This news portal has been consistently reporting on the MFSA’s conflicts of interest. We go where no other news outlets dare to go since we sincerely believe that this story must be heard – for the benefit of Malta’s financial services industry which is a crucial pillar of our economy.
The MFSA was established to safeguard the interests of consumers of financial services and not to pamper and protect the financial industry from external criticism. However, this appears not to be understood by the Authority’s high officials, particularly its Chairman.
The attention of MW has been drawn to a news item on the portal of Nemea Bank (the bank which is controlled by an independent professional services firm further to action taken by the MFSA’s http://www.mfsa.com.mt/pages/AdministrativeMeasuresPenalties.aspx ) which states that during the annual conference of FinanceMalta in May, 2016, Chairman Bannister publicly stated that the ECB is treating the Maltese banks in an unjust, inappropriate and inexcusable manner and that such behaviour must stop. It is also reported on the same web-site that the ECB is not a friend of the Maltese banking sector, which is receiving bad treatment by the ECB.
The news item on Nemea’s web-site also indicates that Prof. Bannister has fought hard to defend the Maltese banking and financial sector from ECB attacks and other external threats. It is also states that the MFSA has been forced to do things it does not want to do, as it would not want to harm any Maltese bank, but, at the same time, it should find the strength to stand up to those attacks and fend them off, because otherwise the results are disastrous as they were in the case of Nemea Bank, with Nemea Bank having been the victim of such heavy attacks. http://news-nemeabank.com/news-from-nemeaholding-is-the-limit-in-the-lift/
Clearly the MFSA’s supervisory culture is inadequate if it expects another financial regulator to act with kid’s gloves with its industry. There again, supervision which is characterized by conflicts of interest should not come as a surprise, as the MFSA has long been in bed with the Maltese banking community
Here are some articles demonstrating the closeness between the MFSA and the banking community.
Therefore, if what is stated on the Nemea web-site is correct (the MFSA seems not to have made any attempt to deny the statements made on this web-site), then the following key questions should be answered:
Is it the statutory role of the ECB, which is the supervisor of banks in the Eurozone, to be kind and caring to (or perhaps even cosy with) the banks which fall under its supervisory remit or to regulate them with a firm hand in order to achieve financial stability and depositor protection?
Why is Chairman Bannister protecting Maltese Banks from the ECB, when he is under obligation under terms of law, to work with other financial supervisors (including the ECB) to ensure financial stability and consumer protection? Does not this situation create yet another conflict of interest for the MFSA?
Is it the MFSA’s statutory duty to promote financial services and protect the financial industry at the same time?
Is FinanceMalta simply a front to allow the MFSA to continue promoting financial business in the shadows?
Shouldn’t the Maltese Parliament be scrutinizing more appropriately the way MFSA’ carries out its duties?
All the above questions would appear to have a logical answer! And yet the MFSA continues not to be accountable for its actions and its conflicts of interest continue to be publicly endorsed by the Prime Minister and his Finance Minister.