Friday 8 November 2013

Malta Residence & Wealth Planning Seminar, London

The Malta Residence, Citizenship & Wealth Planning Seminar will treat the programmes provided under Maltese law for individuals and families to take up residence in Malta, including the Global Residence Program, the Retirement Programme and Malta's Citizenship-by-Investment Program. The seminar will also deal with the opportunities for structuring wealth using Malta.

The seminar, be held on Tuesday 26 of November 2013 at the Malta House in Piccadilly, this breakfast briefing will be led by Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti, a leading tax and immigration law specialist.

Event Programme:
0900 - Registration and Breakfast
0930 - Presentation on Maltese Immigration Programmes
1015 - Registration and Coffee
1030 - Presentation on Wealth Management Using Malta
1115 - Q&A Session
1130 - Coffee

Malta High Commission
Malta House
36-38 Piccadilly
London W1J 0LE

Limited space is available so early reservations are advisable.

Wealth Planning using Malta

Malta offers a number of opportunities for the structuring and management of wealth using Maltese trusts or Malta Companies. More about Using Malta Companies in International Tax Planning.

Malta Global Residence Programme

The Malta Global Residence Program (GRP) allows non-EU nationals to obtain a permanent residence permit on the basis of an investment in or rental of property in Malta. As residence non-doms, residence permit holders benefit from Malta's remittance basis of taxation and special tax status taxable at a flat rate of 15% tax on remitted income only.

Malta's Citizenship-by-Investment Program

The Individual Investor Program (IIP) allows good standing individuals and families to acquire Maltese citizenship on basis of a contribution to the National Development Fund.

Classification of Binary Options Service Providers as Category 2 Investment Services Providers

There has been some debate recently within the industry as to whether a binary options business may be classified as a Category 2 investment services provider. Circulars previously issued by the MFSA had seemed to suggest that such businesses would be deemed to be Category 3 investment services providers, irrespective of the exact activities performed by the operator i.e. whether or not the operator bore the risk of the transactions by taking the opposite side of the order. Of course this is not ideal, as it means that businesses which are relatively low risk intermediaries would need to adhere to capital and reporting requirements designed for higher risk operators.

Further to discussions with the regulator, it has become clearer that if the operator is acting as a "riskless principal", essentially receiving and transmitting orders in a manner similar to that of a Forex STP Broker, then the operator may be classified as a Category 2 investment services provider. This is a welcome and sensible development. It should be noted however that in such cases the Category 2 investment services providers would be expected to route orders through to another regulated entity.

Having said the above, it should be noted that the sector is still in its infancy in Malta and prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their ideas openly in order to determine the correct regulatory classification.

You are read our detailed Malta Binary Options publication here:

Dr Charles Cassar
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates

Saturday 5 October 2013

The regulatory treatment of bitcoin and other virtual currencies in Malta

We're increasingly seeing interest from businesses operating in the bitcoin / virtual currencies space looking to establish operations in Malta. We feel there is a lack of useful Malta-specific information on this topic, and we've therefore put up a detailed article on the topic on our website. You can read more by following the link below:

Bitcoin and Virtual Currencies in Malta

One interesting phenomenon that we have noted is the keenness of many operators to run their businesses in-line with well established regulatory best practice principles, even though bitcoin is strictly speaking neither fiat money nor a financial instrument and therefore not yet regulated under Maltese law. Having said that, in light of all the attention (both positive as well as negative) that virtual currencies have been attracting, it is only a matter of time before regulators issue rules governing the sector, and therefore it makes sense for serious operators to be prepared.

Dr Charles Cassar
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Malta Law Firm

Friday 20 September 2013

Malta Business Network (Malta Ltd) - Launch

On the 2nd October 2013, the Malta Business Network (Malta) Ltd will be launched.

The Malta Business Network's goals are the following:

  • to promote business and professional opportunities in, or connected with, Malta by re-enforcing and expanding the existing good relations between members of the business and professional communities in Malta and the United Kingdom
  • to promote the exchange of information and knowledge between members of the business and professional communities in Malta and the United Kingdom and to explore how they may work together on business and professional opportunities, projects and transactions in other countries and territories and
  • to provide social and academic functions for members and guests of the Association
You can find more details regarding the launch event here, where you can also register:

You can learn more about the Malta Business Network here:

Our firm is proud to have assisted the Network with various aspects of its Malta set-up, and we're more than happy to recommend the network to all professionals and entrepreneurs. 

If you have any questions, get in touch!

Dr Charles Cassar
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Malta Law Firm

Thursday 25 July 2013

Binary Options in Malta

Binary Options and their status as MiFID Instruments: A closer look

We've realized there is a lack of useful information available with respect to the recent developments regarding the treatment of binary options as MiFID instruments. Many are now aware of MFSA's recent announcement, but there is much to be discussed and absorbed, and there are exciting opportunities both for entrepreneurs as well as for Malta as a jurisdiction. We've put up a detailed publication on our website focusing on binary options in Malta, this should be useful for anyone who is interested in learning more about the recent developments and their potential implications.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss Malta Binary Options in further detail.

