Tuesday, 21st June 2022

Online - Microsoft Teams

This event has already passed and registrations are closed.


Good governance is fundamental for investor protection, market integrity and financial soundness as it ensures that institutions operate transparently. It also minimises the risk of failure, safeguards stakeholders’ rights and avoids excessive risk taking in corporate decision making.

It is for these reasons that corporate governance is one of the priorities for the MFSA.

What is the impact of good corporate governance on authorised entities? How does it lead to enhanced resilience and more sustainable operations?

On Tuesday 21 June, the MFSA will be organising a webinar entitled "Embracing New Frontiers", which will give interested stakeholders the opportunity to listen to eminent speakers and to get an update on recent MFSA initiatives.

Who Should Attend

Board members of MFSA authorised entities, compliance officers, professionals and other stakeholders working in the financial services sector, academics and students.


0900hrs Opening Statement

Dr Michael Xuereb - Chief Officer Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

0910hrs Keynote: Good Corporate Governance, Builder of Trust and Credibility in the Financial Market

Dr Valerio Novembre - Senior Policy Officer, ESMA

0925hrs Presentation: Update on the New MFSA Corporate Governance Code for Authorised Entities and Subsequent Sector-Specific Initiatives

Dr Gerd Sapiano - Deputy Head, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA
Sara Sassone - Senior Analyst, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

0945hrs Keynote: Taking the Opportunity for Better Practice

Sir Andrew Likierman - Professor, London Business School

Panel Discussion: Corporate Governance Standards – A Matter of Compliance or Corporate Best Practice?

Edwin Ward - Chairperson, Institute of Directors (Malta) (Moderator)
David Eacott - Head, Banking Supervision, MFSA
Etienne Borg Cardona - Chairperson Directors’ SP, IFSP
Frederick Mifsud Bonnici - Board Member, Institute of Directors (Malta)

1020hrs Coffee Break 
1035hrs Keynote: Governance of Climate-Related Risks and Opportunities

Jonathan Labrey - Chief Connectivity and Integrated Reporting Officer, Value Reporting Foundation

1050hrs Panel Discussion: Board Stewardship in the Age of ‘Disruptive’ Technology

Vanessa Macdonald - Head, Communications, MFSA (Moderator)
Herman Ciappara - Head, FinTech Supervision, MFSA
Simon Azzopardi - Chairperson, Silicon Valletta
Dr Wayne Pisani - Chairperson Regulated Business SP, IFSP
Catalin Romeo Barbu - VP Compliance & MLRO, Finaro

1130hrs Keynote: Due diligence - The Hallmark of a Good Board

Paul Caruana, Head - Due Diligence, MFSA

1145hrs Closing Remarks 

Clare Farrugia, Head, Strategy Policy and Innovation, MFSA

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The Authority encourages interested participants to register by not later than Sunday 19 June 2022. Following successful registration to this online event, participants will receive an email on Monday 20 June 2022 with a link to join.


Chief Officer Strategy, Policy & Innovation, MFSA

Michael Xuereb

Michael Xuereb was appointed as Chief Officer Strategy, Policy and Innovation in March 2020. He joined the MFSA in 2000, heading a number of functions throughout his years at the Authority, more recently occupying the post of Director – Regulatory Development and Financial Stability. Throughout his career he has held senior posts within various public institutions and served on the Board of several entities. He holds a master’s degree in financial services and Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Malta.

Head, Communications, MFSA

Vanessa Macdonald

Vanessa Macdonald spent 25 years working in journalism, mostly at editorial level, specialising in finance, business and the economy. She spent several years as head of communications for a leading telecommunications company, a commercial bank and more recently the Central Bank of Malta. In all these roles, she initiated and completed several projects and worked at strategic level with the top executives to improve both internal and external communications, including social media marketing. Most of the roles also involved corporate social responsibility, where her priority was to ensure rigid protocols and governance. Over the course of her career, Vanessa spent 13 years overseas in a number of countries, including Qatar, the US and the UK, working in various sectors, ranging from international trade to medical audit. Vanessa has a diploma covering economics, marketing and the EU.

