“The financial services sector has more challenges and even more opportunities. I have no doubt that our country has the necessary resources to excel,” stated Minister for Finance and Financial Services Edward Scicluna, during his opening speech at the IFSP’s Annual Conference held at the Marriott Hotel in St Julian’s.
During his opening speech, the Minister stated that, today, the financial services sector in most peripheral jurisdictions faces several challenges, with the two most exacting ones being tax competitiveness and money laundering. These two fronts became global issues in the 1990s, with the set-up of the G7 FATF and OECD’s definition of harmful tax competition. Today, more than ever, the pressure has intensified to a greater extent.
On the tax front, the Minister explained that countries are getting close to a global agreement under the aegis of the OECD for a thorough over-haul of the corporation tax, with two approaches referred to as Pillar One and Pillar Two. On the AML/CFT front, the work of FATF and Moneyval has reached a degree to be reckoned with, and definitely needs the country’s full attention.
At such challenging times, the Minister advised that, for the good of the country, all persons, including politicians of good will, need to put their heads together and work together towards more stability.
The Minister for Finance and Financial Services concluded by stating that the financial services sector can be very rewarding, if one understands and properly manages its complexity. Thus, the country needs to work hard in order to reap the desired result. In this regard, he commends the IFSP for organising such a useful and productive conference.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services Clayton Bartolo also participated in the IFSP conference. In his speech, the Parliamentary Secretary Clayton Bartolo assured the industry professionals present during the conference that, “alternative solutions to challenges financial practitioners face to open bank accounts for new clients are being sought.”
He continued by stating that the government is committed to implementing the Moneyval recommendations, which is a key priority. He confirmed that progress is being made, but also acknowledged that there is still work to be done to heal Malta’s reputation.
“Everyone needs to work together to regain Malta’s reputation and communicate what is being done,” Parliamentary Secretary Bartolo said.