FinanceMalta at City Week
FinanceMalta is always proud to support City Week, but it was particularly enthusiastic about the three main themes chosen for the 13th edition.
The first theme – climate change, green finance and sustainability is certainly no newcomer to the agenda: last year it was also discussed, and yet the theme keeps re-appearing. In spite of all that is being done at a global level, dire statistics indicate that all the initiatives actually in force are not yet considered to be enough to stabilise climate change. Maltese financial service entities have been very active, from organising webinars and courses, to introducing legislation and products to pave the way for those who wish to invest in a more sustainable way.
And the initiatives are by no means limited to the financial services sector: over a dozen of the top corporates in Malta have joined a voluntary alliance – the Malta ESG Alliance – vowing to make their own operations compliant with ESG principles.
A year ago, the regulator of the sector, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), had encouraged the financial services operators to invest in more training and resources to ensure the sector was ready to cope with growing demand. The gentle reminder seems to have had an impact with much more awareness and readiness across the sector – from providers to customers – at least anecdotally.
When it comes to the second theme – institutional adoption and regulation of digital assets – Malta had led the way with regards to the regulatory framework: the Virtual Financial Assets framework supports innovation and FinTech related to cryptoassets, and its various requirements are regulated by the MFSA and the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA). The framework was designed to be robust enough to provide investor protection, to safeguard the integrity of the financial market, as well as to ensure that financial stability was maintained. It also allowed applicants to use the ‘sandbox’ concept to test the viability and regulatory feasibility of their ideas.
The final theme – Digitalisation and innovation in the Capital Markets – is an interesting evolution on the well-thumbed volumes already written separately on digitalisation and the Capital Markets Union. FinanceMalta chairman George Vella is, through his professional experience, an expert on capital markets, and he is enthusiastic about the ideas being put forward in the area. Malta sees the Capital Markets Union as a mixed blessing, mostly because of its size, but it is well aware of the opportunities that it would offer, both for small companies trying to raise capital, and for consumers seeking the best options for their investments. Indeed, the MFSA in 2022 set up a dedicated Capital Markets Supervision Unit, and is hard at work honing the ecosystem that is already in place.
The Malta Stock Exchange, in the meantime, is paving the ground for new products like Green Bonds and Real Estate Investment Trusts, while the Malta Digital Innovation Authority has outlined a strategy for the coming three years, among other things proposing legislative changes which will make it able to respond in a much more dynamic way to the market.
FinanceMalta has a major role to play in keeping all the stakeholders up to date with the latest developments. It attends dozens of international events every year and disseminates the information collected via its digital channels, as well as through webinars and seminars. City Week provides it with a golden opportunity to network with over 1,000 or decision-makers from across the globe, representing not only the industry, but also governmental delegates and the international regulatory community.
FinanceMalta is a silver sponsor for City Week, being held in London over three days between 24-26 April 2023.