Head, Banking Supervision, MFSA

David Eacott

David Eacott is Head of Banking Supervision, responsible for the oversight of credit and financial institutions operating in and from Malta. David joined the MFSA in February 2020 after 22 years at the Bank of England including the UK’s Financial Services Authority. David was most recently responsible for the successful implementation of the UK’s ring fencing regime. During that time, he also helped the Resolution function with its implementation of the UK’s Resolvability Assessment Framework and led the Bank of England’s effort to improve the quality of internal audit functions within financial firms. During his supervisory career, David ran a number of teams responsible for oversight of large and medium sized banks, building societies and asset management firms. He was also a UK policy expert on the CRD and worked at the UK’s Permanent Representation in Brussels during the last UK EU Presidency negotiating its final legislative stages. David studied Modern European Studies at Loughborough University prior to joining the Bank of England.

Head, FinTech Supervision, MFSA

Herman Ciappara

Herman Ciappara joined the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) in September 2019 and holds the position of Head FinTech Supervision. The FinTech Supervision function, within the Supervision Directorate, is responsible for the supervision of the Virtual Financial Asset sector in Malta as well as providing cross-sectoral expertise on digital finance and FinTech-related policy and supervisory initiatives. The function is responsible for the oversight of one of the first frameworks specifically developed to provide legal certainty to Virtual Financial Assets falling outside the scope of traditional financial services legislation. The Framework provides for the regulatory and supervisory requirements relating to VFA Agents, Whitepapers, and VFA Service Providers whilst contributing to investor protection, market integrity and financial stability. As part of its oversight, the function is responsible for receiving applications, granting of authorisations and supervising licence holders within this regulatory framework. The FinTech Supervision team is also entrusted with the development and implementation of the MFSA FinTech Strategy and Regulatory Sandbox as well as the coordination of the implementation of the Digital Finance Package within the MFSA. Through engagement and collaboration with the other supervisory functions within the Authority, this function seeks to monitor, understand, and assess the impact of the use of innovative technology and digital transformation occurring within the finance services landscape, nationally and abroad, and where necessary, develop the appropriate policies and instruments to mitigate any gaps which may arise. Herman started his 30-year long career at the Central Bank of Malta in 1989, holding several managerial positions within a number of functions at the Central Bank, including Information Technology, Operational Risk, Business Continuity and Information Security. Since 2011 he has held the position of Head of Payments & Banking, responsible for the implementation of the SEPA Regulation, Interchange Fee Regulation and PSD2, whilst acting as a catalyst to influence retail payments policy and the development of the payments landscape in Malta through various national working groups. On a European level, Herman was an active member in the Market Infrastructure and Payments Committee within the European System of Central Banks, the Standing Committee for Payment Services within the European Banking Authority and the Commission Expert Group on Banking, Payments and Insurance within the European Commission.

Head, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

Clare Farrugia

Clare Farrugia was appointed as Head of Strategy, Policy and Innovation in November 2019. Ms Farrugia joined the Authority in 2008, following a number of years working with operators in the financial services industry. Throughout her career, she has gained professional experience in financial services regulation and supervision, also occupying other positions at the MFSA prior to this appointment. Clare spent over 7 years working at Authorisations, during which time she was responsible for handling the entire licensing process of authorised firms. She was later appointed as Senior Manager at the Securities and Markets Supervision, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of the on-site inspection programme and leading the on-site team, whilst focusing on the supervision of various authorised entities. Throughout her career at the MFSA, Ms Farrugia was also responsible for transposing and implementing various pieces of European financial services legislation in the field of securities, and has participated in a number of internal working groups. Clare holds an M.Sc in Finance and Financial Law from the University of London and a B.Com (Hons.) in Banking and Finance. She has been invited as a speaker at various conferences and has also participated in international regulatory fora, including working groups of the European Securities and Markets Authority.

Head, Due Diligence, MFSA

Paul Caruana

Paul Caruana joined the Malta Financial Services Authority in March 2020 in the position of Head of Due Diligence. Paul served as a police officer for over twenty-five years. During his policing career he was responsible for setting up the police ICT Department, and as project manager he oversaw the implementation of major transnational and national ICT-related projects. During the same period, he was also responsible for setting up a specialist cybercrime section for the Malta Police Force. Apart from being involved in global and local investigations, he has been a pioneer in several cyber-related areas including legislation, investigational tool development and training. The latter saw him forge a career in training with CEPOL and later as Director of Studies at the Academy for Disciplined Forces. He has also served several international organisations, particularly in the field of cybersecurity and education. Paul is a lecturer at the University of Malta within the Department of Criminology. He specialises in cyber criminology but also lectures on white collar crime and interpersonal violence and is currently reading for a PhD in Criminology.