Saturday 20 July 2013

MFSA Issues Binary Options Circular

The fledgling binary options industry in Malta has received an important boost as the MFSA has issued a circular providing that binary options fall to be regulated under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. The development is expect to drive binary options business to the jurisdiction, as the increased legal clarity and potential passporting opportunities will inevitably make Malta a more attractive domicile for such business.

You can read more about  about the circular here:

Binary Options in Malta

As always, get in touch if you would like to discuss binary options in further detail.

Charles Cassar,
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Malta law firm

Thursday 11 July 2013

Setting up an AIFM / AIF in Malta

The MFSA in Malta is now accepting applications for the set-up  of AIF and AIFMD. In this context, we've put together a comprehensive set of resources of anyone looking to set up an AIFM or AIF in Malta.

You can find the relevant materials on our website:

Charles Cassar
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Malta

Friday 31 May 2013

European Commission’s Report for Malta: Malta and Cyprus: A Sea Apart (2013)

On the 10th of April 2013 the European Commission circulated its conclusions on Malta’s financial position in a report issued in accordance with Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 1176/2011 on the Prevention and Correction of Macroeconomic Imbalances (the ‘Commission Malta Report 2013’).The exercise commenced last year after an Alert Mechanism Report in November (the ‘Alert Mechanism Report’) was issued, which Report showed signs of potential macroeconomic imbalances in 13 States, including Malta.

The latest happenings in Cyprus have generated a whole new set of questions related to ‘which country will follow suit’. Public attention has been drawn to other small eurozone nations with considerable banking sectors, since, in the event of a crisis, such countries could be more exposed to depositor/senior unsecured creditor bail-in. Malta has also been placed under the lens of scrutiny mainly due to its geographical location and relatively sizable banking industry when compared to its GDP.

Malta has now been declared by the European Commission as not having excessive fiscal imbalances. The imbalances that were found were deemed to emanate from the way the economy of the country is structured. Malta is one out of the thirteen countries assessed and is one of the eleven countries which have been declared as not having excessive fiscal imbalances. All this has now been further corroborated by Bloomberg Brief and Fitch Ratings in specific reports issued on the island’s financial position in April 2013.

The Commission adds that “the majority of the very large financial sector is internationally-oriented with very little link to the domestic economy, and therefore does not pose large risks for domestic stability.”

Having said that, despite the positivity of the Commission Malta Report 2013, room for improvement was still highlighted. The Commission Malta Report 2013 provides that potential imbalances for Malta in the financial sector are in particular related to its exposure to the real estate market.

Malta should take these suggestions / remarks on board and work on streamlining these key issues.

Amongst the various key findings, the Commission Malta Report 2013 concludes that “the Maltese economy demonstrated resilience throughout the crisis”. This could be attributed to the domestic macroeconomic circumstances, which have remained supportive of financial stability, and cautious banking methods characterized by healthy solvency and liquidity positions. These factors have jointly ensured that Malta remained resistant to the negative consequences which hit a number of other euro area jurisdictions over the past year. Therefore “Comparisons between Cyprus and Malta continue to appear misplaced” with even the European Commission issuing “a clean bill of health” to the Maltese banking system.

Monday 27 May 2013

Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive: Frequently Asked Questions

After what seems like an eternity of proposals and counter-proposals, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive is finally due to come into force. In the run up to the big day, we've been getting an increasing number of queries from fund managers, service providers and fund directors with respect to various aspects of the directive. We've therefore put up a detailed FAQ page on our website. The FAQs deal with various key questions such as:

  • Which entities fall within the scope of the directive?
  • What are the directive's provisions on valuation?
  • Will Malta's PIF regime be retained post-AIFMD?
  • Are there any limits to the use of leverage?
  • What are the regulatory reporting requirements under the directive?
We'll be updating this soon with more useful information, so check in from time to time.

You will find the FAQs here:

Dr Charles Cassar
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Malta Funds Law Firm

All you need to know about setting up a Forex business in Malta

Forex in Malta continues to grow and this year we've seen a number of new entrants to the market as well as a number of new applicants. We've put up a detailed document analyzing the set-up process and addressing issues such as the formalities associated with licensing, the relevant licensing categories, certain high level developments in the sector, and what is making Malta an attractive jurisdiction for such business. You can find the full article by following the link here:

Get in touch if you would like to discuss in further detail.

Charles Cassar
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Malta Forex Law Firm

Monday 13 May 2013

MSI EMEA Regional Meeting 2013 held in Malta and hosted by Chetcuti Cauchi
An interesting event took place in Malta this weekend, between the 10 – 12 May 2013.

