STEP Malta Conference 2014

| Published on 07 May 2014

Chetcuti Cauchi

The Malta branch of STEP Malta, the Society for Trusts and Estates Practitioners recently organised and hosted the STEP Malta International Conference 2014, entitled “Global business in a challenging environment – Changing perspectives”. This was a two-day conference held on the 6th and 7th March 2014 at the Hilton Hotel, St Julians.  The STEP Malta 2014 conference continued to build upon the successes of the 2011 conference, and proved to a fruitful event featuring 21 national and international speakers and several delegates, all industry professionals in their fields, from all over the world.

The focus of the conference “Global business in a challenging environment – Changing perspectives” reflects the current economic climate faced by practitioners in the field all over the world and was addressed from different points of view by the various speakers. In his keynote address, the Hon. Minister for Finance Professor Edward Scicluna observed that the financial crisis plaguing the worldwide economy has impacted the European markets to different extents in the past few years. Malta’s economy has emerged from this crisis by proving itself to be robust enough to withstand challenge, with a financial services sector that continues to grow and which is precedented to remain strong in the coming years.

In his opening address to the conference, STEP Malta Branch Chair Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti spoke of the opportunities presented internationally and by Malta in the area of private client asset structuring, tax planning possibilities and alternative residency and second citizenship regimes. The latter is subject to two recent additions to Malta’s growing portfolio of residency programmes and second citizenship regimes, the Global Residence Programme (GRP) and the Individual Investor Programme (IIP). The GRP grants permanent residence status and the benefits of visa-free travel within the Schengen Area together with remittance-based taxation at a flat tax rate of 15%.  The IIP grants citizenship by naturalisation to persons of good standing who make a significant contribution and investment in Malta within just one year of residence in Malta.  Both these programmes, he said, are foreseen to contribute greatly to Malta’s attractiveness and its growing economy in the coming years.  

The current challenges which are being faced by trusts practitioners, with a particular view to those in the European Union, were addressed by STEP Worldwide Deputy Chief Executive George Hodgson in his presentation to the conference “Overview of the Challenges: The Regulatory Deluge”.  In his address, Mr Hodgson questioned whether the perceived end of secrecy and the increase in transparency imposed by recent amendments to the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive is indeed comes as a surprise to trustees. In view of ever more stringent monitoring by regulatory bodies, penalties to financial institutions for undermining transparency rules are becoming harsher, with HSBC being fined £1.1 billion in 2012 and Standard Chartered faced with a £415 million penalty in that same year.  Hodgson reiterated that the requirements being imposed relating to identification of beneficial owners are by far the most challenging elements of the due diligence requirements being imposed by the Directive and also by the new FATCA regulation in the US.

Over two days, the STEP Malta conference offered delegates with an insight into a myriad of the most fundamental  legal and industry developments as well as numerous networking opportunities through the event’s rich social programme.

STEP Malta is the principal professional body for trust and estate practitioners worldwide. It is a unique society for professionals who help safeguard clients' personal and family assets. STEP has around 5,000 members in the UK and nearly 12,000 members spanning 33 countries in common and civil law jurisdictions and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The Malta branch of this organisation has been established since 2006 and regularly organises seminars and continuing professional development (CPD) events featuring national and international experts. Practitioners local or foreign, practising in Malta in the areas of estate and succession planning are encouraged to participate in these events, as well as join STEP Malta. To keep in touch with STEP Malta’s events and for further information, visit www.step.org/malta, email us on info@stepmalta.com, and follow us on our Facebook (www.facebook.com/stepmalta), Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

 

 

 

 



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