Deputy Head, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

Gerd Sapiano

Gerd Sapiano is the Deputy Head within the Strategy, Policy, and Innovation function of the Malta Financial Services Authority. Throughout his time at the Authority, Gerd has been heavily involved in the drafting of various legislative instruments, supervision of investment firms, as well as the investigation of a number of firm specific issues. He is currently focusing his efforts on strategy and policy initiatives. Gerd has a law degree (LL.D.) and a Masters in financial services (M.A. Fin Ser.) from the University of Malta.

Senior Analyst, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

Sara Sassone

Sara joined the MFSA Strategy, Policy and Innovation Function in 2019, after working as a product governance analyst for an Ireland-based insurance undertaking. Since her appointment with the Authority, she has been extensively involved in the implementation of the various projects impacting the local regulatory framework relating to Corporate Governance. Sara holds an M.A in Law from the Universita Degli Studi di Torino and an ICA International Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance.

Chairman, Institute of Directors Malta Branch

Edwin Ward

Edwin Ward is Chair of WX2 Group, which has media holdings, a commercial property division and business interests in the emerging innovation economy. WX2 Advertising & PR partners with a range of clients across 11 different countries working on brand development, rebranding and reputation issues. As the Chair of the Institute of Directors in Malta he moved from tertiary education to corporate education and has considerable experience in corporate governance issues as a leading voice for ethical business practices in Malta; as well as serving as a member of ecoDa's Policy Committee in Brussels since 2015, committed to change how Europeans think about public sector and private sector governance issues. As an educator, Edwin launched the Chartered Director program in Malta, which has successfully engaged with more than 100 directors at Certificate, Diploma and Chartered level. He has been a panelist, moderator, speaker or keynote speaker at more than 100 events in Brussels, Italy, UK, Portugal, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Slovakia, Malta, Greece and Spain. Edwin has almost 40 years of international experience in the successful creation and implementation of regional, pan-European and multinational brands as well as in the utilisation of innovation as an enabler in strengthening business. He spent 10 years as a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta. Recently Edwin was shareholder's representative at Cyprus Airways and Acting Commercial Director, coordinating the airline's turnaround and helping re-engineer the company's commercial ecosystem. Previously he was a Chair and CEO in the global network of Ogilvy & Mather International.

Senior Policy Officer, ESMA

Valerio Novembre

Valerio Novembre works in Paris as a Senior Policy Officer in the ESMA Investors and Issuers Department and he is an Adjunct Lecturer of Corporate Finance at Sorbonne University. Prior to these assignments, he was an Economist in the Research and Policy Department of CONSOB and served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the European University in Rome and at the University of Florence. Valerio graduated summa cum laude at the University of Florence and subsequently gained an MSc from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from the Institutions Markets Technology Institute in Lucca. He has drafted papers on financial regulation for Italian and international journals.

Professor, London Business School

Andrew Likierman

Sir Andrew Likierman is a Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School and its former Dean. He has been active in the field of corporate governance since his membership of the Cadbury Committee in 1990 and was appointed by the former Secretary-General as one of 6 experts to review the governance of the United Nations. His current research is on different aspects of judgment in management. He is a Past President of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and served in the Treasury as Head of the Government Accountancy Service. He has been a director of more than 20 organisations, including the Bank of England and Barclays Bank and has won the Sunday Times award for non-executive director of the year for public and not-for-profit organisations.

Board Member, Institute of Directors (Malta)

Frederick Mifsud Bonnici

Frederick Mifsud Bonnici is Chairman of Blevins Franks Trustees Limited which serves high net worth individuals and families around Europe, and, an Advisory Board Member of the Institute of Directors Malta. Mr. Mifsud Bonnici was previously President Malta Institute of Accountants, Chairman of Malta Stock Exchange, APS Bank PLC., Bank of Valletta PLC, and of the Audit Committee at Mediterranean Bank PLC. (now MedBank PLC.), and was formerly Head of Assurance Services and the Partner responsible for Risk Management at PriceWaterhouseCoopers for several years. John Stone, Chairman of the Blevins Franks Group said of him: “Having held a number of key roles in Malta, Frederick joins us with a tremendous track record. This appointment reflects our determination to establish high quality professional corporate governance of all the companies in our Group.”