MSI, the Global Alliance of Independent Legal and Accounting Firms, held its EMEA Regional Meeting in Malta with the event being attended by over 70 delegates. The event held a very varied substantive Programme and presented a very interesting social and cultural Programme too. The Malta hosting firm was Chetcuti Cauchi, the law firm representing the region of Malta within the network.

The meeting was opened by Hon Dr Edward Zammit Lewis who confirmed the government’s objective to create more quality jobs in the ICT, iGaming and the financial services industries and remarked that the choice of Malta as the location to hold this conference certainly befits the role that Malta’s Financial Services sector has had over the past years. This was thanks to the country’s national policy that has bipartisanship support in the local political arena.

Franco Cini, managing partner of MSI audit member FG Audit commented “Malta is a thriving European financial centre and is attracting serious international players in financial services, aviation, maritime and online gaming sectors.”

Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti, managing partner of Malta legal and tax advisory firm Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates also commented: “Given the surge in foreign direct investment Malta is experiencing at this time, we are thrilled our network of international business advisors has chosen Malta for its international conference.”

Being part of such an exclusive network opens opportunities for firms to benefit from a pool of international expertise that would otherwise not be available. 

Friday 10 May 2013

AIFMD Compliance: MFSA issues self-assessment forms

The post-AIFMD regulatory scenario in Malta has really taken shape over the last few months in Malta, with various consultation documents being circulated giving current and prospective licence holders a clearer picture of the practicalities associated with the transition. As part of this transition process, the MFSA has just issued self-assessment questionnaires intended to allow self-managed funds and fund managers to determine whether they fall to be regulated by the 'full fat' version of the directive or whether they fall under the de minimis provisions.

You can find a full a more detailed breakdown on our website by following the link.

Charles Cassar,
Malta funds lawyer
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates

Friday 22 March 2013

The Definition of Investment Advice Under Maltese Law

One of the questions which we come across with some frequency in our practice is the question of what constitutes investment advice under the Investment Services Act. This is an important question; if a service is considered to be investment advice under the Investment Services Act then a number of important legal and regulatory implications arise. Investment advisors are required to obtain an MFSA license before commencing operations, which licence would be subject to a number of conditions relating to matters such as conduct of business, capital adequacy and internal organizational structure.

The investment services act defines 'investment advice' in the following manner:

Giving, offering or agreeing to give, to persons in their capacity as investors or potential investors or as agent for an investor or potential investor, a personal recommendation in respect of one or more transactions relating to one or more instruments

The question therefore hinges on the what constitutes a 'personal recommendation'. Clearly the legislator here does not intend any simple recommendation to be deemed to be a 'personal recommendation. ESMA has issued helpful guidance in this regard.

If you are interested in reading more about this topic, follow the link below to the relevant article on our website, which examines the matter in further detail: definition of investment advice.

Monday 11 February 2013

Malta High Commission Event: Hedge Fund Management in Malta

On the 19th of February 2013 our firm will be delivering a breakfast briefing at the Malta High Commission in London (36-38 Piccadilly). You can register here: Further details below.

About Malta as a Hub for Hedge Fund Management

Since EU accession in 2004, the Maltese financial services industry has gone from strength to strength, and the jurisdiction is now a well established centre of excellence for funds, investment services providers, forex operators, credit institutions, insurance captives and various other financial businesses. One of the key drivers of this growth has been the alternative investment funds industry, with the jurisdiction now playing host to hundreds of alternative funds pursuing a diversity of investment strategies. The professional investor fund, the Malta hedge fund product, has proven to be a remarkably popular vehicle, thanks to its flexibility and soundness.

Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates focus on Malta Hedge Fund Management

In recent months, the jurisdiction has started to attract, in addition to fund structures, the relative fund management enterprises as well. Chetcuti Cauchi’s briefing will engage with the regulatory, fiscal and business environment elements that are underpinning this development. The briefing will include a 30 minute presentation by Dr Charles Cassar focusing on fund regulation and business environment, and a 30 minute presentation by Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti focusing on tax considerations for Malta domiciled fund managers. There will also be an opening address by His Excellency the High Commissioner Joseph Zammit Tabona. The briefing will be followed by a question and answer session, and will conclude by 10am. The briefing should be of interest to fund managers, investment advisors, regulatory lawyers, as well as financial services practitioners who are interested in understanding better the technical building blocks of the Maltese funds industry success story. 

Event overview

  • Topic: Using Malta as a Hedge Fund Management Hub
  • Venue: Malta High Commission, 36-38 Piccadilly, London
  • Date: 19th February 2013
  • Schedule:
    • 8am - 8:30am: Networking breakfast
    • 8:30am - 8:35am: Opening address, by High Commissioner Joseph Zammit Tabona 
    • 8:35am - 9:05am: Regulatory overview, by Dr Charles Cassar
    • 9:05am - 9:35am: Tax considerations for Malta Fund Managers, by Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti
    • 9:35am - 10am: Question time
We look forward to seeing you!

Dr Charles Cassar
Malta fund management lawyer
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, Malta