Services Rulebook - Stefania Grech - 12/09/14
Malta Algorithmic Trading: The New MiFID Regime - Charles Cassar - 22/08/14
EMIR: Provisions for Maltese Entities Trading in derivatives - Stevie Aquilina - 21/08/14
The Impact of MiFID 2 on Algorithmic Traders - Charles Cassar - 26/04/14
Malta Crowdfunding - Charles Cassar - 17/04/14
Malta Loan Funds: MFSA Issues Investment Services Rules for Loan Funds - Charles Cassar - 16/04/14
Regulatory differences between Introducers and Tied Agents in Malta - Administration Team - 02/04/14
The Automated COREP Return - Charles Cassar - 10/12/13
Malta Bitcoin Company - Dr Charles Cassar - 05/10/13

Recent Work in Investment Services Law

We have advised an asset management firm providing sophisticated foreign exchange trading services to a clientele composed primarily of hedge funds and other sophisticated investors. We were engaged to assist the client in obtaining a Category 2 investment services license, permitting the licensee to hold and control client assets. Our engagement also covered all other aspects of the set-up process, as well assisting some of the promoters with their relocation to Malta. Our firm assisted the promoters in sourcing local personnel for staffing purposes, as well as with all practical aspects of the set-up.

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+356 2205 6200
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Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Institute of Financial Services Practitioners FinanceMalta The Malta Chamber of Commerce & Industry Malta Institute of Management The Foundation for Human Resources Development Malta Remote Gaming Council International Financial Law Review The International Tax Planning Association International Fiscal Association International Bar Association The Malta Institute of Accountants Legal500 HierosGamos Legal Directories Chambers & Partners


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Chetcuti Cauchi is a Malta Law Firm specialising in Malta Company Formation, Malta Tax Advisory, Malta Gaming Licenses, Malta Investment Funds, Malta Investment Services, Malta Permanent Residency, Cyprus Company FormationMalta Yacht Registration, Malta Ship Registration

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