Chairperson Regulated Business SP, IFSP

Wayne Pisani

Heading the regulatory and compliance function within Grant Thornton and also leading the financial services, tax and regulatory team, together with my team we deal with a wide range of asset protection and cross-border regulatory and tax planning engagements for clients ranging from private clients, including family offices and high-net-worth individuals, to NASDAQ listed companies. Dr Pisani is the President of the Malta Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and a Governor of FinanceMalta, as well as a published author and an active thought leader in the financial technology space.

Chairperson, Silicon Valletta

Simon Azzopardi

Simon is a Partner at Hubble-s, a growth-stage startup that helps businesses align employee behaviours with business objectives. Simon is also a Non-Executive Director at Izola Bank PLC., where he chairs the Strategy Committee and is on the Risk and Compliance Committee. Simon is the chairperson at Silicon Valletta, an association that brings together and supports tech entrepreneurs on the island. Simon also holds several advisory and investor roles in Europe and the U.S. such as SXSW and Sherpa Score. Simon plays a key role at board level when discussing all matters digital including acquisitions, innovation, business models and risk, working with modern technology driven companies as well as the more traditional businesses that need to ingrain transformation within their culture.

Chairperson Directors’ SP, IFSP

Etienne Borg Cardona

Etienne Borg Cardona is a certified public accountant and auditor by profession and holds a practicing warrant. He initially gained experience in banking and in accountancy and audit practice, followed by a thirty-year career in leadership positions in the private sector, most recently as CEO of a leading group of companies. In 2017, he set up Capital Advisory, an independent consulting firm advising on corporate finance, financial management and corporate governance. He currently sits as an independent non-executive director on boards of listed, regulated, and private local and international companies in various industry sectors. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and of the Malta Institute of Accountants, where he was elected to council between 2012 and 2021. He is currently a council member of the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP), Malta, where he chairs the Directors’ Sub-committee, and a member of the Institute of Directors UK, and of the Malta Chamber of Commerce Family Business Committee. He holds a Masters’ degree in Financial Services from the University of Malta and is currently reading for a PhD in Leadership and Management at Cranfield Business School, Cranfield University UK. He lectures in financial management in the department of accountancy within the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy at the University of Malta. He has also lectured on the history of finance, commerce, and money in modern economies at the University of Malta Centre for Liberal Arts and Sciences, and on financial management at Cranfield Business School, UK.

VP Compliance & MLRO, Finaro

Catalin Romeo Barbu

Catalin Romeo Barbu is the VP Compliance & MLRO for Finaro, a licensed credit institution in Malta, specialized in providing global cross-border payment services, empowering international commerce through a variety of payments solutions. With a background education and a master’s in economics and international relations and an EMBA with the Cotrugli Business School, Catalin is an experienced banking professional, having 15 years of experience in the banking industry, in different roles in compliance, financial crime and risk management. Catalin is also an associate member of Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments UK and holds an international compliance diploma with the International Compliance Association. In his role at Finaro, Catalin is leading the change in compliance, governance and financial crime, advising the Board on key regulatory changes, improvements to governance arrangements and best practice in the field and implementing the compliance program at the group level.

Chief Connectivity and Integrated Reporting Officer, Value Reporting Foundation

Jonathan Labrey

Jonathan Labrey is Chief Connectivity and Integrated Reporting Officer at the Value Reporting Foundation, leading the organization’s influencing strategy with policymakers and regulators. He has over 17 years of experience working in public policy, corporate governance and regulation in the accountancy and corporate reporting fields. Mr. Labrey was responsible for global policy and strategy at the IIRC from 2012-2021. During this time, he developed a particular expertise in Asian markets, having worked across the region while living in Singapore. He has developed a deep understanding of capital market and corporate governance issues, working closely with businesses, investors, regulators and accountancy professional bodies. Mr. Labrey led the public affairs and policy team at the ICAEW from 2004-10. From 2010-2012 he was head of communications at the UK’s Financial Reporting Council. He graduated in Law from King’s College London and started his career in the UK Parliament as an advisor to several Members of Parliament.

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