Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna delivered a concluding speech at the 5th Annual Investor Education Conference, aimed at increasing the level of financial literacy amongst investors, held at the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE).
The minister congratulated the MSE for setting up the MSE Institute and for holding over 150 courses ranging from introductory to advanced levels, for which there were over 2,100 attendees, in just around two years.
“An active capital market acts as a catalyst to stimulate investment, is a healthy alternative to bank finance and is an indication of a mature economy”, stated the Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna.
The finance minister positively noted that the Maltese investor is not hesitant to invest in the Stock Exchange. “We have over 70,000 retail investors who directly or indirectly own most of the €13 billion worth of investments that are listed on the MSE. This is a significant number of investors when compared to the Maltese population, and the value of the market capitalisation is also quite significant when compared to Malta’s GDP”, commented Minister Edward Scicluna.
He also made remarks about the importance of education in gaining knowledge, understanding and personal growth and hence, the need to move away from the idea that education stops once one leaves the formal educational structures and embrace the concept of life-long learning.
Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna emphasised the importance of the financial services providers’ obligation to advise their clients, after a thorough assessment of the client’s situation, the appropriate financial product. However, the government has also an obligation to defend and protect the clients from those financial service providers which evade their obligations. It is for this reason that three years ago, the Ministry for Finance set up the Office of the Arbiter of the Financial Services which has been quite successful in fulfilling its aim.
The minister also commended the sterling work being carried out by the Association of the Small Shareholders for defending the rights of the small shareholders and minority shareholders in a listed organisation.